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Old 07-26-2009, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Whining? Teaching the "heel" command.

I have a 14 week old black lab, his name is Kado. He's typical to his breed sweet as pie and once you have fallen for it turns into a hyperactive monster that stops for nothing.

One of the issues we have with him is whining. He doesn't whine when we leave him alone or put him in his crate but only when we go for walks or take him swimming! He will whine when we are walking to the park and he is on his leash and then we will take him off his leash and he will still whine as he is playing. When we take him to the creek nearby he runs straight into the water but will whine as he is walking along or swimming in the deeper parts.

I have considered it may be because he is in pain but he doesn't do it when he is running around in the backyard and he has regular vet check ups. I just don't understand why he does it. Any advice?

He is also horrible at walking on his leash and at the rate the little monster is growing I really want to get this under control now so I don't end up having to get reconstructive surgery on my shoulder in a few years because he keeps pulling!! Can someone point me in a direction to get an idea of how to go about teaching him to heel and walk on a leash properly please. I have searched but can't seem to come up with it.

I may add to this with some more of our "issues" later on.

Here's the little monster!

and when we first chose him at 5 weeks old! I miss him being this small!

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Old 07-26-2009, 04:13 AM   #2
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Hello & welcome to df. He's gorgeous.

I don't know why he would be whining, it's usually a staffy trait. lol.

As to the pulling, that's something that should be taught from the very 1st walk. There are a number of methods to try as no 2 dogs are the same. I can relate to the torn shoulder as I have one from my previous bc yanking at the end of the lead whenever she saw another dog running or jumping at agility & obedience training.

There's the 1 step method where you only take one large step saying 'lets go' & stop. Pup will be enthusiastic to go for a walk but you wait until he loosens the lead & sits or drops, give a treat/praise. Repeat, repeat, repeat until he sits automatically. Now its time to take 2 steps. Continue in this way adding another step when he sits auto. By the time your up to 6 steps he should be sitting when you stop 1st time.

Another way is the red light, green light method. Simply you walk when the lead is loose & stop when it's tight. I've been using this method with my bc & although she doesn't drag me down the street, she will pull when she gets the chance & I've been doing it for over a year. The main thing is to be consistent. Let them get away with pulling just once & you've undone all the good work you've done previously.

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Old 07-26-2009, 07:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response!

My immediate reaction on our first walk with him was to do the red light green light method but he just was not picking up on it and I stopped. Although, after reading this I have tried it this morning just when walking him from the backyard to the bedroom and he is picking up on it already which doesn't suprise me he picks up n everything SOOOO quickly.

On to the whining though I was wondering if it's possible he does it because he is over excited or over stimulated? It's not a HUGE problem I just really want to make sure it is not something that is detrimental to him.

And another question how can I encourage him to settle down in the house? When we bring him inside he goes CRAZY and we can't have that in the house there are too many ways he can get hurt. Any suggestions?

Lately we have been putting him in his crate until he settles down but as soon as we let him out he is running around in circles again! We have stopped him from jumping on furniture and chasing the cat but he still goes crazy.

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Old 07-26-2009, 08:33 PM   #4
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Oh those pictures of Kado when he was tiny are adorable!

Great advice from April!

I have a whiner too and I've simply gotten used to it. Zircon whines at everything. Instead of barking to ask to come up on the bed, he whines. If he wants to go out, he whines. And he has a special when when he sees our cat (it's as if he's saying the "cat" in some obscure language.) I'd check the body language and if it's normal I wou;dn't worry about the whining.

About getting him to settle down in the house good luck! If he knows the "sit" command, have him "sit" when you come inside. This will usually help them calm down and focus on sitting (as opposed to running around the house). Your best bet is to give him the opportunity to burn off some of that puppy energy when he's outside.

Good luck!
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:46 PM   #5
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He is sweet looking boy. He might be a bit insecure at things, needs to buld some faith in what he is doing or going to do.?

Heeling or fuss in German is taught on a short loose leash on left knee, keep the dogs attention to your chest if your working for obedience, if not forget that and go forward small relaxed steps. NO tension on the lead, loose relaxed and your arm the same, posture errect small confident steps ahead. Reward with good boy keep going....

If he pulls, stop, sit command for few seconds, and start again, time steps small and confident on your part with relaxed arm. You can do a turn 360 to reverse if he is pulling, but I do not do that to mine. I am working with very high drive import Shepherd pups and they know to sit in front of me for the command given. Sitz for beginning left side always at your knee, then fuss or heel forward slowly, relax and keep your head up, walk tall and easy. Talk calmly to him while walking so he starts to enjoy his walks.

Make them short at first until he learns to relax also. Then procede to longer ones of fun. Never use a loud command on leash for a pet dog. Especially when timid to begin with, he is some confused yet, he will come, but make lessons short at first, buld confidence slowly, I work with work/show West lines of Shepherds from Germany from titled parents. Very high drive, the more the easier to train if patience and love it accompanying the training sessions. Good luck to you, if you need further assistance shout for me......

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Old 07-27-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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I think what you are seeing is what we call "leaking". Some dogs with very high play drive "leak" noise in their excitement. One of my females does the same thing as soon as she knows she is going to work. The whining is annoying, but it shows me she is excited, and I have learned to work with it. I have a male who barks all the way to the training field even while he is in basic heeling position from the truck, all the way to the set up. Then, he calms down. If I walk too slowly, as he sees it, during the heeling, he will whine for me to speed up.

"Leaking" can also occur with a pup that is figuring things out. Remember, as a young pup with his mom, if he made certain whines, she responded to find out what his issue was. Some mom dogs ignore the behavior and the pup learns it does not get them any kind of response. Other mom's, typically new mom dogs, respond to every whine, which teaches the pup whining gets me what I want.

I have learned to ignore the behavior in one of my dogs, and in the other, I have learned to show him how to cap that leak, so that he doesn't blow off all his energy before we begin training.

I have seen some pretty over the top high drive dogs in competition who "leak" through the whole routine. When whining doesn't produce the reward (in competition you can't use food or toys as reward) the "leaking" increases to a downright demanding bark. It is humorous to watch, but I know some handlers who aren't amused by it.

You have three choices, you can ignore it, (which will cause the behavior to increase, until it lessens, once the pup learns it gets him nothing), you can reward the quiet walking, or you can teach the dog when it is okay to whine. With rewarding the quiet walking, often owners make the mistake of trying to teach two things at once. That only confuses the dog. Either decide you want to work on heeling nicely, and do that until it is good, or work on walking quietly, rewarding that behavior. Once that works, then go and tackle the heeling. In teaching the dog when to whine, it is similar to teaching the dog to "speak". You teach speak, and reward speak for the command. Then you reward when you can shut off the speak, using the quiet command. It takes more time teaching the quiet on the whine, because that is in most cases a learned behavior. It is rewarded by the mom, then usually the new owner.

Does any of that make sense?
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:34 AM   #7
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I think your 3 main issues here all have the same root cause. Your dog gets hyper, causing whining, pulling and not settling in the house. Normal for a lab puppy, but I would keep up with what you're doing to curb it. Hopefully each part of what you're doing will build on the other, and soon he'll be more calm in all the situations. At dog class, they suggested that I have Lexi "stay" for 2 minutes, twice a day to help with her focus and calming her down. Seemed to help, though probably shorter than that is appropriate for a pup.

good luck

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Old 07-30-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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Hi i cannot comment on the leash training as we are still struggling with this one. i'm reading the responses with interest. Tia is nearly 16 weeks old, she's a chocolate lab and she did all that whining a while back. we thought it was a confidence issue when she was in a big open space. we found it helped if we stood or sat still with her for a while to let her get used to the environment, after a little while she would wander off and play. she doesn't do it very much now, lot's of praise and enocuragement should help too. oh and i love the pictures, she is just so adorbale! Di

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Old 07-30-2009, 03:39 PM   #9
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I agree with Haus. This is "leaky drive." All of my high drive working shelties have "leaky drive." In shelties, it comes out as barking, although Aslan will whine when going through the weaves (in agility) because he just can't weave FAST enough to suit him.

I don't try to extinguish leaky drive in my dogs, but you may wish to work on it with your dog. I'd choose rewarding for quiet behavior myself.
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