Dog pulling on walks

Thanks for all the advice, some of it relevant to this particular sit and some not. I’m turning notifications off now so won’t be reading any more responses. Thanks again.
I am currently looking after quite a large strong dog who I was told had been trained. However he pulls really badly on the lead and it is not only exhausting taking him even a short distance but unsafe as he could easily pull me over. I’m worried he won’t get enough exercise as its a fair walk to where I can let him off the lead. Suggestions please.

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Hello @Wildcolonialgirl

I am sorry to hear that things on your sit are not going as expected. It definitely can be a challenge in situations like this, however well done for seeking help and wanting to do what is best for you and the dog’s safety whilst making sure his needs are met.
Have you contacted the owner and explained the situation? They may have some ideas and solutions they have used before or some new things you could try. They might know someone that could assist you with the walking or a closer location? If there is a yard then they might be happy with him just playing there rather than walks? It is best to communicate any concerns during the sit with the owners as they are best placed to help you work towards a solution.
If after speaking to the owners you need more help let us know. I hope you find a solution soon. Carla

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Yes, I have. They have ordered a harness for him which hasn’t arrived. The back garden is tiny so I’m limited to how much exercise I can give him out there.

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@Wildcolonialgirl great for doing all the right things and speaking with the owners. Sending a harness is very helpful and I hope that it arrives soon and resolves the pulling. I am not sure how long the sit is, but if things still are not improving then do keep the communication lines open with the owners as they may have more solutions/things to try. I was also wondering if you could play games in the home/toys/scent games etc as this might stimulate/use energy. Could be something to ask the owners about?

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I will thanks. He is a lovely dog and I want him to be happy.

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Aw, what a lovely sentiment and well done for navigating an unexpected issue :slight_smile:

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Halti leash. You can also check out tips on Youtube e.g. from Victoria Stilwell, but training a dog to walk on a normal leash without can take time.

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I don’t know if this is allowed, so please delete if not, but one of the dog trainers I’ve worked with recommended a Facebook group called “Canine Enrichment Ideas.” Of course physical exercise is important, but while you’re waiting for the harness, maybe you could try some “brain games” and other things inside the house/small yard to give the dog some mental exercise. There are tons of ideas on the page. Mental exercise can be as tiring and entertaining for a dog as physical exercise. My dogs are always exhausted after their obedience classes!

My dogs especially like “hide and seek,” so that’s something you could try if the dog has a good “stay.” Or, if he doesn’t have a good “stay,” you could enclose him briefly in a room or crate while you hide some tiny treats (or toys, if he likes toys – or just some of his regular dog food, subtracted from his meals, if you’re worried about weight gain), then release him to go around the house and find them. (Or keep him in the house for a moment while you hide treats in the yard, or vice versa.)

Another thing to try, while waiting for the halter, and if you feel safe doing so, is to simply turn around when he pulls. It will take time, but eventually he’ll learn that pulling makes you go in the opposite direction from where he wants to go. You might end up walking in circles for several days, but at least you’ll both get some exercise!

Good luck. I know this is a frustrating thing to deal with, especially when you weren’t expecting it.

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:wave: With a harness ,the dog will tow even more :confused:

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The harness arrived. I took him for a short test walk in it and it was amazing. Success!!!

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Great news. It does seem contradictory and you would think the dog would pull more in a harness as it is less stress on the neck but we find a harness works well in the majority of cases.
Hope everything continues to go well :service_dog:

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I don’t think a harness will resolve the pulling but it will stop the dog choking

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A solution I’ve read about and been told my an experienced dog breeder is to turn around walk the other way, then turn around again. Keep doing that until maybe the dog gets fed up…It works sometimes apparently! Maybe the harness coming is a special anti-pull one?
https://www.pdinsurance.co.nz/blogs/stop-your-dog-pulling-the-lead/

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The easiest thing to do is to keep a handful of treats in your hand (cheese works wanders too) in front of dog’s nose on your walks. It works really well with larger breeds, because their head is at the right level. They usually will be walking just a bit behind you nuzzling and licking your hand.
Good luck.

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Yes treats!

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I’ve tried all those type of things, it doesn’t work, he is very focussed on moving forwards oblivious to anything else. I think the harness will work as even if he pulls the weight distribution is different. I wonder if he hasn’t been taken out often enough by his owners.

Probably. I think a lot of us sitters take the dogs for longer walks than they’re used to. It’s great if you can get a pulling dog off the lead away from traffic as long as they’re not squirrel chasers!

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You are lucky the harness worked. Since it makes them MORE comfortable, they may choose to keep dragging you down the street. When I was in obedience training with my Aussies we used a type of training called a pinch collar. It sounds bad , but it is MORE safe and more effective than the regular collar - which - as you know chokes them as they drag you. The pinch collar “gathers up” their skin in the links and gets their attention without choking. I put mine on me first - and yanked hard! If you do this you will understand how it works. - Obedience Club training approved! But since you may not have this and the homeowner may not give their blessing - it is great any time you have a car on a sit - take the dog to the nearest dog park and let them run off their energy and stress of the day. Take some toys to throw and fetch. It is a shame so many dogs live without the luxury of a fenced in yard.

hello @wshaw14
I totally agree with you about pinch collar : they were popular in France but some people think they are cruel.
As @Wildcolonialgirl, it happened to us recently : we had big dogs pulling a lot, makes the walk in town dangerous. The only thing was to drive them to a safe place and leave them off the lead (should they have a good recall and a good behavior with other dogs).

I am also surprised that the harness was enough to prevent him form pulling : as @Smiley said it is maybe a special one ?
I’m very interested to know : would you send us a picture of this harness @Wildcolonialgirl ?
Thank you

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It hasn’t stopped him pulling. It has made the pulling easier to manage. I doubt if I can stop him as he is 2 now and should have been trained earlier, all I can do is try to manage it so he can reach places where I can let him off.

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