Hungarian Vizsla Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have a new Vizsla pup named Remy, short for Remington. He's coming up on 6 months and we picked him up at 9 weeks old. We have him crate trained. He knows basic commands well and we just completed a 6 week obedience course that promotes treats to shape behavior. The course was OK, but not great. Still have issues with: over excitement when guest arrive, jumping up to greet guests, tinkling on guests shoes, paws on counters/table, and pulling on leash. The latter is what I would like some thoughts on. He now weighs 40 pounds and is getting difficult to walk when the pulling starts. I have a close friend that has 3 Labs and has had excellent results with the prong collar. I don't know anyone who has used the Easy Walk Harness made by Premier. My wife is in the camp that thinks the prong collar is inhumane and wants the harness. I simply want results. I stumbled onto this resource (below) and it made sense and does not harm the dog. I also think that when I use treats constantly I don't feel the dog is obeying ME, he's simply doing it for the treat, and I shouldn't have to take a bag of treats with me whenever we go for a walk. I look forward to everyones thoughts on this topic.

http://www.johnknowsdogs.com/prong-collar-use.htm

Thanks,
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
I should start by saying I don’t know everything about dog training, I am still learning and most of what I say is what my trainers / books have told me that has worked for Mercutio and I.

I think there is a misconception about treat-training that you will always need to have your pockets full of dog treats, this was certainly my mis-conception until I started clicker training. What actually happens is that you use the treat to introduce the concept to your dog but he only gets rewarded after he does the behaviour – you don’t use the treat to lure him into position after the first one or two attempts. Then as he understands what you are asking you ‘fade out’ the food. Studies have shown that intermittent rewarding actually cements the behaviour into a dog’s mind more than continual reward anyway. So after a little while you only use the food reward every now and then. Mercutio is treat trained but he certainly doesn’t get a bit of food every time I ask him to sit or go to his blanket. However I will probably always carry my treats with me on walks because you never know when a training opportunity will crop up. If a cat pops up in front of his nose when I’ve asked him to stay (as happened last week) I certainly think he deserves more of a reward for holding the stay than a ‘nice doggy’ and a pat on the head.

My trainer thinks the harness are very good because they help physically balance young dogs, particularly bigger leggy breeds that can be a bit wobbly with their back legs at first. “Balanced body, balanced mind, calm behaviour” was how they put it.

Nothing will teach your dog to walk nicely at heel unless you put a lot of time and patience into it. You won’t just ‘get results’ If you use a prong collar, or any other kind of training device, you risk becoming just as dependent on it as you think you might become dependent on the treats. I know someone who used an electronic collar to stop their dog barking. Unfortunately what the dog learnt was to hide every time they picked up the collar, it never learnt not to bark. Do you want your dog to hide every time you want to go for a walk?

At the end of the day though, you can train a dog to walk nicely at heel with a flat collar and lead as long as you are prepared to put the time and effort in and the behaviour will be much more reliable than if you use a short-cut.

I have a link to a great video showing how to train walk at heel with a flat collar which I’ll post as soon as I can find it again.

There are many more people on this forum who have a lot more experience than me with training so I’d like to hear their opinions as well.
I’ll get off the soapbox now :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I agree that you need to teach your puppy how to walk properly. In fact, all of your complaints are related to typical puppy behavior.

Have you signed up for a puppy training class? A good class will address all of the issues you mentioned as "problems" with your puppy. but realize that your puppy needs training and guidance from you to know what behaviors are and aren't acceptable. You can't just expect him to know what is right and wrong if he's not taught properly.

Prong collars are for lazy idiots who don't take the time to train their dogs properly. And they can breed fear and pain. You don't want your 6 month old puppy to fear you and think you are going to cause him pain. And I can't imagine seening a sensitive V in a prong collar.

Teaching to walk respectfully on a leash is not hard. Tire your puppy out and do short training sessions. When the dog pulls, stop him and make him sit. When he calms down and walks nice, give him a treat. Do short sessions where the dog can get lots of treats. Do a couple of sessions a day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
John

First things first. You have a 6 month old vizsla puppy. He's not an adult dog yet. You're going to have inconsistent behavior and results. It's just the nature of a dog that age.
I'm not an advocate of pinch collars, or choke chains. In the hands of an experienced handler they are an effective aid. In inexperienced hands the results can border on cruel if not used properly. The same with eCollars. Very effective tools, but they too can be abusive if used improperly.

Any aid, pinch collar, choke collar, or eCollar, is an "extension of the leash" They are not the primary training device. Once a behavior is established these device allow the handler to "extend the leash" by using the principles of re-enforcement. The key is that the command, or behavior has to already be taught.

Vizsla's can be tough because of their energy levels, some would call it hyper, but they are a very biddable, soft dog by nature. They are highly intelligent, and pick up things so quickly that as owners we a lulled into a false level of confidence in them and our abilities. We think they are rock solid because they pick up a command so quickly, but the component that is lacking is the time required to make that behavior a patterned response. It's very easy to suspend the training of a command because they appear to get it so qiuckly, we believe we are done with that.


The heel can be tough. I know that people erroneously believe it to be one of the easier commands, but is isn't. The heel is control, and it is a command that really needs to be instilled. It is what keeps a dog safe and under control.
If a dog comes when called, and heels properly it's almost enough by themselves if the dog learns no other commands.
The end result is that the dog should heel naturally without command or use of a leash, and be commanded to move off, or released from the heel without a leash.

Put them on a 9'-12' leash and keep a loop in your off hand. when they begin to pull on the leash, or move in a direction you aren't, drop the loop and immediately change direction, 90-180 degrees. Don't pull or yank on the leash. Drop the loop , change direction and keep walking at an even pace. They will be momentarily off balance from the release of the pressure when you drop the loop, and will have to move in the new direction to regain their balance. Keep a loop in your hand and change direction every time they exerts pressure on the leash. When they yield and changes direction walk backward encouraging them. Give them the come command and kneel and praise them. There has to be reward
Each time you change direction give them a short whistle cue. I use two quick whistles when I change direction. It means to the dog, Pay Attention to me! It's not the "Come here" whistle, it's one where I want there attention on me. When you change direction in the woods grouse hunting, this is the same signal you will want to give them to move in the same direction as you are, even though you may be a couple hundred feet apart. All of my Vizsla's have been very communicative. I communicate with them constantly during training and hunting, either by voice, whistle, clap, or slap on the thigh.
I like to use the longer lead, 9'-12'. I keep a section of the lead in my left hand ,and have the remainder sort of loosely looped in my right hand. There is enough lead in my right hand though to twirl the excess lead in front of my dogs nose. If they start to move forward they get a little"bip" under the jaw. Nothing harsh just the weight of the lead.
When you do the heel to the left, expect that they won't pay attention. You are going to purposely run into them with your knee, once again no rough stuff like purposely kneeing them. You are just going to "walk through them" and keep going. It's very planned. Work them in a "square" to the left a few times and then the right. Eventually you put everything to together in a random sequence.
At some point they will just sit down, or refuse to move. They are confused now,and don't know what to do. When this happens take a Big Step back on their training. Talk to them, soothe them, and then gently move them off in a straight line at the heel. They're done for this session. finish on a positive.

It's amazing how similar walking a dog at the heel is, to walking a horse at lead. The training is pretty similar also. The horse is just 7' tall. ;)

I personally do not use treats during training. If a person wants to though, it's their dog not mine, so it's a personal decision that is theirs. I do use treats to test the dog to see whether or not it is "playing dumb" with me, and trying to take advantage of me. I've caught mine at it from time to time through the years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I agree with most of the comments. We've been making excellent progress with Remy to date. Whether a harness or a prong collar, these are just tools to aid in the learning process. We understand that. My friend has raised labs for years and currently has 3. He loves them dearly and is NOT a 'lazy idiot'. Prong collars have helped him over the years in the training process so his experience (results) have been quite positive. I was simply trying to see if others in this forum have had success with either of these tools while training their Vs.

Gunnr/Mercutio - You have provided some very sound instruction that we will need to first rehearse to make sure we understand and then practice with Remy.

I'll post an update with our progress.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
John

We had labs as a kid, and pits, they all had choke chain type collars, but if my dad ever caught us yanking on one,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, well let's just say it wouldn't happen again any time soon. :eek:

I believe you'll find that with a Vizsla you won't need a pinch collar. Some folks do use them and there's nothing wrong with that as long as they are used correctly.
The Vizsla is not built anywhere near as rugged as the lab. They don't have that big heavy coat, or extra muscle and fat around their necks that a lab, or a chessie would have. A normal 1" leather safety collar should be more than enough for them.
I use a combination of a regular collar, a harness and an eCollar. The eCollar has to be introduced properly, but since we also use an invisible fence the transition is pretty easy for the dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
As I know that I am not a "lazy idiot" I will try and explain why I have been using a pinch collar on my 13 month old V.

We have been through 3 obedience/companion dog classes, and have been at the top of those classes, so don't think she is a "problem" dog or that I don't know anything about training. While Reba had no problem picking up all of the other commands the one thing that was a continual stuggle was walking at heel correctly. Reba would not drag me around, but she would pull strongly. I have used a martingale collar when she was younger, liked it alot, but did not like having to snap the collar sharply to correct her. With the help of our trainer we tried a choke collar, but I had trouble keeping it in the correct place on her neck with out holding the leash tight. The pinch collar allows me to make a small correction with minimal force. I at no time jerk on the collar and most of the time a small movement of my little finger allows me to obtain the result I desire. (walking on a loose leash etc)

KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE USING A PINCH COLLAR!!! YOU CAN SERIOUSLY INJURE YOUR DOG IF YOU USE IT INCORRECTLY!!!

If you have a resource that allows you to obtain a goal with more efficiency, use it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Just one more comment on treats - when I say I use treats to train it's actually the dog's food for the day so it's small pieces of the meat part of his diet or kibble or maybe bits of chicken for new / difficult things. Whatever I don't use when training he is dinner. So he isn't getting two full bowls of food plus lots and lots of 'dog treats' every day. It means he doesn't get fat ;) and also he is earning his food and learning that he needs to do what the humans ask if he wants to eat.

I don't think everyone should necessarily use food as a reward, you just need to find a reward that works for you and your dog. I am however a fan of positive-reinforcement or reward-based training. There are boundaries with this kind of training as well - it's not about letting the dog do what it wants. For example Merc learnt really fast not to jump on people because he tried it with us a few times and all that happened was we turned our backs and walked away - he didn't get what he wanted (attention) until he had four feet on the ground.

My last dog, as a teenager years ago, was trained with a choke chain at obedience classes and it worked but now I have the clicker I wouldn't go back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the wonderful advice. I've ordered the Premier Easy Walk Harness which should be in next week. We walked today with a few treats and many stops along the way. He was OK, he left me with one functional arm :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Here's an update -- The Easy Walk Harness arrived today. It's pretty straight forward to adjust and fit to the dog. The leash attaches to a D-ring on a Martingale loop right on the sternum. This is the most important part of the fitting. Once I connected the leash I could instantly feel a difference. Remy did not pull for most of our normal 1/2 mile walk! There is one area on the walk where he typically likes to bolt but as the leash tension increased, I simply stopped and the tension pulled him to his right (he was on my left side) and that was it. By no means was it a perfect walk, but it is the first time that I have walked him without pain in one of my arms and no gasping for air from him! I was skeptical, but this harness works.

Thanks for all the advice. I think we're on our way now!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
That's great news! I hope your walks continue to be enjoyable for both of you.

If you're ultimate goal is to be able to walk down the street with just a flat collar and lead though you'll have to keep training that or you'll both become dependent on the harness.

Thanks for letting us know how it worked out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
I don't agree with the lazy idiot comment. Some people train their dogs perfectly but when their instinct kicks in to chase something are you going to hold back a 80lb dog with a flat collar? What if there is ice. I like to try flat collar, then move to martingale, then gentle leader if I must, if those are not as effective as I need them to be then I go to the prong. Only for a short time then I try them back on the martingale to see if their behaviour is still good. I do agree with the poster that says it is effective in the right hands. I have seen a trainer "training" 2 min pins by picking them up by the leash on choke chains to make them sit and they weren't going to sit. Prong's are safer then choke chains.
The easy walk harness I find is just so strange, its in the front and the dogs can't walk properly. It just looks uncomfy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
We actually picked up an Easy Walk harness yesterday since my back and arm have been a little messed up lately and walking O has been a challenge for me. We noticed a difference as soon as we put it on. She never got to the pulling stage at all so, so far we're happy with it.

I think doing a combination of the walk training with the regular collar/harness mixed with the Easy Walk for the days when my back just won't take it is the best solution for us.

Glad to hear that it has worked so well for you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
To each his own...I guess.

I have found great success with the pinch collars. I rarely have to pull back to correct on them and we are able to enjoy walking and visiting stores.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,981 Posts
Prong collars used incorrectly or for extended periods (dog left tied to tree for example) WILL easily aggravate any dog.
I used a pinch collar on our V but took it off as soon as he started pulling.

Now, we use the Easy Walk harness with no problems. The key to this harness is it unballances the dog as soon as he gets ahead.
Initially, walking was be a breeze. Once he got used to it pulling habit returned but nothing as hard as before. In this case we pick up the walking pace in the direction we want to go. If we walk fast enough (almost speed walking) the dog has less time to react to smells and sounds and lastly sights.

I think our Sam boy Viszla is not an easy dog but did wonders to our health.
Better than an apple a day.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top