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A walking/socialization question........

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping someone here can help me work through an issue I'm having with our hound, Max. I'm just gonna give the details of his backstory and what he's doing. If anyone can give me any ideas on Why He Acts that Way and How to Help Him Resolve this, I'd really appreciate it.

Max is a 3-4 year old treeing walker coonhound, which basically means he looks like a 60lb beagle and is essentially, in my estimation of breed standards, closest to a harrier or an english foxhound (has the big upper body and stance). He is fairly mild tempered with us, not prone to excited states if unprovoked. He wouldn't be good with small children, as he's apt to challange pack order. I'm having alpha issues with him at the moment, to the tune of leash pulling and such, but he's not bad he's defiant on occasion. Although a good boy overall, he's stubborn and knows what we're commanding, just doesn't always like to comply promptly. We assume this is a hound thing and are working on it.

We got him from the spca shelter the first week of january. He had been there since september according to his paperwork. They said he had been turned in because his owners said he was too big, too strong (well, duh, he's a healthy large breed dog!) and too "goofy off the leash". We find him to be relaxed and generally obedient at home, but who knows why people turn animals in.....He is neutered and up to date, though actually due, on his shots. They told us he hadn't been walked much and was difficult on the leash, which he is. He has a special lead that helps.

He's gentle with the cats, but chases them when they run. He likes to smell them and cries when they jump out of reach.....we know his last home had cats...maybe he wants to be touched by them? He does like attention, I could see him wanting a snuggle.

We live in an apartment, but he's walked multiple (usually 4) times a day and is amply exercised. He is fed Natural Balance and occasional Merck's canned. He is a happy dog.

Here's the problem.....he doesn't like other dogs on leashes. He barks at them, jumps at the end of his leash and acts all hyper when he sees them. Especially if the other dog barks too, which I can understand. But this is the weird part.......he doesn't seem to have a problem with unleashed dogs. If the dog is in a yard, he's fine. Even if that dog is FREAKING at Max, Max is cool. He might want to go over there more, and try to get me to go, but he'll continue walking with no fuss or barking. Walk a little dog by on a leash and Max will go all jumpy and barky, but the same dog in a yard is cool. Even a stray, once.....my bf had him on a walk and a runaway (with tags) came up....looked like a shepherd....and walked right up to Max and Max was fine until the dog was right in front of him, then barked a big and got excited, so bf shooed the stray off....he couldn't try to catch him cuz he had the Max with him, and he was really far from our house, having walked to the grocery store. But he was tagged, my bf said, and it's all neighbourhoods so hopefully someone was out looking and found him (fingers crossed).
Anyway, the shelter said Max was fine when another dog was put in with him (accidentally, cuz they had assumed his disliked dogs not dogs on leashes.)

So, that's it: He doesn't like dogs on leashes and I want him to chill....also, I want him better socialized so I can be cool with him off leash around other dogs....I'm kind of strapped for cash right now, so I'm not sure we can afford training right away. Money is too tight and there are vetchecks due for Max and Lola...the money has to go there first, so they stay up to date on shots etc. Still, any insight or suggestions are much appreciated.....if anyone at all managed to read ALL THIS, anyway
post #2 of 9
I had a dog-aggressive foster who would bark, lunge, and growl at any dog that was in site. If they were off leash I had to tell them to go away and shoo them off before they even got within a few feet of us, and dogs that were on leash I had to walk on the other side and stand there embarrassed until they were out of site.

What worked wonders is bringing his favorite toys and treats, every time a dog was in site, make him sit and do my best to stand in front and avoid him making eye contact, and when he was at least not barking or growling and sitting, let him have a treat/toy. After a few weeks, he learned that dogs = reward and would begin sitting willingly (he still can't be trusted around other dogs, even after going to a behaviorist, as he will attack, but he can go for walks with his new owners. I used a halti-collar - easier control for me). Penalty yard training worked for his leash pulling.

I don't see why you couldn't do something similar. Ask him to sit and make him pay attention to you rather than the dog, when he does so, reward.

Have you done NILIF?
post #3 of 9
Hve you looked at gentle leaders or haltis??? With large powerful dogs they make training alot easier ..
post #4 of 9
Both of my dogs are very powerful and, due to my arthritis, I have some difficulty controlling them. I have found that a no-pull harness and a short traffic lead work wonders, particularly with Ike.
post #5 of 9
For the pulling I find that the pinch collar works best. I have an over-hyper lab that would practically pull your arm off everytime he got on the leash. But my friend introduced me to the pinch collar. most people want to automatically turn away from the pinch cause they say it's cruel but it's not. It does not hurt the dog unless the dog is incredible stupid and if you have no common sense about using it. Obviously it is called a pinch cause when the dog tries to pull the links squeeze against the skin. From the first time I put the collar on my dog i have never had to snap it to get his attention. It does not hurt him cause he waits patiently for me to put it on him before we go for walks and I can tell he is comfortable while we are walking. He just does not pull anymore. It's a great tool.

As far as socializing. It would be great if you had some sort of dog park. We have one in Baton Rouge. It's a great place to bring your dog for a chance to roam off leash with other dogs. Great for socializing. maybe a friend of yours who has a dog could join you with a walk. I like the idea of the earlier post to keep treats with you and encourage your dog to sit when around dogs with leashes. Then reward him.

That technique was actually on this tv show Barking Mad on animal planet. It was pretty much the same issue. This dog would completely freak out when other animals walked near him on leashes. They focused on getting the dogs attention adn rewarding his good behavior with treats. He soon ignored every dog out. Also, make sure you don't walk the same pattern everytime. On the show the dog was so used to his routine walk that he was leading the owner.

Walk Max in the opposite direction you usually do or take different routes. This can help establish the pack issue because YOU will be leading him.

Good luck
post #6 of 9
Pulling and pinch collars are useless on a truly headstrong dog.
What worked for Bear was a gentle leader (a halter very much as a horse wears).
Dogs do not like pressure on their muzzle and the gentle leader will apply gentle pressure just behind their nose.
It makes them self correcting.

The best way to use one with a strong dog is to attach a single leash to both the gentle leader chin ring and the pull ring of a martingale collar.
post #7 of 9
Be very, very careful if you are going to try a pinch collar. There was one dog I remember very well that was beaten with one(a resuce dog) that reacted so negatively to the sight of one that he harmed himself.

I have a 95 lb. GSP/Lab/Coonhound mix. Macey is very headstrong. She has the hunting instinct in her. I use a Halti on her when I am concerned about any chances of nipping, but, in her case, it took a long time for her to get used to it. When people see her wearing a Halti they automatically assume she bites. I bought several no-pull harnesses in Wal Mart, but was unimpressed with the results. I bought a No-Pull Trainer recently & I am very impressed with it. It was complicated for me to figure out, but it really does work. I have been looking into a easy walk harness, but they are $20 & that seems like a lot to me. This new harness I just bought works very well. It fits so that it pulls down on the dog's back(right above the front legs) & against their chest.

This is the no-pull harness I have that works really well.
It may look really simple, but to put it on the first couple of times took me forever! Maybe I was just having one of those mental relapses where my brain quits working. I paid a lot less than they want here, check around for prices.

Macey gets really exicted & strains against the leash when she sees another dog, but only because she is eager to greet them. Perhaps you Max is so happy to see other dogs that he gets overly excited? I can just imagine what you are describing because Macey does the same thing.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions. As far as leaders go, he is already fitted with a newtrix collar....it's similar to the halti, but puts the pressure on the back of the head, so it doesn't strain his neck if he suddenly lunges for something. It works well, but he'll still pull...I don't have to work hard to control him, but I'd rather he learn not to pull at all as opposed to learning to pull more gently. I've started a new technique with him which seems to work well, assuming there are no dog or loud truck distractions......I call it no pull or no walk. Basically, if he pulls on the leash at all, I immediately stop. I won't walk again until he'll allow slack in the collar without trying to take off hard again. We will walk at a good pace as long as the leash remains slack (with lots of praise) and come to a full stop if it's taunt, so he's learning that trying to get places fast actually means taking longer. It makes for a lot of stops, but between the stops he seems to be "walking nice" for longer periods than he would usually.....I was even brave enough to try it today without the newtrix lead and it was the best walk we've had using only the collar.
The treat thing is a good thought....I'll try diverting his attention and keeping him in a sit when dogs are around.
Our route does tend to be somewhat varied, but I'll make sure I keep it fresh for him.
Lastly, I'm looking into finding another dog in the area that can help him learn to socialize. I signed up on dogster and wrote a few emails, so we'll see how that pans out.
Anyway, I'm going to bed....I have an exam in the morning, I was studying all day, and Max has been a handful - grumpy, whiney and actually trying to pull up carpet. Now he's finally calmed himself down....and the bf will be doing his late walk soon, so I'm hoping he'll let me sleep well tonight. Goodnight, all.
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by white cat lover

This is the no-pull harness I have that works really well.
It may look really simple, but to put it on the first couple of times took me forever! Maybe I was just having one of those mental relapses where my brain quits working. I paid a lot less than they want here, check around for prices.
That's the harness, that I bought for Ike and it works wonderfully. I had problems. the first time I used it, too.
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