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My Plott Hound (around 50lbs, we've had her less than a month and we're all first-time dog owners) is a huge puller on walks, like most hounds. But mostly the only people that take her out are smaller women that have trouble with her pulling on walks. We got her a "no pull harness," which worked fine for about two days. She still pulls with it, albeit slightly less than just with her collar. We can't walk her without the harness. She's torn through it a couple times, and while it's been resewn, it will likely need to be replaced soon. She's still awfully difficult to walk, even with the harness on. Often times she'll walk while chewing the harness, too, and she gets her teeth stuck in it a lot. Two people have to fight her to get her in the harness and out of it, all while she's gnawing and thrashing.

However, we don't have the money to keep replacing the harness or buying new things to keep her from pulling. We don't want to get her a choke collar, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to control her. Would a head harness be a reliable solution?

On another topic, this dog is mostly well-behaved, but she doesn't respond to commands very well and can be a bit hard to manage at times. We've considered taking her to PetCo, PetSmart, etc, but it's incredibly expensive. We have looked at multiple pieces of training advice on the internet, but lots of different places say different things. So if anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Welcome! Good that you're asking questions.

A harness or collar isn't going teach her not to pull, but it can help you manage her while you train. This thread has a number of resources to teach good walking manners: "Loose Leash" walking

Find one you like and try it for a week or so. If you're not seeing any progress at all, try something else. Keep in mind that teaching loose leash walking is going to take some time and, importantly, consistency. Be sure to give methods you try sufficient time to make a difference.

If she's engaged with you while walking, she should be less inclined to chew that harness. Make sure that you've acclimated her to it, too. Perhaps you could lure her head through it with a treat and work on putting the behavior on cue.
As far as PetCo / PetSmart training, I'd suggest observing a few classes preferably with the trainer you plan to have classes with. You may also find a non-franchise trainer who has classes or offers one-on-one sessions.
Finding a Trainer, Behavior Consultant, or Behaviorist
 

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My Plott Hound (around 50lbs, we've had her less than a month and we're all first-time dog owners) is a huge puller on walks, like most hounds. But mostly the only people that take her out are smaller women that have trouble with her pulling on walks. We got her a "no pull harness," which worked fine for about two days. She still pulls with it, albeit slightly less than just with her collar. We can't walk her without the harness. She's torn through it a couple times, and while it's been resewn, it will likely need to be replaced soon. She's still awfully difficult to walk, even with the harness on. Often times she'll walk while chewing the harness, too, and she gets her teeth stuck in it a lot. Two people have to fight her to get her in the harness and out of it, all while she's gnawing and thrashing.

However, we don't have the money to keep replacing the harness or buying new things to keep her from pulling. We don't want to get her a choke collar, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to control her. Would a head harness be a reliable solution?

On another topic, this dog is mostly well-behaved, but she doesn't respond to commands very well and can be a bit hard to manage at times. We've considered taking her to PetCo, PetSmart, etc, but it's incredibly expensive. We have looked at multiple pieces of training advice on the internet, but lots of different places say different things. So if anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated!
I would never walk a hound (or any dog that pulls) on a choke/pinch collar or with a flat collar you are risking damage to their windpipes. We have a Dean & Tyler Universal No-Pull Harness which works well with my dog (he is a puller) and you can attach a leash to the back and the front which gives me more control. I have a head collar for Trucker but will use it in conjunction with his no-pull harness once he is ready.

Here are some great links:
Are Head Collars on Dogs Dangerous or Safe? It’s All About Technique! | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Which Types of Collars and Harnesses are Safe for Your Dog? | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Regular Leash vs. Hands-free Waist Leash: Which is Safer When Your Dog Pulls? | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Walk on Loose Leash, Part 1:Â* Choose the Right Walking Pace and Make It Clear Pulling Doesn’t Work | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Take The Lead, Safely! Leash Walking Skills Every Human Needs to Know | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Training Pups and Adult Dogs to Heel: Repeat Sits on the Left Side | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
My Dog Knows Some Walking Exercises: How to Incorporate Them Into a Walk | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
 

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The thing about the chain stores is you can have really good trainers and really bad trainers, it all depends on the individual trainer. We went to PetSmart, and I was really pleased with the trainer we had, but I think there are some other ones that are not so good.
 

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Petco, petmart dog trainers are a crap shoot. I would suggest looking for a local dog training club. You may pay about the same maybe a little more but, the quality of the training is almost always higher. Know the manager of a local petco. She has been training dogs for 30 years. She has told me that most of the training programs offered by the big box store are a joke. She is a rarity in the dog training dept in pecto. Also check with your local humane society. Most of them offer a basic obedience class. Sometimes if you adopted a pet from them they offer a reduced cost.
 

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@bpatetn91, how long did you use the halti, and does your dog start pulling again when you take it off? I bought a halti on amazon and returned it because it was too small, and haven't gotten around to buying the next size up yet.

My dog walks beautifully on a loose leash if I'm actively managing him and engaging him and we're checking in. So much so that people give us compliments on well he walks to heel. But that process includes food - a portion of his meal kibble with a few small treats thrown in randomly.

But we've been hitting sub zero temperatures lately and I don't want to take off my gloves when I walk him, so I've stopped with the food because I can't handle the food with my gloves on.

And what do you know? He's back to pulling. He goes to the end of the leash, I call him back, he walks well for a few seconds, then lunges forward again. I realize it's very hard to keep him by my side without the possibility of food.
 

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@augusta my first dog I ever tried it on was a terrier/mastiff mix. She responded quickly to the Halti and after a week or so of use she was able to walk beside me with out it on ever again. I considered her to be a pretty intelligent dog.

My current dog a LARGE basset hound whose still a puppy and not to bright. I use the Halti consistently for this guy and it works the moment I put it on. He does rub around on the ground now and then to protest but for the most part he has accepted it. For my current dog its trial and error for us. If he has a few good walks I will take him out with out the halti. Some days he does good other days bad. If it turns out to be a bad day I just put the halti back on him mid walk.

From my experience most dogs do pick up quickly to slow down their walks when this is consistently used. We use these daily at the Humane Society in my town on the more active and strong dogs. Most of those dogs take the hint after a few walks and chill out. Most vets offices or pet supply stores have these.

Its a nice alternative to chock collars etc...it just applies a nice amount of pressure on the dogs nose to get their attention. I also use a Premier collar on my dog which prevents him from slipping out of his collar on walks or his cable when he is in the yard playing.

Good Luck!
 

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@bpatetn91 Thanks!

I had figured it would be helpful when I ordered it. I ordered a small, which didn't fit, and have been too lazy to buy the medium. I'll try it now, especially since it won't be getting warmer any time soon.
 

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I use a head collar for my dane, we also work with LLW. She is good at it, but she is strong and sometimes forgets how to walk nicely, mostly when there is an other dog. I'm honestly not sure if I'll stop using the head collar when we go out places, it's a safety thing. She doesn't have a problem with it, took to it very quickly. But not all dogs walk well with them, you have to take your time and let your dog get use to them. But remember that they are only a bandaid, like any no pull device. You need to work on training.
 

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Don't take your dog to Petsmart/Petco for training. They have no qualifications for their trainers and hire people who are not certified.

I had a friend who worked as the trainer there with no degree, no prior experience, and no education in any type of training. She was really into Ceasar Milan-type training and used a shock collar on her dog at work. She was considered one of the "better" pet store trainers in the area. I occasionally would ask her for advice on things for my dogs, and nothing she ever told me was helpful. I took my dog to get CGC certified (which he passed) with her and she told me after the session that my puppy was disrespectful and alpha rolled him out of the blue. Our friendship suffered after that, and because she refused to congratulate me on my training successes, like when my dog also become therapy certified.

After she quit, I applied for the job and also got it. Similarly, I had no qualifications other than my work training horses and the fact that I am in college studying ethology. I ended up not taking it after I met with the woman who would be training me and realized that I already knew more than she did (mostly because I didn't have time for part time job and full time studies).
 

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@squidwanda Good to know!

Someone once told me that puppy classes are pretty much all the same and that the different training philosophies are only significant for obedience I and beyond. I had always though I could have saved a bit of money by going to a big box store. Now I know :)
 

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I also want to add that despite all techniques I found here and other places online and in books, the one thing that I found to be the most helpful is pretending my dog was a horse.

I think the biggest thing to think about is that when we take our dog for a walk, we're practicing leadership, NOT control. And we may know this intellectually, but when we actually go out, our instinct is to exert control over the dog instead of leading.

Imagine you're leading a horse. And the horse suddenly tugs you. What's your instinct? - for most people, it's to tug back. But engaging in a tug of war with a horse is a bad idea, because you absolutely will definitely lose. The horse is huge! For most people, this is a quick lesson.

But for some reason, when we work with dogs, it's a harder lesson to learn because we are often stronger than the dog and we actually choose to engage in the tug back. And we win, because we are bigger. And each time we win, we train ourselves - it's self reinforcing, and unconsciously, we learn that tugging back works and we do it again.

When you work with a large animal, there's a certain demeanor you develop that's hard to describe. You don't allow yourself to get into a tug of war with a horse, because you'll lose. You also don't let a horse pull you, because you'll get injured. And you also don't allow the horse to forget that you're there, because that's dangerous. You just sort of maintain this light touch that's confident and flexible and affectionate but firm. You consistently remain a presence and a source of assurance and safety. It's just a body language thing more than anything - as well as a mental state of not being stubborn and being a leader.

I had been struggling quite a bit with loose leash walking, and then I thought about the lessons from this horse book

Zen & Horseback Riding, 3rd Edition: Applying the Principles of Posture, Breath and Awareness to Riding Horses: Tom Nagel, Sally Swift: 9780974921327: Amazon.com: Books


and I decided to apply those lessons to my dog. And the constant pulling disappeared, voila! He's still not perfect - as I mentioned on another thread I have to have food in my pocket just so the possibility of food is there, and he still pulls when he sees a squirrel or a cat or something, but our walks are peaceful and he doesn't pull on the leash as we walk.

A couple other things - and this is aside from all the techniques you see on this site, especially under the "loose leas walking" sticky. On thing I've found is that walks are more peaceful if he's calm before we go. So if he's worked up and bouncing off the walls in the house, I don't choose that as his time to go for a walk because 1. I don't want to reward hyperactivity, and 2. he's not in the mindset for a walk. I only choose to take him for a walk when he's just awakened from a nap and is still pretty sleepy/calm.

The other thing I'd suggest is holding the leash against your naval so your dog can feel your breath as you walk. She'll be much more enabled to read your energy and stay in tune with you. And if you're getting frustrated, you can start breathing deeply and slowly and she'll feel that too, as opposed to not noticing, and she'll calm down and regroup with you. The leash serves as an umbilical cord.

Just some thoughts! Hope these help.
 

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i think you can train almost every dog without using aversive tools, like the halti.
I'd just take a regular collar and a regular leash, something to reward and train a lot on a low-stimulus area, for example the house or the garden.
it should become normal for them to have the leash on them, even if they sleep, eat or play in the house, not just when you walk them.
you don't need witchcraft, just patience, gentle persistence and time.
if he's able to do it there, then move foward to more exciting areas.
 
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