Walking a Large Strong Dog

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Pol
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Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Pol » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:51 pm

Wasn't sure where to post this so I'll try here.

I walk my friend/neighbor's dog for them when they're working late etc. Not sure exactly what age the dog is but I think around 5yrs. She's a big dog, an Australian Cattle dog.
They got her from a shelter, I'm not sure how but I believe she was abused somewhat before. I don't know whether or not she's been properly trained or not. Unfortunately her owners subscribe to a certain male dog trainers method of dominance training - which I obviously don't believe in.

Normally I don't have any troubles with the dog until today. We were almost home when I noticed her ears perked up, unfortunately I gathered a second too late of what it was, there was another dog just around the corner tugging on their leash and barking at her. "My" dog didn't bark but was pulling on the leash a lot. I tried what I could to calm her, I tried standing directly in front of her and tried to back her up. I lost my footing amongst all this and fell to the grass. I kept a hold on the leash. Finally the other person disappeared with her dog. "My" dog calmed down finally and I got to my feet.

I'd really like some suggestions/advice on how to handle a situation like this better if it happens again. I know it wasn't the other persons fault but I kind of thought from one dog person to another that it might have been helpful or polite to perhaps ask if I was okay before disappearing. They were still standing throughout it all.
But I'm just glad I kept a hold on the dog and nothing bad happened. Still a little shook up from it but not put off, I just need to learn how to handle this big, strong dog better!

Thanks!

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Mattie
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Mattie » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:18 am

Do you walk her on a harness, collar, or headcollar?

For safety I would walk her on a harness with a lead clipped to the harness and another clipped to the collar, this will give you more control of the dog. You can retrain her to walk on a loose lead, you will find ideas at viewtopic.php?f=20&t=858 10 to 15 minutes of this training will tire her out more than you think but you will go up and down the same few yards at first. Teaching her to walk like this will also show her owner what can be achieved with positive training especially if you also do some clicker training for various things. :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

Steph
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Steph » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:41 am

i would definitely recommend a headcollar or "halti" that are based on horse halters- you can now buy them for $10 in the supermarket so it's not expensive and they are much kinder and gentler to the dog and far more effective than a choker as they just can't pull- we walk our large (40KG) male in one (i used to refuse to walk him before we got one just in case he saw a rabbit as he is a hunting dog and would just go! Now i am most comfortable walking him in one by myself) and i now walk my border in one because it gives you the safety of not being able to be pulled around if something does go wrong because even the most well trained dogs can have a slip in concentration or distractions can happen! But even with a halti as a safety assurance nothing beats training to "heal" or loose lead walk like matti said but they are a helpful tool!

dajaga
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by dajaga » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:33 am

I have a pit mix that use to pull all the time, now only time she pulls is when she wants to sniff or go pee.
anyways I use to do 2 long walks a day 45 minutes or more, but recently I have been doing 3 shorter walks, about 30 minutes.

anyways this works great with a harness and eventually you can stop using it. This also works best when there isnt much traffic or people around.
Anyways I'll try to explain how I do it.
When you are walking as soon as you feel a pull thats when you tell the dog "lets go" and you start to turn around, walk for 10 seconds or so and turn around again back to original path. just keep on doing that.
The theory behind it is the dog will get confused on where you are actually walking and will want to stay closer to you. remember give lots of treats at first so the dog knows he is doing a good job. and lots of praise and eventually he should start to follow you.

I hope i explained it good. Ill try to find a youtube video.

Also another thing you can do is buy a doggy backpack and add 2 water bottles half full, that should slow the dog down a bit, remember start off with very little weight as the dogs back isn't use to it.

dajaga
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by dajaga » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:41 am

here is a video, watch the whole thing but what I am talking about with the changing directions starts at around 3:15 in the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIdeT5S9u4Y

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Mattie
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Mattie » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:45 am

dajaga wrote: When you are walking as soon as you feel a pull
Waiting until your dog has started to pull is too late, you need to turn before then and if you want your dog to walk next to you, you turn as soon as his head goes in front of you. You will find that your dog will stay with you so he can see when you turn as you are unpredicable, this is the start of walking to heel.
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dajaga
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by dajaga » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:02 pm

Mattie wrote:
dajaga wrote: When you are walking as soon as you feel a pull
Waiting until your dog has started to pull is too late, you need to turn before then and if you want your dog to walk next to you, you turn as soon as his head goes in front of you. You will find that your dog will stay with you so he can see when you turn as you are unpredicable, this is the start of walking to heel.
After a person I know taught me this I am surprised that not many people do this, I was shocked on how fast my dog started to walk beside me, with in 3 days for the most part she stopped pulling.

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Mattie
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Mattie » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:09 pm

If a dog doesn't have any problems 3 days is a long time, I normally spend 10/15 minutes doing this and by then the dog is walking next to me, they do forget and move ahead but I just turn again and they quickly get it back. It doesn't take long before I don't even have to turn, just stop and my dogs comes back.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

emmabeth
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by emmabeth » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:33 pm

It does work surprisingly fast if you can be consistant - this is most peoples problem though - they cant be consistant. Usually they get frustrated, they are in a rush, they are determined to make the dog who has pulled for years, walk all the way to the exciting park on a loose lead after having never even done 1 minutes worth of loose lead walking before.... ie, they want immediate success and they set themselves too big a goal, fail and get annoyed and so they start yanking on the lead and getting stressed.

This method does work quickly... and it works even quicker of you do the about turn when the dog gets head of your leg, BEFORE any pressure is put on the lead, seriously 3 days... you can cut that down to a day if you do the about turn before the dog is pulling.

It wont be immediately perfect and long lasting after 1 day but the dog will have the idea firm in his/her mind that loose lead is waht its all about. After that you are able to use praise, treats, asking for changes of pace, direction, sits/downs/waits etc to give your dog a good reason to want to focus on you and walk beside you, and you will only need to use the about turn method as a reminder every so often.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

Sue1234
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Sue1234 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:43 pm

Okay, so let's see if I'm getting all this right. I have an 80 lb. golden retriever/bernese mt. dog mix we rescued just last week. She's sweet and willing and seems quite intelligent, but she does pull mightily on her lead when we walk, especially if she sees another animal. I watched Victoria Stillwell teach a similar acting dog to walk on a loose leash by simple stopping when the dog pulled. No change of direction, she just stopped in place, facing their original direction. As soon as the dog turned to her to see what was up and the lead slackened, she walked on, continuing this pattern until the dog simply stopped pulling. Now the method I'm reading here is similar, but instead of stopping, you suggest changing direction just prior to the taut lead. So my question is, will both methods work equally well? I would prefer to simply stop instead of changing direction, but will of course if it's the better way to go.
Thanks!
~Sue

Leigha
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Leigha » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:14 pm

It depends on you and your dog. With mine, I chose to do the tree method--the one you're doing where you just stop. I'd stop, make like a tree, wait 'til he stepped back a few steps and the lead loosened, then continued on. My then fiance would do the about-face method and he would turn and go the other way. That worked better for him. If being a tree works best for you, then by all means you do that.

Sue1234
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Sue1234 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:14 pm

Thanks Leigha, I appreciate the information!
~Sue

jacksdad
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by jacksdad » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:02 pm

both methods teach not to pull. but the change directions, if done right, also teaches quasi "heel". So, if you want your dog to walk loose leash AND be next you, then the method described by mattie will do that. provided you are VERY consistent when the dog goes to pass you.

If you just want the dog not to pull and to keep the leash loose, the "stop dead" works too, but does not really teach your where to be in relation to you, just not to pull.

Leigha
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Leigha » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:06 pm

For me and Bru, I don't worry to much about the heel. At the beginning of the walk he does the hound weave--he literally sniffs from side to side and smells EVERYTHING for the first 20 minutes of the walk, and I'm okay with that. I want him to be able to do what he was born to do. I did however train him to do "check-ins" where he'll walk for a few minutes, then come back and check-in with me, then go back and do more of his sniffing thing. But he does also tend to walk next to me towards the later half of the walk once he's satisfied his sniffing urge or if he's randomly tired.

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Nettle
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Re: Walking a Large Strong Dog

Post by Nettle » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:48 am

Once you have got the loose-lead thing cracked and realise how easy it was, you look at all the folks being dragged about by their dogs and you wonder why they put up with it..... :lol:
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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