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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone
To give a little background; I 'adopted', for lack of a better word, a dog about 6 months ago form a friend of mine. She is approximately 8 years old, has at least some Bernese and some Great Pyrenees in her, and is unfixed. Now this dog didn't have a great deal of training when she came to me - just the basics; sit, lie down, and a shaky recall - so I've spent the last 6 months teaching her to walk on a leash without pretending to be a sled dog, and to generally listen better. It hasn't been going well. She is defensive of me and 'her apartment', and barks at anyone she can see. She pulls constantly on the leash, even on a choke chain.
Now, I think my fundamental issue lays in her almost complete lack of attention to me, at all times except at meal time and when I'm handling food.
I was hoping to get some tips on increasing her attentiveness, both at home and on walks, that don't all involve treats/food ( but all tips are welcome!).
Also as a note; she tore her acl ( minor) about 10 months ago, and though she is recovering extremely well ( only some stiffness remains, as well as a slightly altered gait), I can't walk her as much as a healthy, sound dog.
Thanks in advance!
 

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Out of curiosity, do you have pics of her? I had a GP/BMD.

To teach her to focus on you more, you can teach the "Watch me" command. It's worked very well for increasing my dogs focus on me during training sessions. For the leash pulling, you can try a gentle leader to teach her to slow down and slowly phase it out once she begins to understand what is expected of her. If you don't want t go that route, I suggest to replace the choke chain with a martingale collar and when she pulls instantly turn around in the opposite direction. You may find yourself going in circles literally, but it usually works well in getting the point across to your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks timber; I've tried a gentle leader on her before, with horrible results. In the past she shoved her nose into one of those larger yogurt containers and got stuck like that for hours until someone came home. Now she hates ( will actually flip her self over backward, etc) anything around her nose. I'll give the martingale a try though; I've never liked the choke chain, but with an 85 pound master puller who won't listen, what's a girl to do.
Could you give me a general idea of how to train a 'watch me', or 'focus' command?
And is there another way without turning immediately in the other direction? I've tried this, with no result, and I'm reluctant to put too much torque on her hind leg injury.
Thanks!
 

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Anything that causes pressure on the throat area causes the dog's body to release a chemical that makes the dog want to pull more. On a dog that's already a big puller, things like choke chains and flat collars just exacerbate the problem.

I generally dislike head-halter type leads. For a dog that is a strong and stubborn puller, the tension could really damage their neck. We stopped using the Gentle Leader on the Husky because he was hurting his neck and it was disrupting his actual training.
 

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What do you use then Larkspur? Sounds like removing pressure on the neck would mean not using any type of collar?
Oh, and here's a picture of her timber; that's her in the front, and my (original) boy Sam in the back ( who also happens to be her son!
 

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Have you tried something like a Webmaster Front Range, or Freedom No Pull, Harnesses? They work by pulling the dog around when they pull.
Here's some links on them so you can check out the price and read reviews if your interested in them.

Robot Check

Here's some videos that may help you teach her to focus on you. They're by Kikopup and are Building Attention videos 1-4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTSuPk2Ccjo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POM8wwnRSk4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEpmEh2prnM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFhtFt6Qy6g
 

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What do you use then Larkspur? Sounds like removing pressure on the neck would mean not using any type of collar?
Oh, and here's a picture of her timber; that's her in the front, and my (original) boy Sam in the back ( who also happens to be her son!
We keep a collar on him for mandatory tags, and post-training he walks much better in just a collar. Typically, as posted above, harnesses are a good choice for relieving that pressure. It's completely possible to train a good walk in a harness. Dogs don't have to pull in one.
 

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I tend to think it's the pulling that's harmful and not so much the style of harness or collar you use. A puller is going to pull until you teach them otherwise. And, pretty much any style of collar or harness can be harmful if the dog is constantly pulling in it.
 

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I like the freedom harness for our big guy. It's got a soft velcro strap that goes under the armpits, so I don't worry about it chafing. I clip his leash to the front clip of his harness. Bought mine on Amazon.
 
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