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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all :)

Khaleesi is now just a little over 5 months old.
She was a breeze on the lead up until about a month ago. We would spray her with a water bottle if the lead got tight and gently tug back whilst giving a correction of "no". Now she will sometimes flinch if you say no as she thinks she'll get sprayed... But spraying isn't having the desirable effect anymore. It's as if she immediately then forgets and tries to pull again. It's easy when walking round the block with little distractions. However, a week ago she saw something she must have really wanted because whilst doing our sit before a road routine, she tried to drag me across the road. I'm not the strongest of people and worry that as she continues to grow she will eventually become dangerous and could hurt herself or me!
I'm not sure where we went wrong with lead training as we have worked a lot on it. For example we tried turning and going in the opposite direction to teach her to follow, giving her treats for being by our side etc. She will heel very well inside the house but outside the house she just isn't getting it even with a lead on. I know she's very young so at the moment I'm not too bothered with heeling outside off lead.
Also, when in the park with lots of dogs and people around = HUGE distraction... She is becoming very difficult to control.
I've done a lot of research and initially thought about choke collars but since feel like a huge idiot as I didn't realise how dangerous they were. I've settled on ordering a herm sprenger one. No quick release just the normal one. The prongs are 3.2mm though and I'm worried I should have gone for the smaller one? I'm aware of how to fit right under the ears and chin and how to remove links to make it the right fit and have watched a lot of videos on it.
Just wondering if you had any advice or have used one on a puppy before? Also, with a Doberman do the prong collars tend to fall down? I don't want to hurt her by it slipping down? Does this happen because they have such a short coat? I'm also aware of using an extra collar in case the prong one fails although herm sprenger is a reliable brand isn't it?

I know some people might still not agree with prong collars, although I'd much rather have a happy mature dog that will walk properly on the lead than a dangerous one that could crush her neck by pulling with a flat one.
I'm also aware it's probably quite a big jump going from a flat collar to a prong collar at such a young age and without trying any other type in between, but I seriously am not happy being pulled around - she's so strong already! Also, she tends to try and jump at people although this is getting better with training (if someone comes in to the room they make her sit before stroking, 4 paws on the ground, ignore any jumping) but when she's excited she still does it occasionally. So when out on a walk you have to hold the lead really tight and often shorten it if the path is narrow.

Thanks for reading :)
 

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Have you considered taking some positive only obedience classes with her? She has reached an age where puppies are discovering independence and that you are not necessarily the be all and end all of their universe. She would greatly benefit much more from structured obedience classes with other people and puppies, distractions, then all the prong collars in the world. Plus I think it's a mistake to use a prong on a puppy. You already have her flinching at your command from aversion training and I don't believe a prong is going to make a happy mature dog, but positive training will. I think you just need some help with your training methods right now.

A very good training book is The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. I think you would benefit greatly from it. Another book that would help you is ...the title has slipped my mind. Let me find it. The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Other-End-Leash-Around/dp/034544678X

You and Khaleesi would both benefit greatly from positive obedience classes which will help with distractions and socialize her at the same time as most let puppies play together and run around some after classes. The McConnell book will help you understand the way her mind works better and the Miller book will help in all kinds of ways. It has problem solving parts to it on top of positive training methods. Both these books will help you build a stronger bond with Khaleesi.
 

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I second LindaH's proposal with positive reinforcement obedience training only. I would absolutely not use a prong collar or choke-chain on a puppy. She's still a baby and yes she's hitting that age where she's developing a sense of independence. Think the toddler's "no!" phase in humans.
If you absolutely need a tool to help with the pulling I would strongly advise getting an Easy-Walk Harness which ties in the front and looks like this:


If the dog pulls to the end of its leash there is no pain no punishment, all it does is because it is tied to the front, is make the dog turn around to look at you. This combined with a solid foundation in positive reinforcement obedience should help you. And I don't know if you were forewarned about the Doberteens but they are notoriously a difficult period to go through, please don't get discouraged.
 

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It doesn't sound like she has had any foundation obidience to go off of. Spraying a puppy with a water bottle does not train them what TO do. It teaches them what NOT to do.

As Linda said, you need a positive based obidience class to assist you. You will work on all of those issues you are describing in a positive way. Slapping a prong collar on a baby puppy isn't going to solve her behavior.

We didn't introduce a prong collar until 12 months old. We didn't need to! Our positive based training classes gave us all the tools needed. Check out kiko pup on YouTube. Her method works wonderfully and she is an excellent example of what positive based training can accomplish!

I just want to say that you are expecting a LOT for a 5 month old. She is a baby still and needs guidance! Positive guidance and patience.
 

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Although I'll get backlash I don't see an issue with putting a prong on a 5mo old puppy as long as you're only using it for walking outside and not giving harsh corrections with it. I did not find treats, turning around, stopping... to work. I think if you have a high prey, highly driven dog, that you must walk in order for it to go outside, the positive only approach takes too long and I think maturity is also needed for it to work. I lived in an apt. when I first got Gretchen and it was a VERY busy area as well. I feel not using a prong would have been more dangerous than using one. You could also try a harness, like the halti, or the one suggested above never used them but I've heard good things about it. If you are just walking to give exercise then I agree with the positive approach to OB training.

I do think OB classes are important, for you, more so than the dog. You should only use a prong collar if you have a trainer to teach you. If the collar's fitted properly you should have zero issues with it staying up on the neck. I would not, under any circumstances, ever use a prong without being properly taught how to use it by a professional trainer. Under the right circumstances correction collars are a God send, if used improperly it can have adverse affects on a dog as well. A dog should always know that it's behavior's incorrect before adding a correction.

Best of luck.

Try to avoid busy streets so that no accidents could occur and at 5mo. you should have treats on you 24/7 so you can always treat positive behavior. I would work on "watch me" or "look" and reward every time the dog looks at you so you can have 100% of her focus with "watch me" before crossing and while crossing a street to prevent her from pulling you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Her obedience is great and puppy classes have taught her a lot. Her recall has gone from being good 80% of the time to 100% now. When in puppy classes she will work for the treat and is highly intelligent. She will walk on the lead nicely with few corrections. It's just the lead when she's around other dogs outside of the class, normally if she see's them far away at a distance, or sees a small animal, like squirrels. I have used many positive reinforcement methods and most of the time she will walk nicely on the lead. Whenever I say her name she will look at me. It's just that she's so strong if she sees something she wants she will lunge at it.
My training methods have followed Pat Miller's, brilliant book!
It's just as if the past month she has decided to pull at things she wants - probably the doberteens as you said! :)
I have spoken to my trainer about the prong and they said to bring it in for help with fitting or using, if I decided to use it. They know about her issues with walking outside and said if used correctly, the prong collar can be beneficial, with the proper desensitisation beforehand.
 

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A puppy this age should not be expected to heel for very long periods of time. Five minutes is a long long time to a pup this age. She probably gets bored or forgets. I don't think it's fair to expect long periods of heeling with a five month old puppy who is just now discovering independence, too.

Doberteens is about purposely disobeying you when they KNOW the command, not about making them do long periods of boring work.

I like a lot of what you said, tho.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A puppy this age should not be expected to heel for very long periods of time. Five minutes is a long long time to a pup this age. She probably gets bored or forgets. I don't think it's fair to expect long periods of heeling with a five month old puppy who is just now discovering independence, too.

Doberteens is about purposely disobeying you when they KNOW the command, not about making them do long periods of boring work.

I like a lot of what you said, tho.
Oh yeah heeling without a lead or for long periods is a long term goal, definitely! I'm so impressed with her progress so far.
I just feel a little disheartened that now i'm dreading walking her in case she pulls my shoulder out. Today I tried just in a quiet area turning whenever she would pull to get her to follow me.. Then stopping when she pulled and waiting for the lead to go slack.. I will continue that for another week everyday and see how she gets on! Thanks so much for your help :)
 

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Heeling takes a lot of time, patience and consistency. But definitely it needs to be done in short sessions. At 6 months my boy was in obedience class on a choke chain but he had a decent heel by 5 months. In the fact that he wouldn't be on a mission to pull.

I would just do lots of turns and stops and 'watch me' commands when I would practice. When we started the heel we started in the backyard low distractions but high success rate and I would use HIGH value treats. We would go for short sessions. Literally we would heel, halt, sit, heel, halt, sit and add turns. And then I would randomly add a couple 'watch mes' and treat him with hot dog. Cyrus loved heel training. And funny enough at 15 months that is something that he does really nicely now and he is very intune with me. His turns are awesome and I know this is because of all the practice daily. Every street corned he just halts and waits. But again, lots of regular training.

So don't give up; lower your expectations for this age and keep going and keep sessions short and do them regularly. Definitely enroll in a good obedience class, your dog needs to learn to do these commands in places of distractions.
 
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Oh yeah heeling without a lead or for long periods is a long term goal, definitely! I'm so impressed with her progress so far.
I just feel a little disheartened that now i'm dreading walking her in case she pulls my shoulder out. Today I tried just in a quiet area turning whenever she would pull to get her to follow me.. Then stopping when she pulled and waiting for the lead to go slack.. I will continue that for another week everyday and see how she gets on! Thanks so much for your help :)

Just read DreamingDoberman's post and it's very good. The short exercises broken up with the different commands with high value treats should keep the short sessions interesting and fun. That's the key, plus always end on a positive note where she's done the last command right and still wants to work. Always leave her wanting more rather than tired of the whole process. That will make a big difference in her attitude to these training sessions.

Maybe you could get an Easy Walk Harness like Artemis suggested for the longer walks and save the pinch for when she's older and has the mental maturity to remember to heel for longer periods of time, but willfully not heeling if it comes to that.

I just hate to see the pinch on a puppy, but this is all I'm going to say because you know how many of us feel on it. I do know you're not some bullheaded jerk out to do things your way no matter what, at least. :)
 

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I would think if she has a solid foundation in OB you would like the easywalk even more, precisely because it brings the dog's focus back to you if they are distracted/unfocused. Would be worth trying out before the prong, in my opinion. Overall though I think you have a sensible approach to training.

ETA: a good tip to reinforce heeling especially on walks is to ask her to heel for a few seconds then immediately give her a release command. Essentially reward her by letting her sniff what she wants to sniff/explore what she wants to explore. This way you will teach her that she doesn't have to miss out on anything even if she heels, and this way you rarely need to correct because she reaches expectations every time and mostly does things on command. And of course it is positive reinforcement because, she learns that listening to you can be fun/rewarding, rather than hard and boring. Dogs in general do what is most rewarding to them.

With Nadia that is what I would do, ask her to heel for half a block, then as soon as she made eye contact, told her "ok" to let her go sniff whatever she was interested in.
 

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Lots of good advice given.

If you want to use a prong, I think you are going about it the right way by getting your trainer to help fit it. However, I will say that I agree with those that think it should be a last resort, especially for a 5-month old puppy.

I have a 10-month old, 90 lb, high drive, high energy puppy and she walks in the city and at crowded parks like a dream. I consistently used the Be a Tree method and still utilize it, but it's fail proof, in my opinion. Yes, sometimes it was frustrating walking two steps, stopping, walking three steps, stopping, etc., but patience and a dog that knows to focus on the handler will help you succeed.

This article touches on the Be a Tree method: Leash Walking - Grisha Stewart
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Heeling takes a lot of time, patience and consistency. But definitely it needs to be done in short sessions. At 6 months my boy was in obedience class on a choke chain but he had a decent heel by 5 months. In the fact that he wouldn't be on a mission to pull.

I would just do lots of turns and stops and 'watch me' commands when I would practice. When we started the heel we started in the backyard low distractions but high success rate and I would use HIGH value treats. We would go for short sessions. Literally we would heel, halt, sit, heel, halt, sit and add turns. And then I would randomly add a couple 'watch mes' and treat him with hot dog. Cyrus loved heel training. And funny enough at 15 months that is something that he does really nicely now and he is very intune with me. His turns are awesome and I know this is because of all the practice daily. Every street corned he just halts and waits. But again, lots of regular training.

So don't give up; lower your expectations for this age and keep going and keep sessions short and do them regularly. Definitely enroll in a good obedience class, your dog needs to learn to do these commands in places of distractions.
She works very well in the garden and house so I will have to do some short sessions in the park! Good idea with the hot dog! I think I will use chicken as she loves it and I've just started her on a raw food diet so trying to edge away from biscuits to see whether her (now mild) staph infection goes completely.

Watch me is such a good idea! I do that in the house but never thought to do it on a walk. In fact, I do occasionally see her looking up at me when we're walking and I find it very cute so will be eager to try training this more! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Just read DreamingDoberman's post and it's very good. The short exercises broken up with the different commands with high value treats should keep the short sessions interesting and fun. That's the key, plus always end on a positive note where she's done the last command right and still wants to work. Always leave her wanting more rather than tired of the whole process. That will make a big difference in her attitude to these training sessions.

Maybe you could get an Easy Walk Harness like Artemis suggested for the longer walks and save the pinch for when she's older and has the mental maturity to remember to heel for longer periods of time, but willfully not heeling if it comes to that.

I just hate to see the pinch on a puppy, but this is all I'm going to say because you know how many of us feel on it. I do know you're not some bullheaded jerk out to do things your way no matter what, at least. :)
Our training sessions are short but I will have to do some short bursts of training whilst in the park to help with her lead work! At home I always feel the need to go back and do more training immediately after finishing as she often goes and sits by her clicker when I'm done - she even once brought it over to me! She's so well behaved and I've never felt as if she gets bored during sessions. Today I decided to teach her something new.. She knows left and right paw but I decided to lift each of my legs up and get her to mirror her paw movements, kind of like they do in the dancing videos, have you seen them? So cute! And she picked it up after the 2nd time I lifted up my leg - couldn't believe it!

Easy walk sounds like a good idea! I will go and check my local pet stores out tomorrow.

Yes it is a shame when I know she is so clever and learns so quickly. I know she knows what she's supposed to do so perhaps it's just her rebellious streak coming out. Definitely not! I will at all costs avoid using a prong collar if I can get another method to work. It's just that for so long I've tried all the methods for at least a week each and didn't see any improvement with big distractions (such as other dogs) but I have seen an improvement with general quiet walking so maybe it will just come with age!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would think if she has a solid foundation in OB you would like the easywalk even more, precisely because it brings the dog's focus back to you if they are distracted/unfocused. Would be worth trying out before the prong, in my opinion. Overall though I think you have a sensible approach to training.

ETA: a good tip to reinforce heeling especially on walks is to ask her to heel for a few seconds then immediately give her a release command. Essentially reward her by letting her sniff what she wants to sniff/explore what she wants to explore. This way you will teach her that she doesn't have to miss out on anything even if she heels, and this way you rarely need to correct because she reaches expectations every time and mostly does things on command. And of course it is positive reinforcement because, she learns that listening to you can be fun/rewarding, rather than hard and boring. Dogs in general do what is most rewarding to them.

With Nadia that is what I would do, ask her to heel for half a block, then as soon as she made eye contact, told her "ok" to let her go sniff whatever she was interested in.
Oh okay, that sounds a bit like what I do with sitting before crossing the road. I use okay as my release road and when we're reading to go I will command it and she'll move off. I have tried with her already in heel and releasing to then walk on what I call a "casual loose lead" where she can wander but still not pull. However, then when I give the command of heel again outside I don't think she generalises it like she does when we're at home or in the garden and I often have to guide her back in to the heel. I assume that will come with time as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Lots of good advice given.

If you want to use a prong, I think you are going about it the right way by getting your trainer to help fit it. However, I will say that I agree with those that think it should be a last resort, especially for a 5-month old puppy.

I have a 10-month old, 90 lb, high drive, high energy puppy and she walks in the city and at crowded parks like a dream. I consistently used the Be a Tree method and still utilize it, but it's fail proof, in my opinion. Yes, sometimes it was frustrating walking two steps, stopping, walking three steps, stopping, etc., but patience and a dog that knows to focus on the handler will help you succeed.

This article touches on the Be a Tree method: Leash Walking - Grisha Stewart


Wow so refreshing to hear that she walks nicely! Can't wait until I can feel at ease on a walk :)
I have tried the be a tree method, I often just refer to it as stop until you loosen the lead and we'll go again. I did persevere for a week or so, often only getting a few feet - frustrating! That and the spraying when she really lunges all completely worked until a month ago, now it's as if she never walked nicely at all. It's the worrying parts where she decides to take off after something or another dog which I struggle with the most.

Such a good read, thank you! I love this

"Reward him for eye contact. Learn how to use the clicker (see our video on modern dog training). Practice walking on leash or even off leash in the house, where your dog probably doesn't pull. Each time he looks at you, click and give him a treat. Whenever you go on a walk, do the same. This helps bring your dog's focus back to you. It's hard to pull if he's looking at you!

I'm definitely going to practice this more!
 

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Oh okay, that sounds a bit like what I do with sitting before crossing the road. I use okay as my release road and when we're reading to go I will command it and she'll move off. I have tried with her already in heel and releasing to then walk on what I call a "casual loose lead" where she can wander but still not pull. However, then when I give the command of heel again outside I don't think she generalises it like she does when we're at home or in the garden and I often have to guide her back in to the heel. I assume that will come with time as well!
Yes. Think of segmenting everything. That is, practice eye contact and focus games at home, increasing in length/expectation over time. Outside in the garden. Outside on the sidewalk (where at first you might only be able to expect 1-2 seconds). Later combine that to the heel. For Nadia a lot of it has to do with energy levels at this point - you see if I take her out initially she'll be pulling, distracted, unfocused etc. As soon as I've let her run for an hour or so at the park, I can switch the leash back to her flat buckle collar and she will walk on a loose leash, sit or stand still/keep a long stay in a store etc. (she's a service dog in training) and just generally walk like a dream.

As others have said, it's the Doberteens, they will pass, just don't give up! Patience and consistency, as I'm sure you've noticed they're smart cookies.
Recently Nadia's toy/play drive has also increased exponentially so that is one way for me to get her focus almost instantly. If I have a rope toy she will not only heel, but she will keep eye contact/or keep gazing at my face the entire time, even if she hasn't had her morning run yet.
 
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I also see a prong as a last resort. Train, train, train. I have never used a prong, nor have I ever been pulled by a dog. Stop, go the other way, reward. It works, you may have to do it 10,000 times in 10,000 different situations, but it will work.
 

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um I have never heard of a choker collar crushing a dog's neck, someone must be doing some serious pulling. Not saying it has never happened on the planet I am sure it has. I use choker collars for training on leashes. My dog is at 5 months and I usually just use her leather collar but on occasion I have used her choker. As far as those prong, or electrical collars Not for me, I see prong collars causing more damage than a choker. Sigh, if a human has no idea how to use a choker collar as a training tool, I would also not suggest using that either, ahem not worth crushing necks etc. :confused:
 
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