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Walking next to me - dominance

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by Juta, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Juta

    Juta New Member


    My girl Juta is 5 months old now.
    She is often pulling me on the leash while outside. Especially before she loose energy with other dogs playing.

    Now what my behaviroalist said is to jerk on her leash whenever she stars pulling so that is stay loose. It came to the point I jerk preety hard so she gets scared sometimes. I wonder if I am not making her harm.

    The point is as I read on pined threds on that forum - dog that pulls thinks he is alpha and is sign of dominance.

    Any way how can I know is she consider a leader or herself ?


  2. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Hi Dominik!

    In my experience, simply jerking on the leash will not solve the problem. If your girl seems scared by it, I would stop doing it. She may be confused. You don't want to damage her trust in you. She needs to find you a reliable, trustworthy leader.

    Pulling on leash is a HUGE and common problem in Dobermans. I have only owned males, and each of them has been an extreme puller! My wife flat out cannot walk my Doberman even if she wanted to. It would be physically unsafe for her to try.

    I do not claim to have all the answers when it comes to pulling on leash. Yes, I have heard the theory that a dog pulling ahead of you is feeling/showing dominance. There is probably truth in that; however even if your Dobe sees you as leader and Alpha, she is still likely to pull on leash. It's just what dogs do. They want to GO GO GO! In addition, they just walk faster than humans!

    I handle leash walking differently than most people, so I won't describe what I do. But...
    ...Basically, I would work on training in basic obedience – sit, down, stay, and respecting "No" and waiting for your permission. I would also make them wait for your permission to go through major doorways and gates. I even go through first, before the dog. These things will not only build maturity and skill in your dog, they will help them see you as leader and to look to you for direction.

    That said, don't expect your girl to start physically looking at you when out on a walk. Dobermans are extremely alert! They are constantly surveying their surroundings when outdoors. Also, don't expect her to stop pulling without specific training.

    You can train her to heel; however, I don't believe keeping a dog on a heel the entire walk makes for a very good walk for the dog. I believe in drawing a very clear distinction between when the dog is on a heel and when they are released from the heel. Be totally clear and consistent in your commands.

    So how do you get her to not pull when she is NOT on a heel command? Tricky, but: In addition to the consistent training I talked about above, I would research how to use a prong collar. No, I don't mean just use it as her primary collar like so many people do. It is a training tool. Make sure it fits and stays high up on the neck. Many on this forum recommend (and I agree) getting a smaller width prong collar than is recommended. It's strong enough. You don't need a big wide prong collar just because you have a big(ish) dog. The smaller width one delivers a better correction feel.

    When walking with a prong collar on, when she starts to pull, give a quick crisp yank of the leash and utter a command like "slow." You might want to stop walking when you do this, or at least slow way down. This will hopefully send the message that if she wants the walk to continue, she must not pull. Do not let her just pull and keep tension on the leash with the prong collar on. That only works against your progress and gets her used to the feeling of the prong collar squeezing her. I did try this with my Dobes and indeed they overcame the sensation of the prong collar quickly and were willing to pull just as hard with it on as with a choker or flat collar. So don't do that.

    Even without using a prong collar (I basically don't use them), in time I have been able to pretty much teach my Doberman to obey a "go slow" command. This is NOT a heel command. Heel means heel, period. But "go slow" means you can walk ahead of me, but just do not put pull. Any tension on the leash results in a correction from me. I use this command sparingly – usually only when I need it (in slippery conditions like ice or snow or mud for example). Don't expect the "go slow" to be mastered any time soon. I consider it to be a more advanced behavior.

    Instead, do that basic obedience and pack order training. Teach and practice the heel. But for the majority of the time on your walk, try a prong collar and use it as I described. Do not mix up (in your mind, or hers) the heel, with the walking without pulling. Heel means heel precisely or you get a correction. Walking without pulling means you can walk ahead of me, just don't put tension on the leash, or you will get a pop from the correctly positioned prong collar and the walk will be paused for a few seconds.

    I did not proof read or edit my post here, so I hope it is not too rambling.

    Wish you the best in your quest!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  3. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    I teach leash pressure work. This is pulling the leash slightly to hold pressure, when your dog gives to the pressure and even moves one foot in the direction of pressure, release the pressure, mark the behavior with a your reward market (yes, good, ok ect....) then reward with a treat. So this work in all directions, backwards forwards and to both sides. This will teach your dog that it can walk on a long leash and Check things out but it is not allowed to pull in any direction. Occasionally call your dogs name and when they come always reward to reinforce your recall.
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  4. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I spent more time on the street in front of my house maybe about a 25’x50’ rectangle working area. I did circles, figure eights, box turns, and walking backwards, walking in opposite directions. Each time my pups responded correctly they were rewarded. They learned to watch me and not pull. Their concentration watching me eliminated the pulling to go their own way. This was months of daily training and we still do it just to keep them on target before each walk, run or bike ride. It is calm, consistent and assertive daily training.
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  5. My2Girls

    My2Girls Notable member

    I personally would hold off on the prong until she’s at least 6 months of age.

    Mine are both pullers. I’ve never heard of pulling as a sign of dominance. I once had a trainer tell me that my dog was dominant because she put her paw on my foot :rolleyes: (That’s because there were 4 GSD in the class barking their head off - I considered it more of a protection thing rather than dominance- didn’t use that trainer for long)

    I need to use a prong for an enjoyable walk otherwise I get pulled. My older one is much better now but it becomes a competition who’s in front when I walk both of them and then I need to remind them I’m in charge ;)
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  6. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    Remember the more they pull and your holding them back, it will create drive so they want to pull more.
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  7. Drogon

    Drogon $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Never let them get to the end of the lead. If you do, you've waiting too long for a correction and you're just pulling them.
    A pinch collar (prong collar) may help but you need to know how to use it. Just putting the collar on most likely will not stop the pulling. You'd need to give a pop/snap on the lead before the dog gets to the end of it. The idea behind the pinch collar is to - pinch. If they get to the end of the lead they'll still likely pull and the pinch is a slow pinch. If you use it the correct way and give a pop then the pinch is quick. You can experience the theory by pinching your own arm under your bicep. Pinch yourself slowly and it doesn't really hurt. Give yourself a quick snap of a pinch and it will hurt.
    Hope that helps. My boy just turned 7 months and I just put a pinch collar on him a week or so ago. HUGE difference after a couple pops now he doesn't pull me at all when normal walking.
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  8. Juta

    Juta New Member

    bahaviorlaist method worked !
    narrow metal choke collar and few quite hard jerks made incredible effect.
    Juta is not pulling any more.
  9. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Exactly how I ride my horses too. With the slightest "give" to the pressure, release. THAT is their reward. Same with walking a dog .:)
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  10. Emiie10

    Emiie10 Member

    Personally, as long as my dog isn't pulling me on the lead, I don't mind if they're walking ahead. I don't really see it as a domiance thing.

    Unless I've specifcally got them in a heel, they can walk where they want (within reason)

    My dogs are only leashed next to roads anyway & I put them in heel if there are other dogs on leash - they have 100% recall and they won't break until I say.

    If there are off leash dogs, I'll just leave them to free run & they can interact with the other dog(s) if they want.

    I just taught heel using dehydrated lung, all their obedience tbh, never yanked on a collar because I didn't want to damage their necks
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  11. jazzies mum

    jazzies mum Notable member

    Yes, this is exactly the method that is most successful with Jazz. The smallest concession to pressure is rewarded with a release from me. Might have to do it fairly often to start, but it makes for lightness and responsiveness. And I do use a prong collar for several training sessions a week so she remembers that there is another good reason to stay light and loose. The only harsh correction she has ever had with her prong collar was when she chose to lunge after something, she had no tension on the lead but very little slack so when she made the sudden move I just stayed static. She seems to learn from self taught lessons best! We didn't start with a prong collar until she was over 10 months old and I had tried a halti collar for control. She was absolutely miserable in it, and that never improved over a two week period when I used it to walk her in a city environment. Total control for me but total misery for her, no good at all. A prong collar used wisely is more humane, at least for my girl.

    Another little trick I will use sometimes if it is a day when she seems to want to put pressure on and that is to suddenly say "this way" and change direction. Do it often and in an upbeat way and the dog will start to be watching you for the next move. I head off track and through the scrub and around trees, anything to get her watching me. When we go back to straight ahead again she has her mind on my movements.

    I used to believe that a dog walking in front of you was taking the dominant role, but I don't think that is always the case. With a dog who is bred to be a protector and fearless guardian it makes sense for them to want to take the lead position to do their job properly. They need to see, smell and hear what is coming up to make sure all is safe and proper. That is only my observation with Jazz, who seems to take a pride in making sure our path is free of anything harmful, and I am happy for her to fulfill her job, as long as she is on a loose line. She is still following my directions, just from in front!

    It's all about what works for you and your dog, and what it is you are trying to achieve. My goal is to have a polite and well mannered dog, willing to do what she is asked to in a calm manner, so that we can travel anywhere together and I don't have to worry about any issues with her behaviour. After all, a quiet, watchful Doberperson as a companion demands a bit of respect even if they are not a trained protection dog! :love:
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  12. jazzies mum

    jazzies mum Notable member

    Forgot to say, yes, there is a different set of expectations for the heel position. For formal walking she must stay in position, also on a loose leash, and be focused on me. I try to keep formal walking for those occasions when there is a reason, traffic, people, animals etc.
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  13. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I do that with my little Kali a lot! They are never leashed on my 10 acres but she will often have the e-collar on simply because of coyotes. I need a means of getting her attention if need be. But as we walk the property, it's almost like a herding dog. I will say things like come, over here, this way, wait, and she understands . Especially if she's getting too far and I say, over here! She knows that means to come this way. Toward me.
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