Puppy Walks

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by madismom, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. madismom

    madismom New Member

    Hello everyone!
    Happy Holidays! :)
    We have an almost 5 month old Berner girl who is just a happy sweet little puppy, we love her!
    She goes out for walks daily and has been doing pretty good with the loose leash walking (I stop when she starts to pull and continue our walks when her focus is back on me) seems to work most of the time.
    Lately some walks have been starting to go horrible! She'll grab the leash and start trying to play tug of war and pull me in the opposite direction, this leads me to hold the leash up higher - and naturally she jumps for it. Situation just turns into a nasty one with a crazy jumping nippy puppy. And she has calmed down quite a bit with the puppy nipping, except when she does this during the walks. She knows the drop it command (if I have a treat) seems to work but the second she gets that treat, she grabs the leash again, so I'm trying to avoid doing that, as I don't want to reinforce it.
    Anyone have any techniques that have worked for them regarding this? Or is this just another puppy phase that will pass? :confused:
    I enjoy my calm walks! :)
  2. 2berners

    2berners Guest

    This sounds like a typical puppy stage :)
    For now you could take a toy along for her to carry when she is feeling like tugging on the leash is a fun idea.
    It sounds like her training is going great so far :)
  3. hlm

    hlm New Member

    Hi there, I had a big smile reading your post, yes indeed a stage, crazy, somewhat defiant puppy stage. Our golden, years ago went through this sometime between about 6-8 months and it was quite a challenge, being our first pup I had never experienced this before and I just didn't know what to do, he would also nip at my wrists, ruined a nice leather jacket!!!!! Our berner boy, now 13 months has had brief bouts of it (nothing compared to our golden, but I know better how to handle it this time around), but it passes for him quickly. My best advice is as soon as she starts horsing around, stop and totally ignore the behavior (very calmly), even go so far as to turn your back, look up to the sky, until she stops. Try not to pull back on the leash as this will encourage a game of tug (which she's trying to get you to do) as soon as she stops (and preferably sits), look to her, praise her and give her a treat. Ignoring (again really calmly) unwanted behavior and rewarding and praising good behavior really works here. It won't stop immediately, but she'll soon get the message, as well as mature a bit. She's still just a nutty puppy, and this stuff takes a bit of time to work through.
    I hope this is helpful, best wishes!!!!
  4. konabeardog

    konabeardog New Member

    Kona had a stage of tug of war with the leash as well. Once she started to bite and grab it I would put it under my foot (as close to her collar as I could get without choking her) and just stand there. Once she finally stopped and was calm she was SUPER REINFORCED for being calm. Maybe give that a shot?
    Gotta love the puppy stages! :D
  5. madismom

    madismom New Member

    Thanks! :)

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

    I have tried bringing a toy along with no luck, she has no interest in the toy! Lol

    I'll give it a try with holding the leash down, and reward when she's calm.

    I've also been thinking maybe she gets like that when the walks are too long? Could that be possible?
    Most of the time, she'll start doing this about 15 mins into our walks? I'm thinking it's from being over-tired, over stimulated? Could that happen?

    Also, I've been wondering about that bitter apple spray, and if I should give that a shot on the leash. Does that stuff usually work?

  6. Snags

    Snags New Member

    Bitter Apple works for a lot of dogs - it certainly keeps Gibson off things he shouldn't chew. It does need re-applying regularly though, particularly to fabric. We went through a phase of squirting door mats, skirting boards, walls ... pretty much everything daily when he was teething.

    We haven't tried it on his lead, but once on a walk he's quite good. His sin is getting ready to go out, which can take a long time - soon as he chews on lead, harness, us we drop everything and walk away until he calms down. He's slowly getting the message, but that's not a good tactic when actually on a walk!
  7. Moonflower

    Moonflower New Member

    I am SO relieved to hear that others are having, or have had, a similar experience to me, but share your concern & frustration! My girl, now 8 months, started doing this from quite an early age and gradually progressed from tugging the lead to pulling me down the road by my sleeve, jacket hem or...... the seat of my pants! It started out as obviously playful and seeing how much she could get away with, but now when she does it, it's more like some sort of hissy fit, as she mostly does it when I stop her from dashing across the lane to greet someone or investigate something else of great and exciting interest. It's really embarrassing, passing someone on the opposite side of the road with a polite smile and greeting and then once they've passed by, I get "attacked" for a few seconds! I tried bitter apple, but had mixed results, probably due to consistently wet weather raining it out of the material and if I apply it to my jacket cuffs, she just grabs somewhere else. I also found it expensive. Rewarding calmness definitely seems to help, as does a firm "Off!" if she looks like she's going to do it, but getting her to disengage her teeth, once she's locked on, is impossible. At that point, I try to interact with her as little as possible until she lets go. She's very hard-mouthed for some reason. I have to say that this is our dog's only serious bad habit. She's an angel in the house with the children and a typical Berner softie. I am considering getting a Dogmatic headcollar, which would gently close her mouth (and stop her pulling on the lead) although I don't like them very much. If there aren't any exciting distractions, she walks well on the lead. The Dogmatic headcollars are reputed to be extremely gentle and I was advised by my dog trainer (who is a great advocate of positive reward based training) that the headcollar would assist in breaking the habit and make it easier to reinforce the calmer, gentler behaviour, leading eventually to her stopping all together. Other people have suggested a chain lead, but I found my Berner just goes for the softer handle! Someone also suggested "Pet Corrector" aerosol (emits a loud hiss, a bit like a CO2 fire extinguisher but smaller scale) but she's such a bold pup, after a couple of squirts, she just looked at me as if to say: "Yeah, so what?! Heard it before." :) I am encouraged by fellow Berner owners saying it's part of their puppyhood and many others have said she will grow out of it, but I'm trying to train her out of it as soon as possible too. Don't know if any of this helps, but wishing you luck. :)
  8. Bogey

    Bogey New Member

    Our first Berner did this. He was more in his "teenager/adolescent" stage when he started it. Not quite an adult, but less than a year old (probably 6 months old). As soon as he started grabbing the leash, I would yell "no" or make some other sharp noise to get his attention, stand still with the least tight and say "no leash" very firmly. In the very beginning, I would pop the leash (gently enough not to hurt his teeth) when i said "no leash" so he would understand what I was referring to. He let go once he made the connection that we weren't going anywhere. :) You have to be consistent with it. Within a week or two, he understood.
    As he got older, when he wanted to be cheeky or play with me, he would grab the leash and pull, but as soon as I said "no leash" firmly, he let go and didn't do it again.
  9. Mollybeth

    Mollybeth New Member

    I use a harness. I have the same problem with a regular collar and leash. He can't reach it when he has a harness. Good luck!
  10. BummersNose

    BummersNose New Member

    Our Bummer when we got him at 9 months used to be like this too. We don't know if he's too excited with the freedom he have when we came to use but he learned quickly not to pull and be jumpy. I think it takes a week of firm command of loud "stop", we also train him to be much more submissive at home by putting down his meal bowl and commanding him to sit and stay until he's more calm and submissive.
  11. sysmgr2

    sysmgr2 New Member

    Have you tried 'Stop and Ignore'?

    I'm admittedly no expert, having just joined after getting my first Berner puppy, but I have had a number of Golden Retrievers over the years... I had an excellent trainer who taught me to stop, and ignore the dog when she misbehaved. Worked well on walks. The dog got bored quickly, and from the brief time I've had Madi, they crave attention... :) Just stop, look beyond, or turn away, if you have to. Resume the walk with a cheery 'OK!', or 'Let's go!' when she's calm. Stop as soon as she misbehaves. She'll soon get the idea...


  12. gnatty

    gnatty New Member

    OMG there are others who are going through the same hell! Makes me feel so much less alone!
  13. Nathan Lyke

    Nathan Lyke New Member

    This type of behavior are mostly expected from the puppies, you have to give a proper training to your puppy on how to behave when they go with you for walk. Train your dog properly which help will help your dog to behave properly when you take him for walk.
  14. Asif_Assassi

    Asif_Assassi Banned

    Train a puppy is not a very easy thing......
  15. anderschuck

    anderschuck New Member

    I remember those walks. Great for 20 minutes and then BAM coco-bananas. As others mentioned, ignore completely. It can be tough but only lasted a couple months.
  16. Roadie

    Roadie New Member

    saying nothing about my 4 month old puppy :( she's off-lead and like glue.

    bernese appreciate firm and praise if they do things right. If my one was acting up on the lead i'd go to the drawing board, what do I want her to be like on the lead, relegate walks to the yard/ garden to get the training in and then move into the street again.

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