Collar Types for Soft 9 mth old Rescue

  • Collar Types for Soft 9 mth old Rescue

    Posted by Heather on July 21, 2022 at 7:03 AM

    Hello! So glad to have found this site, and grateful to this community for all the time spent helping pups & owners.

    We adopted a very sweet, submissive and SOOOOFT Mali/GDS pup about a month ago. We picked up Maeve from her foster home outside of Seattle when she was 8 mths. Her & her sister came to the Seattle area via a long route of foster homes and a transition kennel when a Texas backyard Mali breeder surrendered the unplanned litter of pups. She was crate trained and potty trained, but no other training or socialization to the big wide world (or intros with other dogs). EVERYTHING is like she’s seeing it for the first time, and highly suspicious/scared of whatever it is. BUT Maeve is an extremely loving dog & silly when she’s relaxed. She has already come so far since we’ve had her and we have LOADS of patience and empathy to allow her the space for a healthy adjustment to this busy place and us (she is still slow to warm up to alpha’esk husband). That being said, we also want to start the training when the timing is right, so she doesn’t learn bad habits in our home. Two part question:

    1. What collar should we be using to walk Maeve. We started her with a harness because she was getting so freaked out on walks and not able to enjoy a treat or love yet for reassurance. I just did lots of reintroduction and desensitization during less busy times of the day. We’ve moved on to a Martingale collar since she is starting to be more comfortable and pulling more/prey drive kicking in/etc, BUT she still gets very scared of big trucks/buses etc, pulling backward and flying around in circles and I don’t want her to feel choked while scared.

    2. When is the best time for a shy rescue Mali to receive heel training? I have only been working on loose leash training since Maeve was too nervous on walks to enjoy treats, and is only starting to now when she is relaxed (50% of the walk now). On walks I also work on the sit & wait commands when we cross roads, and we’re working on ‘leave it’ as the prey drive is picking up. Also very simple commands like sit, shake, laydown. She’s smart and picking them up quickly.

    I have so many other questions, but will start new discussion about those. :)<div><div>

    Thank you again, for being available and dedicating your time.

    Heather & Maeve


    Heather replied 1 year, 10 months ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Gerard

    July 21, 2022 at 10:16 AM

    Get rid of the harness , I think you are moving forward too fast , if she is freaking it’s overload and you are going too far too soon , work closer to home in an area that she can feel safer . I would not worry about formal training yet .

    She needs to be less fearful and more comfortable with her environment so she can actually begin to learn

  • Heather

    July 21, 2022 at 11:14 AM

    Thank you so much for the response Gerard! Happy to get rid of the harness and slow everything down. We’ll wait until she is relaxed outside of our yard and take her to quiet locations for exploring.

    • Riggan

      July 22, 2022 at 5:34 AM

      Bless you for being willing to give this socially deprived puppy the time and patience needed to give her a chance at a fabulous life! Excellent recommendation from Gerard on starting her in calmer environments. It is a fine line between not over-stimulating her and creating more fear versus coddling her. Try to find that line where she is just a tiny bit challenged but not overwhelmed. This gives her the chance to discover that she CAN handle it. Once she panics (or enters fear / flight mode), though, there is no room for learning.

      If you are in calmer environments, you can start working towards loose leash walking and eventual loose heel immediately. I start this work immediately with any puppy. First step is to teach them to orient to you. Say the puppy’s name and as soon as they look at you, run backwards to trigger the chase reaction. As soon as she reaches you, praise effusively and reward. Do this as often as you can until it is an automatic response to hearing her name. (Depending on what you plan to do with the pup, you might want to reward just looking toward you rather than an actual recall and toss the treat to the pup as soon as she looks to you. You can then use “Come” to trigger the recall response. Either way, do it lots!)

      At the same time, I also work the puppy on a long line and reward every single time the pup orients towards me even if I have not asked for it. This is reinforcing the puppy for checking in with me. Initially I don’t use any corrections. Then I will start doing a very gentle pop when the puppy puts tension on the long line and reward like crazy as soon as she turns back to me.

      I would not expect this of a pup in places where she is not comfortable or with higher levels of distraction until she fully understands the concept in calm places. Even then, I would keep it 99% positive. With Lance (very soft and fearful adopted GSD mix), I used a verbal warning “Far Enough” just before he got to the end of the lead since I wanted to avoid even gentle corrections as much as possible. Plus, I now use that when we are hiking off lead to tell him to not go any further ahead of me. But he has also progressed to understanding that he needs to slow down as soon as he feels even the lightest tension on the leash.

      The Ultimate Puppy series is a great set of videos to watch numerous times. It sounds like your pup is even softer than Siggy, so you might need to make some additional adjustments. You’ll want to do everything you can to build her confidence, but it sounds like you have experience doing that.

      • Heather

        July 22, 2022 at 7:18 AM

        Riggan, thank you so so much for this guidance! It’s excatly what I need. Maeve is going to be a fantastic member of society with the right amount of patience, love and work. I deeply appreciate the directions to helpp us get her there.

        thank you thank you thank you!

  • Ben

    July 21, 2022 at 2:10 PM

    Pup is probably going to be a maniac on the leash for a while. I started on loosh leash walking with my GSD around 11 months, introduced casual heeling around 12 months. When he was a puppy my focus was on building his confidence and our relationship. Play was the #1 thing. Once you get the puppy playing you can bring that play into the areas that are scary, and that’ll help get there confidence up.

    • Heather

      July 21, 2022 at 3:15 PM

      Thank you Ben! All this is so helpful. Our last rescue came to us when he was 2 and had been trained up in all ways except good socialization, which we did with him. This puppy timeline info is awesome! I also watched Robert’s timeline video. I’ll just assume Maeve is like a much bigger 12 week old 🙂

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