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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm still having issues with walking my 8 month old female on a leash, outdoors. I say outdoors because she is fine walking with one indoors but always pulls or bites the leash, outdoors. We recently bought 2 feet of chain link to attach to her harness to help with the biting and it seems to have helped, so far, with the biting but she still pulls like crazy! We tried stopping when she pulls, stopping and walking in the other direction when she pulls and even a clicker with treats when she doesn't pull. Nothing seems to work. Does anybody have any other ideas that they've tried or that they think may work? Is this something that will fade with maturity?

Also she's in level 3 obedience training right now.
 

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Have you tried any other kind of collar or harness? What things have you tried?

I have always used prong collars for training.. but if you are going to use one consult a trainer about proper use; as they can be harmful if not used properly.
 

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The biting at the leash symbolizes she is saying "Im in charge of where and how fast this walk is going not you" try working with her on submission and that your in charge in other things besides walking and see if it improves
 

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What does level 3 obedience mean, in this context?

I'd suggest carrying a squeaky toy or a rope or a ball on a string or something, to keep her focus on you and how awesome you are, instead of whatever it is that she's pulling for. Perhaps also try giving her some exercise before putting the leash on to go walk (I know this sounds screwy and counterintuitive, because the walk is likely part of her exercise), but I've found that if I blow off some of Elka's pent up OMG IT'S MORNING energy with the tennis ball in the backyard, she's a little more likely to have her brain when we're walking, initially.

Elka never seemed to give a rat's tail about direction changes, etc. but the clicker worked like a charm for her on our walks, once I got into clicker work. She never did the biting thing, so I can't comment on that, other than to say perhaps you can work out something where playing tug is the reward for calm leash walking? Some places sell actual tug leashes for such a thing, I understand, but I don't know how sturdy they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The biting at the leash symbolizes she is saying "Im in charge of where and how fast this walk is going not you" try working with her on submission and that your in charge in other things besides walking and see if it improves
How do you work on submission?

I've wanted to try a prong collar but our trainers are against them so I don't think they would supply any information on using one (they're all about positive reinforcement with treats).

I think we'll try some exercise before her walk because she trends to be more relaxed on the way home.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What does level 3 obedience mean, in this context?

I'd suggest carrying a squeaky toy or a rope or a ball on a string or something, to keep her focus on you and how awesome you are, instead of whatever it is that she's pulling for. Perhaps also try giving her some exercise before putting the leash on to go walk (I know this sounds screwy and counterintuitive, because the walk is likely part of her exercise), but I've found that if I blow off some of Elka's pent up OMG IT'S MORNING energy with the tennis ball in the backyard, she's a little more likely to have her brain when we're walking, initially.

Elka never seemed to give a rat's tail about direction changes, etc. but the clicker worked like a charm for her on our walks, once I got into clicker work. She never did the biting thing, so I can't comment on that, other than to say perhaps you can work out something where playing tug is the reward for calm leash walking? Some places sell actual tug leashes for such a thing, I understand, but I don't know how sturdy they are.
The level 3 obedience we're doing is just working on come and heeling so far, we just started it 2 weeks ago.
 

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How do you work on submission?

I've wanted to try a prong collar but our trainers are against them so I don't think they would supply any information on using one (they're all about positive reinforcement with treats).

I think we'll try some exercise before her walk because she trends to be more relaxed on the way home.
We use a covered prong by Lola ltd I like it because the prongs are rounded as opposed to pointed. Our pup instantly stopped pulling the second I put it on. You have to just let them walk in it, no jerking or pulling whatsoever. I have her heeling now beautifully on a loose leash but that involved quite a few walks doing alot of figure eights, eventually little by little she caught on. I do try to change the collars out on our walks so she doesnt become collar smart but when i put the regular collar on we still have pullling issues and the heeling goes out the window, its something we are still working on with the regular buckle collar.
 

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question. forgot to ask this in my earlier post. In level three they are working on come and heel? I have to ask (because I know I am not the only one who is curious), what did they work on in levels 1 and 2?
 

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question. forgot to ask this in my earlier post. In level three they are working on come and heel? I have to ask (because I know I am not the only one who is curious), what did they work on in levels 1 and 2?
Thanks for the collar info, we may have to try it. In level 1 we did basics like sit, stay, down, come etc. level 2 was mostly tricks like play dead, weaving and stuff like that. Level 3 so far has just been more work on heel and come.
 

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Take this with a grain of salt and it is not meant to be rude or upset you. If you have used all those methods(methods that have consistently worked for different breeds and different trainers) then YOUR doing something wrong. Does the dog fully understand what you want of it. If you have been through 3 different obedience courses and your dog still cannot walk on a lead properly I would be looking for a new obedience class. I will say a prong can be a great tool, but so can patience and lots of time reinforcing a behavior. To me a walk and heeling is a bonding thing that builds on a relationship, and forcing a dog into that with collars and corrections just defeats the purpose. I am a beleiver in corrections and training AIDS, but the applications I use them are not nearly as common as the ones I use a hot dog and nice voice.
 

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We utilize prong collars. We do not utilize any other kind of choke or chain style of collar. Specifically for our own dobermans - we utilize the small Herm Sprenger snap release prong in 2.25mm. Most people buy the wrong size prong - they thing big dog = big prong. That is totally wrong. Also most people have no idea how to actually fit a prong collar. The best illustration of this is on Leerburg's site: Leerburg | How to fit a Prong Collar

The prong provides equal and uniform pressure around the dog's neck - and contrary to misinformed belief it does not hurt, puncture or do any damage of the sort. With a properly fitted prong high on the neck behind the ear - and with the small links - you should have seen an almost 90% reduction in any form of pulling.

When we work with dogs that have had a bad habit for awhile we utilize positioning and static movements. For instance - here is a training exercise you can try:

Get some pliable food like Nature's Balance meat logs. Cut up a couple of small cubes - it is like summer sausage. Put the small link prong on your dog, and utilze a 4 food lead. Position the dog on your left side in a sitting position. With your left hand take a cube of food and pinch it between your thumb and the web of the hand. Lure the dogs nose right at your waist. Say "heel" and start walking while keeping the food pinched with your thumb. You will notice that the dog's nose stays in position with the treat but they will be unable to grab it. Walk 5 steps - with the dog in position - after 5 steps say "yes" and let the dog have the treat.

Try this more as you reward after more and more steps you take. After you can go in a straight line with the dog in position - then you can start to make right hand turns. Do not pop, jerk, or sharply turn. Just make a 90 degree right hand turn and say "heel". The prong will provide even pressure and when the dog turns - the pressure is released. This makes it a mile self correction. Do 90 degree squares for a week -and I bet you will be very pleased at how the dog responds.
 

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A prong collar is a tool, not a solution. Which is why I tried to offer other coping mechanisms that did not involve coercive training. How long did you try the clicker? Do you use it with other things? Physical corrections + clicker training is going to be something that confuses your dog, I think. This isn't to say I don't feel a prong has its place, but with what you've described, and on a dog as young as yours, I hope you continue to try other avenues first.

What methods does your obedience class suggest using? If you're already in a class and paying a trainer, might you work with your trainer specifically on this, since Level 3 is what is covering heeling specifically?
 

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It takes a lot of time and patience with some puppies. Fiona was nearly a year old before she could walk loose leash with me and it was like it started just clicking all at once in her head what we were doing. I just kept plotting away at it with her; some days we'd make progress, some days we'd backtrack. Just the name of the game. Your girl is young. Even once she does get it you'll likely have times that you'll have to go back to basics to reinforce you always want the leash loose even in the face of super exciting distractions.

Also, make sure you're giving a method a lot of time to work before trying something else. If you move from one method to the next too quickly, the pup will struggle to catch on.

I also want to say that if you've been through 3 formal obedience classes by 8-months old, she may need more down time. It's great to train with your dog, but you really don't want to ask too much of a pup or young dog and risk burning them out on training in general. Training obedience can be a lot of pressure and she might sort-of be mentally checking out during loose leash walking because she gets to move around and she uses it as kind of a break from focusing so hard. She is still a puppy and it's good to instill manners and basics, but she has plenty of time to grow her brain, get her act together, and advance in training.

Maybe break up when you train loose leash walking. Try it out first thing in the morning when she's refreshed and hasn't been asked to focus on anything else mentally taxing yet that day. Do it in short bursts - 5 minutes or so - and then call it a day with that exercise. Start in your driveway, then build up to the sidewalk in front of your house, then down the street, etc.

I just can't stress enough to not ask or expect too much from an 8-month old. Some pups will be shining little stars responding in lovely fashion to nearly everything their person wants. Some pups will take more patience and consideration to get the desired response. No 2 are alike.
 

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It will always take longer to train a dog using positive methods. Just by the nature of the training it takes a long time. Forceful training can be done very quick. The difference is having a dog who wants to offer the behavior and does so with confidence. The other is a dog who offers it very skittish and unsure or thereself.
 
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