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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Venting About Bad Walks

Alright, everyone...I trust you all so much and you've been since a big help during the last 6 months, that I just need to vent and ask for advice. I'll warn you now, this is long.



When we first adopted JoJo, I remember coming and asking about the wild walks we'd have. I know I need to get her into some obedience training, but we haven't yet.

Today was the final straw. We took her for a morning walk, and from the beginning it was awful. She pulled on her harness so much, there were times I was afraid she'd pull the leash out of my hand!! Towards the end, we encountered squirrels. (oh no!)
As soon as she saw them, she started baying and howling so loud (and it was only 830), and pulling on the leash. She actually lunged forward so hard, she almost knocked my 3 year-old down, trying to get to these squirrels. I was so embarrassed! I had someone across the parking lot yell at us b/c she was so loud and I couldn't control her. I had no idea how to respond to this aside from blocking her from trying to get away, and keep her moving. It was a horrible experience.
By the time we got within .10 mile of the house, she'd pulled on her harness so much she was wheezing and breathing so hard.

How do I react to this?
We do have one of those head harnesses and I'm hesitant to use it during our long walks b/c she starts foaming at the mouth (can't breathe as well in the heat with it on). But she does behave with it on.
What are some other methods I can use - I don't really want to use the head harness. I'd much rather train her to walk properly on a loose leash, and not go to crazy while walking. I don't want the neighbors disturbed and I don't want my children hurt b/c she's got that one-track beagle mind outside.
We've tried to stop and make her sit when she pulls on the leash, but it takes SO long to just get even a small walk in b/c we have to stop and make her sit evern 2 feet. Am I giving in too easily??
It's just gotten to the point where the behavior is out of control. She really does rule the house.
She's started biting my kids on the bottoms. Just jumping up and snipping them. She's been nipping at them on the legs, too...I'm just at my wit's end and truly fed up. (I think moreso with myself for allowing it to get to this point).
I can't even answer the door without her running out and down the sidewalk - then I have to chase her. I feel so bad when we have people come over and I'm constantly apologizing for her behavior.

Please, any advice (good or bad) is welcomed. We have to make this better.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

I've been lucky with Dixie. I used the walk away where if she starts pulling I would turn around and let her have some length then when she gets 4ft of length in the leash (Retractable leash) and I would stop it and it would instantly cause her to be jerked back. I used a chest harness to min. injury to the neck but it worked and now she walks beside me, and when she does start pulling on the leash I just tug on it and she pulls back with me.

As for the squirrels and such, I just hold a firm grip on the leash and just keep walking without stopping making her keep moving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Venting About Bad Walks

We do use a chest harness. She pulls so hard it's like her front end is off the ground sometimes!
I've tugged on the leash - we have a retractable and a regular leash for different types of walks - and it doesn't seem to do much. It's almost like you can see her think okay, quick stop, now back to pulling.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Originally Posted By: tntnjmom
When we first adopted JoJo, I remember coming and asking about the wild walks we'd have. I know I need to get her into some obedience training, but we haven't yet.
I think you've answered your own question with the above.

There is only so much learning you can do from reading info on the net, or in books, without having someone show you how to implement a training method that works for you and your dog.

All the problems you described - pulling on the leash, ignoring you, getting distracted by small animals/scents etc are all things that a good trainer will help you with. A good trainer can have a dog walking on a basic loose leash in fifteen minutes. You need to do some obedience with her and do some focus work with her. You need training so you can learn how to handle her effectively
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Originally Posted By: tntnjmomWe do use a chest harness. She pulls so hard it's like her front end is off the ground sometimes!
I've tugged on the leash - we have a retractable and a regular leash for different types of walks - and it doesn't seem to do much. It's almost like you can see her think okay, quick stop, now back to pulling.
A harness in many cases will make pulling worse because it's giving the dog the control, a lot of their strength comes from their front.

I walk Daisy on a martingale collar but it's not so much about the tool you use as it is about the method.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Your JoJo sounds like my Shiloh B. I used the head collar but it didn't always do the trick as well as using a chest harness-

http://www.softouchconcepts.com/products/sense_sation_harness.html

Even using them in combo didn't always work - he'd pull and struggle so much and I would lose my balance and eventually end up on the ground. If that happened, it was all over - with all the struggling between us - somehow he managed to get loose and follow any good scent all over the neighborhood and beyond. After talking to several Beagle owners, finally decided it was time to turn to something called a no-slip or martingale collar - some people suggested an electronic collar but could not afford it and I wouldn't have bought one even if I did. Anyway, this is what I use now and poor Shiloh B. doesn't know what to do now - no matter how hard he tries, he has not gotten away from me once -

http://www.kingwholesale.com/Shopping/Itemlist.cfm?Id=6300

Yes, it does operate along the same concept as the choke chain (which I'm not real happy about using) but Shiloh B. is also learning that the less he pulls and struggles then our walks go easier. If we are are out walking and he starts struggling - I know that Shiloh B. is the one who tightens the leash, not me - I just stay calm, no yelling and keep on walking. As he calms down, the collar loosens.

BTW - this harness has it's connector on the front, the chest strap.
Also, it's important to remain calm - I just tell Shiloh B. - This is the way we are going and if you don't like it, tough.
And yes, really should get in some obedience classes - it will teach JoJo who really is in charge and it sounds like that is what she needs most.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

It sounds to me like you have a dog who wants to be alpha and in charge. My experience with Rocky is minimal, as he is only 4.5 months old but I have been doing a lot of reading and implementing it right away so as to avoid having problems. As for JoJo nipping the kids, you mentioned a 3 year old and I don't know how old your other one(s) is(are) so I am thinking they are too young to show JoJo who's boss so you need to. Do not leave her unsupervised around the kids and I would suggest a short leash so you can correct her as soon as she behaves in a peer or dominant fashion with the kids. I find when we are at the trailer park that Rocky jumps on the wee ones more because he seems to think they are puppies like him, so I pull him back as soon as he makes a move to jump. It's working, slowly. My children are older and have been taught how to stop him, and he respects them more than before (loud no then ignore him, knee up to interrupt his jump).

As to the pulling on the walks, Rocky will do it too, and he's quite strong for a young guy, so I have to be very vigilant. He has a retractible lead and every now and then, and at differnt distances, I will pull him back, just so he knows that pulling gets him nowhere. A month or so ago we had a truly horrible couple of days where he wouldn't listen and he pulled horribly. I reversed direction a lot that walk and I think in 10 minutes we may have advanced a block! I was exhausted when we got home...All that to say, be persistent, and the walks will be short, but right now JoJo needs to learn that pulling will get her nothing and that you are in charge.

I also agree with smeagle...you need to get some training with her to learn how to handle this.

Good luck!! Keep us posted...
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Colby was really bad with pulling when I first got him. I used a prong collar with him and it worked wonderfully. We are now walking with just a regular flat collar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Thank you so much for your responses.
I completely agree that we need training.
Our cat recently passed away, and during the months prior we were at the vet with both of them - dealing with his illness and JoJo's stress colitis. Our money went to vet bills rather than obedience training.
I will definitely be getting her into training soon, though. I can't let this be further out of control than it is.

My kids are 3 & 6. The youngest gets very freaked out around her sometimes b/c he knows how strong she is. The oldest LOVES to play with JoJo, but she's tired of getting nipped at, too. She's old enough to learn some of the techniques and I'll start working with her today.

I was reading in another thread about the NILIF rules - and it seems like a good beginning for us.
She definitely does think she's the head of the house and it has to stop. We need a peaceful home where she's a part of the family and not the head.

I'll keep you updated!
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

I wanted to add a note - something I forgot to mention before about JoJo nipping at your kids. It's very important also - when they are playing with JoJo, they will probably want to run as in a game of chase or to just get away from her. That will just encourage JoJo - she likely believes it is all a game of chase and it's just natural for your children to want to run to get away from her. JoJo needs to hear from you that this is not acceptable and at the same time, try to get the children to not run, if they do, when they are around her.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

NILIF is a great place to start, tntnjmom. We often don't realise how much an impact our daily interactions with our dogs makes on their overall behaviour. Changing the little things we do with them (or don't do with them in some cases!) can really make a big difference overall.

The nipping is usually excitement - if I run around the house and get Daisy excited she has to fight the urge to nip the bottom of my shorts. I would be teaching the kids they have to be calm around JoJo - no running around, no screaming etc. It can also help to put JoJo on a leash when she's in a situation where she could get excited so you can reel her in if she starts to get carried away, and reward her for focusing on you.

Along with NILIF I would be working on teaching basic commands like 'look'. It can be really useful as a basic focus exercise, I worked on it at home and slowly introduced more distractions so that now we're at a point where I can tell Daisy to 'look' when we're on a walk and she'll give me her full attention.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Smeagle, I haven't heard of anyone doing the look command. Can you give me more detail on it please? Rocky is pretty obedient but I think it would be helpful on walks so that when I have him sit he gives me his attention....he's so interested in what's around him!
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

NILIF is excellent, also Cesar milan's books, but as Smeagle says, there is nothing like first-hand training.
As far as fearing about letting go of the leash is concerned, for us it was essential that that didnt happen with our two, when we first got them. They would have run off in a panic and probably have been killed, by the hunter or a car. So we used, still use, a body-leash. See photo.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Originally Posted By: A doghouseNILIF is excellent, also Cesar milan's books, but as Smeagle says, there is nothing like first-hand training.
As far as fearing about letting go of the leash is concerned, for us it was essential that that didnt happen with our two, when we first got them. They would have run off in a panic and probably have been killed, by the hunter or a car. So we used, still use, a body-leash. See photo.
Very cool! I've never seen a body leash before. Our luck, with as strong as she is for such a small dog, I'd be on my face if she tugged too hard and the leash got out of my hand!

It's going to take some work, and I've been talking with the kids about not getting her riled up, and not reacting when she comes licking and begging for attention...but instead to go to her when she's behaving to play.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Patience and consistency worked for us! Roscoe was a little fireball on walks up until he was about 1yr 6mos, he is only 2 years old now! We shortened up his leash for a long time until he got it, and had to use a harness b/c no matter which collar we used, he slipped out of it many times.
We are still working with Cole, who will be 1 next month. He seems to be a lot easier to train than Roscoe but that may also be b/c of our experiences with Roscoe. We use a split lead with Roscoe and Cole and that seems to have reduced Coles pulling and craziness.
In terms of acting crazy when they see animals, that is tough. They are hounds, they get excited! We do the turn around and walk the other way, body blocking and short leash.
They howl and bark when people or other dogs are coming near but only b/c they want to say hi, once they can sniff the dog or person they calm down. We are working on making them sit when someone is approaching and it has been working MOST of the time, still working.
Gino, the largest dog we have at 38 pounds, is a little tank! His problem isnt pulling but just the opposite, putting on the brakes. He is half basset so the stubborness is there, but he too has gotten much better on walks in the past 4 months! He has a Martingale collar and I like it for him b/c he is stockier than the other two and I feel like I have more control. I tried a harness on him and I didnt like it at all.
You have to find what works for you and your dogs and which method you feel comfortable implementing.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Hmmm, I suspect my advice is not going to help much! 99% of Bagel's walk are like you descibe except I use a 35 foot lead so he seldom gets to the end of his lead before something distracts his nose. Now that is because most walks are for him and they are Bagel adventures and I let him take the lead. He knows how to and will polite walk (heal) and on those rare occasions we do polite walk. I agree, when Bagel is on a sniff adventure he has a tracking harness woth the lead attached to the back so I can pull him back from the rattlesnake or badger or whatever trouble his nose gets him into but for polite walks it is a short leash attached to his collar held with him keying on my left leg and me holding the leash in the middle with my left hand, tugging up when I stop walking so he sits pretty. Took me a couple packages of sliced coldcuts and a couple weeks to train to sit and polite walk while sniff walking comes natural to a beagle.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

I agree bob! I let the beags sniff as much as they want, I wish they were able to run free but I know that is not safe or realistic.
I like your idea of using such a long lead, is it easy to reel them back in? I only fear with 3 they might get too tangled!
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

I wish we had the space for such a long lead. I'd let her run like that b/c she LOVES it.
However, for where we are, it's not practical. (oh I wish it were!) There are fields where we go that we let the retracable out as long as it'll go and she can arooo and bay all she wants. But when walking with the kids around the neighborhood, I've really got to get her walking pretty on a shorter leash.

We've had great success with stay today. Now I just need someone to go to the door so we can try then.
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

Originally Posted By: Rocky is our boySmeagle, I haven't heard of anyone doing the look command. Can you give me more detail on it please? Rocky is pretty obedient but I think it would be helpful on walks so that when I have him sit he gives me his attention....he's so interested in what's around him!
Sure Rocky - it's pretty simple. All you are commanding is that the dog looks at you - so you want to train them to give you eye contact on a cue word. There are lots of ways to do it, but many people train it by luring the dog's eyes to yours.

I find that Daisy will look at me when I have food, so this behaviour can be one that is easy to shape. What is your feeding routine at night time? Daisy must sit and stay for her food, but she also has to look at me instead of at the food bowl. If you already get Rocky to sit/stay for his dinner, but he doesn't look at you for permission to eat, try saying his name when he is in the sit/stay so he looks at you - the instant he does release him to his food so he learns that looking at you = dinner.

Now try this with a treat. The instant the dog looks at you when you have the treat in your hand say 'yes' (or click if you use a clicker) and give him the treat. Once he does this a few times you can incorporate the command 'look' so when you have a treat in your hand, and he looks at you, say 'look' and treat him. You can build the look command by doing this, you can also build it by luring the treat to your face so the dog looks up at you. If you do a search on youtube you'll find lots of videos about teaching the look command too
 

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Re: Venting About Bad Walks

I never thought of making it formal but in training Bagel to heal I used small pieces of coldcuts in my left hand to get him to key on my left leg so when I'd stop he'd stop and sit pretty and then he would get his treat. I'd make 49 treats out of one square slice of coldcut. He now just gets praise and an ear scratch but when we polite walk he still keys on and watches (looks I guess). Seems that making eye contact and communicating with your canine is important to get your pet to sit, stay, heal, come, lie down, or whatever you want them to do. Formalizing the command makes perfect sense!
 
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