walking on leash

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
ladybugtastic
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:27 am
Location: Oregon
Contact:

walking on leash

Post by ladybugtastic » Mon May 12, 2014 4:56 pm

I've had my 3 year old german shepherd mix since he was 8 weeks old. I've always dreaded going for walks with him, and I don't think he's ever enjoyed going on walks before. he's always been on 'high alert'. his hackles are raised the whole time, he's tense, ears and tail down, growls and snaps at other dogs/people, wont take treats, wont listen, and goes into a frenzy of pulling/lunging/barking whenever he sees another dog. I haven't been able to take him for walks lately because I recently had a baby and I couldn't walk him and keep her with me at the same time.

3 weeks ago, we moved into a house that is 1.5 times bigger than our apartment, and I decided to give walks another shot. and I was AMAZED! I'm not saying he walked perfectly, because he didn't, but the change in him was so awesome! He seemed to really enjoy our walk. his hackles stayed down, he listened to me, and he took treats from me. Every time he started pulling, I'd either turn around quickly or I'd stand and wait for him to acknowledge me, and after the first time he seemed to catch on that he had to watch me to know where we were going to go. there was one time that he pulled and lunged towards another dog (across the street and behind a chain link fence), but other than that, he was completely relaxed and even walked really close to a squirrel and another dog that was lounging in a driveway.
Today, I took him on a (short) walk, and his eyes were on me nearly the entire time. I was able to pet him, he stayed close the whole time and when I turned towards him, and he even backed up and allowed me to turn in front of him while on a loose leash! This is all stuff we've worked on with him in obedience class and inside, but we'd never been able to apply it outside because he just wouldn't listen to us.

For the first time, I'm actually hopeful about my ability to help him with all of his 'issues', and had to share my huge success. :)

Image
For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog.

Roger Caras, president emeritus, ASPCA


JudyN
Posts: 6972
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: walking on leash

Post by JudyN » Tue May 13, 2014 2:09 am

Brilliant! :D Do you think it's the change of location that has made the difference? Are you in a less busy area?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

ladybugtastic
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:27 am
Location: Oregon
Contact:

Re: walking on leash

Post by ladybugtastic » Tue May 13, 2014 2:16 pm

I think a lot of factors play into his new personality. We are on a less busy street (although it's still a bit busy). at our old place, he'd flinch and growl whenever a car drove past him, but here, he glances at them, but otherwise doesn't pay any attention to them.

We have a lot more room in this house, plus we have a backyard. Our house isn't cluttered like our apartment was, so I'm a lot less stressed. Training and playing has become more fun because there's a lot more room to move around in, so instead of Riley taking up an entire room just by standing in it, I could comfortably fit about 10 of him in our office. I also find that it's easier to give him rewards for positive behavior here, because he's offering the behaviors a lot more frequently.

He has a lot of serious issues, but I now have the time and energy that it's going to take to rehabilitate him, and I've noticed 4 pretty big successes in the last 24 hours. This morning, on our walk, a dog on the other side of the street saw us from the backyard it was in. it started barking and jumping along the chain link fence and Riley saw it and started to growl. When I told him to leave it, he actually looked up at him, his hackles went back down and he completely ignored the other dog. It's given me a lot of encouragement, because I was worried that his first walk was just a fluke, since it was his first walk in a new place.
For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog.

Roger Caras, president emeritus, ASPCA


Post Reply