Thursday, October 3, 2013
Walking a Very Strong, Big Dog
I have a very big, head strong German Sheppard who pulls and lunges like crazy when I walk him. I have tried all the tricks of walking on a short leash, using a Holt and Gentle Leader, walking at different times; he still pulls and lunges. What can I try next?
I had this exact situation with a client and his Sheppard on a training visit earlier this week. He said that walking was next to impossible with the dog. With that said, I asked him to take the dog out on a short leash and walk down the street. (By the way, the street was nice and quiet… no cars, people, kids, squirrels, etc.) The walking was a disaster. It was a constant tug of war between the client and the dog. It was a stalemate where nobody was winning and nothing was being taught.
This is where I introduced a slightly different method that is not for everybody. I asked for the leash and simply held the leash by the handle. There was six feet of loose leash between me and this 90 lb., 2 year old, rambunctious Sheppard.
He looked at me and then began to run out to the end of the leash. As soon as he got there and began to pull, I gave a good tug on the leash and directed him back to me. During this entire time, I continued to walk and did not make a big deal of the redirection back to me. The Sheppard gave me a quick look and slowly began to walk out to the end again. I corrected him again, but this time I didn’t have to give such a tug to get him to look back and slow down.
After several repetitions of this process, that Sheppard was walking right around me and never encroached on the 6 foot limit of the leash. Kids and animals would pass by and he still would stay right around me. Dogs will be dogs, so I still needed to give him slight corrections as we continued and completed the walk. Also, I want to make it quite clear that I never chocked the dog or hurt him in any way. I was simply giving him very clear signals that “you can’t go that way”.
Sometimes dogs need a little more room to “move around” when walking. I noticed this immediately when I asked the owner to walk the dog. All I did was to give the dog a little more “walking room” with the clear rule that he still needed to stay around me and to be mindful of my presence. I simply put the Sheppard in a situation where he could clearly understand my rule and that I had the ability to let him understand what was right and wrong.
Please remember that this technique isn’t for everybody. The client was able to handle the dog if he lunged, had a clear grasp of the technique I was displaying, and was able to successfully apply it, if needed. If you have further questions, please contact us at Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.