Author Topic: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!  (Read 5514 times)

Offline Binky

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Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« on: March 09, 2009, 03:16:57 am »
Hi All,
Another question about Sophie and I really hope you all will have some advice!  She turned 1 in January and now weighs as much as I do.  I use a gentle leader on her as our trainer recommended and it has helped BUT Sophie is now taller than I am and if she manages to jump up, I can't pull up on the leader and have no control.  She had settled down about seeing other dogs when on leash, but is reverting back to going crazy.
I am pretty sure we scarred some kids for life yesterday.  We took Leo and all the dogs for a walk and it was a nice day so there was a big line of people (with dogs and kids) at the ice cream place we live near.  Sophie saw one of the dogs and started leaping up and barking.  Her bark is very deep and scary and the sight of her jumping, lunging and barking must have terrified everyone.  I was so embarrassed.  What should I say in a situation like that?  I have tried "she's friendly, just loud" but people are scared anyway.  I just tried to get away as fast as possible (hard to do with me, DH, our son and the rest of the dogs).  Anyone else have this problem/a solution?  Thanks!
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Offline Apreston

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Re: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 03:57:16 am »
I can realate! Titan does this to 2 dogs he does not get along with. There is not much I can do when they pass. He does the same thing as Sophie; jumps and barks and then seconds later we are walking on our way. I have a gentel leader halter that I use. I seam to be able to control the jumping much better with that! 1 of the dogs Titan does not get along with where's a gentel leader muzzel and he jumps so high it scares me!!
I also try a sit stay with him; with the aid of a treat and make him sit there untill the dog passes and then we go on our way. Most of the time it works!! Good Luck!!!   ;)

jesday

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Re: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 04:24:50 am »
The best thing I have found is a harness. I'm guessing because it wraps around their upper torso it gives you more leverage? I can still hold both my bubs at the same time when in their harnesses, although it's like holding a team of wild horses if they really want to see something. I can hold them until I put them in a 'sit' and then hold the harness itself while whatever the interest is passes.

They do make them in extra large. Good luck.

Offline K9ldy00

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Re: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 06:33:34 am »
I use the easy leader harness on my bullmastiff. It is adjustable and the lead clips on to the ring on the front across the chest. It puts him off balance when he tries to lunge. It works great for him and me.


This is what it says about it:
Premier Pet Gentle Leader® Easy Walk™ Harness is designed to gently discourage your dog from pulling. It's so simple - easy to fit, and easy to use. There is very little acclimation time or special technique required. The Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness redirects pressure through a front leash attachment, Premier's patent-pending martingale closure tightens slightly across the chest and shoulder blades when your dog attempts to pull forward. Leash not included. Not recommended to be used in conjunction with a retractable leash.
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Offline FXgirl

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Re: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 07:26:06 am »
It may just have been too much too soon for reactive Sophie.

Has your trainer been a big help?  If you need help in finding a new trainer, let me know and maybe I can help.  Reactivity is a common behavioral problem.

My guy is only reactive at other dogs while ON LEASH outside.  Throwing a tantrum is NOT going to get him what he wants but quite the opposite!

Yesterday was my first class and it was all very, very interesting.  The trainer had their dogs in the room facing away from the entrance and each dog owner took a turn coming in with their dog to be evaluated.

Some interesting observations were found with the dogs....whale eye, tongue flicks, not looking at the owner, cutting the owner off while walking, erect tails, raised hackles and the list goes on.

Some of the the dogs were resource guarding their owners so that was interesting to watch and what a dogs body language is when it does that.  I was told my guy was anxious and bossy.

I was told to keep a journal until next class of the dog's daily activities, what he reacts to, etc etc.  And for now to only take short walks but as many as I want.  They must be calm and quiet when the leash comes out, the door opens or whatever may trigger your dog to get excited for the walk.  I was told to walk slowly, with the dog at a heel and to feed meals(a few kibbles at a time) while out on walks.  Basically each walk is a 15 minute training session.  

Anyways, there's so much I could write here but if you need help I can talk to my trainers to see if there's anyone they could recommend in your area.  These women know their stuff, use positive methods and have connections to the top behaviouralist s like Ian Dunbar.

What I've found out about my situation is the reactivity is only the symptom and I'm hoping once I really crack down on the bossiness here at home will I have a dog that has a high frustration tolerance and I really think that is key!!!  Right now Bosco has lost all privileges(he didn't have many to begin with) but the major thing with him was that he pesters when he wants me to get up in the morning,  when he wants to go for a walk and when he wants to eat.


Offline London_Pyr_Lover

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Re: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 08:22:50 am »
I can realate! Titan does this to 2 dogs he does not get along with. There is not much I can do when they pass. He does the same thing as Sophie; jumps and barks and then seconds later we are walking on our way. I have a gentel leader halter that I use. I seam to be able to control the jumping much better with that! 1 of the dogs Titan does not get along with where's a gentel leader muzzel and he jumps so high it scares me!!
I also try a sit stay with him; with the aid of a treat and make him sit there untill the dog passes and then we go on our way. Most of the time it works!! Good Luck!!!   ;)

Miss Naja is identical.  Except, she'll bark and lunge at everything she wants to see.  Putting her into a sit stay until whatever it is has passed helps.  Talking to her and giving her verbal corrections also helps.  If we have to walk by whatever it is, I keep her in a close heel, and give verbal corrections.  That usually helps.  Other times, I just have to apologise to the terrified passers-by, and explain that she's just a giant, excitable puppy.  They never buy it, but at least I know I'm never gonna get mugged when she's with me.  ;)
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Offline FXgirl

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Re: Really need help controlling Sophie on leash!
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2009, 08:18:39 am »
Just wanted to give a little up date on class and what I've been doing at home, if anyone cares.  It may be of help for those with reactive dogs.

I'm still keeping a daily reactive dog diary which in the long term may come in handy seeing patterns I'm missing.

The hand feeding during walks has been fantastic.  He gets fed when he looks at me and when he's right beside me.  I alternate between handfuls of kibble and just giving him one piece at a time.  Feeding while walking has many benefits.  It keeps me calm having something to do,  I get a much better heel and a lot of eye contact,  it helps keep Bosco's arousal level low.  When he's aroused he takes treats/kibble with too much teeth contact and too hard so a loud "ouch" helps him to lower his arousal so he can take the kibble gently.  I love it.

Yesterday I found out that when it's not me holding onto the leash he doesn't react in the slightest towards other dogs.  That is a huge revelation!  Just goes to prove that I am the problem.

We saw a dog approaching on leash so I used the opportunity to try an experiment.  I very securely tied the leash to a bench out of the other dog's way because I didn't want to disturb the dog or the owner and I walked away.  The dog was about 6 metres to the right of Bosco and I was about that same distance to the left.  No reaction, no lunging, no barking, no hard stares, no tail up.  The focus was on me and when he looked at the other dog I asked for a "watch me" and got it no problem.  He got lots of praise and treats for that.

I don't know all the things this could mean but it could be that removing myself meant that he couldn't resource guard me or that I am giving him some sort of cue to react with my behaviour.  I don't know I'll have to discuss this with my trainer when I see her.

If I get the okay from her, I will be doing this from now on.  When I see a dog approaching and granted the situation is safe ie:  no pedestrians in the way, the other dog is under physical control,  ON LEASH and at a safe distance.  As long as I get no reaction I'll throw treats to him for being good but if I get any sort of reaction I'll turn my back and walk further away.  And only when he's quiet will I come closer.  Over time and many walks I"ll slowly decrease the distance I'm away from him until I'm standing right beside him getting him to watch me.

Then we'll work from there and move onto more challenging situations.

This week we're practicing leave it or off with balls being kicked around, toys being squeaked and all that.  Class next week will be practicing with fake squirrels running around-oh boy!