I need advice on getting my 6 month old pup to stop pulling on the leash. She is getting really bad about it. I'm not a very big person and she has pulled the leash right through my hand rope burning me. Any advice or ideas would be welcome. I don't know how to correct her in a way that she's going to respond to but not be scared of me or walking on the leash. She had been doing really well up until about 6 weeks ago and now she is just getting worse and worse and her first show is supposed to be the end of the month!!
Quick question for the trainers....
Two different classes I looked into have absolute collar requirements. One is the gentle leader and the other only uses the prong. Dublin was a bust with the gentle leader in that trainers class, so I am leary to try again. He spent the eight weeks doing back flips to remove the collar and didn't get much else from the class but how to get it off. The prong isn't really something I would consider for an IS. What are your thoughts on collar requirements or you can't take their class. Mind you they have no other IS in the classes. Nor have they ever had one expect for Mary who Dublin was her first.
Personally I would never use a prong collar on one of my IS. But I have always found that with exercise, time, patience, and maturity most things could be overcome without the use of tools that will break their spirit. That jolly, clownish, happy go lucky attitude of this wonderful breed is something we all love but others can see it for lack of obedience. I would personally look for a trainer that has experience with Setters and exercise, exercise, exercise!!! The more opportunity your lovely red bundle gets to blow off some of the excess energy the more time you will have to do some real training. Those collars were made to act the same as a bite on the neck. If your dog is not in a state of mind that would require that kind of a correction they do not need to be wearing a prong collar. Those collars can be a great tool in the right situation, they can also QUICKLY escalate a problem when used incorrectly.
To put it very simply: you can either train your dog by using aversive methods ie punishment and afflicting pain or you can train him by reinforcing good behaviour by praise and reward.
In the past we used to think dogs could only be trained using punishment. Fortunately since those times most trainers have learnt more about learning mechanisms in general and dog behaviour in particular and know there is no need to use these aversive methods like yanking a prong collar.
I'd do as Ossian recommends: find another class.
Another book to add to your list besides 'Culture Clash' is 'Aint Misbehavin' - a good behaviour guide for family dogs' by David Appleby.
Yes I so agree Katie! I always find working on his leash walking is a bit easier in the evening because he had his run time and a nice nap but is still mellowed out. And I refused the prong collar in the past with my last dog. Finding trainers who have had IS in their classes is not an option. They are rather rare around here. A few now and then. He is the only IS at our dog park as was Dub. We have a couple field gordons and english but the small field style.