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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to the folks answering my question of the difference between a collar and a harness. So walking a toy poodle with a harness, yes I've come across the issue where the dog leans forward and likes to pull me forward as well. How can I train the toy poodle to not pull me and for us to have a comfortable walk while the dog is on the leash. I'd like for the leash to not have tension on it and be able to direct the dog without me pulling on the leash and not have so much tension when walking forward. I feel like the dog is leading me instead of me leading the dog.
 

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The dog needs to be re-trained to walk properly. It requires time (weeks, possibly months), consistency, and willingness to endure embarrassing doggy tantrums during retraining.

What I do is I walk along until the dog starts pulling. Then I say "eh" and stop walking. I simply stand like a post until the dog looks back at me and lets tension off the leash. Then I say "thank you" and start walking towards whatever interests the dog. The lesson the dog needs to learn is that walking politely brings a dog to fun places; jumping and pulling and being a jerk means we stand there being bored. Repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

This takes consistency. You accidentally reward the dog each time you forget and let the dog pull. Each accidental reward makes the dog pull more stubbornly. Therefore, every single time the dog tries to pull you, you need to stand and be boring.

This retraining can feel very awkward at first. It feels very silly to take 45 minutes to walk 100 feet. It is very embarrassing to stand staring at the sky while the dog bounces up and down barking in frustration. Eventually, however, the dog should catch on.
 

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What I do is find a place with suitable amount of room. A park is nice, but with a tiny dog, the front yard may work. I start walking and the instant the dog pulls on the leash, I turn and walk the other way, opposite of where the dog wants to go. I keep repeating this. You have to give the dog enough leash so that he can be rewarded, so he should be able to get a few steps away from you before he is being pulled to follow you. Don't drag him. Walk in a triangle pattern or a zig zag, but even when he isn't pulling, you keep changing direction. This helps him to learn to pay attention to you. I use a twenty foot leash, but you can do it with a six foot with a tiny dog and if you have limited space.

It typically takes twenty minutes or less before you notice you are no longer pulling the dog. This is because he is keeping an eye on you because you are nuts and keep changing direction. You don't need to worry about the timing of correcting or rewarding. The longest it ever took me was with a very spoiled terrier mix, three days.

Repeat this style of walking a few times before you work in training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What I do is find a place with suitable amount of room. A park is nice, but with a tiny dog, the front yard may work. I start walking and the instant the dog pulls on the leash, I turn and walk the other way, opposite of where the dog wants to go. I keep repeating this. You have to give the dog enough leash so that he can be rewarded, so he should be able to get a few steps away from you before he is being pulled to follow you. Don't drag him. Walk in a triangle pattern or a zig zag, but even when he isn't pulling, you keep changing direction. This helps him to learn to pay attention to you. I use a twenty foot leash, but you can do it with a six foot with a tiny dog and if you have limited space.

It typically takes twenty minutes or less before you notice you are no longer pulling the dog. This is because he is keeping an eye on you because you are nuts and keep changing direction. You don't need to worry about the timing of correcting or rewarding. The longest it ever took me was with a very spoiled terrier mix, three days.

Repeat this style of walking a few times before you work in training.
I'm not sure I quite understand. When you walk the opposite way, are you pulling on the leash?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The dog needs to be re-trained to walk properly. It requires time (weeks, possibly months), consistency, and willingness to endure embarrassing doggy tantrums during retraining.

What I do is I walk along until the dog starts pulling. Then I say "eh" and stop walking. I simply stand like a post until the dog looks back at me and lets tension off the leash. Then I say "thank you" and start walking towards whatever interests the dog. The lesson the dog needs to learn is that walking politely brings a dog to fun places; jumping and pulling and being a jerk means we stand there being bored. Repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

This takes consistency. You accidentally reward the dog each time you forget and let the dog pull. Each accidental reward makes the dog pull more stubbornly. Therefore, every single time the dog tries to pull you, you need to stand and be boring.

This retraining can feel very awkward at first. It feels very silly to take 45 minutes to walk 100 feet. It is very embarrassing to stand staring at the sky while the dog bounces up and down barking in frustration. Eventually, however, the dog should catch on.
So if the dog starts pulling, you just stop and stand? Isn't the dog pulling while you are standing?
 

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So if the dog starts pulling, you just stop and stand? Isn't the dog pulling while you are standing?
The dog is pulling until he figures out that pulling doesn't get him anywhere. At some point the dog will realize that nothing is happening and stop pulling and probably will look back at you as if to ask "what"s wrong with you, why aren't you moving?". At this point you move forward again. The dog will probably start pulling again immediately, so you will stop again. Eventually the dog will twig to the fact that pulling doesn't work. When you can start getting some steps forward with no pulling the dog will learn that tension on the leash is what makes you stop, and no tension allows him to keep moving forward. He will still forget a lot and start pulling, but this should diminish if you keep halting every time the leash tightens. Halt and wait until the leash loosens and the dog looks at you.

You have to stop taking your dog for walks, and start taking your dog for training sessions. They can look a lot alike, but your focus needs to be on teaching the dog to walk properly instead of on the walk itself.
 

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The dog needs to be re-trained to walk properly. It requires time (weeks, possibly months), consistency, and willingness to endure embarrassing doggy tantrums during retraining.

What I do is I walk along until the dog starts pulling. Then I say "eh" and stop walking. I simply stand like a post until the dog looks back at me and lets tension off the leash. Then I say "thank you" and start walking towards whatever interests the dog. The lesson the dog needs to learn is that walking politely brings a dog to fun places; jumping and pulling and being a jerk means we stand there being bored. Repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

This takes consistency. You accidentally reward the dog each time you forget and let the dog pull. Each accidental reward makes the dog pull more stubbornly. Therefore, every single time the dog tries to pull you, you need to stand and be boring.

This retraining can feel very awkward at first. It feels very silly to take 45 minutes to walk 100 feet. It is very embarrassing to stand staring at the sky while the dog bounces up and down barking in frustration. Eventually, however, the dog should catch on.
This process worked well for my mini poodle puppy - thank you, cowpony! It was important for us to burn off some of my puppy's energy by playing ball or another running game inside before we tried to train on the walk. Another thing that helped was to give rewards/treats when my puppy stayed next to me. A wooden spoon covered with peanut butter or squirt cheese can make it easier to get the treat down to the puppy. I start with my puppy sitting next to me, rewarding him by lowering the spoon to his level and letting him have a taste. Bring the spoon back up (just bend your elbow), take a step forward and stop. Reward when he gets to your side. If he surges ahead, stop and make your correct noise (like "eh" or "whoops"). Now comes the hard part - just wait. Reward the puppy only if he comes back to your side. As cowpony said, it will take time, and you may feel silly walking down the sidewalk with a wooden spoon and stopping every two steps. But it worked very well for my puppy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The dog is pulling until he figures out that pulling doesn't get him anywhere. At some point the dog will realize that nothing is happening and stop pulling and probably will look back at you as if to ask "what"s wrong with you, why aren't you moving?". At this point you move forward again. The dog will probably start pulling again immediately, so you will stop again. Eventually the dog will twig to the fact that pulling doesn't work. When you can start getting some steps forward with no pulling the dog will learn that tension on the leash is what makes you stop, and no tension allows him to keep moving forward. He will still forget a lot and start pulling, but this should diminish if you keep halting every time the leash tightens. Halt and wait until the leash loosens and the dog looks at you.

You have to stop taking your dog for walks, and start taking your dog for training sessions. They can look a lot alike, but your focus needs to be on teaching the dog to walk properly instead of on the walk itself.
This is very good advice. Thank you!
 

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The dog is pulling until he figures out that pulling doesn't get him anywhere. At some point the dog will realize that nothing is happening and stop pulling and probably will look back at you as if to ask "what"s wrong with you, why aren't you moving?". At this point you move forward again. The dog will probably start pulling again immediately, so you will stop again. Eventually the dog will twig to the fact that pulling doesn't work. When you can start getting some steps forward with no pulling the dog will learn that tension on the leash is what makes you stop, and no tension allows him to keep moving forward. He will still forget a lot and start pulling, but this should diminish if you keep halting every time the leash tightens. Halt and wait until the leash loosens and the dog looks at you.

You have to stop taking your dog for walks, and start taking your dog for training sessions. They can look a lot alike, but your focus needs to be on teaching the dog to walk properly instead of on the walk itself.
Yes, exactly. And it is very important to make sure the dog NEVER gets rewarded for pulling while you are trying to correct the problem. Think about gambling with a slot machine. How often to people actually get a jackpot? Not very often at all. Even so, people keep putting coins in the slot because they know that sometimes the machine pays out. How often do you see people deliberately dropping coins down elevator shafts? Probably never. People know elevators never pay out a jackpots. Dogs use the same thought process. They will keep seeking an occasional reward, but they don't try things that are never rewarding.
 
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