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 Help!!!! Very large strong dog pulling

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Junior Member: lv 1

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Join date : 2014-06-18
Location : Pennsylvania

PostSubject: Help!!!! Very large strong dog pulling   Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:03 pm


Sorry for this long description, but I am desperate for some help : ) I need some help with my dog pulling. He is three years old and weighs 100 lbs and is incredibly strong which is a problem because I weigh 110 lbs : )Otherwise, he is very well trained in the home, is incredibly smart, and listens very well. He is a yellow lab mixed with rottweiler and german shepherd. He was my husband's dog, who I separated from last year, but my husband passed away suddenly, so I took him in. He has adjusted very well to my home and I have been able to teach him some new things.  He is very smart, very friendly and very loyal, and such a great dog. Everyone loves him. However, once outside, it is a different story.  Even with a harness (which I now read can promote pulling), he does not do well. It certainly helps me in gaining some strength in keeping him back, but does not stop him from pulling. I have been injured pretty badly three times already because of him pulling (and each time he was wearing a harness). I have pulled out my shoulder, broken my foot, and sprained my knee from falling just in the past year. When inside my home, family’s homes, or even my work, he won’t leave my side and listens very well. But I am totally unable to walk him in public. Even just being around my home with neighbors he knows, he will pull with the strength of 10 dogs just to go say hello.

Once he sees any animal or person, it is as if he does not even hear me or remember I exist  : ) He just wants to go and is oblivious to anything I do or say to stop him. I call it "the zone." Otherwise, he listens to every sound or word I say in any other situation.

He is extremely friendly and will pull me up to any person or dog. Since he is so large, I hate scaring people and am afraid how another dog may react. He has never been aggressive with anyone or animal. (He has been around and played with small and large dogs, and his best friend after me is now my 3 pound kitten. He is incredibly gentle with her and I have been able to trust him completely with her).

My husband got him as a 13 pound puppy. We lived on a large wooded property with no fence and no sidewalks in the area. I had never had a dog before, so my husband took over the training. This resulted in him only being trained and walked on the property and my husband trained him to be off his leash a lot. So this is what caused the current problem. Because of his size, my husband was the one who would take him out more than me. Now that it is just me with him, it is impossible to take him out to a trail, or park, which is what I really want to do. He needs exercise and an outlet and this is preventing it. He does not listen to me when walking in public outside on the leash at all. Even when on a trail and no one is around, he will pull me back and forth violently to sniff the grass or trees at each side or to go after a small bird. It ends up being too exhausting for both of us, we don't get that far, and I have to turn around and go home frustrated.

I have in the past, and more recently, tried a collar with vibration (also used with the harness,) which does seem to help a little. (I won’t use the shock feature). I have even tried a prong collar in the past, but because he had an internal throat injury playing with a stick last year, I am hesitant to use it, because he pulled so hard when he wore it before to the point where I am afraid he will hurt himself and reinjure his throat. He is the type of dog that would pull, or play with a ball even if he is injured or about to go into heatstroke. He just doesn't stop : )

The only public place I am able to keep some control over him with his lead and harness is the pet store, because we go there often enough and I push a cart around. (He is scared of it, because once he pulled and tipped me so that the cart actually fell over). He has started to listen fairly well to me there, even around other people and dogs, but still pulls pretty hard and is super excited, especially when we first walk in. Once the excitement of entering the store dies down, he does a little better. I try to keep the trip quick and guide him up and down the aisles quickly, not really giving him a chance to do anything. I have to say, this has improved (but I really think it is his fear of the cart...lol) I have often considered finding an abandoned grocery store cart and dragging it to a trail with me....lol just kidding : )

The only time I have perfect control over him outside is if I let him off his leash on my property to play ball, because that is what he knows. He does better off the leash, but obviously I can't do this on a public trail. He will do tricks, sit, back-up, etc waiting for me to throw the ball, listening to every word I say.  He will even know when its time to go in just by me nodding my head in the direction of the house and he goes directly to the door carrying the ball.  Running away is not the problem. I always have to be in his sights. I trust him completely in that. The ball and playtime keep him completely distracted from everything. (He even ignored a rabbit while he was looking for the ball, which amazed me, because on the leash he will pull me towards any small animal he sees). I have tried to use this logic in training with walking (such as having treats or food for him to focus on), but he will get so excited over it that he will jump up and on me trying to get them, again not listening at all. (but he will listen and be on his best behavior inside when getting treats). My entrance to my apartment is on the second floor, and I have somewhat successfully been able to train him to not pull me down the steps, but have been unable to use this technique in walking.  Right now I am simply trying to work on him not pulling me to my car when he knows that is where we are going. But this requires complete strength on my part to the point where I am in pain, and I have to hold him by the loop on the harness at the nape of his neck. If I give him any leeway with the leash, he will pull me down. Anything I say falls on deaf ears.

I would appreciate any info or tips someone may have for me. I am at my wit’s end and really want to be able to go out and do things with him : ) He is  awesome, fun, very loyal and loving and always wants to be by my side. All I want to do is be able to take him for nice walks on beautiful trails I live near. He really is so incredibly smart and learns very easily, so I am convinced he would be able to accomplish this, if I had the proper knowledge and tools to help him. (or if I had bodybuilder muscles : )  People tell me all the time "oh, he's still a puppy" when they hear that he is only 3. Yes, he is still a little hyper and excitable at times, but much better than before. Obviously a 13 pound 9 week old puppy is a lot easier to handle than a 100 pound three year old : )  I also have heard the lab in him is a little of the problem. I just think he doesn't realize his own strength. What I don't understand is that he listens to me perfectly in any other situation, but once outside and that leash is on, he is full on manic and turns deaf : )
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