Mason is doing great with his commands, but he is still a puller. We have the martingale collar, which doesn't even phase him. I don't know what to do. It's kind of 50/50 with him. Sometimes he walks perfectly fine with me and other times he pulls like a maniac. Now, when he pulls he wheezes and does the weird coughing thing (it sounded like he was going to vomit, but doesn't). This coughing thing he does happens sporadically. It sounds like his congested and is snorting outwards. I did take him to the vet and she checked him out and said he sounds fine. She even pressed on his windpipe and he didn't cough.
Anyway, does anyone have any advice on how I can get him to stop pulling. Please help! I'm at my wits end.
Are you keeping the collar high up on his neck right under his jawline and behind his ears, or letting it slip down to the lower part of his neck closer to his shoulders? Keep it way up on his neck as best you can. That hacking sound is perfectly normal for dogs that are pullers, and some dogs learn that they are more likely to get their way becuase their owners panic when they hear it :P
Bowen is a champion puller. A simple trick that doesnt involve getting a choke or pinch collar (well it worked on him) is any time he started pulling I'd immediately make a right (and rough) turn without pausing or saying anything so he was forced to turn too. Then we'd walk until he lunged out ahead and I'd make another right turn. I always kept walking at a brisk pace, not allowing him to stop and smell.
Initially we made a lot of squares :P But since i was consistent and did it every time he lunged ahead, he quickly learned that he had to pay attention to where I was on walks and what I was doing if he didn't watn to be yanked all over creation. He stayed closer to my side instead of foraging out ahead of me, because if he got too far ahead he wasn't able to see me or guage when I was goin to make turns. He walks much better now.
I just wanted to put my two cents in. I know a lot of people dislike using pinch collars. I was one of them until I actually learned how to use one properly. They can be a safe and humane way to train your dog. They don't put continuous pressure on your dog's neck (if used properly).
Please be careful when using a traditional "choke" collar or martingale as they can cause irreversable damage to your dogs trachea.
Every dog is different and the trick is to find out what works best for yours.
Minniyar, I forgot to answer your question. Yes, we do start off with the martingale high on his neck and then it always slips down. What is the trick to keep it high?
Thanks Minniyar, I'm going to try that. You're right, though, everytime I hear him start to hack I panic and we're back to square one. Someone suggested to me that I get the choke collar, but I want to exhaust all other options before I have to resort to that.
There is constant tension in the leash. Our Basic 1 trainer told me it needs to be a relaxed leash and then a quick pull from me when he get ahead. I found that with that method I was always pulling him back. I'm going to try your way on our walk tonight. Thanks.
***Edited By: wantamaltese on 7/25/2006 9:01:13 AM*** Reason: Add
My last lab was a puller. She would pull so har with a choke coller that she couldn't breathe and would gag. I found using a harnis(can't spell). It didn't gag her and would pull against the chest,lifting the front legs. She eventually learned to where I could walk without it. Also, I have heard about the chocker collers damaging the dogs neck. The pinch coller looks bad, but they distribute the pressure on the neck safer. I now don't use the regular choker.
I agree with Minnyar. You are the one walking him, he shouldn't be walking you. When he pulls, go the opposite direction. This was the only way we could get Mollie to quit pulling. A harness didn't work, she figured she could pull better (more strength). And with a harness her hair rubbed off from pulling so much. A halti works actually pretty good and it sorta has the same technique, by not letting them go where they want,
If your dog is a pull, slack, pull, slack kind of walker then the sharp jerk of the leash should work. If it is a steady pull the whole time you are walking you will not have the slack necessary to make that sharp jerk of the leash. A pinch collar looks like a medieval torture device and used incorrectly will do as much harm but if you use it properly it can make an incredible difference in how fast your dog learns to heel. If you use one you must NEVER leave it on the dog when you aren't using it. Only have it on the dog when you go for a walk. Never jerk it, let the dog feel the pull-the prongs will point inward and become uncomfortable when the dog pulls and will flatten out when the dog has a slack leash. It cannot choke the dog, the prongs prevent that from happening. I would be wary of using one on a dog with an extremely fluffy neck unless I could be sure the collar would release and flatten easily.
A friend of a friend came over to meet Mason yesterday and she happens to be a vet tech. I was describing Mason's coughing to her and her theory is that it could be some type of irritation to his throat from when he had his neutering and the dr has to put the tube down his throat. She said it should stop pretty soon and he didn't cough this morning at all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.