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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for opinions! How many of you use these collars? I've heard of them, read up on them a little, but have never used one personally. I'm leaning towards getting one for Zeus, not because he ever slips out of his collar, but I'm trying not to use his Sports Dog ecollar as much when training and am looking for alternatives to get his attention when he starts pulling on the leash. Granted, he doesn't do so often, and it's not like other dogs that I've seen (draaaagging their owners!). For him, it's more like he gets out of a heel and starts moving ahead of me, and I use his ecollar as a "hey, heel" reminder.

As I slowly go through the Pet Partner's Handler's course, I'm learning there is certain hardware that can and cannot be used during therapy dog work. Ecollars are one, as are prong collars. Zeus has not worn a prong since we left Texas in January of this year, and I have no intention of going back to one. He has issues with his neck anyway, due to allergies, collar irritation, or a combination of both. We switched from a nylon collar to a rolled leather one and nixed the prong, which seemed to help. But his neck area (specifically his throat) is starting to thin again and I'm thinking it may be from (again) seasonal allergies and possibly the collar rubbing against his neck when he does pull ahead? So I'm wanting to switch to a martingale to see if that helps with both the pulling and the neck irritation.

I found some leather ones on Amazon since I want to stay away from fabric. What do y'all think? Worth the switch? Has it helped with any of your dogs to keep them from wanting to pull? Any suggestions are appreciated, thank you!

Leather Martingale on Amazon
 

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I always use martingales to attach the leash to when we are out and about.
 

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Athena (Husky), Kenai (Malamute/Husky mix), Dobie Puppy coming 2021
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I use martingale collars for my two (husky and malamute/husky mix) and I like them. Definitely helped with my husky's pulling. Fabric-wise, I actually make my collars out of paracord/550 cord and I haven't had any issues.
 

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A martingale likely won't help him in terms of not pulling...you'll have to go back and brush up on his loose leash walking skills using more reinforcement without the e-collar. He's used to having a "reminder" with the e-collar on and nothing else is going to mimic that. While I like a martingale (actually I prefer a limited slip - I personally love dogs-art - you can find her here: dogs-art.net), it's really going to be a matter of going back and doing some more training without the e-collar on. Likely a lot of reinforcement with treats of proper position will help, and you'll have to figure out what works for when he starts to drift too far ahead...is it going to be stopping and standing still, turning around and walking the other way...? He's used to being corrected, and a flat collar or martingale isn't going to do that. He needs to learn where you want him to be without that. (And I'm not anti-e-collar, not at all, but weaning off the collar can be an issue when it's used for this type of obedience)
 

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If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is a link for the recording of a loose leash walking webinar (May 23rd Recording of Denise Fenzi - The Fenzi Method: Cutting Corners to Loose Leash Walking). It doesn't have a live Q&A session, but is being offered because it is prerequisite to her other webinars being offered on the 29th. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/self-study/webinars A lot of people have been having success using Denise's method.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok so I got the webinar and am about halfway through. I don't think this is what I'm looking for as I want Zeus to walk at a heel at my side, not ahead of me (even if he isn't pulling). But! I do think it will be helpful for the times where he's allowed to be free and sniff around during a walk! He gets a "break" command to know that he can leave the heel, so maybe I'll incorporate that when doing the circle method and reinforce heel with treats.

I have tried the "turn around and walk the other way" method that you mentioned @MeadowCat, which usually gets him back in the heel position once he's gotten in front of me .. until he sees something ahead that interests him! And then I turn around again. I know people probably think I'm crazy with all the back and forth I do!

Random picture from today in obedience class. Zeus on Place next to a friend, working on working around other dogs and minding his own business!

Zeus Place by Crystal Robinson, on Flickr
 

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Ok so I got the webinar and am about halfway through. I don't think this is what I'm looking for as I want Zeus to walk at a heel at my side, not ahead of me (even if he isn't pulling). But! I do think it will be helpful for the times where he's allowed to be free and sniff around during a walk! He gets a "break" command to know that he can leave the heel, so maybe I'll incorporate that when doing the circle method and reinforce heel with treats.

I have tried the "turn around and walk the other way" method that you mentioned @MeadowCat, which usually gets him back in the heel position once he's gotten in front of me .. until he sees something ahead that interests him! And then I turn around again. I know people probably think I'm crazy with all the back and forth I do!
Are you rewarding him once he's in position? Dogs do what's reinforcing. If he's not getting anything for being in position, then being in position isn't going to be important to him.
 

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Ok so I got the webinar and am about halfway through. I don't think this is what I'm looking for as I want Zeus to walk at a heel at my side, not ahead of me (even if he isn't pulling). But! I do think it will be helpful for the times where he's allowed to be free and sniff around during a walk! He gets a "break" command to know that he can leave the heel, so maybe I'll incorporate that when doing the circle method and reinforce heel with treats.

I have tried the "turn around and walk the other way" method that you mentioned @MeadowCat, which usually gets him back in the heel position once he's gotten in front of me .. until he sees something ahead that interests him! And then I turn around again. I know people probably think I'm crazy with all the back and forth I do!

Random picture from today in obedience class. Zeus on Place next to a friend, working on working around other dogs and minding his own business!

Zeus Place by Crystal Robinson, on Flickr
So, a couple of thoughts I have, and I'll just share and you can take them for what's useful or not useful.

When I walk my dogs out "in the world" - around the neighborhood, or the park, or whatever, I don't ask them to walk RIGHT next to me in heel position. I think that's tough for a dog, because the walk is for them, and what's interesting to them is to explore the world with their nose, to wander a bit, to have a different pace, to pause, etc. A walk isn't actually a ton of exercise for most dogs, unless you go MANY miles, because they never actually get their heart rate up, so what a walk is for a dog is enrichment, and they don't get enrichment unless they get to smell and explore. What I ask of my dogs is simply not to pull me - give me a loose leash and you get to smell, etc. - I don't care what position you're in.

That's different than if we're walking somewhere where they need to be in tight next to me, or in competition, where they need to be in a more formal "heel". We have different commands for that, and they know the difference.

It's just my two cents, but I prefer not to ask mine to walk in that "right next to me, heel position" type of walk all the time. Certainly I can (and do) train for it, because it's a skill to have, but I also like to let me dogs have casual exploring walks most of the time, because it's a lot more fun for them. They easily discern the difference. It doesn't require a change of equipment, simply two different commands - "let's walk" verses "heel" for example.

I consider loose leash walking and heeling two very different things.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For the record @MeadowCat, EVERYTHING you say is useful! :2smile:

You know, I've only really thought of "walking" in the sense of how it's done in group obedience class. There, walking is always at a heel. Which makes sense. It is obedience class after all. Despite the thought that I've had this poor dog for almost two years now, it didn't dawn on me that he doesn't have to be at a heel all the time, especially when going for leisurely walks around the neighborhood, on trails, or at parks. He gets time to sniff around, but only when I give him his "break" command. Poor guy! He probably sees me as a drill sergeant! .. But at least he still cuddles and loves me?

Ok, so I'm going to be changing my mindset on how walking looks and when it's appropriate to loose leash walk vs. heel. I still want him to know heel, and yes I use treats (nasty-looking hypoallergenic ones that he seems to love) or his food to reward him when he's in the correct heel position. My poor treat bag is starting to fall apart from wear!

Thanks again!
 

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