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Discussion Starter #1
Hi peoples,

My Vis is 8 months old now and hes a nightmare on the lead. All he want to do is pull, **** his leg and sniff everything.

Please can everyone tell me what they found the best way to stop there Vis pulling and at what sort of age.

Many thanks!
Andy
 

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Hi there richmond,

I have a 9 month old girl Vizsla and she was the worst at walking on a loose lead.. All through training she was the worst in school... But I stayed on it and now at nine months she seem to be getting the hang of it....

First of all I put her in a harness and the lead attaches at the front beside her chest. then the painful bit comes every time she pulled on the lead I stopped I mean every time the slightest pull and I stopped until she came back to heal some time only moving 2 paces it was really painful... I would walk her on the lead for about 20 - 40 minutes then let her off for about an hour...

It seems to have worked so far but I spoke to a few trainers and they said this was one of the best ways to do it... Some people say to put a choker lead on but I did not like..

I am no expert this is just what worked for me and Amber...
 

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Andy

You are at the point where you need to teach the "Walk at Heel".
I've copied a previous post i wrote;

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. Don't let the dog pick the direction. Walk them up to the house, or car at th eheel. if they start to anticipate ans pull towards the objective, do a 180 and move them off in the opposite direction and then bring them back until they stop anticipating and pulling.
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.

The end result is a dog walking at your left knee. His shoulder should be even with your knee, and there should be slack in the lead. Vizslas will pick this up very quickly. They "generally" pull because they've been allowed to get away with it. Once they're no longer allowed, they change their behavior fairly quickly and adopt the new behavior.

As for the leg cocking, when he's on that leash. He's on your terms, not his. He starts cocking that leg, pull him away unless you've commanded him to do his stuff.
 

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Andy,

Gunnr is giving you the best advise!! I was at my wit's end with Reba, but when I used the method described above it "clicked" with Reba. It didn't happen overnight but it did happen a lot quicker than I thought possible. Best of luck.

P.S. If you feel yourself or your puppy getting frustrated go back to something that you know the pup can do, give the command and once it has been obeyed STOP!! Always finish on a high note. You can always try again tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Gunnr,

How long do you think each 'walk at heel' training session should be? At the moment Leo has 30-40 mins off lead twice a day and 10-15 mins on lead in the evening.

Thanks agai!

Andy
 

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Andy

It's not a timed sessions, at least the formal training component isn't. It may only last a few minutes. Work straight, left, right, reverse, go around obstacles, etc.
Look for the cues that the lesson is going right. You may only get a few steps properly at the heel in the beginning. Make a big deal out of it each time he does something right. Stop praise, and then begin again. Keep your body language light and make it seem as if this was the most fun and natural thing in the world. Always finish on a high note, and then have playtime. I find it also helps to have a playtime session before training. I think they're able to blow off some excess energy and focus their attention more on me.
You can integrate the stay command at the door. Each time he goes in and out the door, command the stay, not sit, and then release him. I had Gunnr, my other Vizsla, on a leash going in and out the door for awhile. That was a drag, but necessary. She'd just about take your feet out from under you getting through that door.
One of my dogs,Tika, pulled like a freight train when I first got her. She'd see that door, and there'd go your arm. She was actually causing me lower back pain on the leash! That's how hard she pulled. One time I remember standing in one spot, holding onto to the truck for support while she pulled toward the door. I thought she was going to choke herself. Finally after about 10-15 minutes she let the pressure off the leash. I brought her back away from the door, and then toward the door and that was it. So be ready to be spontaneus, and flexible and work with the opportunities that present themselves.

Everyone struggles with the walk at heel. It takes time patience and persistence. And of course, lots of praise.
 

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Andy I can reasure you that gunnr's method DOES work although I did make myself feel sick from looking down at Scooby and constantly changing directions ::) we still go back to this method when he 'forgets' to walk nicely and he soons learns.
Good luck with it, one tip we were given re getting his nose of the floor is to have a piece of salami in the palm of your hand so the dog smells that and then gradually reduce the treat smell.
 

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I agree with Scooby, this method WORKS.
We always struggled with Kian and walking him. In the past I tried following Gunnr's instructions but just couldn't get it right.
Now, back up to 3 weeks ago. We had a training session with Kian's trainer, this was to be walking on a leash. Well wouldn't you know it this guy uses the same method Gunnr has written on this forum so many times. Now that we have seen it done properly I can understand what we were doing wrong.
Now when we take Kian for walks it's not on his terms anymore, it's on ours. During his walks we will interrupt the walk with a 5 minute session, either on the sidewalk a schoolyard or a dead end street. This keeps him focused.
Just keep at it, it will click.
When the trainer worked on Kian, he picked it up in less than 5 minutes. At one point he had Kian walking between myself and my girlfriend, the leash was draped over my shoulder. Kian did not leave our sides, always kept looking up at us and checking in.... it was truly amazing that he picked it up THAT quickly. These dogs are extremely smart and willing to please.
Good luck.
 

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After reading this I have just started heelwork with Gunnr's method today. I hope I am doing it right- I did 3 short seesions with Wiley this morning, and in between let him off the lead for a break. He seemed to really get the hang of it actually, and was walking to heel by end of the last session- I'm sure he will have forgotten it all by tomorrow though!
 

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BamBam

He won't forget. He may test you later to see if you're really serious about it though. ;)

Just go slow and give lots of praise. It's literally baby steps at first. I'm happy if I can get 2 or three steps correctly in the first few lessons.
In a week I can jog around the backyard with the dog on the leash at the heel. They pick it up very quickly. The end goal is to have them at heel off the leash, and that takes a little bit more time.
It's really cool to be able to take your Vizsla out for a run in the forest or at the beach. They really get into it.
 

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MDMatt said:
Is it preferable to have your dog walk on the right or left side of you?
The "standard", if you will, is the dog heeled to the left. This is based, as far as I know, on a right handed shotgunner carrying his shotgun in the right hand while walking. If you are a left handed shotgunner, I would have to imagine that it would be the opposite. I have no idea what the standard is in show circles.
In any case the dog would most preferably be to your non dominant side.
I think our friends in the UK could shed more light on this for us from a historical point of view.
 

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Gunner... we too here in the UK are taught to heel on the left but if you prefer to walk your dog on the right you are supposed to use a separate word; ie close, near etc etc. Do you find in your experiences that once the dog has got heel correct in your back garden you still have to train them again in the park, beach, pavements etc etc or do you find them just remembering the word and what to do, as our trainer says that dogs are situational learners -so heel at home to them doesn't mean the same as heel on the pavement.
Many Thanks
BB
 

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BB

The heel in the backyard, or garden, is just the beginning. It instills the basic desired behavior, and puts the picture in the dogs mind. Once in the field, and off lead, it has to be further refined.
Usually I move the dog from the yard to the forest and keep them on the leash for quite some time, so it becomes pretty clear to them the expectation for where they need to be. the only difference is that the 3-4m leash becomes a 10m leash, or checkcord , as I learned to call it. Once off the checkcord they get the feel of a little more freedom and get a little squirrely in the beginning, but if I clip them back on the checkcord straight away and reinforce the heel they get the message pretty quick.
The philosophy of training I learned was termed "extending the leash" . Basically I keep moving the dog farther and farther away from me while under control, so that pschologically they feel that the leash is always there and don't challenge it. I've put a short length of lead on them, maybe 200mm, just long enough to make contact with their shoulder, and they think they have a leash on them. It's wierd. Then again, I've also had 50m+ check cords on them and still didn't have complete control yet. :-[
I can tell you from experience that once a Vizsla learns to heel to the left, you'll have a big fight on your hands ever getting them heel right. they don't "switch hit".
 

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Many thanks for you reply Gunnr, Purdey can heel great on and off lead around house and garden (obviously training sessions) but once out with all the distractions, smells sights sounds and plus her nervousness everything goes out the window. Even trying to get her to focus on me somedays is hopeless. I walk her on a Canny collar which has a lose strap over the nose and only tightens if she pulls -she does well on it but if I use her harness forget it she's all over the place and I am too plus at the end of it I feel my shoulders been dislocated! The frustrating thing is I know she can do it she's very smart as we all know our V's are. Again in your opinion does pulling get worse with age or does the maturity of the dog take over from the distractions? Don't get me wrong I've seen dogs take their owner for walks dragging them where ever they want to go and she's no way like that, Purdeys bum might be at my knee but my walking arm is not out stretched. My problem is she's at an advantage in that posistion and if decided to pull suddenly or gets spooked i've got less control of her.
Many Thanks again
BB
 

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BB

Here are a few things that you can try:

Put a standard 1" wide leather safety collar on her instead of the harness. It gives more control that the harness, but less than the canny collar.

See if some playtime first burns up some of her nervous energy before you start to train her.

When she pulls, immediately drop the 1m loop in your hand and do a 180 and take her the other direction. Do this every single time. You're going to look, and feel ridiculous, but don't let her pick the direction. Even when you are heading back to the car. (I remember once bringing my dog up to my truck about 15-20 times at the forest parking area and having to reverse direction because of his pulling. There were people watching me do this and at the end commented to me " We weren't sure you were ever going to let that poor dog in the truck". Point being was that ice cubes would freeze in hades before he got into that truck at anything other than a slack leash heel.)

Another trick is to put something in front of her face and annoy her with it when she starts to move off. I've used sticks, pieces of broken fishing poles, plastic molding, and once a piece of an old aerial antenna. I recently found an old broken lunge whip that I may use. You're not going to hit her with it, just tap her on the nose, shoulder, neck area. Wave it in front of her face, but just don't hit her with it or get it close to ther eyes. It's just to make her shift her focus away for a moment and allow you to refocus her on you. Usually I just spin the end of the leash in front of their face and it's enough, and gently bump them under the chin.

Another trick is to turn her into a pices of luggage. You'll need a longer leash for this, maybe 4m and it needs to be about a centimeter wide. With the leash clip attached to her collar, bring a section straight up to your left hand, and then place a loop under her belly and bring it back up to your left hand. There should not be a turn of the leash around her midsection. It's just a loop under her.
When she begins to move forward you are going to pull back with the left hand while rotating it to apply pressure to her belly, just pressure though so don't try to pick her back feet up off the ground. You want her to work against the pressure, both at the collar and her belly and put her self in discomfort. It's very important that the leash be fairly wide, and not wrapped around her midsection for her safety. She will pull against it.

The important thing though is to not let her pick the direction or object, even if it's where you intended to go. Move her off and bring her back. And yes, they settle down with age and you sometimes just have to wait for it. As long as they have that deep resevoir of conditioning and training, as they get older more and more kicks in. Sometimes it seems to happen virtually overnite, which is really cool. One day you have a dog, the next day a companion.
 

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Gunnr your replies always inspires me and brings a smile to my face ;) your knowledge and kindness to take the time to help novices like me is a credit to you Many Many Thanks
If only you lived next door!!!!!
BB
 
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