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Labrador bad at walking

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Nicola00, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Nicola00

    Nicola00 New Member Registered

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    Hello guys

    I’m actually looking for any help at all. I have an 11 month golden Labrador. He is generally a heavy dog and can easily pull my weight or anybody else who takes him walks. He literally drags us all over the place and I don’t know how to stop it I have tried everything. I have a halti, he manages to pull it off after every couple of steps. I’ve tried treats but he dosent care when he is outside. I go to dog training but it doesn’t help him outside at all - my dog trainer also wants us to use collars for the dogs although he is just as bad on a collar or a harness. I can’t go even a 5 minute walk with him nowadays because of how much he pulls. I’m at my breaking point now I really need some help with him. I don’t want to have to resort to giving him away but I’m close to it.
    Thanks in advance.
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  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Head collars are only tools, which can help with pulling, but really the key is training. So I'm a bit disappointed that your trainer hasn't helped.

    Dogs pull as an instinct, so they have to learn not to. There is something called oppositional reflex - an animal restrained by something will instinctively pull away from it.

    So learning to release the tension on the lead is a big ask - but it can certainly be done. This video shows a great technique but remember your dog has been practicing this for a while so be patient, it may take a little time.

  4. Buddy1

    Buddy1 Active Member Registered

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    Hi, Nicola. Poor you - you sound at your wits end. You have my sympathy; I have a retriever (so most probably of similar weight /build / strength to your Labrador) and know what it feels like when they are intent on travelling full steam ahead! If it is of any comfort, my dog now walks along nicely at my side, but it took a lot of time, patience (and a fair degree of frustration) before we got there!

    I think my first step would be to find an interim measure that allows you to walk him safely and for longer than 5 minutes. I think a head collar would be your best bet. I know you say you have tried a ‘halti’, but perhaps look into other makes. I see a lot of large breeds wearing ‘Dogmatic’ head collars. Yes, they are not ideal and no, they will not train your dog, but if you are currently struggling to keep control of him, they may provide a safe alternative while you are walking him and have your loose lead training as separate sessions.

    I found having loose lead training as short sessions where training is the only purpose of the walk takes away added pressures and possible frustrations e.g. the need to get somewhere at the end of the walk or the need to ensure he is getting exercised. I found it helped to practise at the end of an off-lead walk, after our dog had the chance to burn off some energy. I also used to go out in the evening for a short walk up and down our road. I appreciate that at the moment this might not be possible –perhaps just round the garden?

    Having some treats that will help him to focus on you will also help. As he is a lab, I am assuming he is usually quite food orientated (but just too over excited when out to concentrate on the food)? Have you tried changing the treats? My dog considers anything edible as a ‘high value treat’ but liver cake is certainly a favourite (there are lots of recipes online).

    Training classes can be great, but like you said what goes on in training classes often stays in training classes. It can be far easier to walk a dog in a ‘nice heel’ around a church hall than a busy high street or country park, so don’t feel you are failing if he behaves differently out of training classes. I would also say he is 11 months old and a Labrador (and, if still entire, a hothouse of hormones): that is quite a challenging combination. Ignore those that try to tell you Labradors arrive half trained –that is cloud cuckoo land! As he matures, I am sure you will find the training easier.

    There are quite a few dog books out there about loose lead training (most are variations on a theme).
    I quite like ‘Chill Out Fido!’ By Nan Kene Arthur – not really about loose lead walking but just general calmness. I also like the writing style of Beverley Courtney. One of her books ‘Let’s go!’ is on loose lead walking. You may also want to have a look at Pippa Mattinson’s site on Labradors for some training tips.

    Deep breaths and good luck!

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