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 Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)

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clicklouj
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PostSubject: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:46 am

I'm trying to figure out the best way to train Luna (a 6-month-old husky) to walk properly and not pull on a lead. I have gotten as far as getting her to sit when I'm opening the door, but once she gets out the door, she wants to bolt, treats or no treats (she completely ignores them when we're outside). In the house, she's golden. Outdoors, she wants to be absolutely everywhere. Thankfully, she doesn't act up in any other way, like try to chase cars or pick fights with other dogs (she does try to chase cats but is easily called off the mission when she does). Still, I do want her to be better behaved during walks.

I found the old thread on How to Stop Pulling During Walks but there are a few more questions I wanted to raise, so I thought to post a new thread. I hope you pardon the length of this post, but your inputs on any or all of these I think would really help me assess and improve on my current situation.
  • What kind of behavioral adjustments in terms of walking could I reasonably expect from a 6-month-old puppy? I understand that she's young and excitable and full of energy, so I can't expect her to be completely calm and demure in public yet. Still, what would be a reasonable expectation from her if I train her toward good walking behavior?
  • Huskies are notorious for having a very independent nature. I've heard some husky owners say they don't try to keep their dogs walking by their side or following behind them because huskies are too free-spirited for that and are born pullers. Still, other dog owners say it's just a matter of training. Any thoughts on this? Is husky behavior on a lead a matter of breed, a matter of personality (i.e. every dog is different), or a matter of training?
  • I understand I should be training her in a place with minimal distractions, but we don't have a yard, and to get to a place of relative quiet, we have to go through the very busy streets of our village, so there's my dilemma. Shall I train her all throughout the busy streets (but then again, aren't training sessions supposed to be kept short?) or let her pull all the way to the Place of Minimal Distractions and train from there?
  • Apart from picking a collar that works for her, stopping when she pulls, and trying to lure her with treats (which hasn't worked for us so far), any other walking training tips I could try on a 6-month-old energy fluff ball? Also, if we use a prong collar on her (the most recommended method in the old thread), is there a point when we take it off or does it become her official walking collar forever?
Any help would be muuuch appreciated!
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:09 pm

Lou, hmmmm, i will try and answer as you posted your questions...

1) a reasonably well trained 6 month old will have their moments, but overall if trained properly, should be polite. My 5.5 month old is a terror if my 3 year old husky is around her. She is pretty polite when it's just her and I. Practice good manners.

2)I think it's all 3, but training is everything.

3) Training needs to be built up. I would practice good leash manners in your home first and work your way up. In your house should have the least amount of distractions since she is already comfortable.

4) I am not a prong user, many here have had great success. Some others use harnesses that have the leash clip at the chest of the dog vs back(like a standard leash and collar), the front clip harnesses like the easy walk no pull or gentle leaders brings your dog back to focus on you. You may find that to be an easier solution, since prongs need to be fitted (same with harness, but prongs need to fitted in order to work properly and not hurt the dog), you also need to either have someone with experience to help you or watch videos so you know how to properly use. beyond that no extra help from me on prongs, because I do not know. The key to any walking on any type of leash, is focus. Teaching your dog to focus on you will make walking easier, and distractions will not mean a thing. A good exercise is to walk a very short distance and then place your dog in a sit, reward, and go a different direction, repeat. I also use "watch me" to my girl, I'll say Sofie, watch me, she is then obliged to see what I want. By sitting early on will just help in the command, after your dog is good with it, you can eventually skip the sit and turn around, and just focus on the walk, if the dog gets distracted use watch me, brings focus back to you. If your dog is not food motivated, a shoulder rub with a "good girl" in a happy tone, but not overly excited, should be sufficient, praise doesn't have to be done with treats.

Hope that helps a little and best of luck on your walks.
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:24 pm

I use a prong collar exclusively for walks. The shelter gave it to us when we adopted Ami. I thought I would be able to transition to a harness without the prong but after a while he starts pulling again. I prefer to have Ami out front mostly because it helps the ergonomics of my back (I have lumbar stenosis - a "simian stance" is known to bring relief by openind up the back side of the vertebra and having him out front with a slight tension on the leash keeps my ever so slightly hunched forward.) But, I also like watching him sniff and explore. Also, on narrow woodsy trails, one of us has to be out front and its easier if its doggy. We do, however, use "heel" when in city or other high traffice, hazardous situations. In that configuration, he actually walks with a loose leash.

The thing with the prong is to have it fitted properly and then, really, for the most part, it is self correcting. I may, very occasionaly, have to give a slight flick of the wrist, sort of like the reins of a horse, to correct him but it is ever so slight and brief and not a yank.
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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:30 am

Training really isn't my thing, however I can offer you just some observations I've noticed in my two that *may* offer some insight on points 2 and 3 you raise in your OP.

Kohdi and Mishka are about as different as night and day in personalities. Kohdi has never pulled on a walk from the day I got him, he walks by my side or even slightly behind me sometimes. I never consciously trained him to be this way, it's just the way he is. When I go running, I will take him, he runs alongside me as well, when his paws hit grass though he finds these extra bursts of energy, haha, and he'll run ahead of me but I've noticed even then that he will go ahead of me but will slow his pace every so often for me to catch up. Mishka on the other hand is a bit like your pup with the pulling. However, only when I'm walking her with Kohdi (similar to Renee with her two) when by herself, she really is a great walker! She will still pull if a rabbit runs by or something but that's about it. But with Kohdi on the walk, she is a bit of a terror. Pulls a lot, always seems to be "hunting" (she scans every single house we pass for any movement of rabbits or whatever else might run from her) with each passing day it's gotten better but not perfect. I do let her pull to a certain extent (more comfortable for me, Kohdi is already right next to me so it's better for me to have one out front a bit, but when the pulling becomes excessive, I stop and turn her around, it took awhile but she's finally learned why I do that and responds accordingly (she even lets out a little huff under her breath, lol,) so anyways, I do think dogs personalities have a lot to do with it, but...you can also see there is more involved in that she behaves one on one, but with Kohdi she becomes "different". I think in part it's because she feels maybe my focus is compromised having both (?). Or just being competitive.

So your third point, about letting her behave her way til you arrive at your training area. I'd say "no". training should start as you leave your house.
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clicklouj
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:05 am

@MiyasMomma wrote:
The key to any walking on any type of leash, is focus. Teaching your dog to focus on you will make walking easier, and distractions will not mean a thing. A good exercise is to walk a very short distance and then place your dog in a sit, reward, and go a different direction, repeat. I also use "watch me" to my girl, I'll say Sofie, watch me, she is then obliged to see what I want. By sitting early on will just help in the command, after your dog is good with it, you can eventually skip the sit and turn around, and just focus on the walk, if the dog gets distracted use watch me, brings focus back to you. If your dog is not food motivated, a shoulder rub with a "good girl" in a happy tone, but not overly excited, should be sufficient, praise doesn't have to be done with treats.

This makes so much sense! I will work on that focus. She is quite the distractible pup, and practicing in short distances sounds like the most practical thing! I'll get started on this asap. I'll figure out what kind of reward she responds to when outside. Thank you, because I've been looking for anti-pulling strategies that won't involve the prong collar yet, not because I think it's an inherently problematic strategy, but because I know it entails a certain kind of handling that I'll have to build confidence to try.

I do admit there's still a lot more we can do in the way of improving focus, even inside the house. Major first step.

Thank you, Renee! Your reply helped so much! Very Happy

@amymeme wrote:
The thing with the prong is to have it fitted properly and then, really, for the most part, it is self correcting. I may, very occasionaly, have to give a slight flick of the wrist, sort of like the reins of a horse, to correct him but it is ever so slight and brief and not a yank.

Indeed, it seems equipment really matters a lot and I have heard that prong collars really yield results. I've been looking for ways to avoid it because of reservations about my handling capacities (I'd have to find someone to really teach me how to use it correctly) but admittedly it's still in my purview because, for some weird reason, pet stores here in the Philippines don't carry front clip no-pull harnesses! scratch Just in case, is there no age too young for a prong collar?

Also (based on Jimmy's response as well) it's comforting to know that it's okay to let her walk ahead. I want to be in control of the walk, but I'm not too invested in playing alpha or anything. Like you, I like knowing where she's at and what she's up to. Smile

@Artic_Wind wrote:
Mishka on the other hand is a bit like your pup with the pulling. However, only when I'm walking her with Kohdi (similar to Renee with her two) when by herself, she really is a great walker! She will still pull if a rabbit runs by or something but that's about it. But with Kohdi on the walk, she is a bit of a terror. Pulls a lot, always seems to be "hunting" [...] I do let her pull to a certain extent (more comfortable for me, Kohdi is already right next to me so it's better for me to have one out front a bit, but when the pulling becomes excessive, I stop and turn her around, it took awhile but she's finally learned why I do that and responds accordingly (she even lets out a little huff under her breath, lol,) so anyways, I do think dogs personalities have a lot to do with it [...]

Awww, Mishka! That little huff made me laugh. Hahaha. Luna does that too sometimes, especially during the agony of the first few "leave it" commands. Laughing

Once, I had her on a little doggie walk with a friend who had a golden retriever. During the walk, she mostly wanted to be beside her new friend (she loooves meeting other dogs). I even tried letting her off-leash for a while during their romp, because she had basically attached herself to the goldie who, in turn, was quite attached to her master, hence preventing a runaway husky situation. I think she may be better behaved when with other better behaved dogs... I haven't had further opportunities to observe this though.

On her own, her schizophrenia is really in that indoor-outdoor thing. She's not mean, just really hyper and excited, no matter how familiar the street must have become from all the walks we've been having on it. Now that I think about it, even as a baby, she used to explore the house every day, over and over and over. It was new for a looong time... Laughing

Thank you LOADS for your inputs and super sound advice, everyone. At this point, I'm looking at focus, equipment, and circumstances as foremost areas of concern. Sounds like a plan Smile
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:24 pm

Lou, the harness can be found on amazon......2 different things this one is a leash.....a friend of mine uses for her husky (hers is breed standard, no issues on pulling) http://www.amazon.com/Weiss-Walkie-Leash-Large-Red/dp/B004T4KVZC

and another friend with her husky uses this (he is around 80 pounds, and she never complains about pulling) http://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Harness-Large-Black-Silver/dp/B0009ZBKG4/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1453310548&sr=1

or go to amazon and type in basic halter harnesses and see which one may work best for you.
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:48 pm

I have an observation on the "no matter how familiar the street has become from all the walks we've been having on it" you mention, haha. I don't know if/how it fits in but I think it could be relevant. With Mishka, she knows precisely which houses will have bunnies romping in the yard, and it comes from being familiar with the streets, haha. During the course of a normal week, I have 3 different routes we take. She will always scan every house for bunnies/anything that will run from her, but certain houses she "stalks", haha. There is one I just HAVE to get a video of cuz it's the cutest thing ever, as we are nearing the house she starts to pull, I normally let her but when if it gets extreme I will do the turn around thing, but anyways, along the front of this house is a retaining wall and she will pull up to a certain point to where she almost stops and then starts this hilarious "creeping", and just as she gets to the edge of the wall she will slowly peek around the corner, I bust up every time she does it! The reason she does it is because it's a regular hot spot for bunnies, and I can actually hear her hold her breath as she's peeking around the corner so as to not make any noise, lol. But I mention this because it seems, to me, that being familiar with her route doesn't necessarily mean it will calm her, and could be just the opposite in that she has possibly will get more excited around hot spots she's taken notice of on her many walks. Obviously changing the route up doesn't really help anything because Mishka knows all the hot spots on each route already herself, I'm just saying that maybe don't count on her being familiar with the area is necessarily going to make her calmer.
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:49 am

@MiyasMomma wrote:
Lou, the harness can be found on amazon......2 different things this one is a leash.....a friend of mine uses for her husky (hers is breed standard, no issues on pulling) http://www.amazon.com/Weiss-Walkie-Leash-Large-Red/dp/B004T4KVZC

and another friend with her husky uses this (he is around 80 pounds, and she never complains about pulling) http://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Harness-Large-Black-Silver/dp/B0009ZBKG4/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1453310548&sr=1

or go to amazon and type in basic halter harnesses and see which one may work best for you.

Renee! Thank you for these! I scoured the interwebs again and found one quite recently-opened online shop based here in the Philippines that sells front-clip harnesses. Gahd! Finally! I'm thinking of giving that a shot first (since domestic shipping is much faster and I'm avoiding having items go through customs because our Bureau of Customs is notorious for holding items and charging way more "tax" than necessary to claim them) but if it doesn't work for her, I'm definitely looking at Amazon for these options. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:05 pm

@Artic_Wind wrote:
Obviously changing the route up doesn't really help anything because Mishka knows all the hot spots on each route already herself, I'm just saying that maybe don't count on her being familiar with the area is necessarily going to make her calmer.

Hahahaha! Jimmy, the whole story seriously cracked me up! Mishka is such an adorable little bunny-hunter! Please do capture that video. I would love to see it Laughing

I see what you mean though, and I didn't think of it that way before! They do seem to gain more confidence with more familiarity of the terrain. Luna knows she has to stay close to the sides when walking on streets, and that she can run when we're out on an open field. Makes a lot of sense! Hmmm. The key to calm energy is really in the focus then...
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:05 pm

Hahaha, thank you Loujaye, I'm definitely going to get a video of it, it's one of those things that's just too cute. I'm ok with her doing things like that because for myself I want to strike a balance of her being well behaved on a walk but still be able to "be a dog". It's hard for me to explain but it's my end goal. Out of all my huskies I've had, Mishka is the first "puller", and she has come a longggggg way so I'm hopeful I can achieve my goal Smile

And yes! Focus is really the key. That was supposed to be the last sentence in my post but obviously it never made it in, lol. Good luck! Let us know how she progresses, she's such a pretty little girl Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:26 am

Hello! Just an update. So the front-clip harness finally arrived today. What a load off my hand and wrist! She's still quite excitable and we're still working on recall and focus, but the harness works tremendously in restraining her from pulling in the meantime. I also feel more secure because she pulls her worst just outside the door (inside, she sits and waits for me to open it), and in one occasion she actually slipped from her collar from pulling so much! Gah! With the harness, she's more secure and is forced to stay close. We'll give her a few more days to get used to it and to our (sadly inadequate/slow human) pace. Hopefully, she'll take to it more easily in the coming walks Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:30 am

This is great!
Suggestion if she pulls the worst just outside the door but is good just inside the door maybe try the following: Sit and wait just inside the door (like she does), then open and walk out the door, and add the step of making her sit again and wait. This would be just like inside the door but she would be waiting for the release for a walk. Not sure it will help but at least when she starts her "pull" you are not worrying about the door and you are actually ready to set off.

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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:36 pm

@clicklouj wrote:
Hello! Just an update. So the front-clip harness finally arrived today. What a load off my hand and wrist! She's still quite excitable and we're still working on recall and focus, but the harness works tremendously in restraining her from pulling in the meantime. I also feel more secure because she pulls her worst just outside the door (inside, she sits and waits for me to open it), and in one occasion she actually slipped from her collar from pulling so much! Gah! With the harness, she's more secure and is forced to stay close. We'll give her a few more days to get used to it and to our (sadly inadequate/slow human) pace. Hopefully, she'll take to it more easily in the coming walks Smile

Yay!!! Smile

My last boy husky just did this slick little maneuver and he was out of his collar before I could blink...I don't use collars anymore, haha.

How is Luna with the harness being put on her?
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:04 pm

@HuskyLear wrote:
This is great!
Suggestion if she pulls the worst just outside the door but is good just inside the door maybe try the following: Sit and wait just inside the door (like she does), then open and walk out the door, and add the step of making her sit again and wait. This would be just like inside the door but she would be waiting for the release for a walk. Not sure it will help but at least when she starts her "pull" you are not worrying about the door and you are actually ready to set off.

I will work on this! It's going to be a LOT of hard work for her, I imagine (as it is, she practically leaps from the "sit" inside the door bounce ), but this should be crucial. I'll have to wait out the excitement until she realizes she has no choice but to sit before we go...
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:08 pm

@Artic_Wind wrote:
My last boy husky just did this slick little maneuver and he was out of his collar before I could blink...I don't use collars anymore, haha.

How is Luna with the harness being put on her?

Hahaha. Yes! We only keep her collar on for the dog tag now. Laughing

Thankfully, she has never been too uncomfortable with any kind of harness or collar being put on her. Mostly, she wants to chew on the buckles (she still has a number of milk/baby teeth to lose), but generally doesn't resist its being put on her. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:28 pm

The only time Ami is without his collar and tags is when we are sleeping, have no house guests and all the doors are locked. His tags are his first line of defense should he take off. Second line, his microchip. I'm just a might paranoid about that...
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:49 pm

@clicklouj wrote:


@Artic_Wind wrote:
My last boy husky just did this slick little maneuver and he was out of his collar before I could blink...I don't use collars anymore, haha.

How is Luna with the harness being put on her?



Hahaha. Yes! We only keep her collar on for the dog tag now. Laughing

Thankfully, she has never been too uncomfortable with any kind of harness or collar being put on her. Mostly, she wants to chew on the buckles (she still has a number of milk/baby teeth to lose), but generally doesn't resist its being put on her. Smile


Nice!Smile for some reason Kohdi has disliked having his harness put on, to the point of running and hiding. He is only now, at almost 3 years old, getting better. I have never understood why but in reading different articles, have heard it's pretty common.

My two were microchipped at the breeder, I'm ok there, but maybe I should just get a small collar for tags, hmm, I'll have to think about that.
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:24 pm

Wondering if I can just jump on the thread Smile my husky is 11 weeks and it's not so much the pulling I have a problem with its the stopping dead and having to be dragged to start walking again. Sometimes it's down to distractions but others it just comes out of nowhere..
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:59 pm

Is Zeus interested in squeaky balls? Find something that is small enough to put in your pocket, when he gets distracted squeak the whatever, it should refocus on you. That is a pretty easy way for a young pup, as he ages you want to eliminate the squeaky so he just hears you and focuses on you, excellent way to also start teaching recall.
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:52 pm

11 weeks is pretty young, how long are you walking him before he just stops on you?
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:13 pm

Jimmy great question, I had a blond moment on that one, lol. I agree, 5 minutes for every month old walks is recommended..so at 11 weeks old should be 10-15 minute walks at most, can be done several times a day, but no more than 15 minutes each time.
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:16 am

Thus about how much he has. It's on the school run it happens. Only 2 or 3 times no particular pattern I don't know if it's because it's a bit busy at that time. He did it again when we left. Walked him to school ok, 10 mins or less. Then he was sat waiting for my daughter to go in, then trying to get him to leave, like he didn't want to
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:17 am

Haven't bought him any squeaky balls, not something I wanted but it's worth a try.
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:40 am

@Zoeyvonne wrote:
Thus about how much he has. It's on the school run it happens. Only 2 or 3 times no particular pattern I don't know if it's because it's a bit busy at that time. He did it again when we left. Walked him to school ok, 10 mins or less. Then he was sat waiting for my daughter to go in, then trying to get him to leave, like he didn't want to


Ok, that it's "a bit busy" is kind of an important detail. Yes, in a pup as young as yours, being very busy, with people, noises from cars, just unusual noise and activity in general, a pup will stop. I'm thinking it's because it's all just overwhelming to a puppy. It's like overload. So a pup will stop, evaluate the situation, and pretty much just try and sense if it's safe, and/or ok for him to continue. All of my huskies have done it, anything from people coming towards them, noises of a loud motorcycle for example, dogs barking, etc. would make them stop. What I did with my current boy Kohdi when I got him, because he was alone and I could do it, is I went on walks with him but held him (because he hadn't had all his shots yet) and that way he could experience all this activity, noises, etc from the safety of my arms. I remember very clearly with my last boy when he was a puppy, someone rolling out their trash can to the curb startled him and he stopped. As your pup gets older he will gain more confidence AND be more accustomed to all of life's noises/activities
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PostSubject: Re: Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)   Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:10 pm

Hey guys, just joining the convo. I'm intrigued by the front-clip harness that you purchased, Loujaye. How's the quality? I think I want to try it on Axe as well. Not that he pulls hard when we take walks, but I have to constantly adjust him so that he walks just slightly behind me off to one side. Sometimes when I break off into a run he would also cross in front of me, which is not a good thing when we're off full tilt (I'm a big guy, 6'1 200+ lbs and I don't want to break his bones accidentally by stepping on him). Any chance I can get the link to the online store you bought the harness from here in the Philippines?  Very Happy  Thanks!
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Walking a Husky: Tips Against Pulling (and Some More)

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