Drummergirl

ESS puppy pulling on lead - help

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Hi, I am new to the forum and would love some advice. I have a 15 week old ESS that pulls terribly on his lead. I am trying to correct this using the stop and wait method when he pulls and/or turn in the opposite direction, including treats and verbal praise. However, he is very persistent and at this stage it's having a limited effect. I am currently using a flat lead and have been advised to use a choker, but, after some research am more keen on using a harness. The problem is that he constantly has his nose on the ground sniffing (and hence, pulling like a steam train to follow the scent). My understanding is that these harnesses won’t stop the dog from sniffing; how do I keep his nose up when wearing a harness?  I think this will dramatically help to reduce the pulling in the first place? Many thanks!

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Have you thought of using a Halti lead, there is a piece that goes over the nose, not up with them as my breed could not wear one, but it gives head control.

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Good for you for deciding not to use a choker .. and especially not on a puppy.   Can I suggest you send a PM to @The Spotted Devill .... our resident ESS expert. 

 

In the short term, you could try some food following, where you hold treats in your hand at or slightly above puppy's nose level and mark and deliver a treat for several steps of loose lead walking.   You would start this in a relatively quiet area .. and do lots of repetitions and then let the pup have a break.    At this stage, training the loose leash walking is more important than actually walking the dog.   TIme spent now will mean more enjoyable 'proper' walks later.    Giving the dog permission to go sniff for a while can also be a powerful reward.   Then switch back to asking for attention (with treats and frequent rewards.)

 

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1 hour ago, Drummergirl said:

Hi, I am new to the forum and would love some advice. I have a 15 week old ESS that pulls terribly on his lead. I am trying to correct this using the stop and wait method when he pulls and/or turn in the opposite direction, including treats and verbal praise. However, he is very persistent and at this stage it's having a limited effect. I am currently using a flat lead and have been advised to use a choker, but, after some research am more keen on using a harness. The problem is that he constantly has his nose on the ground sniffing (and hence, pulling like a steam train to follow the scent). My understanding is that these harnesses won’t stop the dog from sniffing; how do I keep his nose up when wearing a harness?  I think this will dramatically help to reduce the pulling in the first place? Many thanks!

Welcome :) 

What a cute puppy..an ESS .

The best way to help with a pulling puppy ? 

Get some TRAINING , so You know WHY puppy pulls, and how to best communicate  and teach puppy . :) 
Communication is NOT using a physical restraint ...

have a look at these video- and I will give you a  LINK  to an excellent person  with whom to speak :)

CLICK

Also @The Spotted Devil, a DOLer , could be a help as well. 

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I own gundogs & training on the lead is not a routine .

 

First off your pup sounds very bored with you & the outside world is far more fun,when you walk & it pulls you stop ,turn around & pup will switch off & do it even more .

 

I hate harnesses & generally those that use them is because there dogs are nightmares & it makes the owners feel better.An ill fitting harness is just as dangerous to the body as a flat collar or chocker if used wrong & Haltis can be just as damaging .

My pups never go on flat collars,they are trained on there showleads which is a slip lead,bad manners is not negotiable BUT having fun on the lead is a must .

I don't encourage healing ,i don't encourage watching,i encourage fun & me being more interesting that the world outside.

If my pups want to carry there teddy ,they can,,for me vocal excitement & praise is often all they need,when starting to zone out then i step in before the moment is lost ,walksare short & sweet ,shorts walks with success is a must .To the letter box and back can help self control and that going out the front isn't just about walks

 

Although my first question is is this a working springer or show lines .If working does the breeder have dogs in scent work ??

 

Also what other training are you doing,how responsive is the dog to you in general day routines ?When being brushed how does the pup behave.These things can give you a good idea if the dog is responding well to you in general or whether you need to change your methods at home to apply more about the dog enjoying you and rewards it gets 

 

Edited by Dogsfevr
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My ESS puppy can walk on a lead and he does noseworks! 

 

i find he's a dog who is the kind to pull and pull no matter how it hurts. But we had success with two methods

 

1. The 180 route. When he starts going too far ahead I will turn around and walk the other way. I do this before the lead gets tense. This encourages him to follow more. 

Although if he does suddenly pull, I will do a 180 then as well. Some days he is very excited to get to a particular tree and every time he picks up speed and is going to rush ahead, I do a 180 and go the other way. Then if he keeps pace he is rewarded to smell that thing he wants to smell!

 

2. Reward him when he is near me and rewarding for head raised/ eye contact. He can sniff unless we are formal heeling bit if he chooses to look up at me I will give treats or praise and be exciting or play a game!

 

sonetimes we just run around being excited and him following me to remind him o  fun and interesting too

 

he really likes encouragement to make him confident that he's doing the right thing!

 

i walk him in both harness and martingale. The martingale is more for safety than corrections. 

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I will say up front that the working line ESS are sooooo much more difficult to train to walk nicely :laugh: And that comes from someone who trained a Dalmatian first!!! Mainly because they really don't do a walk or trot. It's asleep. Or sprint. Or quarter. Mine are very good off leash but that's where I put the training in. 

 

Essentially you want to build value for being by your side in a LOW distraction environment first. That means your kitchen or bathroom. I use LOADS of treats. Walks at this young age are about training not exercise so I would be literally focussing on a stationary position next to you first. Then add one step at a time. Then when you have success add distractions. Practice walking nicely to the door. Reward with a release outside to play. So you start to use LIFE rewards as well as treats. 

 

 

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Thanks for the replies and the encouragement.  In particular, thanks for the specific information on what has worked for you with your dogs.  
 
This afternoon I had a bit of a breakthrough (always the way - it happens after you post a question about it).  He stayed by my side for a considerable distance (for a puppy), breaking occasionally, but coming back with lots of encouragement and a food treat every few steps.  I kept the walk short, as I know it requires a lot of concentration from him.  He kept his head up and was keen for eye contact and lots of praise.  It was great!  I definitely need to work on the sniffing at cue and as a reward. 
 
Thistle the dog, would you mind sharing the type of harness you use on your pup??   When you say you use the martingale for safety, what do you mean by that?
 

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Thanks, The Spotted Devil!  Yes, I think that sums it up - asleep or sprinting!  I am trying to be realistic about what I can expect a young pup to do, but at the same time I want to get on top of the pulling as it certainly won't be easy to correct in a few months at double the size.  I like your idea of using life rewards.  I have been doing this, but need to do it more consciously.  And I agree a low distraction environment is a must, difficult when you have a young family and I'm using every opportunity I can get to work with him one on one (sans children).

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I do the 180°/turn around thing too, and also stop & wait til they come back to loose leash. I also use clicker/marker training; Mark & reward for heeling. I practice around the backyard/house since it isn't distracting. 

Best to practice loose leash/heeling in a distraction free environment, and then once successful build up to a little more distracting and more and more. Maybe try not to be in too many situations where pup will pull like crazy if possible (they get in habit of being naughty, then you have to train them out of it.) 

 

If I were you I'd try him on a halti/gentle leader sort of head halter. It's good since you have control of their head when you need it. Make sure you train him to like having it on his face though (if you don't know how, look up a video on how to get dogs to like a muzzle or harness or collar, it's all similar.) :) 

We briefly used a sporn head halter on Monty but it would rub up into his eyes so we returned it. 

 

I have used flat collars and leather slip collars (told by a trainer, got me to do corrections which I really disagreed with. Also I didn't feel safe using it with my dog reactive dog incase he choked or slipped it in a frenzy), and I haven't liked either. 

I have also used the sporn head halter, which was pretty good but kept slipping into my dogs eye. I have used the sporn anti-pull harness which I do like, stopped using it for a bit but I found it again recently and it's useful. (But can sometimes rub armpits) 

And assorted other harnesses. The all time fave is Ruffwear Frontrange harness (very exxy but we scored 2 for $40 on gumtree!)

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2 hours ago, Scrappi&Monty said:

If I were you I'd try him on a halti/gentle leader sort of head halter. It's good since you have control of their head when you need it. Make sure you train him to like having it on his face though (if you don't know how, look up a video on how to get dogs to like a muzzle or harness or collar, it's all similar.)

I do not think a puppy  should be  subjected to a head halter .... martingales are great :)

Edited by persephone
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I walk on martingale cause dogs cannot slither out of it! Flats can break and I'm personally uncomfortable with how the halter jerks the head around if the dog startles. He didn't start wearing martingale until 6 months as I was concerned about little puppy necks. He is 7.5 months now. 

 

my puppy harness is currently an ezy dog car harness. It doesn't prevent pulling or anything, it is purely "between growth convenience" choice. When he is bigger I'm planning to get him a nice leather one once I work out what works with his coat. It'd be the ones in a H shape, nothing that stops pulling. 

 

Sometimes i get him to heel one step at a time down hallyway, his reward is getting to run around like a headless chook.

 

Hes show style I forgot to say, not the spotted devils style of fun ;)  they'd run rings around mine lol

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Yeah that's quite true, @persephone  they are pretty restrictive and only a last resort kind of thing. Only use it if you HAD to. And probably for older "teenage" pups/adults not baby puppies. I think I'd prefer it to a choker/full slip collar though.. and no jerking heads up of course, just gentle guiding + a treat to lure to heel? 

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Just a word of caution before you teach your working springer to walk at heel - there is nothing worse than a dog that is supposed to hunt ahead of its handler and thinks it can get rewarded for walking at heel!

Over the years I have spent hours trying to teach a young dog to "get on" when someone (probably me) has inadvertently instilled in its mind that to be by my side is the best place!!

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@Thistle the dog, thanks for the information, good to know.  We had another really good walk this morning with little pulling (!!); fortunately we have a bushy park directly opposite us and it's a very short, quiet walk to get there.  A good chance to practice and he then gets the chance to run around off lead, which is another great reward.  

 

@JRG, I agree that I wouldn't want him necessarily walking at heel all the time.  I would be quite happy for him to walk on a loose lead, rather than heel, but at this stage if he's out front he can't seem to help himself with the nose down and pulling (of course, that's what he's bred for - not the pulling, but the nose work :) ).  I did notice towards the end of our walk that he came to walk by my side naturally, off lead, which is great, but I probably will need to teach him a release command so that he knows when he can go ahead and "get on". 

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14 hours ago, Drummergirl said:

Thanks, The Spotted Devil!  Yes, I think that sums it up - asleep or sprinting!  I am trying to be realistic about what I can expect a young pup to do, but at the same time I want to get on top of the pulling as it certainly won't be easy to correct in a few months at double the size.  I like your idea of using life rewards.  I have been doing this, but need to do it more consciously.  And I agree a low distraction environment is a must, difficult when you have a young family and I'm using every opportunity I can get to work with him one on one (sans children).

At the end of the day my ESS really don't love going for walks. My Dalmatian absolutely does - will trot for hours. 

 

So I tend to bundle everyone in the car, head to some open ground, do some training and then let them have a sprint. It works for us very well and it's something I always tell my puppy people. 

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Funnily enough im the opposite no offleash walking until they can walk on a lead ,for me the reward is not being free the reward is doing something that pleases us both .Offleash is part of a training exercise only where its  education until there totally reliable

My Gundogs are taught to walk out in front ,they only come close to me for people walking past or in a situation where next to me is safer .

There not allowed to pull but walk freely lose leash out front .

In the show ring i want my dogs to move out in front so i encourage that behaviour & when walking them i actually can't stand the dreaded heel next to me & yes i have done obedience trials but thats another job for that ring not casual walks .

Funnily enough i train only with distractions never without BUT i do a alot of just sitting in the distraction environment whether that just be on the front lawn watching things go past or heading down to the local walkway with birds,people,kids,prams .

I will just turn up with a chair & let my pup watch the world go past ,take it in & alot of praise for paying attention to me ,sitting there playing with there toys ,my guys are very toy fanatical & love carrying there teddies ,there so proud of them the world often doesn't exist except for me .Once i feel they have learnt about the outside world then walks are added but every day is never the same .

I have no issues walking 2 gundog puppies together who walk nicely because they love to check in with me more than the world .

As there shown from 3 months distractions is a massive part of there world & i don't go out of my way to avoid it but each pup needs to learn at there own time .

 

Keep in mind watching you on walks turns into an unnatural  & uncomfortable gait hence why i will let mine move out & when doing good reward vocally asap & will happily stop for cuddles or teaching high 5 ,something that is very exciting & uses there brain not just food all the time .They never now when that thrill will come & what kind so they really enjoy there outings for the what it brings .In the ring food,leaving the ring there teddy,pre ring its the grooming table & touch time .

 

At home grooming is all about touch time,chilling & enjoying the me time ,dogs can focus so much during this time

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4 minutes ago, Dogsfevr said:

BUT i do a alot of just sitting in the distraction environment whether that just be on the front lawn watching things go past or heading down to the local walkway with birds,people,kids,prams .

I will just turn up with a chair & let my pup watch the world go past ,take it in & alot of praise for paying attention to me ,sitting there playing with there toys ,my guys are very toy fanatical & love carrying there teddies ,there so proud of them the world often doesn't exist except for me .Once i feel they have learnt about the outside world then walks are added but every day is never the same .

oh yes!! This is an important thing for pups (human kids too) .. the fact that we can sit & watch ..that everything moves around us ..that we don't have to be walking for the objects/humans in our vicinity to change ..that often we don't NEED to walk away/run away -- the odd/scary stuff will move away all by itself , OR we will be there , secure, long enough to get used to whatever smell/sound/sight has made us worry a bit . :)

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