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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We got a new dog on Sunday and we are hoping for some words of wisdom! He is a 2 year old male lab (to be castrated asap as we have no plans as use him as a stud).

We have had some mini-victories, such as he sleeps downstairs in the hall all night silently. He barked when we were out on Monday (2 hours at a time with walks in between). However, he didn't bark yesterday according to the neighbours so he is learning fast that we will come back!

He is well house trained and sits, lies, goes to his bed, goes to the back door when we say 'wee-wees' etc. However, walking is a completely different matter. Clearly his old owners never walked him as he pads on his feet are so soft. He gets so over excited about walks and constantly pulls on the lead. If we see another dog he scrabbles towards it and won't sit or respond to a treat to ignore it.

We are walking him 3 or 4 times a day and are hoping he gets used to this. His nose is constantly on the ground and is intrigued by anything new (lorries, postmen). He doesn't bark at other dogs, just wants to get to them.

Has anyone had experience of this? Will he get used to going out and used to the new smells and start to calm down? We have only had him for 3 days so I understand it is very early days but walking him is becoming a bit stressful.

We have been trying to train him so that when he pulls we stop. From reading various posts on here I think we are going to change this slightly so that he walks beside us. He is not interested in treats when he is walking as he is in tunnel vision. We get him to sit to put his lead on but then he just wants to charge out the door!

He is almost perfect inside but outside... help!:p
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. Well done on giving this dog a home.

The behaviour you describe is a very common problem and most of the posts in this section of the Forum are either pulling on the lead or toilet training.

Have you read through this sticky at the top of the page as there is lots of useful advice:

To all those with dogs who lack attention, or are obsessed with other dogs

How about finding a decent local training class, where the instructors will show you how to manage loose lead walking and your dog will be socialised in a controlled environment?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for pointing me in the direction of the thread. Lots of good practical advice we can try. Feeling a bit daunted about it all. I've always has dogs as a kid but this is my first one as an adult and its quite scary! I think we need to start slow with lead training and then work on the issue of other dogs. Obviously we will come across other dogs but we can try and find quieter places.

And we need to make ourselves really interesting! Off to buy new toys/treats to see what he likes the best!
 

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Maybe you need to look at getting him a head collar that way you would have more control over him. But bless he is so thrilled to be going out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We tried a halti as the labrador my mum has walks really well on this. However, he hated it and kept scratching his face to get it off. We tried him in cage and he became agitated too. We think he hates being confined and trapped.

However, we are going to try it in the house and reward him and see if he gets used to it. Although I did read that using a halti just forces the dog to walk properly and doesn't really get to the root of the problem.
 

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Chances are he didn't get out much before and hasn't had much interaction with other dogs so everything is new and exciting at the moment. With time he should calm down but training classes are an excellant way of bonding with him as well as getting him used to being around other dogs in a controlled situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We took him out together this afternoon. He constantly pulls and is too focused on smells. We tried treats and this was ok at times but he needed a constant treat supply.

We then tried in the garden getting him to walk up and down next to us and kept saying heel with a treat to his nose. When he was quite calm we gave him the treat. Should we do this alongside stopping when he pulls? If we stopped everytime he pulled we literally wouldn't go anywhere. Should we just stop everytime he pulls or tries to sniff ahead.

There are different ways to lead train and we are getting confused!
 

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We took him out together this afternoon. He constantly pulls and is too focused on smells. We tried treats and this was ok at times but he needed a constant treat supply.

We then tried in the garden getting him to walk up and down next to us and kept saying heel with a treat to his nose. When he was quite calm we gave him the treat. Should we do this alongside stopping when he pulls? If we stopped everytime he pulled we literally wouldn't go anywhere. Should we just stop everytime he pulls or tries to sniff ahead.

There are different ways to lead train and we are getting confused!
When my dobe was 6-7 months, he had a really good loose lead walk sorted on just a half check collar (its all gone to pot now he's in adolescence, but we did have it for a few golden months before that hit!)
The way I trained him was to stop every time the lead when tight, and wait for him to return to my side before I'd move on.
I did this as often as I had to. Sometimes I'd stop 20 times in a 10 minute period, and nope, we didn't get very far at first!
But gradually, he did realise that the best way to go forward was to walk nicely and not pull.

I don't insist a dog walks at my side, Im not overly bothered about that. I don't mind him walking a few paces ahead, and being a dobe/guarding breed, its in their nature to want to be a little ahead. So I don't mind that, as long as the lead isn't tight. The second I felt my arm pulled, or the lead tighten, we'd stop.
Some people do prefer a dog to be right at their side, though, so depends what you want ultimately. Dres would be a few paces infront, but still with a nice, loose lead.

If he was walking nicely of his own accord, he'd get lots of treats and fuss.
It took probably about a month of really being firm on this before he began to get it. But everyone who walks the dog has to do it. I noticed that when he went out with my husband, who is a bit less bothered about that whole thing and just let him pull, he'd be much worse the next day and we'd have to have a few days 'refresher' on it.

He'd still sometimes pull when the urge was just too much, like when we were approaching the park, or somewhere he really loves, or when he saw a squirrel run past. But that wasn't a huge deal to me, he fell back in line quickly afterwards, and I don't expect him to be a robot.
Its just the general walking I wanted him to not yank my arm out of the socket.

Im not an expert on dogs, but that worked for me.
 

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Congrats!! :)

On the pulling issue - I'm not the best to advise as I've had the opposite problem of a dog that can sometimes go too slow lol! :eek:

But I do favour harnesses for my dog and so have researched a lot of harnesses lol. The (( Mekuti )) harness and the (( Kumfi Complete Control )) harnesses may be well worth looking into? x

With the sniffing, my girly is 8 1/2 and we've had her for a year but we still have to stop and wait for her to sniff, sniff, sniff! I consider it to be part of her walk. Bear in mind too that a new place = new dogs, new smells and no doubt once he's familiarised himself with his new walking places he may not need to sniff quite so much! I watch other people striding along with their dog but Whisper likes to stroll along sniffing as she goes lol. Though she sometimes has a burst of speed - she really surprised me this morning by zooming along like a Rocket!! :D

Whisper always goes crazy sniffing in a new place or somewhere she's not been for while.

Look forward to pics xx
 

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If he is anything like our lab the sniffing will get better, it is very frustrating I know how you feel! What do you use for treats when walking? Maybe you just haven't found the treat that is better than sniffing ;) ours would probably demolish any food but I've had best success with primula squeezy cheese and either cut up hot dogs or that mattesons smoked sausage. Now as soon as duke sees the primula he knows what we're off to do!

I also find catching him before you know he's going to pull helps - if that makes sense like if there's a lampost or a bin he is likely to pull towards. I agree with shadowrat, as long as he isn't pulling and is walking with a loose leash I'm happy.

If you start to practice at home get him to come beside you (I ask him to heel) and then walk one step and treat and just build up the number of steps you can take with him staying by your side gradually. When he fails to follow you go back a step. There are lots of videos on youtube that might give you a better idea than my explanation!

Hope that helps :)
 

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I totally know how you feel. We have a 6 month old lab x springer. He is a nightmare on the lead. I have tried the stopping, waiting for him to realise I stopped (which he is oblivious to and continues sniffing the ground in front). I have really tried hard, but the dog trainer advised a halti. She said at the moment he is just way too reactive/excited by the world to focus on anything! We continue to try, with the help of the halti and toys/treats and hope that as he gets older he will be less 'excited/stimulated' with the surroundings on a walk. In the garden or footpath outside our house he walks to heel lovely. I suspect it's similar with your Lab as walks are new to him. I can't offer any advice as I am in the same boat, but just wanted to say I know how you feel, and here's hoping things improve!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for some reassurance that things will get better. We are going to practice heel in the garden again without distractions and then take it out around our road. It'll be a long road and we've only had him for four days so we hardly expect miracles overnight!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I watched a video on Internet last night where a man used clicker training to get his dog into the heel position by getting the dog to walk behind him and to the side. I tried this but he was getting it right sometimes but would then lose focus on the treat and then try again. After 5 minutes he started to pant heavily and stopped as he was getting excited and I thought this might be a sign of stress?

How often do others do training and how much time do you leave between sessions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As he is just so over whelmed we've tried a halti. He hated it my boyfriend took him out at lunch but soon got used to it. I've just taken him out and he let me put it on! He is so much easier to walk it's unbelievable. We are using the clicker and kept clicking when he walking next to us and the lead is slack.

I know using a halti ignores the pulling and forces them not too but we are hoping that when he calms down and gets used to walking we can try practising heel without the halti.
 

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That's really good that you're seeing an improvement with the halti, I use a lead that is similar and it made a huge difference to us when we started using it.

Do you do other training with him in the house? That might help to get him more focused on you. I have to say I have been a bit rubbish with training in the house lately but I do a couple of 10 minute sessions a day and then finish it by getting him to sit and stay in another room and hiding lots of treats and telling him to "go find".

Its so hard at first because walks can be sooooo slow and frustrating because you feel like you are going nowhere. There was many a time I'd get upset and want to turn around and go home but once you perservere and see an improvement you'll be glad you did :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We've been doing quite a lot. We actually wondered if it was too much as we've only had him 5 days. He sits, high fives, paw, beg, sits in his bed, stays, leaves his dinner until we tell him to get it. We've continued all these with the clicker so he associates the clicker with rewards. I still think we are yet to find the ultimate treat so will be shopping at weekend for hotdogs for special walking treats!

We saw another dog at the end of our walk this evening and he yelps to get to it. What is the best thing to do here? I am hoping with some yummy treats eh chicken or sausage we can keep him focused on us rather than the other dog and see how that goes.

We just feel so much better about walking as the halti makes it so much easier to get him to understand what heel is and he walked with the lead slack next to me! Woo! I'd go out again but he's snoring and his mind needs to rest!
 
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