Hi Everyone,

I apologize if this has been discussed in the past, but I am new to the forum... I have a 7 month old Cardigan, and I am having some trouble while walking with him. First of all, he constantly pulls on the leash, which makes my arm sore trying to keep him at my side, and I'm sure makes the walk less enjoyable for him. I have tried leash correction (quick pull and release), stopping until he settles beside me then rewarding him, and a number of different collars and harnesses. We are signed up for obedience class, but that does not start for over a month and we need some reprieve before then!

As well, he can be rude at times, barking at other people and dogs, and while not aggressive, will practically choke himself trying to rush towards other dogs. I'm sure this behaviour will improve with socialization, but any tips to encourage better behaviour would be much appreciated.

Thanks a lot :)

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Mine do this at times.  I seen a show the other day where you turn and go the other way whenever they start pulling.  They stated the dog gets confused to the point that they have to watch you to see which way you are going to walk. I have a broken foot right now so have not gotten the chance to try.
You can try like Melvin said and go the other way, or just stop all together.  Eventually the dog figures out that whenever they tug, you stop, and they don't get to go anywhere.  And how much fun is that?  Keep in mind you are in the "teenage years", and listening skills get worse during this time.  Definitely still go to obedience class, and keep doing positive reinforcement.  Look into the Nothing in Life is Free program.  Good luck!

We have 4 Cardigans and they are all this way to various degrees.  Before we had these 4 we had two others who were somewhat like this as well.  They get better as they get older.  I normally walk 2 dogs at a time but occasionally take 3 and yes it's fun but it's hard work.  I'm a large guy but my back, knees and arms can get sore if I am not careful and in control.  One time, before I had learned how to walk these girls, a large unleaded dog ran up to us from behind and I allowed them to get me tangled in the leads - I fell off the curb into the street.  What a blast - lucky it was a friendly dog!  I've been doing these dog walks twice a day for coming up on 3 years now, still in my 50s, I, as do the dogs, really enjoy these adventures.  I have lots of great dog walk stories, luckily this one is the only one where I fall down, fortunately (and sadly) all the other times it's been the opposing dog owner that takes the dive. 


To answer your question - I've seen very well behaved Cardigans on lead.  Matter of fact a couple, if not all, of mine, could be trained to be real easy walkers if it were a priority to me and if I could walk them one at a time.  If your dog can take the gentle leader it will make a world of difference.  We use it when we need to ensure good behavior.

I use a harness and a leash to take Caius on walks, and then I just use a leash for his "potty" breaks. For the walks, if I notice he starts pulling ahead, I firmly pull the leash along with a "Tsst" noise. He usually looks back and stops, or he slows down. I do not let his body get ahead of my legs while walking--in fact--if I even notice his chest getting ahead of my foot, I do this. He likes to sniff people and other dogs, so whenever he starts to pull ahead and essentially choke himself, I keep walking like nothing is happening instead of wasting my energy and time to pull him back, stopping, making a fuss, etc.

It usually works for me. Caius is around the same age as your Cardigan. Hope something works for you! :)

From my point of view, the walk should be something for them to enjoy. I don't let my dogs drag me down the street or anything, but I do let them pull ahead and sniff, pee on stuff, whatever. If we're passing someone on the sidewalk I will ask them to walk next to me, but I don't expect them to heel the entire time. If they try to pull towards another dog or a person I just keep walking at my normal pace like nothing is happening. You could definitely try standing in place or the changing directions method, but I have to admit neither worked very well with my dogs. Obedience classes and NILF were the best help.


Turning immediatly and walking the other way does work.You need to be diligent though and do it everytime:)

i posted this earlier on someone elses post today, i hope this helps:)


in my class this is one of the biggest issues people have. just like Bev said distract her with a treat. what i have people do with dogs first before going out on the walk is have a bag full of treats. get in front of her and get her to sit and as soon as she does reward her. for this training exercise u can use regular treats that u buy but once u get her to sit or lay down perfectly try it on your walk BEFORE u see another dog. go for a short walk where u may not see another dog. get in front of her and have her sit for u. for this i recommend u use something smelly as a treat, like a hot dog or chicken and only use these treats when doing this training as the value of it is much higher than dry treats.

once u can get her to sit for u outside on the walk, try it when u see another dog. get in front of her or have her back to the other dog she she cant see the other dog and give her a few to eat but as the dog is passing by hold the treat in your hand so she can taste it and smell it. if no noise, say in a calm happy voice"o good girl" as soon as the dog passes give her the treats and continue your walk:) keep in mind though that this will take time to perfect. its not an overnight thing. just be calm, not nervous.


if pulling is a problem, have u tried the easy walk harness? if not it is defiantly worth a try. i have seen akitas stop pulling with this on. u hook the leash in the front of the chest so if he tries to pull he goes side ways and is like "wow that was strange"but what u have to remember is the harness is only a tool to help stop the pulling. not a a quick fix. if he starts to pull with that on either stop, go in the other direction, or spin in a circle every time he pulls. after a few times of doing that he will get the message. also if u do what i explained above it will help:)


if that doesnt work, and keep in mind in only some circumstances i recommend this but u could try the head collar. just after a few weeks of using it he will begin to understand that pulling gets him no where as with that on it turns his head around if he pulls. its just like a horse having a halter on, u control there head so where there head goes, the body will follow. keep in mind that if u decide to try this, that he will try to get it off but its crucial that u correct this behavior. its not hurting him at all, its just strange to them. it will also help with him barking and lunging at other dogs as the strap that goes on the back of the head pushes on the reflex to relax that mother dogs use to pick them up at. since u have control of his head he cant lunge or anything so this in its self will correct the behavior especially if u get him to sit for u like i explained above. also,theres a DVD it comes with that can explain in every detail for questions u have or concerns. i know every dog is different but its worth giving it a try.  :)

A curious question I do post in response, if your dog is ahead of you, whom is in charge of the walk.

Here is a quick view in to the brain of a dog...

I'm in lead, therefore I control the walk, I can sniff what I want, where I want and that human behind me just sort of follows. So, he/she tugs on the leash and says something, I guess that means that he/she wants to play and is happy..so I guess I'll just pull some more.


And the process continues, and continues...ect.

Lets play a game with your dog, I call it " Train"... Put your pup on a lunge lead, then walk away...if you have to make some noises to get your dog to follow, when your pup follows behind you...treat and praise ( or click your clicker). If the pup lunges ahead, stop and turn the other direction. After a few times the dog will get it, and will not go past you.


What this teaches...

1. Following the human is a good thing..running past results in no treats.

2. The human is in lead of this walk, not me.


Lets polish this behavior to what you want... I'm assuming "Heel"

Ok, after the walk is established, then your turn to establish where. Attach the leader, start on walking and as you start out with the dog at your side..say " Heel"....take a few steps and if the pup is keeping up..treat and praise.

If following behind, stop and wait for your dog to catch up...repeat process above ( less the attach leader part of course).

Remeber this process when training.."Honey catches more flies then doo-doo" what that means is positve training will posture the behavior faster then tugging, pulling and yanking. And trust me in this you don't want to attempt to tug, pull or yank a 100+ lb. dog, unless you really dislike your shoulder or back.


Oh, if you wish proof that it works, Jazmin will follow just a hair in front of me at the dog park w/o a lead on...I trained her with the method above.


Hopefully this helps


Don and Crew

Thanks everyone... A lot of good advice.


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