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Discussion Starter #1
My golden is 16 months old. I am having difficulty with taking her for a walk. When she sees her leash she starts to shake and is hesitant about going out for a walk. Once outside she will seem nervous but walks nicely and not pulling UNTIL we head in the direction towards home. Then she pulls and pulls! Hard! She can't get home fast enough whether I'm done walking or not. Basically she walks normally the whole time we are walking in the opposite direction of home. I can walk a couple of miles in the opposite direction but as soon as I head the direction of home she'll pull the entire way. She needs her walks but my body can not take the pulling that comes. Any ideas what I can do? Btw I currently use a gentle leader but have tried a pinch collar as a last resort. My golden pulls relentlessly with it that it scared me. I haven't tried a martingale collar yet because I'm not convinced it will help. I have tried techniques I learned during puppy class such as stopping until her leash has slack then continue walking, stop as soon as she begins to pull. Since she never stops pulling I can stand there forever. I've tried to entice her with a treat to bring her attention to me. She is not treat oriented so that doesn't help. Any ideas what else I can try?
 

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Puddles
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You don't mention anything about training classes so going to assume none. So it sounds like something is making her uncomfortable about the walk or leaving her space. I would get kibble, treat or whatever she is partial to and go back to basic leash training in her own space. Teach her to be beside you on leash... in the house or her own backyard, anyplace she is still at a comfortable level. Just spend maybe 5 minutes ot teaching position several times a day. I sort of make it a game and only take a couple of steps then play a game.. treats are given if she stays beside you a step or 2. Once she understands where you want her then head for the drive way or front yard. Keep it positive, she's struggling with confidence away from home. If she gets nervous, go back to working where she is comfortable. You just have to build on the progress, it takes as long as it takes her.. you can't rush this.
I have no problem with prong collars if someone has taught you how to use it but do have a problem with forcing the dog to do something they are uncomfortable doing. Prong or any training collar is designed to make a correction but you can't correct a behavior she hasn't learned yet. Imagine your boss screaming at you for something and you have no idea what you have done. You feel like the boss is a jerk and not sure if you want to punch them or cry.

My girl loves tennis balls... we use the treat to teach where I want her to walk, take a couple of steps then tell her how good she is and toss the ball a few times to break up the training and keep it fun. You can use a piece of hot dog and hold in the palm of your hand and let them nibble while you take just one step ... whatever it takes to get her moving and mark the moment she does it right with a positive yes or good girl and give her the hot dog piece. Repeat this until you can walk for or five steps. Once you get her moving just offer a piece while you are walking, no need to shape the behavior but begin to reward for trying.

As far as exercise walking is boring, repetitive and not the best way to exercise anyway... don't force it. Once you have gotten cooperation you might drive to a walking path park or school track and walk there but wait until she is ready. If you try to do this before she is ready you will just end up starting the training over again. Be sure and take treats so you can reward every few steps just to reinforce the training and keep it to maybe 20 feet then take her home.
They can't tell you what spooked her but must respect she's has a fear... real or imagined. Good luck and be patient.
 

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Obedience training
Search "training a dog to heel", you will find hundreds of videos.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You don't mention anything about training classes so going to assume none. So it sounds like something is making her uncomfortable about the walk or leaving her space. I would get kibble, treat or whatever she is partial to and go back to basic leash training in her own space. Teach her to be beside you on leash... in the house or her own backyard, anyplace she is still at a comfortable level. Just spend maybe 5 minutes ot teaching position several times a day. I sort of make it a game and only take a couple of steps then play a game.. treats are given if she stays beside you a step or 2. Once she understands where you want her then head for the drive way or front yard. Keep it positive, she's struggling with confidence away from home. If she gets nervous, go back to working where she is comfortable. You just have to build on the progress, it takes as long as it takes her.. you can't rush this.
I have no problem with prong collars if someone has taught you how to use it but do have a problem with forcing the dog to do something they are uncomfortable doing. Prong or any training collar is designed to make a correction but you can't correct a behavior she hasn't learned yet. Imagine your boss screaming at you for something and you have no idea what you have done. You feel like the boss is a jerk and not sure if you want to punch them or cry.

My girl loves tennis balls... we use the treat to teach where I want her to walk, take a couple of steps then tell her how good she is and toss the ball a few times to break up the training and keep it fun. You can use a piece of hot dog and hold in the palm of your hand and let them nibble while you take just one step ... whatever it takes to get her moving and mark the moment she does it right with a positive yes or good girl and give her the hot dog piece. Repeat this until you can walk for or five steps. Once you get her moving just offer a piece while you are walking, no need to shape the behavior but begin to reward for trying.

As far as exercise walking is boring, repetitive and not the best way to exercise anyway... don't force it. Once you have gotten cooperation you might drive to a walking path park or school track and walk there but wait until she is ready. If you try to do this before she is ready you will just end up starting the training over again. Be sure and take treats so you can reward every few steps just to reinforce the training and keep it to maybe 20 feet then take her home.
They can't tell you what spooked her but must respect she's has a fear... real or imagined. Good luck and be patient.
Thanks for these suggestions! Interesting fact here. I can take her to our school track/field and she is completely comfortable there! Walks perfectly on her leash and looks like the model puppy. It's weird and the main reason I'm confused by her behavior. Sadly during the winter the track/field is extremely muddy so it's not an option.
 

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Puddles
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Thanks for these suggestions! Interesting fact here. I can take her to our school track/field and she is completely comfortable there! Walks perfectly on her leash and looks like the model puppy. It's weird and the main reason I'm confused by her behavior. Sadly during the winter the track/field is extremely muddy so it's not an option.
Interesting... do you drive to the track or walk to it?
My guess, and this is totally a guess! If you drive to the track there is something that has spooked her on your current path and wants to return to home base for safety. It could be as simple as something startled her... a dog behind a fence... traffic nearby, only she knows. Whatever it was it made her feel unsafe.
Either way it might be better to walk someplace else vs feeling the need for a training collar just to take a walk. It could be she eventually gains confidence and moves past this as she matures LOL but doesn't sound like you need lessons in loose leash walking. Great job!
Around here when the weather is bad we walk through the isles at the hardware store, Lowes or tractor supply. My last town was much larger and could walk the mall (my little town doesn't have a mall)... as long as we didn't go on the level with the food court. There was also a church nearby that had a rec building and the upper level was sort of the walking place for seniors but as long as the dog was behaved they had no problem with us walking on rainy days. Of course we also just walk in the yuck and rinse them off when we get home. Sometimes you just have to figure out a way and get creative.
 

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When did she start shaking/seeming nervous before walks? Is it a recent thing, or has she always done it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, I do drive to the school! She used to be very afraid of the car. She would always get car sick and would associate the car to getting sick. Which I thought was interesting never thought they'd make that kind of connection but the Obedience class teacher said dogs do. Anyway, I worked really hard for her to not be afraid of the car from standing next to the car giving praise when she'd sit there, then sitting in the car playing with her to the car being turned on and sitting in the driveway. It took months then I was able to drive to the school's track. At the time it was daunting but I knew what her trigger was. With this walking completely fine until the moment we are heading in the direction of home has me scratching my head. Clearly something has spooked her. I'll give it time and hope maturity will help. In the meantime I will take her to Home Depot and other dog friendly places to get her out and build confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When did she start shaking/seeming nervous before walks? Is it a recent thing, or has she always done it?
She has always done it. She will still shakes before going on a walk or in a car (see earlier reply regarding the car). Once she gets in the car she relaxes.... she used to shake a lot in the car but not anymore. She will shake only when I put her leash on then she realizes we're going on the car she stops. When we head for a walk instead she will be nervous but will be loose on the leash and walk next to me. The moment I turn in the direction of home she pulls.
 

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Puddles
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Poor baby, over coming fear is daunting! Have you considered agility training? I haven't done it ... old knees! But have heard it's really great at building confidence and lots of fun. She's lucky to have you, lots of people would have given up on her.

You can always drive to a location on your normal route, make that your stating point and at whatever point she starts getting anxious stop and do some sits, tug play or just sit down and give her a chance to relax & treat. Then walk back to the car & drive home. Try and take the "house" out of the equation. LOL I'm grasping at straws but you never know what might work.
 

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Dogs are always anticipating what is coming next. Right now she is anticipating something she fears, could be something minor happened you didn't recognize as a big deal to her, a strange dog barking at her or similar. Take her on short walks then play with her. Anything she enjoys, fetch or whatever, maybe bring her favorite toy from home.
I would take the same route to the same spot for a few days, then play. Then a different route to the same place and play. After she starts anticipating fun take more routes to different places so that she knows all walks end with fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dogs are always anticipating what is coming next. Right now she is anticipating something she fears, could be something minor happened you didn't recognize as a big deal to her, a strange dog barking at her or similar. Take her on short walks then play with her. Anything she enjoys, fetch or whatever, maybe bring her favorite toy from home.
I would take the same route to the same spot for a few days, then play. Then a different route to the same place and play. After she starts anticipating fun take more routes to different places so that she knows all walks end with fun.
Hmmm good point regarding anticipating what made her afraid. I will certainly try your suggestions. Being as she is no longer afraid of the car now since something fun comes of it it makes sense. Thanks!
 
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