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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone have suggestions to teach a 90lb puller to heel?

I've tried a head collar but it seems to choke her although I put it on as was instructed.
I've tried a harness but she just pulls even harder.

What can I do? I'm becoming desperate because as Dobermans are, she is extremely full of energy and walking her is a huge hassle.
 

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Well, there are a few tools of the market to help with pulling. There are harnesses designed specifically for pullers. When they pull, the harness has a system where they end up pulling against their own weight. Another sounds like what you are using called the Gentle Leader or Halti. The idea is like that of a halter for horses. The dog has to follow its head. If you have one, I'd suggest taking it to your local pet shop to have them fit it. It sounds like it is too big or not fitted correctly.
I use a choke chain on mine. For my extreme puller, I used a pinch collar, alo known as a prong collar.
I know that there are more qualified people then me to help you with teaching her how to heel. I was taught the Petsmart way with food rewards that I still don't agree with!!..lol....I also was taught to keep a short leash and walk in a square....so, I think it really depends on the trainer and methods that they like and use. Also on the dog. What works for one might not work for another! Have you thought of enrolling in a dog obiedience class with her?
Anyway, I wish you the best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually the breeder whom we got her off of used a pinch collar on the mother. To me it looks as if it might puncture the dogs skin. Will it puncture if they pull to hard?

I have looked into the Petsmart obedience class, but I just recently lost one of my jobs, and I need to pay for my car, etc.

Thanks for the advice though. :]
 

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No, they should not punture the skin. They also make caps to cover the tips. They pull hard and if she is smart once maybe twice and thats it. My doggie nephew Cooper (rip) spent his whole life needing one on walks. He was a little think in the brain department. If you put Coop on a choke you got dragged down the street but if you got him on his pinch collar he was good as gold.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok. I'll take your word for it. She's a Doberman and she's quite intelligent so I hope it wouldn't take her too long to realize to stop pulling.
Thanks again.
 

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Good luck and I hope you can get her to stop pulling. If the pinch collar still seems to much to you, try a choke chain first if you have not already. If she still pulls then you know you need to go a little harsher. You might be surprised at how quickly she gets the message. Please keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not against the pinch collar, but my parents are. Thankfully, she's going to be enrolled in obedience class this month. :)
 

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Pinch collar is still the best way to go. Dogs aren't stupid just habitual. If it has a habit of pulling then a pinch collar will correct that quickly. It is actually less damaging to the dog than a choker collar. The dog feels the pinch then relaxes the collar relaxes with him. A choker can do a lot of damage on the wrong dog. A pinch collar is the best, safest and fastest way to see a positive result.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I purchased a regular choke chain last night at Petsmart and just tried it out. It worked wonders although my dog seems scared of the thing. She wont accept a treat while wearing it.
I haven't tried walking her outside but I'm confident she'll respond well!
 

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Very good RubyRed! That is great news that she seems to respect it! Let us know how she does walking!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am so pleased with her success, I cannot wait to finally take her to the park!
Especially since my last dog [rottweiler/bull mastiff(?)] was not affected by a choke chain.
 

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I purchased a regular choke chain last night at Petsmart and just tried it out. It worked wonders although my dog seems scared of the thing. She wont accept a treat while wearing it.
I haven't tried walking her outside but I'm confident she'll respond well!
Honestly, it concerns me that the dog seems afraid and will not take a treat when the collar is on--that is not a good thing.

I use one on my lab occasionally but there is no fear there--he acts just like he does without it, it's just sort of "power steering."

I would consider something like a no-pull harness like the Easy Walk or Sporn. I would at least hold off on the pron until I was under the supervision of a trainer. Prongs can be greats tools but you need to know how to use them properly and they need to be fitted by a professional.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Honestly, it concerns me that the dog seems afraid and will not take a treat when the collar is on--that is not a good thing.

I use one on my lab occasionally but there is no fear there--he acts just like he does without it, it's just sort of "power steering."

I would consider something like a no-pull harness like the Easy Walk or Sporn. I would at least hold off on the pron until I was under the supervision of a trainer. Prongs can be greats tools but you need to know how to use them properly and they need to be fitted by a professional.
I do not have a prong collar, just the simple choke chain. The first few times she was afraid, but I got her used to it by feeding treats through it and placing it over her head when she accepted a treat.

I took her for a walk at the park today. She tried pulling a few times but with correction she was walking by my side! All she needs is a little work and heeling will be perfected. :D
 

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I used the prong collar as well with my Betty until she got heeling down. I didn't use it as a correction tool, as in me correcting her with leash pops, but as a self-correcting tool, where she corrected herself. I would say that it took about 4 months, and she was walking nicely, and heeling well in Rally class. So after this, I started phasing out the prong collar by putting on both the regular collar and the prong, and having the leash on the regular collar. Then eventually I wasn't having to put on the prong any more. But I did have a couple instances where she would start pulling again, and I put the prong back on for a session, then back to the regular collar. After a couple times, I no longer needed to use the prong, and to this day, have not even taken it out.

There's a few people on here that don't like prongs, and they have their own opinions. But from my view, it is a very useful tool if used properly. And once you get your dog to the point to where she's walking nicely, you can phase the prong out and go back to the standard collar.

As for injuring the dog, the prong does not poke through the dogs skin if properly used. And if you decided to use my technique where the dog corrects itself, when the dog starts to go ahead and pull, it will feel uncomfortable and the dog will slow back down. Eventually the dog won't pull anymore. And if you've done some clicker training, you can always click and treat everytime the dog slows back down, and she will probably learn a lot faster. I wasn't clicker training at the time I worked with Betty, and wish I had been, would have been much faster. Betty and clicker training has been awsome.
 

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Hi! I read your problem with the dog heeling and I wanted to make a suggestion? You see the problem doesn't lie with the dog, it lies with the owner. You have to become that dogs pack leader. You need to be the Alpha Dog per say. Also, I don't know what kind of frustration you are feeling but when it comes to dogs we need to remain calm because they feed off of our energy. If you are calm and assertative that's a good place to start.
I've had my dog Codeman for 6 years and he was far from perfect. I kept trying to train him on my own (or so I thought I was) but it wasn't until I trained myself that I was successful. Heeling was a HUGE issue along with pulling the leash and all around just making me look like an idiot...ha ha
Anyways, I used this great download online that taught me to be the Pack Leader, the alpha dog. I researched a whole bunch of things including dog training services and this book really seemed to be the best thing. It just made sense. It taught me to think like a dog and how to be my dog's leader.
I wrote a blog on it if you have time to look at it? When I read your post it really hit home with me because I can see your frustration so clearly. If you want some help you can download this dog training course.
Good luck! God Bless you and your dog.

By:
Lesley Stevens
"A Dog is no smarter than it's trainer"
 

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what worked for me..

This is what worked for me against many suggestions not to use this approach regardless of previous failures.

I had a smooth coated Border Collie that had a problem with pulling while on leash. Here is a list of some of what I tried to gain resolution on the issue.

1. took the her to petsmart for training.....failed
2. took her to a dog training club for a 8 week training course... failed
3. had 2 different trainers come to my home to work on the pulling on leash ...failed
4. Had a friend of my sisters who is a certified dog trainer take my dog for 2 weeks ...failed to resolve the pulling on leash.

All of the above used primarily positive reinforcement/motivational training methods. Tools used in the past have been that I know of...
1. GL
2. choke collar
3. harness
4. mart
5. plain buckle collar
6. clicker
7. lots of treats,praise,rewards,lures,bribes, and toys

This is what worked....

A Herms Springer prong collar with the optional rubber tips initially.

Here is a brief discription of the method and tool usage that work for this dog.



1. properly fitted the collar on the dogs neck (small size) using a light thin leash.

2. stood still and let the dog wander to the end of the leash and as soon as the dog got to the end of the leash the dog recieved information from the collar.

3. set this up to repeat several times so that the dog would associate the consequence of going to the end of the leash and exerting tension and thus hopefully recieve a self correction.

4. problem... The dog often moved too slowly while going to the end of the leash and thus the correction value was not at a threshold to change the behavior. (failure to act as a true correction)

5. next step in this case.. as the dog approached the end of the leash and just before the leash became taught I gave a quick light wrist pull on the leash to proactively correct the dog.. JACKPOT!

The dog got it after but a few repetitions and actually stayed in close to me from that point rarely going to the end of the leash.

6. walking.... next I would say "come on" to the dog and walk in a straight line and as soon as the dog got more than a body length ahead of me I would simple give a wrist flick of the leash and the dog would fall back into close position.. practiced on a steady pace walk often changing speed to very slow so that the dog learned to change pace with me.

7. Finally I practice a few times doing a 180 degree turnabout at a reasonable speed and not giving in to the dog balking or inattentiveness to my new direction and the dog quickly learned to react to my body cue to follow and not allow tension on the leash when turning.

Now my dog rarely puts tension on the leash either while my grandmother is standing or when walking..No longer needed the training collar after 10 days of usage (for many other training element purposes) as the dog understands my dersire for proximity while on leash.. A light flick of the leash without the use of the prong is all that is needed for maintaining the understanding....This dog was a gift to my grandmother as a compainion who still enjoys a walk in the nearby park almost everyday....

Time to accomplish primary goal.... ABOUT AN HOUR

price $15.00

money spent trying other approaches $800.00

time..over a period of 7 months??????

This might work for you...I have now witnessed this similiar approach used on several dogs larger,smaller, and much harder to control than my dog with the same results..

I also added a "leave it" command/association by setting the dog up for distractions and as soon as the dog focused on cats or other objects that I did not want the dog to engage I simply gave a leash check with the audible.. Soon the dog learned to associate my audible "leave it" command and the prong collar was no longer needed ..

Also added a "wait" command before going through doors or other situations where I need to have a stop command. Just said the word "wait" and if the dog continued to move forward a quick light wrist flick action administered and the dog soon learned to stop/wait untill I gave notice to move on.

good luck
 

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When I was doing Rally training with Betty, I too used the prong collar, but never had to give any kind of pop. I just let her correct herself when the leash got tight. Currently I just use a nylon collar with her, she no longer pulls at all. When you get to the point where the dog is no longer pulling, you can then start to phase the prong collar out.
 

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I trained Xander with a regular buckle collar not to pull, but I started training him as soon as we got him at 4 months, I do however keep a prong collar on hand for more excitable situations. (ie we recently went to the local dog parade that had about 8000 dogs and 80000 people attend so I used his prong collar there).

If the choke chain works for you then that is wondeful. Just make sure that you are placing in the correct position up behind the ears while walking and not down low on the neck.
 
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