View Full Version : Progress on Daisy's leash craziness!

Daisy's Mom
18th March 2008, 01:32 PM
I've posted several times about how Daisy is so wild on a leash (pulling, lunging at cars, dogs, people, etc.) Well, we have been working on it and I will have to say -- it is getting better! We went for a long walk on Sunday, and she only lunged at a passing car one time out of about 30 cars! She mostly ignored them. A couple of other times, she glanced at them and seemingly decided against lunging, so that is awesome (and earned her some treats)! I'm so proud of her. The treating and distraction every time a car passes has finally paid off. I didn't even have to do the distraction after I realized after the first few cars passed that she was ignoring them. (That's good because she's overweight and I can't be treating her so heavily long-term.)

We have two weeks left of Intermediate Obedience, and she is doing great there as well. Last night, she only lunged at other dogs about 5 times total, a huge improvement! She is a pro at the obedience stuff and has amazingly become the best heeler in the class. After our first two obedience courses (Puppy and Obedience I), I had almost despaired that she would ever heel -- that was her Achilles' heel (pun intended)! Now she's proved me wrong. The trainer always comments about how awesome Daisy is at focusing on me, which makes me feel good. She calls her a "cute heeler" because she looks up at me so intently all the time when she is walking. I'd like to say it's because she loves me so much, but it's really the treats.

The pulling on the leash has decreased pretty significantly and I think she has gotten the picture that I won't walk when she's pulling. She's far from perfect in that respect, but definitely much improved. I think she now understands the "no pull" command I always say when I plant myself.

So my strenuous attempts at patience have finally begun to pay off! We have the CGC test two weeks from now. Since there are no treats allowed, I don't really think we have much of a chance, but hopefully she will do her best that night. If I can somehow fool her into THINKING I have a treat.... Her weak areas will be the sitting still for a stranger (she wants to put her legs up on them to be petted) and passing another dog calmly. Her strengths as always will be the stays.

She did the stay with a stranger thing for 3 minutes (with me leaving the room) last night in class and did very well after the first couple of seconds when she was jumping up on the teacher's legs. She did watch me go and acted a little worried about it, which surprised me. She's always such a confident little girl. I peeked in at her through the window at one point and she was laying down, which was great.

Anyway, I thought I'd post some good news since I've posted my struggles a few times!

Cleo's Person
18th March 2008, 01:51 PM
Wow that's fantastic!!! You must be sol delighted at Diasy's progress! It sounds like she has come on in leaps and bounds (only not obviously!).

I really must get Cleo into a good group obedience class. I think it would make a world of difference to her.

Well done Diasy's Mom! And Good luck with the GCG! Let us know how she gets on!

18th March 2008, 02:37 PM
Thats great new, its great that she has stopped pulling, how did you do it, my two almost pull my arm out of its socket they pull so much!!!! I really have to stop the pulling, our walks are such a chore, between whimpering and crossing over me, its very hard work, could really do with some advice :)

18th March 2008, 03:25 PM
You must be feeling great about the progress. It's not only technique but determination that got you there-sometimes hard to outlast them :).

Daisy's Mom
19th March 2008, 07:22 PM
Thanks! It does feel good to have some confidence that one day in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to take a walk on a leash with no pulling, no lunging at other dogs, cars, etc. We're not there yet, but I definitely have seen significant signs of a breakthrough happening. At least I think we've beaten the car problem!

I don't think I'm all that naturally patient (well, OK, I guess I know I'm not), so this has been a tough road. Sometimes I felt like giving up and just never taking her for a walk, it got so bad. But I do feel good about sticking with it. Maybe we can work up to doing agility yet, you never know! I think both Daisy and I would love that. We've done some small jumps in our current obedience class and she seems to like them a lot. She looks so cute flying over them with her big ears flopping! I need to have my husband come to class and take some pictures next week.

I'll post back about our CGC test results. Again, I don't expect to pass, so it's just signs of her showing progress that I'm hoping for. That would be awesome. The teacher said most dogs don't pass on the first try, so I'm definitely realistic about that.

19th March 2008, 11:11 PM
This is really fantastic -- it does take time and patience, but it pays off. You can see why having multiple dogs makes this type pf training very hard to do though. Each dog has to learn correct behaviour individually and then you can build up to taking them out as a group. But where to find the time?

19th March 2008, 11:26 PM
That is fabulous news and good on you for having the patience to persevere with this. Isn't obedience training fun! I love it.

20th March 2008, 02:14 AM
I would love to hear any tips about teaching them not to pull on their lead.

Bella loses all reason when I take her for a walk. She doesn't care about anything I say, doesn't care about treats (she LOVES treats) and I can't even get her to sit.

She goes nuts if someone walks by, I do trying to distract her, but nothing is working so far.

I was watching the 'It's me or the dog' dvd and will try some of those techniques too.

Daisy's Mom
20th March 2008, 04:33 AM
Bella loses all reason when I take her for a walk.

Wow! Bella sounds EXACTLY like Daisy! How old is she? Daisy will be 2 at the end of April.

The only thing that has worked for us in terms of pulling is if I refuse to walk when she's pulling. I just stop and wait till she backs off a little bit and the leash goes loose. If she keeps leaning against the leash, I will wait a couple of seconds and then move forward a half a step and see if she is going to keep pulling. If she doesn't pull the leash tight again, I take off walking. It is agonizing, believe me. We have been working on it for months and I've lost my temper a few times, been frustrated to the point of tears a few times, etc. It takes way more patience than comes naturally to me. I remember reading on this board that someone who was trying to use that technique actually asked a kid to work on it for them sometimes because they had way more patience for it. I can identify.

I guess I stuck with it because I made up my mind after a particularly frustrating walk with her spinning and lunging on the end of the leash like a wild animal that I was going to fix this problem come hell or high water. She's such a good dog other than on walks.

When I say it took a long time, I really mean it took months and months of getting NOWHERE on walks. Like a half an hour and we'd gone about a third of a block or less. I also tried turning backwards and going the opposite way of whatever direction she's pulling. ( I saw that on Divine Canine, and they were actually working with a Cavalier oddly enough.) I can't tell you which technique worked for sure with her, maybe it was a combo of the two. A no-pull harness helped us, too, although I found it very annoying to use. I think it did frustrate her pulling somewhat, though, which made it less rewarding to pull. I think eventually when I put that harness on her, she thought "Oh no, it's one of THOSE walks where Mom is going to act insane and not want to go anywhere."

My obedience class teacher suggested last week that I use a clicker on walks to get over the severe dog reactance problem that Daisy has. She said to wait till I see Daisy notice a dog in the distance, click, and treat. She said eventually, Daisy will look up at me whenever she sees a dog instead of fixating on the dog. I haven't tried that yet, but distracting Daisy with a treat whenever a car went by eventually worked on that problem. I'm going to ask her more questions next week to clarify the exact timing and sequence on all of that. I don't want to mess it up and end up rewarding her for fixating on a dog.

Again, she's not perfect by any means, but we're making progress, which is a lot more than I expected 3 months ago. We went out tonight and she pulled very little and actually looked up at me quite a bit like "Where to now, Mom?" She's such a sweetie!

Good luck with Bella -- I'm rooting for you!

20th March 2008, 05:22 AM
That's a good idea. I will try it tommorow (the not walking when she's pulling thing).

Bella is only 19 weeks old - so I hope I've got time to correct it. :xfngr:

Daisy's Mom
20th March 2008, 01:22 PM
That's great that you are starting that early with her. Hopefully it will prevent lots of bad habits from setting in. I wish I had done the "if you pull, we don't move" method from the start.

Good luck!

21st March 2008, 03:04 AM
There is another way I learned at obedience class other than stopping and much less frustrating. When Molly came to us at 3 1/2 she had no faults except pulling on lead.

When we took our younger dog,Cholmondeley ( Chum) to class we learned " the pendulum " and it has worked for both.

Fill your left pocket with little treats ( I just use kibble) and keep a clicker in your right hand. Start walking and when the dog LOOKS at you,CLICK throw a treat to the LEFT. Walk,dog LOOKS,CLICK, throw a treat to the RIGHT and keep repeating. After a while - as days go by- lengthen the steps between clicks and treats-10steps,20,30,etc.
Very soon Molly was looking at me constantly and walking beside me waiting for her treat. After a few days,I dispensed with the clicker and instead of the pendulum just dropped a treat behind my left heel from time to time. It WORKED for both our Cavaliers but we still use the treats,then cut back on the evening meal to compensate. Walks are a pleasure now.
Hope this helps someone.