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I need help with Sudden Stops

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by Ron Atkinson, May 22, 2022.

  1. Ron Atkinson

    Ron Atkinson Premium Member

    Oct 5, 2019
    Sugarcreek, Ohio
    Tonight on our walk I hit the ground hard. This is not the first time so we made it home and I bandaged my boo boos :(.
    When Teddy and I go walking he has his harness on and I use a retractable leash.
    The problem is, in this setup Teddy is free to explore and has freedom of choice. While I prefer a slow and steady pace. He has started the habit of sudden stopping right in front of me to smell flowers or checking out the squirrels which throws me off balance and I fall on purpose sorta so I don't flatten him like a pancake. I don't want to injure him just because I am extra large. He does give me the look that says what are you doing down here again after I hit the ground.
    Has anyone else dealt with the sudden stop or have ideas on how to get him to stop the habit would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA
    I would definitely stop using a retractable leash and use a martingale collar for walks to train Teddy. I used to say that Gavin walked me. he knew exactly how far away from me he could be before the tension on the leash started to pull on his collar (harnesses aren't as responsive). A retractable leash takes away the line of communication....it'll take time for Teddy to learn (or re-learn) that.
  3. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    I agree with Cindy. Retractable leashes are the pits. Besides issues like yours, I know of too many dogs that have gotten loose with them and injured or trapped. A martingale with a good leather or nylon leash will give you more control and be safer for both of you.

    it would also be a good idea to teach Teddy to walk at your side so he isn’t right in front of you. I’d do this with treats to start. Carry one in your hand on the side you want him on. Praise and treat until he learns. We teach the show dogs to always be on our left that way. We can’t have you getting hurt, Ron!
  4. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    Yep, agree with Cindy and Ann! Keep yourself safe!
    Liam was so fearful when I started walking him. Some people came up behind us and Liam freaked out and bolted in front of me and I took a tumble on the cement walkway! Ouch!
    So, I understand your problem!
    I have trained Liam to heal now!
  5. KarenCurtis

    KarenCurtis Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    I was going to say exactly what Ann said. I did this with both my dogs, using treats. Practice every time you walk the dog, lots of treats to the side. I also taught them to sit at my side luring with a treat if they tried to get in front of me.
  6. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Moderator

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I also agree with everyone else, teaching Teddy heel can help you not just in the walking but anytime you needed him to get back to you quickly. Heel isn’t just for walking, it’s a position so when you say heel and the dog is several feet away it can get them back to your side. I have one retractable leash I only use with Piper and this is because he’s my best dog on a walk...when you have mobility issues using a retractable leash can get you in trouble fast. While it may never have happened to you it could easily get wrapped around your legs, if you drop the handle the noise it makes could panic the dog. Best to switch to a 6 foot leash (I prefer leather, it feels better in the hand) and let him walk beside you. He can still smell and get exercise and maybe when he’s better trained you can switch back. Any obedience classes in your area?
    Good luck, while my dogs don’t do this on a walk they do it all the time in the house! They stop in front of me and when I say move they back up!:ROFLMAO:
  7. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Something I teach in classes is always treat, pat, praise your dog next to you rather than in front. This is doubly so if you have balance issues (like me) or have a small dog. It's never too late to get a dog used to that idea (although it gets harder as they get older). He probably stops in front because he wants you to see him or he wants to keep an eye on your hands, even if he's just stopping to sniff. Anyway, time to take treats and start getting him to 'check in' with you by returning to your side to get a treat, rather than stopping in front. You can also regularly toss a treat on the ground at your side to get him coming back for random good things. You might want to take some of his daily food allowance because you're going to need to treat on walks a lot to break the bad habits.
    Sharon7, Ann, Calliesmom and 5 others like this.
  8. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    I just hate retractable leashes. I know it gives the dog more freedom but I think they are a menace. I got rope burn around my legs from someone's dog that we met on a walk years ago. Definitely teach heeling, on your left side, as everyone above has said. Gotta keep you safe, Ron!!
  9. GlennR

    GlennR Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2019
    Ontario, Canada
    I won't go so far as to claim harnesses coupled with retractable leads are the way to go but I use them with great success with Willow. She is well trained to heel but not just to the left. I trained her for both sides and she knows the command to switch sides. As we're not in competition I trained her to accommodate foot traffic coming from either side and to switch as commanded.

    I tried a variety of harnesses to find the one I have presently which, so far, has proven to be reliable. As there is no place to run her other than the dog parks which we often have to skip as not all the dogs using them are safe playmates. I rely on the retractable lead to allow her to get in two or three times more travel than when heeling by my side.

    Willow stops at random when not at heel so I know what you're coping with. I encourage her to go to the side so I'm not at risk of tripping over my furry lump. With a strong recall, a solid heel and a steady STAY or WAIT we haven't had any incidents for a while.

    A harness allows pulling force to be spread out over a good size section of the dog. A martingale used properly is a fantastic training tool but with an inexperienced or poor handler they can pull sharply on a dog's neck. In any case, it is always true that you need to know your dog and the equipment you use on them.

    Here's one comparison but I'm sure you could find many on both sides of the preference. https://bornforpets.com/2021/06/29/martingale-collar-vs-harness/
  10. Ron Atkinson

    Ron Atkinson Premium Member

    Oct 5, 2019
    Sugarcreek, Ohio
    Thanks Glenn, I use a harness made by EZE Dog and a retractable lead hooked to the back of the harness.I use the backpack attachment point so we don't forget poop bags. He does relatively good but occasionally he sudden stops for whatever he finds interesting. I just don't want to trip or fall on him like you said. Thanks again I appreciate your ideas I will work on right hand heels more :)
    Ann, Piper's mom, Sandy in CT and 2 others like this.

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