I just switched all three of my dogs to Martingale collars. Prior to that we were using a choke chain, a harness and an old martingale style collar. Two of my dogs are fine, the harness dog however is quite feisty and since we stopped using the harness she is crazy when we're trying to walk. Depending upon the length of our walk we have to cross two busy streets. Last night she had Guppy on his back in the middle of one of the streets wrestling with him all the while a car was coming and I was tangled in leashes. We got away safely but I'm not sure what to do with her. Not walking her isn't the answer, I thought about putting her back on the harness but I want her to learn to behave on the walks. Any suggestions??
It is really hard to train new behaviors if you are trying to work multiple dogs at once. When you do not have time to actively train the dog while out on a walk, use a harness so she does not practice the bad behaviors. Set aside time to train her to walk nicely on the martingale. Reward her for good behavior. As she gets the idea of where she is supposed to be and what she is supposed to be doing, then you can start to go to variable reinforcement. Until she has a good grasp of what is expected, don't use the martingale on her when you are walking her with another dog and she will have the opportunity to practice bad behavior.
Jacquie: I stand by the Easy Walk harness - the ring being in front of their chests gives you more control over where they are headed. Walking our B's with just collars, of any kind, can be a real problem, and walking three, as you have made clear, is a mess. To save my shoulders and wrists, mine are never out without their harnesses when I'm walking both. Walking one is possible on just a collar by putting it high on their necks, just under the chin, and keeping the leash short. (Like they walk them in dog shows; I call it Shaye's "princess walk") But that's tiring and doesn't teach them much. Ivoss' reply is right on. PS how you doin' out there?
You can try walking her with the familiar harness on her as well as the martingale. Try this a few times with just her. You may feel a little like a puppetier, but concentrate on the leash attached to the harness and she'll feel the collar on her neck at the same time. when you heel or stop apply a little pressure on both leashes. This is in essence sensitizing her to the 'new' sensation and she will eventually get it if there are no harsh tugs etc….Try to stay calm, do not correct with the leashe(s), and if she 'death rolls' just be patient and keep safety in mind foremost. (get her untangled calmly after her tantrum should it happen.....) PRAISE-PRAISE-PRAISE when she is walking calmly and she should get it, throw in some treats along the way and have a fun tone to your voice for reassurance!
My suggestion is that you start with short walks with just her, a couple of times a day, teaching loose leash walking. While heeling is not a fun way to take walks, you may also need to do that.
http://www.clickerlessons.com/looseleash.htm So easy you'll feel faint once you try it.
I've had to re-train Kiora on leash walking now that she is an only dog. When I used to walk her with Ananda she would match her speed more or less…turns out walking by herself she pretty much thought anything goes. What I did was as soon as soon as she applied pressure to the leash I would stop until she let it go slack. Continuing the walk was her reward for having a loose leash. If she stopped and sat she got a treat as well. Now she is walking on a loose leash pretty consistently...she only tugs if she gets worked up about something and then she will stop, sigh and then sit....