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Pulling/biting leash

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Grizzly

Food?! Where?
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 12:14pm PST 
My Aussie, Grizzly, hates the leash. When I take him for walks, go to the dog park, or really anytime he's on the leash, he pulls like crazy! I hurts his little neck, though. confused He also bites the leash sometimes when I take him for walks.

We thought about getting a harness for him. As anyone tried one before?

Any advice on how to get him to stop?
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
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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Grizzly

Food?! Where?
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 1:04pm PST 
Thanks for the advice. I will look into one of those harnesses.

When he pulls, I basically stop, make him sit, and wait until he calms down before continuing. However, once I start walking again, he pulls again. The last time I took him on a walk, I brought a few treats with me and broke them into little pieces. When he was good, he would get a piece. I would also make a certain noise that is familar with when he would pull. He would then look back at me and stop pulling. It seemed to help alittle.
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 1:09pm PST 
What kind of collar are you using? We had an ordinary snap-buckle collar, because I didn't want to use a choke chain or"prong collar. After a year of trying other methods -- like stand still until the dog stops pulling -- I had to admit that I didn't have control of my dog on leash. Worse, he would pull me on icy patches where I lost my footing and fell. We moved to a "choke chain", both because it gives Koorazh some feedback about pulling too hard, and also because his neck is so furry that the snap collar popped right off his head if I had at at a comfortable setting. While I've seen trainers give a sharp correction for pulling, I don't (which may be why he still pulls a little), and of course if a squirrel comes near, he loses his mind. But this notwithstanding, his pulling is much improved, and I no longer worry about the collar popping off his head if he decides to get mulish.
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Bree

Back off girls,- Mr. Quincyno is- MINE!
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 1:17pm PST 
Try some good ol sour apple spray, and spray the crap out of the leash bol! You can find that stuff at most pet stores!
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Scout: - Always in- our hearts

Got- Aloha?
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 2:44pm PST 
I used to like to pull too. Mom did the loose leash thing. I had a 'choke chain' on. Mom started standing just in one place with me on the leash. Everytime I went a little to far and the collar would start to get a little tight mom would give it a tug (really important to tug before it gets too tight so at the first sign that the dog is about to go far). Once I got the idea that I could only go 6 ft from Mom I stayed around her. I started to learn that if my collar was starting to get tight I better get closer to mom otherwise I was going to get a tug.
So when we started walking together on the leash I already had the idea that tight collar ment no good. Mom holds the leash in her right hand with me on the left side. She holds the end of the leash and a little bit in the middle so she has a loop in her right hand. If I start walking too far ahead of mom she drops her loop (hanging on to the handle of course) and starts running the otherway!! Boy did I get this idea quick! Everytime I run out ahead of Mom she goes the opposite way! Then she collects the leash and puts me back in heel. When I am behaved I get to go back the other way. If I run out ahead she runs the other way again. Mom tells me while she is doing this how embarassing this is for her, cause after all someone watching would think she is kinda crazy pacing back and forth like that. We don't have to do that too often anymore because I am a VERY good leash walker now. You might try that. Our trainer said not to stop because then the doggie is in control. Have the doggie follow you everywhere. It really worked. Mom likes taking me on walks cause I am so good at it which means more walks for me!
Paws,
Scout
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Scout: - Always in- our hearts

Got- Aloha?
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 2:45pm PST 
Oh yeah, I used to like to eat that leash too. Until Mom started giving it a tug everytime I started to put my mouth on it. I don't do that anymore. The trainer said don't worry about my teeth they are WAY stronger than yours.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 2:51pm PST 
Please be very very careful if you decide to use a choke chain. They don't have anything that makes them stop so they can tighten up and hurt your dog's trachea if you don't know how to use them. If you want to use a choke chain, I'd reccomend going to a professional dog trainer to learn how otherwise you might (or might not) hurt your dog. Personally, and this is my opinion, I'd rather use a prong collar over a choke collar because I feel a prong collar is safer than a choke collar. There is something called a martingale collar that is a flat nylon type collar that only tightens up to a certain amount so that your dog can feel the collar tighten and know when to slow down, but it won't get too tight.

I'd try a head collar like the gentle leader or a front leash attachment harness like teh Easy Walk first, though and see if you can't get those to work!
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Scout: - Always in- our hearts

Got- Aloha?
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 23, '05 8:39pm PST 
Yes Sabrina is right. And only use the 'choke' collar when training. When you're not take it off cause it is SUPER dangerous you could choke your little pup. Also don't get into a tug o war with your dog when its on a leash with a choke collar. You give a little tug and release not a full on pull. That's why running the other way is helpful you aren't in a battle with your doggie. It gives a tug and the doggie turns around and then the collar isn't tight anymore. Always give short tugs never big long pulls when using a choke collar.
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 24, '05 3:25pm PST 
We learned to use the choke chain with a trainer, and despite its name, there is no actual choking going on. When Koorazh feels it start to tighten, he takes a couple of steps back to me, and because it is set up properly, it loosens automatically. He has learned not to push past that first feeling of tightness. But I had not heard of Martingale collars, and I am happy for the tip, as at least half the reason I use it on our walks is because he pops out of the snap-buckle collars too easily.
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