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Leash training: Me - 0, Samson - 923

Kimberly SeymourKimberly Seymour Portland, P-Town, No-PoPosts: 181Member
edited 30 June, 2009 in Australian Shepherd
So Samson has been in leash training since the day I got him at 10 weeks. At 10 weeks, he was fine. Somewhere around 16 weeks, he began pulling, and it did not stop. He is now 11 months and not much better. He is incredibly smart and knows tons of commands, including wave, circle, down, play dead, bow, limp, wait, and many more. I have tried to teach heel. No progress. I begin by clicker training, then move to voice/movement. I always use positive reinforcement, with positive corrections once he knows a command. We walk 4+ times a week. I have tried clicker, rewards, slight jerks, stopping when he pulls, turning the opposite direction when he pulls, making him sit next to me when he pulls. Nothing has worked. I have tried a front lead harness, regular collar, and now a slip lead. I had a trainer who has worked with the local K9 unit on their training come out to try and help us. He told me Samson is very stubborn and to try a gentle leader and the slip lead and to jerk the gentle leader when he pulls. The trainer said this would help because Samson would hate the gentle leader.... I'm not a fan of this idea, and I'm not sure I agree that Samson is stubborn. I don't let him go through doorways ahead of me, walk ahead of me, walk into my path, etc. He's very docile most of the time, but he just pulls non-stop. If there are people, other animals, dogs, anything remotely interested, he lunges after it. Which starts to hurt the arm after a couple times. Any suggestions for him? I'm totally out of ideas.


  • Charlene NewtonCharlene Newton Posts: 14Member
    edited 24 May, 2009
    I have used the Halti, regular collar, choke chain and found that the pinch collar works the best with my Aussie. I have recently hired a dog trainer. With the pinch collar and yank for correction and changing direction every time he pulls has been working for me. It has only been two weeks and I am starting to enjoy walking him for the first time! This is just my experience. Good Luck.
  • Cisco CarrigCisco Carrig WatervlietPosts: 35Member
    edited 24 May, 2009
    I'll keep this simple, and mean no offense. Four walks per week is nowhere near enough excersize for an Aussie. They need four walks per day and some serious off the leash running around. A tired dog will not pull. It sounds like they have enough leash to go ahead, so take that lead/slack away so that they cannot get their in the first place. Nothing drives me more crazy than those "lazy leashes" that expand from 3' to 20'. All of your consistency is removed with them. Look into a standard choker. Because when used properly they are unmatched, and eventually you will be walking your dog with one finger behind your back.
  • Kimberly SeymourKimberly Seymour Portland, P-Town, No-PoPosts: 181Member
    edited 25 May, 2009
    No offense taken, I should have clarified a bit more about his exercise. We have a large yard that we play fetch and he chases the other two dogs around for 3+ hours every day. In addition, we hit the dog park for 30+ minutes at least twice a week. We also train once to twice a day. And when it's nice out, we go hiking on the weekends. He also has more complex toys to engage his mind when I need to study or crate him. He is never crated for more than 2 hours. Hopefully this gives a better view of his daily exercise. I have three choke chains (non prong), but he will pull and continue to pull despite the tightened chain. Quick tugs on the chain have no effect as well. The most effective so far is having the slip lead far up his neck so it is under his chin. He will respond but put up a bit of a fight every time it tightened. I wait until he stops fighting, stands by my side so the leash is slack, and looks at me before we move forward at all. As soon as I take a step, he immediately starts walking and then pulling within two to three steps. And then we repeat the whole process. I've tried quick tugs, but again, no effect. He can go on a long hike and play in water and still pull. Or spend two hours running around the dog park and still pull. I'm trying not to become frustrated, but I'm out of ideas...
  • Paul WinsworthPaul Winsworth Posts: 142Member
    edited 26 May, 2009
    One thing I have found effective with Grady is loop the leash around his body just behind the front legs. He seems to respond to the pressure of the leash around his body. Goody luck!
  • Anne GallagherAnne Gallagher South JerseyPosts: 20Member
    edited 26 May, 2009
    Use the prong. It will work and as he is smart, he will learn quickly. Most trainers that I know believe it is more humane than the choke collar even if it doesn't look like it is! Just be patient. My boy was tough but he is great now. Good luck!
  • Kimberly SeymourKimberly Seymour Portland, P-Town, No-PoPosts: 181Member
    edited 23 June, 2009
    Thanks for the responses, guys :) Sorry it took me so long to respond. Working at a vet clinic and finishing my pre-vet undergrad work has me busy, busy, busy (not to mention all the spare time spent with Samson.) I'm still hesitant about a prong collar. I think I may try a halti first as a corrective tool. Today Samson literally almost pulled me onto my face, twice in under 1 minute. I initially was waiting to neuter him until he reaches 16 months, but I think I will be doing it sooner. The one drawback is that I just payed for my roommate's dog's spay surgery and hip xrays this past week, and I still need to send in Samson's MDR1 test. I also am sad, because I want to go play outside as much as possible with Samson, so if I neuter him, we lose 2-3 weeks of his first summer with me. But if it'll make him less pushy and a bit more responsive, I guess it will be for the best.
  • Ashley HaysAshley Hays PeoriaPosts: 120Member
    edited 25 June, 2009
    Hi Samson, try going to Dogster "Asher"s profile page and checking out the video and advice there. Asher's mama posts a lot in the Behavior & Training boards and that's what everyone suggests there. Good luck!
  • edited 25 June, 2009
    I just wanted to say... I used to prong collar when training Chase. We took obedience classes and though he had sit, stay, down etc down.. He still loved to pull me.. and hard. The trainer recommend a prong collar and I used it on him for only a couple of weeks... Now he walks like a gentlemen on a flat collar. I haven't used it since he was 9 months old. Just thought i'd give my experience with it :D
  • alyssa redmorealyssa redmore longmontPosts: 78Member
    edited 26 June, 2009
    we, too, used the prong collar at the suggestion of our trainer. worked like a charm! we used it when i was a little puppy, and i haven\'t seen it in ages! if you go this route, pleae make sure the prong collar is fitted properly. and yes, Aussies not a lot more than 4 walks per week! i can\'t imagine how stir-crazy i\'d get with so little exercise |$|
  • Delana TraweekDelana Traweek Posts: 404Member
    edited 29 June, 2009
    Manny uses the slip collar, but we\'re thinking about moving to the prong collar. I recommend they have a special prong collar where the prongs are rounded off and it is very humane, more humane than a choke collar actually!!
  • Kimberly SeymourKimberly Seymour Portland, P-Town, No-PoPosts: 181Member
    edited 29 June, 2009
    So I bought a halti for Samson from work after getting hauled off the picnic bench at work right in front of one of the vets, and he nearly dragged us both into the street... so I decided to try the halti as the last resort before the prong. (I'm still hesitant about using the prong. I believe that with my background in horse training and knowledge on animal anatomy and physiology, I'd be able to use it correctly. However, I don't want to take any chances, and would still want a good trainer to supervise the first time or two. Unfortunately, my roommates have sunk themselves into a financial hole and I am stuck paying all the utilities or have them shut off otherwise, which has sucked up most of my finances, and I am taking care of their animals as well, so hiring a trainer for the moment is not a feasible route) Anyways, the halti is having brilliant effects. He definitely respects it, and I'm using it in combination with the slip lead. Hopefully he will begin to connect that by having the pressure of the halti and sliplead applied at the same time, that the sliplead alone has the same message. The one downside is that when he does pull, it slowly progresses up his face and almost in his eye, so I continually have to adjust it.... But considering it's effective, I guess adjusting it constantly isn't too much trouble. Yay for no more worrying about death by my dog dragging me off a cliff!
  • Sherry BodinSherry Bodin Hood CanalPosts: 2,746Member
    edited 30 June, 2009
    I say go with the Halti above all the suggestions presented. I have taught all my dogs (and fosters) loose leash walking with nothing other than a flat buckle collar (or harness with a front attachment depending on the dog size), a leash, and a few properly timed cookies. I second looking as Asher's page for a good starting point.
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