My Rottweiler Leads ME
While Taking HER On Walks.

by Yalise
(Pasadena C)

Okay, I rescued my Rottie, Brownie, at 6 months, after she escaped from her home. But my brother's friends were her owners and were going to give her to me anyways, so I didn't think it was a problem.

My Rottie is purebred and is turning 2 years old on October 6. She is obedient and has excelled in other tricks and things she should know except this, and also potty training which I need help with too.

When walking, she pulls, but I pull her back and try again. I'm not a adult and walk with my mom. When I walk her and she pulls, I bring her back, try again and it doesn't work. My mom tries and she pulls my mom!

So I want to know how to train her for this and potty training,

Thanks !


Answer From the Editors at Dog-Spoiling

Leash training can be a long and frustrating process, particularly if it is not started at the puppy stage. In the case of your Rottweiler, it appears that she wasn't trained by her former family because she doesn't know what's expected of her on the leash.

Luckily she is still quite young and since you say she has done well learning other basics, she just needs to be taught the desired behavior.

Pulling on a walk is pretty common behavior because most dogs can't wait to get going and explore all the exciting stuff out there. But, as you have discovered, it's hard to manage a powerful dog without proper leash training, so we're very glad you took the time to seek help with this very important part of dog training.

Leash training isn't really that difficult, but when started late it can take more time. Three words to keep in mind as you begin training your Rottie are: patience, practice and consistency. If an owner remains dedicated to a proven plan, success will be achieved.

So let's begin - we're going to begin at a very basic level. I recommend the use of a clicker during training (see the links below). Brownie may progress quickly through the following stages, but it is important to cover them because she doesn't appear to have a proper orientation to the leash.

Start by spending a few days letting your dog walk around the house with her collar and leash attached (just use a regular collar and leash - no medieval contraptions). If during this time, she comes and walks alongside you, give her a click and some praise.

Then move this same activity to the outside - as in the back yard - just walking around together, leash left to drag on the ground. Just as inside the home, when she walks alongside you, repeat the click/praise and give a treat. Repeat these walkies several times a day, but keep them short.

After a day or so - still in the back yard, start picking up the leash and when she stays by your side, or at any time she looks up at you, click and praise/treat.

The idea is to get her to connect the dots between the desired leash behavior and the positive reinforcement she receives for that behavior - the praise or a treat.

When you start getting results around home, you can take the training to the streets - preferably quiet streets with fewer distractions to begin with. Don't forget your clicker to "mark" the desired behavior, plus the treats to reward.

Initially during street walking, you will no doubt need additional tactics to teach your dog that you expect the same leash behavior out in the world as at home.

It's inevitable that the old pulling habits will resurface, so this is what you should do when this happens: STOP walking. This will get some kind of reaction from your dog, but don't start walking again if she keeps tugging. Wait until she loosens the leash or returns to where you are and then "mark" this desired behavior with a click/praise/treat.

Don't pull your dog back or get into a tug of war with her.

As your walk progresses, repeat your "stopping" routine every time your dog starts trying to control the walk by dragging you along. At first, this may involve a lot of "stopping", but be patient and stick with it.

Another tactic you can use when she pulls, is to stop and change direction. She will then have to catch up to you and when she comes alongside: Click it.

Remember this, when a dog is allowed to pull you around on a walk, she is learning that tugging gets her what she wants, or where she wants to go!

What you want her to learn is that ONLY by staying at your side, does she get her a nice walk with you! Rottweilers are known for being very devoted to family so their instinct is to want to please you - a real plus when training.

A couple of other tips:

Don't use a retractible leash during training, or a prong style collar at any time.

Some owners have good luck with the Gentle Leader Dog Harness for leash training big, strong dogs.

Getting your dog's attention usually works best if she is hungry, i.e. training before meal times, or tired, after a energetic playtime. But keep those training treats small!

Here are some other articles on the site that have more training help for leash walking:

Clicker Training

Getting Your Dog's Attention

As for your potty training problem, please read this page which has a complete plan to follow.

Lastly, Rottweilers need a lot of training and socialization. It can be fun to train your dog, plus a real bonding experience between the two of you!

You can learn from the pros how to solve bad dog habits, as well as the best techniques for teaching all the necessary dog training commands in this excellent training resource.

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