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How do you stop a dog pulling?

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Josie, May 2, 2018.

  1. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    I am asking on behalf of my uncle who has a 10 month old working cocker spaniel called Dorris.

    He asked me to check in on her today and go for a walk but to be honest it was terrible!!

    She was pulling so badly that she was pretty much army crawling along the pavement. I tried the technique of turning her in the other direction but then she just pulled that way instead.
    She was also being very stubborn when I didn't want to go the way she wanted to. She dug her heels in and just sat there. I tried coaxing her with encouraging words and delicious treats but she wasn't interested.

    I wondered if anyone had any good suggestions for him to try please?

    @excuseme you have working cockers - have you experienced this problem? Dorris seems very driven by her nose and hasn't much interest (or respect) for anything else other than what she wants.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Working cockers are not supposed to pull. You have to pick a method of how you will train, be it walking backwards when they pull, changing direction or just plain stopping (which is what I do with Olive, she finaly learnt it would take longer to get to the park. ) and you have to stick with it. It could take a long time and that is usually why people do something and then say it doesn't work, it would work but they don't give it long enough.
     
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  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    You know the usual techniques so if they aren't working, and she is very nose driven, you could try walking with a smelly treat in your lead hand to keep her close to it - or in a pouch strapped to your knee, while repeating the verbal cue to stay close.
     
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  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    When Jasper was a pup I'd put him in a harness for when I wanted him to be able to sniff, wander and weave, and a collar for 'proper' walking. His first training walks we could take something like 10 minutes to get 20 yards because whenever he pulled, I would stop and wait for the tension on the lead to stop (because he'd look back at me) before moving again. Sometimes I'd do it with my eyes closed because it was so much easier to respond to the sensation of tension in the lead.

    Though for a long time he did learn that every time I stopped he needed to take one step back... and then he'd pull again:D

    He also went through a phase of putting the brakes on and refusing to go where I wanted and, assuming there wasn't a good reason, like a scary dustbin lorry up ahead, I'd wait him out, facing away from him at the far end of the lead and not saying anything. The best advice I had was 'Take a book' as you really do need to be that calm and patient. Eventually he'd realise that he had a choice of going where I wanted or staying where he was all night. Now, when he wants to go a different way I just stand away from him, holding the lead behind my back, and he usually comes straight away - or after just a little bit of thought.

    Headcollars like Gentle Leader can be helpful but have the potential to harm a dog's neck if he lunges. Front-fastening harnesses are also meant to help, though I've never used one myself.
     
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  5. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Thank you all for your replies.

    I did think the waiting out technique could work so I am glad you have confirmed it @JudyN @Violet Turner as I wasn't completely sure whether I had just made it up.

    Thanks @JoanneF - I think it would be good to find that one treat she can't resist!

    The main thing will be getting my uncle to stay consistent with it!! I will be training him the most ;)
     
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  6. Sezzy

    Sezzy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Every dog walker around here that I see with one outstretched long arm (myself included!) seems to have some kind of spaniel on the other end!!
    This is the only anti pull harness I have found to work with Misty:
    Mikki Training Anti-pull Harness with Reflective Collar
    by Mikki
    Link: http://amzn.eu/eIX3XPU
    If we are out for a normal walk she is fine; but if she sees her ball going in a pocket then the harness has to be used just for the walk to the field.
     
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  7. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Thanks @Sezzy - will recommend this also!
     
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  8. excuseme

    excuseme Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yes, the working cockers can pull/lean on their lead, it spoils the walk. I have seen so many doing it. Both with harnesses or just collars, their noses go down and lead the way!
    We have had 4 over the years that have done it.
    Two of them learnt to walk properly with the use of just a normal collar, after combining the wearing of a Halti with their collars, and 2 that always wore a "Halti" at walk times.
    We had tried all of the normal tricks, the Halti was a quick and kind "easy" fix. Both dogs were as happy to put their Halti's on as they were to have their leads connected to their collars.
    All of the mentioned dogs learnt to wear loose fitting "Halti's", (I hate to see these done up so tight that they cut up under their eyes) they must be so uncomfortable!
    The two who always wore the Halti (for pavement walks) were a pleasure to walk with, they remained with a loose lead that you could hold only between finger and thumb. (they would walk beside me and not in front)
     
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  9. merlina

    merlina Active Member Registered

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    I've always used a harness with my cockers. I have to admit they did pull and our trainer has said for spaniels it can be almost impossible to stop. I also use the high value treat method. It has worked on two out of three...make than two out of four since our current boy is VERY prey driven. It's as though the smell of game switches his brain off. Can I just say also if Doris is being left alone a lot she will be incredibly excited when you get her out? - in which case it's a bit like being told to calm down at a Justin Bieber concert for a teenage girl.
     
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  10. Mayblossom

    Mayblossom Active Member Registered

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    Our Springer is the same, tried harnesses, haltis ( which she would go down on the ground and try to rub off ) all kinds of training with treats but to no avail :( my arms are 6” longer than they used to be :D ‘No pull’ harnesses worked for a while then had no effect , the only way we can get a reasonable walk is to put the lead behind my legs and hold it in my left hand, a bit awkward when there’s Lily the other side who hangs back! Oh the joys of dogs :)
     
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  11. Flobo

    Flobo Active Member Registered Partner

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    I walk a year old springer who is a full arm extension puller! Over the weeks I've been using the stop method every time he pulls, I stop, get him to look at me,(he has no interest in treats so I don't use them) and then we walk on, he is almost walking to the park on a loose lead now, almost.. he wears a harness and as soon as I feel him going I say 'ah' with a slight tug on lead to remind him and he manages to reign it in,mostly! I only stop with him now if he goes full pelt pulling. But the first few weeks it did take ages to get to the park of course! And I do walk quickly with him as a compromise too...;)
     
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  12. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    U could always let them off lead... ?? [kidding! :p ]

    I use front-clip Y-harnesses, any brand that fits well is fine; if the dog has a seatbelt-harness, those can often double as walking harnesses & frequently there's a ring already mounted on the chest strap. ;)

    - terry

    .
     
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  13. excuseme

    excuseme Well-Known Member Registered

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    Ours always walk better at heel when off lead and they are happier. But that is not pavement walking.
     
  14. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    What high value treat worked for you?
    She goes to work with my uncle but how much of that is in a crate I am unsure.
     
  15. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Thank you all for your replies.

    It sounds like a common spaniel problem!!

    I think he has also lost confidence letting her off lead as she hasn’t been very responsive to recall. Would you recommend he try her in a field away from other dogs etc? Even then though Ivguess there will be lots of exciting wildlife smells!!
     
  16. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Just seen other thread about letting off lead!
     
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  17. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Active Member Registered

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    Dudley is only little but he puts the brakes on sometimes. I am always tempted to pick him up and place him where I want him to go but I haven't given in to that. Patience works and eventually he will come with me.
    This problem was what stopped us going to training classes. The trainer told me to lift him by his collar so his front feet weren't on the ground, when I said that was cruel he laughed and said he had never pulled a dogs head off yet.
    We stopped classes and worked around things on our own.
    He is an obliging little dog 99% of the time and always willing to learn.
     
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  18. merlina

    merlina Active Member Registered

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    Josie the high value treat is either small cubes of cheese (cheap mousetrap chedder is best!) or (ugh) thin strips of cooked liver. Cook it dry in oven then carve when cold. I'm a veggie but needs must, as they say!
     
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  19. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Thankyou!
     
  20. merlina

    merlina Active Member Registered

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    Oh yes and I've heard worse- someone in my village had a young pointer who was immune to recall once they got out onto the estuary fields. To get him back they had to resort to RAW liver in plastic bag- or occasionally a kidney! Goodness knows what people who didn't know them must have thought. Also they attracted the attention of other passing dogs which caused some embarrassing scenes.
     
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