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How to train a Golden Retriever to walk on a leash


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#1 Michelle My Bell

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:48 PM

Hey everyone,

Last year I was asking about getting a dog, what breed, etc... Anyhow, I got one Feb. 2012 as an 8 week old rescued Golden Retriever puppy (He is 1 year and 3 months old now). I put in quite a bit of time when he was little training him. I did a lot of research about it and it went pretty good. He is very friendly, lets the kids do whatever they want, obeys my commands for the most part and has learned many tricks such as "leave it", "fetch", "sit", "paw", "wait", etc... The one area I have not been successful with (and I'll admit I have somewhat given up on) was walking on a leash. He pulls, pulls, pulls and makes going on walks miserable. The last time I took him on a walk I fell and skinned my knee. I don't really know how to train him on this. I don't really have the money to go to training school or believe me I would. I am willing to do the work but I need tried a true methods. He is such a good dog in every other way. He has stopped chewing up stuff and only chews his toys, he can be left out when we leave, he never has accidents in the house it is just this one area. So I would love advice! He is a strong dog and I won't take him on walks if I can't conquer this and that is one of the main reasons I wanted him.


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#2 Lara in Colo

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:33 PM

Well, for a really quick fix, there is a type of facial harness, called a Halty, it makes the dog turn when ever it pulls.
Some people don't like them, some dogs don't like them. I had a Golden and it worked to stop her from pulling.

There are some harnesses (for the body) that are supposedly good for keeping the dog in check, something about where the harness rides on the dogs front that keeps it from pulling.

#3 zoobie

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:33 PM

He's handsome!

We have two rescued Goldens. One is 95 lbs and had never seen a leash until we adopted her at almost 4. It's like walking an ill-behaved moose some days! A collar like this makes a huge difference:
http://www.amazon.co.../dp/B0006L0UGW/
Whatever size your doggie needs of course.

Do you have a fenced in yard where you can tire him out before you try a walk? Lots of fetching first. :)

Brian Kilcommons has several books that are really good. Website and YouTube videos as well.

#4 zimom

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:39 PM

I was going to recommend the Gentle Leader or Halti is another brand. Personally I don't believe a prong type collar should be used by someone unless they have been properly trained. With the Gentle Leader/Halti, you will most likely need to take some time to get your dog use to it, wearing short amounts of time eating, playing, etc, make it a positive experience first.

#5 tinag

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:25 PM


http://www.amazon.co...?pi=SL500_SY125
This works great for our lab/retriever mix. Even my youngest can walk her as long as she wears it.



#6 Twinmom

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:37 PM

My golden retrievers do very well on a Gentle Leader. I highly recommend it!!

#7 kitten18

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:43 PM

The Gentle Leader (Halti is the same idea, different brand) worked for our Golden.
He is now 4 years old and he's been fine on a regular harness for about a year.

#8 kewb

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:01 PM

I use a gentle leader. It works wonders with my 80lb puller.

#9 Jilly

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

I have a Goldendoodle who would pull me every time I walked him. I started using a gentle leader, and it has helped immensely. I highly recommend it.

#10 1bassoon

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:45 PM

So everyone is chiming in. . .but I will, too! Our half-golden was a major puller. My dd20 went out and got a halter harness, and it did the trick. She's much easier to walk now!

Beautiful dog. .. . . looks like our sweet girl!

#11 dirty ethel rackham

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:56 PM

My labradoodle never got used to the Gentle Leader head harness. Upon the advice of the shelter personnel where I volunteer, we use the Easy Walk Harness and it is so much better. He can't pull hard with that. The shelter uses this on the more "pully" dogs which makes it so much easier to walk them. You can probably find some Victoria Stillwell videos on training the dog to walk on a loose leash. I know I need to get back to that because my dog is getting into some bad habits again (my fault - I walk him when I am still not quite awake so I am not always alert to his behavior.)

#12 livetoread

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:59 PM

Our trainer recommended the following. As soon as he pulls, stop. As soon as there is slack, go. Be consistent and they figure it out pretty quickly. They associate the feeling of slack with what they want, namely to be able to go forward. It worked well with our dog, but we didn't get too far on those first few walks!

#13 Wendi

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:45 PM

We got one of these halters. It virtually eliminated the pulling. Now, we just need to work on staying to the left, even when there are interesting smells to the right. He has a bad habit of trotting along on the left (where he's supposed to be), then occasionally cutting across in front of me to smell something on the right side of the sidewalk. He has nearly tripped me a few times. I can't take him up into the mountain trails until I can trust him not to knock me into a cholla.

I hope you can see some improvement. Walking the dog should be fun, right?

#14 Ellie

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:56 PM

He needs more than just learning to walk on the leash. He needs basic dog-whisperer training. :-)

Check out Cesar Milan's site. Cesar has all sorts of books and stuff. Also, check out the "Illusion Collar."

#15 AngieW in Texas

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:00 AM

I use an Easy Walk Harness. It makes all the difference in the world. Without the harness, she pulls and she lunges after the cars that drive past. With the harness, she doesn't pull and she completely ignores the cars that go past.

#16 Pawz4me

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:01 AM

I was going to recommend the Gentle Leader or Halti is another brand. Personally I don't believe a prong type collar should be used by someone unless they have been properly trained. With the Gentle Leader/Halti, you will most likely need to take some time to get your dog use to it, wearing short amounts of time eating, playing, etc, make it a positive experience first.


My opinion is the total opposite. Prong collars are fairly idiot proof and even if used incorrectly they're not likely to truly harm a dog. Head halters can cause serious damage to a dog's neck/spine if used incorrectly. And I see head collars used incorrectly far more than any other training device. So many people will walk a dog on a head collar and a Flexi lead, and I cringe every time I see it. If the dog hits the end of the Flexi and his head gets whipped around hard . . . . yikes! I also see people with dogs on head halters and regular leashes, but too many of them tend to pull the dog's head much too hard. Again . . . yikes!

Front clip harnesses are also fairly idiot proof.

(Note I'm NOT implying that anyone here is an idiot, but they do exist.)

#17 Chris in VA

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:23 AM

Yes, the type of leash makes a huge difference to some dogs, too. Six foot leather is my fav, and teach the dog to walk with a loose, not tight leash. Those flexi leashes--the kind that reel out--teach the dog to pull against the leash because they keep constant pressure on the neck. The dog's natural inclination is to resist and pull.

I have a lot of clients that use harnesses. A simple on-the-back clip gives them too much leverage. The front clip kind will cause them to turn to face you when they pull. My favorite kind has a back clip, but it is not stationary. It causes a tightening on the straps behind the legs. Don't know the name of it.

#18 Caitilin

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:02 PM

My opinion is the total opposite. Prong collars are fairly idiot proof and even if used incorrectly they're not likely to truly harm a dog. Head halters can cause serious damage to a dog's neck/spine if used incorrectly. And I see head collars used incorrectly far more than any other training device. So many people will walk a dog on a head collar and a Flexi lead, and I cringe every time I see it. If the dog hits the end of the Flexi and his head gets whipped around hard . . . . yikes! I also see people with dogs on head halters and regular leashes, but too many of them tend to pull the dog's head much too hard. Again . . . yikes!

Front clip harnesses are also fairly idiot proof.

(Note I'm NOT implying that anyone here is an idiot, but they do exist.)


Yeah, flexi-leads are a disaster, whatever collar one uses. Trains the dog into any number of bad habits!

#19 Margaret in CO

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

Halti. We used them on all our Guide Dogs for the Blind.

#20 beaners

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:13 PM

Our trainer recommended the following. As soon as he pulls, stop. As soon as there is slack, go. Be consistent and they figure it out pretty quickly. They associate the feeling of slack with what they want, namely to be able to go forward. It worked well with our dog, but we didn't get too far on those first few walks!


Yep. This fixes the actual problem.

#21 kewb

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:25 PM

Our trainer recommended the following. As soon as he pulls, stop. As soon as there is slack, go. Be consistent and they figure it out pretty quickly. They associate the feeling of slack with what they want, namely to be able to go forward. It worked well with our dog, but we didn't get too far on those first few walks!


This worked on every dog I ever had, except this one. I just did not have the patience this time around. We spent hours getting 5 feet.

#22 Pawz4me

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:47 PM

If you train enough dogs you'll run into plenty for whom the "stop when he pulls, go when the leash is slack" technique simply won't work. It's a good basic starting point for teaching loose leash walking, but it's far from a foolproof technique.

#23 Hockey Mom

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:59 PM

My opinion is the total opposite. Prong collars are fairly idiot proof and even if used incorrectly they're not likely to truly harm a dog. Head halters can cause serious damage to a dog's neck/spine if used incorrectly. And I see head collars used incorrectly far more than any other training device. So many people will walk a dog on a head collar and a Flexi lead, and I cringe every time I see it. If the dog hits the end of the Flexi and his head gets whipped around hard . . . . yikes! I also see people with dogs on head halters and regular leashes, but too many of them tend to pull the dog's head much too hard. Again . . . yikes!

Front clip harnesses are also fairly idiot proof.

(Note I'm NOT implying that anyone here is an idiot, but they do exist.)


We tried it all when our Labrador was a puppy. Nothing worked. Finally, when she was a year old, we sent her off to a 2-week "boot camp". The trainer showed us this pinch collar and I felt sick about it. No way was I going to put that medieval contraption on my sweet girl. But then he explained how it works and why it works so well. The dogs perceive the prongs much like their mother's teeth. When a puppy needs correction, momma dog uses her mouth.

As soon as the dog starts to pull, the prongs tighten. You correct with your voice and stop moving until the dog is where he/she needs to be. Some trainers say you should snap the leash immediately, but we never had to (maybe the trainer did that with her?). We retired her prong collar about a week after we got her back from boot camp. She never pulled or walked ahead of us again.

We have since used this collar to train our Great Dane (she passed away a few years ago), and our English Mastiff. You only need to use it until the dog "gets" what you want it to do.

#24 tex-mex

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:47 PM

We tried it all when our Labrador was a puppy. Nothing worked. Finally, when she was a year old, we sent her off to a 2-week "boot camp". The trainer showed us this pinch collar and I felt sick about it. No way was I going to put that medieval contraption on my sweet girl. But then he explained how it works and why it works so well. The dogs perceive the prongs much like their mother's teeth. When a puppy needs correction, momma dog uses her mouth.

As soon as the dog starts to pull, the prongs tighten. You correct with your voice and stop moving until the dog is where he/she needs to be. Some trainers say you should snap the leash immediately, but we never had to (maybe the trainer did that with her?). We retired her prong collar about a week after we got her back from boot camp. She never pulled or walked ahead of us again.

We have since used this collar to train our Great Dane (she passed away a few years ago), and our English Mastiff. You only need to use it until the dog "gets" what you want it to do.

:iagree:

We raised a Belgian Malinois from 9 weeks of age.

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When he was ready for obedience training, our instructor required the pinch collar and instructed us in using it ONLY briefly for getting our dog to heel on command. It took my dog 3 sessions with the pinch collar and he got the idea. After those short sessions, we used a leather lead with the proper "slack" to have him walk right next to me... if I stopped, he stopped. I then would lead him around myself (I stood still and used the lead) and into a sit position. From there, the dog was trained to either sit or lay down with a short lead or 30 ft. lead and be trained for more commands. HTH

#25 beaners

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 03:20 PM

If you train enough dogs you'll run into plenty for whom the "stop when he pulls, go when the leash is slack" technique simply won't work. It's a good basic starting point for teaching loose leash walking, but it's far from a foolproof technique.


I'd consider it a better initial recommendation than purchasing a special collar, but that might be a training style preference on my part. I'm happy to see anyone able to enjoy walking their dog instead of dreading it, however they achieve that. :)

#26 goldberry

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 03:31 PM

No advice, but wow, what a beauty he is! We are a cat family right now (don't have the right lifestyle/time for a dog) but I dream of one day an empty nest and a sweet Golden just like yours!

#27 cloudsmom

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:43 PM

Thank you for asking this question. I'm reading all the answers with interest.

I have a one-year-old black Lab. She is a sweet girl but boy, does she pull. I've tried the stop when she pulls technique. I've tried turning in the opposite direction when she pulls and giving treats when she heels (recommended by a trainer). I've tried a lead that goes around her waist (forget what it's called). Nothing has worked yet.

Attempting to add a photo. :)

#28 mommymilkies

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:45 PM

I also would recommend the Gentle Leader. It's wonderful.

#29 Samiam

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 11:57 PM

Halti! My sister gave it to me...she had two and used them for her lab with good results. We used it with our 3 year old lab (walking was awful...thought she would pull my shoulder out of the socket!). The very FIRST time imediate results. My 6 year old was able to walk her within a few days. I could never let him before, in fear she would make him fall, or get loose and run. Had it for about a year, and then she chewed through it (not while wearing it, just while it was on the floor). Think she did this out of spite, because she didn't really like wearing it...was always a bit of a wrestling match to get it on. Anyhoo, she stills walks fine now without it. So it did train her.


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