|Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 12:34pm PST |
|Harnesses to get:
Avoid any harness with the leash attachment on their back. This puts pressure on the dog in such a way that when the dog pulls it's actually more comfortable, leading the dog to pull more.
The two training aids I reccomend are the Gentle Leader and the Easy Walk Harness both made by Premier. The gentle leader is a head collar, like a horse head collar. Basically when the dog pulls the strop over their muzzle pulls their head down and puts pressure on their muzzle like a mommy dog does to a pup when it is doing something bad. This headcollar is amazing. I cannot say enough good things about it-- it works so well that when I first used it I thought I had a different dog at the end of the leash who actually obeyed me when we were on walks!
It does have two drawbacks. First, some people will think your dog is wearing a muzzle even though it looks nothing like a muzzle. Some people can't handle this and aren't prepared to tell people what it really is (I used to say "it's like a horse head collar" and that would satisfy them). Secondly, you have to train your dog to accept the gentle leader. Since it goes on their face and most dogs haven't ever really worn anything on their face before it seems really odd to them. Some dogs get over this and some never do. We used one on Sabrina for 2 years and she never got to really like it. However, she didn't actually hate it, either.
The Easy Walk Harness is a front leash attachment harness. Basically, the leash attaches right at their chest. It works really well, though not as well as the gentle leader. The main way this works is if your dog pulls, the leash will get taut and redirect them so that their body is facing towrads you. Their head, however, can still be looking away. This harness works very well and is in use in many animal shelters for walking all dogs. It doesn't work as well as the Gentle leader, but no one will notice it's a no-pull device and there is no adjustment period to the device. We are now using this device, and I'm happy we got the gentle leader first and are now down to the easy walk because the gentle leader is much easier on the owner when th owner is learning how to train the dog.
You can't just get a harness alone and expect that to solve your problem, though. You have to incorporate training. Basically, going on a walk is fun, going to the park is fun. Right now your dog knows that pulling and chewing on the leash will make you take him to the park and (I'm guessing here) let him off lead? What you need to teach your dog is that if your dog doesn't play by your rules, the walk or the fun is over.
First, decide how you want your dog to be normally on walks. Do you want your dog always in a heel position? Or do you want them to be able to do their own thing? Or a mixture of the two? Whatever it is you want, you need to set limits. So if you want your dog to be able to do his own thing then you need to decide how far away from you is too far (don't have it be the very end of the leash). Then you need to take good treats on the walk with you. When you are walking, when your pup is doing what you want, click (if using the clicker) or say "yes" or another marker word and treat. Like walk along and if your dog looks at you and stays acceptabley near you click and treat. It's helpful if your dog already knows a command like "watch" or "look at me". Whenever your dog does those behaviors click and treat. When your dog starts to pull at all, immediatly walk backwards and keep walking until your dog looks at you. THis will teach your dog that pulling does not get him to his goal, instead pulling means he has to look at you. Try walking briskly and talking excitedly at first to keep your dogs interest, clicking and treating all along. Then make some sharp turns, and make sure your dog follows. Basically, keep doing these things and your dog will learn that following you and paying attention to you means treats and the park, while pulling and chewing on the leash means going back home and not getting to go to the park.
Now if you think your dog is chewing on the leash out of boredom, try carrying a rope or pull toy with you and redirect your dog to chew on the appropritae thing. If you think he's just chewing because he knows doing it makes you let him off sooner, you need to redirect him to something like looking at you or sitting or something. If he doesn't listed, walk backwards and just keep walking backwards until he drops the leash and looks at you. If need be, walk all the way back to your house. Now, make sure he doesn't htink this is a game of tug. If he wants to play tug, he needs to play with the toy, so try that first.
I know it's hard but you'll get it! It just takes a little bit of time!
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