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Categories: Basic Obedience

Q. Our 9 week old Malinois puppy lies down or bites the leash when we try to get him to walk with us. The more we pull the more aggravated the situation gets. Your advice would be appreciated.
I have a 9 week old male Belgian Malinois and have had him for 10 days. We have purchased the Leerburg DVD Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. That DVD recommends that young puppies are on lead with a harness (not a no pull) instead of a control collar.

We are having a problem with this. The puppy, Eli, has learned to lie down in order to avoid following the lead and given the chance, he will grab the leash in his mouth without ever getting up. As a result, we are having a difficult time controlling him. We think he is beginning to exhibit some stress in relation to this. He doesn't mind putting the harness on. The more we pull on the leash, the more aggravated the situation gets.

We have used positive control collars on our Dobes in the past and have not had trouble leash training any of them. We are trying to use the Leerburg harness method but are having difficulty controlling Eli on lead.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

A. He's only 9 weeks old and this is an extremely common issue with puppies of this age. I would use high value food to lure the puppy when he's on leash. I would redirect him to the food if he wants to bite the leash. I would use my movement to encourage him to follow. Pulling on the lead only reinforces that the puppy should resist (opposition reflex). I believe you already have this video The Power of Training with Food.

We use harnesses on our puppies but that doesn't mean you have to do so. There are many ways to raise and train pups, we simply demonstrate the methods we currently use & have success with. If you want to use a collar that is certainly an option (although I don't know what a positive control collar is?).

I might also recommend the video, Relationship Games for You & Your Dog. It may help with his aversion to restraint.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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