Ever since Lottie was a puppy, we have ALWAYS had difficulties walking her on her lead.
When she was a tiny puppy going outside on her lead for the first time, she used to do things like stop and not want to walk! (I think this may have been because there was a lot going on with cars, people, other dogs etc and it may have been overwhelming for her!)
Once we got over that stage – she went the complete opposite way!
Lottie is now so excited to go out for a walk that she pulls so hard on her lead. We have tried all different training techniques, leads and harnesses, none of which have helped. This is a big ongoing problem for us.
More than anything, we think the reason for it is the excitement that Lottie feels when going for a walk, she loves being off her lead, her recall is good and she’s well behaved off her lead, however on her lead is a completely different story!
We try to take Lottie to fields and open spaces where she can be off her lead as much as possible, but this is not always practical and there are times when she must be on her lead, so we really feel we need to solve this problem!
Honestly, I think it’s a cockapoo thing.
I have heard SO many other cockapoo owners say that their dogs are exactly the same, which makes me feel a little better that it’s not just us! But also makes me feel worse as I see some people say that their dogs are the same and they’re 7 years old and they’ve never been able to improve on it!
It drives us crazy, for us having to walk Lottie on her lead is extremely frustrating and it’s also frustrating for Lottie who just doesn’t want to be on her lead.
We have been trying to work on it for a really long time now, some of the training techniques we have tried are –
- Stopping every time she pulls
- bribing with treats
- turning the opposite way when she pulls
We have even recently started to take Lottie to some training classes with a professional dog trainer.
We have found some of the training techniques useful but are yet to find that this has helped us much with her pulling on her lead.
For us, the problem starts before we even leave the house. As soon as Lottie senses that she is leaving the house to go for a walk, she starts to get worked up. She can tell the signs, us putting our coat and shoes on, taking her lead off the hook etc, all of this sets her off.
Our trainer advised us that we need to start working on all of this before we even leave the house. She suggested that once Lottie starts to get worked up, we put her lead back on the hook and leave taking her for a walk for another 10 minutes. Then, try again with taking the lead off the hook, if she starts to get too excited, keep putting it back and so on.
She said she may not get out for a walk at all some days if she doesn’t behave well but this is all part of the process and her learning that she needs to keep calm in order to be allowed to go for a walk!
She advised us that Lottie is seeing going for a walk as a reward, so essentially we are rewarding her for behaviour that we do not want by allowing her to get too excited and worked up and then taking her for a walk anyway.
She has also demonstrated techniques to us to try and keep Lottie at our side which should train her that that’s what she needs to be doing when she’s on her lead. We practise these techniques when we’re in the house and Lottie picks these up very easily, as she does with most training that we do in the house, it’s once we get her out of the house on her lead, she’s like a different dog!
We have tried various different harnesses and leads, the ones that we currently use are a Halti Front Control Harness and a Halti Training Lead.
This lead allows you to attach to the clip on her chest and also her back, so in theory, when she pulls you have more control – however, we tend to attach the lead to her collar now, we have been advised by our dog trainer that this is best to control pulling on the lead.
This is an ongoing problem for us that we will continue to try and resolve so hopefully walking Lottie on her lead will become a more enjoyable experience for both her and us!
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