Panicking on a tight leash…

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  • #14822
    H.M. Murdock
    Participant

    I have a 4-month-old thibodaux/gator pit/catahoula curr mix named Ulysses. I adopted him from a pretty irresponsible owner. He is now one of two surviving from his litter of five, and I suspect he will soon be the last. In terms of training, he’s… a bit behind. I spent the first two weeks after getting him nursing him along- he weight 7 pounds, was skin and bones, and had a severe worm problem.
    But he’s bouncing back! I’ve been working on clicker training since a days after I’ve had him, so we’ll call it three weeks of clicker training, roughly. He responds to his name, is excellent about not biting (he still does, but not very often and never hard at all). He is also doing well with housetraining.

    But here’s the kick… I’ve only now gotten enough confidence with the clicker to start leash training him. I’m using what seems to be pretty standard loose leash training methods with a clicker- I’ll walk to the end of his lead (6ft), and he follows fairly well, even if it takes a while. I treat him right next to my left foot. But after about five minutes of being on the leash, he tries to wander off. When he gets to the end he starts to squirm and jerk, sometimes violently, yelps, whines, and refuses to return for up to a minute or two.
    I’d like to avoid ever jerking on the leash- this dog means too much to me to be harsh with him, and I don’t see how hurting him with the leash will help him learn to enjoy being on it. But I’m also wary about going to him when he does this, because he may start to think that being on the leash is a game of push-me-pull-you and just scamper off to start over again.
    I’ve been through four sessions over the past two days with him and this is the only real problem I’ve had. What can I do to nip this behavior in the bud? 

    #17415
    kendseycollins
    Participant

    I think this is a pretty common puppy thing.  It’s hard to think that a puppy wouldn’t understand that the leash ties him to you, but it makes sense.  He just needs to figure out that when he’s on the leash he’s sorta stuck.  If he is just trying to walk away, wait patiently until he stops fighting, then call him back to you and reward him when he comes. Don’t pull back, just hold firm or give a slight tug.  It may take a little while at first, think of it as a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.  He’ll figure it out.  If he REALLY starts to panick, give him a little slack till he calms down, THEN call him back to you and reward him.  He just needs to figure out that the leash is a solid thing that he can’t just walk away from.  Every puppy I’ve ever had went through this.  I dog sat for a teacup chihuahua a while ago and didn’t realize he’d NEVER been on a leash.  He was almost 2 year old.  I went to take the dogs for a walk and he FLIPPED when he hit the end of the leash.  It took us the better part of an hour to get around the block because I had to stop and wait for him to stop throwing his temper tantrums before we could continue walking.  However, by the time we were half way done, he was walking very well, with just a hitch every now and then.  Just be patient.

    #17418
    raisins mom
    Participant

    At four months old he probably doesn’t have the patience/attention span to be doing alot of training all at once. Take him out for short less then 5 minute walks mutiiple times a day.Keep treats on your side to keep him focused to you and your side.  My dog is a year and a half and when we do trick training I never go past 5 -10 mins at a time without breaks. Dogs are just like humans and will get frustrated, bored and distracted at training.  My german shepherd would pull on the leash and run into me until he was atleast 6 or 8 months.  I use to complain about walking him because it was more fun then work.  Patience ins the key.  Good Luck

    #17419
    raisins mom
    Participant

    At four months old he probably doesn’t have the patience/attention span to be doing alot of training all at once. Take him out for short less then 5 minute walks mutiiple times a day.Keep treats on your side to keep him focused to you and your side.  My dog is a year and a half and when we do trick training I never go past 5 -10 mins at a time without breaks. Dogs are just like humans and will get frustrated, bored and distracted at training.  My german shepherd would pull on the leash and run into me until he was atleast 6 or 8 months.  I use to complain about walking him because it was more fun then work.  Patience ins the key.  Good Luck

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