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The Herding Greyhound


Guest FloridaGirl
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Guest FloridaGirl

Hey all! Claymore is doing relatively well, and we're consistently working on how walkies should proceed. However, he has this ricidulous habit of crossing directly in front of me when we're walking at a steady pace. Many times he'll stop. He doesn't go into statue mode, he just stops walking for a moment after he turns into a canine hurdle that I more often than not plow into and lose my balance like a dope. And I watch his expression and body language, because I thought "Well, maybe he sees or hears something" but no. His body language, ears, nose, nothing changes except for his direction. He's not trying to get away from or get to anything. It's almost when we walk into a room and forget why we came in there. He just goes "huh, why am I here?"

 

In another version of this move, he'll suddenly speed up his trot and cross in front of me, as if to "herd" me in a certain direction. I do not allow him to change our direction and continue forward. Originally I would sort of bonk into him with my knee (gently but firmly) but since that wasn't doing the trick I assumed he thought the contact was a sort of praise for the action. Instead, when he crosses in front of me and keeps going I just do a little pirouette and keep going at the same pace on his other side. This absolutely baffles him, which I find comical - but I'd like to know what might he be thinking that crossing in front of me while we're on a steady pace is a good idea?

 

And just to recap - I make sure he never "gets his way" so to speak. I always keep moving and I continue in the same direction no matter what. I've been keeping him on a short lead and praising the daylights out of him when he walks at a steady pace at my heel. He's not at all skittish or bolty, and this happens at random intervals in different places.

 

My friend has a large (humongous) shep x dobie that she says always does that, but she just plows into him and he moves (which works for them because he's a freakin draft horse). But I don't want to do this - I want to get to the bottom of it so I don't trip and bust my hiney on a long walk. Also I don't want to look like the village idiot tripping around her dog. :offwall

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Guest Houston1219

I would also love to hear suggestions. My guy is much similar to yours. We call his walking style "the drunk driver" (veering from side to side) and his stopping style "the road block" :rotfl I feel like walks are his time, so I tend to leave him slack to stop and sniff as he pleases. I don't mind letting him set the pace, I just wish he would do it on one side lol... or at least not perpendicular with the sidewalk.

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Guest normaandburrell

Iceman did this to the point where I was afraid one or both of us was going to get hurt. Sometimes he would vary it by going behind me and tripping over my back leg. It wasn't like he couldn't see me. So I shortened the leash and got strict about making him stay on one side (in the heel position). After a while I was able to relax and let out the leash without him going back to the "drunk driver/road block" walking style.

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I did much like normaandburrell -- short leash until she learned and was consistent. Then I began training her to a "be free" command (or whatever word you like), where she'd get to use the whole length of the leash and be free to sniff and poke around. But never ever will I let her be on anything other than my left side, heeling or roaming. Also taught the command "walk", so she knows it's time to stop sniffing and get her butt in gear. I'm also teaching her directions and she more or less has "left" under her belt. We don't often turn to the right so that one is harder.

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Mikey joined us at age 12.5. I had difficulty walking him as I've always had all my dogs walk on my left. When I let him walk on my right side he did great. Perhaps that's what his previous owner did. :dunno

 

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I don't think there's anything to "get to the bottom of" in this case. It's pretty normal dog behavior, no matter what the breed, to sort of kite around at the end of the leash and cross back and forth on front of a walking person. He just doesn't get yet what exactly you want him to do. Use yummy treats and praise, giving the "heel" command (or whatever word you choose) when he's in the correct position and doing what you want - walking forward quietly in the right place. Keep a short leash for the walking portion of the training. Let it out longer when he can do some sniffing and exploring - remember to use a release command so he knows what is happening when.

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Guest FloridaGirl

The thing is, I've got him on a short leash. Right at my side, and I praise him to high heaven when he's doing it right. He will still cross in front of me on a short leash no matter how short it is. Since we're both tall, the shortest leash is almost my hand on his collar (within about 7 or 8 inches). The only time I give him a long leash is for potty time and when he's consistently walking at my side at a steady pace and not pulling.

 

I've walked many dogs before and I've never had one do this - I've seen the "kite on the string" activity and any number of crazy foolishness of lunatic wiggle meisters ("bass on a line" is another good one), but this is so calm and different. He literally snakes his neck around the front of my thigh, as if he's trying to get me to go somewhere. He's not away from me - he's right up on me, just pushing at me with his horse neck. There's no rhyme or reason - I think if I indulged him we'd go around in circles! :lol

 

At least I know I'm not alone! I'll just keep working with the short lead and continue to praise the good behavior. I still have yet to see a tail wag and only today did he look at my face of his own volition (we've been working on his name and looking at me) which delighted me. I'm pretty sure he still thinks I'm a handler, but there are little signs here and there that I see this idea starting to dissolve in his wee grey bean.

 

We shall go (drunkenly) onward!

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Claymore just posted over on humantalk.com and says he can't get this woman trained to walk on his left no matter what he does....... :bgeorge

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Guest FloridaGirl

Ha! I'll make him a deal - I'll stay on his left if he'll stay on my right for more than 10 minutes! I'd also like to let him know that I don't enjoy kneeing him in the face when he veers, even though he seems to enjoy it. :rofl

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With my dogs and fosters I would do Figure 8s in a street (not busy) at a fast pace. Doing a Figure 8 first puts you into walking into the dog and then pulling the dog in your direction and this repeats. Once you have done this enough times, you will find that the dog will start moving out when you start moving in on his territory and close in when you start to move out. The key is going fast enough that he/she has to pay attention. If you get a real rhythm going, the dog will stick like glue right next to your leg but not be bumping it.

 

Don't do this too much at one time - you can usually only do a few passes through a Figure 8 before the dog gets tired.

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Guest FloridaGirl

dmd - he doesn't have a preferred side. I try to encourage him walking on my left just because that's most comfortable for me, but it doesn't seem to matter which side to him. he does it if the leash in my left hand, in my right hand, on my head, in a tree, on mars...

 

Mary - that's so clever! I never thought of that! I will give it a go and report back my findings.

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Brandi is the worst for doing this, I've just learnt to adjust my stride then carry on forwards. She ends up with a twisted up leash around the other dogs...

 

You could try carrying the leash in both hands so the loop is in your right hand, and the slack between them, with your left hand down towards his collar. When he tries to cut sideqways, extend your left arm out sideways and move him physically away from you till he starts moving fowards again.

 

Does that make sense? My brain is a little mush right now.

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I don't let my dog change sides or cross in front of me EVER. It's not that hard to train--when they do, you stop, say something like "Oh no you don't!" and put them on the correct side (for me it's my left) and continue on. After a few steps, praise them.

 

George was a beast on a leash when I got him. I just used my hips and knees on him, and he figured out soon enough I wasn't kidding. Buck is more apt to fall behind me than charge ahead, so he's been fairly easy.


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Short leash and purposeful walks practice. (no sniffing and fast pace) I'm a big meanie I guess. The second they step into my space I bumped them back to where they belong with my knee. Figure 8s work really well. Didn't take mine long for them to figure it out.

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Assuming you’re using a collar, not a harness – make sure the collar is up high on his neck, right behind his ears. That should give you some more “steering” ability.

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Guest FloridaGirl

Report: Today's evening walk was DREAMY. I chose to give him many snuggles after dinner prior to our walk, and he seemed to enjoy it immensely. I can't tell if further snuggling will make a permanent difference, but he definitely was way more engaged with paying attention to me. He only veered ONCE, and it was mostly my fault because I was plodding down a hill like sasquatch. And because he was so good, I gave him a longer leash, and if he started to disengage and trot too far forward... he would immediately stop his advancement and check on me with a backwards glance. Like "Oh fudge. Terribly sorry, miss." He would then return to my side, which I praised like praising is going out of style!

 

I know this may have just been a dreamy fluke, but it was the best walk I've ever had with a dog. He trotted at my side, we jogged a bit, it was like he found this forum and was like OHHHHH.

 

Anyway, I am going to stay realistic and keep working to make sure this becomes habit rather than dreamy fluke. But we both had a great time!

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" I was plodding down a hill like sasquatch " :rofl I am enjoying your adventures! But...but...but .... how does one plod DOWN a hill like a sasquatch? I've heard they only plod uphill, or through the straight-away....surely you jest!!!

 

Maybe Claymoore can shed some light on this....LOL!

 

(BTW, eventhough I don't have a grey yet, I have a small mix who resembles an IG, who zig zags at times, and it is very frustrating. I keep a short leash on walks, and pull up, then back to my side, to get him back on pace. He wears a harness, so that may not apply to a grey, ummm due to size differnce).

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Guest FloridaGirl

I have gigantic man-feet for a lady. Going downhill is conducive to plodding. Plod, plod, plod, down the hill. It's more like planting my heel and the rest of the foot follows behind it!

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I used to walk my greys on my right side and always had problems. One night at the track I was watching the leadouts, and they were holding the leashes in their left hands. I switched to my left hand and voila, success. Just a thought....

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Guest FloridaGirl

We're slowly working it out - I'm more comfortable with him on my left anyway, so that's where I try to keep him. He does it less now, but I think his main problem is that he hasn't figured out there's a gear between "fast trot" and "not moving". Even when I tire him out, he still insists on the proud extended trot! He's got this hilarious thing where he speeds up, slows down, speeds up, slows down - and I'm like "Sir, you need to understand that I will stay at a constant pace." And he's like "Madam, I do not understand what you mean."

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