Hi - I've been lurking this group for a while and am impressed with your skills and generosity (and I immediately killfiled that irritating Puppyperson). So here I am hoping to benefit from your help.

I bought Mickey, a 3yo miniature Poodle about 3 weeks ago from a nice family. I am very, very lucky: this dog is exceptionally nice, perfectly housetrained, and perfectly mannered - except for one bad habit: he pulls on the leash. I mean he pulls me darn near around the block! He will sit, stay, stop, and he goes to bed on command, but he will not stop pulling me on that leash.
With my vet's suggestion, I got a Gentle Leader (headcollar), which the (ahem!) Senior Trainer at Petsmart fitted on Mickey, and am working with the dog with it only in the house about 20 minutes/day. And here's the problem: he will not respond to the
Leader except for a very few steps at a time. He fights it continuously and pulls and - get this, he balks! He simply sits and will not move! I often have to pull him to get him to "Let's Walk." I praise only good walking and ignore "bad" behavior.
What do you people think I am doing wrong here? Am I just impatient after 3 days of trials? He is such a nice guy, and I am greatly attached to my new friend. I am distressed to put him through this unpleasantness and discomfort.
I'm trying to follow the directions in the Leader booklet, but it simply isn't working. (I've also tried outside to stop when he pulls and change direction to make him follow me, but he does not stop pulling when I resume forward.)
I can pay Petsmart $69 for one hour's training or pay $99 for 6 weeks of obedience - all to get the dog to Heel!!!
Help!!
Thanks,
Martha
1 2
he will not respond to the Leader except for a very few steps at a time. He fights it continuously ... often have to pull him to get him to "Let's Walk." I praise only good walking and ignore "bad" behavior.

You are going too fast for him. If hes having that much discomfort with it, then I wouldn't even put it on him the first several times. When he's following you around (or just generally paying attention to you), pick up the GL (Gentle Leader), give him a treat, and put down the GL. Repeat several times.
After he's totally curious about what this new fangled treat signal might be, hold it near him, give him a treat, and put it down.

Then, teach him the "reach through the opening with your nose and get the treat" game. At first, you'll be holding the treat all the way through the opening of the loop, and all he'll have to do is approach the loop with his nose in order to get the snack. As he gets more comfortable, hold the treat farther and farther back (go slowly please) until he's having to nudge his own nose through the nose loop in order to get his yummy (you might use something amazing, like chicken for this).
Do this for a couple of days.
Then, see if you can teach him the next trick: balancing the nose loop on his own nose. Since I'd like to see how this first bit goes, I'll write that when you've tried this first part.
Honestly, some of this might be a handling issue as well. I don't think that less than $100 is too much to pay for being able to walk nicely down the street with your dog for the next decade or so. And its possibly that you're not using the leash well (and it sounds like that's true as well) as that he's not responding.
If he just really doesn't like the GL, I also like the sensation harness a lot. But, again, you'd have to learn proper handling in order for it to work with your dog anyway.
Tara
With my vet's suggestion, I got a Gentle Leader (headcollar), which the (ahem!) Senior Trainer at Petsmart fitted on Mickey, ... And here's the problem: he will not respond to the Leader except for a very few steps at a time.

That's okay! Take those few steps. If he will go 3 steps, ask him for 2, then stop, praise him and give him a treat. When he's doing 2 steps without any problems, then start asking for 3. Etc.
He fights it continuously and
pulls and - get this, he balks! He simply sits and will not move! I often have to pull him to get him to "Let's Walk." I praise only good walking and ignore "bad" behavior.

You should probably spend some time conditioning him to the GL before you actually work with it.
Start out something like this... put it on him, feed him treats and praise him, and take it off. A little while later, do it again. When he's no longer fighting the put on/take off thing, then leave it on for 10 seconds. Take tiny baby steps.
Instead of pulling him when he won't walk, try dropping the leash and walking ahead. (You said in the house, right?) He may come with you.

I'd suggest trying a long wooden spoon with peanut butter on the end. Hold it right by your leg at his nose level, so that to get it he has to walk beside you.
What do you people think I am doing wrong here?

Rushing him.
Am I just impatient after 3
days of trials?

Yep. :}
Also, you said you practice 20 minutes a day. If that's all at the same time, break it down to 4 sessions of 5 minutes each. Be upbeat, make it fun, dance around and talk baby-talk, be liberal with treats, whatever you can do to make him want to walk with you.
He is such a nice guy, and I am greatly attached to my new
friend. I am distressed to put him through this unpleasantness and discomfort.

It doesn't have to be unpleasant. Back it up and get him to tolerate the GL first.
I'm trying to follow the directions in the Leader booklet, but it simply isn't working. (I've also tried outside to stop when he pulls and change direction to make him follow me, but he does not stop pulling when I resume forward.)

That's okay. Some dogs are step-stop, step-stop at first. The important thing is that you never let him get an inch further every time the leash is taut. You want to condition him that all forward motion stops as soon as he pulls.

It will take a while. Loose-leash walking is one of the hardest behaviors to teach, because for many dogs the progress is at a snail's pace.
I can pay Petsmart $69 for one hour's training or pay $99 for 6 weeks of obedience - all to get the dog to Heel!!!

PetsMart classes are 8 weeks. (At least, they were when I worked there. :} It wouldn't be a bad idea to take him, as it's a great bonding and socialization experience.

Canine Action Dog Trainer
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If you're not happy using the gentle leader or your dog doesn't like the feel of it on his nose, you can use the halti-harness or walkezee harness.
Alison
Hi - I've been lurking this group for a while and am impressed with your skills and generosity (and I ... and I am greatly attached to my new friend. I am distressed to put him through this unpleasantness and discomfort.

I tried a halti harness this time last year and had similar problems to those you describe and it really cut her nose, so I stopped and opted for a harness through the winter (which she still hated) and worked very hard at loose lead walking through the summer with the stop / start and clicker.

Cin does now walk beautifully on lead for the most part - but she's still young and gets all over excited so she can become extremely difficult. I figured this year I'd try again cos with the slippery mud and snow around the corner, she's a big dog to hold and safety is an issue. This time I bought the padded version which has a very soft leather lining to the noseband.
What I did then this time is put it on as loose as it could be without falling off, and rather than hitching her lead to the loop, I hitched it to her regular collar. I left the house, and just walked normally but continuously fed her treats and lavished her with praise, until she was no longer interested in trying to get it off but was firmly fixated on my pockets. Then I took it off and we continued our walk.

The next day I did the same but left it on, loose, rather than taking it off until she had her off lead play - then I kept it in my pocket, jic she gets the idea that coming back when called means she gets the horrid head thing on. After a good run, she's easier to walk anyway.

After 4 days, though she really didn't like it she was beginning to accept it - so while we were walking nicely, I just slipped the lead over to it and with a continuous flow of treats, we've been quite fine for 10 days.

Hope this is of some help
Diana & Cin

Cindy's web site
http://cindy-incidentally.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk
Hi all, while we're on the Gentle Leader subject, I have another question relating to them.
I tried one for a while on my dog, and he learned to PULL with it! He just braced his neck against it and pulled me along.

The fit was checked by 3 independent trainers, and all said it was proper.
Has anyone else had this problem?
Meanwhile we've gone back to a simple nylon collar and taught loose-leash walking that way, and he's doing great, so I have no need to go back to the GL. I was just curious if others have seen this.
Hi all, while we're on the Gentle Leader subject, I have another question relating to them. I tried one for ... against it and pulled me along. The fit was checked by 3 independent trainers, and all said it was proper.

HOnestly, they were wasting time. They should* have been showing you how to *use it.
Its not a magic wand. Its a tool that requires information (and practice) on the part of the handler in order to work.

A dog who is receiving mixed signals can learn to pull through anything, even a pinch collar.
Has anyone else had this problem? Meanwhile we've gone back to a simple nylon collar and taught loose-leash walking that way, and he's doing great, so I have no need to go back to the GL.

Good. Glad to hear it.
Tara
Hi - I've been lurking this group for a while and am impressed with your skills and generosity (and I ... training or pay $99 for 6 weeks of obedience - all to get the dog to Heel!!! Help!! Thanks, Martha[/nq]You may want to try a plain collar again. I have a std. poodle who was also a puller when I acquired him at 4mos. of age. I corrected the problem simply by making pulling an unrewarding behavior. I would tell Alex, "slow, please" and just gradually slow my walking speed. If he continued to pull, I would continue to slow down, possibly even stopping. If I had to stop, I would put him in a sit and wait a minute or two, before starting walking again.

It only took him a couple of days to start to catch on, and after a few weeks he was very much improved. He's now 3 years old, and he'll still sometimes pull, especially if he hasn't been out for a walk in awhile (he has a large fenced yard for exercise/toileting), but he will immediately respond if I say "slow" and walk more slowly.
This assumes that you are strong enough to hold back on your dog, but if I can restrain a 70lb standard, I think you should be able to manage a mini. The key is to keep the leash short so the dog is at your side and don't even give him a chance to start getting ahead of you.
Ginger
I'd suggest trying a long wooden spoon with peanut butter on the end. Hold it right by your leg at his nose level, so that to get it he has to walk beside you.

I was going to suggest treats as well. Biljac makes a great peanut butter treat called Gooberlicious they're semi-moist and easily crumbled into training-sized pieces just a thought if you don't want to deal with peanut butter.
Catherine
& Zoe the cockerchow, who will do anything for peanut butter
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