by michael woods
i love me who do you love
hi , hope you don't mind but asked questions before, brandi is our american bull dog and lovely she is , behaves very well loves other dogs and people although only 16 weeks old.
the problem we are having is pulling on the leash she sometimes obeys heel , looks up at me to say shut up misery guts lol , my partner took her to puppy training last night and she has made her hand red and aching any ideas please?
thanks mick and sam united kingdom.....
Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to, it's no problem at all. I remember Brandi, she's such a pretty girl!
Pulling like this is VERY common, and in a big strong dog it certainly can be difficult to control.
You've made a good start by taking her to training classes, and as she is pulling in the class I would expect the trainer to give you guys suggestions as to how to control it.
There are a few different methods, and it will often depend on who you talk to as to what they will recommend. Also, it's good to remember that all pups are different, and what works well for one, may be totally ineffective in another.
I have large breed dogs, and have experienced this problem first hand, many times. If Brandi is good at focusing on you (or whoever is handling her) and isn't a very independent/headstrong pup, you may find this works...
Every time she starts to pull, simply stop walking. At first she will be confused, and will stop to look at you. Call her back to your side and once she's in the correct position, start moving forward again. I wouldn't be too concerned about getting the perfect 'heel' position just yet, aim for her walking beside you (or only a 'head' or so in front) with some slack in the leash. Whenever she starts to pull forward and the leash gets taut, stop walking and repeat the whole process. Soon she'll get fed up with all the stop-start and she will realize that when she can feel pressure on her collar from a taut leash, the walking will stop - but when she's beside you, and the leash is slack she can keep going.
Puppies are creatures of habit and you need to repeat things over and over for them to absorb the association. However, once they have it in their little heads, it gets 'hard wired' in and they rarely 'forget' it.
If she's a stubborn, independent soul though, who doesn't respond to the previous method after you've been consistent with applying it for a week or more, then I would personally suggest a 'choke' collar. I hate the name, but it's how people recognize it. Basically its' just a slip collar made of chain. It doesn't need to be a very heavy one, and you can find these at any Pet store. Make sure you put it on her correctly so that the chain slides easily and tightens when you pull on the leash and immediately releases when you release the pressure.
You don't need to be rough with her when using it, and a quick 'tug' or correction is usually all that's needed to get her attention. Most puppies learn very well with this method. I would suggest discussing it with your trainer at the Puppy Class. He will be able to help you use it correctly. If you put the collar on her properly, and use it in the right way it will not hurt her and isn't 'cruel'. In fact if you were to use the amount of pressure needed to stop her pulling while she was wearing a regular collar, you would be more likely to damage her trachea as it would require sustained pressure (not the tug and release of the choke chain).
I hope this helps you out a bit. Best of luck with her training.