How to Train Your Older Dog to Walk Calmly on Leash

Medium
1-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You’re out on a pleasant walk through the countryside, the sun is out and life is good, but every 5 seconds you’re pulled in every which direction by your old, but surprisingly strong dog. The problem is even worse if he sees a dog on the horizon, or a stranger approaching. Are you finally ready to concede it’s time to get a handle on his pulling? After all, it’s better late than never!

Walking with a dog who can’t control themselves on a leash is simply exhausting. You simply can’t relax on a walk when it’s really him walking you. Plus, you may have aged along with him, and your shoulder sockets and arms simply aren’t as resilient as they once were. You don’t want to be pulled to the ground just because a dog crossed the road 100 meters away. Solving this issue will give you the calm and relaxing walks you deserve!

Defining Tasks

"Heel" is one word that could save you considerable aggravation and make the relaxing dog walking fantasy you once had many years ago a reality. Unfortunately, teaching your dog to walk calmly on a leash is never straightforward. His senses are sent into overdrive when he leaves the house and comes across so many varied and often unpleasant smells. 

The problem is worsened if he is old. Puppies respond to training quickly, but older dogs' bad habits have often cemented over the years, so you have an uphill battle ahead. Having said that, with patience and consistency, you could have a calm and well-behaved dog trotting alongside you in just a few weeks, if you follow the methods below. It’s important to finally get a handle on his behavior on a leash, not only for your sanity, but also to prevent a serious accident ever taking place, such as him leaping across a busy road.

Getting Started

Before you get going with training, you need to ensure you’re fully stocked on doggie treats. You can use pre-made treats, or you can simply break his favorite food into small bits. You will also need some quiet space, free from distractions. 

A secure training leash and possibly a harness will also be essential. Aside from that, bring all the patience you can find and an optimistic attitude. With all that, you're ready to get to work.

Now you’re fully stocked on essentials, it’s time to put him on a leash and address that mischievous behavior. 

The Training Leash Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Training leash
Swap your normal leash for a training leash. These short leashes allow you to correct behavior quickly and effectively. So secure him to his new leash.
Step
2
Keep him calm
He may be uncontrollable on a leash because he associates the leash with walking. So use the training leash on him at home for 10-15 minutes each day. This will dissociate the leash with the excitement of a walk.
Step
3
Pulling
Tackle pulling before you even leave the house. Take him out the door as if going for a walk and if he goes crazy with excitement, turn around and re-enter the house. Repeat this until he is well and truly bored and can leave the door in a calm manner. Repeat this process every time you start a walk.
Step
4
Come to a standstill
Stop suddenly as soon as he pulls. Stop in your tracks and don’t budge until he calms down. I hope you’re feeling patient because it may take quite a while to get anywhere, but consistency is key, so persevere!
Step
5
Reward
Reward him when he does walk calmly. As he slowly realizes from all of the above steps he needs to remain calm to get anywhere, he will stop acting up. To speed up the process, reward him with treats whenever he does travel any distance calmly by your side.
Recommend training method?

The 180 Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Setting up
Secure him with a training leash, or his normal leash. Then open the door and take him outside to start the walk.
Step
2
Wait
Hold the leash firmly and wait for him to pull. You are waiting for him to pull so you can straight away correct the behavior.
Step
3
React
When he does pull, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. This quick jolt will tell him if he does pull, he won’t get to travel in the direction it wants to.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat this process. Even if it means you are constantly walking back and forward, only taking 5 steps at a time, this corrective action will eventually show him that you are in total control of the walk.
Step
5
Patience
Be patient, and reward positive behavior. Slowly he will catch on that walking calmly is the only way he is going to get a walk. When he does cotton on and walk calmly, be sure to give him a treat and praise him. Positive reinforcement is always effective in dogs.
Recommend training method?

The ‘Heel’ Method

Least Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Getting ready
Put a leash on him and head for the door. If your dog is big as well as old, then it could be worth putting a body harness on. This will put less pressure on his neck when you pull on the leash.
Step
2
Set off
Start walking as you normally would. Hold the leash firmly and wait for him to use up the loose leash.
Step
3
'Heel'
Say "heel" in a loud and firm voice. The second he pulls, give the command and give the leash a gentle but noticeable jerk and then stand firmly still. He will eventually walk back to your side.
Step
4
Reward
Reward him with a treat and praise. By doing this when he returns to your side, you are incentivizing him to always return to you. Plus the ‘heel’ cue will signal to him he has gone to far and needs to turn back.
Step
5
Practice
Practice makes perfect. All you need to do now is keep up with the training and be patient. It may take many weeks and hours of slow and disjointed walks, but your old dog will eventually break his old habit. As he gets much better at walking calmly by your side, slowly cut down on the number of treats you give him.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
JoJo
Terrier mix
5 Years
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
JoJo
Terrier mix
5 Years

When I walk Jojo, she doesn't pull on the leash for our entire walk. But when we pass by other dogs, she seems to get pretty aggressive. Any tips? Thanks!

- Justin

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Justin, Does JoJo act aggressively when she actually meets dogs also? Many dogs act aggressively when on the leash but not when interacting with dogs up close. Those dogs have what is called Leash Reactivity, and it is often caused by frustration or fear rather than true aggression. For Leash Reactive dogs you can work on making dog sightings more pleasant. To do this, whenever you see a dog from far away, before JoJo reacts poorly, praise her in an upbeat tone of voice and offer him a treat for remaining calmly or looking at you for direction. It is important for you to stay far away from the dog for her to know that it is there but still remain calm. You do not want to reward her rude barking and growling behavior but she also will struggle to learn when she is in that excited state. Practice bringing her around other dogs at a distance often. As she improves then you can very gradually decrease the distance between you and the other dog. The other thing you can do is to teach her a very structured heel, where she has to remain right beside you and focused on you. When you approach another dog then have her follow you closely in the heel position while you make a lot of turns, have her do sits and downs, and change your speed often. If you can picture a drill Sargent commanding his cadets, that's the attitude that you should have. It should be fast paced, alert, and you should mean business. When she is busy heeling in such a structured fashion, she should not be able to focus on anything else. You will still need to experiment with the distance with this. She can likely get closer to other dogs doing this than the treat protocol but too close will prevent her from being able to focus on you. This practice is good dogs who struggle with leash reactivity and less dangerous forms of dog aggression.

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Question
LadyBug
pitbu
5 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
LadyBug
pitbu
5 Years

LadyBug has never been leash trained! Where do i start? She dosen't even "sit"!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ella, First, if LadyBug is not comfortable even wearing the leash, then spend about a week just clipping it to her collar and letting her drag the leash around your house when you are supervising her inside, to get her used to the sensation of it. After she is comfortable with that, then pick up the end of the leash and follow her around wherever she wants to go. When she is comfortable with that, then while you are following her, periodically put a little bit of pressure on the leash and hold it there to get her to come toward you. Expect her to pull against this and possibly even thrash around. Wait until she calms down and gives up fighting it, and then coax her over to yourself with a treat or a toy. As soon as she moves toward you and makes the leash loose again, then praise her and give her the treat or a toy. Expect for this to possible take her a long time at first. Simply be patient. It could take up to thirty minutes the first time. After she moves toward you and receives the reward, then keep the leash loose and follow her around some more, and after a little while, repeat tightening the leash a bit and encouraging her to come toward you. Repeat following her around and periodically tightening the leash. Do this until she will consistently come toward you when she feels pressure on the leash. Once she has learned what a leash is and how to handle the pressure of it, then you can start to teach her how to "Sit". Here is an article on how to teach sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-golden-retriever-to-sit After you have gotten her used to the leash and have taught her how to "Sit", then you can move onto one of the methods in the training article: "How To Teach Your Dog To Walk Calmly On A Leash" or one of the methods found in this training article bellow instead: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-large-dog-to-not-pull Once she knows how to walk on the leash and to sit, then I would encourage you to teach her "Down", then "Come", then "Stay", and then whatever else you would like for her to learn. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ray ray
Mixed
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ray ray
Mixed
5 Years

Hi I am Amber and I have a dog name ray ray and she has never been on a leash and I have put her on a leash obefore and she didn't pull but she wouldn't move she ones.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Thanks for the question. Firstly, I would have the vet give Ray Ray a checkup to make sure there are no physical issues preventing her from walking with the leash. Take Ray Ray for short training sessions to a fun place like a park or field. Bring along treats. Put the leash on her and stand in front. Coax her toward you and the treat. Cheerfully praise her when she moves and try to lengthen the distance each time you move. Taking her through obedience classes is a good way to teach her to walk on a leash and not only that, it will also give her good socialization. She'll see the other dogs on a leash and learn that it's fun to go on walks. Learning important commands like "come" and "stay" will keep her engaged and safe, too. Good luck!

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Question
Doug
Greyhound
7 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Doug
Greyhound
7 Years

WE have a retired Greyhound. Our Doug is a gentle loving dog and is very well mannered. Doug walks very well on leash. He is polite and minds all commands. Our problem is getting the leash on him and getting out the door. As soon as he hears the leash picked up, he goes nuts. He is wild as we try to clip the leash on and as we try to get out the door. AS soon as we are outside, he is calm and mannerly again. What do you suggest?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jeff and Paula, I suggest making the leash very boring during practice sessions, and rewarding him for sitting (or a Stand-Stay if he struggles with sitting like some Greyhound do because of how they are built). Go through your usual routine with getting ready for a walk and grabbing the leash. When he gets excited, ignore him unless he is calm, until he calms down. If he doesn't calm down, then put the leash away and take your off shoes again. Do this several times a day. After lots of repetitions, he should get less excited when he sees the leash because he doesn't think he is really going for a walk. Him being calm will give you an opportunity to encourage the calm behavior more often. When he is a bit calmer when you get the leash out, tell him to Sit or Stand and Stay. If he obeys, give him a treat and clip the leash on. If he starts to get wild, drop the leash and walk away until he calms back down. When he is calm again, pick up his leash and start to leave for a walk with him again. Practice making things boring when he gets overly excited by going through your walk routine without actually leaving. Practice having him sit or stand-and-stay when he is calm enough to obey (if he doesn't know one of those commands, then teach him that first). Finally, practice clipping the leash on and taking him on a walk while he is staying calm. Don't expect perfection at first, but as he gets better, you can require him to be even calmer before you reward him by taking him on the walk. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Luka
German Pinscher
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Luka
German Pinscher
3 Years

My dog pulls on the leash whenever we walk and also tries to escape out of the leash actually with my old leash he was able to get his head out of the collar . Right now I have him on slip lead that kind works but I have to it so tight because again he just finds a ways to get out and uses his front legs to get out , Ive even tried a back no pull harness and he still gets out of it his an escape artist. He also does this thing where if he doesn’t wan to go anywhere he’ll lay on the ground . His about 43lb and long so I can’t just pick him up .
I’ve just recently got him and his owners didn’t train him how to walk on leash . I really want to be able to walk him on the leash calmly and eventually maybe even off leash

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Raenee, First, I suggest walking him on a front clip harness such as one of the harnesses from this review: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/care/the-best-dog-harnesses/ The harness should clip in the front at the chest, not just in the back because having the leash clipped to the front of the dog will help turn the dogs body toward you to decrease pulling when they forge ahead. Having a harness clipped to the back will let the dog put their strength into pulling - like a sled dog. Back clip harnesses are better for off leash distance work training, where you don't want the dog to be jerked on the neck if they were to get a tug from further away with more momentum behind it. Check out the article linked below and the Treat Lure and Turns methods for teaching heel. I suggest first working on simply teaching him the concept of heeling in a calm location like a fenced in yard using the front clip harness. With enough practice that may be all you need. As he improves, take the training to the front yard, then neighborhood culdesac, then park, then the rest of the neighborhood, then public locations with lots of distractions - work up to him being able to heel around distractions. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel If he turns out to be an especially stubburn puller and after doing the above training you are still struggling despite lots of practice (heeling takes a lot of practice walking in squares and circles and zipzags to teach the concept of following you), then check out the videos linked below as well: How to Introduce the Prong collar – plus how to connect to buckle collar with carabiner (for your pup I would have a second leash attached to a harness or at least a martingale collar for safety - instead of regular buckle collar). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg How to walk with a Prong collar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVvy6fztL2Q&t=6s Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Another example on how to deal with objections and jumping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rocky & Ellie
Alaskan Malamute
9 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rocky & Ellie
Alaskan Malamute
9 Years

Rocky and Ellie are brother and sister that we got together as puppies. We tried to leash train them when they were younger but they had dominance issues and one always wanted to be in front (lead) of the other when we tried walking them on the leash. We stupidly stopped trying and now they are 9 years old and the only time they ever go on the leash is when we take them to the vet. And all they do is pull like crazy. They are not good with other people and other dogs (they can get skittish), so we believe their pulling is out of anxiety rather than excitement. We are really wanting to leash train them, and get them harnesses so they aren’t choking themselves. We aren’t really sure where to begin, they pull like crazy and are strong, old dogs set in their ways. Any help or methods would be appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jessika, Check out the article linked below and follow the Turns method. Also check out the video linked below on leadership during a walk. I would suggest using a gentle leader head halter on both dogs at first, until the pulling improves with training also. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo If you decide to use a prong collar, be sure to look up how to fit and correct with it correctly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dakota
Yorkie Pomeranian
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dakota
Yorkie Pomeranian
1 Year

I received Dakota from a friend who kept her in the home. She had a private fenced in backyard for her to play and do her lady business so a need for a leash with them was not necessary. She also had not traveled in a car since she was brought home as a puppy. That is not the case for me. For the leash training, I have introduced her to her collar, harness, and leash and she freaks out and attempts to wiggle out of it or lay completely down and refuse to move or get up, even with treats. When taking her for a ride in the car, she gets very scared, anxious, shakey, and stressed to the point where she nipped at and bit me the first day I got her and nipped at the groomer when I took her to get groomed. I believe it's because she is scared and car sick, which in turn makes her irritable. I've only had her for a week and I understand everything is new to her. She truly is a loving dog. I just don't know what to do in these cases. Should I get her dog melatonin for car rides? How do I get her to walk on the leash? Going on the puppy pads is another can of worms. HELP!

Chardon

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chardon, For the leash issues you will need to treat her like you would a puppy who has never been on leash. Check out the article linked below. Follow one of those methods to get her used to simply wearing the leash first, then you can work on heeling later. Accepting a leash article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash For the car riding, it does sound like anxiety, and unfortunately car anxiety can actually lead to car sickness and it's a cycle. The first thing to do is address the anxiety. If the nausea still persists once the anxiety has been address (which is less common but still a possibility), then you can speak to your vet about medications or supplements to help the nausea too. Speak with your vet before giving any supplements or medication though since I am not a vet. Have her ride lying down. Standing up and moving around in the car contributes to car sickness. Check out the article linked below for addressing the car anxiety using the overcoming fear method. Also practice a Down Stay in the car with the car off once she is comfortable being in the car while it is still. When you start driving with her, have someone come with you and do the driving or work with her so that the driver can just focus on the road while the other person focuses on Dakota's training. Start with just pulling in and out of the driveway and practice that for a while. Next, drive down the street and back, then around neighborhoods and back, then to fun and calm places like calm parks. Gradually work up to longer trips, super exciting trips, or more fearful trips like the vet. You want most trips to be fun, calm, or uneventful, so that the car isn't a big deal and is pleasant. For the potty training, since she was trained to go potty outside, I suggest using a real grass pad instead of pee pads - many dogs associate pee pads with carpet and rugs and she is likely confusing them with things like that inside. Use disposable real grass pads and follow the "Crate Training" or "Exercise Pen" methods from the article linked below. The article mentions litter box training, but you can use real grass pads instead, and follow the same steps. Potty Training article: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10454607119916871826&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010791&hvtargid=aud-643330155750:pla-568582223506&psc=1 Also sold on freshpatch.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Finn
schnauzer
7 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Finn
schnauzer
7 Years

Lately, my dog fights going on most of his walks by digging in and refusing to move (even right out the door), or occasionally sitting/laying down mid-wall. My assumption is that something negative happened on a prior walk that has him upset with the act of going for a walk, but am not sure the appropriate means of rectifying this (treats/waiting longer for him to need the wall/etc.). This is taking place alongside some other behavioral changes, but is certainly the most noticeable. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Andrew, Since it's summer I would first check the temperature of the pavement. He may be burning his paws on hot pavement this time of year. If so, invest in some dog boots and spend time getting him used to wearing those inside by pairing them with lots of treats and letting him wear them around until he doesn't notice them. Most dogs don't love boots at first but adjust as they get used to the feeling of them. If the pavement is to blame, you will need to address that before anything else or the experience will just continue to be bad for him and get worse. He could also be in pain if walking in general, regardless of location is hard for him for some reason - such as arthritis, an unknown injury, or sore paw. If there is an injury, that needs to be addressed. Something also may have happened on the walk. Ideally, you would be able to figure out what's causing his fear and desensitize him to that thing. If he walks fine some places and not other places, then pay attention to what's different in your neighborhood than at the park. A neighbor's dog? Construction noises? Kids? Animals? Blow up decorations? Noises? ect...Check out the videos linked below on desensitization. Once you know the issue, you want to desensitize him to that thing, starting further away from it and moving closer the more he relaxes - this can take a good bit of practice over lots of sessions. New things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=11 Objects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5BjvNScFPs&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=13 Sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=14 Dealing with any fear present is the first step, which might start just by spending time in the area your dog will walk to and working there (if the pavement is the issue or an injury, address that first). When your dog's body language relaxes, you can ask him to move with you somewhere where he is uncomfortable going by walking there no-none-sense and applying small little leash tugs over and over (not continuous - but tug-release-tug-release) until your dog moves forward, once your dog moves, reward and praise with a confident sounding tone of voice (if there is fear he probably won't take the food at first though). Work a that next spot until he relaxes there too, then move again. Repeat this until your dog can get around the area again. If the issue was the pavement, you will do something similar, but your dog also needs to have the chance to realize that he can now walk without being burned while wearing the boots - so you will have to insist on walking a bit more. Take it in smaller piece to build his confidence, or see if you can get him excited before leaving and then jogging with you to take his mind off the pavement - sort of like get him out into the middle of it before he realizes that's where he is - but once he does discover he is in that unpleasant spot he finds it's not unpleasant anymore. If he is simply protesting walking because he prefers to do something else, take a firmer approach and walk with the attitude that you are going and it's not an option to stop, give the short tugs on his leash over and over until he complies if he puts on the breaks, and praise and reward for continuing to walk with you and follow. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Zuko
Shiba Inu
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Zuko
Shiba Inu
5 Years

My partner and I recently adopted Zuko from a breeder where he was an outside dog only. He has never been on a leash before and absolutely FREAKS out when we put it on him. He is now terrified of us too. What is the best way to go about leash training?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kalie, Check out the Drag method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Give pup a couple of days to adjust, but also work on teaching pup fun commands, and tossing treats to pup when they are calm in the same room with you, to rebuild some trust. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
German Shepherd Husky Mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bella
German Shepherd Husky Mix
2 Years

Every time I try to walk my dog Bella she jumps on me and scratches me when she cant pull me along the way she wants to. It hurts very badly and I don't know how to train her to not pull or jump. She is also very aggressive to other dogs not just on a leash, but I live on a dead end road and the only way to walk is right past a yard with several dogs. She nearly rips my arm off. Is there any specific way I should try to train her. She wasn't trained to walk on a leash because she was my sisters dog until now.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paige, Check out the Turns method from the article linked below for teaching heel. Also, check out the Step Toward method from the second article linked below for the jumping. Heeling: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced with behavior issues and uses both positive reinforcement and gentle corrections in training, and comes well recommended by their previous clients. The behavior she is exhibiting might be just rude reactivity - which is something you could probably learn to work her through on your own if you wanted to put in the work to learn and practice the training with her. If it is more severe aggression, then you run the risk of her redirecting her aggression toward you, especially since there is already a lack of respect in your relationship based on her pulling and jumping on you when she doesn't get to go where she wants to - if that's the case, then I highly suggest hiring a trainer to help to keep things safer and help the behavior improve. Check out the videos linked below on aggression and rude reactivity: Rude, reactive dog that isn't actually aggressive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg The walk with a rude dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Aggressive dog - hire help with for this type of training - it will take an over all behavior modification in the rest of Bella's daily life too to teach calmness, impulse control, respect for you, and better management: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfiDe0GNnLQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Good commands to build respect and calmness: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Listening and Respect: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cleo
Labrador Retriever
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cleo
Labrador Retriever
6 Years

When she goes for walks she pulls me over has dragged me along ground as I won’t let go of lead dose this at training classes they say let husband walk her been to many different ones over the years everything ok except would love to be able to walk her

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maria, I suggest finding a well qualified "Balanced trainer" who uses prong collars, positive reinforcement, fair corrections, and a lot of structure with dogs to help you with this issue. Check out the resources linked below. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel How to Introduce the Prong collar – plus how to connect to buckle collar with carabiner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg How to walk with a Prong collar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVvy6fztL2Q&t=6s Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Reactive dog and heel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Start with teaching pup the heel command and following; do this by practicing heel in a calm area like your own fenced in yard first. Use the Turns method from the first article I linked above. Once pup is responding well to that and paying better attention, add in the prong collar using the next three videos about prong collars. Once pup is responding well to the prong collar and understands that they will be rewarded and not corrected for focusing on you and staying with you, and that the corrections happen when he wanders away and tuns out - so he understands and can control whether he is rewarded or corrected, then gradually transition to harder locations. Start with easier locations like a cul-de-sac first. Gradually progress to more distracting locations as you practice and he improves, such as your neighborhood, then a calm park, then a busier park, then a park with a dog park nearby (don't go in the dog park though), and finally pet stores and public places like farmers markets or shopping areas. When walking pup it's extremely important to start the walk off calmly and require pup to walk BEHIND you. This takes practice. Once a dog that's reactive to things gets in front of you he is no longer paying attention to you, not following you, able to pull, and not acting respectful - all of this leads to dragging you down the sidewalk. Being able to interrupt him as soon as his face starts to move past your leg, get his attention back on you as soon as he starts focusing like another dog too much, and have pup know where you are because you are in his line of sight - is super important. When you first leave the house, practice door manners - he doesn't exit until he is being polite and waiting for permission to go through the door. Check out the video below for an example of how to teach him to go through a threshold respectfully. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Reese
Doberman Pinscher
3 Years
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Reese
Doberman Pinscher
3 Years

My dog is a very big Doberman who unfortunately has not had much leash training or walking in general. I have been trying to leash train him recently and he is learning slowly but surely. What I've been doing is stopping when he pulls and making him wait to walk until I am next to him, but he still pulls (only now he waits for me to walk next to him only to pull ahead again!) My question is which method would be better for a dog of his breed and size? Should I stick with what I am doing or switch up my method?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vee, I actually would suggest a different method entirely for your situation. Check out the article that I have linked bellow and follow the "Turns" method from that article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Specifically, as soon as Reese starts to put his head in front of your knee, turn directly in front of him at a ninety degree angle. Turning in front of him should not only help him learn what position to walk in but should also adjust his attitude and show him that he needs to be following and not leading. There will be times when you cannot do this. During those times, do what you are doing now, but work on the turns as much as possible. Fields, parks, and other open areas are the easiest places to practice this. I find that turning while I am crossing over a driveway while on a walk in a neighborhood is a bit easier than doing it on the sidewalk. Practicing this in a neighborhood cul-de-sac is also easier. Do not expect walks to be very linear while you are working on this. Your walks might be a lot of circling and going back and forth and that is okay. If your whole walk takes place in your driveway, front yard, and cul-de-dac for a while your dog should be just as hired because he will be focusing the whole time and moving still. Just keep in mind that you are putting in the work now to create a lifetime of enjoyable walks with him later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Hi any advice appreciated as I have a German shepherd cross he nearly 5 yrs old now and my mistake as instead of continue with leash training when he was a puppy I started letting him run free on lands in country but have tried walk him on leash buy omg he so strong and don't think he realised that he is pulling me as I'm disabled now ostioathritis fibromyalgia and can't get him stop pulling me or it me to weak control him as he good dog but so strong on leash walking for me and I've tried many times different ways and all kinds different leash and harness for him and all I want wish is to walk my dog shadow without been dragged pulled as I'm struggling with leash walk and I so want to enjoy walking him as he is my companion as he always with me since he was puppy as can't leave him alone as to clever can open doors and windows as I had a shock one night I had left him in new home with 2 other dogs as middle moving house but when return home after securing doors he had managed open them went upstairs and jump out bedroom window which shocked me how clever he was as new neighbors had reported it to RSPCA so I had to contact them quickly explain suituation just lucky they new me as I used help volunteer housed dogs .. so my dog is with me 24/7 and I'd love be able control him on leash walking and don't think treats going help me as he is determined and yes dominates rule us because he been alloud to but otherwise to always getting his own way spoilt by my partner .he good 🐕 dog in home and when out in country of leash playing fetch ball on a secure field and he gets on with other dogs it just leash walking he to strong for me and my health has worsened getting older but can you help plis how can I crack the leash walking as I'm thinking more it my fault to weak not enough strength to pull him back to me ?????🙏🙏🙏🙏🤞🤞🤞🤞

I’m the same now old frighted to take dog for walk have been dreaded along by not letting go of lead in case dog gets hurt

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Lucy
Golden Retriever
1 Year
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Lucy
Golden Retriever
1 Year

My golden walks well if we are going on our usual route and no other dogs or people are around. As soon as she sees another dog, person, or if we are taking a new route she pulls like crazy. She gets extremely excited. Sometimes she will even playfully lunge at other dogs and try to jump on humans. I try to make her sit and stay to correct this behavior but it doesn't seem to work. It's embarrassing and frustrating!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angela, I suggest going places that are more spacious, where you can control how far you are from other passing dogs, like a public park. Practice the following commands with other dogs in the background from a distance you can regain her attention from. As she improves, gradually decrease the distance between her and other dogs. The goal is to practice this with other dogs in the background so much that the other dogs become boring and she learns to ignore them, plus learns to focus on you better out of respect for you. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Amber
Mix
5 Years
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Amber
Mix
5 Years

Hi I am Amber and I have a dog name ray ray and she has never been on a leash and she gets scared when I try to walk her and she doesn't pull but she won't move and go anywhere.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amber, First, pay attention to pup's body language and the environment. Some pups don't want to walk because they are afraid of a neighborhood dog in a fence barking, construction workers, funny objects (like Christmas decorations), and things we would never think twice about. If pup isn't familiar with something (no matter how normal it may seem to us) it can feel scary to pup and be a reason why they don't want to leave the safety of the yard. If pup seems nervous or something might be bothering them in the environment, work on helping pup overcome that fear first by using play and treats to distract pup and then reward pup for any confidence, calmness, or tolerance they shows around the fearful thing. Spend time with pup outside on a long leash simply hanging out in that area desensitizing pup to those things through play and treats. Practice this further away from the scary thing first and very gradually work up to pup being able to pass that thing as her confidence grows with your help. Second, every time pup takes a couple of steps, give a treat. Keep your energy excited and confident. When pup stops, tell pup "Let's Go" in a calm and business-like tone of voice (it's not a question it's a confident, calm command), then tug and release the leash several times in a row until pup takes a couple more steps - at which point give another treat. The leash tugs should stop as soon as pup starts moving. Keep your walking goals short at first. If pup won't leave your yard - your first goal is just to leave the yard. When pup reaches that goal - go home as an additional reward for pup following you - even if a lot of leash tugs were involved. When pup will go to the end of the yard easily then walk to the next house. Gradually increase your walk distance overtime. If you make your goal something huge like the whole neighborhood at first you are less likely to succeed - work up to distance overtime. Also, do not continuously pull pup on the leash. Doing so can harm pup's neck, but also dog's have a natural tendency to pull away from something - so if you pull pup in one direction, she will just pull back in the other direction, budging even less. This is why you do the quick tug and releases so that not following is annoying with the tugs but not a continuous pull. You want pup to choose to walk to get away from the annoying tugs and to receive treats - but you also need to spend time desensitizing pup to things that scare her in the area first - before trying to walk further. Finally, make sure pup isn't in pain or sick, causing her not to want to exercise in any form due to feeling bad. If you have reason to suspect pup is ill or injured, definitely see your vet. (I am not a vet) Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

I will try this

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Candy
German Shepherd
1 Year
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Candy
German Shepherd
1 Year

Hello so my dog is always crazy when we walk her any movement she sees on the streets she tries to go after it, or when we walk her she pulls her self really hard amd she’s pretty strong so it’s hard to pull her back, and she always try’s to find a way to take off her harness we tried everything to teach her how to walk calmly but nothing seems to work can you please help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gabriela, Check out the video linked below. Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo I also suggest working on other commands that build respect. The pulling can be rewarding by itself but the complete lack of focus on you suggests that she would benefit from more structure, increasing respect for you, and building her trust. German Shepherds are a breed that tend to listen much better if they respect you first. Gaining her respect should not look angry or physically rough though. Shepherds are very intelligent and tend to do well when you engage their brains and are very consistent with them. Check out the articles and videos linked below for some commands that you can incorporate into her daily life to help with respect. Be sure that you are being consistent when you give commands also, and calmly but firmly follow through to ensure she obeys a command once it is given. This might mean, not letting her walk away while she is on a leash until she Sits if you told her to sit - even if it takes ten minutes. Going to get her and bring her back to where you called her from if she didn't come when called, then practicing Come on a long leash until she comes willingly five times in a row to refresh her training afterwards, and so on. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Teddy
Labrador
2 Years
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Teddy
Labrador
2 Years

Teddy pulls really badly on the lead. I have tried a halty, canny collor and now a k9 harness. He has lots of energy and really struggling now with a bad shoulder and knee. What do you recommend?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Claire, It sounds like it's time to hire a professional train who specializes in behavior issues to help you. First, I suggest switching to a device that will help control his strength, to keep you from being pulled over during walks while still training. A gentle leader or prong collar - if fitted and used correctly are two options. Fitting and using Prongs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg Second, begin your walk routine while still inside. Require pup to wait patiently for you to put the leash on and go through the door only with you permission. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Third, require pup to walk with his muzzle slightly behind your leg. Practicing this will look like walking in an open space and turning in circles and squares a lot at first - that is okay! Pup will still become tired from the exercise, and may even be more tired from the walk from having to also mentally focus on the training. Once pup can get a bit further and stay with you, incorporate other obedience commands into the walk to work on building his overall focus on you - instead of everything else in the world during the walk. Commands such as Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Watch Me, and Heel can all be used. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Roxy
Boxer
5 Years
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Roxy
Boxer
5 Years

When walking roxy she is getting much better at not pulling when we are walking until we see another dog or other people. She is a big girl so she is quite strong. How do I keep her calm and practice keeping her calm when this happens?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brittany, Check out the article linked below and the Turns method. turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel I suggest intentionally looking for opportunities to practice heeling around other people and dogs, but in an environment where you can change speed and direction and control how far she is from them - such as at a park on leash or in an intermediate obedience class. Practice changing directions and pace and using your energy and enthusiasm to keep her focused on you around the distractions. Start from further away and gradually work at closer distances as she improves. Dogs and people are a hard distraction, so right now it sounds like she simply needs more practice with heeling at a level that's a bit challenging but she can learn at - which is why practicing around dogs from a distance proactively is good. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ralf (male) Tilly (female) brother and sister
Springer Spaniel Sheepdog
10 Years
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Ralf (male) Tilly (female) brother and sister
Springer Spaniel Sheepdog
10 Years

As soon as they hear the lead they go mad. Barking, moving around, very excited!
Once we finally manage to get their harnesses and leads on they are dragging us to the door.
My partner has to hold on to the door frame so they don’t pull him down the stairs.
Once outside they just constantly pull. Sniffing everything at high speed. It isn’t much fun walking them. My partner has to walk both of them as they are too strong for me. I have problems with my left arm, which is painful. I would really like to be able to take them out so we can share the walking together or me by myself.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sam, First, work on decreasing the excitement around the leash's presence to help them feel calmer initially. Bring the leash out very often throughout the day (a lot more often than they need to be taken out - start this on a weekend or day off work ideally). Every time they begin barking, jumping, or pacing, put the leash away and go back to what you were doing. Practice this over and over every 30 minutes - hour, until they stay calm when you bring it out because it has become boring. When they are calm, clip it to them. They will probably get super excited then also. Walk away when they start acting rude. Repeat that part over and over. When they can stay calmer, practice at the door with one dog at a time. Attach a long leash to pup and tether it to something strong like a banister or column. Practice opening the door and quickly closing it again whenever pup tries to go through without permission (don't worry about a little bump but be careful not to catch pup's feet in the door. Open only slightly at first and work your way up to a fully open door. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M When pups can wait for permission, then begin Heel training. Practice with one dog at a time in your front yard or a nearby calm, open area. This isn't meant to be exciting or far. Pup will get tired by walking in circles and having to focus for an extended amount of time. Walks should look like this for a while with both dogs. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo When both dogs can heel separately in the front yard, add the second one and practice more in the yard with both dogs together. Gradually extend the area they are walking in. Choosing places like culdesacs and more open spots where you can utilize the "Turns" method with both dogs. This will likely be easier as well if you hire a private trainer who can show you in person how to teach this using body language and the right timing. Calmness, persistence, and a business-like -no-nonsense attitude tend to work best. Excitability, a high pitched voice, or sounding angry can make the dogs more excitable. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Millie
Pit bull
4 Years
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Millie
Pit bull
4 Years

Hello! Our sweet pit mix is absolutely horrendous on a leash. We adopted her 2 years ago, and she clearly never had freedom in her previous home. She is a very sleepy dog all day, but the second we put shoes on or go near her leash, she goes insane and puts all 70 lbs into sled dog dragging us down the apartment hall to go outside. She doesn't tire easily, doesn't respond to verbal commands, and when her leash is on, food is not motivating. We want to walk her more, but she has pulled me and my boyfriend to the ground, and it is extremely exhausting taking her anywhere because of her overexcitement. This truly is her only flaw, but she unintentionally caused pain (and broken phones). Advice!?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bridget, First, I suggest switching to a device that will help control his strength, to keep you from being pulled over during walks while still training. A gentle leader or prong collar - if fitted and used correctly are two options. Fitting and using Prongs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg Second, begin your walk routine while still inside. Require pup to wait patiently for you to put the leash on and go through the door only with you permission. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Third, require pup to walk with his muzzle slightly behind your leg. Practicing this will look like walking in an open space and turning in circles and squares a lot at first - that is okay! Pup will still become tired from the exercise, and may even be more tired from the walk from having to also mentally focus on the training. Once pup can get a bit further and stay with you, incorporate other obedience commands into the walk to work on building his overall focus on you - instead of everything else in the world during the walk. Commands such as Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Watch Me, and Heel can all be used. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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buddy
miniature poodle.
9 Years
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buddy
miniature poodle.
9 Years

how do I get buddy to stop barking at night.
I live in an apartment block and he hears people coming home late at night. I have adopted him two weeks ago

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rebecca, First, for the barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with him so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter. A Pet Convincer is one such interrupter. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T bark around something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process. This is best done during the day - ahead of time. An automatic bark collar can also be used during times when he likes to bark while you aren't there after the initial training is done - so he understands that the correction is for his barking at that point in the training. While you are not home during the day, you can also utilize a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy - like a kong, a dog puzzle toy filled with kibble, or an automatic treat dispensing device that detects when he is quiet and rewards if you set it to do so - such as AutoTrainer or Pet Tutor. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mickey
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
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Mickey
Labrador Retriever
3 Years

when i go for walk he becomes crazy he pulls me in such a way that i falls down and when an street dog passes he becomes hazardious

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Harsh, I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have his mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with him having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if he isn't calm. He should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk he should be in the heel position - with his head behind your leg. That position decreases his arousal, reduces stress because he isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents him from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind him. It also requires him to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive he is - it makes him feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not his around other dogs. Expect to work on pup simply following you and learning Heel somewhere like your yard, before progressing to practicing around dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as he starts staring them down, interrupt him. Don't tolerate challenging stares at other dogs. Remind him with a fair correction that you are leading the walk and he is not allowed to break his heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for him in the long-run. Leading the walk this way can actually boost a dog's confidence in the long run around other dogs because the dog feels like you will handle the situation so they can relax. Be picky about which dogs he greets if he is non-aggressive to greet dogs at all. Avoid greeting dogs who look very tense around your dog, who stare him down, who give warning signs like a low growl or lip lift, who look very puffed up and proud - that type greeting with a dog is likely to end in a fight since your dog doesn't know how to diffuse that situation. A stiff wag is also a bad sign. A friendly wag looks relaxed and loose with relaxed body language overall. A tense dog with a very stiff wag, especially with a tail held high is a sign of arousal and not always a good thing. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo I also suggest using training gear that will prevent pup from being able to pull you over while training. A gentle leader or prong collar - correctly fitted and attached to pup's regular collar for extra security, are two options. Do not use a choke chain - as they can damage a dog's trachea. How to Introduce the Prong collar – plus how to connect to buckle collar with carabiner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg If pup is aggressive toward you or the other dogs or people in any way, I don't suggest doing the above training on your own. You will likely need pup to wear a silicone basket muzzle to ensure pup doesn't redirect aggression toward you while aroused - which pup needs to be desensitized to for several days ahead of time, before using during the walk. Look for a trainer who is very experienced with behavior issues like reactivity, fear, and aggression, who can help you implement the training. Ask lots of questions to find out how they train and whether their approach makes since as being effective and is something you feel comfortable with. Check out their previous client references and reviews. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Athena
Saint Bernard
Two Years
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Athena
Saint Bernard
Two Years

We trained our Saint Bernard to walk with treats as she is food driven. She is great and walks at my heels when there are no distractions but the second someone starts walking towards us she goes crazy (especially if they have a dog). At this point treats no longer work. We try to get her to sit but that does not work so we usually just avoid the situation. How can we correct this behaviour or what can we use as she is freakishly strong?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amy-Lynn, First, is she acting aggressive toward the person or excited to see them? The answer to that question will largely effect what you do. To begin with, I suggest switching to a device that will give you more control physically - so that she can't pull you over during training. A gentle leader and prong collar are two of the most effect devices for strong dogs. Which one you use depends a lot on your specific dog's temperament and how exactly she is reacting toward people - fear, aggression, excitement, ect...If you do use a prong collar, spend time learning how to properly fit and use them. They are often misused and can be damaging when fitted too loosely - they shouldn't require a harsh correction to be effective and shouldn't hang loose - the prong's should be rounded, angled, and give a uniform squeeze around the neck to get pup's attention and be uncomfortable but not harm their trachea. Do not use a choke collar - they are associated with harming the trachea. If the issue is aggression, I don't suggest tackling this one your own because of the risk of pup redirecting their aggression toward you during training while they are aroused. Hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues and has a lot of experience with aggression. Who comes well recommended by their previous clients whose dogs struggled with aggression. I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have her mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with her having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if she isn't calm. She should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk she should be in the heel position - with her head behind your leg. That position decreases her arousal, reduces stress because she isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents her from scanning for others, staring others down or being stared down by a dog, and ignoring you behind her. It also requires her to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive she is - it makes her feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not hers around others. Additionally, when you do pass others, as soon as she starts staring them down, interrupt her. Don't tolerate challenging stares - even if she is stressed. Remind her with a gentle correction that you are leading the walk and she is not allowed to break her heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for her in the long-run. This also goes for excited, rude behavior. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo When pup can focus on you and ignore the others - THEN reward her with calm praise and treats for remaining calm and focused on you. Be sure to reward her when her attitude is good and not while she is highly aroused, aggressive, or worked up - calmness is the goal. The corrections and structure are to get her to this point - once she is doing well, don't skip rewarding the good attitude - if she is nervous about people, this is an important part of continuing the process to help her feel happy about people while also keeping her focus on you. Additional training will probably be needed - but what else is needed depends on whether pup is excited and acting rude or aggressive or fearful toward strangers. For example, if pup is fearful, additional socialization around people needs to happen in a controlled, safe environment. If pup is guarding you - more respect needs to be build for you and trust for other people increased. If pup is simply excited and rude - that is the easiest behavior to address - a combination of a lot of structure, fair discipline, and rewards can help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Finley
Australian Shepherd
11 Months
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Finley
Australian Shepherd
11 Months

My dog loves to learn, but leash pulling is something he doesnt grasp. He knows heel, but not when we are walking. I have tried stopping when we walk and turning the other way. I only do positive reinforcement. He gets excited as well when we see other dogs on walks and wants to pull and bark toward them. Where should I start to get my pupper on the right track with leash walking?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kathryn, Check out the article linked below and follow the Turns method. That method will also use rewards for heeling, but the additional turns will help pup learn to pay attention to where you are in proximity to them - pay special attention to turning directly in front of pup at a 90-degree angle as soon as pup's nose starts to move past your leg (you have to make you turn as soon as pup starts to move ahead and not wait too long). "Cutting pup off" by changing directions abruptly will help pup naturally learn to hang back a bit and pay better attention, since pup can no longer assume that they know exactly where you are going and will need to pay attention to stay in a position where they are ready to follow you. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Prince
Old English Bulldogge
4 Years
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Prince
Old English Bulldogge
4 Years

So, Prince hasn't been walk trained and was a lousy walker when he was a lot younger (wouldn't move sometimes, pulled other times). Now, he's a bit better but needs to improve on his heeling and bursting out of the front door (which is where the porch is) making it hard for me to control him. What should I do? I really want him to stop pulling, stay by my side, and NOT push his way outside before me. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zora, Check out the video and article linked below. Practice the threshold exercise with pup at the door often. I recommend purchasing a long leash and connecting one end to pup and the other end to something secure in the house - like the stairway banister. The long leash will be something pup doesn't feel much (you want him to respond to you not just the leash pressure) but it will give you the safety and security to practice at the door hands-free, without worrying about him accidentally getting past you. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel When pup can do well with the door and heeling without distractions around, practice the same thing around distractions, starting with small distractions first, and working up to harder ones. For example, when pup will wait at the door with the door open, then recruit a friend or family member to walk up and down the sidewalk outside and practice with that distraction going by. The Turns method is something I recommend doing in your own yard or culdesac first, working up to longer stretches, parks, fields, and more public areas as pup improves. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Poppy
Maltipoo
10 Months
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Poppy
Maltipoo
10 Months

Hi trainers I'm TJ. I often use the standstill method and poppy does sit, but the issue is besides praising her vocally she doesn't take any treats regardless of what it is and when I start to move again she pulls again. What do I do, I'm stuck

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. How about trying the Sharp Turn Method from this guide? https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-pitbull-puppy-to-heel You will be teaching Poppy that when she pulls, she does not get to continue her walk in the direction she wants to go. Keeping the pace of the walk brisk is also good for deterring pulling. Take her often and practice obedience commands whenever you are on a walk. That will keep Poppy on her toes and too busy to pull. Working on her heel will be a distraction from pulling too. Good luck!

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Oscar
Jack Russell Cross Maltese
9 Years
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Oscar
Jack Russell Cross Maltese
9 Years

I have two questions. Firstly, our dog Oscar has a long soft palate, meaning he often breathes very noisily during walks when he gets excited. Do you know any ways of keeping him quiet? Secondly, he is well behaved when our neighbor takes him for walks with her dog, but not when we do. Do you know why this is, and how to correct his behaviour?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. Although I am familiar with the soft palate, I am not a vet and cannot answer the question on that. However, the noisy breathing is a characteristic of the Maltese for sure, because of their flat face and the way their nose is structured. It's interesting that Oscar behaves on walks with the neighbor and not with you. Do you mean that he refuses to walk along nicely, or that he barks, etc when with you? Do you keep Oscar on his toes when walking him, meaning do you walk briskly and keep him moving as you go? I think that is the ideal solution. Training your dog as you walk along is excellent for behavior; it keeps them mentally stimulated and alert - and too busy to misbehave. Try The Turns Method described here and look at the other methods as well. They are all helpful. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Good luck and have fun with Oscar!

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Nola
Sheprador
2 Years
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Nola
Sheprador
2 Years

I’ve tried multiple times to train my dog. She is very hyper and doesn’t seem to understand. She is a very very smart dog. She sits, shakes with both hands, lays down, rolls over, gives a high 10, speaks, heels, and spins. Now, we taught her to heel a different way because we wanted to train her to be a duck dog but she’s is scared of loud noises so we decided to not put her through that. Anyways, are there any tips that you could give me?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Baja, Check out the article linked below and follow the turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bowie
black mouth cur
3 Years
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Bowie
black mouth cur
3 Years

We just adopted him and he will not stop pulling when we try to walk him. I'm pretty much the only one that can walk him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article and video linked below. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Also, know that this takes time to teach. Pup is new and pulling at first is normal. Continue working on it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dottie
German Shepherd/ Charpai
4 Years
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Dottie
German Shepherd/ Charpai
4 Years

Struggling to train on lead, inconsistency with methods when younger has made it more difficult now. My dog does not pay any attention to treats when out in a walk. She isn’t interested! Any advice?

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Dotty
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
7 Years
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Dotty
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
7 Years

We have a 7 year old (rescue ex breeding dog) that refuses to walk on a lead. We have had many ex breeders and got them to walk on lead without fail, this Dotty is very stubborn and refuses to walk and if lead is pulled will just sit down

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hi! It sounds like you know what you are doing, and this is an isolated event. So I apologize in advance if any of my advice is remedial! There are many reasons why dogs may pull on a leash or resist walking. If the dog has not been leash trained before, the sight, smell and feel of the leash and collar could be frightening or make the dog nervous, which can lead to resistance or balking. A dog that has been cooped up may be overly excited to go out on the leash, which can lead to more pulling or ignoring commands. Similarly, if dogs are interested in nearby items, they may be more likely to pull, or if there is something in their sight that scares them, they may resist walking. Once you understand why a dog may have problems walking on the leash, there are several techniques that can encourage proper behavior… Familiarize the Dog If the dog is not used to the collar or leash, allow them to see and smell the gear first. Rub the leash through your fingers to transfer some of your scent along its length to help your dog adjust, and allow them to wear the collar without the leash long before going for a walk. Adjust Collar Position The upper part of a dog's neck is the most sensitive area. The collar should fit in this area, which will allow for more gentle corrections because the dog will feel the effects more quickly. If the collar is too loose or low, corrections will not be as effective. Shorten the Leash A shorter leash allows firmer control without the dog getting so far away that they are tempted by more distractions. The touch of the leash and collar is an important part of dog-owner communication, and a shorter leash keeps the owner in better control of their pet. Check the Feet If a normally well-behaved walker starts to have problems, check the dog's legs and feet for thorns, bruises, cuts or any swelling or tenderness that can indicate an injury. Visit a veterinarian to help with serious issues, or allow the dog to heal before resuming leash training. Use Verbal Commands Dogs have excellent hearing, and verbal commands can be an important part of leash training. Use an excited voice to say "Let's go!" to encourage forward movement, and use harsher, firm tones with "No!" to discourage improper behavior. Stay Still If a dog pulls, stand still and do not allow them to advance toward whatever has caught their interest. When the dog stops to look around at you, reward that pause with a friendly word or small treat. If they resume pulling, stay still until they stop again, then move in the proper direction to lead them correctly. Pick Up the Pace If a dog is easily distracted on a walk, a quicker pace can reduce unwanted behavior by giving them less time to notice new things that could lead to pulling. Dogs will also enjoy the excitement in their owners' pace, and a brisk walk is better exercise than a slow stroll. Walk More Frequently Any training is more effective if it is repeated and refreshed. More frequent walks will not only remind a dog about proper leash manners, but will be more exercise and more bonding between dog and owner. Try Treats Small treats can reward good walking behavior, though it is important to use them as a tool only, and reinforce the dog's successes verbally or with a happy pat as well. Eventually, the dog should have mastered easy, comfortable walking without a treat. For the best training, combine several techniques to continually reinforce your dog's behavior. Always be patient with your pet, and in time you both will enjoy hassle-free walks.

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Bear
Rottweiler, Great Pyrenees
4 Years
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Bear
Rottweiler, Great Pyrenees
4 Years

Hes a huge puller and he’ll sit calmly the moment you stop but then runs when you take half a step. He’s super protective of me due to trauma which has Proven even more difficult

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It sounds like you are off to a good start with stopping when he pulls. I have some additional tips to help you during this process. Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog. When he pulls, immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes, either by your dog taking a step back or turning around to give you focus. When the leash is nicely relaxed, proceed on your walk. Repeat this as necessary. If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method. When your dog pulls, issue a 'Let’s Go' cue, turn away from him and walk off in the other direction, without jerking on the leash. You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go. You can also reinforce your dog’s decision to walk close to you by giving him a motivating reward when he is by your side. Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.

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Shadow
Siberian Husky
1 Year
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Shadow
Siberian Husky
1 Year

We just rescued him from a bad owner today, and he isn’t very good on a leash, how can I teach him to not pull so hard to where he can’t breathe, and would a harness be better for him or make it worse?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. A harness is a good idea. I am going to give you some info on both incorporating a harness, and training tips. You can use the training exercises in addition to the harness if you decide to get one. Leash issues are a huge problem for the dog-owning public and a leading culprit for why so many otherwise healthy dogs are doomed to life (or usually more accurately, an early death) in animal shelters. Whether it's simple leash-pulling or more significant leash reactivity and leash aggression, the primary thing to keep in mind is that these issues are almost always preventable and manageable when using positive training methods. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not pull on the leash while being walked because they want to be pack leader, top dog, alpha or dominant over their human. There is a much simpler explanation that does not give credence to the myth that dogs are on a quest for world domination! Dogs love to be outside, and the walk is a stimulating and exciting part of their day, so the desire to push ahead is very strong. Humans do not make ideal walking partners since a dog’s natural and comfortable walking pace is much faster than ours. Having to walk calmly by a person’s side when the only thing a dog really wants to do is run and investigate his environment requires a degree of impulse control that can be very difficult for some dogs to utilize. That being said, all dogs need to be taught how to walk on a leash in a positive way without pain or discomfort so that a walk becomes enjoyable for everyone. How To Stop Your Dog From Pulling On Leash: Loose leash walking - Outside If you are overpowered by your dog’s pulling and cannot start the teaching process for fear of being pulled over, then there are humane equipment solutions to help modify the pulling while you teach your dog to walk appropriately. A chest-led harness is a perfect training aid, as it takes pressure off a dog’s sensitive neck by distributing the pressure more evenly around the body. When the leash is attached to a ring located on the chest strap and your dog pulls, the harness will turn his body around rather than allowing him to go forward. I recommend this kind of harness for anyone who needs extra help, as safety has to come first. Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog. When he pulls, immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes, either by your dog taking a step back or turning around to give you focus. When the leash is nicely relaxed, proceed on your walk. Repeat this as necessary. If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method. When your dog pulls, issue a 'Let’s Go' cue, turn away from him and walk off in the other direction, without jerking on the leash. You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go. You can also reinforce your dog’s decision to walk close to you by giving him a motivating reward when he is by your side. Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.

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Heathrow
Boxer
9 Years
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Heathrow
Boxer
9 Years

I am fostering Heathrow and need help with walks. I have only had him 2 wks. The typical leash pulling. up on hind legs, whining. I have made a little progress. to get him to sit and if he is calm I give him treats. We are on a path, black top and can get him about 15 ft away. But as the dog gets closer he starts to loss attention. When the dog passes its like he goes into a zone.I am using a halti which helps with pulling but not to much with dog encounters. Working on heel doing pretty good, apposed to the 1st few days at the to end of leash pulling. He can actually walk with a loose leash much of the time. No longer reactive to walkers, bikers, squirrels, or bunnies.My fear who ever adopts him will have the dog encounteer and return him. The poor dog was with his owners for 5 yrs and surrendered him. I hate the thought of him being passed around. He is a very sweet boy. I will continue to work with him, unfortunately the Boxer rescue can't afford a trainer. A little more back ground the Rescue was told by the surrender owner he had a friend stay with them for a while and he had a rotweiler. which he brought with him. At first they got along and I guess there were some tussles. I don't know the time frame from the rotweiler and an incidence they had with him. Which they had him on a retractable leash. (DUDH) A young Australin shepperd approched excited, and Heathrow was on the leash don't know if lock failed ot they had him on a ong leash but he went after the dog. No real harm to the other dog. Any input to help me help him.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. I am going to give you a two part answer. I am going to send you leash walking tips, as well as instructions on how to teach him leave it. Leave it is an excellent command to use for anything you want him to stop paying attention to, or getting into. Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until she finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer her the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and she stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of her reach. Wait until she stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as she does, either say “yes” or click and then give her a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding her with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching her that asking her to leave some food doesn’t mean she won’t get anything, but that in fact she might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach her that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items she would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Now onto leash walking... If you are overpowered by your dog’s pulling and cannot start the teaching process for fear of being pulled over, then there are humane equipment solutions to help modify the pulling while you teach your dog to walk appropriately. A chest-led harness is a perfect training aid, as it takes pressure off a dog’s sensitive neck by distributing the pressure more evenly around the body. When the leash is attached to a ring located on the chest strap and your dog pulls, the harness will turn his body around rather than allowing him to go forward. I recommend this kind of harness for anyone who needs extra help, as safety has to come first. Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog. When he pulls, immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes, either by your dog taking a step back or turning around to give you focus. When the leash is nicely relaxed, proceed on your walk. Repeat this as necessary. If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method. When your dog pulls, issue a 'Let’s Go' cue, turn away from him and walk off in the other direction, without jerking on the leash. You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go. You can also reinforce your dog’s decision to walk close to you by giving him a motivating reward when he is by your side. Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.

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Riley
Boston Terrier
2 Years
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Riley
Boston Terrier
2 Years

My adult dog hardly eats training treats when outside making it difficult to reward her

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello! When it comes to training non-treat motivated dogs, the key is really finding something that your dog is interested in. Whether it’s toys, a pillow, a certain smell, another person, or another animal, find something that brings over-the-top joy to your dog. This is your first indicator towards a possible alternative to using treats during training lessons. Life Rewards If there is absolutely nothing that excites or entices your dog, consider this: every dog needs to eat, drink water, and use the bathroom. Life rewards include getting food, potty privilege, and drinking water. If your dog is not motivated by anything else, a dog parent can always turn to a life reward when training. Water/potty time might be difficult to get the point across with. I have always found that if I take a dog who's unmotivated by treats, out for training time on an empty stomach, and their meal in a bag, that usually does wonders. Build Value Your dog might not start out being interested in treats or toys. But if you can prove value to your dog, they’ll take more interest in it. One example of this includes using high-value treats to get the dog’s attention. Rhonda uses meatballs when she starts training a dog (if using pre-made, make sure they’re onion-free!). Something cooked and hearty, that speaks to a dog on a primal level. Dry training treats aren’t going to work for finicky eaters or non-treat motivated dogs. Make it worth your dog’s while to give you their attention over whatever is distracting them. Social time with another dog can also be a training reward. Perhaps you take your dog to the dog park, but you wait outside the gate and make your pup sit before going in and letting them off-leash. This is a good opportunity to learn and reinforce training. Changing up the environment is a key to success So, your dog has mastered certain commands in the living room, but when you’re out in the world it’s like they forget all they’ve learned. That’s an indication that it’s time to move training to a new environment. By changing the environment, your dog will understand the rules apply regardless of where you are and their training will solidify. Start with less distracting environments, like an empty dog park and move up to more distracting environments as your dog progresses. Perhaps it’s the environment itself that distracts your dog. This is common, especially considering how a dog’s strong scent picks up all the smells of the outdoors. “When dogs are too close to what they like,” according to Rhonda, “they can’t think.” If you walk outdoors and your dog is overwhelmed by interesting smells, their attention narrows in on just that, and they won’t pay attention to your commands. Therefore, it’s important to separate yourself from the object of desire in order to get your dog to listen. If this means walking half a block away, it’s worth it to get them to tune into you. Let’s say your dog loves to chase rabbits and sniff around bushes they hang out in. They can’t focus on anything but bunnies. Leave that environment until your dog is more willing to focus on you. Once they perform the command or action that you ask of them, let them go back to the spot of desire and sniff around for a few minutes. Go back close towards the spot you were before and make them perform the action, but now closer to the area of interest, and gradually get closer each time they perform the desired action. You’re on your way to mastering the commands in even the most distracting environment. Look for training opportunities Taking advantage of certain training opportunities can help you hone in on desired results. For example, if your dog gets excited when they see you preparing their dinner, you can reinforce training lessons before you give them their food. Another example might be after a walk, if your dog is thirsty, have them do commands like “sit” or “down” before giving them water. Dogs are more willing to listen if you have a high-value object of desire, and these are times when life rewards come in handy.

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Olive
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
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Olive
Labrador Retriever
3 Years

When we first got him we regularly took him to the dog parks and socialized him. But over the past year his behavior towards other dogs has become an issue. He often lunges and barks at other dogs during walks. He has also begun pulling on his leash uncontrollably. We've tried different training methods for a while now and nothing seems to be working.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello! This is something I have noticed as some male dogs cross over from young adult, to adult. Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell his fear. First we reduce his fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. I never punish a dog for his reactivity, and you shouldn’t either. Doing so will make his concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what he is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram his opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. Fun in the backyard Fun in the backyard with longtime dog friends helps during training. (Photo by Annie Phenix) You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at his (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell the dog, "Watch me" as other dogs/distractions pass by. Remember to go slowly! Ask yourself how long it would take you to get over something you feared greatly. I am terrified of spiders, and I can think of nothing you can afford that would get me past my fear. This is something that can take a few months to turn around. But it is definitely not impossible! Be a life guide for your dog — he is counting on your leadership skills (and not your domination), which should begin with knowledge and end in compassion for a sentient being.

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Bear
German Shepherd Husky Mix
6 Years
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Bear
German Shepherd Husky Mix
6 Years

I am just a teen a my mom wont let me take bear in the front because he is too crazy. So can we do these training activities in the back yard and would they work the same

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Yes you can start indoors even, then work your way to the back yard, and eventually on a real walk after he has calmed down. The idea is to get him to be responsive to you, or his walker in any environment.

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Luna
German Shepherd
3 Years
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Luna
German Shepherd
3 Years

I have trouble with opening the front or garage door without her trying to run out. There is a stray cat that hangs around the front yard and she tries to run out to catch it. I have to hold her back to let anyone in and out of the house.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you the steps to teach "recall". STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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Bentley
Golden Retriever
7 Years
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Bentley
Golden Retriever
7 Years

I inherited my 7 year old G.R., Bentley, about 3yrs ago from my brother (they were too busy with 2 young kids to give him enough attention however he was always treated very well just not trained much aside from house training). He was never that great on a leash, he CAN calmly walk however as soon as he sees people or other animals, he gets extremely excited and tries to pull/lunge to go play. He has pulled me down before when I first took him in. In addition, for his first 2yrs with me, myself and my soon-to-be ex-husband also had another dog - 30lb female hound mix. Both of them always got along very, very well with no problems. However, they're now separated for the past 5-months and this likely will be permanent, as my husband is not agreeing for them both to remain with me, due to me having a private yard and working from home. In the past 5-months, I have noticed he has been even worse with the pulling and excitement on leash walking, while he isn't aggressive by nature, his excited bark often comes off as aggressive, esp when there's an 85lb dog trying to run towards you while barking, hahaha. In addition, it seems he now no longer gets along with other dogs. While I thought it was possibly only male dogs his size or larger, I have also had a 2nd incident with a female dog. While the female was aggressively sniffing at his privates, he was never known to be aggressive and in these 2 instances, he was. I used to be able to bring him, and his sister, to the dog park with no problem...he would go to her rescue if SHE was getting into it with another dog, as she was often targeted for some reason, however HE never got aggressive, he almost kind of would go over, get right in the middle and bark, but wouldn't try to bite at all. While I'm most concerned about his apparent new aggression and inability to get along with other dogs, the leash-walking is extremely difficult too as I want to be able to take him on regular walks but my neighborhood is loaded with other dogs and it's just impossible, so I exercise him and ball-play in the yard to ensure he gets exercise in.

If it helps any, he can be very excited and difficult to calm at home, as well, although I have been doing a lot to be consistent with this and he is slowly improving.

Please let me know where to get started! Also, would it be better to use a front-ring training leash, rather than a harness and leash attachment on the back/top of harness? A friend of mine mentioned to me maybe changing the leash would help?

Thank you!!!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello. I am going to send you some training exercises you can use to help make your walks or outings a bit more peaceful. You can use the tips below and apply them to both humans and other dogs. And to answer your question regarding the harness, the front clip harnesses do give your more control over the pulling. The ones that clip on the back, actually give the dog more power to pull. You switch it up to give it a try. Also, there is a head halter called a Gentle Leader. Those work wonders for pulling. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what he is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram his opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at his (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell the dog, sit, "watch me" or whatever command you want to use for this exercise. Remember to go slowly. You will see a significant change in his behavior after a month of consistent practice.

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Xena
Pit Bull Golden Retriever mix
9 Years
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Xena
Pit Bull Golden Retriever mix
9 Years

Xena loves people, she wants to meet everyone she see’s which makes it hard to take her out on walks because she tends to pull. How do I stop or at least limit the pulling on walks

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hello! A good starting point is to take her out on walks that are set up as training exercises, not her actual walk. Or you can walk her for about 10 minutes, then start the training process. Either way, you will want to designate time separate from her regular walking to do this exercise. You can start a few feet away from the path and ask her to sit. When she sits, give her a treat. You can reward her intermittently for sitting calmly and focusing on you. This will desensitize her to the people/distractions and help her keep her focus on you while out in these environments. After she is doing this consistently (which may take a week or two) you can resume walking. As strangers are approaching, have her sit and wait until the stranger has passed before you start walking again. You will do this on repeat until it becomes a habit for her to take a seat (or at least stay calm!) as people are approaching.

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Merlin
Terrier mix
3 Years
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Merlin
Terrier mix
3 Years

He is extremely distracted and excited when walking. Constant pulling and crying. His head is constantly darting around. When we stop walking he will sit and stay in place but starts to cry and bark loudly. The moment he is released from the command he is pulling. The longer we wait the more agitated he becomes. I’ve tried the 180 method but he

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
89 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! Polite leash walking has to be the #1 issue most pet parents struggle with. And after all of my years of training, there seem to be very few solutions that work! I would recommend getting him a no pull harness at this point. I like the head halter version. It goes around the back of the head and around the nose. It isn't a muzzle, but it can help keep his focus on you or straight ahead while walking. Carry some treats and reward good walking. You can pick this harness up online or at a pet store. It is called a Gentle Leader.

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Bailey
Border Collie
3 Years
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Bailey
Border Collie
3 Years

Our dog is the heart of our family but he is so naughty, mostly when going for a walk. i will admit he is not taken out as much as he should be as he lives with my grandparents and they can’t handle him. luckily the garden is about the size of a small field so he has free reign of that. i do try to take him out myself as much as possible about when i do all he does is pull. he won’t take treats on a walk, won’t drink water, he gets so excited he starts to froth at the mouth. i’ve tried so many times to train him but it doesn’t work. he’s broken my step mothers finger by pulling and he’s also snapped the lead and it hit me in the eye. what do i do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elissa, Start by practicing the Turns method in the yard where pup is less excited. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Next, work on teaching pup some general obedience like Down, Watch Me, Sit, ect... Have pup practice those periodically in the yard during your heel training to stimulate pup mentally and decrease their energy. I also suggest choosing a training tool that will decrease pup's ability to pull so hard - this won't train pup alone but you need a way to make walking pup safer while you are in the process of training. A front clip harness (not back clip or that makes pulling worse), gentle leader, or correctly fitted prong collar are generally the most effective. Be sure to research how to properly fit and use whichever tool you use because they are often not fitted or used correctly and that can make them unsafe or ineffective. Once pup has the right tool, can heel well in the yard, and you know how to take the edge off their energy mentally through obedience, practice walks in calm locations like a cul-de-sac first, and gradually work up to walking pup in more distracting locations. Don't worry about pup not getting enough exercise - as long as pup is learning and taking as many steps during the training time as a longer walk - even if those steps are all in the same area, the training walk is still extremely beneficial. If they are willing, practicing regular obedience with pup inside, to get pup moving and learning can also calm pup down, if they are physically unable to walk him often enough. Border Collies specifically need a lot of mental stimulation as much as physical stimulation. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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cosmo
chocolate lab pitbull mix
4 Years
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cosmo
chocolate lab pitbull mix
4 Years

well i dont have any harnesses because i cant find any of them for a reasonable price and the problem with my dog on a leash is he keeps pulling us and hes a pretty big dog and everytime i go on a walk hes normal but after the walk he likes to try to bite the end of the leash like its a chew toy and everytime there are people he loves people so he pulls me over to them

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gabby, First, start by practicing the Turns method from the article linked below. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Second, choose a training tool that will prevent pup from physically being able to pull you over to people until they are better trained, such as a gentle leader or prong collar - which should both be more affordable than certain body harnesses. How to Introduce the Prong collar – plus how to connect to buckle collar with carabiner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg How to walk with a Prong collar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVvy6fztL2Q&t=6s Third, practice Leave It at home, spray the bottom of your leash with bitter apple or white vinegar (test on a small area of the leash first), and practice obedience commands like Heel, Down, Sit and Watch Me periodically during your walk to decrease some of pup's build up mental energy and keep them in a calmer mindset throughout the walk - some dogs actually get more excited with physical exercise alone. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Annie
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
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Annie
Labrador Retriever
3 Years

We recently adopted our Annie as an adult dog.
Annie has been basic obedience trained and was trained as a puppy to "heel". However, the training was not reinforced and she was allowed to run free on acreage. She did not seem to get a lot of walking practice. She is very excitable around dogs, cats, squirrels, rabbits, etc. She is extremely reactive to any change in her routine. She is friendly and not aggressive with people. We would love to be able to walk her and let her get exercise but she is all over the place and pulls like crazy. We are using a prong collar and have tried to turn her in the opposite direction when she pulls, but it doesn't seem to help. Is there anything else we can try to teach her to walk?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Julie, First, check out the video below and make sure the Prong is correctly fitted. It should be high on the neck and tight enough where each prong gently touches the skin but doesn't dig in at when pup isn't pulling. Prongs are often wrongly fitted loosely like choke collars low on the neck and loose - which makes them ineffective and actually unsafe, due to the collar hitting the trachea harder during corrections, rather than giving a uniform squeeze around the entire neck. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3iczULPcdE Second, check out the Turns method from the article linked below. Pay special attention to the steps on turning directly in front of pup at a ninety degree angle whenever pup starts to move past your knee. For this to work, pup will need to start the walk slightly behind you, with their muzzle at or behind your knee. As soon as their muzzle begins to move past your knee, cut directly in front of pup by turning at a 90 degree angle in front of pup, this helps pup learn to pay attention to where you are at and at walking, instead of tuning you out and pulling. The prong then becomes a way to give pup more information, like a brief correction because you turned away from pup and they were paying attention so got a small correction, opposed to pup constantly pulling on the prong and adrenaline just getting high. Start this training at the basics again, walking pup around your property in an open, calm location until they are doing well there - this will feel awkward trying to turn a lot at first, but as pup improves and stays in step with you better, it should go smoother. When pup does well again in the calm location, then gradually practice around new distractions on your property, one new difficultly - like a chicken or squirrel at a time, working pup up to all the distractions. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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