Crossover Dog?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by charmedwolf, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. charmedwolf Moderator

    When I rescued Mosse my bull mastiff I knew it was going to be a long road before he would behave. He would pull me constantly (and still does), scratch doors, and bark and howl if I was out of the room. Now that I've gotten into clicker training I can see he is a little happier to do what I want. Granted I've never used a choke or prong collar on him but I know his foster home did. But now I've also noticed he isn't very food motivated but tug toys are his favorite. That where the problem is while his other problems I can deal with, his pulling I can't. I need to know how to train a loose lead heel with his tug toy as a reward and without a head halter.

    If anybody could help I would be really grateful.

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Hi Ashley! Well, leash-training a full-grown Mastiff is going to be a chore, no matter what method you use. As for the tug toy/food problem...if he's more rewarded by toys, let him be rewarded by toys. That's fine. =) My Border Collie is a million times more toy motivated than food motivated, and performs sooo much better when rewarded with a good game of fetch. I'm not sure the leash-training method I use most often would do much for your big guy, because...well, he's a Mastiff. Lol! But you are certainly welcome to try it.
    As soon as his shoulder gets even just a little past your knee, spin around and walk the other direction, and keep doing so until you have mastered a loose-leash walk. This could take a matter of minutes, or a matter of a few weeks. Being such a large may not make a difference at all, because the idea is that they correct themselves both with the leash and by losing your companionship(because you "abandon" them by walking the other way). You can try this, but I'm not sure that your Mastiff would really be "correcting" himself, because he's a huge dog, and unless you're a body builder...well you may just wear yourself out, and you may not be able to even spin around and get him back to you. He may be completely physically capable of dragging you right back his way.
    Another thing you can work on is coming to your left side on cue. DTA has a lesson on this, and calls it "get in." I prefer to use "on my left," which means to come to my left side, sit, and look at me, facing the direction we are about to go. Teach him this, and holding either a toy or food, take one step forward, asking for a sit as soon as you stop. If he rushes ahead, say, "Ah-ah!" and lure him back in the "get in" position, or spin around. Since you have the oh-so-wonderful toy/food, he'll be enticed to come back to you to get it. Reward him when he returns to you. Repeat this several times, and slowly add more steps when he is ready. You can do this off leash in your home or yard. When he has mastered at least several steps at home off-leash(or on leash, whichever you choose to do), then incorporate these same techniques in your walk. You might look into getting a dog backpack and putting some weight in it(water bottles, whatever) to both tire him faster and make him feel as though he has a job. If these techniques do not work, feel free to send me a PM and I will give you any advice I have. =) Good luck to you!
  3. l_l_a New Member

    Another option to reduce pulling by management but without using a head halter, is to use one of those body harnesses (non-constricting) where the leash clips to a ring on the dog's chest. I've used this one with much success

    and over the past couple years I've seen more and more people using it too.

    A very similar one is made by the same company that makes the Gentle Leader head halter. Their body harness is slightly different in design from above but works on the same principle.
  4. charmedwolf Moderator


    It has only been a few days and he is improving by leaps and bounds. I've walked him around the house with his leash on, yes he even dragged me around the house, giving him his tug rope every time he looks back at me and slows down. Now we are out in the back and front yard walking around at a slow pace. He still goes ahead but he is more mindful of the leash.:dogbiggrin:

    Now my brother, ever the daring one :msngiggle:, decided to try walking him and Kratos, our english mastiff, together. Surprisingly they didn't cause him any trouble. They both walked side by side without Moose even going ahead. Maybe with more practice Moose will be in a heel but for now I still have my arm and I can walk him without him walking me.:msnparty:
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Excellent!! So glad to hear he's making progress. Keep us posted. Stick to it and in time you'll be walking with your arm comfortably hanging at your side. =) Good luck to you and keep up the good work!
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    a great way for dogs to learn is watching other dogs that know the behavior. do you have a friend with a dog that heels. go on a walk with both and let them walk side by side. also check out the head harness arbi videos if you want to teach new harness, collar options. you could also teach targeting with a target stick or spatula/favorite tuggie. use a clicker and the reward is a game of tug.

    my girl was petrified of any harness, halti etc. if your dog doesn't like the gentle leader try a halti. mine both hate gl's and do fine with halti's. Just scroll down to the GL videos, there are more than 3.

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