I rescued an adult Rottweiler and I can’t leash train him because he’s stronger than me. I’ve tried to stop and give him a treat when he behaves, but he’s very excited and couldn’t care less about them. He ends up walking and drags me to where he want to go. Nothing has worked to counter the bad behavior. I know I need to walk him everyday and eventually he’d learn. But I don’t because I can’t control him. Any suggestions? ~Ann
Sometimes dogs are not food-motivated, especially when they are excited. Treats are great as reinforcement of wanted behaviors, but when your dog is not interested, their effectiveness is non-existent.
Ideally, the size of your dog should not determine the extent of control you have over him. There are tools you can use that will increase your ability to influence your dog’s behavior by at least 50% right away. I’ll go into those in a minute.
First though, it is important that your dog is getting enough exercise, especially if he is a young, exuberant adult. He needs to run, and if this is not allowed to him, he will try to work off all that energy on your walks. That is a problem.
Second, it is important with any size dog to get him into obedience training so he can learn basic commands, like Come, Sit, Stay, Leave It, Heel and so on, and to respect you when you ask them.
You will find he will listen to you better when you use
1) a proper walking harness, and
2) a head collar or Halti-type harness.
We do not ever recommend pain-causing equipment such as prong collars or shock collars because these can cause more deeply-seated emotional issues for your dog in the longer term, and – we don’t want to cause pain to our beloved friends.
Find an ‘anti-pulling’ harness where the leash attaches to a clip on the chest, not the back (example: Easy Walk Harness). This will interfere with his ability to run straight forward. Next, use a Halti or Gentle Leader on his head, making sure it is not pulled too tightly and that you can slip two fingers under the straps. Just wearing one of these tones many dogs down immediately because the world looks different to them. If you need more control, use a second leash and attach it to the Halti, but do not use force by pulling hard on it on it – this can damage his neck. Use it to redirect him only.
With these methods you should find that before too long, your walks are a lot more enjoyable – for both of you!
Another great resource is to work with a Tellington TTouch Practitioner, or get yourself a copy of the book “Getting in TTouch With Your Dog”. They have very effective techniques to stop leash pulling.
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