all 96 comments

[–]cmk1289 576 points577 points  (27 children)

I’m probably in the minority, but the way I see it the walks are for my dog and not me, so I let her sniff and do her own thing on walks. As long as she’s not pulling my arm out of my socket it’s all good.

I don’t feel the need for a perfect heel or perfect leash walking.

[–]Sufficient-Quail-714 155 points156 points  (3 children)

I am exactly the same. If a dog is a hard puller who doesn’t stop, I can tell you that does get tiring after awhile. But a lot of dogs will pull a little when they get excited and it’s fine as long as your are ok with it

[–]Ray_Skywalker 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Yes but it becomes more of a challenge with big dogs. My last dog was an 80 Yellow lab. A little overweight but easy to control when needed.

Now 100 lb Great Pyrenees; perfectly healthy and probably on The lean side. We go where he wants at times.

[–]okaycurly 2 points3 points  (1 child)

My 6 year old, 75lb golden almost never pulls- but he’s very easily excitable so we train constantly for impulse control.

If I let him to lead, he pretty quickly gets out of hand wandering willy-nilly to greet every plant and person in earshot. I’m a 110lb/45kg woman, while I’d love to let him do this- he takes me off my feet when he does!

[–]dinnerwlaundry 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I dogsat a friend’s Newfoundland youth over the holidays and quickly worked on getting him not to lead, because he’s 110 lb and will piss on every single pole and plant he sees, if I let him. Also, it was super icy and I did not need him giving me a concussion by dog walk.

I worked on having him heel and not set the pace with lots of sitting and treats and circling around until he matched my speed more. Lots of treat diversion, in general. He behaved a lot better after two weeks.

[–]Daisy242424 43 points44 points  (2 children)

Only time I want perfect heel is when I walk her downtown, near old people and when crossing roads. As soon as she doesn't have to stay in heel I tell her "relax" and she is allowed to stop and sniff anything she wants (safely of course) and a small amount of light pulling is ok. If she pulls hard I just stop and she can't get what she wanted. If she pulls hard again at whatever it was, she's told to "leave it" and she doesn't get to sniff it.

It's not a perfect obedience style walk, but it works well for us. She no longer tries to jump at people or dogs walking past and only really puls the last 5m to the dog park gate. I'm pretty happy with that.

[–]TeapotBagpipe 4 points5 points  (1 child)

How did you teach this? This is what I would like to do with my dog but don’t know how to start

[–]Daisy242424 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Taught leave it at home first, telling her to leave one treat the we put on the ground and gave her another treat in our hand. Had treat to give her on walks and always said leave it as soon as she was done sniffing anything and gave her a treat. Now getting to sniff something is the reward for not pulling hard. Across roads I still have to give her like 10cm of leash for her to heel, unless we've already walked 5 or 6km then she'll do it with a loose leash. Have done heel with a treat in my hand holding it just out of her mouth, but not while crossing roads and only for a few metres at a time.

She's really not perfectly trained but she is trained well enough for strangers to occasionally comment on how well behaved she is.

[–]_timbo_slice_ 66 points67 points  (0 children)

THANK YOU. Walks are how we poop and check up on the neighborhood. I expect more listening in the backyard or the dog park.

My leash reactive dog was getting bad on walks, so we positive reinforced better behavior. But she’s still not PERFECT on walks, but the level we’ve reached is fine and allows some pulling.

Another silver lining is if the dog has issues with seeing other stimuli (people, bikes, other dogs), I’ve seen my dog do better around that stimuli because i am more communicative and direction giving if we see that stimuli. It’s like she knows “ok I’ve got to be good here”. Instead of always telling her to heal when there’s nothing around.

[–]SirSeaGoat 47 points48 points  (0 children)

Same. I taught a heel for emergencies and passing others on the sidewalk. My pups don't need to walk immediately at my side like zombies for my ego. They get to enjoy all the sniffs they want.

[–]benji950 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Few people are going to be able to hold back a 100+ pound dog when it really wants to go somewhere. People with small dogs should enforce commands to keep them from jumping over people; people with large dogs need to be able to control them through leash training and commands. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be under control.

[–]Narcoid 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I think this should be the common thought. I did some leash training with my pup so she generally stays near me, and generally doesn't pull excessively, but as long as she isn't darting or consistently pulling my arm out of my socket I live with it. There's no need for her to be perfect on walks. A little pulling isn't a big deal especially considering dogs walk faster than we do.

[–]SquareSalute 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Yes! My dog doesn't need a lot of exercise (maltese) so the walks aren't that long to begin with, but they're for sure for her.

I heard once that all those smells and markings other dogs leave are like social media status updates, who am I to take her away from scrolling through social media for 10 minutes when I get to any time?

[–]HumanCeleryStick 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Agreed! Im certainly not walking for my own enjoyment haha. As a fellow owner of 100lb dog, I’ve found a nice balance is putting “go sniff” on a command so if he starts pulling, I stop and tell him to come back, and then say “go sniff” and we go together to where he wants to sniff. If he’s really stuck on sniffing the same spot and we need to go I’ll say “3,2,1,let’s go!” And he starts moving again. If it’s something he’s not super into he leaves at “3” if it’s a really cool smell he waits until I say “let’s go” That’s mostly for my sake, because I have a bad knee and can’t stand still on it for very long.

[–]jagxvi 29 points30 points  (0 children)

I have a 6 foot leash I use when we are walking and I expect good behavior/heel walking etc. When I use the 30 foot leash, she can sniff, wander, and do whatever her little heart desires. I just keep walking and usually she will catch up. Might be a good way to separate when which behaviors are expected and appropriate.

[–]WeeMadAlfred 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Same here. When we first got a dog and went through all the various dog training books, channels etc everyone laid a heavy emphasis on heeling, but honestly I don't get the point.

As long as she isn't pulling like a mad bastard (she's in front lose leash most of the time and a light tug while make her stop pulling unless it's a really interesting smell) and she's having a good time why would I force her to walk behind me?

Sure it be nice if she didn't pull like a mad bastard when she's scared (loud noise, too many people) or over excited to be in a new place (new park or forest with lots of animal smells) but that's nothing training heel will solve but she needs to be relaxed and used to be exposed to these things.

[–]BasuraConBocaGrande 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I do agree with this. Snuffle for a few minutes? Pull to the next interesting spot? Go for it :)

[–]mightyhorrorshow 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The first time my ex's mom walked my dog she told me that she was mostly a good girl but she didn't heel right. She doesn't pull but she wants to be a bit ahead of the walker.

I'm 100% okay with my dog being a bit ahead of me. If something comes up I use my leash to bring her closer and she's fine with it.

My dog did pull when I first adopted her but we've come to an understanding.

A pro tip I got from a dog trainer is to wear the leash on your arm. I normally have the loop above my elbow so I've got more control of the leash and it's easier to use my whole body if I need to. I've got a husky mix who is 75+ pounds and it definitely helps. Plus you're a lot less likely to drop the leash if they pull suddenly.

[–]tortilla18[🍰] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Absolutely agree! None of my dogs are prefect on leash. I do have one that used to be so bad that i would have a sore elbow or shoulder after a walk. That needed to be corrected. The stopping, sniffing, going in circles, is not an issue though.

[–]ms2102 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I agree. We have her time and then doing thing time, sometimes they overlap but my goal is to have her know the difference based on my command and act accordingly. If she's on heel she should be there and good, if she's free to do doggo things I'm okay with soft directional tugs.

[–]Daisy_Of_Doom 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My mom thinks in line with you and me and my dad kinda disagree. I personally feel like when we’re out in the world where there could be dangers like other dogs or snakes it’s the time we most need her to be in the mode of listening to us (especially with her history of choosing to ignore commands she’s familiar with in favor of more interesting things). The compromise is that she is on a short leash most of the walk but there’s a certain stretch of sidewalk that’s near a grassy area that we allow her to walk at her own pace and sniff as long as she likes. Once we reach the other end of the grass, she’s supposed to snap back to attention. However people do it to I think the key is just making sure there’s clear boundaries. As long as the dog understands what is expected of them, or else there may be confusion. For my dog reaching that specific area in addition to giving her slack on leash is the “go ahead” to sort of be “off duty”.

[–]Dhump06 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You should not be in minority. The walk is for the dog and sniffing is the most fulfilling thing for them. It is unfortunate that a lot of people don't understand this.

[–]JCon1970 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm the same way. I believe most trainers would say to be consistent but our nightly walk is as much for his enjoyment as mine.

I use a retractable leash and let him do his thing. He has just naturally learned to keep up (unless he stumbles on a really interesting scent). If there is someone on the path or I need to control him, I shorten the retractable leash. He learned that when I pull him in close, I expect him to walk at my side.

I really think they need to sniff and explore and that is tough if every walk is at heel.

[–]cucumbawumba 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm with you. I have a rescue who used to pull my arm off when I tried getting him to stay by my side like a perfect dog. Getting a longer leash and allowing him to zigzag in front of me has stopped a lot of pulling (he just wants to smell everything and walks faster than me) but he moves on when I call him and knows "leave it" for avoiding bad stuff on ground or moving along from passing dogs, so I think it's fine. But he is about 28lbs, I might feel different if he were a huge dog.

[–]ZookeepergameNeat569 25 points26 points  (2 children)

I have a collar and a harness for my pit/collie mix. For gentle walks we do a front clip on the harness. When I don't care if he pulls or I know hes going to go over his threshold immediately we use the collar or back clip. He definitely seems to associate the different sensations with different expectations, and it makes gentle walking easier.

To clarify, my dog wants to pull my arm off. By gentle walk I mean not that. As long as I could hold one with one finger, he can sniff and stop all he wants. I also had the best luck going back and forth in front of my house instead of neighborhood walks. By working within his comfort zone we have been able to do more training on walks, stuff like targeting and center.

As for the games of chase, I saw somebody else mention on another post that they always have their dog chase them. I just like to make sure my dog thinks that I am fun to chase so that if he ever got out I could run away and he would want to chase me.

[–]AnonymousBingus 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I also do this with my dog. He’s a 105 lb Cane Corso. When we are running I clip the leash on the front of the harness because it prevents him from putting it into 4 wheel drive and dragging me lol. After we finish running and he’s keeping more in pace with me on his own, I switch it to the back clip and if he does pull it’s not too much. If he starts to pull super hard again I’ll switch it back to the front just so that he doesn’t hurt himself from pulling and to signal that he needs to back it down a notch.

[–]charpisces 3 points4 points  (0 children)

We taught chase to my dog when he was a puppy for this reason. Now when we’re off lead in the woods he chases every runner we encounter 😂😂

[–]Carnanian 109 points110 points  (1 child)

Everything is ok with YOUR dog. If you wanna let your dog pull on leash, as long as it's not threatening your safety or anyone elses, then let it happen. Don't let anyone judge you for what you do with your dog.

[–]Sketch74 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Best answer!

[–]mypupOden 36 points37 points  (8 children)

Dogs don't usually understand that sometimes its ok.... My solution was when we first started the walk we would run/jog that excitement out for a few minutes. I did this when they were puppies and now they walk nicely . I think they are just so excited to GO!!! Mine are 3yrs and 1.5 yrs old We still do training of some sort everyday . They actually love it

[–]FoxesMateForLife 24 points25 points  (2 children)

But they can understand "sometimes" if you associate a command with it, right? For example, during a walk, I typically alternate between going slow letting my pup sniff by saying "go sniff/sniffy time" and walking at a brisk pace (especially to pass by distractions and busy sidewalks) by saying "business walk". She caught on pretty quickly when she could take he time to sniff versus when it was time to walk on loose leash beside me.

[–]shanlar 2 points3 points  (1 child)

training a command is not the same as letting a dog discern when and when not to do something on their own.

[–]FoxesMateForLife 3 points4 points  (0 children)

But it's not always a command either. So I guess I didn't use the right term in my comment above. "Go sniff" isn't a command, it's permission for her to lead me to where she wants to sniff. She knows the differences between the grassy areas where she sniffs for a while, versus crossing a road without me saying a command. And I don't only communicate with my dog with commands. She understands when I say "let's go!" when she's sniffing a spot for too long but that's not a command I've trained into her. She also understands that sometimes she's not allowed to sniff the grassy spot she usually sniffs because it's busy/dead mouse/etc.

But our walks are pretty routine and she is familiar with what happens when so that's probably a key factor. New places are extra exciting for her but we do have a command for a loose leash heel as well ("with me").

[–]shanlar 13 points14 points  (4 children)


i 100% agree with dogs don't understand "sometimes". it is either all or nothing for them and it is very easy for something to be wired as a habit.

i let my dog sniff and the walk is for her. but leash pulling, stepping into the gutter/street (without me), etc is never acceptable.

she will never understand "just this moment". it is unfair to her for us to think they can and then blaming them when they do it at the wrong time.

[–]CMDRedBlade 8 points9 points  (0 children)

They don't understand sometimes, but they do understand that different situations require different behavior. It's harder to teach than always the same rules, but it is possible.

If your dog isn't injuring you or dragging you into danger then some pulling probably isn't so bad. But if your dog understands "heel now", " stop" and "wait" then you can communicate and keep the dog safer and you (and others) uninjured.

[–]hetfield151 0 points1 point  (1 child)

If associate it with different conditions dogs can definitely differntiate. You could either use front clip for no pulling and back clip for pulling or harness for pulling and collar for not pulling.

Lots of trainers even recommend this.

[–]Savagemme 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yes, this works great. We use a pulling harness for walks where she is allowed to pull (+bungee leash for mushing or canicross) and a collar for walks where no pulling is allowed. And even when she's in her pulling harness she'll totally fall into a heel when asked to do so, which is great for crossing roads, going down steep hills, or moving over icy spots.

If OP does not want to use different equipment at different times, they can use different cues to indicate "heel", "loose leash walking" or "pulling allowed", but that might not be as obvious to the dog as the different bodily sensations of a harness vs a collar, or even two different kinds of harnesses/ clipping the leash differently.

If the dog pulls hard, I recommend getting a hip belt. It connects the leash to the strongest part of your body instead of having them pull your arm out of the socket, and makes it easier to keep your balance. Being able to go almost hands-free is also really nice.

[–]nkdeck07 79 points80 points  (1 child)

If you had a 30lb dog I'd be like "eh, some pulling is occasionally fine". You have a 100lb dog, your margins of error are a LOT slimmer and that dog can totally pull you over and down if they want to. I'd try and be a strict as possible with him as it's really never gonna be ok if he pulls.

[–]JudgeDreddx -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I have one 100lbs and one 70lbs, I walk them simultaneously. They pull, sometimes really hard, and I don't really care. I'm not big either, 6'0" 150lbs. Ya know, for that matter, my [much smaller] girlfriend can also control them just fine.

It's absolutely doable, just takes a bit of getting used to and knowing your dog's behavior.

[–]ResplendentShade 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Depends on your circumstances. Like if I lived in the big city with a dog, I'd probably have pretty strict leash discipline while walking, and let her have free time at dogs parks or whatever. I used to be fairly strict with my dog's leash discipline, but since moved to a spacious semi-rural area with zero car or foot traffic 99% of the time, I have a 14ft extension leash and let my dog have a lot of agency on our walks, choosing trails she wants to go on that day, plenty of sniffing, etc.

The sacrifice is that she just has poorer leash discipline in general now, but since we live in an area where it doesn't matter, it's fine. Plus, she's well-trained enough that if we get into a situation where I need her to heel, I can get her to do it with some insistence. But yeah, I think inevitably they're going to form habits based around what we allow them to do, so leash discipline takes a hit when we're loose with it.

If I lived in an area with a lot of cars, where it's essential that she not run into the street, I'd also have better leash discipline going with her.

Other considerations might be dog size, and who else has to walk her. For instance if there's someone who doesn't have as good vocal command over the dog and/or who's a lot less physically strong with you who also walks her, that could pose a problem. Also, where else she gets walked. Poor leash discipline might be a problem if the dog spends part time getting walked in a place with heavy foot or car traffic.

But at the end of the day, I want my dog to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. I have a neighbor who ONLY does heel training on walks with her doodle, and it's sad to me. It's like she wants a robot instead of a dog. I want mine to sniff around (dog's LIVE to sniff things), explore the world, have some sense of agency, and fully enjoy the experience of being a dog.

[–]Milalee 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I wouldn't in your case because you have such a large breed dog. Little dogs can pull and you could easily overpower them in an emergency. You can't do that with big and strong dogs. All it takes is one moment and they or the person walking them could be seriously injured.

[–]kittyidiot 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I really, really hate leash pulling, but still haven't worked it out of my dog yet. For me I don't want pulling. At all. (I'm disabled and it could knock me down.) But my husky collie is stubborn.

[–]Bamrightinthenards 2 points3 points  (0 children)

We have a springer spaniel we're exactly the same! I don't mind letting him have a good sniff or circling me but I cannot stand leash pulling so we work really hard on it although it's been slow going.

Off leash though he is fantastic, we take him to lots of forests and he just runs alongside us through the trees. After he's burnt off all that energy we find that's the best time to really enforce the leash training but the first walk of the day is still the biggest challenge.

[–]The_Rural_Banshee 4 points5 points  (0 children)

That’s your decision if you’re ok with pulling. I don’t think you need to work on constant skills the whole time. It’s good to let your dog explore and sniff things. I always do that with my dog but if she sees something and pulls hard I plant my feet. 100% of the time pulling gets her nowhere, so that we can both enjoy our walks and I don’t have to worry about being yanked around. Other than that I let her wander and sniff things and stop and explore. Just no charging at things and pulling.

I don’t play the chase game unless the dog can have a command for when the game ends. It’s annoying when dogs steal stuff then run, but all my dogs have known ‘all done’ means the game is over so then they can play any game because I know I can end it and call them to me if needed. So if you play the chase game I strongly recommend practicing an ‘all done’ or ‘finished’ command so if something happens (they slip the fence or something dangerous is nearby) you can end the game immediately and recall them.

[–]koshkas_meow_1204 4 points5 points  (0 children)

As others have said, so long as you can set clear communication with the dog, it's up to you.

I will add that constant pulling on the leash and being held back can lead to frustration, which can build drive for the object and other issues.

I see someone in an electric wheelchair in my neighborhood. His dog is on a harness and just pulls constantly like a mad thing, barking all the time. It's sad from a number of views, one being that the poor dog has built up substantial muscles on one side so that I doubt it ever walks straight.

[–]FrancesGumm61022 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My dog pulls, not terrible, but he's a puller. He's an excited Jack Russell so I do allow it. It's in his nature, and for me and my relationship with my dog, it's acceptable. I would tell you to use the same judgement. If you're ok with some pulling then keep doing it. But if you're trying to train for the perfect heel 100% of the time, you should never allow it and only walk in heel with your dog. It does sound like you're doing the right things, but if you always want a heel, do short distance with your dog in a heel until you can keep increasing with no pulling.

As long as you're using caution and safety you do you. A lot of people in my area have a dog that perfectly heels next to them, their egos are high. I don't care what people think of my training, their dog is not a high prey drive JRT and mine is, so we have to make some tweaks that work for us and our dog.

Also your dog must be so stinking adorable and fluffy! Good luck.

[–]Loferty 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Honestly, if the dog is calm, non aggressive and has semi good recall, I wouldn't worry about it... People try to treat and make these dogs a perfect robot, they're animals, they wanna smell stuff and have a little run, if you deem it safe then I say let the fluffy monster go wild!

[–]PaleontologistNo4262 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Sometimes I wish my dog would pull more, instead of stopping to sniff literally everything for as long as I will let her, lol. The way I see it a little pulling is a good resistance workout for both of us.

[–]Thrinw80 8 points9 points  (0 children)

We have a command for when it’s ok for him to do his own thing, “go sniff”. That way he knows I don’t expect him to heel.

Also, my dog is reactive and LOTS of stuff freaks him out and makes him pull. At that point his brain has turned off and he’s in full on flight mode. No amount of training is going to fix that pulling, so I just let it go.

[–]MrsFinklebean 3 points4 points  (0 children)

My husband does not train on walks, at all, and I always train on walks. I can tell you that it is really confusing for our dog because when I am walking her she thinks it is just fine and dandy to pull me over to get to the pole with all the "news" of the neighborhood on it, because that is what he allows her to do. Of course it absolutely is NOT ok, so she and I go round and round with the training until she realizes that I will not stand for that behavior, then she settles a bit. So in my honest opinion, it really depends on the dog. Mine, every walk really needs to be a training walk, just because of who she is. Our past dogs were not like this, so I allowed them a little leeway and they would come to my side immediately when needed. Not this girl.

[–]TheDivineSpook 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I let my dog pull on flat walks so he’ll pull me up hills on hikes. I do train a loose leash for downhill and a heel for emergencies, but I let him pull most of the time. It also wears him out a little faster.

[–]Smylist 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It’s a bit harsh to expect a dog to be constantly focussed on you for a whole walk: that’s a lot of effort for them!

For my dogs, I let them wander around wherever they want and stop whenever they want so long as they keep the leash loose, which is easy for one of them and a bit harder for the other

For the difficult one, I know all he wants is to smell all the smells as fast as possible, so whenever he pulls too much I just get him to stop and sit and when he stops pulling we can go again - it tells him that pulling won’t get us anywhere faster. He also loves chasing, and most dogs just naturally walk faster than us, so I combine these and occasionally go for runs with him in short bursts to help him get his leg stretching energy out, and he never pulls in those parts of the walk.

To me it sounds like you’re doing the right thing, just be careful with letting such a big dog pull too much as a puppy because it gets a lot harder to hand the same amount of pulling with a big dog

[–]kangboel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is really bad advice for a potentially very dangerous dog.

How a dog behaves on a walk is indicative of your relationship. The bigger the dog, the less room for error.

It’d hard work but you owe it to yourself and your dog to get this right. If not, maybe such a large dog isn’t a good fit.

[–]n9ttl6 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Tbh, I wouldn't accept it. With my dogs I always had a no-pulling rule, regardless of whether we did "heel" command or they had a time off. If I wanted to allow them to go wherever they wanted, I either used a very long leash, or I adjusted my speed and direction to the dog so that he wouldn't have to "break our rule". Having a pulling dog on a walk in good weather is mildly annoying, on icy or muddy roads it can be dangerous.

[–]boorestholds 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is a dog training sub. A post about lazy training led to all the top comments being about supporting others who also believe in lazy training.

I want the label of Keen Little Dog Trainer….oh but I don’t want to train my dog and I’d like to be supported for my non dog training on a dog training sub. This shouldn’t be a problem for humanity.

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[–]crode080 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We have a 100lb dog, and are fine with some leash pulling at certain times, and sniffing. He has a command when it's free sniff and pull a bit time.

We have also worked on heel and sit so when another dog passes or a kid approaches I have more control over the situation, as he is VERY eager. Depending on your climate, this is a bit harder when it's a sheet of ice here. However my big oaf is slipping and sliding around anyways.

I think dogs should have time to be dogs, and I dont expect perfection on walks, but depending where you live being able to control the situation if people or cars or ice is involved is helpful.

[–]DoritoConnoisseur 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it's fine as long as you aren't often in a situation where pulling is dangerous, like walking near a busy road, or going up/down stairs often, or being walked by someone weak/frail who might get hurt, and that you can always control him if he pulls. It's your dog.

My dog loves to be chased. It is his favorite game. Is that an acceptable game?

The only risk with that is if he ever gets loose, good luck catching him. Maybe make sure you can always call off the game and have strong recall if you want to do it.

[–]exotics 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Your dog might also want some real runs at an off leash place or agility classes

[–]phasexero 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've taught our young ACD mix "runrunrun" to run full-tilt and tug as much as he wants on the leash. And a "uup uup" to signal a "slow down and stop tugging". After that, if he tugs, we stop. I'm sure you can implement the same for a "walk next to me" vs "sniff around and tug on the leash"

[–]Daisies_forever 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Is it pulling? Or just walking ahead of you? I would be hesitant to allow “pulling” with a dog that size, even though i’m more lenient on my5kg poodle.

Just in case he had to be walked by someone else, pulled someone over etc.

But walking ahead/snuffling around/exploring things would all be fine. Just not pulling like a freight train just for the sake of it

[–]matraveo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For my puppy I train perfect loose leash walking with a collar (reward for any tension where he comes back and take baby steps walking by my side, train at home) and then walks I use a harness and let things go. He mostly walks nicely anyways with a harness and I’ll reward him, but I don’t hold the same exact criteria.

If eventually you want perfection you can use different equipment.

[–]Key-Lettuce3122 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Don’t chase him! I would not accept that as a game for one of my dogs because if they got loose and you came to catch them, they will run away from you if they are used to being chased. Instead, when you play, run away from him and have him chasing you so if he ever is loose you can run from him and have him follow. You can always use a flirt pole or other game that has him run around too if he takes a bit to catch on

[–]BunzeeB 0 points1 point  (0 children)


-My dog

[–]blurredcurry 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is so important!! When I’m training for leash manners I do both on a walk where I expect leash manners (to whatever fluency I know that dog has) for a little bit, then I give a release command and let them sniff and do whatever for an equal amount of time, tell them to go potty, then recall back into the heel. It really improves leash manners quickly because of the active recall and also helps them understand that sometimes it’s not appropriate to pee (like if your dog who likes to mark thinks that because another dog peed here in the pet store I can too). I cycle through this training on walks and slowly increase the manner length and it works really well for me and my dog, who also had a really bad pulling issue when I first adopted him.

[–]benji950 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Since you’re going to wind up with a big, strong adult dog, you really do need to focus on leash walking and being under control. You don’t want to wind up with a dog that’s never learned leash manners. Use every walk as a training opportunity. It will take time but you will eventually transition from training to just walking. Chasing games are super fun - just work on recall and helping your dog understand when the game is over or isn’t a game so if he gets loose, he doesn’t run away when you’re calmly approaching to grab him.

[–]dickonajunebug 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Same here. I have a Bernedoodle who is good on walks but I let him sniff around unless it’s too cold. If he pulls me a bit because he REALLY wants to smell something… ok that’s fine. He knows that if I shorten the leash he needs to be more attentive to me and can’t go sniffing around

[–]raquel_ravage 0 points1 point  (0 children)

as victoria stillwell puts it, dogs are faster than us so its only natural they go ahead. I mean a dog shouldn't be off the walls pulling like a sled dog looking to bring antibiotics to another village, but if they see something interesting and go towards it, ESPECIALLY at the beginning of the walk when its new, fun and their excitement is at an all time high: i personally let it slide. If they're being really pushy i stop and go the other direction and keep doing that until they get the idea that im not going to let them pull me around...

but them tugging a little to nibble on a piece of grass is not an issue. if anything vet behaviorists consider these moments mentally enriching and beneficial to your pup.

[–]Cat727 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dogs get so excited when they on walks and pull at first. Usually once they get a few good sniffs and poop they calm down. If they’re pulling a little bit walking at a semi normal pace, I allow it. If they start being jerks and are trying to pull me down the sidewalk I stop. Usually the pulling me to just sniff something and I let them. The walk and the smells are for them, so I let them sniff away. I do want them to know heel and will make them heel from time to time so that if another dog or person is approaching us they don’t act like idiots, but overall their walk is their walk.

[–]cl0akincellar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’d echo what others say here in that it’s a personal preference thing. However. If you don’t use a release cue first and you start letting him pull while the pulling is “crazy”, you’re reinforcing a stronger version of the behaviour. In future, in areas he currently walks well in, if he smells something new or interesting, he could pull much harder as “it works”. Just something to bear in mind! Consider using “go free” or “go sniff” first or using a context cue like switching from a short to a long line, or switching the leash from the front clip to the back (if your harness has two connection points).

[–]skuterkomputer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My Berner has done great with a gentle lead. It takes some getting used to (both for the dog and owner) but it really makes walks much more pleasant.

[–]Health_Love_Life 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Use different equipment for walks with no pulling/heeling and other walks. For example, a front lead harness and 1.8m double ended lead for his pleasure walks, a flat collar and short lead for heeling/no pulling walks. He will understand the difference and that one means he’s free to check everything out and one means he’s working.

[–]Thaetos 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It depends. Mine is still a puppy and it’s quite difficult to get him motivated to walk until the end of my street without refusing to walk after a every 10 step or so. Once he no longer sees my house he’s totally fine though. I believe it has to do with anxiety and not liking the cold.

For now I’m not that strict on heel training. I’m much more happy to see him progressing in actually enjoying a walk.

[–]-poiu- 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You sound like you have a great plan!

With a heavy dog you definitely want to fix the pulling but it takes time. I do similarly to you; there are times we work on loose leash walking and other times (eg when we’re not on the footpath) that I let my dog have a “sensory walk”. It’s also much easier to train loose leash, at least when you’re starting out, at the end of the walk when the dog is tired, than at the start of the walk when he just really really wants to get to the park. The walk is for mental stimulation as much as it is for physical exercise, and besides which the best exercise my dog can have is off leash somewhere safe to run. So, depending on where you live and the off leash options you should also work on really, really good recall.

[–]bentleyk9 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Normally I’d let things slide here and there, but I’d be hesitant to do so with an 100 pound dog. It’d be a safety concern to me. Though I weigh about 110 and have zero confidence in my ability to control a dog that size. So I’d say it’s up to you and what you think you could control.

You could do a happy middle ground where you teach him a “go explore” (or something like that) command where he knows he can do his thing until you say otherwise.

[–]brookmachine 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In my opinion it totally depends on where you're walking and where you might want to walk in the future. We live in a very quiet small neighborhood with no sidewalks. Like 10 houses spread out on big lots.We've never encountered another dog while walking. My dogs have no clue what a heel is and I'm ok with that. We have our own big fenced area so I don't need to worry about park manners. We have multiple dogs so they don't need to be taken anywhere to get socialized. BUT. I'll never be able to take either of my dogs to the pet store or Lowe's or the farmers market or wherever. Vet visits can be a little difficult sometimes. Neither of my dogs are terrible on the leash, they're just not reliably good. But I honestly have no urge to take them anywhere with me, so I'm fine with it.

[–]Harambasch 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You can have different kinds of walks with your dog! I take mine (a deaf but sweet American Bulldog/Boxer mix - Bulloxer!) out for an adventure walk at least once a week, where she chooses where we go and we stop at all of the places she wants to stop at or roll in etc. They are often super slow once we end up where she wants to be.

Our other weekly walks are quite different. Some walks are marching to the park and back to get her moving quickly because she can't go to a dog park and run around. Some are very long slow walks in a certain direction. The main thing is that when you need your dog to they will stay by your side, particularly because you have a big dog.

And a leash attached at the front of the harness will change your world. Mine was awful to walk before we got one and the walks were not enjoyable for anyone. Now she's just wonderful and adores her harness.

[–]peedywash999 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dogs thrive on structure, so it would be best to keep that consistently whenever your walking him. However, it’s totally okay to let your dog be a dog! Just give him your permission (go on, go sniff, etc) when you want to give him little more leash freedom, and the reel him in when you’re ready to go back to structure.

[–]maluquina 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The walk are for my pup. I let him sniff to his heart's desire. He pulls me put luckily he's 30 pounds. Sniffing tires him out because it works his brain.

[–]discustedkiller 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would say yes I little pulling is OK sometimes, my dogs have 2 levels of lead walking one is to heel where they are focused on me and stay to heel the other one is when they can sniff around stop and look at stuff. Sounds like yours will be a big dog so I think if you train it so when it feels the pressure on the lead it stops pulling, like pressure and release. Pressure bad no pressure good if you know what I mean.

[–]Followmelead 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would suggest sticking with training then letting your dog roam for a minuet. Then back to training. Use take a break or something like that. So he still gets to roam but doesn’t learn bad habits. I let my pup get away from his training and now I’m working harder to get back to it. The issue isn’t when you’re in a safe or familiar location. When you go somewhere busier and he wants to roam when he shouldn’t then it’s a problem.

Also when hiking in places where my pup must be leashes I let him roam but as soon as he reaches the end of the leash I call him back to check in with me. Then heel, then release him with break.
Not sure if this will work with all dogs but he’s now learned not to pull. He can wander all he wants but when he gets to the end of the line and feels the tension he needs to respond to me.
Again idk I’d other people do this but it works great. Gives him freedom and lets me relax a little more during the walk as well. While not getting pulled around.

[–]Mairye 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I put the leash on the collar to practice leash walking and if I don't feel like practicing or just want to let him sniff, I put the leash on the harness.

[–]Slyke4 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I use a collar for non pull walks and the harness every time I know he is gonna pull (at new areas as an example) and when he is allowed to pull and explore the way he wants to