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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone recommend a good dog training website I could go to for leash training? I'm at my wits end with Catan. No one wants to walk him on leash because of how much he pulls. Everyone has neck and shoulder pain. The treadmill is fine but he gets bored with it.
 

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Hi,

It's a problem I am having also, but keep moving the leash up the neck to just under the ears as this helps. If the leash is there then the head is lighter as less muscles there as oposed to the base of the neck/top of chest. I am getting a head collar for leash walking as it makes a lot of difference.

In the UK they are called Halti...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Halti-Padded-Head-Collar-Black/dp/B000NWMIEG

just a thought ??

Regards,

Graham
 

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Oh man. Loki is a horrible leash walker. It is the only thing we could never get him to do properly. Our breeder even said she's never been able to get hers to be good leash walkers.

We have a head harness (Halti or Gentle Leader). He still pulls but at least he's manageable. And I've got way more control. Fortunately, we have a lot of off leash areas and he minds rather well off the lead.
 

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Pulling is an annoying habit that a dog gets into. It sucks for the handler. Both of mine pulled like Freight trains when I first got them. Tika was the worst, she'd pull your arm out of the socket.
Dogs pull because they've learned to pull, and all to often we reinforce the behavior unknowingly, and let them "get away with it".
Often when they pull, they are pulling towards the destination we are taking them anyway, and when they do get away with it ,the behavior is rewarded unintentionally.
Catan needs some serious leash work. It's time to re-enforce the walk at heel. Get him heeling properly. Every time Catan pulls, do a 180 and take him the opposite direction and bring him to heel. If he slips his collar, put him in a harness. If you stop and he continues to pull, become a tree. Don't move, don't yank him back, let him pull until he can't breathe if that's what it takes. When the pressure is off the leash, bring him back to heel and continue in the same direction. If he pulls while you're moving off do a 180 and go the opposite direction.
Don't yank the leash when you do a 180, just turn and walk off. Keep a 3' loop in your hand and when you do the 180 drop that loop. When he hits the end of it, he'll know. Don't use a choke chain, or a head collar when doing this. Use a nice 1" safety collar. You're not trying to put him in pain, you're trying to make him put himself in discomfort.
When you work him at the heel keep that coil of leash in your hand. Every time you change direction, drop that loop and bring him back to heel. Collect the loop back up and do it again, and again and again until he is paying attention to your left knee. Where that knee goes, he goes, or he pays the price. This has to be enforced every time you have him on a leash, by everyone that handles him.
Once again though, don't be harsh with him. Don't yank or jerk the leash in frustration. You want your movements to be smooth, methodical and non emotional. It's training time.

it's sounds involved and difficult, but in reality it really isn't. It would take only a couple of 1/2 hour sessions to turn him around.
Leash work is hard. it's boring and it's generally not much fun for the dog, or handler, but it's really necessary.
 

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Elwood is only 11 weeks old and already he is pulling on the leash. Obviously he's not strong enough for it to matter just yet, but I can see where this is heading!

I will start working on it straight away!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone. Obviously this is a problem that many with Vizsla's have. I currently have a gentle lead (same as halti) and a choke collar. Niether give Catan a reason to pause. From what Gunnr has said the trick is to go for a walk without any real expectation of going anywhere. I think that's where I fail. I always feel like the purpose of walking is to get him some exercise. If I wait for him to stop pulling we wont be going anywhere.
 

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Our Pup is 4 months and we have a gentle leader. We learned that it works great when its on properly. However, with V's and their silky coats and extra puppy skin it slips often no matter how tight it is. She sits on command very well, so on walks we stop every so often to sit and re-adjust the neck strap back right under her ears (essentially pulling the extra skin down). This has helped tremendously! We are hoping this is temporary and it will fit better when she grows.

We are also very conscious of keeping a loose leash when she is walking properly (our trainer told us that is the most common mistake using a leader since we are so used to them pulling).

Hope that helps a bit!
 

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Lisa said:
the trick is to go for a walk without any real expectation of going anywhere
. I think that's where I fail. I always feel like the purpose of walking is to get him some exercise. If I wait for him to stop pulling we wont be going anywhere.
Exactly.

Catan isn't getting ready for the ironman, and in all honesty he'll get plenty of exercise.
Leash training is like potty training. It's a progressive process. I always start off with the walk at heel before they are allowed the full extension of the leash. Once they are walking at heel, and returning to the heel when commanded I switch to a 30' lead ( rope) and give them a little more freedom. When I can walk them at a slack lead, and let them go to the end of the lead and bring them back to the heel with voice command I switch to a 75'-100' lead and repeat. At this time the Come and stay commands are also worked in. it's kinda like having a dog on a wire.
With Vizsla's it really doesn't take long, the biggest obstacle is that they don't respond to pressure well, and will tend to shutdown when they get confused, or I get overbearing. At this point I take a step back, because I've missed something somewhere and start them at a more remedial step/task that they can accomplish. I always try to end on a positive fun note.

Marishavh

With a puppy that young, keep your sessions really short, 5-10 min max, and make them fun. In fact one little exercise would be to put Elwood on a leash and walk/jog backwards all the time calling him and making a big fuss over him. Stop and give him pets and work around obstacles like trees and cars. Make a big deal of it. All happy voices. This begins the process of him paying attention to your movement. it will make things a lot easier in the next few months.
 

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I've been doing serious leash work with Oscar from day one! I'm 95% there but he still seems to want to forget everything quite often! Its really frustrating. I've tried the turns that gunnr suggests, the tugs on the lead everything. He now doesn't ever actually pull on the leash but still likes to get in front a good body length!! I'm fine with it but i wish i could master the "actual walking to heel" bit!
 

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jas said:
I've been doing serious leash work with Oscar from day one! I'm 95% there but he still seems to want to forget everything quite often! Its really frustrating. I've tried the turns that gunnr suggests, the tugs on the lead everything. He now doesn't ever actually pull on the leash but still likes to get in front a good body length!! I'm fine with it but i wish i could master the "actual walking to heel" bit!
Get a longer lead 9'-12'. Hook the leash to his collar as normal, and then bring the leash straight to your hand, with just a little slack. You should have about 6'-9' of extra lead. Make a loop from your hand under his belly, and turn him into a piece of luggage. When he goes forward, bring your hand back and up, if everything is rigged correctly, it's actually just a **** of the wrist. This will bring him back to the heel and exert pressure on his belly. In order to avoid the pressure he has to arch his back and return to frame to release the pressure.
One more trick is to connect the leash to his collar as normal. Bring the leash around your back about belt height, and hold it in your left hand. When he pulls forward, you turn into the leash, and tighten it around your waist/belt. He'll be coming back on that spin move. You weigh more than he does and you've just turned your body into a capstan.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Catan and I went for our 'walk' last night. As expected we didn't get very far. It really didn't phase him that we weren't going anywhere. He was very happy to smell the ground, eat the snow, dig in the snow and then the dirt below the snow. For the most part he ignored every command I gave him. In class or in the house if I tell him to 'get in' he will get in the heal position. Sometimes last night upon being given the command 'get in' he would sit where he was. The best I got from him a couple of times was for him to reversed about 3 inches. Also I couple of times when I changed directions he whined a bit. Otherwise he didn't seem to be aware that I was around or show that he was bothered by not walking. He was just so intense about smelling everything (the same twenty feet of space for a half hour).
 

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Lisa

I'm going to assume that your "get in" command is the same as my "heel up" command.
Has Catan been taught to "sit",and was it done in the typical obediance fashion by pulling up on the leash, and giving the command simultaneously? ( I never teach "sit". I have my own reasons though.)
I ask because you said that he sat on you a few times, which to me is either confusion, or he's responding to what he believes is another command cue that he believes he missed.

Can you take him to a place where there is less sensory stimulation? This way you can have more of his attention on you. I hate to say he's being disobedient when it could just be a case of sensory overload. It won't happen overnite, he's going to need some time to get on board with the new program. Keep at it, but don't get frustrated and take it out on him, or you'll take a big step backward. Both of myy dogs did exactly what Catan is doing to you for the first few weeks I had them, so don't believe it's "just you". ;)

I wish I knew more about how to upload video to the 'net. I'd try to setup a camera and run the girls through the heel exercise,( they can always use more work) and then post it. Sometimes seeing something done answers the questions.
If anybody could help me with this by pointing me to good info. I'd be happy to find a way to post video somewhere. ???
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Gunnr - Yes I believe my 'get in' is the same as you 'heal up'. In the house or in the obedience class he will sit on command with just voice instruction. Originally we were taught to give a tug of the leash if the command was not followed. Generally he will sit in those cases now with only a voice command. No chance outside. Last night I did no tugging whatsoever, just voice command.

He does in class have trouble keeping the sit when the dogs are moving around. If all the dogs are in sit he can do very well. His brain is stuck on play play play though. He will do everything asked of him in class but all the time between task I spend fighting him to keep away from the other dogs. The instructors have said to give him a very hard tug at these times to re-focus him.

I don't think I have anywhere else I could go with him that isn't outdoors. Would love to see any videos you can put together. Hopefully you get that figured out. If you search under Catan Vizsla on You Tube you will find a video of my guy as a pup with his mother.

Thanks for you help.
 

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Lisa

You know, you may just have to wait for him to grow up a little bit more. A little more maturity, and he may just settle out on his own. He sounds like a very nice willing dog that just has to learn to deal with distractions, and unfortunately that just takes experience.
I wouldn't radically change anything you're doing. Add a little here and there to keep his attention and keep him interested in things. I would back off on the sit command a little bit. It may help you move forward with the heel.

That's a nice video. She's being pretty gentle with him, even when he goes for a tumble. At the end they were just playing and mock fighting.
If you really want to have some fun, watch an older horse teach a young horse respect. Fences, and round pen panels can go flying if it gets out of hand. :eek:
 

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Lisa,
Kian was in the same boat on walks.
He would pull us all over the place (sometimes still does)
In the a.m. walks he is a gem, but in the evenings he's a little more feistier.
We have tried the technique of stopping dead in our tracks when he pulls, he used to want to keep going. Now he will either stop and back up and sit beside us or he will stop, back up and whine slightly.
It took us quite some time to get to this point. But as you have seen Kian at his best we still have a long way to go with him....especially when he steals someone's glove :D

Gunner,
If you can get some video of your techiques, try uploading it to YouTube. You will have to creat a username and if the video is not too big of a file it shouldn't take too long. It may take a day or two for the people at YouTube to allow it to be viewed by the general public but it should get posted.
 

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We had the same issues when Penny was learning to walk. We experimented with different collars, trainers, and techniques. She learned the basic healing with a trainer that used choke collars, and we moved on to one that used just treats for coaxing a good heal. Both sort of worked. We did lots of practice inside, just going around the living room, stopping every few feet to a sit. Same thing outside. We did end up going with a harness (with the buckle in the front, not the top). It was supposed to be a temporary tool but we used it for so many walks and it did help her not pull that it has become our default walking collar. After a year and a half of using it she walks great--in decent heal when I want, or just not pulling otherwise. But we have to use the harness. I don't think it makes a physical difference--she doesn't pull much, but she knows what it means. If we try just using her simple buckle collar and a leash she can be a nightmare. So I think our lesson was consistency and patience. I can even now put her on a long retractable leash with the harness in the forest preserve (where she can't be off leash unfortunately) and she does a great job running around and beside me within the big radius, not pulling me at the end of the rope.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Crazy Kian - no worries about the glove. It's not like it hasn't been stolen by a vizsla before. Also felt good to know that Catan isn't the only thief around.

JP - Can you describe this harness a bit more? I've seen one that goes around the front legs as well. Is it like that?
 

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Not to endorse any specific product, this is the one I just bought for the third time.
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2751027

First one lasted a day (don't leave it on when not with them as it can and will be chewed.) The second lasted a year with the occasional chewing when wound up.

The product doesn't do any magic, it was the practice with it that made the difference. Also no guarantees when I bird flies by--I've had to hold on tight as she ran and jumped straight up.
 

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that is the one we have thought of getting for Kian, but a part of me is hoping he will get it one day and be a good Vizzie that likes to walk by our side and not too far ahead.
one can dream, right :p
 
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