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Dog walking problems

September 1st 2012 4:01 pm
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I am so frustrated I could just cry. After nearly four years, I am still no good at walking the dogs. It seems like I am making every mistake, and no matter who I consult, or what I try, those two stubborn schnauzers do what they want. Even though I they both had initial training. I have multiple problems, and I’m begging for advice. I don’t always like walking my dogs anymore, and that breaks my heart. Here are my problems:

1. Izzy (4 years old) pulls like crazy. I switched from her leather collar to a martingale collar and at my session with the dog trainer, he showed me how to correct her when she starts to pull forward. So that’s what I do, and 2 seconds later she is pulling again. I have to correct her a least twenty times during the walk, and that’s a low estimate.

2. Rudy (6 years old) is incredibly stubborn, and could move concrete digging in her paws if she wanted to. If there’s something she wants to smell, then she yanks and pulls to get to it, or, digs in her paws and refuses to move from what interests her. This is really hard to deal with when trying to train Izzy.

3. I have Izzy’s lead in my right hand, because she needs more correction and I’m better with my right hand. I have Rudy with my left hand because she insists on walking next to the grass to get the good smells. However, on the way back, this doesn’t work (if I take the same route). Should I be switching sides of the road to make sure Rudy always gets the grass side? That seems a bit passive on my part, and then Izzy doesn’t get to walk next to the grass. If on the way back, I walk so that Izzy is next to the grass, then Rudy is constantly darting in front of or behind me to get to the grass. I’ve tried shortening their leads, but then they both seem to pull harder. Either way, their leads get tangled multiple times per walk. I’ve tried a double coupler, but Izzy just ends up dragging Rudy along.

4. The trainer said that I should walk Izzy separately, because she needs the corrective practice, and also because she needs more confidence. Right now I figure she walks twice as much as Rudy, because she tries to walk ahead and then if Rudy pees, she backtracks to pee right where Rudy peed. Then she tries to bound ahead again. However, walking Izzy separately is really hard for me, I have limited time, and not only that, I can’t imagine taking one on a walk and leaving the other home to look out the window! And no, I don’t have anyone to help me walk them.

What do I do? I realize most of these problems are probably my fault because I haven’t been pack leader, and all that. I try to be confident, and give them commands like “halt” when I want them to stop. That works probably 60% of the time. But the pulling is exhausting, and correcting her constantly doesn’t seem to be working. Izzy is not food motivated, so bringing treats to entice her doesn’t really work.

I am so sad, because I used to like walking the dogs, but it seems like it’s getting worse, and it just breaks my heart that I don’t even want to walk with them any more. :( I need help. Any suggestions?

Mommy Sarah

Barked by: Lucky Isabella (Dogster Member)

September 1st 2012 at 5:16 pm

Do you have a place where they can run off leash? We live in a rural area with lots of fields, etc. Lucky does really good off leash. But, I try to keep her on the leash when we are not in the field.

Now that I am watching Reese for a little bit, Lucky is really jealous and insists on being on the leash even when we are in the field.

I don't have any advice. I am just always amazed at those dog walkers who walk more than one dog at a time.
Barked by: HarleyDavidson THD, CGC (Dogster Member)

September 1st 2012 at 6:08 pm

I would walk Izzy by herself until you have her under control and walking properly. You might try doing shorter training sessions with her and you will have to correct her all the time but please remember that when you do give a correction and she obeys to reward her with a pat on the head or a " good job Izzy". Schnauzers are smart and she will soon understand that she needs to walk they way you need her to walk. I don't think that Rudy is going to be upset by this and is probably like children, as soon as you are out of sight she will do her own thing until you are both home. You won't be able to walk Izzy and Rudy together because as you become upset, it will travel down the leash to both of them. One pup at a time and you will be successful.
Barked by: MrJackFreckles~SirLick-a-Lot (Dogster Member)

September 1st 2012 at 7:56 pm

That's a hard one, Mommy Sarah.

I used to be an incorrigable puller, now I only go for a walk with a heaqd harness on my nose...I hate it, but the furry furst time I wore it, I waled like a dream,a nd I even heeled, BOL! Now after many years if i try to pull, growlmyu just stops dead in her tracks and tells me to come close, if she says anything at all, until I sit quietly and then we resume...not bad fur a pig headed JRT...

An odd time when growlmy is in Ontario, she will take my cousin out with me, if my auntie is not available, and off we three go...OMD! Murphy is a stinker to walk...sounds just like your Rudy, he wants to have the last pee and the furst sniff...sigh...and worse yet, he is furry nasty if he sees another pup..then growlmy thinks to herself, He isn't my pup...and she has even told the other pups person the same thing, BOL! Embarrassing...

So, I get to be on a flexi lead, and Murphy has to be on a short regular leash, or else it won't work at all.

Growlmy really doesn't know what to tell you, except maybe against your Mommy feelings take them out on alternate walks, that way the walks may be less stressful and they both will get a walk in several times a week...

Hope it will eventually get better. Are there any willing volunteers like a mature neighbour child who might be willing to help out?

Will be thinking of you and this unhappy predicament.
Barked by: ✨ Whitley ✨ (Dogster Member)

September 2nd 2012 at 2:16 am

I'd try walking them separately - maybe one one day and one the next?
Barked by: Duncan Fife (Dogster Member)

September 2nd 2012 at 1:06 pm

Hammy & I walk all the time. Neither of us behave either. I want to stop and sniff everything and Hammy has to mark everything. So we really can't help you very much other than to suggest harnesses. It makes us much easier to control.
Barked by: Jelly (Dogster Member)

September 3rd 2012 at 8:32 am

It sounds like you two pups have too much energy. You should try and wear some of that energy off every day. If your Mommy is a jogger you can go jogging. A tread mill would work well too. Whatever works is fine but you have to get rid of some energy. Before you go on a walk go to the backyard and wear off some energy having a very extensive game of chasing a ball.

You also need some individual "heeling lessons". It is lots of hard work. Your Mommy has to remember that dogs like to walk much faster then the humans do. Mommy used to take me in front of our house on the public sidewalk and we wouldn't go much further than 400 ft one way and 400 ft the other way but it was lots of fast walking. When I pulled she turned and walked the other way. (at first it is lots of turning because there is lots of pulling) Sometimes when she turned she turned into me (left about turn) and sometimes she turned away from me. (right about turn). Mommy's normal walk was brisk, sometimes she would jog a few feet and sometimes she went slow a couple of feet. Every time Mommy stopped I had to sit. Mommy would do lots of talking the whole time to me. For example when she turned, "Up, up, up, up, up ". When she did an about turn she would even run a few feet to get my attention to catch up with her. You will have no choice but to pay attention with all that turning, fast, slow, normal, stopping, sitting etc. Your Mommy should be exhausted after a 10 or 15 minute training session.

Once you are getting the idea then it is incorporated into your walk. Dogs are not good about grey areas, things are black and white (either you can sniff and pull or you are heeling). I would have pieces of my walk that were for the exercise only and I had to walk with no sniffing. Mommy would use the word "break" when it was okay for me to go to the end of the leash and sniff around. Then she would get me to sit at her side and it would be "heel" again.

The commands she taught me were "heel" (walk very structured at her side), "up" if I was lagging, "back" if I was pulling, "sit" which is obvious, "break" when I no longer had to heel.

Even now our walks are structured. I love the walking part and Mommy says I march like a soldier, she thinks I enjoy the exercise. Then there are the sections where I "break" and can to where ever and sniff around. If Mommy all of a sudden sees something coming she can tell me to "heel" and we are structured again. When I am on my non-structured part of the walk I go to end of the leash but I don't pull hard anymore but just a little bit to tell Mommy I want to go this way or that. This didn't happen quickly and evolved with time and hard work. Mommy always said that time spent training at the front end is well worth it. It will be much harder for you because there are two of you and you each need the individual training.
Barked by: Angel Uno (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 1:42 am

I am a puller uses a gentle leader collar and I can't pull. Reece is a very good boy and she used the methods Jelly is talking about for Reece and Mickey so they do very good.

Miss Bea is going to be a stubborn I am not moving dog and mom has ordered a harness for her.

I agree, it's going to take one on one with each of them to correct this.
Barked by: MrJackFreckles~SirLick-a-Lot (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 8:28 am

Hey look at have pulled yourselves right into a DDP! BOL!
A silver lining in evfurrything...

Congrats, Rudy & Izzy!
Barked by: Hershey (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 8:28 am

Our walking experience changed when Winkie arrived. We're not as headstrong as Izzy and Rudy, but one dog deciding to stop and sniff something is way different than two doggies always wanting to go in different directions. I'm the puller. (And no, there is no way I would put up with staying home while Winkie went out!) Mommy started with two leashes, but we always ended up in a muddle involving her ankles. Next, she got a coupler. That worked much better as we all got used to each other. But there was still the issue of two dogs wanting to follow two nosies. It's especially challenging since Winkie can't hear her and has to be controlled with hand signals. Mommy discovered that he would pull less and correct quicker if he were on a harness. Now we're back on our own leashes, and mommy has learned how to keep us untangled most of the time.

Have you tried head collars, like the Gentle Leader? It worked wonders on me when I was younger and a pulling fool. I would always complain when mommy put it on, but then I'd get into our walks and totally furget about it. There are some situations when we still use it.

Or, we could all hire Jelly's mommy to give us AND our mommies some real training! BOL!!
Barked by: Rudy (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 7:16 pm

this is all excellent advice! Thank you everyone!
Barked by: ♥ Anya ♥ (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 8:52 pm

Congratulations on 'pulling' off a DDP!

Barked by: Finnegan (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 10:28 pm

We had to do a lot of separate training, then training together. Winston is very competitive & I used to like to pull. Our training was a lot like Jelly's. It took some time to get it down. We often go on walks on our own so mom can spend one on one time with each of us. It's our chance to get all of the attention and not be part of a pack. We love it! Mom says there was a time when she was upset because it wasn't enjoyable to walk us. But once we learned how to do it, we all have fun!
Barked by: Jelly (Dogster Member)

September 4th 2012 at 11:12 pm

The gentle leaders help too and Mommy has used them over the years. The big thing with a gentle leader is you can't give corrections on a leash that are the traditional "snap-release" type of correction. It is more of a guiding type of action. A gentle leader is like a halter on a horse. It will tighten when the dog is pulling and loosen up when the leash it loose.

In addition to all the about turns that I described above you can also do sharp 90 degree turns to the right and left. Keep changing it up all the time - right about turns, left about turns, right 90 degree turns, left 90 degree turns, normal pace (which is brisk), fast and slow. Your Mommy should be exhausted after a 15 minute session.


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