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Hi all.......sure it is a question that has been asked many times,but i have a 6 month old BC,pulls like a steam roller, and although i have been trying to train her to heel , since i get her at 10 weeks, she still drags me around,.

I have lost confidence trying to take her for walks,as she has pulled the lead out of my hand a couple of times

Have tried halti head collar,halti body harness,back clip  harness,front clip harness......the sit wait heel ( make her stop and sit ) before continuing.

What do i do ?

Thanks in advance


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Are you working with a positive reinforcement trainer? If not, it might be a good idea to start. Or at lease check out some of the excellent videos from great trainers like Kikopup on Youtube.

One very excellent tip I picked up from a trainer is to offer your food reward in the location you want the dog's nose to be. IOW, drop the hand holding the reward down beside your leg and give the treat there, never in front of you. An excellent reward dispenser for this is a can of spray cheese or a refillable camping tube filled with something soft and easy to squeeze out. I like ricotta cheese or watered down liverwurst. All of these have been very high value for my dogs and you can keep them interested in them at just the right spot beside you by dispensing very tiny amounts.

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Hi, Thank you for reply.......as we are still in Lock-Down..it is impossible to see a trainer.

I will look at the youtube you suggested.....and i will try the food reward tip , although as she is not fussed too much by food , I don't really hold out much hope for that.

I do wonder if it all stems from not really wanting to go out for a walk ?..when i get the lead out she tries to hide...so maybe the excessive pulling is a case of " lets get there,and home again "?

She certainly never wags ,while out .

Barn bred pup,that for the first couple of months was a nightmare in every sense......But with patience ( a lot ).....we have got her to the stage where she is now quite relaxed indoors.

It is just outdoors now ,that she is a maniac.


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If you'd said she'd been obtained at 6 months old I might agree that having been raised in a barn might have been part of the reason for her behavior. But not if you got her at 10 weeks of age. That's really still a baby puppy. Heck, people used to believe that training for even basic stuff really shouldn't begin until a pup is 6 months old. That's nonsense, of course, and I'm glad most people don't believe it any more, but if ppl didn't even start to teach loose leash walking and walking to heel until a puppy's 6 months old it's really not too late for her to learn to.

I think you just have a boisterous pup that's a little challenging to get to focus. Most 6 month old puppies really aren't doing great at waking to heel. Maybe you just need to relax and adjust your expectations. ;)

You don't say where you are, but there's no reason anywhere where people are permitted to be outside their homes as long as it's small groups and they maintain appropriate distancing that a training class couldn't be held outside somewhere. The trainer doesn't need to be literally holding your hand to show you the basics and offer guidance on how to proceed.


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Stop trying different things. Seriously, if you have tried that many different methods in less than four months, how much time per type have you really tried.  Puppies do not learn in one or two weeks.  Pick one and give it six weeks before judging the results.  You are establishing a communication with your dog and you keep changing the language.  Be gentle with yourself, have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your puppy.  Food does not keep the dog at your side, a relationship will.  Build that with play and trick training.  Then think of heeling as a trick.  


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Consistency is key. Pick one approach and stick with it for at least 6 weeks, could be a bit longer. And trust me on this, you'll have put the 6+ weeks in and think you're done and BAM ~ you and your pup will run into a situation that scares her out of her skin, or intrigues her beyond anything else and you'll have to continue training. 

Another important thing is to curb your own frustration. A lot of dogs pick up on their human's feelings and it can affect their behaviors. Stay calm, keep your voice steady, give the command and encourage/enforce if necessary. And REINFORCE when necessary. That means praising her when she does what you want her to do. It might mean only a couple paces at the correct position, but acknowledge that THAT is what you want from her. Praise is ok, and food rewards are more powerful.

If you're not already, allow her some leash after she's been nicely at your side for a few steps. Are you walking quickly or slowly enough for her? At 6 months she might need to go a little faster or a little slower than your natural pace. 

She might lose some or a lot of it when she hits doggy adolescence. Go back to Step One if you need to. 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Hi Julieh!

I am going along with much of the previous input.  My puppies were "barn puppies" that I brought home at 9 weeks....I did not see any difference with them than with puppies that were not born in a barn.  I am wondering what the "nightmare" behavior you referred to was before, and if it has any connection to your leash-walking problem.  One thing I discovered with my puppies was that they seemed pretty wild until I realized that the crazy behavior I was seeing was actually puppies that were overly stimulated and therefore overly tired. (Think I got that insight from someone on these boards!)  I put them on a schedule and crated them periodically during the day and that totally solved the problem. 

I also use food right at the position where I want my puppies to walk.  This has worked well for me.  Mine also went through a puppy obedience course, even though I've trained for years.  I don't know where you are located, but I know that in our area, dog classes are opening up again.  I would suggest you look into that.  I also question long walks and expecting a puppy not to pull (especially one that is not obedience/leash trained.)  I keep my training sessions short and plentiful, since puppies can't focus for long periods of time.  So perhaps you should concentrate at this time on many short sessions of teaching her to walk, with lots of food and praise.  Even if she is not food-oriented, try different kinds of foods like liver, chicken or braunschweiger.  Don't give up.  This doesn't sound like something insurmountable!  :)


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Hi, Thanks for the replies and interest........first to GentleLake , we are in Wales UK...we are not allowed to mix and mingle atm ,and not allowed to travel 5 miles from home , and i do agree we have a very lively pup ,who is and has been very challenging ! , and i think i may need to relax a little......my problem is she is a very big dominant girl.....i live in sheep / BC country , and at 5 months she was bigger than most of the adult BC's i met.

If she stands on her hind legs against me, at 6 months her front paws are nearly up to my shoulders ( I am 5 ft 1 inch )........so a proper big girl.

Most ppl locally who have watched her from being a pup,seem to think she is a cross......but she is 5th generation bred BC.

Farm bred, saw her mum and dad.......dad was huge !......mum quite small,so i guess she takes after her dad.

BUT , we have worked wonders with her in a short space of time......so hopefully i can get control of the pulling ????

To 2bc4me........i agree also with you,to stop trying different things....the reason,i have tried so any things is,she pulls like a train,a huge girl, not a waggy tail ,waggy bum pup.....the different methods i have tried ,works for a couple of weeks,and then she just puts her rear end into the mix,and off she goes again,trailing me behind......i must say the head collars don't work, as she just runs her nose along the floor,,,,,,,,,So i am so anxious that,if i struggle to control her at 6 months........i never will when she puts on more height/weight.

I live in a beautiful part of the world , with lovely walks ect.,and i really want her to be part of that experience........i must add,even hubby has problems controlling her.

She is so big,at 6 months she is taller ,broader,and stronger than your average adult BC.(about 21 inch at the shoulder---and long---and broad ) 

I guess, if i have got  control of her indoors, outdoors will follow ?? Eventually ?

Just to add,we have really worked wonders with her in a short space of time.....and she has gone from an uncontrollable dervish in the house, to an acceptable pet.

my last dog was a BC/ GSD cross......and the one before pure BC...so i have a smattering of knowledge of the breed .

TY all, for your interest



Ty for your interest


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To urge to herd,,Yes, i will try that,i will go back to the front clip harness,and persevere , I do praise praise all the time with her,when she does not pull.....and yes maybe i need to stay calm , as she pulls more and more , i do find i raise my voice more,probably out of sheer frustration........I will take all that on board.


To beachdogz..not sure where to start with the nightmare behaviour,but i did realise early on,that it could be over stimulation,,so when she was driving us nuts,and we could not take it any longer,we put her in another room,with no toys,just her bed,and she went to sleep right away, and woke a lot calmer.......when she starts getting over-excited now, i only have to use the command "settle"....and she does ,so we have tackled that really well.

Cars / Traffic , are another problem with her  ,common with collies....she  pancakes , and will usually lurch at them....we dont have a lot of traffic locally,but to reach a nice footpath,i do have to cross a road, That will unsettle her,and she starts pulling again ( there and back ).

Locally ,there is a bench ,set back from the main road,and i have sat for hours on the bench with her,reassuring her all the time,when a car passes , i may have another try at that ?

Again,thanks for all your advise, much appreciated.

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For the cars, look into the Look at That game. It's been discussed numerous times here so a search will yield results. You can also find it online. Or, from the original source, Leslie McDevitt's book Control Unleashed. The second edition is a puppy version and said to have clearer instructions.

The key to it's working is to begin at a distance, known as the threshold, far enough away from the trigger that the dog notices it but doesn't overreact. If she's reacting the part of her brain that can pay attention to you is already shut down so she's incapable of learning. And you've got to work incrementally slowly when you can get closer to the trigger.

It should also help your frustration levels to take a few moment to center yourself and recognize that this can be all be frustrating situation but that you can -- and will -- handle it calmly. When you feel the tension rising take a few deep, calming breaths. And keep the training sessions short so neither you not your dog get to that point of being frustrated.

Also remember to keep your expectations realistic. None of this is going to happen in a day. It's going to take some time and acknowledging that before you begin will help.

BTW, I have a friend who lives in south Wales, so I know your restrictions are quite limiting at the moment. So until you're able to work with a trainer videos that can demonstrate techniques might be your best bet. It usually helps to be able to see a trainer in action. Just don't follow the ones that are using correction based training. Again, good luck.

ETA: Please stop thinking in terms of dominance! It's an outdated way of thinking about dogs that even the wolf biologist who originally proposed the concept has recanted, and it's just not a useful way to try to understand her behavior. It's far more likely that she simply doesn't understand what you want from her and/or that she's beyond the threshold of over-stimulation. Look instead for people who will help you build a positive relationship with your dog rather than trying to out-dominate her.


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10 hours ago, julieh said:

To urge to herd,,Yes, i will try that,i will go back to the front clip harness,and persevere , I do praise praise all the time with her,when she does not pull.....and yes maybe i need to stay calm , as she pulls more and more , i do find i raise my voice more,probably out of sheer frustration........I will take all that on board.

"I do praise praise all the time with her,when she does not pull....  Suggestion: Simplify it ~ give her a solid 'GOOD GIRL!' and keep going. The constant praise may be 'watering down' the communication, which is really, "THAT'S what I want you to do!'

'yes maybe i need to stay calm',  Many dogs,certainly border collies, respond strongly to their human's tone. Your remaining calm and unflustered can only improve your communications with your girl. Raising a voice means there's something to worry about, and a worried dog is less able to respond appropriately. You could  practice at home, with whatever cues you give her. 

Congrats on the success with 'Settle'! Way to go!!!  I'd work on one thing at a time. With the main road you need to cross to get to the park, ask her to sit.  Once she does that and it's safe to cross, get across that road. 4 hours is very much overdoing it. Right now she's experiencing 4 hours of over stim, and it seems evident that reassuring her is not working. 

You're training yourself while you're training your dog. Had a trainer tell me that when I had my first bc. It's true. Take one thing at a time, even though it seems there are many things to work on. As your training gets more consistent and easier for her to understand, everything will go better.

By the way, none of these issues are unique to any breed. I've seen dogs of all kinds be incredibly badly behaved. It's always the responsibility of the human to train the dog.

Best of luck! Let us know how you get on.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Hi Again. Thanks for all the suggestions.....

GL..Thanks for the "look at that game"......certainly going to try that.

I have called her dominant , because from when we first got her she displayed signs of sexual dominance.....every time hubby bent down to put a log on the fire, she was up his back humping him ,and she used to try to trip me from behind and again attempt to hump......Thankfully we have put a stop to that...Thank You for all your suggestions.

UTH...I use the praise "good girl"....also just to clarify,i don't sit for 4 hours , what i meant to say was i have sat for hours 10 mins here,10 mins there......adding up to hours + hours.

And you are totally right, "take one thing at a time"..I have tried to do that also , i have sorted out her indoor behaviour,and now attempting the outdoor........you are right there.

and the comment "train yourself,while training the dog", is very good advise.....TY

Hopefully i will get this pulling machine in order----and calm with traffic ( TY GL ).......I have left getting along with the cat til last !!......As i think that may be the hardest hurdle. ( LOL ).

Thank You for your time and patience and advise.

I know i have the making of a very good dog here, she is very intelligent and clever ( and that may be half the problem ).....she is way ahead of us !

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Can i just add when i first posted my lead pulling problem,i felt i was pulling my hair out with frustration.....but talking to the informed ppl on here, has given me hope and put the problem into perspective , and given me the confidence to carry on with the training,,So Thank You All !

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Where in Wales are you located? My friend in Rhondda Cynon Taf could recommend some good trainers if you're anywhere near there.

BTW, I'm glad you were able to get the humping under control, but it's rarely dominance behavior.


https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/behavior/humping/dog-mounting-and-dog-dominance-behavior/ (Please note that the dominance the author's referring to in this article is strictly about dog to dog interactions, not interactions with humans.)

Oh, and I wouldn't wait till last to start working on getting along with the cat. In fact, it should have been one of the very first things you did with her, right along with house training, and probably would have been easiest then. ;) Please don't wait any longer. The bigger she gets the more of a danger she could present to the cat.



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Thank You Again...N Wales.....the humping was one of her favourite tacks , my hubby was loathe to put a log on , funny, but not funny !.....Yes ,that is sorted now , not sure if she just grew out of it , or it was the discipline ?......but no longer tries it.

We have tried since day one with the cat and dog situ , and she will tolerate him now , but only in short bursts, the cat walks past her in the house and garden..with no trauma , but i dont really trust the dog with the cat, the herding instinct kicks in..it is something we are working on..the thing is,the cat is very much an outdoors type of cat , comes in for food ,and a quick afternoon nap,but since we got this pup, he is in and out like a yoyo !.

My last dog loved the cat ( all cats )..and if the cat was getting chased or picked on by the neighbourhood cats , she would jump into action , chasing off the offenders !

She would actually jump over the "cats friends" ( the good guys ), to chase away the baddie !.......and the cat would hide behind her, if threatened !

So this new lively pup, is a bit of a bit of a mystery to the cat........anyway, thats just another problem to be sorted.

Thank You for all your help and advise,much appreciated.

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Some trainers are doing video conference I’m not sure if that helps? See if you can video the walk to capture her behavior, your behavior, and what’s going on in the environment. 

A LOT of dog signals are missed until the dog is over their threshold/or escalates. A video helps the trainer and possible you. 

Also weird suggestion if she is scared of leashes maybe try a different leash(Flat leashes,  braided leashes, leather leashes, etc...) and make the interaction positive. Use it to tug, willingly interact and get treats, let’s you touch it to her and reward.

My terrier for being only 20# soaking wet can be a really bad puller. I found getting a slightly longer leashes helped a ton and also teaching him a “go on” but he follows his nose and stomach. My border collie(Val) is always in a rush to get wherever we are going the fastest time possible. Sometimes his tail is totally tucked. It’s not he is worried or stressed. He is obsessing about the destination since we normally walk to a spot he can be off leash and run so he wants to get there the fastest. I end up breaking the walks into short training session(sit, down, stay, stand, beg, catch) to get him in a different state of mind. Once he settled we would start walking again. It took about 1-2 months and he started to enjoy walks instead of obsessing. 

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I agree with GL that you need to address the cat issue immediately and be very consistent about it or it will only get harder to reverse that behavior.

My favorite way to teach a dog not to pull on a leash is simple. Every single time (EVERY time...100% consistency is vital) that the dog pulls, I turn around and go in the other direction. I don't jerk the leash ever, as that can hurt the dog. I don't say anything at all.  I simply turn around and the dog has no choice but to follow. When the dog is in a nice loose leash position, I praise and/or click and treat the dog, making sure I give the treat in the position I want the dog to be. The moment the dog pulls in the new direction, I turn around again. This means that at first a "walk" is going about 6 feet in one direction and then the same in the other direction, back and forth. Boring for everyone. But it works.

I have trained many dogs this way. Not too long ago someone hired me to help him with his dog. He had had this dog for 9 years, and had always allowed him to pull hard on the leash. Now the guy was 70 and had no strength to hold the dog and wanted the behavior to change.  The dog weighed about 65 pounds, maybe more. I took the dog out on a leash and did the above protocol and in less than ten minutes we went from only going two steps before turning around to being able to go 10 steps before he started pulling. This was an older dog, a spoiled dog, and not an especially smart one., and yet the progress was that fast. 


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Hi, thanks again for replies and help

to SSC...Thank you for advise re trainers . The leash , she is not frightened of the leash , only that is signifies a walk, that she does not seem too interested in, and like your BC walks with tucked tail, there and back ! I have a theory ( right or wrong ),that when she starts sniffing out other dog's pee , and wants to leave her own mark on it ,she MAY start to enjoy a walk....atm , she does all her business in the garden , as she has since we got her..Good idea about breaking up the walk , i will try that..TY

to DE..Thanks for advise re cat , we are working on it , they do go in the garden together ,and the cat will lie on the bench asleep ( or pretending to be ),and the dog lie nearby, sometimes watching  him , sometimes not , we just have to be aware and watch them , as when the cat goes up move , the dog is up in a flash following the cat.....has shown no aggression as yet...just as a said earlier,i just dont trust her atm .

Also your advise re leash training ,turning round when pulling, i tried that yesterday...she looked very puzzled about it, but when i took her out again later , she was a lot better on the lead ,and no pulling , so i will continue with that training....seemed to work well.

Thank You all

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7 minutes ago, julieh said:

...when the cat goes up move , the dog is up in a flash following the cat...

Great that there's no aggression. I wouldn't allow her to jump up and follow him like that. You don't want it to turn into a compulsive behavior, even without any actual harm being done. Neither do you want to risk escalation.

I'd suggest immediately redirecting her away from the cat the instant she jumps up and praise her as soon as she takes her attention off the cat if even for an instant. Try to engage her in anything else that she'll focus her attention on that's not the cat.

Happy to hear the about turns are helping while walking!



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Hi ,

To DE , YES !,,,,,,it is getting better , still room for improvement , but i feel as if we are winning , even managed to get her off her lead for short recall training sessions , and that is going well too.

So a bit of progress.

To GL , Thanks for that link , I can relate to all of it . I do agree with the stress /anxiety angle , as looking back at her behaviour when we first got her , that's what it was all about .

She has stopped humping now , and is getting a lot more relaxed around us , she even sleeps now in the same room as us in the evening .  Initially she would not sleep unless we put her in an empty room ........and sadly it took us a few weeks to realise that .

As others have said on here , it is a learning curve for us ad her.

So we are getting there with her , she is more gentle now , and "asks" if she can sit beside me on the sofa for a cuddle , that behaviour has changed from charging across the room at us , at full pelt ,and launching herself at us from 5 feet away , with her front paws landing squarely on my chest , and end up with not so play mouthing.

Things are getting better , and this site has been a God send.....so TY to you all .

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