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dog training —

Help walking a large dog

Here's Askim, who is learning how to walk without pulling-Cute!



 After about of month of visits at a foster home, we have adopted Askim.  Askim is a large white male dog that had his ears cut off when he was a puppy.  He had been abused.  He has been to a few homes and is now in his 4th year of life.  We adopted him because we were looking for an older dog.  He is very good as far as being in the home, housetrained, very loving. My husband and son walk him and Askim does need some refreshing on this.  I can\’t walk him because he is too big and strong for me at the moment.  Do you have any suggestions on this besides weight training for my arms LOL!!

Thank you,  Laura


Julie’s Answer:

Hi Laura!

That’s wonderful you have rescued a older dog!  They can be wonderful companions.  Have you heard of a Gentle Leader Head Collar?  They are absolutely amazing tools for walking large, strong dogs.  I’ve had many clients who couldn’t walk their large dogs and when they tried this they were instantly walking them, even children can walk large dogs with this.  It is a HEAD collar, not a neck collar so it gives you control over the whole dog when you have control over their head.  Dog’s necks are very strong which is why it is so hard to walk a dog using neck collars.  IT IS NOT A MUZZLE.  It may look a bit like one, but dogs can eat, drink, bark, etc with one; it is just a head collar.

 On the first walk or two it can feel a little messy.  Don’t give up on it though because the reward is WELL worth it.  I’ve helped hundreds of clients with this gentle leader who have had life changing experiences being able to walk dogs well (without pulling) for the first time in their lives.  If you can just get past that messy stage initially they will understand they HAVE to accept it and you will both be happier on the walk.  Just keep your goal in mind and don’t give up.  Don’t let them take it off and then give up, or they will win and think they have a choice.  It should be your decision to remove it.  I find it helpful to take it off right away when you stop, so they don’t have the chance to remove it.  Remember, it will get easier and eventually they’ll be able to hang out with it on even and leave it alone.  It is NOT harmful or hurting them. In fact, quite the opposite, studies show that it pushes on certain pressure points in the head that can be calming. 

Get the Gentle Leader fitted properly before you even begin the walk, you can have someone give a treat while you distract them to fit it well.  Once you get the fit right you can try to go out on the walk.  Expect that your dog may buck like a horse, tear at it with their paws, rub on your leg to get it off, etc..this is all common behavior at first.  They are not used to the feeling yet.  Let your dog know they do NOT have the choice to take it off.  Your goal on the first walk is to keep them moving (sometimes jogging can help for the first couple times) and EVERY TIME they try to remove it you quickly stop them, “No, Leave it” with a stern commanding sound and physically removing her paws from her face, etc…work quickly…then begin to move again. 

 I also find it helpful to mentally prepare yourself before attempting it for the first time.  The first attempt you should do it at a time you feel strong and are not too tired.  Think of someone who you admire that is REALLY strong both physically and especially mentally and pretend you are that person.  Go into the walk being that person.  You have strength and determination and you will NOT fail.  I KNOW you can do it!

 Good luck!  You are really going to enjoy the results!



Do-it-yourself Dog Training

Does your dog pull you down the street, jump on people who come to visit, or behave in other embarrassing ways? No matter how educated or successful we may be in our life we can sometimes come up short when it comes to understanding how to train our dog. You are not alone! Luckily there is a lot of information out there today that can help us learn to understand our dogs better so that we may be better equipped to train them well.

Imagine being able to take your dog down a busy street and meet your friend at an outdoor café while your dog lies quietly next to you. Imagine going camping while your dog happily plays off-leash nearby and knowing at any moment you could call them back and they would come to you. This is all possible and you can learn how to train your dog yourself!

Training your dog on your own may seem like a big task but it can be a very rewarding one. There are a lot of benefits to doing it yourself too, one of the most important being that your dog will respect YOU and listen to YOU, not just the dog trainer. The process of teaching your dog obedience can bond your relationship even tighter. And, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment if you do-it-yourself! It will also save you hundreds of dollars and you and your dog will be happier!

To begin training your dog you must first meet their energy needs through daily physical exercise. A tired dog is a good dog! Then you’ll also want to teach your dog some obedience training, which is a way to communicate what you expect of them in a way they understand. It gives you the tools to do so and it replaces behavior you don’t want with behavior you like! So, for example your dog is jumping on your newly arrived guests; you instead train him to sit quietly to receive attention.

Your dog really does want to please you and when they don’t it is usually a result of one of two reasons; either they don’t truly understand your needs, or you have not met their physical and mental needs first.

The keys to having a well-trained, happier dog:
v Meet your dog’s physical and mental needs first through exercise, obedience, play and affection.
v Create personal training goals and stay consistent with your expectations of your dog. Your dog will be as consistent as you are.

It is important to learn these techniques well in order to be successful. A great resource to help guide you through the process is a website called It is a unique idea in dog training that is catching on fast as people discover its benefits. It gives you the tools to help you understand your dog better, techniques on how to do obedience training the right way, and even personal guidance from a professional trainer who was even a former service dog trainer! All of this is done on your schedule because you can learn it all from any computer.

A well-trained dog is a happier dog because they get to spend more time with you!

Julie Bjelland Lokhandwala is a Popular Dog Trainer and Freelance Writer. She has written an insightful dog-training program that is featured on her unique, interactive Dog Training Web site at: The site allows dog owners to ask Julie any question about their dog through her personal, one-on-one consultations.

Please Help! Fear Aggression!

Subject: Please Help! Fear Aggression!
Dear Julie,
I have a very sweet 4 month old foster puppy. She was rescued probably about 2 weeks ago and, though once she’s used to you, she’s awesome, she has fear aggression! I was with my last foster yesterday and my new foster was there too and she showed her teeth, curled her lip, tucked her tail and backed away yelping and growling. What should I do?! She is also nervous around new people, so suggestions for helping her get through that would be awesome too. No one who comes to visit her is going to want her if she is scared of them and fear aggressive! Please help me! She is very people loving and good with dogs when she knows them, but if she doesn’t they’re big , scary monsters! PLEASE, HELP!

Hello Colleen,
It’s great what you are doing; I applaud you for your efforts with rescue dogs! Good for you! With fear, it is important to create more confidence in the dog. Through obedience training you can do that. Dogs also can feel overwhelmed in our human world so it is important to make them feel secure by taking the position of leader. If a dog feels there is a secure, confident leader taking care of things around them, then they don’t feel that they have to be the ones to control everything. By becoming your dogs leader, and being in charge of the surroundings, including new dogs and new people, your dog will learn to trust your judgment and not feel so scared.
Obedience training also helps establish your leadership role with the dog as well.

For fearful dogs, use high value treats (small bits of food that your dog goes crazy for-like cooked chicken breast, or deli meats). Ask your dog to sit before you feed them their meal, then treat for the sit. Ask your dog to sit before getting pet, then treat for the sit and pet them. The idea here is that several times throughout the day you ask something of your dog and reward them for doing it. What that does is boost their self-confidence. Make it fun and rewarding for you dog. If they are showing signs of fear, try to divert their attention and ask them to perform some obedience, like sits or downs for example, then reward for doing the task.

Also, make sure you are not petting your dog when they are showing signs of fear or aggression or else you will be rewarding that behavior. They should only be receiving praise and attention from you when they are in a positive, calm state.

Don’t force other dogs and new people on your dog at this point. Try to do things at a distance that they are comfortable with. Say for example they show fear at 200 feet from the person or dog; then do some obedience at 250 feet from it, rewarding with those high value treats. Then, over time, try to work up to going closer, each time measuring their level of fear. If done correctly, your dog will begin to change the association of fear when they see the object to pleasure, because they’ll be receiving these nice treats and pleasing you, their leader.

Over time, you should be able to get closer and closer to the object of fear while the dog is still maintaining a level of confidence and security. You must read your dog and work at their pace. It is also important that you maintain a feeling of calm confidence. If you feel worried, scared, or anything negative your dog will feel that from you and either not trust you or the situation. So, do it at a pace you are both comfortable with.

Keep up the good work!
I have so much information on my training website: everything from beginning obedience to advance training, dealing with behavior problems and understanding a dogs mind on my site. I think you’d find a lot of value in the site and I’d be there to help you along the way should you need it.

I hope the information above has been helpful to you! Let me know how it goes and if you need anything else!

Thank you SO much! That is very helpful! I will try those suggestions with her! Looks like a great website, I think I’ll join! Thanks again! Colleen