Pulling on leash

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming Forum' started by Hildiberner, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Hildiberner

    Hildiberner New Member

    Our bernertalk is almost 7 months old now. I am frustrated by leash walking although she does pretty well 80 percent of the time. She pulls really hard. I'm pretty big and have a hard time keeping her back. The biggest frustration is that she will take off when she sees another dog, cat, person, squirrel, etc. it's disappointing when my 8 and 11 year old kids can't walk the dog. We have tried the gentle leader and she is totally resistant after weeks of trying, we use a regular leash now. I have been wanting to try the no pull harness that tightens across the chest but but wife feels she's doing pretty well on the regular leash. She has not had any obedience training of any kind. I have to say that other than the crazies she gets from time to time, she is pretty well behaved and can do basics commands. Should we consider obedience school? Is it too late for that? Should we try a new lease and harness? Are we expecting too much too soon? I want the family to be able to enjoy our walks without the worry of her pulling our arms out of joint. Any suggestions?
  2. Hildiberner

    Hildiberner New Member

    We went and bought a harness that tightens across the chest when she pulls. We went on a test walk and it seemed to work pretty good. I will give updates.
  3. BMD61612

    BMD61612 New Member

    One Idea

    You should sign up for a Good Canine Citizen class. They last about 7 to 8 weeks, cost about $75 or so, and will guide you in training your dog. These classes can help to correct unwanted behavior such as pulling on the leash while walking. They'll instruct you on teaching your dog certain commands such as heel, stay, down, and bout turn. Your instructor will more than likely advise you to get your dog a collar like the one seen here: Top Paw® Chrome Snap-On Collar - 4th of July Sale - Weekend Sales - PetSmart

    When I took our Pomeranian/Shi-tzu mix to class, there was a berner in class that wore one of these. The instructor told others with large dogs to get the same collar. The way the collar works: when the dog is still pulling on walks, they wear the collar with the prong side down towards the neck. As they improve over time and learn NOT to pull, the collar is flipped over so the prongs are upright/not in the fur. Within 7 weeks, the majority of the dogs in class no longer needed the collar with the prongs. The class was about an hour so long, held once a week, and at the end of the 7 weeks there was a test for the "Good Citizen" certification.

    Our local kennel club holds these classes. You should definitely look into it, you may find it to be very helpful. They encourage you to work with your dog outside of class, as much as possible, and to get your family involved in the training process.
    GOOD LUCK! :p
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  4. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    First, you should definitely have her in a Sensation harness ....just google for the best price but this is the best training no pull harness used by trainers.

    Second, hiring a good trainer is key. Berners need puppy class and obedience training for sure.

    Teaching not to pull is easy however....

    When she pulls in the harness, stop and stand still ....if she continues the pull or strain on the leash, turn around and walk the other way. The sensation harness is designed to turn her right around.

    She will quicky learn that she must not pull to get to what she wants...and continue in the same direction. Clicker training with high reward treats is also in order here and reinforces the behavior ou need.

    Go to APDTs website to find a good positive trainer.

    And just know that young children should never be given the reigns of a young berner.....not only is it illegal, but risky for the young ones as they can never control a berner.
  5. Qubelight

    Qubelight New Member

    Growing up my parents always used a choke chain on our dogs, and to be honest I don't think it has made a single difference to how they walk in regards to pulling on the leash, they do it with a flat collar and with a choke chain.

    I personally am sick of people judging me for using one on my pup, if I could use a flat collar I would but that is a long story as to why I cannot. I don't understand the judgement surrounding choke chains, when (as with anything else) used correctly.

    Pinch collars must be more of an American thing though as I have not seen them in Australian stores. There are some good videos on youtube with victoria stilwell (I think thats her name) from her show with its me or the dog. In it she rewards the dog with food when they are in the right position (parallel to your leg), this is the same advice given in puppy class as well but the video should give you a good visual example.

    I definitely would invest in puppy school, if nothing else its usually quite fun and it is my understanding that even older dogs before adoption are placed into such classes. So I guess the old saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks is incorrect.
  6. Qubelight

    Qubelight New Member

    This is somewhat off topic to the question at hand (sorry hildiberner!! :)).

    But I feel as though I should point out that whilst the author of the article certainly presents a very opinionated article the first article only gives two sources, and the second provides none. Both in the first paragraph the rest is the authors opinion.

    The first source is actually not scientific research but rather a letter written by a veterinarian and is his professional opinion (granted he has 20 years of experience but no evidence to back it up that I have found). The second source unfortunately I am unable to find quickly but I will hunt around a little longer for the article. I would like to see the original selection criteria of those dogs presenting behavioural problems. I am critical in regards to the selection of both choker chains, and normal collars in the research.

    I am probably more critical than most when it comes to articles claiming to cite research (being a scientist lol), and there is legitimate evidence out there to support yanking on the chain as a correction method causing injury but it is still minimal and requires further evidence. Thinking logically however if you yank on the flat collar or even a harness you will cause injury for the process causing injury is the method of yanking not the collar itself.

    My comments were in reference to the stigma attached to choker chains, when it is the actions of the handler that cause the damage rather than the collar. You can still use positive reinforcement with a choker chain (as I suggested in my previous comment).
  7. Peachey

    Peachey New Member

    It's never too late for obedience class! Pom and I started her second obedience class (one step above puppy) Sunday night and there's an 8 year old Pitty in our class!

    With good treats and lots of patience you can teach your dog to heel. Pom LOVES cheese, so we use that to teach her to heel :). At class the trainer asked me to take off her gentle leader and try just the collar and she did great!

    I would also try and find a class that limits class size. Our puppy class had 12 dogs in it, seemed like a lot. We're going to a different place now, and there's only 4 dogs in our class. Makes a BIG difference.
  8. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    I think you should consider the broader point and you will understand the stigma. Your comment above is akin to saying ther should be no stigma or concern with a loaded gun, as it is the human firing the gun and doing the damage. It is still the gun fueling the damage.

    You should take into consideration the fact that there are other more humane and less harsh options available when it comes to training collars. The choke chain works to train a dog because it allows the trainer to administer corrections when the animal performs incorrect behaviors; however, choke chains accomplish this by closing in on the neck and enabling swift wrist snap corrections ....very damaging both physically AND emotionally. Strong, jerking corrections can frighten an animal, or worse cause them pain and even injury.

    To suggest that these can stil be used "positively" misses the point that there are more humane and positive collars so why go there?

    Every animal behavior science body in the United States, and hence most every animal behavior scientist has written extensively on these collars and their issues so the topic is well covered accurately and with scientific support. We have certainly learned a lot since the 70s and science has shown what need not be held onto.....these collars are one of them.

  9. Qubelight

    Qubelight New Member

    For the record I do actually believe that the gun itself is an innocent tool it is the human wielding the gun that inflicts pain. But please lets not use metaphors because likewise I could argue the knife should be banned as in the UK you are more likely to be stabbed than shot. In the US gun crime has remained constant at 68% compared to an increase in knife crime from 12% to 13%. This is a religious track that could continue long into the night if we wish to go down this route. (o.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state). (The vagaries of UK knife crime statistics - Telegraph)

    I have already stated that yes there is legitimate evidence to support injury, I do not dispute this nor have I at any point. My point is that the stigma should be attached to the person incorrectly using the tool rather than the tool itself.

    As to your claim regarding extensive writing on this matter, yes there is a plethora of articles to be read. BUT not that many with scientific backing stretching beyond a few cited resource studies. There is further scientific research to be done on the affects of collars (not just shock collars where all the research has been focused to date).

    In 2007 (Karen L. Overall) an editorial published in the Journal of Vet behaviour (the same journal 2Berners resource comes from) only cites one resource for the injury in dogs caused by collars. This resource (which if anyone would like to read is very enlightening) actually shows that collars in general (choke/pinch/flat) etc cause injury to dogs by pinching the jugular and dogs should be wearing a harness rather than a collar in any of its forms. (Pauli et al., 2006) I would like to point out now since it has been shown all collars cause pressure to the neck that "swift wrist snap corrections" are still possible with a flat collar, shall we condemn the use of these also since they injure dogs?

    Please re-read my comments (both of them). I did not suggest that the choke chain can be used positively but rather a trainer can use positive reinforcement by the way of Victoria Stilwells food rewards when the dog walks in the correct position, this can be performed regardless of if a flat collar, choke collar, or harness is worn.

    Lastly your question of why bother if there are more humane methods? This is the most humane method I can use with my pup. Now my situation is most likely atypical but my pup on her first walk had a scary situation that unfortunately was outside of my control at the time. She now refuses to walk on a flat collar or harness and enters a state of mental distress if one is used. She is once again a happy 5 month old pup on a choke chain as the chain hangs loosely around her neck and she does not feel its presence to the same degree as flat collars and harnesses. Whilst I am currently conditioning her with positive reinforcement to accept a flat collar (and then harness) as I would like to do agility with her I would hate for her to miss out on going for walks and car trips because of her fear.
  10. LaniePE.com

    LaniePE.com New Member

  11. hudkj

    hudkj New Member

    sensation harness works!

    I ordered the economical version of the sensation harness- the sensible harness after reading this thread. Just wanted to let you all know that my girl is 5 months old and had gotten really bad at pulling and I was dreading walking her. She would just bully me around to where ever she wanted to go. Well I got the no pull harness and it was easy to put on and she didn't mind it. Walking with her is 100% better! She can't really pull and I can correct her much easier without yanking at her neck! Love this harness! And it was only $23. WELL WORTH IT! Here is the link to their website if anyone wants to try it.

    Softouch Concepts, Inc Homepage
  12. Qubelight

    Qubelight New Member

    Economical solutions are aways fantastic!!!

    Our pups are the same age it seems, I glad that it is working out for you, if it get to the point that your dreading walking thats crazy! I am so glad that you have found a solution and can now enjoy your walks together.
  13. Liza

    Liza New Member

    To original OP.

    My one dog is just turning a year and i am in the same boat. I'm grown and decently strong .... But it scares me to walk him because all the pulling and taking off in all directions. I tried obedience traing from a great trainer who actually couldn't figure it out either. My dog is not treat responsive so hard to train.
    Someone here mentioned turning back and going the other way.... NO WAY..... If i could just turn and go the other way then that would mean I would be strong enough to control my nutso dog in the first place!
    My guy is decently good inside( for his age) , but outside even a flying leaf is an excuse to buck and run!

    I am going to look into the harness mentioned. Right now i have this GREAT LEASH. I forget the name but it's like a big thick rubber kind that makes it so when the dog jerks , at least it absorbs the impact so your arm doesn't get dislocated.:rolleyes:. It was $30 for this 6 foot leash but well worth it to save my arm from dislocating with every time outside!
  14. oscarmartin

    oscarmartin New Member

    Very true,I also feel the same...

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