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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to Petsmart over the weekend, and I was supposed to be on a mission. But once I went down the leash/collar aisle, the hesitation began. I wanted to get Apollo a prong collar because he has developed this new habit where about 45 minutes through our walks (on bad days sometimes as soon as 15 minutes) he gets very dificult to manage. He pulls, he jumps all around me, he goes all up on people's grass...it's just not fun, and very dangerous since he could pull loose and run across the street!

We started working on heel, and what I do is, I'll give the heel command and work on keeping him in position for two blocks, and then I'll say, "Ok, it's time to play!" and I'll let him walk infront of me, and let him sniff for two blocks. I'm working on increasing the amount of time he's in the heel position, and decreasing sniffing time gradually because he doesn't have the patience (probably my fault because I've let him walk infront of me, and I haven't been too strict with the sniffing since the day I first put his leash on). I don't think he's lacking time to actually run around because he gets two scampers through the park/day, and a fun game of "Chase Mommy" every night before bed. And that's not including his regular walks. So I'm wondering what his problem is...Am I just expecting too much from his puppy attention span?

I really think a prong collar might help, but they just look so scary! Someone convince me that they're not actually some Medieval torture device...or if anyone has some other suggestions for correcting this problem that would be great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'd really rather not use it...Im just wondering where this is all coming from because he was walking fine on a leash up until about a week and a half ago. Now all of a sudden he has days where we can't even make it to the end of the block without him pulling and jumping around. It's like he's getting bored with the walks, but we don't take the same path every time, and I do let him sniff occasionally, so I don't know. He's almost 5 months old now, and we are starting classes in January.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
TracyJo said:
I know you guys are probably getting sick of me singing the praises of clicker training <g> but here I go again :)
I can only relate though what I've done with Chi and how it has worked for us. If I'm not mistaken Apollo is about the same age as Chi, (bout 5 months) right?
Her heel is a work in progress but walking on a loose lead is down to almost a fine science. Since we don't have a fenced yard and very few safe places to allow her off lead, the vast majority of her excersize is on the end of the leash. Because of that, I don't like to keep her at a heel unless I have to have her under complete control and her utmost attention. For the most part she is free to sniff and walk ahead of me as long as the leash is kept loose. How did I do this, you may ask? With the clicker and lots and lots of dried liver. As soon as we started our walk, before she had the opportunity to pull I would click and treat (that really gets her attention) and then would click and treat sporatically throughout the walk. When she pulled I stopped dead and did not move, as soon as the leash was loose and we were able to get at least a few steps she got another c/t. In a matter of just a few walks she realized that she only got the yummy when the leash was loose. I have found though that about half way through our walks she, like Apollo :) gets a bit full of herself and wants to act out. It was hard initially for me not to pull her back or give her a correction. But now when she does that and gets silly I put her in heel until she calms down a bit and then we try again with the "let's go" walk. I also tend to really slow my pace while she's in heel if she's excited. She's young and we're both still learning so I really try to set her up for success. It seems to be working wonderfully for us. I use only a flat collar but am thinking about switching her over to a harness soon.

Good luck and keep us posted :) How are his ears doing? Would love to see pics :)
Thanks for the advice! Maybe I will expand the clicker training to our walks. I used the clicker to teach him to focus on me, and also for sit and stay. It really does work great. He just gets so crazy outside lately, nothing will calm him down. I've tried being a "tree" and he just runs circles around me until his leash gets tied up. I've tried walking backwards and he just charges in that direction instead of going forward. For these last couple days I've just been ending the walk, coming inside, and then waiting a half hour or so and trying again. That seems to be working best, but it's a pain. I don't mind either if he's not constantly in the heel position, it's just the pulling and jumping around that annoys me. I'm also worried that he'll be fine when he has the prong on, but when I go back to the regular collar he'll be a pain again...

As for his ears (thanks for asking btw :)), I posted them both back up because the left one started to flop slightly and the right is still not cooperating. The left one does seem to be getting less flimsy, but the right doesn't seem to be changing much. He still has some teeth coming in, so maybe once he's done teething they'll be more stable. I'll take some more pics of them when I take them down Friday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
TakirasDad said:
I have Prong collars for Takira. I will say that like any other training tool if used correctly it can be great! I taught Takira to walk very nice by using a prong collar, now I use any collar and she is fine. It doesnt take long for the dog to realize that pull = uncomfortable.

In any case when I take Takira for a walk she knows it is all business, we dont play, we dont sniff and we dont poop. I use the time that I take Takira for walks as an extension of OB training. She gets to play when the work is done, it makes it much easier for me to get her exercise and practice OB without having to constantly correct her for stopping and sniffing.

I have noticed also when I take her to public events where there is alot of people and perhaps other dogs she knows that if she is on leesh it is work time. She wont go sniffing around and trying to say Hi to people or other dogs, leesh is on = worktime.

This works for me because I have a big fenced yard and she has plenty of room to run around and play either before or after her walk. If the walk is the only time you get to play then I suppose you do need to let your dog sniff and poop and stuff. :D

TD
He's free to run around and be a silly puppy when we play at the park. I would like our walks to also be "business" (no constant nose to the ground, sniffing everything and everyone who walks by), but he can't seem to focus for very long, and I wonder how much pushing from me is too much at this age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks to everyone for the great advice! I ended up picking up a prong collar at the pet store a few hours ago. It has the short prongs, and it also has removable rubber tips...will it be just as effective if I leave them on? He doesn't seem to like it, but we took a short walk around the block and there's a huge difference already...who would've thought a bunch of pokey things jabing into your neck would make you stop pulling? :p As you can see, I'm still not a big fan of the collar, but until Mr. Man goes through basic training I guess it'll have to do.

Quick question...should I wait until he has the heel thing down perfectly before adding sits when we stop, or can I work on both?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
So, Apollo and I have been working hard on heel for a little over a month now and he's an absolute dream when he's wearing the prong. Unfortunately, when it comes off everything goes out the window...including remembering to sit when we stop. Any tips for fading out the prong properly?...I tried putting on both his regular collar and the prong and changing to the regular collar sometime during the walk, but as soon as he realizes he's not getting poked when he pulls...it's all over.

Just some more info...the tree method, and walking backwards have never worked with him. He's reallllly treat motivated, but because of that reason, I wanted to use food as a last resort because he gets so food crazy I don't want him to depend on it :-/
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Prettydobie said:
Like the days I didn't put it on her I would still bring it so she would know I would have. Kind of like telling her " Don't make me put it on you".
lol, i do the same thing with apollo, except i leave it on but i hook the leash to his normal collar. when he starts pulling i stop, make him sit, and switch back to the prong. i doubt we'll ever be completely prong free, and if by some miracle we are...it tcould be a while before that happens.
 
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