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First walks with dogmatic!

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Shadowrat, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. Shadowrat

    Shadowrat PetForums VIP

    Jan 30, 2011
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    As some may remember, I've been having big issues (well, to me they were big issues) walking my 9 month old dobe on lead lately due to him getting over threshold in the blink of an eye, randomly, and jumping up and biting me.

    He went from a dog that would walk nicely by my side on a half check and only do this hyper leaping and nipping once in a blue moon and with obvious triggers, to a dog who was jumping, nipping and basically being a nightmare 3 or 4 times each walk for no apparent reason.
    And it happened almost overnight, as did his adolescence, so thats what Im blaming it on, as well as the second fear stage which he's also going through.

    There was no getting through to him when he got like this, no distractions worked, and very little way to get control of him, I basically had to stand there and be clawed and bitten for as long as it took him to stop, which could be minutes.

    But it began to make it really hard for me to get him the exercise he needs. Taking him out on the lead was just horrendous, and resulted in me avoiding lead walks so he wouldn't practise this or have it become a habit.
    It wasn't so much that he did this behaviour as it was me not being able to actually stop it when it started.

    So, folks here recommended a head collar, which I have to admit, I'd never really been keen on for dobes.
    But, it made sense that when paired with a double ended lead, it would be perfectly safe. I'd never considered using one in that manner before.
    So I ordered Dresden a dogmatic head collar, the cushioned webbing one, and a double ended lead.

    Today, we went for our first proper walk with this get up.
    Yesterday was spent getting him used to wearing it, and I have to say, he was surprisingly ok with having it on, considering he is a dog who tends to play up and get over excited whenever anything has to be strapped or clipped on his body.
    I used the method of holding a treat through the nose loop so he'd have to put his nose through, and doing this often until he was happy, then clipping it on for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, and so on.

    Of course, he did a bit of pawing at it once the treats stopped coming, but I thought once he was out and about, he'd have better things to focus on.

    I took him round the block today, one end of the lead on the dogmatic, the other on his normal collar. I didn't want to go too far from home in case we had issues.
    Now....it was raining. And there was no-one around, nor any other dogs, which put us in a good position anyway as there would be less for him to freak out over.

    He was really really good!
    I am so happy. He walked along either at my side, or just in front, no pulling, and it seemed to just generally make him calmer just having it on (is that possible?) Like his whole demeanour changed when it was on, he even waited so patiently at the gate while I faffed about with it, when he'd normally be all 'OMG HURRY UP!'.
    I didn't really have to actually use it all that much, just gentle pressure here and there on the lead.

    Now, he did at one point attempt to jump up at me as we crossed the road outside my house, one of his usual spots to play up on.
    And he did at one point get the chin strap in his mouth, BUT this was about 5 seconds of pratting about, and I regained control very quickly, and without having to use much effort.
    AND, while he still jumped up, it was once, not multiple times, and he didn't go over threshold like he has been doing every single time of late; I was easily able to get his focus back with treats, something I couldn't do before.
    And this was the biggest thing for me: control and being able to get back on track once he started up. And of course, I didn't get nipped! Not a once! He didn't even attempt to. For which my arms and thighs are thankful.

    Im not saying its a miracle cure or anything, he isn't perfect, but he's 10 times better than he was before the dogmatic.
    And knowing I have more control makes me more relaxed, which in turn must make him more relaxed.

    And Im not getting my hopes up too much as Dresden does have a habit of luring me into a false sense of security by reacting hugely positively to new things we try, so I think 'awesome! We have a solution!' and then quickly working out how to get round them and go back to old ways.
    So it could be in a week's time, he'll have worked out how to beat the head collar and we'll be back to square one with me going 'oh god whhhhyyyy?!'

    But for now, Im positive. I've taken him out on two, albeit shorter than usual, lead walks today and remained upbeat and happy following both, rather than coming home and having to grab a fag and have a little weep on the stairs.

    If we only have to use this to get over this period of insanity he seems to be going through, then thats fine, just to get this jumping and nipping behaviour out of his head and out of his routine will help enormously. Because he was at the point where it was becoming a routine, Im sure of it.

    Im a tad worried he might ruin it eventually if he gets the chin strap in his mouth, and I can't afford to replace it at the moment, but so far, so good.

    I'd definitely recommend a dogmatic to people now who are having the issue we have/had.
    I think if Dres really hated it, freaked out with it on, I'd reconsider using it. But he we've only had it just over 24 hours and he will already stick his nose into it happily and let me clip it on without protest. Im genuinely surprised at that, considering he's never had anything on his head before.

    He did do a little whining and sad eyes at me at first, looked a bit subdued, and still does a bit of pawing at it or rubbing his head on my legs, but even in the short time I've had it, its improved. He even chased his ball at the green today with it on, for half an hour, and didn't bother with it once.

    So thanks to all who advised this for us, it definitely has made a difference, and is something I probably wouldn't have considered getting on my own. I can now take him out on the lead as we always used to, and be more confident!
  2. Redice

    Redice PetForums Senior

    Dec 4, 2011
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    That's good news. I have noticed that some dogs do seem to become calmer when using a headcollar.
  3. missP

    missP PetForums Senior

    Jan 11, 2012
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    i have the dogmatic headcollar and training lead and think it's brilliant.

    Cody was being a nightmare pulling on the lead, we've been working at it in training but he now cocks his leg constantly on a walk and would just lunge at whatever tree, bush he wanted to get too and my arm was suffering, lol.

    with the headcollar he knows it's useless even trying to pull and even with the headcollar off he walks to heel a lot better.

    not very cheap but worth it!
  4. Thorne

    Thorne PetForums VIP

    May 11, 2009
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    Sounds promising, hope things continue to improve for you both :)
  5. Werehorse

    Werehorse PetForums VIP

    Jul 14, 2010
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    Good stuff! While it continues to work keep reinforcing the good behaviours to make it more likely that they will continue. :)
  6. Freddie and frank

    Freddie and frank PetForums VIP

    Mar 26, 2012
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    You've just described the walks I used to have with frank until I got him into a dogmatic.
    Fingers crossed, we've been using it for just over a couple of weeks I think, he's much much better and I can pass dogs albeit on the opposite side of the road without him lunging and barking at them.
    It gives me the confidence in knowing that I can control him with little force and it's still comfy for him.i have Freddie in a harness and frank in his dogmatic and they walk like angels each side of me.something I never thought I'd see.:thumbup1:

    Glad youve found a solution.
    All the best.:thumbup:
  7. tattoogirl73

    tattoogirl73 PetForums VIP

    Jun 26, 2011
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    glad the dogmatic is helping you and dresden. it does make a big difference in the ability to control them. i bought opie a new one this week, and already the little swine has half chewed the chin strap:rolleyes: my fault for putting it on and then leaving him in the car for a few minutes with it on. think oh can pay for the next one :)
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