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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I’m a momma to a 1.5 year old Golden, and I need some help. I know nothing about dogs, grew up taught to be scared of dogs. My partner and I got our golden at 10 weeks old. She’s been a puller since day 1, really only obeys my partner and not even him all of the time. I’m worried after research that she’s probably got damage to her throat from all the pulling, we’ve gone through so many different leashes, a few harnesses, and now are on what I think is called a slip lead one where it tightens if she pulls. I’ve read a 0-1 golden book, watched Cesar Milan, he’s watched a different trainer on YouTube but training her is apparently 100% different than his first golden who was an angel compared to ours now. I don’t know where to turn or what to do for help now - I just read slip leads are dangerous despite dog training videos! She wasn’t socialized until after 16 weeks per 2 vets scaring us about parvo, and since it’s been the pandemic her whole life, people won’t interact much with us or her even at the dog park so when they do, she latches on gently with her teeth and they get scared. How do we do better so she can do better? Cesar Milan says be the alpha, but I’m just not the alpha! Help!
 

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Okay so first of all, don't watch Cesar Milan. The language he uses to describe how he trains completely confuses the average person and the cuts you see on TV are not the whole training process.

Don't use a harness on her. We use a slip lead most of the time.

Look for local obedience classes and be consistent. Between you and your partner, you need to be consistent with what training method you decide to employ and you need to use it every single time you walk her.

kikopup on YouTube has some good videos. There are other video resources you could utilize as well, but the best thing would be to attend an obedience class.
 

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Kate
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I know nothing about dogs, grew up taught to be scared of dogs
This isn't a "gotcha question", I'm genuinely curious....

How did you get talked into getting a big dog?

As far as your questions - I would look around your area for pet classes. Find a training club and sign up for obedience classes. Most goldens should be in puppy class (socialization), obedience 1 (serious obedience where you learn how to control your teenaged pup in public), and then obedience 2 (CGC prep type classes, basically). And people should consider repeating Obedience 2 a second time.

By the time you are done with all that - your dog should be about 2 years old or close to it and starting to settle down + you as an owner have over a year's worth of experience in training your own dog.

Covid put a snafu into a lot of people's ability to train their dogs at classes. What this unfortunately means a later start in training and dealing with socialization and controlled handling of your dog in public - while your dog is fully grown and quite strong (and difficult to control). But that is the direction you need to go. Turn the TV off, get off the internet - take your dog to class.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This isn't a "gotcha question", I'm genuinely curious....

How did you get talked into getting a big dog?
My partner had a golden that passed away and we got our current one just a few days later, through fate. I know you said to get off the internet and TV, but that’s been my only place to try and educate myself due to covid restrictions. One of the two obedience training places is booked until October and so I’m hoping the other one will get back to me soon. They don’t allow dogs of her age in puppy groups or puppy training courses locally either, I checked since I hoped to make up for lost time but they won’t. I’ll definitely try to find an academy that will let us repeat courses from your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Based on both your posts it’s clear the only help is in person. Fingers crossed I can find her an academy before October.
 

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Based on both your posts it’s clear the only help is in person. Fingers crossed I can find her an academy before October.
I know one of our local clubs is doing manners classes via zoom meetings. The higher level classes are in person, but the basic classes are online if that’s an option :)
 

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If you tell us where you live, we may be able to help you find in person training classes near you. Or give you a lead to your local Golden retriever or training club who may have suggestions for local trainers. In my area, in person training classes restarted almost a year ago (with appropriate protocols in place), and many private trainers are also offering online classes. Remember, if a trainer is offering online classes you can take them from anywhere (so in theory you could train with someone on the other side of the country if you wanted to!).

I like Fenzi dog sport academy courses and they have a full pet dog program that is done as self-study. Here’s a link to their class on loose leash walking, but they have many others: Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - LS140: Stop Leash Pulling: Multiple Methods to Loose Leash Walking
 

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Do you train her (not just trying to stop her from pulling)?

My Golden is the same age as yours. Our obedience club just in the last couple of weeks started having in person group classes again. It was like pulling teeth finding any kind of in person group classes during Covid. I found a couple and mine has had about 20 weeks worth spread over time starting when he was about 10 months old. I just determined I wasn't going to get much outside help, so I started training as much as I could on my own. I am also taking agility from a wonderful instructor (it's private -- just us and her.) I find the more I engage Logan, the more he is inclined to do what I ask. It's an every day thing -- make it fun.

Does your dog do basic commands? Sit, stay, coming when called (work on that indefinitely), down, etc.? Does she wait when you feed her? Does she have good door manners? Does she know not to jump on you/other people and and not to counter surf? And so on.

You can do tricks training with her! It's a lot of fun and teaches her to engage with you.

AKC Titles & Programs You Can Do From Home – American Kennel Club

Online education and training I have enjoyed include Fenzi, Connie Cleveland, McCann Dog School, and just lately Petra Ford.

As for walking, it takes a lot of consistency and patience. I'm a strong believer in if you put in the time consistently and patiently, it pays off and you end up with a very well behaved adult dog. I've found what has worked the best for us is either the stop method and turning/about facing and going in the other direction. I tried circling for a while, but that makes me dizzy and he seems to think it's just fine and dandy as long as he gets to keep going. lol No thank you. On a happy note, we've been at this since the beginning and he is getting it now. Well, I think he got it a while ago, but he is complying and seems perfectly happy to walk along beside me. I also give him times where I let his line out (it's 10 feet) and tell him to sniff. He loves going back into the woods. Squirrels still get his attention. Pesky little things. :ROFLMAO:

Oh, and take your dog out and about a lot. Get her used to all sorts of different environments. Slowly acclimate so she isn't over threshold.

I'm no expert. I just know over time a lot of work and consistency is paying off. I think the in person basic obedience courses are helpful to get your dog around other dogs, but most of the basic training they give is stuff you should be working on with your dog anyway on your own. I would love, however, to have classes available for specific things like rally, competition obedience, etc.
 

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I have to agree with all of the above post. Goldens are extremely intelligent and it sounds like he’s training you. ( not putting you down ) He/She will only do what they can and are allowed to do. Training starts day 1. Using a positive approach. Reward with small treats. But since this is your first furbaby ( I hate the word dog) , definitely enroll in a obedience class as soon as possible. It’s easier to train versus trying to break a bad habit.....David
 

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There are a number of harnesses with top and bottom clip ins that completely avoid compressing the neck or chest areas. Here are some options to consider. You will need a lead that has two clip in points should you want to use that option. I am sure there other choices but these are two that I use with Sani and Oskie that work very well. As Sani has a degree of laryngeal paralysis it is essential that harnesses not put any pressure on her neck.

Two hounds: Freedom No-Pull Harness | 2 Hounds Design

PetSafe 3 in 1 Harness: 3 in 1 Harness
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for the help and suggestions. I’ve been able to get on the same page with my partner who trains and walks her and we’re going to try to have him teach me how to handle her now, which we tried for a long time as a puppy and DID NOT work at all. Also looking into a different harness/leash possibly and definitely hope to get her into some play groups and training classes. We are in coastal northern CA near the OR border so I believe there’s only 2 training groups but hopefully someone has openings soon.
 

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Hi, if you can't get to obedience classes, check out Life with Rune on facebook. The lady posts educational information on how she trains her puppy with week by week information which is a good starting guide.
 

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Don't use a harness on her. We use a slip lead most of the time.
Echoing this! At around 5 months when our puppy was getting stronger (he's now about 5.5 months) in his pulling, we had to switch from a regular leash to a slip lead. In just a few weeks time, his pulling has dramatically decreased. When we feel tension on the leash, we just stop and he quickly figures out to walk back a little to us to give the leash more slack. When he does this, we continue to walk forward.

If you have the lead up really high, right under the chin and at the top right below the ears, he'll do fine on it. And your puppy will learn really quickly not to do it because the feeling is not fun. Our vet actually suggested we make the change and told us that if you use the slip leash correctly, it's very difficult to damage the trachea. And because your dog is older and near fully grown, I'm sure your puppy is more unbreakable than ours.
 

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Hi,

Here are 2 good ways to teach a dog to walk nicely. Be warned, both ways will work but not immediately. You can use a harness, or flat collar for either way. The first is probably the easiest. When your dog starts to pull, IMMEDIATELY STOP!! Say and do nothing else.
Only start walking again when the dog is no longer pulling. Once you begin to move the dog will pull again. Repeat the stopping. You will probably will not go very far for the first few days.
The second way is to do an about face when the dog starts to pull. Again say nothing but turn and way 180 degrees the other way. Again the dog will take a few walks for this to sink in.
Feel free to pm or email me.

Hello all,
I’m a momma to a 1.5 year old Golden, and I need some help. I know nothing about dogs, grew up taught to be scared of dogs. My partner and I got our golden at 10 weeks old. She’s been a puller since day 1, really only obeys my partner and not even him all of the time. I’m worried after research that she’s probably got damage to her throat from all the pulling, we’ve gone through so many different leashes, a few harnesses, and now are on what I think is called a slip lead one where it tightens if she pulls. I’ve read a 0-1 golden book, watched Cesar Milan, he’s watched a different trainer on YouTube but training her is apparently 100% different than his first golden who was an angel compared to ours now. I don’t know where to turn or what to do for help now - I just read slip leads are dangerous despite dog training videos! She wasn’t socialized until after 16 weeks per 2 vets scaring us about parvo, and since it’s been the pandemic her whole life, people won’t interact much with us or her even at the dog park so when they do, she latches on gently with her teeth and they get scared. How do we do better so she can do better? Cesar Milan says be the alpha, but I’m just not the alpha! Help!
 

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Hello all,
I’m a momma to a 1.5 year old Golden, and I need some help. I know nothing about dogs, grew up taught to be scared of dogs. My partner and I got our golden at 10 weeks old. She’s been a puller since day 1, really only obeys my partner and not even him all of the time. I’m worried after research that she’s probably got damage to her throat from all the pulling, we’ve gone through so many different leashes, a few harnesses, and now are on what I think is called a slip lead one where it tightens if she pulls. I’ve read a 0-1 golden book, watched Cesar Milan, he’s watched a different trainer on YouTube but training her is apparently 100% different than his first golden who was an angel compared to ours now. I don’t know where to turn or what to do for help now - I just read slip leads are dangerous despite dog training videos! She wasn’t socialized until after 16 weeks per 2 vets scaring us about parvo, and since it’s been the pandemic her whole life, people won’t interact much with us or her even at the dog park so when they do, she latches on gently with her teeth and they get scared. How do we do better so she can do better? Cesar Milan says be the alpha, but I’m just not the alpha! Help!
I wish you good luck and agree in person training is the best. Short of that, what has worked for us with pulling, is the "statue" response. or it is sometimes called "red light green light." If the Leash is taut from pulling, we become a statue. No emotion No goal to get anywhere. The dog learns that to move the leash must be relaxed. At first I required the leash relaxed and a glance back at me--to acknowledge me. I have also used the treat method, when the dog is walking at my side, I treat with a "good dog."
 

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Goldenfam
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Hello all,
I’m a momma to a 1.5 year old Golden, and I need some help. I know nothing about dogs, grew up taught to be scared of dogs. My partner and I got our golden at 10 weeks old. She’s been a puller since day 1, really only obeys my partner and not even him all of the time. I’m worried after research that she’s probably got damage to her throat from all the pulling, we’ve gone through so many different leashes, a few harnesses, and now are on what I think is called a slip lead one where it tightens if she pulls. I’ve read a 0-1 golden book, watched Cesar Milan, he’s watched a different trainer on YouTube but training her is apparently 100% different than his first golden who was an angel compared to ours now. I don’t know where to turn or what to do for help now - I just read slip leads are dangerous despite dog training videos! She wasn’t socialized until after 16 weeks per 2 vets scaring us about parvo, and since it’s been the pandemic her whole life, people won’t interact much with us or her even at the dog park so when they do, she latches on gently with her teeth and they get scared. How do we do better so she can do better? Cesar Milan says be the alpha, but I’m just not the alpha! Help!
I agree. Don’t watch Cesar! We use the PerSafe Easy Walk harness. The leash clips to the front and of the dog pulls, she is immediately and gently redirected towards the person holding the leash. No special training needed. Once our 80 lb golden (who wanted to run up to everyone to greet them) started wearing it, he became sooo easy to walk with and stopped lunging towards other people walking by. Remember, you also need to use a short leash and not those retractable ones where she is inconsistently shown she can go 15 ft away from you whenever she pulls.
 

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Goldenfam
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I agree. Don’t watch Cesar! We use the PerSafe Easy Walk harness. The leash clips to the front and of the dog pulls, she is immediately and gently redirected towards the person holding the leash. No special training needed. Once our 80 lb golden (who wanted to run up to everyone to greet them) started wearing it, he became sooo easy to walk with and stopped lunging towards other people walking by. Remember, you also need to use a short leash and not those retractable ones where she is inconsistently shown she can go 15 ft away from you whenever she pulls.
That’s PetSafe. Not persafe. Sorry.
 

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I always clip the harness on the metal loop on the chest. It took a little practice, but she never pulls anymore. She does loose leash walking. It took practice, but I get compliments all the time for loose leash walking and I walk slow now and she has learned to walk slow with me. I tell the other dog walkers, to try clipping the leash to the metal loop on the chest. I just use a standard yellow dog design roman harness and it has a metal loop on chest so I hook the lead there. In the car, I hook the seatbelt leash to metal loop on her back. There are many anti pull harnesses online that hook at the chest. Get a harness with metal loop at the chest as a plastic loop will break. I use an 8 foot leash with two loops. One has a short traffic loop, when walking by other dogs and people, and I use the full 8 feet loose leash walking when no body around. She likes the 8 feet, she can walk along and have plenty of space, but I can grab the shorter traffic loop when walking by others or by traffic. 6 foot leash is just too short for casual walks.
 

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We don't have a 2 loop leash but you can quickly shorten it by wrapping 2 or 3 loops around your hand temporarily as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just wanted to report back, things (knock on wood) are much much better. Every day when I get home now, I spend about two hour chasing her around the house, hiding Easter eggs with kibbles, tug of war, throwing balls from one end of the apartment to the other. She’s got no time or energy to be obstinate now :ROFLMAO:
I also started walking with treats, and slowing while saying back up if she starts pulling and it’s actually working!!!!! She’s starting to look back at me even without me saying anything, which I reward with a treat randomly. Im really happy with that progress.
 
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