View Full Version : Pulling when walking - becoming a real problem.

12th August 2009, 04:52 PM
Hi All.

Just wondered if anyone has a cavalier that pulls really bad when walking?

My 2 are terrible, to be fair though, Bluebell is worse than Lottie. They can pull me over and i have pulled so many muscles because of them pulling. She never walks right next to me, she is always leaning away, as far as the lead will stretch. I walked them this afternoon, and i have had a bad wrist for a couple of weeks now, well she has twisted it and it is really sore now. I thought i would post a message because it really is getting frustrating now, and then i get angry and tell her off and feel no one has had a good walk because of it.

I have tried so many different things, i am on the 3rd "no pulling" harness, i have also tried to walk her using her collar and i have also had her on a "gentle leader" (bit like a halti) - i didn't like using this as she obviously hated having it on her face, it does work, but she fusses a lot with it. So i haven't used it for a while. I have also tried several types of leads.

She is currently using a Pets at Home No Pull harness, but she still pulls, she is sooooo strong! It must look ridiculous when people see me trying to walk them. I do get funny looks from people and people have said they are walking me, not the other way around.

The other thing is, i am going in for an Op on my hip on 7th September, so my husband will be walking them until i get better, but when it comes round to walking them again, i don't want to be pulled a lot, and worse case scenerio, i fall over and un-do my Op.

I don't really want to go to classes to sort this out, but maybe i will have to. My 2 are larger cavaliers, Bluebell is really solid muscle, probably if i had smaller ones i wouldn't have this issue... here is a photo of the terrible 2....

Bluebell is on the right. Lottie is on the left.

I just don't know what to do...


12th August 2009, 05:32 PM
Hi Emma- Lots of people have this problem (including myself). You may have to resort to walking them separately for your safety & sanity. I find mine are angels when they are the "only", but when they are all walked together my two boys get this "pack" mentality and go crazy pulling, like they're trying to beat the other in some pretend race. If the no-pull harnesses don't work, you will have to work on training. And it is nearly impossible when walking more than one at a time. Good luck on your op!

12th August 2009, 05:39 PM
IMHO that's a really useless design to stop a dog from pulling.

I'd order the Sense-ible no pull front clip harness -- a front clip harness makes an enormous difference. Walking them separately will likely help, as noted. This is a training issue that would be good to address as well, and you will need to put in daily time and have patience and work with each on her own. Ian Dunbar has advice on teaching a dog not to pull on dogstardaily.com -- I'd download the free copy of After You Get Your Puppy as it explains the approach or order one of his training books from Amazon in the UK.

12th August 2009, 07:24 PM
Your cavaliers look really lovely - as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths! One way of trying to train them (one at a time of course) is to start walking, and the moment they pull; Stop, they will look round wondering what is happening, as soon as the lead goes slack, praise her and set off again. It will only be a step or two, probably before she pulls again, stop and keep repeating -perseverence is the only way.

Your dog will eventually (I hope) get the message that they will go no-where when they pull. At first your walk will probably consist of 10 or 20 yards at most!!:D And if anyone is around they'll probably think your mad! Some dogs just do not seem to get the walking to heel though.

ps Forgot to say - I suggest you do this with them on a lead rather than a harness.

12th August 2009, 09:23 PM
[QUOTE=Karlin;330249]IMHO that's a really useless design to stop a dog from pulling.QUOTE]

What does IMHO mean?

12th August 2009, 09:26 PM
In my humble opinion. :)

More common net abbreviations:


I would never see a back clip harness as being able to help much with pulling. :thmbsup:

12th August 2009, 09:29 PM
Aaaah... thanks Karlin!

Daisy's Mom
12th August 2009, 10:12 PM
I have a no-pull harness like Karlin described where the leash attaches right in the middle of the front of their chests. It does help my bossy, bossy, pushy Daisy to not pull so hard, but even with that on, she's always as far out in front of me as possible and leading the way, but she's just not pulling very hard because it stops her from doing so. The only time she isn't way out in front is in the 2nd half of our walks when she's pooped out. And heaven help us if we spot another dog coming toward us anywhere along the way. Then she's basically a wild animal -- tugging, lunging, jumping, barking, spinning, etc. Very, very embarrassing and frustrating. I hate to say this, but I've basically given up on her ever walking on the leash like a lady.

Anyway, try everything that everyone has posted and hopefully something will work for you. In terms of just how hard they pull, though, I definitely saw a big immediate difference when we used the no-pull harness. (I'm not sure, but I think ours is called the EZ-Walk. It looks exactly like the Sense-ible one that Karlin recommmended. Ours is red and it has a burgundy colored strap that goes under her belly to help you make sense of the thing when you are trying to put it on.)

Good luck -- those two do look like they are plotting something! :p Cute little girls, though!

13th August 2009, 02:51 AM
I have that one too. It is by Gentle Leader, and it's called the Easy Walk Harness. Available online and in some stores. It DOES help!

13th August 2009, 12:37 PM
Does anyone know where you can buy the sense-ible harness in the UK?
Leo pulls like an Ox at times and these sound ideal.


13th August 2009, 12:41 PM
One thing I do (but it works better with one dog at a time) is to take a handful of treats and tell them to "watch me" - for my food hounds it works like a charm! I use that command to get their attention when I see something that might make them pull (like other people, dogs, birds, etc). It works for Max even if I also have Mndy but not so much for her since I didn't start with it until she was 11. She's not a puller anyway so that helps.

13th August 2009, 08:05 PM
I prefer to avoid problems and remembering back here are some points I first thought about.

When training I like to use food treats, toys, games and heaps of praise this even when training dogs to walk nicely on leash.

Walking nicely on leash be it connected to a collar or harness first starts with some training at home. When the dog knows how to walk nicely only then would I try a walk away from home even if on the footpath outside my home.

I have had 4 dogs walking together very nicely on leash where each was trained separately before even trying a combined together walk.

The moment the dog moved forward from the heel position and well before the leash tightens I would have stopped walking, then turned around and walked in the opposite direction. The first walks away from home well they were quite short walks as I had to keep stopping and turning around, some neighbours might have thought I was mad, but the walks did gradually extend in distance where the dogs did walk nicely without pulling.

It was interesting when my wife and I started training our doggies for Tracking. In Tracking a long leash is used and the dog needs to go way forward and pull so as to keep the long leash off the ground, this so that when the ground is wet or muddy the long leash does not get heavy and slippery, also so that the long leash does not pickup or tangle on vegetation that is on the ground. Yes interesting competing in an Obedience event then competing in a Tracking event this on the same weekend which we did often for years.

13th August 2009, 08:35 PM
The moment the dog moved forward from the heel position and well before the leash tightens I would have stopped walking, then turned around and walked in the opposite direction. The first walks away from home well they were quite short walks as I had to keep stopping and turning around, some neighbours might have thought I was mad, but the walks did gradually extend in distance where the dogs did walk nicely without pulling.

This is the most boring but most successful technique I've tried.

13th August 2009, 09:58 PM
This is the most boring but most successful technique I've tried.
It has been proven to be quite successful by many dogs, but keep in mind the other points I mentioned and I could add some more points.

I prefer to start training dogs when they are young puppies as they are relatively easy to mould and shape. I like to start training inside my home where there are NO distractions, and being inside my home I do NOT need any collar, harness or leash to train a puppy to walk with me. I train off-leash heeling right the start, but when out walking in public places I do use a collar and leash but for safety reasons.

The first thing I train is that the heel position is a very rewarding place to be in, this starting by having the puppy sit by my side where I hand feed them their meal, and young puppies have a few meals a day. After a couple of days soon as they see you appear with the food bowl they come running to my side and even automatically sit in the heel position. When I see that this is step one complete where they are ready to proceed to the next step in training.

13th August 2009, 10:39 PM
Ah, that's where I went wrong then, at dinner time here, Dylan does a dance for his dinner! :lol:

More tips please...

13th August 2009, 11:43 PM
All of our Cavaliers danced and did spins etc.. It did not take them long to realise that dancing around did not get them what they wanted and that sitting down next to me was instantly rewarded. Being small pups and particularly as I had an arthritic back problem during this training stage I sat down on a very small chair, then with my left hand I gently helped them to sit by my side and with my right hand I fed them. After as I mentioned a couple of days later they would come running to my side and where they would automatically sit.

Talking about dancing that reminds me of years ago when we got our Charmaine, and who got rather too excited with greetings at the door, then later came the additions of "Nelson the protector" and later again "Chyna the rebel child with wind in her ears", and where I wrote the following:-

It didn't take long before our new puppy Charmaine came running to greet me at the door as I returning home from work. I loved the excited warm greeting, but unfortunately my airforce uniform didn't. That night my wife and I sat down to have a long serious chat. Charmaine was our first dog we had owned and where we knew nothing about dog training. We put our heads together and this is what we thought was worth a go.

Soon as my wife heard the car in the driveway and the beep of my horn, she would quickly take Charmaine to a pre determined place near the door but still well away. Anne sat down on a small seat with Charmaine next to her where she gently held her in a sitting position. By then I had got out of the car and had arrived at the door and where I waited for Anne's signal of "Enter". On hearing this I opened the door and entered. Charmaine was quivering with excitement, but Anne continued to hold her as gentle as she could in position. I did not look at them or utter a sound but casually walked past them to the bedroom where I changed out of my uniform and into casual clothes. I then casually walked up to them, still not looking at them and still not uttering a sound. Meanwhile Anne still held Charmaine who was by now bursting with excitement and trying to struggle free from Anne's hands, but Anne still held her. I got down on my knees and after several seconds finally said, "OK", Anne then let Charmaine go and we all had our joyous greeting.

After a few occasion of this, Charmaine slowly settled into the routine. Charmaine on hearing the car engine and horn started to move herself to her "stay" position next to the little seat that Anne sat on and not towards the door. Charmaine still sat in that position and still felt like bursting excitement, but she started to stop making moving gestures towards me as I casually walked past. She waited patiently until I was ready which was signalled by my "OK". Eventually Anne did not have to hold Charmaine, and later Anne did not have to be next to Charmaine. Charmaine now waits patiently by that chair till I'm ready which I signal with the "OK".

When I was not home and Anne had visitors it obviously presented difficulties. In the initial stages of training Anne couldn't leave Charmaine on a stay in that position next to the seat as Charmaine would surely break when Anne answered the door, all the previous training would have been instantly wasted. Anne chose to put Charmaine in another room before she answered the door. If the visitor didn't come in and stay then Charmaine was let out of the other room well after the visitor departed. If the visitor was to stay then Anne carefully explained the training. The door was closed with the visitor outside, Anne would get Charmaine from the other room and continue the training as before, the visitor knocked and the training continued as before.

Well, that training was for "Charmaine the lady of the house". Years later into the scene came the additions of "Nelson the protector" and then "Chyna the rebel child with wind in her ears". Now with 3 dogs together, what do you think would happen if at this very moment a pizza delivery person ran up to our door and knocked. Do you think they would run to the door to greet the delivery person, or run to the prearranged spot and eagerly wait for that "OK" to start eating their pieces of pizza.

14th August 2009, 10:31 AM
Great story Eddy. I taught the dance as a trick. I saw a kid doing it with his dog in the park. His dog was quite some distance from him and I was quite impressed to see him make a circle with his hand and the dog walked in a circle. Easy to teach with a treat in your hand near his nose, make a circle and apply a command. You've seen my youtubes Eddy but I'll have to make one of him dancing.

At dinner times Dylan is asked to wait before he takes his food. I thought this would be hard to teach but it was just like you did with Charmaine, I held him.

When anyone knocks at the door we used to put him in the lounge behind the baby gate, now, he puts himself there, I didn't even have to train him that one, smart boy. If I am at the front door wanting to come in and he is right there, I just say "back up" and he goes in the lounge.

14th August 2009, 04:23 PM
My dog Charlie also always pulls on the lead, it's very annoying because after a while your arm aches :(

Mom of Jato
14th August 2009, 09:28 PM
Sorry I am of no help to you, but just wanted to let you know my two are bigtime pullers as well. :dogwlk: They get so excited to go for a walk, and don't slow down until we are almost home. Not very enjoyable for me, especially my arm/shoulder.

16th August 2009, 02:49 PM
Sorry I am of no help to you, but just wanted to let you know my two are bigtime pullers as well. :dogwlk: They get so excited to go for a walk, and don't slow down until we are almost home. Not very enjoyable for me, especially my arm/shoulder.

I know what you mean about the arm/shoulder!

Friday's Mommy
16th August 2009, 05:20 PM
My SM dog Friday pulls alot which makes her scratch even more. Although I always thought a step-in would be best for her I've decided to put her in the style of harness Karlin was talking about. Another one is a Gentle Leader and I don't know if you can get them in England or not.

I make harnesses myself and I'm making hers in ultra-suede so at least it's soft were it hits her on her chest. When I first starting trying to design a harness that would minimize her scratching this is the style I made with the ring on the top of her like a step-in but she still pulled so now I'm putting the ring in front which is making her pull less and scratch less!

I know other cavalier and pet owners who had success with this style!

18th August 2009, 04:48 PM
EZ Walk Harness works wonders