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Hey everyone. I have a 5 year old Dobe who I had since he was a puppy. I took him to obedience classes and he did great. He was crate trained for the first 2 years of his life. After moving, he refused to go in and outgrew his crate anyway. He NEVER pees or poos in the house and I never had that problem with him. My major problem is his CRAZY leash pulling. It got to a point where he dragged me in front of our car in the driveway leaving me with sexy cuts and bruises. He listens in the house very well but walking him is an embarrassing nightmare. It got so bad that I just throw him in the car, drive him to a field and let him run his butt off until he's tired. I'm really trying to not resort to doing that all the time. I have tried to be patient and tried the treats which he will happily accept and then continue ignoring me and do his own thing. He always feels the need to run ahead of me. I even tried a doggie backpack. He walks a little better with it but freaks out when I try to put it on or take it off. Still has to pull ahead. I have tried giving him basic commands during our walks like sit and down. He will only comply if I repeat myself a million times and then ending up yelling LAY DOWN &*%@%$#!!! (I know, it's futile but SO frustrating.)
He is such a sweet dog when he wants to be. Key word: WANTS TO BE.
If anyone can give me any advice on taking this dog for a normal walk I would be so very appreciative. He actually makes me cry frustrating tears everyday and of course household arguments arise because of the dog. I love him and want to remember him as an awesome dog and I want him (and me!) to have a happy life. Please help.
 

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Sounds like he was never actually trained to walk without pulling.

My recommendation would be to start going to obedience classes again. Find a trainer who trains for ring competition obedience. Those are the trainers who can and will teach YOU how to train your dog so that he heels and does not pull.

What you have been doing for most of the time you've had him clearly doesn't work so it's time to try something different.

Even though it always ticked me off when a friend of mine used to say (as I was complaining about some a dog of mine was or was not doing) "Train 'em, don't blame 'em."

You'll get a lot more distance toward a goal of a dog who is easy to walk if you invest the time in training.

Good luck...
 

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So, what's wrong with taking him to a field to run off his energy? He sounds like a high drive dog who hasn't had his exercise needs met. I've always had to get my dogs out for that kind of run ever since I had the first Doberman and I had two fenced acres that weren't enough stimulation. This is a high maintenance breed that needs training and lots of outlets for their energy. If you didn't know it when you bought the dog, you do now. One more example of why the Doberman is not for the average dog owner. I wish you the best with the dog but I think you need to consider his needs much more. He is not being a bad dog, he is unable to contain his energy and enthusiasm.
 

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Both posters above have good points. Your going to need to get a trainer. Clearly something is now broken in your communication with your dog in regards to leash pulling and obedience. It can be fixed, dont give up and dont despair. It will take work, but you clearly do love him and you can make it happen.

However, they are a high energy dog, so continuing to take him to a field to run might still be a very good idea. Take your trainer's advice, but they might even suggest that at least initially you take the dog to run and wear out first, and then only once he is tired you work on training.
 

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Let's start with basic leash training as you would with a puppy. When you begin your walk have his most high value food for treats. Begin the walk, as soon as he starts to pull you stop and wait. He needs to sit, then treat before starting your walk again. Pulls stop, wait, sit, treat, begin process all over again. You may only go 1/2 the block. Another thing I did was turn around quickly and begin walking, he walks, treat, he pulls, you stop. Begin, stop, treat. It will take you some time and as I said you may only get only half way down the block however time and practice should get the idea into his head that pulling = no treats. walking = treats.
 

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Just some thoughts... I am tired so this might not be super coherent.

I would recommend a no pull harness (I really like the Easy Walk ones) firstly, because you need to keep you and he safe, and if he can pull you into the path of a car... well, that is just dangerous beyond words. It will not magically fix the problem but it should take some of the wind out of his sails.

Please find a trainer that can help you with this. It has been going on for five years and has become an ingrained habit.

Try training him after those field runs, when he is more in control of himself. Use yummy treats (boiled chicken, hot dogs, cheese) and train before dinner so he is hungry.

I have trained all my dogs not to pull--including a sled dog kennel reject who was taught to do nothing BUT pull--by simply "out-stubborn-ing" them. They pull, I switch direction. They pull again, I turn around again. Or I might become super boring and just stand there. They soon learn to look to me to see where we are going.
 

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I would start by going back to the basics and use the name game. Throughout the day call his name and reward when he turns his head to you, then reward when he makes eye contact, reward holding out attention for a little bit longer. Then take him outside and work in the backyard. Name game attention and treat. Once you have him solid there, go to the front yard. Again using attention focusing. Gradually you will be able to walk him and have his attention quickly focus on you rather than pulling at the sound of his name. We use this method for our rescues with great success although it does take time and commitment to build this solid foundation.
 

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" Key word: WANTS TO BE. " Remember do not put human emotions onto dogs they are dogs do not think or act like humans. Take him back to obedience, get a trainer to work with just walking on a leash. good Luck.
 

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Thank you all for your responses I do appreciate everyone's opinion.
The problem with changing directions when he pulls ahead is that he will turn around when he noticed I have gone in the other direction and will run ahead so I look like a crazy person turning around constantly with this giant dog running back and forth. He refuses to heel he will always push ahead. He also doesn't care about treats. I've tried a heap of different foods he loves. He is unresponsive to them outside.
:confused:
 

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I think you need a good trainer.
 
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you should not have that much slack in the leash. When you turn his head turns with you.
Long necks and tight leashes lead to major neck problems. The dog should get to where he walks the same with or without a leash. Between GSDs, Dobermans, and great danes, I won't even use the d link on a colar anymore. I use a harness and train the dog rather than pull it around. JMO
 

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You are right while training you will look like a crazy person. Either with stops and starts (the Be a tree method) or the turning and going the other way. Or however you or your trainer decide to help with the heeling issue.

You may even look like a crazy person for months until the dog realizes that EVERY TIME it gets ahead of you too far the walk/fun stops. If that means you don't get past your driveway because you are going back and forth or being a tree or whatever then so be it. It will come.


There is no quick fix, it takes lots of training to get a dog that walks well on a leash. Heck I have walked my dogs every day (no fenced yard for years!) and gone to class but if you watch me on a walk I still have turns and stops etc..


Sometimes I am doing doughnuts in the middle of the street with the dog to make sure she pays attention to me while turning. I don't care how I look I care about how the dog is behaving and getting that behavior tuned is important.

Before I went to training on a regular basis I thought oh you can train the dog and then it "knows" and does this forever after like a computer program. But that isn't how it works.

When you don't have time to train and still need to get a good walk in, there are a number of products that different people have used successfully to discourage pulling. I have used the no pull harness but others like different things, experiment and find what you like.

Also don't give your pup much slack, I walk mine on a 6 foot leash but honestly they don't have that much lead most of the time, there is maybe a foot or less of slack so that I can react quickly if pulling happens.

You may want to use your backyard or even the house as a training site right at first until he "gets" that leash pulling = no fun.

It is frustrating and there were days I cried while getting there, even now there are times like early spring when I am frustrated but that decreases with time and training.
 

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I don't think I said it should be tight. but from the sound of his post he had time to turn and the dog had time to figure that out run and get ahead of him.
I got the impression the dog was on a flex lead with all the line out.



Long necks and tight leashes lead to major neck problems. The dog should get to where he walks the same with or without a leash. Between GSDs, Dobermans, and great danes, I won't even use the d link on a colar anymore. I use a harness and train the dog rather than pull it around. JMO
 

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I don't think I said it should be tight. but from the sound of his post he had time to turn and the dog had time to figure that out run and get ahead of him.
I got the impression the dog was on a flex lead with all the line out.
Okay :nicejob:. I took "When you turn his head turns with you" to mean keeping the leash taught. I've seen trainers teach that, and I've seen dogs get neck problems from it, so it was just a caution. I still lean heavily towards training that makes the leash nothing more than a cord that makes observers feel better, and I use harnesses over collars.
 

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One of my favourite canine training expressions is, "practice makes PERMANENT". The more a dog practices a behaviour, the "better" they get it at. The more he practices not listening the first time you ask something, the more likely he is to do it. The more he practices pulling on the leash... well, you get it. Dogs learn through cause and effect... Pulling = going forward. He has learned this by getting to move forward whenever he pulls. The best thing you can do is NEVER move forward if there is any tension on the leash, so you're not rewarding the behaviour you don't want. Every step he takes while pulling is a reward and encouragement to do it more. If your dog is too strong for you to physically prevent him from gaining any ground when pulling, then a special training collar/harness to reduce his power is an ally you need in your corner. The EasyWalk harness by Premier that other people have recommended works wonders - it will cut your boy's pulling power down and allow you to control him. Just make sure you put it on properly... size it while your dog is standing, not sitting, make sure it's not too loose, and the leash should attach in the front not on the back. I see a lot of people use these wrong, then wonder why it doesn't work, hehe.
Personally I don't use treats while walking, as I find that walking in itself is a reward to the dog. If my dog is beside me, we get to go for a fun walk. If he creeps ahead, we stop immediately and don't go anywhere until he's back where he should be. When I was a dog walker I found some dogs got amped up by the anticipation of food and were more inclined to bounce out of position, or just didn't care about the food because they really wanted to keep moving - but I've seen it work for other dogs!
It would definitely be beneficial to check out some good trainers in your area.

Good luck!
 

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Lots of great advice here! Just my two cents, we have achieved great success with our boy walking and it was all about the practice. Stop and go and turn, lots of repetition. Since our boy is also not fond of treats we never used them.

The head harness (gentle leader) works great and I think because we used it for a couple of weeks he had learned to calm down to a point where we dont even need it. Like people mentioned its important not to give him to much slack on the leash, I like to hold mine in both hands, my right hand not far away from his collar and my left hand on the middle but its still loose and I correct with my right hand, quick pulls to the side. (walk dogs on our right)

Last thing I can say and some have already said, lots of exercise before walks, we play in the yard and in the house and that helps alleviate some extra energy. Treats he doesnt care for, so we make him work for the rope he loves to play with.

Hope some of those things help, it will take time and yelling at your dog doesnt do anything but frustrate you and him. I have been there and done that unfortunately.

All the best!!!
 

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Hey everyone. I have a 5 year old Dobe who I had since he was a puppy. I took him to obedience classes and he did great. He was crate trained for the first 2 years of his life. After moving, he refused to go in and outgrew his crate anyway. He NEVER pees or poos in the house and I never had that problem with him. My major problem is his CRAZY leash pulling. It got to a point where he dragged me in front of our car in the driveway leaving me with sexy cuts and bruises. He listens in the house very well but walking him is an embarrassing nightmare. It got so bad that I just throw him in the car, drive him to a field and let him run his butt off until he's tired. I'm really trying to not resort to doing that all the time. I have tried to be patient and tried the treats which he will happily accept and then continue ignoring me and do his own thing. He always feels the need to run ahead of me. I even tried a doggie backpack. He walks a little better with it but freaks out when I try to put it on or take it off. Still has to pull ahead. I have tried giving him basic commands during our walks like sit and down. He will only comply if I repeat myself a million times and then ending up yelling LAY DOWN &*%@%$#!!! (I know, it's futile but SO frustrating.)
He is such a sweet dog when he wants to be. Key word: WANTS TO BE.
If anyone can give me any advice on taking this dog for a normal walk I would be so very appreciative. He actually makes me cry frustrating tears everyday and of course household arguments arise because of the dog. I love him and want to remember him as an awesome dog and I want him (and me!) to have a happy life. Please help.

When we got our four year old dobx rescue, she was 4 months old, severely underweight and had HUGE emotional issues. She would "snap" for no apparent reason and have an absolute fit-it wasn't due to lack of exercise as she had more than enough exercise-running, playing ball etc. But on the lead she would "lose it" and we would be bitten, scratched, lots of clothing ripped et al. We tried every non-physical method but nothing worked.

We were at our wits end and decided to get a prong collar. Best thing we ever did. As soon as she would start, we would correct her with the collar and saw improvements within the first day. Now this dog heels perfectly, will walk anywhere in the city without being startled by trucks, noises etc. without the need of the collar.

Nearly 5 now, she is just an all around great dog. But it DID take alot of work and I also recognize her need for alot of exercise every day-a run with the bike and then a "free run" is absolutely necessary with her to get rid of that excess energy.
 
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