Gentle leader or Easy Walk Harness, puppy pulling on leash - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am attempting to train my 12 1/2 week old puppy to walk on the leash, and he is really pulling on his collar, so want to try either of the two alternatives above. I had an Easy Walk Harness, but he out grew it in a week (English Mastiff so he is a super fast grower!). Which of the two would you recommend for leash training?

Thanks

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#2 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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I've been using the Gentle Leader and am happy with it. It was recommended to me by the woman who taught the basic obedience course we attended.

In addition to the Gentle Leader, I also don't walk forward if the leash is tight due to pulling. I stand still until there is some slack. It's a slow process, but my dog is doing quite well. Also, I bring treats on walks and reward him when he is walking by my side with a little treat and say, "good walking!".

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#3 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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At that young age I would focus more on training loose leash walking than using management....nothing wrong with using either if needed but the goal should be walking with you regardless of what he is wearing. It is easier to train it now while he is still relatively small than waiting til he is really big.

Everytime he starts to pull stops and dont move til there is slack in the leash again or do a complete 180 and briskly walk in the other direction. Make sure you are giving lots of treats and praise while he is in position and maintaining it.

Yes, some walks may be just in front of your house, or up and down your driveway, and thats ok. Its a slow process sometimes Also, I am not positive about mastiffs, but would assume its the same as danes (and there is a good chance you already know this) you want to be very limited on your walks, very short periods of time at this young age.

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#4 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post
At that young age I would focus more on training loose leash walking than using management....nothing wrong with using either if needed but the goal should be walking with you regardless of what he is wearing. It is easier to train it now while he is still relatively small than waiting til he is really big.

Everytime he starts to pull stops and dont move til there is slack in the leash again or do a complete 180 and briskly walk in the other direction. Make sure you are giving lots of treats and praise while he is in position and maintaining it.

Yes, some walks may be just in front of your house, or up and down your driveway, and thats ok. Its a slow process sometimes Also, I am not positive about mastiffs, but would assume its the same as danes (and there is a good chance you already know this) you want to be very limited on your walks, very short periods of time at this young age.


In desperation I did try the gentle leader when Sam was a bit older and going through a pulling phase. Two walks with it and he hated it so much I swear he looked at me and said that if I never put that on him again he'd be good. And he has been. LOL.
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#5 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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oh and if you go the gentle leader route...make sure you take a LONG time to desensitize them to it....it may takes days before they are ready to go for a walk with it.

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#6 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post
At that young age I would focus more on training loose leash walking than using management....nothing wrong with using either if needed but the goal should be walking with you regardless of what he is wearing. It is easier to train it now while he is still relatively small than waiting til he is really big.

Everytime he starts to pull stops and dont move til there is slack in the leash again or do a complete 180 and briskly walk in the other direction. Make sure you are giving lots of treats and praise while he is in position and maintaining it.
I have to agree with greenmagick on this one. At the recommendation of the trainer we were working with at the time, we started our husky mix on a Gentle Leader when she was 4 months old. She NEVER got completely desensitized to it. 9 years later, she still had never gone for a walk when she didn't try desperately to get it off a time or two.

I couldn't find a clip online, but Victoria Stillwell, a trainer who has a TV show called "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet, uses the method greenmagick mentioned above. She turns around every time the dog pulls. It looks like it works really well every time she does it, granted it is a TV show.

We got very lucky with our new pup. She has walked perfectly on a loose leash since we brought her home at 13 weeks. We reinforced like crazy, and at 6 months she's still leash-walking like a champ. It's so nice and fun to walk her!
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#7 of 9 Old 10-02-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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I use the method Nicole mentioned, but my new favorite is the Silky Leash technique.

If I do have to use a no pulling device I like the Easy Walk or other front clip harness waaay more than the head halters.

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#8 of 9 Old 10-03-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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I agree that at that early of an age, I would probably not go with one of those. They put pressure on joints (shoulder/elbow or neck depending on the item) and if you let the device train the dog (vs. using a training technique like described above) it could potentially do some damage as they are still growing and developing.

If you feel like you do need something more than just a flat collar, I'd probably go with a martingale collar. That way you have some tightening to remind the pup what you want but nothing over-the-top. Also, I personally prefer the Halti to the Gentle Leader as I found it sat further away from my dog's eyes and thus irritated her less. But yes, still needs lots of desensitization before you start walking with it.
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#9 of 9 Old 10-03-2010, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the advice. I am sticking with the collar for now and taking it slow. The silky lease technique looks great. I tried it with him, but half-heartily this morning, but I will be more serious tomorrow when the kids are at school and not a distraction. I did walk him in the yard to five minutes also, and he really started to pull and shake his head to get out of the collar. So I gave up. I guess I will keep plugging away and hope we make some progress.

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"If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings"~ Leonardo da Vinci

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