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Heel training and harnesses

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by NessaJ, Mar 23, 2017.


  1. NessaJ

    NessaJ PetForums Junior

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    hi, we have a 5 month old German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. We're trying to heel train her and this is proving quite hard work. We have her on the left and hold treats just above her nose and she's sussed this bit out pretty well and biffs my hand for a treat regularly and gets lots of praise. I also say 'heel' a lot too. This works well for a few minutes until she gets distracted by other interesting things (typical puppy!) and I can't get her attention back. She's already really strong and pulls a lot once she's distracted and I'm finding it hard to walk her as I have shoulder problems.

    Has anyone got any advice please? I was thinking of getting a harness for her just to stop her from pulling so much but will still continue to try and heel train her so we can do without the harness long term. Any suggestions? Thanks very much
     
  2. danielled

    danielled Guest

    Harnesses don't stop pulling, training stops pulling. When she pulls try stopping then when the lead is slack again start walking. Repeat this and it should work. She should learn pulling=she doesn't go anywhere.
     
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  3. AmyRedd

    AmyRedd PetForums Senior

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    I have one of these for my pup with a double ended lead clipped to the front and back. I know not everyone agrees with using training aids but it really helped. Mine isn't as strong as yours as he's only 10kg but the pulling is significantly less when the lead is attached to the front. Obviously you still need to reinforce walking on a loose lead but it makes it more manageable when they do pull. Mine has had his since he was 6 months old (he's now 8 months) and I've found I have to attach the lead to the front clip a lot less nowadays and only need to use the back clip. If we're walking through somewhere particularly distracting I might use the front one just to remind him not to pull. Hope this helps! If you struggle with sizing I would contact them as they're really helpful and you can return or exchange any part of the harness for free if it's the wrong fit.

    https://www.dog-games-shop.co.uk/perfect-fit-fleece-dog-harness.html
     
  4. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    Ignore the shy/reactive part of the title.


    IME the best way to teach loose leash walking is to teach the dog what to do when they feel pressure on a collar and/or harness.
    Stopping when the leash is tight will work too, but I find they catch on quicker if they have been taught to give to pressure. Otherwise you find yourself fighting against opposition reflex, which the dog can't help.
     
  5. NessaJ

    NessaJ PetForums Junior

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    I understand what you are saying Danielle and that's what we're trying to do but her attention span is very short at the moment. While she pays attention she is fine, but once it goes she pulls badly and I can't get her attention back.
     
    #5 NessaJ, Mar 23, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  6. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    She is only a puppy, they have attention spans of a gnat.
    Consistency and patience :)
     
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  7. danielled

    danielled Guest

    Norma. Plus she is not too far away from the teenager stage. Try high value treats like sausage, cheese, liver cake. Those are a few examples.
     
  8. NessaJ

    NessaJ PetForums Junior

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    Oh yes, attention span of a gnat sounds about right! :). We use liver cake at the moment so I may need to investigate other treats too. I guess what's driving this is that I'm finding it really hard as she makes me really sore. The video is really helpful too so I can try some of those techniques. Thanks very much everyone.
     
  9. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    To save your shoulders whilst she is learning you can attach her leash to a walking belt around your waist.
    She won't be able to pull you forward as easily, you can use both hands to dish out rewards and it will save your shoulders :)
     
  10. danielled

    danielled Guest

    Why didn't I think to suggest a walking belt, good idea.
     
  11. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    I found using a double ended lead on the front and the back of a 'no pull' style of harness allowed me to control my dog when she spotted something she really wanted to see and to remind her to stay beside me whilst I continued the training.
    Careful you don't 'wear out' the word heel, which is what I did. I found that saying it too often meant she ignored the word completely and never really learned what I was wanting her to do, so I changed to 'close' and altered my tactics slightly (she was also older which helped as she was past the silly stage and more prepared to listen).
     
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  12. NessaJ

    NessaJ PetForums Junior

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    Walking belt, excellent idea! I didn't know such things existed :)
     
  13. NessaJ

    NessaJ PetForums Junior

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    Yes, I think I may be saying it too much, thinking I was reinforcing it but perhaps I'm saying it when I want her to come to heel i.e. so when she isn't there so that could be confusing. I think this is as much about training me as her.
     
  14. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Attach her lead to a walking belt round your waist.

    That will save your shoulders if she does pull and it also stops you pulling back, without realising.

    Do short bursts of loose leash walking so she doesn't switch off.
     
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  15. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    Lurcherlad and ouesi like this.
  16. danielled

    danielled Guest

    I didn't know walking belts existed til somebody on here mentioned them either.
     
  17. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    I consider loose lead wakling and walking to heel as two different things. I only require walking to heel either at obedience, or when we're passing something/someone. I feel like staying right at my heel, watching me, requires a lot of concentration. At all other times, I consider loose lead walking acceptable, i.e. so long as the lead stays mostly loose and I'm not being pulled, I'm happy.

    I know that doesn't provide any practical help, but just thought I'd chuck it in there.
     
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  18. leashedForLife

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    .
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    note to the OP:
    I would definitely recommend a body-harness, specifically any inexpensive, well-made, sturdy H-harness - named for the shape it makes when laid down unbuckled, also for the capital letter it resembles seen from ABOVE while on the dog: the strap joining neck & girth straps is the 'crossbar' of the H.
    .
    However - i would
    not clip the leash to any ring ABOVE the dog's SPINE. I'd clip it to the dog's chest - if there's a D-ring there, wonderful! - clip the leash on, & go. If the harness fits well, smooth & snug so that the haircoat bristles slightly on each side of the straps on a smooth-coated dog, & there are visible 'tracks' of squashed hair when it's taken off a double-coated dog, that's a good fit.
    If there's no D-ring or no circular metal ring on the chest, to join the belly strap between the forelegs to the neck-straps, DON'T WORRY - the fit is more important than the hardware. Fit is crucial - the harness shouldn't slide from side to side when tugged firmly with both hands on one side of the dog, one hand on the neck strap, one on the girth. Also, no buckles or slide adjustments should go anywhere near the bare 'armpits' behind the elbow, nor impede the elbow or rub when the dog walks / runs.
    A buckle on the delicate, near-hairless, thin skin behind the elbow can pinch skin painfully, bruise, or make a weeping harness-gall from friction. :eek: Ow.
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    If there's no chest-ring, but the harness fits nicely - no worries; buy a LOCKING carabiner at any outdoor-supply. They come in all colors & sizes, many different materials; go for metal, S/S is fine, so is powder-coated steel, etc. [No plastic.] If in doubt & Ur dog is over 40# wt, a locking-carabiner rated for a burst-strength of 100# for a human is a very safe margin of strength.
    Slide the open carabiner under the junction of both / all straps on the chest, lock it, & clip the leash to the locked carabiner. U're off! :)
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    .
    to detach the dog, remove the leash & leave the carabiner locked on the harness; that avoids anyone slipping the carabiner back on, FORGETTING to lock it, clipping the leash on, the carabiner falls off, & ... there goes the dog's tail, over the horizon. :Shy Oops. :Jawdrop
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  19. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I wouldn't recommend that myself. I'm also not a fan of H harnesses as they can alter a dogs gait due to restriction in the shoulders. I had one for Thai and his gait change is obvious if you trot him up in both harnesses, one after the other.
    I know many people use them, but I prefer harnesses that don't restrict the shoulders.

    If you teach a dog to give to pressure then a front attachment is not needed IMHO
     
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  20. leashedForLife

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    H-harnesses do NOT contract / have no "martingale" type sections that pull closed under pressure.
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    Ergo, a simple H-harness does not "restrict" the shoulders or the dog's forelegs or their gait, as the straps are well away from the shoulder - they go over the shoulder blade above the layback of the shoulder, at the base of the NECK, & the other strap is behind the elbows, around the heart girth.
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    Nothing is squeezed, pulled on, inhibited, out of alignment, etc. :)
    I don't use or suggest any "
    anti pull" harnesses, which Pull Closed various straps - across the chest, over the withers / across both shoulder blades, etc.
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    Hope that clarifies? - Terry
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