Walking Stress

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by tobytrek, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. tobytrek Member

    I will start with a link to a video (please let me know if you can't view it)

    This is Toby on a walk and you would be forgiven if you thought he was near the end of the walk from all the panting but this is the very beginning.

    He appears to me to be very stressed on our walks. He pulls continously and I have very little control. I have tried every all the positive methods for loose leash training and just about ecery training aid on the market with no success.
    The other problem is he has a very high prey drive and nothing not even tasty hotdog sausages can snap him out of it. This prey drive is also causing problems when opening the front door... as soon as it is open he's out there chasing all the local cats and he won't come back at all. This is so bad that when he got out last week he started heading for a main road while I looked on in horror waiting to hear that dreaded sound!

    Again I have tried all the self control training at the door but he is so focased on getting out and chasing the cats and birds that not even the sight of the clicker and goodies in my hands can snap him out of it.

    Any advice would be grateful about how I can help destress him and get him to walk on a loose leash
    MaryK likes this.

  2. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I can't see all the video because of my slow connection, but he doesn't look stressed, he just looks very very excited. How many times a day do you walk him?
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  3. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Video doesn't appear to be working.
    MaryK likes this.
  4. southerngirl Honored Member

    He doesn't seemed stressed to me either just very excited. Have you tried a front clip harness or a gentle leader? What kind of methods have you tried to get him to stop pulling so that we no what doesn't work for him? How many walks does he get and how long?
    MaryK, Pawbla and brodys_mom like this.
  5. tobytrek Member

    He gets 2 walks a day, an hour in the morning (off leadin a secure field as its easier) and one in the afternoon on lead.

    I have tried a halti which I have always sworn by as this worked with my previous 3 dogs, but as he was making his nose bleed with this by pawing and scratching it along the ground I have ended up trying several different non pull harnesses in including the front lead type but these have all made his pulling worse which is why I don't believe in harnesses anyway.

    Training has been the usual wait until he comes to my side click and treat but he won't react to clicker or take even his favorite treat once he's outside.... I'm at a total loss... I have always had collies before which I trained myself for obedience comps so not a complete beginner to dog training but even the basset hound wasn't as bad as this boy.
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  6. tobytrek Member

    I will make another video later to try and show you why I think some of his behaviour is stress related of his reaction to the lead.... where most dogs get excited and come running to you, he runs away and cowers away. This started with the halti even though it was introduced using positive reenforcement
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  7. tobytrek Member

    As promised here is some video footage of his reaction to seeing the lead which started after we started using the halti but doesn't matter which lead or harness we bring out
    MaryK likes this.
  8. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I still don't think it's stress related. He doesn't like the leash, that's for sure, but that doesn't mean he's stressed once he's outside. What happens if you go outside, with him on a leash, and sit in a bench/your doorstep/whatever?
    MaryK likes this.
  9. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Can you give us a little history on Toby? His age, how long you've had him, when you first noticed the leash problem and any incidents that may have happened while out on walks? How is he when you let him off-leash? Any signs of stress at just being outside?
    MaryK, southerngirl and Pawbla like this.
  10. Dlilly Honored Member

    Can you upload your video to Youtube? I can't watch your video.... :(
  11. marsala Active Member

    Hi, this is a very good video and definitely Id be interested in knowing what you more experienced people say about Toby's behavior for our Lucy has the same tendency (fast walking, fussing, panting...) and has always had this - even when coming back from hard core play walk where we give them a lot of exercising so one might think she is exhausted, that's how she walks home.....
    MaryK likes this.
  12. Mutt Experienced Member

    So here are my two cents.

    First I guess he hasn't been with you for a long time?
    Do you know something about his life with its previous owner? Can it be the leash stands for something negative?
    He doesn't really seem fearfull (ears forward/wagging tail/tail not very low).
    How does he react when you actually put the collar around his neck?
    I'd work on making it a positive experience as it seems he feels a bit mixed about it (not afraid, but still uncertain).

    As far as I can see he doesn't seem stressed (as in fear/overwhelmed), but does seem excited like others already pointed out.

    It does seem like he needs to learn to relax, now he is constantly pulling and going forward. So I think your main focus will be on creating calmness while walking.

    Personally I'm not very fond of halti's and such.
    Something I always find benificial to learn a dog is making eye contact on command (start in an enviorement with little distractions). Practice this at home first and start asking it at very random moments to "proof" it. Make sure you only use it so it doesn't lose its value by being said often without consequences (no reward).
    I'd take him alone for a walk (preferably without your children so you can really focus on only Toby) at a place with little distraction (woods for instance though with not a lot of wildlife). Than i'd walk and as soon as there is tension on the leash stop, ask for eye contact and walk in the opposite direction. It may take you 30 minutes to get to the end of the street, but it is important to be consequent.

    I'd also start by only feeding him from your hand. So put away the bowl and let him work for his food (of course the dog still has to get the same amount of food). So: looking at you = food, loose leash = food, calmness = food, good behavior = food.
    Make sure he has a collar on him at all times inside as long as there is a high risk of door dashing (so you can quickly get a hold on him). i don't know if you know this video, but I think it is a good starting point for he door dashing (when practicing this put a leash on him and attatch it to something.

    The prey drive can be bent to a drive for a toy. A feeding dummy can work very well for this. I have an interesting article about this if you like I can translate it for you.

    This how I think I would handle it :)

    Funny thing your username is Tobytrek as 'trek' means (I) pull in Dutch ;)
    Dlilly, MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  13. tobytrek Member

    Toby has actually been with us since 8 weeks old so we are his one and only owners and he is now 1 year old,and the lead thing started after we started using the halti. He hasn't had a bad experience with it that I can think would trigger this reaction other than the fact he has never accepted it. I have had 3 other dogs before Toby, 2 collies who I trained for obedience comps and a basset hound and I used the halti on all 3 successfully so I am not a stranger to knowing how to introduce a dog to one or fit one but Toby has always rebelled against it scratching his face with his paws and making his nose bleed on every walk which is why I have reluctantly gone to a non pull harness.

    As soon as a lead is on him the panting starts but he is pulling to go out the door.

    I have tried giving him a treat while holding the lead in view in an attempt to give him a positive link to seeing the lead but he just won't come anywhere near while I'm holding that lead.
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  14. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Does it make sense to anyone that Toby would have a negative association with the leash if it was the Halti that he hated, and that is no longer being used? How long ago was it that you used the Halti, and how long has it been since you stopped? Sorry for all the questions, but this is kind of like a murder mystery!

    His reaction to the leash in the video looks almost playful to me, as there is no lowering of the head or tail, no skulking away or whining. Is this his typical reaction? What does it take for you to actually get him harnessed up to go out? Will he take food after you present the leash, before you leave the house? Are you able to play a little tug or fetch with him in your yard before you head out, just to release a little excitement?
    MaryK, Mutt and southerngirl like this.
  15. tobytrek Member

    To be honest the halti hasn't had a complete stop over the year as after giving several different non pull harnesses and also a slip lead looped in a figure of 8 over his nose as suggested by a dog trainer, which did work with less resistance from Toby, but he was making a gagging noise in his throat so I stopped. The halti until the mosr recent non pull harness has given me the most control over the pulling so I have always gone back to it in desperation as he has damaged my shoulder in the process so I am now in a lot of pain when walking him. Its been 2 months since the last time.

    To eventually get the lead on him you literally have to either follow him until you've backed him in a corner where he will then lower to the floor with head down, that or I have to get another person involved to help get hold of him if he goes near them.

    Once its on he jumps up at me and follows me around like any normal dog wanting to go on their walk. He won't take a treat though as he's then in prey mode and he just wants to go out.
    MaryK likes this.
  16. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I don't know if this is an option for you or not, but I'll tell you what I have been doing with Brody. I just got his halti 2 weeks ago, and he was okay putting it on at first. Then we had a couple encounters where I had to pull him back from another dog he was lunging at, and he found out about the on/off muzzle feature. The next time I went to put his halti on to go for a walk, he backed away and barked at it like crazy, so I put some good treats in my hand and put it through the loop to lure him into it. He continued to bark and back away. I didn't pursue him, just sat with the treat and the halti on my hand and waited for him to calm down. I moved toward him slightly and if he started up again, I backed off. Eventually, he talked himself into coming to me, literally. He did a lot of vocalizing and grumbling. He didn't like it, but he did it. Each time since then has gotten a little easier, until now he just grumbles a little, then comes right to me and takes the treat while I put the halti on. He gets lots of praise and scratches behind the ears as I'm doing up the clip, and more treats after it's on. He is not entirely comfortable with the halti yet, still rubs his nose on my legs a lot, and on bushes or the ground as we are walking. We play fetch with it on, as I let a long lead run behind him when we are in the park. I think he understands that he has to give in or no walk or fetch, and if Toby likes the walk, he will probably figure it out, too. Maybe you need to stop chasing him to get his leash on, just show it to him with some treats and then let him come to you when he is ready.
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  17. tobytrek Member

    Thanks for that advice, I'll give it a try :)
    Mutt and MaryK like this.
  18. MaryK Honored Member

    I agree with everyone, he doesn't seem stressed, just over excited on his walks. I agree with Mutt's advice in all respects, I wouldn't have your children with him at present.

    Also, noticed he went to sniff, circled around. Did you stop and allow him to sniff? It was a bit hard to see whether he was the one who kept walking, or yourself.

    Have you tried 'parking' with him? Just letting the lead go slack so you can stand on it, keeping the handle in your hands still of course ( You may need a longer leash for this as he must be able to lie down comfortably). Then just standing there, not talking to him or looking at him. Only for a few seconds at first, but building up a to longer period when he lays down calmly.

    Does he get plenty of MENTAL stimulation? Working dogs need this, exercise alone is not enough, they need their mind's occupied as well. He may need more work in tricks, puzzle toys etc. to give him more of a mental work out, as well as loads of exercise and walks.

    Good idea Brody's Mom with the Halti. And he does seem to be more playing games than afraid of the lead.
  19. marsala Active Member

    Really good tips, questions and advise. I can definitely see this happening with our pups in a near future (harness goes on but they don't really like it for they are used only to have collars on..halti or muzzle is still under debate).
    brodys_mom likes this.

Share This Page

Real Time Analytics