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Dog Walking Help Request


Vaker
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Dear BC parents,

 

 

I've rescued a female border collie 5 years ago ( a year after I joined this community ). I've trained her to be a very good dog, provided her with enough mental/physical tasks daily. A few months ago my wife and I wanted to get another border collie, so after reading a lot of articles we decided to get a male ( not for breeding purposes )which brings me to my current issue.

 

 

The male is extremely active which we prepared for. We play Frisbee in our backyard everyday, we also play fetch daily indoors, and he's very well behaved indoors. Obedient to all trained commands etc. When we step outside ( basically the second I snap the leash on ) he forges. He will not obey ANY command, his attention is LOCKED on all his surroundings ( cats, squirrels, moving cars, approaching foot traffic etc ).

 

I've tried the same training technique I've used with my girl;

 

Stopping when he forges, waiting for him to sit or heel, then walking, and repeating. Walking in random patterns.... I've been doing this for over 2 weeks with very minor improvements ( sometimes he will stop forging for a few minutes but this is usually after stopping, and stepping for 30 minutes or 1 hour sometimes!

 

I've tried using treats, but even his favorite treats, treats he will do anything for (indoors) don't interest him AT ALL!

 

Last night out of frustration I started to counter his forge with a forceful pull ( which seemed to do the trick ) but I don't want to have that physical relationship with him as off course it will cause him to be aggressive, not to mention I felt so guilty ( guilty enough to post this ). To make matters worse a cat went in our yard last night ( to seeks shelter under our deck I'm assuming ) and he attacked it on site to the point where I'm pretty sure he injured it. This was the straw that broke my patience.

 

Things to note:

 

I using a 1"x4' leash

He wears a harness ( it wraps around chest and front legs, with a D ring at his back )

He's 13 months old

 

At this point I want to know what you guys recommend, I was considering head collars ( the muzzle looking ones I think they are called gentle leaders ). To conclude, I want to thank anyone who read this, and I hope I can get some help, because I love him so much, and I just want him to be the best that he can be.

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Thanks for rescuing!

 

You can start right this minute with your eager boy by picking up the leash. If he shows any signs of excitement - bouncing, barking, etc - the leash gets put down and you walk away.

 

If he's not bouncing until you actually clip the leash on, then clip the leash on and walk away. Sit down, read the paper, chat with your wife. Ignore the bouncing. When he's calm, stand and walk towards him. Bounce - you turn around and go away. Calm behavior = you picking up the leash. Bouncing = no walk, no fun.

 

Do this in your backyard, too. Work, work, work your recall in the backyard. Use a long cotton line for a while, so that you can control him.

 

If you have a deck, start there, then move down into the yard. When he's reliably calm, out the front door you go. Cosider taking a cheap leash, cutting it so there's only a foot or so of it, then leaving it attached to his harness. 1) You can grab him very easilty with the short tab. 2) He'll grow accustomed to the feel of it, and that might help him lose some of his bounciness.

 

You might think about getting him into some form of regular pulling exercise - he seems to like it a lot!

 

He might pick this up quickly, it might take a few days. Engage him in other ways - train some tricks, learn to do a little massage on him.

 

I've not used any alternatives to regular collars for walking, so can't help you there. The above suggestions should help you help him learn to be calmer.

 

Ruth

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First I want to thank you, Ruth

 

 

I am posting this from work. I will try your methods as soon as I go home. This really sucks because not walking him is more of a punishment to me than to him. There is nothing more relaxing to me than walking my dogs after a long stressful day at work which contributes to my frustration with his learning curve.

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Things to note:

 

I using a 1"x4' leash

He wears a harness ( it wraps around chest and front legs, with a D ring at his back )

He's 13 months old

 

 

The type of harness you are using is going to encourage pulling(think of sled dogs and tracking dogs). If you want to use a harness you might want to try an easy walk harness(I think that's what it's called). The ring you clip your leash to on the easy walk is in the front, on the dogs chest(which will prevent the dog from being able to lean into the harness and pull).

 

 

 

Janet

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First I want to thank you, Ruth

 

 

I am posting this from work. I will try your methods as soon as I go home. This really sucks because not walking him is more of a punishment to me than to him. There is nothing more relaxing to me than walking my dogs after a long stressful day at work which contributes to my frustration with his learning curve.

 

Yep, I know. I often say that even if I didn't have a dog, I'd need to go to the dog park early in the morning just because I love being out in the fresh air first thing!

 

Try some massage with him. You might find it relaxing for yourself, too. In fact, massage, then hook him up to the leash, it might help.

 

Ruth

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  • 4 weeks later...

In my experience that style of harness will encourage a dog to pull. Maybe try switching to a regular collar, or an Easy Walk Harness. The easy walk is a body harness with a D ring in the front of his chest. This usually has a dramatic effect as soon as it is put on.

 

Requiring him to be calm before you clip the leash on and step out the door is an excellent suggestion -

Over excitement = no walk.

Also, don't focus on how far you are walking. A 30 minute walk is a 30 minutes walk, regardless of the distance you go.

 

I would probably forget about treats while you are outside, at least until he has calmed down to some extent. Right now it sounds like the best reward you can give him while you are outside is access to the environment. So you could start with making sitting or eye contact his "gas pedal" to get you to move forward. This will be very important to do before he gets to sniff or mark any trees, bushes, mailboxes, etc.

 

Best of luck!

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