Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by Loki'sMom, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Loki'sMom

    Loki'sMom New Member

    So I am having some issues getting my new berner on a leash. I've only had him for a week and I may be rushing things, but I'm really frustrated right now. I know with training issues it is always a failure to communicate, so it is something I'm doing wrong.

    I've had many dogs before and I am an LVT so I've helped train many puppies too, but I'm having such a hard time with this one. He is about 9 weeks old now and has been here for 1 week. I'm trying crate training him and last night I actually got 4 straight hours of sleep (on the couch by his crate), so I think that is improving.

    I am having trouble during the day though with housetraining and walking outside because I can't get him on a leash. When I put it on he either sits there and refuses to move, or alligator rolls and flips out. I live in a community that has roads, so I'm afraid to let him off anymore since he's feeling a bit more independant (I do drive him somewhere everyday that he can run around, which may not be helping with the leash issue, but I thought exercise might help). I've tried treating him endlessly when I put it on for brief periods. I also tried just waiting a few feet from him with a treat, waiting for him to move, but he lasts longer than me everytime. I've never seen such determination.

    The reason I was hoping to get him on a leash is so I could keep him on it all the time near me so I know when he has to go out. Before he stayed in the room with me, but now he wanders and I don't know when he has to go. He doesn't seem to get that the back door is the place to ask to go out, but he's figured out that if he goes in the room I'm in he gets yelled at.

    So short of not getting anything done other than following him around, my only idea is to put a leash on him so he is with me (gates will not work in my house).

    What am I doing wrong? (sorry for being so longwinded)
  2. Lynn

    Lynn New Member

    Seems to be a thing Berners do when they are young Ollie was terrible he would have his leash on but he would lie down when out on a walk and do the same as your pup. I now use a harness he was much better with the harness, he now has a leash on his collar but also wears his harness and this seems to work his breeder told me his Grandmother was like this and so stubborn and the more yelling and pulling the firmer she would dig her heels in. Patience, and perseverance paid off with me hope it does with you too.
  3. Bear'sMama

    Bear'sMama New Member

    My advice is to make your berner associate the leash with good things. I would sit and put the leash on while giving a treat, then take the leash immediately off. Do this a couple of times and a couple of sessions of it... Then I would put the lease on and drop the treat in front of him or her so the dog has to walk to get the treat. Keep moving the treat further away until you are holding the treat in your hand and after he or she walks so far, then reward.

    I also second the harness. I never put Bear in a collar just because I was worried about him pulling and potentially hurting his throat since he was so young. He immediately took to the harness (I'm assuming instinct) and hasn't given me much trouble other than pulling. I worked on the pulling problem by teaching him "heel" and "go pull." "Go pull" is where I let him run in front of me for a little bit. He gets so proud and begins to almost trot.

    I think no matter what method you choose, it's going to be a battle of perseverance between you and your berner.

    Good Luck!
  4. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    I've only taken Barney out on two walks, both of them less than 15 minutes, but this is what I found worked for us.

    -I let him come to me rather than moving towards him to clip the leash on.
    -I started taking him on indoor walks from day one. Barney's "office" is set up in our sunroom, so after a good playtime/potty break after dinner, he got a "tour" of the kitchen or living room while on the leash. I think this got him starting to associate the leash with new stuff and exploring.
    -Whenever he's on a leash, if he pulls or goes to the side, we stop moving. When he lets up on the leash and allows for slack, we move forward.
    -If he stops outside or sits down, I waved a bully stick or treat in front of his nose and got him to "chase" it for a bit.
    -Don't look down at your pup when he's on a leash. He's going to be looking to you to see where you're going, and if he spots you looking at HIM for direction, he's going to think he's leading the show. Remember that their instinct is to follow you - if you go out the door, he should toddle after you eventually.
  5. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    lol, oh the joys of the leash. The harness is a good thing. Storm had a harness when he had his surgery, easier for us to help him up and down. as for the leash, day one he had it.

    I ended up just pulling him till he got it. I also socialized him with it on which helped us. I would take him into stores or to puppy class or anywhere I could. He learned it was social time.

    He does not get walks on leash though because I don't have to. Lucky him. lol

    and the barrel roll, He still does it. He figures I can't move him if he rolls onto his back. this got very frustrating. He still tries. this sounds mean but it does not hurt him. I grab the scruff around his neck. when I do this he knows it is going to happen and he jumps up and comes willingly.

    Storm is a goof ball and likes to throw his weight around. he thinks he is to big to move, but he does know that I can move him. lol

    I had to conquer his stubborness early, he is a big boy. I found being firm, not yelling or hitting but firm and making him follow through.

    Where I walk storm there are very few cars, It is a private road. When a car came I had him sit till the car passed. Now if I walk him on the busy road he sits for every car. Makes it a long walk if we want to do that. LOL
  6. Charliegirl

    Charliegirl New Member

    It would be wonderful to have an off-leash area close by, but we settle for walking a few blocks on a leash once a day. If I don't take Charlie for her walk, I get the works: mournful looks, a paw on my knee, whining, ankle-biting... When she was smaller, she also would sit on the sidewalk or street while I tried to cajole her, or just laid down and ignored me. Now I have the opposite problem - she pulls and I fly. My husband took her for a walk the other day, and he said he could barely handle her. Especially when he passed other dogs or just people out walking, because she wants to visit. I think I will try the harness suggestion, it sounds excellent.:)
  7. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    That's funny. When storm was smaller he didn't get a walk for a couple of days and he demolished a pillow on me.

    Attached Files:

  8. Charliegirl

    Charliegirl New Member

    I hope you didn't like the pillow too much. Storm certainly seems satisfied with the revenge :)
  9. bernermom

    bernermom Administrator Staff Member

    LOL :) Sorry to laugh, but that picture looks all to familiar from the puppy days !
  10. Bear'sMama

    Bear'sMama New Member

    Anytime Bear starts to pull, I immediately turn in the opposite direction and say in an upbeat tone "let's go." It took a couple circles, and I'm sure my neighbors thought I was a nut for basically walking back and forth for 10 minutes but that is all it took to break the pulling.

    When I would just stop, he didn't t really understand that his pulling on the leash made me stop - the turning around let him know that he has to follow and wait for me to tell him what direction we're going to walk. Every now and then I just turn right or left randomly to keep him on his toes.

    I also gave him a "go pull" command where he is allowed to basically pull me. And he loves this command - he gets all proud to run up front. I can't wait until he is old enough and it's winter for him to pull me up a hill on my sled.
  11. Bear'sMama

    Bear'sMama New Member

    P.S. I love the picture of Storm the destructor!

    Loki'sMom, Any luck yet?

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