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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Would love some tips and training advice for a 6 month old VERY STRONG golden retriever who is lunging or bolting towards people on walks.

Obedience is something I have been working very long and hard on since he was home and we do lots of self control games at home and he is great in the house but they are not reflecting on walks. If people are close he will start barking at them and pulling me and he is so strong that it is getting really hard. Even if people are far he will stare and ignore me and will sit and wont move. If I do get him to move he will get frustrated with us.

It's something I want to work on with him but I want to know the best way to approach it or any tips people have.

Thanks! :)
 

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Have you consulted a trainer? Perhaps a personal trainer who can come with you on walks and give you strategies for something that works?

Attention training becomes VERY necessary when dogs enter adolescence and feel that distractions around them are more important than listening to command. You'll have to practice commands in areas with high distractions, using very high value treats. If my dog were become reactive on walks, and I was unable to control them, I would be using a prong collar to correct pulling, and immediately turn and walk in the other direction. Praise immediately and treat when they turn and walk with you in the other direction.

I am not an expert, so you may want to find a trainer in your area. Someone who competes with their dogs preferably. They will be experiences in teaching attention in distracting places (like at dog shows).
 

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Have you considered taking a class? This gives you a place to train where the instructor/trainer can see you and the dog interact with distractions. Nothing more distracting to a young dog than a room full of newbies owners and other dogs.
If you want to do this on your own you need to get some really high value treats (lunch meat, boiled chicken... really tiny pieces) and spend a few minutes everyday working on sits, downs, circles and anything that has your dog looking to you ... focus on you removes the distractions but this takes a ton of work if you have never done it before. You also must wait for your dogs excitement level to reduce before leaving the house or getting out of the car. It's much easier to get focus BEFORE the dog is in high gear :) Having a class so someone with experience can see how you are or are not connecting with your dog will make this go faster.
 

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In addition to what Emmdenn and puddles said, I would probably also up his exercise. A leash walk (regardless of length) is not enough for my 4.5 year old, never mind a 6 month old in his prime. Any aerobic exercise will help a lot - swimming, an off-leash hike, a solid 30-minute game of fetch, etc. The amount of physical activity a dog gets affects behavior just as much as the amount of training.

My dog did something similar around 9 months with the stopping and staring and barking at people on a walk. I really think that my problem was not enough mental or physical activity with my boy at the time. It does get better though with time and effort. Kaizer is the best boy and I love him to death. I'd probably forget what we went through during his puppyhood if I didn't respond to these kinds of threads every couple of months!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In addition to what Emmdenn and puddles said, I would probably also up his exercise. A leash walk (regardless of length) is not enough for my 4.5 year old, never mind a 6 month old in his prime. Any aerobic exercise will help a lot - swimming, an off-leash hike, a solid 30-minute game of fetch, etc. The amount of physical activity a dog gets affects behavior just as much as the amount of training.

My dog did something similar around 9 months with the stopping and staring and barking at people on a walk. I really think that my problem was not enough mental or physical activity with my boy at the time. It does get better though with time and effort. Kaizer is the best boy and I love him to death. I'd probably forget what we went through during his puppyhood if I didn't respond to these kinds of threads every couple of months!
I agree but I probably didn't state enough of what we actually do on the walks. Morning walks are for long line walks around the fields or somewhere a bit more open. In this time we play lots of brain games and practice his recall so he does get his specified amount of exercise each day along with the mental stimulation. He's not just going from a - b on a leash every day. I also don't want to turn him into an athlete as I have a couple of disabilities. Saying that we are moving to a beautiful house with a nice big garden soon so hopefully he can burn off some of that energy even more so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you considered taking a class? This gives you a place to train where the instructor/trainer can see you and the dog interact with distractions. Nothing more distracting to a young dog than a room full of newbies owners and other dogs.
If you want to do this on your own you need to get some really high value treats (lunch meat, boiled chicken... really tiny pieces) and spend a few minutes everyday working on sits, downs, circles and anything that has your dog looking to you ... focus on you removes the distractions but this takes a ton of work if you have never done it before. You also must wait for your dogs excitement level to reduce before leaving the house or getting out of the car. It's much easier to get focus BEFORE the dog is in high gear :) Having a class so someone with experience can see how you are or are not connecting with your dog will make this go faster.
He's had 121's and he has just finished puppy foundation class but he was segregated by a small fence the whole time because of his behaviour. I just feel like I am getting nowhere with the classes but out of pocket. It's like I'm doing everything I can with him but he is very strong and very boyish and hard to be exciting to him when everything is so EXCITING.
 

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I would look to see if there is a trainer near you who is accomplished in training dogs for agility or obedience. And competes with their dogs. Any trainer who sticks your dog behind a fence rather than helping you train him....is not a very good trainer in my opinion. I am sorry they did that to you and your dog.
 

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Everything that has been mentioned is great advice. I have an odd situation in that Moe, my almost 2 year old, behaves perfectly off leash but has a tendency to pull on leash. I recently enrolled him in another advanced obedience class and I am working on focus with him specifically with me. He pays full attention to my husband but the little bugger likes to ignore me.

For focus there are some great videos to watch but I like to have them sit in front of me and reward them when they make eye contact to start. Every time they look directly at me they get a treat. I use the command "watch me" but you can say whatever. With Moe I found he was constantly watching my hands for the treat and not me so I had to improvise. I use treats that I can put in my mouth and when he makes direct contact I say yes (sort of muffled lol) and then take the treat out from between my lips. I know it sounds gross, but it works. He will now look at me and not watch my hands. The end goal is that they are so focused on you that nothing else matters. I also reward him with yes, followed by a really great treat every single time he looks at me while heeling on a leash. Every time I catch him looking it's an instant YES, treat. It works wonders for getting them to realize they need to pay attention to you. A very good trainer once told me to make sure I was the most exciting thing they could find.

I also start using a pinch collar around 6-7 months of age when necessary. With Moe it has been necessary. He's a ball of energy. I have a hunt/field trainer that normally fits the puppy with the collar and I know how to use one, but would never do it without having a professional fit the collar and teach you the technique. I was surprised that most of the dogs in my current class are still using pinch collars. I showed up the first day without one and did okay, but I took mine the second day and realized it still makes quite a difference in his attention level. To be clear most of my dogs training has been geared toward him being off leash and well behaved so I'm sort of going down a new road with him. He also is just a dog that pays more attention to my husband then me. My husband says I get the love and he gets the respect. I'm working to get both out of our little guy. A few things to know before trying a pinch collar..... NEVER LEAVE ONE ON A DOG, HAVE IT FIT BY A PROFESSIONAL TRAINER, AND HAVE A TRAINER TEACH YOU PROPER TECHNIQUE. I don't believe they are mean. They are great tools when used properly but I don't think anyone should just go buy one and slap it on.

Join a club and go to a class. Classes with other dogs and people provide the best distractions to train with.

The other tip is exercise, exercise, exercise. We live on a farm and are fortunate that our guys get to run quite a bit but it's cold and miserable here currently so I'm having to make myself go out and make sure Moe gets a good work out daily. It makes all the difference in a young dogs behavior. If you haven't taught a formal retrieve start that. It makes exercising them so much easier.
 

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He's had 121's and he has just finished puppy foundation class but he was segregated by a small fence the whole time because of his behaviour. I just feel like I am getting nowhere with the classes but out of pocket. It's like I'm doing everything I can with him but he is very strong and very boyish and hard to be exciting to him when everything is so EXCITING.
You need to join a different class. I went to one last summer and hated it. Moe was the only Golden and I've been through enough training that in one session I knew it wasn't a good fit for him or I. It has been years since I went through obedience classes since our dogs have been hunt trained in recent years. I wasted $120 but didn't go back. I joined a new obedience club and couldn't be happier. Moe already has his CGC, and had it when I enrolled him in the first class but the way the class was run and the number of dogs just made it a bad situation. Find your local AKC affiliate club, or a private trainer and start there. The right trainer and the right group can make a huge difference. I can't imagine them separating a puppy from the class. I would more expect the trainer to take him and handle him for you.
 

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Hi, I'm not sure if it's the same issue exactly, but I also struggled (and still do occasionally) with a pup who would lunge out or jump at people on walks, no barking though. She has excellent obedience and impulse control at home, but walks have been a challenge. My personal theory is that it wasn't exactly her fault for this behavior cropping up. When she was much younger, SO many people would want to pat her, I think unintentionally she has been reinforced this way to seek attention from strangers.
Personally I found the more I try to work at distance from these distractions, the less it helped. What seems to have really helped was getting her on something with a bit more control (I just use a front clip harness) and getting out among people, lots of them. I do busy river walks and shopping mall streets, there are enough people she doesn't really have the focus to single people out for attention, and now, people are just becoming more boring. If you don't feel you can walk among people yet, you could try sitting or standing in an area near them and just treating frequently for when he looks at you or holds back from pulling or jumping at people.
 

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Kek ,
I like your idea ! Our 10 month old Ruby is SO/ too excitable even jumping up, when she sees other people !!
I'm going to try the "sit in a crowd" practice. Becasue once she gets to meet the person and get petted she calms down for normal petting.
 
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