Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Amber, nice to hear from you and shame, you do have your hands full! Never mind there is help to be had.
It sounds to me and really difficult to determine without seeing the dogs behaviour, that most of your dogs seem to be a bit fearful of the lead. when a dog cant cope it often displays behaviour such as you describe with Gabi in that she chews and pulls on the lead and starts to act like a lunatic. this is one of the 5 F's that we work with in dog behaviour - Fooling around - dog cant cope and so acts life an idiot. Odin is exhibiting another of the 5F's - Freeze- can cope and I am not going anywhere!
Ok, what you have to do is to start at the beginning again and unfortunately for you work with one dog at a time! I would suggest you start with Gabi as the walking will do her the world of good. While you are busy with her, put the other dogs out the way, in the garden or another room and supply them with a nice chew bone each. This will stop them from view the separation as punishment and instead they will see the being away from you and other dog as a reward, not punishment. If your dogs are likely to fight over a prize such as a chew bone, then separate them and supply chew bones each.
Still follow the points in the article when you get there, but first go a step back. Start with Gabi and instead of using a harness, use a partial choke collar. this is a collar with 3/4 material and 1/4 chain. It does not hurt the dog and will give you more control. the Halti is excellent, but you need to be shown by an expert how to use it and to use two points of contact i.e. one end to Halti and other end to collar - this way not at all cruel and much easier for both handler and dog. Start with the collar above first.
Take her daily ration of food and hold the collar in one hand. Offer her a treat 'through' the collar. Once she is accepting this well, then in this manner, gradually put the collar over her head, and you keep of feeding and praising her for doing this. In no time at all, you will have her with the collar on happily.
When she has it on with no problem, start to walk a few paces, call her and offer treats. You are now associating the collar with 'good' things happening in her life. Do this inside and outside the house. Only when she is happy with this do you go to the next step.
Get a short lead and attach it to the collar, treating her all the time. Dont hold the lead, let it fall to her side and gradually work up so that you can eventually have her walking in an out the house and garden happily - an keep on treating her.
Next step is to use a longer, normal lead and repeat. When she is good with this, hold it in your hand, take two step, call her and treat. Get the idea? You gradually build up the distance and soon you will be able to get her out the gate with no pulling at all.
she may be hesitant about going out the driveway to the road, so do one step forward, turn around walk back, and repeat such as this.
With the other dog that is so fearful, do exactly the same, and change the equipment you are using. if you are using a harness, change to cloth collar. If you are using a collar, get a new one which is totally different. With this dog you may have to go even slower.
if you get stuck, please just give me a shout. Good luck! S
Onto getting Gabi out for a walk.Following the tips in the article go one step Start inside the house before trying to even go into the garden, and with Odin, I would suggest doing this very, very slowly, starting getting him walking comfortable in the garden and up and down the drive way and then only going one step out the gate, coming back in etc, and gradually building up his confidence. the link is below and do shout if you get stuck. Good luck!
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