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Discussion Starter #1
I've been wondering if I should use a prong collar for Sisko, I've researched how to put it on. He has pulled since he a little puppy. I've gotten him to the point where he is not pulling as hard and can heel sometimes, but he still pulls when he wants to check something out and will pull in any way to get to it even if I stand still.

He will also get extreme zoomies sometimes while we're walking, he'll start running and digging and bite and pull the leash like it's a tug toy. Yesterday he did it close to the street. He doesn't know how to stay out of the road when this happens. Scares me everytime. I don't panic. I try to get him to calm down but it doesn't work unless I have treats and he really wants them.

He is still learning impulse control.
 

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I do use pinch collars. It is not enough to just know how to put it on, but also how to introduce it so you will be able to fade it away when you are ready. I will describe here the method I use and have instructed students and clients to use. Put the pinch collar on the dog and give lots of treats for him accepting it with no fuss and without putting it live with your leash until you have done that every day for two weeks. Sisko will then think it does nothing. While you have been doing that you will also have a cheap nylon flat buckle collar soaking in mink oil or fish oil to stink it up. On the 15th day bring out both collars and hook them both to the leash. This will be the first time the pinch collar is "live." The dog will think the stinky collar is giving the corrections. Make very sure that you never do any leash popping. The idea is for the dog to decide what level of correction is meaningful. The stinky collar will seem like it is the corrective collar. Once your dog figures out that pulling on leash isn't fun you will be able to reduce the use of the pinch collar (which should be your goal). This method was described to me by Ian Dunbar in person.

And here are a couple odf other important points. Never use a pinch collar by itself. Always use a backup collar (I use a slip chain since it doesn't interfere with the pinch). Sometimes pinch collars come off if you haven't put it on correctly. Also be prepared to add or remove links to size it correctly so it loosens properly whne the dog is being polite on the leash. Make sure you order a correct size. I often see people with dogs on pinch collars that are entirely wrong and extremely unfair for their dogs (usually way heavier and longer links than needed). If the links are too big the correction is slow and not meaningful. For my standard poodles I specifically use this one. Get the small 2.25 link size and an extra pack of links.

Please don't use this tool though if you are not going to follow the methods above and most of all, never yank on the leash when your dog is wearing a pinch collar live!!!!!!!!!
 

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How old is Sisko? What methods are you currently using to redirect his attention?

At 7 months, Peggy is never walked without training treats. We use them less than we used to, but they're still the most effective way to regain her focus and keep a loose leash. If she's really having trouble focusing, we just try to end on a good note and take her home for a nap (which is often what she needs). Or we change to a route with fewer exciting distractions, to keep her under threshold.

Practising in the backyard without a leash is an excellent way for us to practice OUR loose leash technique. With a leash, it's easy to apply tension without even realizing, which inadvertently encourages pulling. Practising without that aid helps us break our own bad habits and learn the muscle memory needed to keep her at our side with positive reinforcement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do use pinch collars. It is not enough to just know how to put it on, but also how to introduce it so you will be able to fade it away when you are ready. I will describe here the method I use and have instructed students and clients to use. Put the pinch collar on the dog and give lots of treats for him accepting it with no fuss and without putting it live with your leash until you have done that every day for two weeks. Sisko will then think it does nothing. While you have been doing that you will also have a cheap nylon flat buckle collar soaking in mink oil or fish oil to stink it up. On the 15th day bring out both collars and hook them both to the leash. This will be the first time the pinch collar is "live." The dog will think the stinky collar is giving the corrections. Make very sure that you never do any leash popping. The idea is for the dog to decide what level of correction is meaningful. The stinky collar will seem like it is the corrective collar. Once your dog figures out that pulling on leash isn't fun you will be able to reduce the use of the pinch collar (which should be your goal). This method was described to me by Ian Dunbar in person.

And here are a couple odf other important points. Never use a pinch collar by itself. Always use a backup collar (I use a slip chain since it doesn't interfere with the pinch). Sometimes pinch collars come off if you haven't put it on correctly. Also be prepared to add or remove links to size it correctly so it loosens properly whne the dog is being polite on the leash. Make sure you order a correct size. I often see people with dogs on pinch collars that are entirely wrong and extremely unfair for their dogs (usually way heavier and longer links than needed). If the links are too big the correction is slow and not meaningful. For my standard poodles I specifically use this one. Get the small 2.25 link size and an extra pack of links.

Please don't use this tool though if you are not going to follow the methods above and most of all, never yank on the leash when your dog is wearing a pinch collar live!!!!!!!!!
Thank you, very much, Lily. Is there a specific brand of pinch collar I should use? I definitely plan on following the methods you mentioned above. I've seen people yank on the leash with prong collars and it angered me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How old is Sisko? What methods are you currently using to redirect his attention?

At 7 months, Peggy is never walked without training treats. We use them less than we used to, but they're still the most effective way to regain her focus and keep a loose leash. If she's really having trouble focusing, we just try to end on a good note and take her home for a nap (which is often what she needs). Or we change to a route with fewer exciting distractions, to keep her under threshold.

Practising in the backyard without a leash is an excellent way for us to practice OUR loose leash technique. With a leash, it's easy to apply tension without even realizing, which inadvertently encourages pulling. Practising without that aid helps us break our own bad habits and learn the muscle memory needed to keep her at our side with positive reinforcement.
Peggy looks really big for 7 months! Sisko is almost 2. I try calling him and making kissy noises while holding a treat, and if I'm able to get his attention, I give him the treat and ask for a sit.

I don't have a a backyard to practice in, but I can practice inside and add distractions later. Thank you!
 

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Peggy looks really big for 7 months! Sisko is almost 2. I try calling him and making kissy noises while holding a treat, and if I'm able to get his attention, I give him the treat and ask for a sit.

I don't have a a backyard to practice in, but I can practice inside and add distractions later. Thank you!
Definitely! You can practice anywhere, any time! Sometimes I'll do it inside, just walking around the dining room table, down the hall to the bedroom, into the kitchen, in circles.... Peggy thinks it's all great fun, which (in my opinion, at least) is the best kind of training.

And always alwayssss I have little bits of treats on me. Sometimes we scatter them to keep her moving forward; sometimes we just deposit a piece or two into her mouth when she heels nicely; sometimes we wiggle one in front of her face to recapture her attention. (This wiggling movement has become key, as the world gets more and more interesting to her every day.)

I didn't use treats to train my last dog, so this has been a learning experience for me. Getting the timing right can be tricky, especially when holding a leash in the other hand. Our trainer makes it look so effortless! But she's so patient with us. She's been a big help.

As for Peggy's size, she just weighed in at 42 lbs today. Is that big for a spoo? I've not measured her height in a while, but she seems so much smaller to me since we cut off her puppy fluff last weekend.
 

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Okay!? I've started to keep treats on me at all times. I'll try the wiggling movement. I didn't use treats that much for our Aussie, we trained our Aussie differently than Sisko, so this is a learning experience for us too.


That's awesome! May I ask what trainer you have for Peggy? I've been to Jeanne Hampl,s.

It might be. Last time I check Sisko was 55lbs and 27 inches. I saw that y'all cut her puppy fluff, she looks awesome!
 

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Okay!? I've started to keep treats on me at all times. I'll try the wiggling movement. I didn't use treats that much for our Aussie, we trained our Aussie differently than Sisko, so this is a learning experience for us too.


That's awesome! May I ask what trainer you have for Peggy? I've been to Jeanne Hampl,s.

It might be. Last time I check Sisko was 55lbs and 27 inches. I saw that y'all cut her puppy fluff, she looks awesome!
We have a local trainer here on the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington State. We had just one private consult with her before joining her group puppy classes, and I've noticed the working breeds can hardly tear their eyes off their handlers, even at a young age. Don't expect that from your poodle!

Peggy keeps her eye on us, but ALSO keeps her eye on everyone else in the class, canine and human. She has a much shorter attention span than the Aussies, heelers, labs, and GSDs, and responds almost instantly to energy changes in the room while they remain resolutely focused on their owners' faces. But Peggy is also less prone to obsessive behaviour, and she has a nice off switch. Each breed has their pros and cons!

Another big difference I've noticed is her thought process. It's visible. She works through commands just like she works through problems, and she has a keen sense of fairness. An excessively firm "No" sends her straight up in the air, and a correction delivered without ample opportunity to comply with a clearly communicated request is asking for a full-blown temper tantrum.

I try to avoid anthropomorphizing dogs, but spoos are wired differently than other breeds I've gotten to know. Peggy's so eerily smart. She's constantly being "trained" whether I intend for her to learn something or not. So if she's consistently doing something undesirable, I find it helpful to analyze my OWN behaviours first. Have I unintentionally taught her this? How? And how can I fix it?

Key words: Fix it.

Not her.

And when she gets bored or restless and starts making up games to entertain herself or blow off steam? Time to up MY game. Zak George's Instagram account and YouTube channel have been great for this. He's such a charismatic handler. I've studied the way he engages his puppy's attention and (once I got over feeling a bit silly) saw immediate results. That's where I learned the treat wiggle :)
 

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I'm not a trainer and I have an exceptional SPOO, of course all of us do. When Latte was 1+ we moved from a 1 acre country house to downtown Seoul, South Korea. He had never been on a leash except to to the vet. He started pulling on the leash and lunging at everyone and every dog. It was very embarrassing and I was being scolded by passersby. I knew he was frightened and taking in too much environmental stimulation. One day I refused to walk when he pulled. Take 2 steps, he pulls, I stop. Take more steps etc, etc. After 3x he got it. Now, a squirrel or rabbit can cut in front, he will bark and whine, but the leash never gets taunt. I could never condone using a pinch collar or choke collar on any POODLE.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay, thank you! That's good. You're right, every breed does have their pros and cons. I would say 30% of the time no doesn't even faze Sisko. He doesn't have obsessive behaviors, but I just figured out he will do displacement behaviors more than once a day, and it's worrying me.

I've been starting to analyze my own behavior as well. I used to watch Zak George's videos on YouTube, he is charismatic! I'll start watching them again, I'd like to learn the treat wiggle too. Sisko can get restless and bored very easily, but he won't make up games or play with his toys by himself, he'll just start sniffing and roaming like everything is new. I've started to up my game as well.
 

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I'm not a trainer and I have an exceptional SPOO, of course all of us do. When Latte was 1+ we moved from a 1 acre country house to downtown Seoul, South Korea. He had never been on a leash except to to the vet. He started pulling on the leash and lunging at everyone and every dog. It was very embarrassing and I was being scolded by passersby. I knew he was frightened and taking in too much environmental stimulation. One day I refused to walk when he pulled. Take 2 steps, he pulls, I stop. Take more steps etc, etc. After 3x he got it. Now, a squirrel or rabbit can cut in front, he will bark and whine, but the leash never gets taunt. I could never condone using a pinch collar or choke collar on any POODLE.
Yeah??. Latte's mind was blown?That's awesome he's gotten better. I used to be very much against both chain and prong collars, but we used a chain collar on our Aussie and she learned not to pull, so we didn't have to use it anymore. The chain collar is dangerous for Sisko because he still pulled while it was on him.

As long as someone is using a prong or chain collar correctly, just for training, and as long as the dog doesn't pull and if the owner doesn't yank the leash, they're safe, but I can understand why people are still very much against them and can't condone them.
 

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I actually don't allow novice students to use unlimited slip chains, only people who are very experienced can use them in my classes. I also do not allow people to use electronic collars in classes unless I know they know how to use them. These two tools are very dangerous when used by people who don't understand them (as are pinch collars) but as described above I think pinch collars are very useful.
 

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I do understand that certain tools are not used by various folks for various reasons and I respect those choices just so long as other people don't condemn mine without understanding that I am well educated and careful to follow fair and reasonable methods for using those tools. The main reason I don't use harnesses for walking is that Lily and Javelin have both been trained in foundations of tracking and their behavior when leashes are clipped onto harnesses is to pull like freight trains! They have separate harnesses for the car, but only for riding in the car.
 

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I respect you as a trainer, Catherine, but I don't like prong collars on poodles, perhaps because both of mine are so sensitive. I use front-clip harnesses, and I can tell you a poodle cannot pull you like a freight train in them the way they can in a tracking harness.
 

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You can also try a Gentle Leader or similar nose leash. I’ve seen people use them successfully on large dogs. There was someone in the park where we walk often who I yelled at because he was yanking/popping on his dogs pinch collar inappropriately. I told him to get a nose leader for his labradoodle and the next week he was walking his dog and the dog was calmly walking beautifully. I bet the dog was happier too. The owner thanked me profusely, he had no idea he should not be pulling and popping that pinch collar.

My own dog hated her Nose leader. I held my arm in an awkward position to hold my dog in position to walk which caused my arm and shoulder to swell. It was so painful I couldn’t dress or drive or use my arm for a week. I had to get and use the nose leader immediately instead of taking time to train my dog to accept it. She hated it but it worked while my arm healed. Once my arm was okay I went to the stand like a tree method when she pulled. Unlike Latte, my dog didn’t learn in three tries, it took a lot longer And she still, when excited will pull. I have her trained now that she has to turn and come back into heel position before I will walk forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I tried the Gentle Leader 2 times, but Sisko really hated it and would destroy it if he found it on the table and the second one he destroyed while out walking? he hated it because he knew he couldn't pull. He destroyed his harness too, I'm not sure how he found it though.

I'm sorry you hurt your arm, but I'm glad it got better and healed?. I hurt my ankle walking Sisko months ago and it still hasn't healed. That's awesome that you got her trained like that. Sometimes if I try standing like a tree, Sisko will pull harder so that he pulls me with him.
 

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I tried the Gentle Leader 2 times, but Sisko really hated it and would destroy it if he found it on the table and the second one he destroyed while out walking? he hated it because he knew he couldn't pull. He destroyed his harness too, I'm not sure how he found it though.

I'm sorry you hurt your arm, but I'm glad it got better and healed?. I hurt my ankle walking Sisko months ago and it still hasn't healed. That's awesome that you got her trained like that. Sometimes if I try standing like a tree, Sisko will pull harder so that he pulls me with him.
I'm worried about you walking him alone, since you don't sound like you have the strength to keep him from the street completely, and now with this new information about your ankle. I had a longstanding ankle problem years back and understand. Have you been able to see a doctor?

Is there anywhere safe and fully fenced where you can take this young dog? That seems like a destination to find - someplace that protects you both.
 
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