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Need Advice On Pulling Dog, Iker


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I adopted Iker a few months ago. He has many fears during walks, especially men and men on bicycles. When he's scared he pulls like crazy, which is understandable. I give him lots of positive reinforcement, etc. He wears a spook harness with a margingale, as pictured below. I use a special leash that attaches to both the collar and the harness (on the back). I've been wondering if I would have greater success if I just attached the leash to the harness. Does anybody have any thoughts or experience with this? Removing the harness isn't an option because he will back up when scared.

 

thanks

 

Iker_beautiful_Georgetown.jpg

Edited by robinw

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Jilly Bean has always been a big puller Robin. When we took her to training they had us switch direction every time she started pulling, thereby preventing her from going where she wanted. Let me tell you I was dizzy from the number of times we turned around and around and around with her but it finally clicked in her little head that she was not going anywhere until she quit pulling. Not pleasant walk by any stretch of the imagination.

 

I would think Iker would be sensitive to having a martingale tightened around his neck given his history. I would think you would be better off with the harness any way. Don't know if all this helps or not.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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In the situations where Zema wore both, I liked to keep the leash attached to both. But, I tried to adjust my connector strap so I was managing her by the collar (what she was used to) rather than the harness. Might try to do the opposite for Iker?

 

I also taught her to look to me for safety rather than running away. Didn't do a perfect job of it, and it took awhile. Mostly did that by being a rock (immovable, unexcitable object); working a LOT on "heel" / "with me" in safe situations; and keeping an eye out for things that might freak her, so we could skirt those at a safer distance.

 

Dunno if that helps you any .....

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Brees pulls; it's horrible. I bought one of the Wiggles Wags and Whiskers freedom harnesses for her, and it's like a dream for the pulling. I don't like the way it fits behind her front legs, though. It took her a few walks to adjust to it. No chafing, because of the velvet lining, but it just looks uncomfortable. I'm wondering if a talented person could add a martingale-type control loop to Iker's harness that would make is work like the WWW harness, but still be safe for him.

 

Brees in her harness. My arms really love it!

 

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Guest Scouts_mom

My Bree pulls like crazy too. I got a "SENSE-ible" harness which has the leash clip in the front and it is wonderful--no more pulling problems. The literature that came with it said that you could clip the leash to both the collar and the harness if you want more security. I don't as nothing scares Bree and I don't worry about her bolting.

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Does he pull to keep up with Treasure? Maybe have her on a shorter leash on one side and him on a longer one on the other and see if that works?

 

Nope, he never has to keep up to Treasure, he's always ahead of her. Treasure just walks quietly beside you. His pulling is fear based, not trying to catch up. I suggest the swich in directiontoo. Biggest issue is when Iker's fear excalates, change in direction won't mean anything to him. You may need to work on desensitizing.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Guest Vers

Jilly Bean has always been a big puller Robin. When we took her to training they had us switch direction every time she started pulling, thereby preventing her from going where she wanted. Let me tell you I was dizzy from the number of times we turned around and around and around with her but it finally clicked in her little head that she was not going anywhere until she quit pulling. Not pleasant walk by any stretch of the imagination.

 

I would think Iker would be sensitive to having a martingale tightened around his neck given his history. I would think you would be better off with the harness any way. Don't know if all this helps or not.

In the situations where Zema wore both, I liked to keep the leash attached to both. But, I tried to adjust my connector strap so I was managing her by the collar (what she was used to) rather than the harness. Might try to do the opposite for Iker?

 

I also taught her to look to me for safety rather than running away. Didn't do a perfect job of it, and it took awhile. Mostly did that by being a rock (immovable, unexcitable object); working a LOT on "heel" / "with me" in safe situations; and keeping an eye out for things that might freak her, so we could skirt those at a safer distance.

 

Dunno if that helps you any .....

 

Simba had terrible leash manners when I met him, got lots better with training, and went downhill again after the second time we were attacked. We're working our way back up, and what works is asking him to do something for me instead of focusing on anything else. In the situations we're encountering, he's reactive instead of outright scared, but maybe there's something in common?

 

Simba knows wait, focus/look at me, turn around (oh, that dizzy feeling, Judy!), back up, walk with me (glue yourself to my hip), sit and down.

 

If he's pulling for no reason I can see or it's a low tension situation, we do wait and focus (look at me).

 

Medium tension, focus, sit and/or down and then usually walk with me.

 

High tension, turn around and walk with me and stop being a dork (yes, I say this outloud in public). He often but not always gets food rewards for these maneuvers.

 

I think "look at me" is a good starting point -- that's where I went when I needed to start all over with Simba, and it's helped. Giselle's videos are very helpful.

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I've been changing direction with him forever. As Jan said, it's fear based. He spends a lot of time trying to turn around to go home. Treasure is wonderful and patient. I've been trying to desentize him, but so far there hasn't been consistent change. He's too freaked out to even take a treat or look at me. Having said that, he is better than he was a few months ago. I speak to him and tell him what a good boy he is. He does seem to improve if I speak to him.

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Guest GreytPlains

I've had luck with pullers (and just starting this training with Rocky) using a super yummy treat (turkey, freeze dried liver, spoon full of peanut butter) and holding it right next to me and letting them lick/take tiny bites as I say 'with me' and, when they are doing it, 'good boy! Good with me). When they pull I stop and take the treat away. If your grey is food motivated, this really works.

 

The trick is that they are staying by your side for the high value treat and getting trained in spite of themselves.

 

I know you were asking about the harnass but maybe this will help too.

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Guest LindsaySF

He might just need more time to adjust. It's good that he's already made improvement. If you keep exposing him to things and slowly desensitizing him, he will continue to improve. :) Especially if Treasure is not freaked out and he models her behavior.

 

 

In the situations where Zema wore both, I liked to keep the leash attached to both. But, I tried to adjust my connector strap so I was managing her by the collar (what she was used to) rather than the harness. Might try to do the opposite for Iker?

I've done the same. Adjust the straps so the shorter strap is attached to the collar and when you pull on the leash it causes tension on the collar. The other strap to the harness is loose and just there for back-up. If Iker doesn't like the collar, you can reverse this. But I feel I have more control over a dog via collar than via harness.

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Since he only pulls when he's afraid, I would suggest that a different harness isn't the solution, but a different response/attitude from you. When this happens, I would stop instantly and stand there. Calmly get him under control to just stand calmly next to you. Don't worry about moving or walking until he's calm again. If the object of fear is something unmovable (as opposed to a noisy truck driving down the street; my dogs have on occasion reacted in fear to parked cars, street signs, road cones) I let them stand and stare at it as long as they want. They usually try to circle wide around it to avoid it, and I gently but firmly don't let them evade it. I want them to stand at the edge of where they feel safe and observe the scary thing. The next response is to avoid looking at it, and that's okay. You know their whole attention is on the scary thing even if they're trying to avoid looking at it. We're just going to stand here until we can see that the scary thing isn't as scary as they first thought.

 

After a few seconds or a few minutes, curiosity kicks in and they timidly want to sniff the object and I encourage that. I don't pull them toward the scary thing, just let them approach it at their own speed. If I happen to have some treats in my pocket, and I can reach the object without pulling the dog forward, I'll put a few treats on it to help show them that it's not a dangerous thing. When they lose interest, the fear is conquered.

Edited by jetcitywoman

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

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Guest SpicyMom

I vote for the Freedom No pull harness (Wiggles Wags and Whiskers or Pet Expertise) I like the double leash that attachs on the back martigale and at the chest (sort of like what you're already doing). It really gives you control over the dog and automatically checks the impulse to pull by tightening up across the back and pulling/turning the dog with the chest piece.

 

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Robin, when we were with Bailey, we always had to start training when she was calm since it was a real challenge once her fear escalated. One idea is to have a high value treat in your hand to make Iker stay beside you. I used to cup my hand with a real high value treat to try and keep her focuesed on it when I felt something was going to scare her. I know he isn't the most food-motivated guy so it may mean holding onto a piece of dried liver or hot dog...yes, I can imagine the look on your face. :P When you are on a trail and see a bike, can you stop and move over and keep Iker beside you until his perceived danger passes. He's fine when the cyclist is on the road. Don't forget to stay calm when you anticipate his fear escalating and remain calm so he doesn't pick up on any anxiety on your part.

Edited by greytpups

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Guest Gemma

Do you take him on the same walk every day or do you mix it up? I have found that nervous dogs do well when you take them on the same route every day. It helps build confidence because they learn the walk and become familiar with the sights/sounds/scents along the way. Once I see a nervous foster starting to relax, I will mix things up a little but I always have one set walk that is our standby.

 

We had a foster from Guam who was scared of everything and also very high prey drive. We had the same harness/collar set up and I found that the collar was very important in controlling her. Without it, she pulled even worse. I took her on the same walk every day and did the 'change direction' thing when she pulled. Really though, it was time and familiarity that helped her relax. She was especially afraid of non-greyhounds and there was a lab behind a fence who would bark every time we walked by. At first, she'd pull and try to run and quiver every time she heard that dog bark. I walked her on the other side of the road from that one house every day and we eventually reached the point where we could walk next to the fence with the dog on the other side, and she was fine. It took many months, though, and we never pushed her.

 

I think Iker will get there. :)

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Thanks all for your replies. I think he's just really, really scared of men on bicycles. I've tried to high value treats, but he's usually so panicked that he doesn't notice. We always walk the same route, which is down a paved trail across from my house. Certain times of day there are lots of cyclists and children, both of which scare him. He's also very scared of men who look at him.

 

Maybe I'm just being impatient as sometimes (especialy this past Saturday morning) the walks are scary for both of us! He backs into me, crosses in front of me, tries to go backwards between my legs, you name it. He does a bit better when I continue to talk to him, which I try to do all the time. I also try to remain calm and relaxed. I don't want to stop walking him, although it would be easier to just let him out in my backyard. Treasure and I love our walks, and I want him to, also.

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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If you have a friend or two with bicycles, you could try some desensitization exercises, starting with bicycle perfectly still so he can sniff it, then rolling gently back and forth for a foot or two, then slowly rolling by, etc. Men and children might be tougher ("those men aren't MY men!") but still could help.

 

I think you're doing all the right things. In a year he'll be a different dog.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I have a leash like that too from Majestic. I love it. What I do however is put a knot(s) in one of the 2 parts that have the snap attached to shorten that part and leave the other part attached to a snap the length it normally is. I then attach the knotted/shortened version to the harness and the longer version to the collar. That way I am using only the harness when I tug on leash etc. but yet it is still connected securely to the collar-just in case. The other alternative is to just get one of her safety straps and attach it beween the harness and collar and just use a regular leash on harness. Either way they are being guided by the harness with the leash attachment only being a very comforting backup. :)

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If you have a friend or two with bicycles, you could try some desensitization exercises, starting with bicycle perfectly still so he can sniff it, then rolling gently back and forth for a foot or two, then slowly rolling by, etc. Men and children might be tougher ("those men aren't MY men!") but still could help.

 

I think you're doing all the right things. In a year he'll be a different dog.

 

Robin, I was thinking of this too. Since he's ok with bikes on the road, maybe Dave and I could ride our bikes by him on the trail as a step towards making him less afraid.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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That would be great! I think he also likes having Ben and Brooke around. Maybe we can take them for a walk Saturday?

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Robin, I would definitely NOT offer treats or too much verbal soothing when he's showing fear - I think you're probably unwittingly reinforcing the fear. I would just stay calm and still until he calms down, and then when he's showing you the desirable behavior of, you know, sanity, offer a treat and an ear scritch and continue the walk. We had a similar situation with Argos after he was attacked. I don't think it was to the degree yours is, but it was frustrating and sad for us.

 

Good luck :)

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Christie and Bootsy (Turt McGurt and Gil too)
Loving and missing Argos & Likky, forever and ever.
~Old age means realizing you will never own all the dogs you wanted to. ~

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