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 Post subject: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:31 pm 
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You guys. These:

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I am sick of these. I see so many dogs being walked down the street on flexi-leads. This is so dangerous. The dog will be 10 feet ahead of the person walking along, which is fine, but then if the dog sees another dog (or cat or squirrel or sandwich) on the other side of the road, he can leap into traffic and the person has no way of stopping him. Trust me, your reflexes are no match for your dog's. And I do know dogs who have been killed when this happened.

You have no control over your dog with these. Plus your dog is learning that if he pulls on the leash, it gets longer. So he's learning to pull. I know so many people who have young, untrained dogs, and use extendable leashes. They end up with the dog pulling, getting tangled, leaping on other people and dogs before they can lock the leash. (My friend is terrible with this and wonders why it's so difficult to walk her dog!)

When I was 6 years old, we got a dog and a flexi-lead to go with her. I was walking her with my cousin (because my parents were idiots. Seriously, do not send your 6 year old out alone to walk the dog.) and my cousin begged me to let him hold the leash. Well, he dropped the handle and it crashed to the ground and the dog went flying. The plastic leash handle "chases" the dog and makes a lot of noise and can terrify the dog, making them impossible to catch. Finally some old guy was able to jump on the handle as my dog ran by, but it could have ended very badly.

I know it seems like the dog can maybe get more exercise on them, but the dog can still only walk as fast as you are going. So whether the dog is next to you or 16 feet in front of you, he is still going the same pace as you are. Just get a 6 foot lead, and a no-pull harness or halti if you need one (oh, and if you have a choke collar, go ahead and throw it in the trash right now. I'll wait. Okay? Okay.)

It seems like 90% of the dogs I see are on these leashes and it makes me so nervous. If you want to take your dog to run in a park or beach with no one else around, then a flexi-lead might be okay. (Though I think a long line would be better. No tension on the leash, they come in longer lengths, and they are easier to hold onto than a slippery plastic case.) But if you are walking near streets or people or other animals please get a normal leash for your dog. Your flexi-leads are going to give me a nervous breakdown. Every time I see a dog on one, I am just terrified that he is going to run out in front of a car (or run at my dog and attack her. Which has happened.). Please keep your dogs safe and me from having a mental breakdown.

Thank you. (And don't take this personally, anyone. I still love you. Promise.)


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:17 pm 
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I couldn't agree more. These things make me very nervous as there is no control to them. Even worse is a flexi-lead combined with a pinch collar or a Halti which is supposed to keep the dog from pulling - totally defeats the purpose...


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:36 pm 
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Oh yes, the pinch collar with the flexi must be painful (constant pressure on those spikes, ugh!) and with the head collar, the poor dog could get whiplash.

BTW, If anyone does use a halti or gentle leader, it's best to use a leash with a clip on each end (or 2 leashes) and clip one to the head collar and one to the regular collar or preferably a harness...if the dog does decide to hit the end of the leash hard, you don't want his head jerked around quickly, and you want to make sure not to put pressure on the halter when you're walking. I think Victoria Stillwell (It's Me or the Dog) is the only trainer on tv I've seen to use a halter properly like this.

There's a really good variety of nice leashes, collars, harnesses, no-pull harnesses and head halters on the market right now. Exciting stuff! We've tested a variety at my work, and found front-clip harnesses combined with a regular 6 foot leash (and some training treats!) to work wonders.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:58 pm 
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I have one of these. I'm sorry for making you nervous! My dog and I just moved though; we used to live on a dead-end street where we could walk right up the middle of it and she could run all over, and now we're confined to the sidewalks on a very busy road. So I'll be buying a regular leash! For now though, I either lock it or keep my thumb on the button and keep the leash really short- like, as short as it can be with her feet still on the ground.

It does come in handy in the yard though, when she wants to go sniffing around and she goes to the bathroom behind trees or under bushes. It's nice not to have to go under there with her!

Do they have front-clip harnesses at Petsmart or Petco? She needs a new harness too and I've always been stumped by the options. (She's a beagle and sniffs *everything* so she sometimes pulls).


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:16 pm 
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raspberrycomplaint wrote:
Well, he dropped the handle and it crashed to the ground and the dog went flying. The plastic leash handle "chases" the dog and makes a lot of noise and can terrify the dog, making them impossible to catch. Finally some old guy was able to jump on the handle as my dog ran by, but it could have ended very badly.


This happened to me with my regular leash ; it has a metal clip at both ends presumably so that you could tie it to your backpack or your belt. Sadly I don't have a lot of choice in leashes here, apart from flexi-leashes the popular options are sparlky ribbons for toy dogs or stainless steel chains for big dogs.

I didn't realize the various dangers of flexi leashes, but my reasoning for not getting one was that the first thing I wanted to teach my dog was to walk on a loose leash. If the leash gets tense, we stop until he corrects. How would one do that on a flexi?


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Amy wrote:
I have one of these. I'm sorry for making you nervous! My dog and I just moved though; we used to live on a dead-end street where we could walk right up the middle of it and she could run all over, and now we're confined to the sidewalks on a very busy road. So I'll be buying a regular leash! For now though, I either lock it or keep my thumb on the button and keep the leash really short- like, as short as it can be with her feet still on the ground.

It does come in handy in the yard though, when she wants to go sniffing around and she goes to the bathroom behind trees or under bushes. It's nice not to have to go under there with her!

Do they have front-clip harnesses at Petsmart or Petco? She needs a new harness too and I've always been stumped by the options. (She's a beagle and sniffs *everything* so she sometimes pulls).


Haha, thank you! It's when the dogs are near roads that it scares me! Petco I know has Premier Easy-walk harnesses. It's best to get an employee to help you fit your dog, since sometimes it's hard to tell what size they will need.

Here are the different harnesses (all hyperlinked) we've used for the shelter dogs if you want to research:
Easy-Walk by Premier: These are probably our most used because they are sold at the local stores, they are easy to put on (the straps are colour-coded!) and they have multiple sizes. The only bad thing is after heavy use, the chest strap can get stretched out a bit. (We use them for lots of large, untrained, super-strong dogs though, so the average dog may not have a problem with this.)

Sense-ible and Sense-ation harnesses: These are very similar to the Easy-walks. They don't have the little martingale loop on the front, and sometimes that makes them a better fit for broad-chested dogs like bully breeds.

Freedom No-pull harness: This is a cool harness. It has clips on the front and the back to give you better "steering" control when you use it with their leash. We only have one at the shelter (it's pricier than the others) but it seems well-made and has a bit more of an adjustable fit than the others, so it's good for dogs who may try to slip out of loose-fitting harnesses.

Canine Equipment No-pull harness We just got this one in. It's actually a back-clip no-pull harness, but the store who sold it to us says it works very well on some dogs. I am interested to see how well it works.

And yes, I am WAY too into collars/leashes/harnesses


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:22 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:33 pm 
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aelle wrote:
raspberrycomplaint wrote:
Well, he dropped the handle and it crashed to the ground and the dog went flying. The plastic leash handle "chases" the dog and makes a lot of noise and can terrify the dog, making them impossible to catch. Finally some old guy was able to jump on the handle as my dog ran by, but it could have ended very badly.


This happened to me with my regular leash ; it has a metal clip at both ends presumably so that you could tie it to your backpack or your belt. Sadly I don't have a lot of choice in leashes here, apart from flexi-leashes the popular options are sparlky ribbons for toy dogs or stainless steel chains for big dogs.

I didn't realize the various dangers of flexi leashes, but my reasoning for not getting one was that the first thing I wanted to teach my dog was to walk on a loose leash. If the leash gets tense, we stop until he corrects. How would one do that on a flexi?

Right, it's impossible. There's always tension on a flexi, unless maybe if your dog is really tall and is standing directly beside you. But if the dog is going to walk right beside you, then you wouldn't need a flexi at all.

Most people here have really cheap, flimsy leashes too (or the giant chains for pit bulls), I think because that's what they sell at grocery stores and drug stores. The only really good leashes I've found have been at independent pet supply stores, or online. Might be worth checking out websites, I don't know what the shipping costs would be though.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:37 pm 
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I have a flexi and keep it locked. Cammie knows how to walk with it loose. She is pretty good about walking with me so fixed length leash would just drag on the ground and/or get tangled between her legs.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Nicole wrote:
I have a flexi and keep it locked. Cammie knows how to walk with it loose. She is pretty good about walking with me so fixed length leash would just drag on the ground and/or get tangled between her legs.


Unless you used a short one, or gathered it up or wrapped it round your hand when she was close, that's what I do.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:38 pm 
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2 ft, 4 ft, and 6 ft leashes are commonly available. As well as leashes that have an extra loop (traffic loop) near the handle, for when you want your dog close to you (like crossing a street).

I have a 6 ft leash for my dog, but it's hardly ever played out to the full length. I put the loop around my left wrist and then hold the middle of the leash in my left hand. I can use my right hand to pull the leash shorter if I need to. I don't like the leash dragging on the ground either. In fact I get nervous if the leash is too loose. I like to just slightly feel my dog on the end, without tension. I am sure this is from years of riding horses as a child. I was taught to hold the reins so I could juuuust feel the horse's mouth on the bit, and not feeling it at all was trouble! I was told I had "nice soft hands" while riding, and I've found that translates well to dog walking. You can send an incredible amount of information through the leash if the dog is well-trained and responsive. It's always amazing to me when I can just squeeze the leash lightly and Sable will immediately slow and collect herself.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:28 pm 
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raspberrycomplaint wrote:
Here are the different harnesses (all hyperlinked) we've used for the shelter dogs if you want to research:

Thank you so much for all of this! I'll be picking one up soon.

Good to know about the leashes with traffic loops too, because I had the same concern as Nicole about them just dragging on the ground. I generally have felt like I had *more* control with the flexi-leash since it just contracted on its own when needed, rather than me fumbling with the leash, a flashlight, and a poop bag, trying to finagle a leash with both hands.

I'll have to do some experimenting with different things. Our system worked well for the last place we lived, but we'd both be better off if Penny learned to walk better on a regular leash now.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:34 pm 
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I need to buy a new harness. One of my dogs broke his head-harness because he did not like it at all. I don't use flexi-leads because I walk my dogs near a lake filled with water birds. The one who broke his harness will try to chase the gooses unless he is kept far away from them...

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:52 pm 
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Amy wrote:

Good to know about the leashes with traffic loops too, because I had the same concern as Nicole about them just dragging on the ground. I generally have felt like I had *more* control with the flexi-leash since it just contracted on its own when needed, rather than me fumbling with the leash, a flashlight, and a poop bag, trying to finagle a leash with both hands.

Yes, I have a leash with a traffic loop and it's useful. I make sure to grab it whenever we are crossing the street or passing another dog, just in case. There are also hands-free leashes: http://www.gear4dogs.com/canine-equipment-beyond-control-hands-free-leash which can be good if you're trying to carry stuff and walk the dog at the same time (as long as your dog is not going to pull you off balance, that is).


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:02 am 
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I was going to start a new thread, but maybe my question will fit in here. I need advice on leash walking. The two pups in my avatar are now full grown akitas (or possibly akita mixes, we're not sure). They're small for akitas, but they pull like mad. We use a gentle leader on the female and a front clip harness on the male, both with a four or six foot leash. We took them to dog training classes as puppies and taught them to walk pretty well with treats as rewards and stopping when they pulled, but they've both gotten so much worse in the past few months. It started when they were right around a year old and now they're a year and four months. The female walks pretty well, but she gets really nervous and scared of loud noises/trucks etc. and will start pulling like mad. Nothing seems to help. She doesn't want food, even high value food. We've tried walking her on less busy streets, but she doesn't seem to be improving much. The male is okay (doesn't get scared/nervous), but he's crazy about other dogs. As soon as he sees one, he pulls and jumps around like an idiot. I don't know if he wants to kill them or love them, but his behavior is highly inappropriate. He gets excited walking by people to, but to a much lesser extent. He also doesn't seem to care about food when this happens either.

Please tell me there is something I can do about this or that it will go away as they get older or that there is some sort of magical collar/leash combo that will answer all my prayers?

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:07 am 
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I hate those leashes too. There was a stupid woman with an equally stupid kid in our puppy class, they had one of these things and never locked it, and then wondered why their dog couldn't walk nicely or pay attention to them while walking like all the others could.

Hank's leash is about 5 feet long and has space invaders on it. I just wrap it around my hand when we're crossing the road or there are other dogs around and he needs to keep close. I can't really see how a retractable thing would be easier than just wrapping up a normal leash. And flexileads don't have space invaders on them, so there's another point against them.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:28 am 
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i also really can't stand the flexileashes. i seem to have the dog whisperer thing going on and when i travel i usually get asked if i can help my hosts with the dog problems and i swear, it's almost always a bloody flexileash. I think the dogs don't really know how to walk with a person, since there's not a good tangible connection between human and dog.

We use a double ended leash since i walk both together, it's great. In the past i've had trouble finding leashes i like so i've always made my own with boat rope and horse clips. Advantage: you make it as long or short as you need.

we're big on "disciplined walks" specifically for exercise- i lead, the dogs walk with, but they don't go wandering around or sniffing. if they have to use the facilities, it's a time out, we stop, they wander, then we start up again.
Ilovemountains, my old dog also can't be bothered with treats, so i hear you on lack of motivation. My puppy is dog-aggressive, he wants to kill them, no questions asked. Depending on the situation, I do one of two things (and i'm walking both together, which really helps him to behave): either I see the other dog coming from a distance and make mine sit. I physically block his view of the other dog so he can't get nuts and I make him stay seated til the other dog passes. If there isn't space for this or if it's really crazy (crowded park, the other day), we start to run while i make happy play noises. It changes things up for him just enough that he forgets the other dog and says "omg let's run". It also works well on the old dog, who is nervous with loud sounds. They both want to run and bounce around, so it's a good change-up. It's important to get the timing right so that you're not making happy noises and he says "all right, she's going to let me kill that dog finally!", he has to only realize afterwards, "hey, what happened to that dog" (once you're 100m down the street).
Something else that I've used with the pulling dog is the leash, looped around so it goes on his collar but also in front of his neck. He simply can't pull that much because it's blocking him. You can really only walk one at a time this way, but i found it was good to keep the dog close to me and focused on me and where i was going.

and Raspberrycomplaint- i am also an ex horse person, and totally understand what you're saying! (when you learn on 1500lb animals, you get a lot more sensitive by necessity)

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:13 am 
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Poppy says you'll pry her extending leash from my cold dead hands. I shorten and lengthen hers according to the area we're walking in. It's never long enough that she can dart onto the road when on the pavement but allows her to race about when we're at the green or the forest. She obeys the "wait" command for me to walk up behind her and shorten the leash when I want to, this includes when we see other dogs approaching. She gets twitchy (literally) with certain dogs and I don't need her bucking about at the end of a 16' leash.

Having her off leash isn't an option for me so this is our best option for now. I understand where you're coming from though, watching how careless others are with their dogs makes me wince.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Well, fezza, I will give you a pass because you actually trained your dog. That seems to be a foreign concept to 99% of the people I see around here! I usually see 2 types on flexi leads. One is the tiny little doggies being walked by people who are paying zero attention to them (usually the people are talking on cell phones) and I see the poor little dogs being jerked forward every time they stop for a pee, because the people haven't even noticed the dog stopped walking. These are the ones that are usually walking on busy roads with traffic zooming past and my heart is just in my throat watching them. The second type is large adolescent dogs (usually labradors or goldens) with zero training who drag their humans around and who leap onto other people and dogs while the owner is still trying to lock the leash. It's especially fun when I'm walking my dog by and being responsible by keeping her right by my side, and then their dog suddenly lunges to the end of the flexi and tries to attack my dog. Then the person says "I'm so sorry! I don't know why he doesn't listen!" and I resist the urge to snap "Well, could it be because you never taught him to?! And if you know your dog is aggressive why in the world would you put him on a 15 foot flexi that you obviously aren't coordinated enough to lock and then walk within 3 feet of my dog?"


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:30 pm 
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Yeah, I don't like them either. I switched Chester back to a regular leash when he started wearing a harness. I would also keep the flexi-lead locked and close when we went to the sides of the block with busy streets. Ditto anytime I saw another dog. Luckily for me, I had/have good dogs so if I did drop that thing (way too often), they would usually just stand there. I prefer a nylon leash so I can put it around my wrist, and it forces me to walk a little faster to keep up.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:40 pm 
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what are your thoughts on a harness like this one?
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Coastal_nylonharness by CDStadt, on Flickr

It's really the only harness that one of my dogs wears without getting stressed out. She doesn't like the padded ones I've tried. That Freedom No-pull you posted looks great though, I might order one of those or try to find one around here.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:48 pm 
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torque wrote:
and Raspberrycomplaint- i am also an ex horse person, and totally understand what you're saying! (when you learn on 1500lb animals, you get a lot more sensitive by necessity)

Yeah, I think it would do dog people a lot of good to spend some time learning with horses! I consistently see a complete lack of awareness with dogs, which is something you just can't do with horses. Where is the dog in relation to you? What's his body language saying? What's your body language saying? Is there connection between the two of you? I'd say 90% of the time, people have no clue. They assume that just because they are bigger than dogs, they can control them. You learn fast that you can't outmuscle a horse!

ilovemountains wrote:
Please tell me there is something I can do about this or that it will go away as they get older or that there is some sort of magical collar/leash combo that will answer all my prayers?

Oh man, I wish there was a magical leash that would solve all problems. But until that's invented, you'll just have to work on training. If they are refusing even high-value treats, that means they are over threshold. Whatever is going on, it is too stimulating for them to focus on you. It sounds like you'll have to start pretty far away from roads with the female. Far enough away that she is able to focus on you and accept treats (and remember, dogs may have a different idea of what is high value than you, so try different foods, or even a toy) and feed her treats (or play with the toy) every time you hear a truck in the distance. When she is looking to you for treats, you can have her sit and look at you for treats whenever you hear the noise. It's the same thing with the male, except you're teaching him to sit and focus on you when a dog walks by (again, starting at a far enough distance from people and dogs that he is not reacting to them.) You can google "counter conditioning in dogs" and I'm sure you'll find plenty of info. Also Patricia McConnell's book Feisty Fido tells you how to teach reactive dogs to walk politely past other dogs (but could work with any distraction not just other dogs). It's a short little book, but very clear, and 100% positive.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:52 pm 
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cstadt wrote:
what are your thoughts on a harness like this one?
Image
Coastal_nylonharness by CDStadt, on Flickr

It's really the only harness that one of my dogs wears without getting stressed out. She doesn't like the padded ones I've tried. That Freedom No-pull you posted looks great though, I might order one of those or try to find one around here.

That's fine. We use harnesses like that instead of collars on smaller dogs because their necks can be fragile. My dog just wears a regular harness when I walk her. But if you want to work on pulling, then the no-pull can be really a lifesaver. Just let puppy get used to the harness and feed lots of treats and play when you put the harness on. Yay, harness is fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:54 pm 
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I love Mountains, I have a VERY VERY dominant PitBull who has been a nightmare to walk... she has pulled me off balance before (which is a big feat since I am overweight and she's only 50 lbs!). What I do with her is not let her pull at all. The second she pulls, I turn around and make her follow me. It looks ridiculous and depending on her mood sometimes we are almost going around in circles for blocks on end. I share custody of her with my X and he does not make her behave, so it's always like every single walk is a power struggle.. (we've had her for 5 years)..

I don't talk to her, I don't make eye contact. The walk is about her submitting to me period. In the past, we used a flexi leash and I am SURE that it was the wrong thing to do. Her behavior got worse and worse.

I hate to do it, but I actually use a muzzle while walking her now.. there are so many dogs that are not leashed and I KNOW for a fact that something bad could happen if one of them ran up to her or she pulled me off balance ..
We have been to training classes and our trainer thought the muzzle was a good idea ( we had a very scary incident where two little dogs ran up to us off leash and I could barely control the situation.. they were trying to attack her and I KNEW that all she had to do was bite them once and they'd be dead... uuggghhh ).. so our walks are pretty strict and she gets it after about 5 minutes in.

My dog is the sweetest dog ever around people , but other dogs, not so much and because of her breed, I have to be very aware and respect the strength and power she possesses

Also, do you do leadership training with your dogs? Nothing Is Free? http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/nothingfree.htm

Do you control the door? Do they have to be calm and respectful before they leave the house or do you guys charge out of the house with dogs who are already in an excited state?

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 Post subject: Re: Let's talk about leashes (aka I hate flexi-leads)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:17 pm
Posts: 703
Location: East Of L.A.
I cannot stand the flexi-leads. There are always people with them at the park and the dog is either way out on the line or not even on lead. The person is just holding it for fun I guess. It's usually smaller dogs but of course those are the ones who always want to get into it with my dog. The bigger ones don't even look at her.I have a 50 pounder who could easily pull me down the street if I let her. I am going to check out those harnesses for her. She is mostly good but likes to lunge toward traffic when a large truck or fast car goes by. I usually make her pull over and sit before she can react.

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