Q: How can I get my dog to obey when we're outside?

August 3, 2009 | By Maren | 4 answers | Expired: 2369 days ago


When I was a child we had a family dog I worked with. She had some heeling problems as well. I was so young then there wasn't much training I could do.

I have had my dog since a puppy - I've been the only owner along with my boyfriend. I have never more than lightly swatted his behind, and I've only done that once or twice.

Daily we practice things like sit before exiting/entering house, sit before meals, stay, sit, down, etc. Also, he gets a daily run, walk, or hard swimming time. He's generally very well behaved. I've taken him to puppy kindergarten classes and was told he was the best of the bunch.

I believe he's not cowering because he's afraid of being hit (since I've never instilled that fear in him), but I think he's afraid I'm going to stop his playtime or take away whatever's in his mouth. He just thinks it's a game. It's super frustrating, of course.

The halter I have is not a traditional one. It's a Tellington Touch halter. It has a strap that wraps aroudn the dog's chest. It allows you to pull him off balance when he doesn't heel. I didn't want to use a head halter since I know he'd get fidgety and more uncooperative.

Whoever thinks I'm inexperienced and should get "professional help" ASAP is ridiculous. I've worked with multiple trainers and dog counselors. Everyone occassionaly has some problems with their dogs. These are just frustrating ones I can't find solutions to yet.

Any further advice would be appreciated.

When my 1 yr old labrador and I go outside for a potty break, he's usually obedient and by my side. Sometimes something interests him and he runs off to check it out. Usually it's another dog or some junk left on the ground. He doesn't respond to come reliably. Also, if I reach for him when he's by something naughty (food junk, trash, other dogs, etc.) he cowers and runs away. It's very frustrating that he looks like I'm about to hit him.
I've tried bringing him out on a leash, but he pulls to get to what he wants. He has heeling problems.

Two questions:
1. How can I train my dog to respect my authority, and trust me? I'd like him to come when called and leave especially tempting items on command. I don't like him cowering and dodging me.
-I've practiced come, outside, with treats. It works if there isn't something he's more interested in.
-I've practiced leave it, outside & in the house, with treats. He's good during formal training sessions, but not in real settings.
2. How can I teach him a reliable heel?
-I've tried a t-touch body wrap halter, a traditional leash, quick snaps, constant sitting, turn/switch direction, and some others. He doesn't seem to understand. He usually only obeys for a couple seconds at a time. His fur is wearing thin wear his collar pulls. I don't want to hurt him to heel, and leash walks are frustrating.


Readers' Answers (4)
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melinda n.

Aug 13, 2009

I'm actually a professional trainer and what I do with my dogs is pretty simple..
My equipment piece of choice is the choke chain..It really only sounds bad it really isn't though.
My theory is that if a dog pulls they don't get the total length of leash that you have..so you just want to give them enough so that they walk next to you but you maintaining a loose leash...I personally don't like any kind a harness...line up your dogs front leg with your leg..start your walk off as a quick paced walk so your dog has to catch up with you..if your do passes your leg even a couple of inches your gonna pop the chain it doesn't hurt then but the noise redirects his though of pulling take some moist stinky dog treats and give him one to start ever couple of feet and then extend it longer and longer but don't stop when he pulls..
For getting him to obey you outside it is important that you train him outside ...(his obedience) at first it gonna be a little hard with the distractions but it will get easier..do everything on leash first and then just start takeing the leash off for sit/stays and down/stays...flexi leashes are good for coming when called ...

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Aug 05, 2009

*fingers on neck/jaw correction - i mean at the side where jaw hinges. never put pressure on the front of their neck. this method is not meant to cause any pain or distress, but to coax him into a submissive position.

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Aug 05, 2009

first off, get yourself a better harness. collars are no good when it comes to correction and usually harnesses improve the strength of the animal. gentle leader harnesses are your best bet, you can find them by doing an online search.

how to train your dog to respect your authority: this involves the area you wish to work on outside, as well as other areas of your dogs life. if your dog respects you, it's much easier to get them to come when called. your dog is lab, so you already have a step up from the rest of us. it's important to know that labs are sensitive dogs and are very eager to please. when working w/a sensitive dog, you want your commands and movements to be welcoming and you'll want to avoid negative outcomes. for outside: scrap the "come" command, it's not working in this scenario anyway. replace this w/a whistle and pieces of chicken or roast beef or whatever gets your dog excited. blow the whistle, treat your dog. do this several times and then put some distance between yourselves, blow the whistle and give him a treat when he comes. having another person to keep him in one place, walk clear across the room or yard and repeat. gradually increase the distance til you can be in any room of the house and he still comes at the sound of the whistle. practice this a lot before taking it to a real world setting. in the meantime, use a toy to get him to come. happily call out to him and throw the toy in the air, playing w/it yourself.
during your day to day activities, set up boundaries for your dog. he's not allowed on your bed or couch until he's invited up. he can't sit by your side while you eat. little things like that to teach him you're alpha. "sit" and "stay" are affective commands to use for both those situations. dogs like to lead or be led. since you're the leader, he will gladly follow your lead. he just needs to understand you are indeed taking that role and then needs instruction on what you want him to do.

how you can teach him a reliable heal: get the gentle leader harness. this inhibits their ability to pull and does half the correction itself. along w/sit and stay, try teaching your dog "down" or "lay". having him lay each time he pulls will teach him that struggling gets him nowhere - literally. wait a minute and then continue the walk. at first, he may spend most of him time laying, but that will ease up. the harness i suggested will also give you control over making him lay down w/o hurting him. if he still struggles when he's laying, place a few fingers on his neck by his jaw w/light pressure and use your other hand to roll him to his side. when he submits, say "stay", wait a little and then begin your walk again.

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Aug 05, 2009

Take a deep breath. How long have you had your dog? When did you get him? How old are you? I mean do you have more family that interacts with your dog?
If the dog is cowering when you go to touch him - that is from fear..... someone in his past has made him think that people are going to hurt him.... so you need to untrain that behavior with one that shows - people touching me is a good thing. I get treats or a belly rub when she touches me. You should never let an abusive person around your dog and never let someone tease or play rough with him - at least not now.
I would suggest going to the APDT website and finding a trainer to work with. Make sure they are cpdt and that you talk to them and meet them to make sure you feel good around them. if you don't feel good with them - your dog won't either. If there are no trainers near you - go to this website www.dogstardaily.com. Dr. Ian Dunbar is a Veterinarian and trainer who started the apdt. He is the guru of dog trainers! This website has lots of videos and training articles on it.
You don'[t have to worry about authority or whose the boss with your dog. They want you to be their good leader - and a good leader leads - not from being harsh or mean - but from really knowing what to do and from goodness. That doesn't mean we throw treats out all the time - but it means we look for ways to thank our dogs for doing well and we look at the way we ask for a behavior so it is 100% full proof. Good Luck with your dog!

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