When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

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When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby crazybritx2 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:46 am

Well, thought I'd start a new thread with this specific issue. Most of you all know that I have been walking my two Brittanys Jack and Jewel every day. Well, in the last few days I thought it was because of the fair this last weekend that they were insane on leash and almost impossible to control when hearing/seeing other dogs, birds, bugs etc. Today, go figure on my birthday ( I know, they don't know its my birthday but I was hoping they would do great on the walk.....) they were worse! I don't know if there is something Im doing or not doing that is encouraging this wild behavior but its getting to the point where it is virtually almost impossible to walk them alone...with the baby and stroller. I am fairly strong, and have been able to pull them back when they are lunging/etc and say "no!" but that does not deter them. When they are pulling they are whining/crying/jumping at each other, and its really hurting my hands. I really have been aggressively paying a lot of attention to them, walking them everyday, crate training them and I cannot understand this wild behavior. But, again its getting to the point where I am not strong enough physically/emotionally to walk them. Any ideas? If this is a bad habit they are starting, how do I break it? I want to do right by these dogs, and that is why I walk them, even with a baby on my own, but I cannot when they are close to pulling every muscle in my arm and just ballistic. Its not feasible. Right now they have Gentle Leader Harnesses, which are completely on properly and they are pulling that hard/going ballistic. Should I get prong collars, choke chains? Any advice would be much needed! Thanks and sorry to have to so many issues with my dogs. Its heartbreaking because I get my hopes up and then get discouraged when new things like this crop up. :( Im almost to the point where I just want to put them on the treadmill, but I enjoy the walks outside and my son does too...so I don't want to stop that because they are insane :(
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby Lisa » Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:54 am

The best thing you can do for them is to enroll them in separate training classes, where a trainer will be able to help you teach them to walk nicely on a leash.

If that isn't an option, there are lots of tools out there to use to help a dog walk nicely on a leash. I personally prefer not to use any of the training collars/harnesses/etc, and I use a clicker to train the dog to walk on a loose leash. However, if I had to advocate just one training collar/harness, I'd suggest using a step-in harness. I know that lots of people like to use Gentle Leader Halters...I'm not a big fan of them and have only used it on one dog and it was to help deal with reactivity to her environment.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby crazybritx2 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:17 am

Thanks for the tip. I just watched some videos on clicker training and it definitely looks promising. How do you do the clicker training when walking? So, if they ignored other dogs and kept walking you would click and give a treat because that is what you wanted? I will see what training there is around here. The nearest I found before was almost an hour away :( I really do not want to have to walk them separately, but now that they are crate trained, if I have to, I can leave one at home in crate and take the other, but I can only imagine the behavior of the one left at home in the crate. Well, I haven't given up! Im doing research and any advice is GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!! :twisted:
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby Cindy » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:21 am

Don't feel bad - lots of us have trouble walking our dogs. I blame the problem we have on the fact that we rarely walk them because we have invisible fencing around 8 acres and they are really good off leash. That being said, we do HAVE to put them on leashes from time to time so it's good for them to know how. Someone on this board (maybe Lisa??) told us about taking a regular length nylon type leash, running it down the top of their back and holding it in place. Then you wrap it under the belly and loop it back through the leash on top. When you start to walk the dog and it pulls, the leash tightens around their back section and makes them stop pulling. It may not work for every dog but it was a miracle with ours! And yes, I tried the gentle leader harness and it worked OK for a while and then they ignored it! Of course obedience training is the optimal solution but this might be worth trying in the interim.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby Barb Wright » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:37 am

As much as it means double duty (walks) for you, I would still suggest walking the dogs separately for the next few weeks or until each one is under control and understands how they are supposed to act. Managing two young exhuberant un-trained dogs would be a difficult task even for an experienced trainer..... just can't imagine doing this pushing a stroller with a child in it at the same time :shock: You definitely need some one on one with each dog...at least until they understand some of the commands and will respond even in circumstances where there is a lot of activity all about. I would devote the next couple weeks to one on one training with each dog. And being left behind is one of the lessons in crate training, so you would be accomplishing a couple things at once at least :)

And don't get discouraged at set backs....it happens to EVERY DOG AND EVERY TRAINER, believe it :!: When things go to heck just try to settle down and figure out where you goofed and next time try to get back to where you were and go on from there. Sometimes it seems like the steps forward are far too few :P but then one day you realize that "hey, we're doing pretty good here" 8) :D PatiencePatiencePatience let that be your mantra :) You're a good Mom, you care, and that is half the battle :D
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby crazybritx2 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:48 am

Aww thanks! I feel better already seriously!! I think you are all absolutely right. I will just have to start walking separately and focusing on each one. I have to admit Jack is the worst..so he will be the most work. Jewel feeds off of his behavior even though she is the dominant one. She is very devoted to me and listening.so I gather my walks with her personally will be enjoyable. Jack is just a stubborn Jack!!! So, I will walk one in the morning and one in the afternoon or sooner if I can. I will update as soon as I take one out separately!
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby Lisa » Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:50 pm

Cindy wrote:Someone on this board (maybe Lisa??) told us about taking a regular length nylon type leash, running it down the top of their back and holding it in place. Then you wrap it under the belly and loop it back through the leash on top. When you start to walk the dog and it pulls, the leash tightens around their back section and makes them stop pulling


Not me - that's Bill's trick with his dogs.

crazybritx2 wrote:How do you do the clicker training when walking? So, if they ignored other dogs and kept walking you would click and give a treat because that is what you wanted?


I start in an environment with low distractions - like the backyard. I just start walking around the yard, and whenever the dog comes to my side, they get a click and a treat. Once the dog is sticking near my side, I start giving a click for one step forward with me - repeat several times. Then click/treat for two steps forward with me - repeat several times. Then click/treat for 5 steps, then 10, then intermittant reinforcement. I don't do this all at once, but in several short training sessions, slowly building duration. Once the dog understands the concept of walking with me, I add a command (with me, heel, whatever). Then, we take it to an area with more distractions - and I up the rate of reinforcement...back to clicking for every few steps with me. Once the dog really understands what I want, then I would use either a verbal marker or click/treat to reinforce ignoring distractions and walking nicely with me as needed.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby Sooz » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:06 pm

Here are some video links you may want to check out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFgtqgiAKoQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsA4oa-i1fQ

The first uses clicker training and the second (which features a Brittany) utilizes changing direction --which may be difficult with a baby stroller :P :P
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby rtropeano » Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:30 pm

Good for your - keep pressing on, I know it is frustrating. I have a dog that pulls, and it just takes patience. Some days she's great and other times, she's lunging at birds and squirrels, etc. I've tried a few of the training harnesses/halters, etc. The one I am working with now is called the Weiss Walkie. You can get it at www.emilyweiss.com/ it works pretty good, it's very similar to what Cindy mentions in her post because it tightens around the belly.

What has made the biggest difference for us is more walking, pratice and PATIENCE!

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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby adele » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:59 am

There are tons of "no pull" devices out there. I guess some must work on some dogs - or maybe its a thriving industry because people (like me) keep moving from one to the other in hopes of finding the device that actually works. I'm a slow learner so I have spent tons of money on different halters and collars (I haven't tried a Halti). Its been my experience that they all work at first but the dog soon gets used to them and I'm right back where I started. I think that regardless of the restraining device used you have to train the dog - I've stopped believing in magic fixes. You have the halti's, I've heard praise about the halti from many people... time to get training.

I've been thinking about you walking the two dogs on a coupler. All the training books I've read have said that you shouldn't let the dog get away with pulling. It just reinforces the behavior. So, if the dog pulls you change direction (crazy walk) or stop still (be a tree) or click/treat the dog by your side.. But if they are on the coupler pulling against each other they are just learning that they HAVE to pull to get what they want. Maybe, until they are usually walking by your side maybe the coupler isn't such a good idea.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby crazybritx2 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:05 am

Hi to all. I totally agree, at first I thought that the coupler with the harnesses was wearing them out (each other) but they just pull too much, and its too much for me at this point to walk both and the stroller. Today is the big day. I will put one in the crate, and leave at home, and take the other on a walk. I am going to take Jewel first since she is the most well behaved, and see how she does. I can almost guarantee that Jack will be crying and crying so hopefully not too loud since my husband is sleeping (he works nights) I will see how they do alone (first time!) I barely have the energy to want to even deal with this today....one of my beloved cockatiels passed away this morning..yes I know, the irony, I have bird dogs and own birds...My birds would come out to fly every day and get attention..of course the dogs are outside during this. Anyway, she passed away this morning, and although I don't feel like doing anything but crying, I think some fresh air and a walk might make me feel better. So, will take Jewel and let you know what happens. I will walk Jack later on today.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby rtropeano » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:01 am

Go luck - and I'm sorry to hear about your bird :( My thoughts and prayers go out to you.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby crazybritx2 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:19 pm

UPDATE:
I am happy to say that I took Jewel out on the walk alone, and crated Jack. I did not , repeat did not, have to pull or strain on leash at all. She was literally perfect!!!!! Now, I don't know if I should say that Jack is the culprit because I have not taken him on a walk yet alone. Im sure they feed off of each other, but I was extremely pleased with her behavior. SO, it just means I will have to walk them separately until they are more under control. Thanks so much for the tip of separating them! I actually enjoyed the walk, I will just have to do it twice a day. I hope there is hope they can be walked together eventually. Well, keeping at it. Im trying to keep myself busy so I dont get too sad over my baby Ladybird..RIP. The walk and the fresh air really helped. I will update after I walk Jack to tell you all if anything changed or if he is out control on his own.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby adele » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:30 pm

Way to go Jewel! Good girl. I hope you gave her lots of praise. I'm crossing my fingers about Jack.
Sorry about your bird. I took care of a friends cockatiel once and it was a hoot. Loads of personality.
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Re: When walking the dogs is almost impossible :(

Postby Cindy » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:57 pm

I am sorry to hear about your bird. But happy about Jewel - you needed something to cheer you up!
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