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Getting Bailey to Heel

Bailey's mom

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Hi -- We've been taking Bailey to obedience school (he just turned 1 in July), but; still he still pulls and pants like we are choking him. Any hints from anyone who has taught their Cairn to walk nicely.

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I've been taking Sophie, our 16 month old, to obedience since July 18th and she still pulls more than most of the other dogs, although I think she is doing much better than before we started. I usually take her for a 1 mile walk in the a.m. just before we leave for the training session so that she can work off some of that early morning energy. I'm not sure that she will ever be as good at the Heel as some other dogs, but I think a lot of that has to do with her being a Cairn. The larger dogs ( a couple of yellow Labs) are of course better at Heel, but I expected that. There is also a Yorkie, and a mixed-breed Spaniel of some sort and Sophie does at least as well or better than either of them. So I guess we are somewhere in the middle and I can accept that for now. The trainers keep stressing that they are "training the people, and that the people must train the dogs". It is just going to take lots and lots of repitition.

Jim, Connie, Bailey & Sophie


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Try this on your next walk. It worked like a charm for Barney, and he is a real handful to say the least! When you start off walking and he starts pulling, stop walking and stand still. Give him NO slack on the leash. Wait until he stops or sits and looks at you. Then start walking. If he pulls immediately again, stop walking again and stand still. You may need to do this 6 or 8 times when you start out, but he will get the picture after that! The more you practice this training technique, the fewer stops you will need to make.

With Barney, it only takes 2 or 3 stops before he starts heeling nicely. Before, it was many more! Do you look like a goof when you walk this way? Yes, at first! Will your dog learn to stop pulling? YES!

Now granted, a rabbit in the grass will make Barney bolt, and if someone is walking by he MUST go and greet them, but he goes right back to heel with a firm snap of the leash. At my dog training class, the final test of this technique was walking the dog with the leash in the left hand and a spoon with a ping-pong ball on it in the other hand! Don't want to brag, but Barney got first place in this! Don't tell anyone, but it wasn't because he was such a good walker....he had his eyes GLUED to that ball, waiting for it to drop so he could snatch it! Oh well......

Good luck!!

All creatures great and small, the Lord God, He made them all!

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as far as pulling on walks go...he tries to lead b/c he thinks he is the leader of the pack. you have to show him that you are the leader. starting with walking out the door to take him for a walk or going potty you must walk out first and something with coming back. Dont give him enough leash to lead. only let him have enough to be by your side. I had similar problem with my 2nd dog scotty I also would use a choke change and position it at the top of the next rather than the bottom its more sensitive there and normally they get it pretty quickly that they are not allowed to pull.

if you cant get your dog to sit like barneys mom suggested you can step on the leash which forces him to sit or try the clicker with food but you eventually faze out the food so it s not like hes doing the behavior just for the food.

Edited by Nicole Kristen


Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really." - Carlotta Monterey O'Neill

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You may need to use a harness rather than a collar. Also walk in the street by the curb. DO NOT let them stop for bathroom breaks or smelling. Keep them out of the grass.This is a walk where YOU are in control.

Edited by Aurora5000

You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.

-Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)

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Cairn Terrierists

It's because cats simply can't be trusted for heavy lifting & dirty work required in the war on terrior.

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Try a collar called a gentle leader. Your trainer will be able to help explain how it works (and how to put it on). We used it for a short period with Brody and he stopped pulling. We also use the technique Barneys Mom described.

Our trainer said halters were the exact wrong type of collar for a dog that pulls. A halter gives all the power to the dog. They definitely won't pant, but they will pull more.

You could also try a Martingale collar. Properly sized and fitted, they discourage pulling.

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:surrender: Thanks so much for all responses. Feel like there is some hope now. We are headed for a Bluegrass Festival and Bailey is with his babysitter for the weekend. As soon as we return we will start immediately with all the hints. As seniors, who were accustomed to a very well behaved little girl (A 12 year old Greyhound who we had for 10 years) Bailey is sure a challenge, but; a good lovable little guy. We are confident that once we get the walk down he will be a great dog. We also have to get him to calm down when people come to the door. The problem there is, people tend not to listen to us when we ask them to ignore him until he calms down and pet him as a reward when he does. :whistle: guess we'll have to train our friends and family next LOL Thanks again. Will let you know how we're progressing when we try our new ideas.
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