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DraftyAiresMum 03-12-2013 10:41 PM

Driving me up the wall!!
Okay, so Abby is now 4.5-months-old. She is probably 20" at the shoulder and weighs close to 30lbs (if not more). I've been working on her commands and she now has a 100% "sit" (even at a relatively good distance), 98% recall, and about 40% "down". She knows "inside" and "outside" and is 100% on both, she knows "out of the kitchen" and is 100% on that, and is about 95% house trained (she wakes us in the morning to go out, but sometimes she has an accident because we are slow to get up).

There are two areas we're having trouble with and they are starting to drive me up the wall.

The first is her leash manners...or lack thereof. She pulls constantly. We've tried attaching the leash to her flat collar and we've tried a choke chain. Either way, she pulls until she's wheezing and gagging herself. She doesn't pull forward, though, she pulls out to the side. She'll be pulling, then she'll suddenly zip to the other side (I walk her on my left) and pull that way. I direct her back to the correct side...and she starts pulling again. I will stop at random and make her sit, which she does, but as soon as I walk off again, she's back to pulling like a sled dog on crack.

The second issue is somewhat connected. She is beyond attached to Cash. When we're walking, she freaks if she's more than a couple of feet from him in any direction. If you take her out of the yard, but not him, she freaks and becomes VERY clingy.

I'm planning on getting her enrolled in a puppy class as soon as I can find one that's not at Petsmart or Petco, but I want to try to work on both these issues in the meantime.

So, ideas? Suggestions? Save my sanity? Lol.
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NorthernMama 03-12-2013 10:50 PM

When on a leash as soon as she starts to pull in one direction, go in the opposite direction. When she pulls again, go the other way again. Repeat ad nauseum... I did this with our 100lb rottie/shepherd cross when he was about 7 months old and it did the trick. Some days, I would spend an hour and end up just walking around in a 40 foot square!

Choke collars don't work. If you don't have the strength to pull the dog (I don't know how big she is), get one of those spike/tooth collars like this:

It looks terrible, but is actually more humane and more effective than a choke collar.

DraftyAiresMum 03-12-2013 10:58 PM

She's about 30-35lbs. I haven't had a chance to weigh her recently. So it isn't a matter of not being able to "out-pull" her. It just makes walks a pain in the arse, as well as going anywhere with her (like to the pet store or CAL Ranch).

I've leash trained puppies before (admittedly, it's been a while lol), but I have never had one pull like this for so long. Usually they'll pull a little and then realize that it's easier to walk beside me with a slack lead. Cash (my older dog) was mostly trained when I adopted him from the pound (as a ten-month-old), but his leash manners sucked. I finally resorted to an EasyWalk harness, after trying a regular choke chain, a pinch collar like you suggested and his flat lead, and he was a different dog. Now I can walk him on a braided nylon slip lead and he is a perfect gentleman.
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NorthernMama 03-12-2013 11:06 PM

Sorry that I didn't read your post clearly. You did state how big she is. Anyway, give my method a try. I've had success with several dogs doing this and even trained my small, not strong, sis-in-law (who is definitely not a dog-trainer) to work with her rottie successfully.

DraftyAiresMum 03-12-2013 11:14 PM

No worries. :-)

I'll give it a try. I think I'm also gonna try her in the yard with Cash's slip lead before buying any more collars. It was horrible on our walk today. We went a different way with more dogs along the way and Abby absolutely freaked out. It didn't help that there was a house with two big chows (easily 60+lbs each...Cash is 60lbs) that had the gate open and the dogs came out onto the road. Neither of those dogs is dog-friendly and Cash can be EXTREMELY dog reactive. There was a fight (the chows' owner was nowhere in sight) and if those dogs hasn't been so fluffy, Cash would have tore them up. :-/ Luckily, we kept Abby out of the fray.
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Cacowgirl 03-13-2013 02:55 PM

I went through the puppy class @ Petsmart w/my bloodhound & it was a great experience. But I did change instructors before classes started as I could not tolerate the first one that had a class opening.

Gillian 03-13-2013 04:16 PM

May I suggest, along with more training, a gentle leader? Worked wonders for my 90lb Rotti X Collie mix. They cannot pull, and it's nicer than a pinch collar. Don't get me wrong, I have a pinch collar and when my parents dog sit for me they use it, because I don't want him pulling them over and they can't ever figure out how to use the gentle leader.

But anyway, a pinch would not be anything but my last resort, especially with a 30lb puppy.

Also, the method I used with both the gentle leader and the pinch was simple. We did not move until he gave me slack on the leash. I stood in one spot for 10 minutes one day, and the minute he relaxed and the leash went slack I praised him and we immediately moved forward. It takes a LONG time, but with consistency and patience, it works!

Good luck!

DraftyAiresMum 03-13-2013 04:32 PM

That's the thing, Gillian. As soon as I stop, she'll either put slack in the lead by leaning against me (she's definitely a momma's girl) or she'll sit down and wait. I praise her either way. As soon as I take a step, though, she's back to pulling...especially if my boyfriend has moved ahead of us with Cash.

I used a Halti (same concept as a Gentle Leader) with my Dalmatian in high school and she was perfect (got to where I could unsnap the lead and leave the Halti on her and she'd act like she was still on-leash...take the Halti off and she was psycho), but when I tried one on Cash (when I was trying to find something to use so he wouldn't pull my arm out of its socket), he immediately pawed it off his nose (put it on him, then turned to grab something off the counter and when I turned back, he had it off).

I was thinking about getting backpacks for both Abby and Cash. I had a small one for Cash (got lost in one of my three moves in the past four years) and he was so much more calm on walks with it on. Didn't put much in it, just my keys and a couple of water bottles. But it was like it helped him focus better. I wonder if it would help her. I'll look into getting her a Halti or Gentle Leader, too.

Also, anyone have any ideas on the separation anxiety when she's away from Cash?
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