Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dane training tips worked!

Princeton is walking much better on the leash now that he's 10 months old

My Great Dane Princeton is walking much better on the leash. I talked with another dog trainer who gave two excellent pieces of advice that are really working.

I explained the problem is that Princeton pulls hard on the leash, and I’m not strong enough to yank his choke chain hard enough to make an impression as the last trainer told me to do. Princeton pulls the hardest when we meet one of his dog friends on a walk.

Here’s the advice that’s working:

1. The trainer said that it sounds like Princeton places the highest value on having fun with another dog. True. YOU (the owner) have to be the source of the most fun in your dog’s life! Cut back his play time with other dogs. Spend more time having fun with Princeton.

This sounds obvious, but I’m a recovering workaholic, so I often need to be reminded to have more fun. When we spend less time with other dogs, Princeton and I have more time to figure out fun games we can play together. Princeton’s new favorite game is chasing the water that sprays from the hose.

2. Use really yummy treats while walking Princeton to reward him for not pulling.

I was doubtful about this because it did NOT work when he was 2 to 5 months old. Back then, if I didn’t give him the treat right away, he bit my hand with his sharp little puppy teeth and it really hurt. As soon as he got the treat, he’d get distracted again and pull. I do think it helped to have a “tough love” training class from ages 6 to 9 months. But now, to my amazement, treats work! I can lead him along with a treat past several houses and he stays focused, gently mouthing my hand occasionally without causing pain.

Best of all, Princeton seems to like me a lot more. He follows me around more in the house and curls up next to me sometimes.

___
P.S. I forgot one more training tip that’s working -- when I remember to do it.

3. Don’t let your dog greet other dogs or people while walking on the leash. These distractions really break the dog’s concentration when they’re in training. The dog does better when he knows that being on the leash simply means walking and nothing else.

3 comments:

Allison (Dog Mom) said...

Bravo, Princeton!!

Waldo pulls, too--but mostly after squirrels. How do I get to be more fun than a squirrel? :)

I think I'll have to start taking Waldo out individually. Taking him with Gus is too hard.

KC said...

P.S. I forgot one more training tip that’s working -- when I remember to do it.

3. Don’t let your dog greet other dogs or people while walking on the leash. These distractions really break the dog’s concentration when they’re in training. The dog does better when he knows that being on the leash simply means walking and nothing else.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Hi Princeton,

Sorry I haven't visited you for ages - been really busy and lots of things happening! Anyway, I'm now going to add you to my blog list - I hope we can visit each other often!

By the way, my humans says this is a great post - they had similar problems with me when I was about ths same age as Princeton - and part of the problem was because when I was younger, they always let me stop and greet every dog we passed in the street! They thought it was important to socialise me - but actually, I was getting more than enough socialisation at training classes and in the park - what I really needed was to learn to ignore other dogs and walk past them in the street without saying hello or trying to wrestle with them! :)
It took them quite a while but with the help of a good trainer, they managed to teach me to walk really nicely. Now, I even Heel off=leash! :) (if you're interested, you can watch a video of me doing my training - it's at: http://bighoneydog.com/2009/03/06/training-exercises/)

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Slobbers,
Honey the Great Dane