Problem Sprollie

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by alexblfc, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. alexblfc

    alexblfc PetForums Newbie

    Oct 4, 2010
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    I brought my sprollie Lucy from a rescue centre in October, and I'm having some serious problems with her behaviour. The main thing is pulling on walks. I've tried harnesses, half chokers haltees and standard collars and none of them are any better than the others. She pulls horrendously when on walks and I'm starting to become really frustrated with her because she just won't listen to me. I call her name continuously getting louder and louder and she ignores me, I whistle, click and end up having to grab her and turn her around so she actually takes amy notice of what I'm saying, but she just doesn't care. I've tried holding a really short lead so she has to walk next to me but its impossible as she tries to sprint off sideways all the time and ends up getting caught under my feet. I've also tried just stopping and standing when she starts to pull but she doesn't stop, ever. The main thing that makes it even harder for me to get her to stop ignoring me is the fact that she couldn't care less about treats. I've tried chicken, cheese, turkey cut up beef, garlic coated ham, you know really smelly stuff and of course standard kibbles, but she just doesn't take any notice. The thing is inside the house she is fine, she listens and likes her treats when she is good. I'd really like some tips as I'm becoming very disheartened and my bond with her is breaking as she doesn't seem to care about me whatsoever. Its getting to the point that I just don't want to walk her as she is so badly behaved and I really want to start letting her off lead but I don't know if she would come back as I've tried once before and she ended up running off into the woods with me chasing for her around the village until I finally found her a few miles away up the other end of the village 3 hours later. I just don't trust her because she doesn't care about me, I'm beginning to think I chose the wrong dog at the rescue centre. Please help! :(
  2. lalauri

    lalauri PetForums Senior

    Jul 24, 2010
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    I have a sprollie pup & I totally understand what you're talking about. Alfie still pulls on his lead and we go through good days and bad days regarding walking.

    The thing with sprollies is that they're incredibly excitable dogs. I know that when I take Alfie out he just gets completely entranced by everything around him and the last thing on his mind is listening to me.

    Unfortunately there's no real quick fix to this problem - training classes would definately help - if not, keep at it yourself & if she doesn't respond to treats, how about trying toys? Good behaviour when out on walks is also something that they learn with age - my other dog has just gone 3 & it was only really in the last 6 months or so that she started walking on the lead without pulling at all.

    You have to remember that she's not pulling on the lead to annoy you - she's probably just desperate to get a good run around. Sprollie's are bloody hard work, but we knew that when we took them on. The hard work is totally worth the effort though, I wouldn't trade Alfie for any other dog in the world. Just keep spending time with her, playing, training etc. and you'll soon see an improvement.

    I hope everything works itself out.
    #2 lalauri, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  3. Jasper's Bloke

    Jasper's Bloke PetForums VIP

    Oct 30, 2009
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    I think that the first thing you have to do is to try and understand what is going on in her head. You seem to be interpreting her behaviour as contempt for you when there is probably nothing further from the truth, don't try and attach human motivations to her behaviour. When you are out and she won't listen to you its not because she doesn't care about you, it's probably because there are a million and one exciting smells filling her nose that she wants to investigate and she is physically incapable of concentrating on anything else at that particular time.

    When you take a combination of a frantic spaniel and intelligent collie and then multiply that by the working genes of both dogs then you are going to end up with a high energy dog that needs to be kept really busy. She is going to require an outlet for all of that energy to allow her to be able to relax and to start thinking about what she is doing.

    If you aren't able to let her off lead then how do you exercise her at the moment? Have you tried using a long line on a harness to let her have a good run without being able to get away from you? Is there an enclosed field anywhere near where you could let her off?

    With such an energetic and excitable dog I don't think you will be able to make much progress with her training until you can release some of her built up frustration. You say you click to get her attention? As in a clicker? Do some more research into clicker training because that may be an excellent way of channelling all that enthusiasm if it is done correctly. The click though is intended to mark a correct behaviour, not as a distraction from a bad one.

    Look at her food as well, some foods can cause dogs to go a bit hyper sometimes. Good luck.
  4. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2010
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    I agree with Jasper's Bloke. First thing to look at is the food. High protein foods make a hyper active dog. Have you tried a front clip harness? Or a dogmatic? I don't like haltis personally, but the dogmatic is a different sort of headcollar. It is cushioned and stays put where it is supposed to be, does not ride up.

    With a clicker you are supposed to get the dog used to the fact that when he hears the click he is going to get a treat. So you do that at home, click and treat over and over. It is not to get his attention, but as a reward so that the click is immediate and he knows there is a treat coming.

    I would try whistle training the same way. Get him used to whistle and treat, then take him out on a long line and try it outside, see if he comes back. He is, as said, a high energy dog and he is pulling because he can't wait to get there. If he can have a good run, either on a long line or in an enclosed field, he won't be pulling quite so much.
  5. Belky

    Belky PetForums Newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
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    Hi I have a 5 month old Sprolie called Belka and she is a lil monster !!
    At home and in the car she is as quite as a lil mouse....I have to call her sometimes as she is so quite curled up in a lil ball like a doormouse!!....until we go walkies... she does pull and the first time I let her off the lead in the middle of the woods my heart was racing.,, but she did come back,,,,

    You seem to think only Sprollies have this pulling etc naughty temperament ALL DOGS are capable of this it is ALL in the training it is how you communicate with your dog MUST put the time in with your dog, it is hard work.,,but the rewards are fantastic.!

    Belka is slowly pulling less and less, firstly bought her a harness (lead around chest not neck) and Halti lead. When she pulls I STOP,, TURN HER AROUND IN A CIRCLE get her to SIT then LIE DOWN to SUBMISSION (ie head right on the floor) and once she is calm I give her a piece of cooked chicken (This is only allowed on walks!!)
    I tell her shes a GOOD GIRL then we walk on, if she pulls again we do it all again, I spend about half an hour getting 50 yards down the footpath like a clown! (YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!)

    Before I let her off on her own I practised with an extendable lead doing the following..every time she came back she was rewarded with some chicken....
    I also practised in the safety of my own back garden...

    Dogs love the excitement of the outdoors the smells noises etc so YOU have to become THE MOST EXCITIING THING AROUND HER.....
    *I have one old bit of rag that we play tug with that I take on walks this has been dipped in marmite (her favourite thing at the mo) We used this rag in the garden and I let jer sniff it before she goes of the lead on walks so she is aware I have something special that she likes with me!
    * I MAKE UP SILLY DAFT LOONY LOUD NOISES wave sticks to throw for her
    She soon learns that I am where all the excitement is at!!!

    I NEVER shout at her for not coming back I ALWAYS praise her for coming back (even though deep inside I'm furious and embarrassed) She must NEVER recognise coming back to you as a bad thing or she will never come back (who would?!!)....

    I also put her back on the lead and walk a bit in the woods then let her go off it again, so she recongnises the lead as something that doesn't just go on when its home time! I also wear the lead around my shoulders so it is always on display as we walk rather than hiding it and whipping it out as a punishment for going home after a walk!

    PLEASE, PLEASE be patient it is very hard work, be relaxed and as interested in the walk...bite your tongue and make ever walk a party...No one wants to be with the boring person at a party.....make sure that isn't you..,

    Enjoy your my vet said "...a Sprollie is Spaniel crossed with Collie or rather Adrenalin crossed with Speed!!!"
  6. momentofmadness

    momentofmadness PetForums VIP

    Jul 19, 2008
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    Excellent advice.. :)
  7. nicephotog

    nicephotog PetForums Junior

    Apr 23, 2009
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    Just wondering about time-relating management.
    -Is it always intermittent and short periods during any day(they need to be regular and interactive so it takes some time)?
    -Another essential too , do you "actually" play games with it with its toys e.g. Tennis ball throwing or Tennis ball rolling - tug o war e.t.c.?
    -and another Do you use the quiet periods(when your reading the newspaper or a book) to keep it present in the house and near you to associate it to you and answer all calls from it for affection?

    Did you do all these things the moment you obtained it and before you tried to train it (At least two weeks intensive from the time you obtained it)?

    What age is it, was it trained(by anyone not simply gone to some doggy school) or is there no known history of the animal???
    If a dog isn't bonded to you it will not listen to you unless you are very clever in demonstrating and en forceful at it (but you don't need that since you own it and keep it).
    #7 nicephotog, Jan 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  8. 60hunter

    60hunter PetForums Newbie

    Jun 18, 2010
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    Hi, I feel your frustration! I have a 14 month old sprollie girl i got as a rescue as well. She is a wonderful funny dog and I just love spending time with her but she is also really hard to walk. there have been times she pulls so hard she pulls me over or gets tangled in my legs. its frustrating, embarrassing and dangerous. I finally in the past 2 months have gotten to a point where i can enjoy our walks.
    my first suggestion is go buy a halti. the halti is a face harness for your dog and it does not hurt them at all but does make it impossible for them to charge or dart off hurting your arm. also, because dogs lead with their heads when you are doing training the dog HAS to follow you.
    my second suggestion is carry a tennis ball. wiggling the ball or bouncing it will get your dogs attention cuz the one thing sprollies love more then sniffing is playing! DO NOT give the ball to the dog just use it to get attention then reward the calm behavior with a treat. if the dog does not take he treat no problem at least you got the attention and it recognizes you as fun. once you have the attention go on training for good walking behavior. try stopping and making the dog sit behind you every time you stop, or try crazy walking where every time the dog pulls in one direction you turn and walk in the opposite direction. you will look crazy doing this but the dog becomes more interested in you and has no choice but to follow.

    last suggestion is that you invest in agility or flyball classes. my josie has only been to 2 agility classes but already i can see a difference in her. these activities are fun for the dog, give great exercise, and most importantly for sprollies help train the dog to listen to your commands when surrounded by the distraction of lots of other dogs running around!

    good luck and just keep being consistent!
  9. Emmastace

    Emmastace PetForums VIP

    Feb 11, 2011
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    I too was despairing of my rescue, not a sprollie but a GSP so still a high energy and intelligent dog. She had no training when I got her. I couldn't let her off lead because of lack of recall and socialisation and she pulled like a train. My other half is over 6ft, 18 stone and a prop forward and she had him off his feet! Her front end was getting stronger and stronger because of the pulling while her back end was losing all condition. I tried head collars and she just spent the whole time rubbing them off, then a harness which helped a little but she still pulled way too hard even though it was hurting her and she cowered every time I went to put it on. Then I had a breakthrough.......First I changed her diet from good quality dried to completely raw. Even during the transition period the change was immediate. She was calmer and I could hold her attention a million times better. I went back to the good old flat collar and 6ft lead and was shown a technique where you say AH AH as soon as she started to pull to tell her I didn't like it and then firmly but steadily so she wasn't jolted, I pulled her back to me while I trotted backwards a few metres. As I walk forward again and she is at my side I tell her Heal and praise a lot. She very quickly got fed up with having to cover the same ground over and over. This was two weeks ago and she is a different dog. I still have to do it a couple of times at the beginning of the walk but then she is really good and walking her is now a pleasure for the first time since I have had her.
    The other thing that has helped is that I don't let her go through doorways, gates etc in front of me at any time or go up the stairs in front of me. I just tell her AH AH and to get back and go through or up the stairs first. This has helped too. She now walks on a loose lead so she can still snuffle and follow all the great smells but she isn't pulling.
    Changing her diet to all raw made the biggest difference to her overall behaviour though.
  10. absycats

    absycats PetForums Newbie

    May 27, 2011
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    just wondered how your getting on i too had a nightmare when we had cassie she wouldnt walk to heel when she saw another dog shed get so excited and bark like crazy but slowly by increasing her walk and rewarding her 4 good behaviour she walks lovely i can loose her with other dogs no problem we still have the odd bark when she cant get to another dog but shes fantastic yes she was hard work but its paid off and rather than 20min walk cos id had enough we can walk an hr and shell run with others and its gr8 but i would say if u want to reward then take a squeaky ball not a tennis ball out hope you worked it out x

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