April 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm #9880
I don’t know what it is about Goldens, they love to pull on their walks. Rudy was getting quite bad for it so I decided to buy the Ceasar Millan “Illusion Collar”. From the minute I put it on it made a HUGE difference in Rudy’s behaviour when walking. He slowed down, the pulling all but stopped, he listened to commands some of them he even performed without me saying a word. I thought I’d finally found the cure for what ailed him. However over the next few weeks things began to change. Rudy learned that if he lowered his head he could still pull and the collar had little effect on him. Despite numerous attempts to correct him (in the manner Ceasar prescribes) he still pulled and when he got excited he was a nightmare. So that’s what Rudy does now, when he wants to pull he just lowers his head and goes and I’m left with little control or an effective way to correct him since when his head is lowered and he’s at full pull mode he’s got control of me. Now he walks with his head lowered ALL the time. So this is my final analysis of this collar; it’s effective only under the most ideal of circumstances. As long as the dog keeps his head up it works. But as soon as he lowers it to pull (which is the standard position for dogs when pulling) all off the collars effectiveness dissipates.
I’ve also noticed on his show that he only shows the dog’s initial reaction to the collar when he first puts it on. But you never see how effective it is over a longer period of time, like days or weeks.
April 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm #64827
Aren’t dogs smart? It doesn’t take them long to figure out how to get what they need. Obviously the Illusion collar isn’t the answer for Rudy. It might just be a matter of time.
Personally, I think one of the reasons dog pull (besides excitement or a training issue) is because they walk faster than us! They have four paws, we only have two. Their whole anatomy is different enabling them to trot along ahead of us without even trying. So I don’t worry if Connor is ahead of me as long as he isn’t straining on the leash. And I like that he sets a sharp pace b/c it’s a better work out for both of us.
However, I know pulling is a pain (figuratively AND literally). The method most commonly prescribed is to stop each and every time the dog pulls and not move until they are still. Then try again. I don’t know anyone for whom this method worked simply because it would take you an hour to get out of the door. I have a book on Goldens that advises teaching alongside a fence or other barrier, rewarding every few steps that the dog stays beside you and building up from three steps to four or five and so on. Also changing directions each time the dog pulls to teach them to focus on you. Still, very tedious. If Connor is very rambuctious, I will turn in a complete circle bringing him back around me to my left side. This is simply to snap him out of whatever he’s focused on and it works most of the time. Sometimes I have to do it repeatedly, sometimes once will bring him back in line. But changing direction constantly and stopping and starting each time he pulled made me dizzy, naueous and frustrated. Those aren’t good feelings when you’re walking your dog!
How old is Rudy? Connor is three now and for the past year I’ve noticed him settle down dramatically just with maturity. If he sees a squirrel or another trigger, he’ll still try and pull ahead or cross in front of me. But most of our walks are pleasureable now with him trotting a bit ahead or perfectly by my side. What a joy!
I’ve had lots of people suggest special collars or harnesses for him. The Gentle Leader is one I hear over and over but I don’t like the design of it. It looks like it would strain his neck. I have a friend who swears by a certain harness for her retriever. But I feel out of control with a harness, I prefer a collar and leash. Besides, Huskies and other sled dogs wear harnesses so they can PULL. I know other people who use a prong collar with great success. The key with this device is knowing how to use it properly and it doesn’t suit all dogs.
I wouldn’t tell anyone what to use with their dog – use what works! I’m a purist so I wanted to be able to walk my dog with a collar and leash without any devices. I also don’t mind the dog walking ahead if he’s walking nicely. I’m not a person who isn’t satisifed unless the dog is heeling perfectly at my knee. I don’t care if he’s on the left or right side again as long as he’s walking well. But that’s me. We’re out for exercise and I prefer a faster pace myself.
I think all dogs instinctively pull ahead. For my money, the dog’s maturity made more difference than any technique. And if I’m happy with him I don’t care if he isn’t heeling like a show dog or what other people tell me I ‘should’ do.
April 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm #64826
All collars are either an assistive aid to go with training or a management tool. And which is which i think depends on the problem and the dog.
I have had success with the halti with Maci when she was younger and the stop like a tree combined with negative yards. Yes, we have days when I headed to class an hour early so we could work at no-pulling into the building. I have started walks and never gotten off the driveway. She really needed to learn she was not going to be able to do what she wanted.
Now if I stop she backs herself into heeling position 🙂 Harley is only a puller if he sees animal to chase and I live with that.
But yes with goldens – maturity really helps!
April 27, 2013 at 1:12 am #64830
Thanks Chelsyn and Nano. Rudy has gone back to a regular collar and leash and he’s doing fine. I think his excessive pulling even while on the Illusion Collar had to do with the choker part of it. I’ve heard that dogs can sometimes respond negatively to it and while trying to pull to get away from the thing that is hurting them they only cause it to hurt them even more. It’s a viscous cycle. I think this was the case with Rudy. I’ve never liked any form of a choker. I think it does more damage than it helps. Rudy even had one of those “choker coughs” that you hear dogs with chokers get from time to time. It really upset me to hear him suffer like that. I’ve never used a choker on any dog I’ve had until now, and it will be the last time. He still pulls a bit but I accept it as part of his youthful exuberance. I don’t care if he’s not perfect on his walks. He stops when I do and sits when we stop for any length of time and generally minds his own business. As for the accelerated pace he sets for our walks…well, his dad could use the exercise too, god knows!
April 28, 2013 at 11:51 am #64829
I always wondered about that Illusiion Collar, wanted to try it, but glad I didn’t invest in one. Nancy has the right idea. I have always found that the faster our pace, the easier it was to walk the dogs, without them pulling.Our trainer let us decide where the dog was to walk, it was Ok to let the dogs walk in front, as long as they weren’t pulling. We also used the stop, or going around in a circle to break focus when trainng them to walk nicely. We too would take a long time to get anywhere, but in the end it paid off. Our walks lately are nice and very little pulling. But we do use a gentle leader on them still. I would love to just put a leash on them and go, but both still pull with out the gentle leader-funny both don’t like them, but haven’t figured it out that they won’t need them if they walked nice. (on long walks I usually remove it about 3/4 way in, they seem not to pull any longer as they get more tired.)
May 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm #64833
I was going through that with my retriever Nahla until I started using a harness called sensible along with the dog training techniques: stoping and making her sit, as well as doing U-turns and found they made a HUGE difference! She walks completely different when wearing a collar to the harness (I tried switching back before fulling buying the harness) but I love the difference the harness made plus the ease of which I can put it on and off her :). I just tried running with her on the harness and have had similar success! Id recommend to anyone looking for an alternative to give this one a try!
May 10, 2013 at 1:42 am #64831
Since Rudy’s been back on a regular collar I’ve adopted a new attitude when walking him; I become calm and in control, I set the pace and tone for the walk and he has to follow. Since I’ve been doing this he’s much better on his walks. He walks right beside me, doesn’t pull, doesn’t try to get ahead of me and pays closer attention to my movements. So I guess Ceasar was right about one thing. But just to experiment I walked Rudy with the Illusion Collar again and he reverted back to pulling, ignored any correction, and no “attitude adjustment” on my part had any affect. So I’m convinced it was the choker aspect of the collar that he was responding to so negatively. Oh well, lesson learned….and 50 bucks out the window. 🙁
May 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm #64828
I’ve also adopted a new attitude when walking Connor. I’m not into Ceasar’s philosophies but much like you, I strive to stay calm and focused, especially in situtations where he is likely to get excited (seeing squirrels for example). I used to listen to music while I walked him but now I’m focused on strengthening our bond. When I speak to him I use his name as little as possible, keep my voice low and my words to a minimum.
I think it’s making a huge difference. Not just on the walks (the other day someone called out to me “He is VERY well behaved!) but in our other interactions. Most importantly, HE sees the difference. We still have a long way to go – keeping him focused on me when something is important to HIM is the challenge. So I’m working on the whole ‘watch me’ thing, too.
May 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm #64832
I was a devout follower of Ceasar’s philosophies but after a time I learned to take from them what I found useful and applicable and adopt it to my needs. I can’t do the “walk like a drill sargeant” thing he does, I find it too exhausting. So instead I use the calm, focused approach while varying the pace of the walk (to keep him focused on me) and use verbal corrections only when needed. Too much talk gets him worked up. Right now he has a level of energy that seems impossible to curtail for any length of time. But he is getting neutered next month so hopefully that will help him focus on me more (right now I’m sure his mind’s on a list of other things other than me) and reduce a type of energy (sexual) that I’m powerless to do anything about. Until then I am hopefully laying some good groundwork that will remain intact after his “transformation”.
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