Dog Training/Dog Walking Problems
QUESTION: I have 2 dogs, a 5 year old female french bulldog and a 2 year old male english bulldog. The female is pretty well behaved, she has a few small issues but is fine, the male is super obnoxious though. He is actually super obedient at times, like when we tell him to go to his bed he will sprint to it, and with commands like leave it he's great when indoors, but when we walk he is a total nightmare. We walk them usually 4-5 times a week, I basically tie the french bulldog's leash to the english bulldog's leash because he pulls and she doesn't. He pulls a lot but the biggest problem is that he will not stop chasing after cars! It makes me nuts and makes me not want to walk him. Our street is not busy but there are probably at elast cars going by every 30 seconds or so at around 45mph, and every single one he dives for, he will jump and run into the street as far as the leash will allow and bark and snarl. I have tried everything i can think of to stop it. I used to sit with him by the road and tell him no until he stopped but that only works when we're sitting still, i try turning and walking the other way, turning into a driveway, standing between him and the cars, saying leave it, no etc. I don't know what to do. He's dog aggressive too so we have to walk when there are no other dogs around which is in the middle of the day when it's hot. I though he would get more used to the cars when he walked more often but we've been walking them with this schedule for months and he's the exact same no matter what I do to stop him. :( What else can I try?
ANSWER: Thanks for contacting me about your dogs. I have a couple of questions for you so I may give you a more specific answer.
What type of collar(s) and leads are you using on the dogs? What has and has not worked on the Bulldog? Are you having more success with some over others?
Have you had either dog to a training class or had a trainer visit you at home? How did that go?
Please describe the Bulldogs behavior around other dogs. Has he ever had a bad experience with another dog since you have had him? If so, what happened and how old was he at the time?
Is it only cars that interest him enough to want to chase them or are motorcycles and bicycles interesting too.
Looking forward to your answers. You will find additional information on my web site too. Outlaw Chinooks || Chinook Dogs || Home of Champion Sofa Surfers || http://bit.ly/uSXPXp
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QUESTION: I use normal harnesses for them, they just go over the head and legs and have a plastic thing to tighten them on their back. I was looking into no-pull harnesses and leads but the kind I used to have (easy walker harness) he just got out of because his chest is so big but he's not so big otherwise, he's only 40 lbs, a tiny english bulldog. I was told to try a gentle leader but he has no snout so I don't know if it will work.
I had my french bulldog in training when she was about 1 year. I didn't put him in because 1. he's dog aggressive and 2. I felt like those classes were training me and not her. I have used the techniques they taught (stopping when he pulls) but when you do that 20 times in a row and it's no different it's a little disheartening.
I wouldn't say he has had a bad experience with another dog, he loves my french bulldog, they have never fought, but we used to bring them both to the dog park when he was between 3-4 months old (we brought the female all the time before we got him) and one day he was fine the next he decided to start fighting with every dog and he was only 4 months old so I don't know why. He is extremely dog aggressive though and he has excited/nervous piddles so he's loads of fun at the vet. My french bulldog was always everyone's best friend but now since we got him she has acted a little aggressive with dogs too. She barks and her hair stands up but she's not as bad as he is and usually when it's just her she is even better even though I think she's dominant over him because she humps him all the time. Also she has started peeing in the house since we got him (he marks a little but mostly it's the submissive peeing). :(
Motorcycles scare him a lot because they're loud but i'm not sure about bicycles, but he would probably try to at least run with them like he does with joggers. I had him on a long leash for once the other day just seeing if he would pull less and he just about ran in front of a car coming towards us, if he got loose he would run right for them no matter how fast they're going. :(
Here are some things to try -- let me know how these work for you and the dogs. You'll want to recondition the dogs to not pulling and walking politely with you -- yes, this could take some time, and certainly perseverance.
If your dog is pulling, you'll need to stop moving and remain still. This applies whenever there is any pressure on the leash. Think of a little old lady walking your dog and any pressure would make her fall down. Hold you leash and collar -- without the dog wearing them so you know how much weight that feels like in your hands. If you have more weight than that when walking, you'll need to stop moving. If your dogs are pulling constantly outside, you'll start training on leash inside. Since you are looking for long term success, you'll want to start where there are less distractions and a quicker path to success.
Initially, every time your dog offers the slack leash you will be offering a tasty treat -- think size of a pea, not size of a big treat. I use the word "yes" when I get the behavior I want to see. I like to talk to my dogs during training because it helps them focus on me and the tasks at hand -- this does not mean a constant dialog pouring out of your mouth, yes it is a fine line...
One thing that many people forget is that every time your dog is wearing a leash, it is a training session. What that means is that good or bad your dog is learning. You may train other commands inside your house too that will assist your dog in becoming a well-rounded citizen, plus your dog will learn more commands which is a plus for dogs and people alike. With some dogs, I'll have a play session in the fenced yard so they are tired before starting to work -- remember a tired dog is a good dog.
Keep working on teaching the new loose leash behavior and as your dogs improve, you'll wean them off the treats. Think of the treat portion when starting out as being a Coca-Cola machine where something comes out every time you put in your money. As the dogs improve, you'll turn into a slot machine where sometimes there are rewards and sometimes it is just a smile and a kind word.
Let me know how things go.