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Posted: 14 Jun 2020, 22:34
HELLO my 5month old doodle eva is great when off lead but when walking she pulls a lot .I am looking for a reasonable priced harness for her .Tried ordinary collar and lead and a slip lead but she still manages to pull me along .I hate the sound of her choking herself. My step son has her brother and is having same problem
Posted: 15 Jun 2020, 08:47
Hello Evasdad. This may not be the answer you are looking for but I hope it helps in the end. Sorry, this is going to be a long post so get yourself a cuppa before we start! Training your dog to walk to heel.
Step !. "Watch me". A most important asset for a dog owner. Requirements - lots of small treats. Choose a quiet moment (if possible with a young dood!) Say "watch me". Dog's attention will be drawn to you, make full eye contact, hold for a second and then treat. Repeat regularly over several hours when you know you will be able to get the dog's immediate attention - not continuously as they will get fed up! This can them be repeated approx. a couple of times a day for the rest of the dog's life. Most important to get your dogs attention at any time it may be necessary. I have seen the "watch me" save a dog's life as it was about to rush across a road to greet a friend and the "watch Me" stopped it in it's tracks as it immediately looked to it's owner for the expected treat and returned to owner for the treat.
Step 2. Lead/walking to heel training. Requirements - lots of time and treats. Collar and normal length lead on dog. Sit dog beside you on your left side. Lead across the front of you into your RIGHT hand. Treats in your LEFT pocket. Say "watch me" and treat dog. Get an extra treat out and prepare to move forward. Say CLOSE and step forward with your LEFT foot first, dropping treat down to just above dog's nose but don't give it (dog is now following the treat's scent). Stride forward, dog trotting beside you with eyes glued on hand with treat. 6 strides and treat the dog whilst still moving forward. saying CLOSE. Get another treat out and hold it ready, keep walking, repeat CLOSE every 6 steps or so and treat dog. (with your treat hand approx. just below and just in front of your hip -depending upon size of dog, the dog's neck should be approx. level with your left leg - hope this makes sense?) Continue this 'lead walking' for a minute or so and then say "watch me" and stop - dog still beside you. Ask dog to sit. Treat dog, remove lead and PRAISE!! End of first lesson and CONGRATULATIONS - you have just had your first non pulling lead walk!!
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Posted: 15 Jun 2020, 09:22
I hope some of the above made sense for you, it is quite difficult to explain without actually demonstrating it lol!. Now one or two, hopefully, helpful hints. Obviously this lead training is not going to help you overnight and actually shouldn't be tried in areas where you normally walk and she is used to pulling. Use your garden (if poss) as a training ground using a 'circle' if at all possible - you on the inside of the circle and the dog on the outside, a right handed circle as going left handed is more difficult for the dog as you will be pushing it round or tripping over it! Most importantly I suggest you practise this without the dog to make sure you are confident with all the moves as you need to be sure and purposeful, not faffing around once you start with the dog. Training sessions' should only last a minute or two to start with and be done maybe twice a day - this is all a fun game for the dog, who will love the one to one time with you. After several weeks you could progress the garden training straight out your gate on to the path/lane/road for just a 100 yards or so, then stop, sit, praise and continue with your walk as normal - dog tugging away lol!!
Always move forward with your LEFT foot - moving first with your right foot is part of another exercise and believe me when I say that these clever dogs soon learn which foot is which and what each one means - more of that in several months time! Also always use CLOSE and not "heel". CLOSE (as in close - near, not close - shut!) means close, heel sounds too much like 'here' to a dog.
Always have treats with you wherever you are. You can use the "watch me" command quite a lot when out and about, but you must treat. Treat's for training must also be something different from anything given normally and also be special. For my old Doodle I used custard cream biscuits!! You can get 8 'corners' off custard creams (only small treat needed) and this left me with the 'centre' of the biscuit with the creamy filling to eat myself lol! I did end up with a pocket full of biscuit crumbs though.
As time goes on she will come to walk happily at heel with no pulling - try to avoid areas where she has pulled badly before as you progress and be patient with her. Do you walk somewhere that she can also be off lead when safe as this always helps with their learning - 'heel walking it what we do to get to the place where we can run free and have fun'.
Good luck and let us know how it goes - if you decide to give this a try, in my opinion it is always better to invest the time in good training rather than rely on special harnesses/halters to keep the dog under 'control'. That said I have no problem with using a harness on an already trained dog rather than rely on a collar if you prefer.
Posted: 15 Jun 2020, 09:40
We found a Halti harness and double ended lead worked best for Harvey. You clip the harness under the chest behind the front legs in the normal way, there is a clip on a strap that goes around the front of the chest, this is clipped to the dog's collar.
One end of the lead is attached to a ring which is offset to the right on this front strap, the other end goes to a ring on the harness on the dogs back. This arrangement works well with the dog on your left, as you can steer him with the part of the lead attached to the front. When the dog stops pulling or when you want to give him more freedom disconnect the lead from the back and use it double length. Always keep it attached to the from strap.
We found this after trying various head collars which Harvey hated and spent most of a walk trying to get them off.
We still use it now even though he is 11 and walks well as it is now what he expects to wear when out walking. Training him with treats was difficult as he wasn't food oriented just loves lots of fuss. He got the appetite gene from the poodle, definitely not the labrador.
Posted: 15 Jun 2020, 14:21
Thanks for taking time to reply to my post and thanks for the advice I wlll definatly try it thanks again
Posted: 15 Jun 2020, 19:39
I tried many different harnesses and leads finally from Amazon I tried the “Premier pet safe easy walk harness” that night I took a different 5 month old dog out for a walk, The difference was instant, what the harness comfortably does is turns the dog towards you when it pulls on the lead making the dog focus on you. Give the command you want to use I just said Don’t pull. That was over 7 years ago I changed the size as she grew to the 35 kg she is now, she still walks well with it, and it is comfortable and kind. I paid around £20 but it has been worth it as it has only been replaced for the size not wearing out. Hope with ongoing training and finding a harness that suits you, you have years of fun and love ahead.