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Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Dogs in the hills - Help/advice


Postby Beaner001 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:33 am

Hi, I currently have 2 x Springer Spaniels (1 year and 21 months) and they are great on the hill except wonder a bit far for my liking and pull when on the leads.
Therefore I am really looking for tips in keeping them closer to me when walking as all the smells and sounds make them want to wonder a bit far from me. Also when they have to go onto the leads where sheep/goats appear and the mist comes down they pull like trains which makes for uncomfortable walking.

Note that they are fine on the leads and stay close when off in everyday Urban Life.
Thanks,
Matt
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby StevieC » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:08 pm

I don't have any answers but I do sympathise. I sometimes go out on the hills with a shih-tzu who spends most of his life lying on the couch having his tummy tickled, but as soon as he smells a sheep he turns into a crazy thing and can't wait to get at them! :lol:
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby Sgurr » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:07 pm

IT depends on the dogs I suppose. I don't have one, so am a bit nervous taking daughter's two dogs for a walk, They are fine going outward, but on the return have once bolted back to where they thought she was....luckily our house. I now have a magic stick, one of the ones that they have found on the beach. I throw it from time to time going outwards, and then hold it in my hand coming back. They follow me through all temptations waiting to see if I am going to throw it again. I don't know if yours would be that stupid, or if it would work over a very long walk.
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby Joshm » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:51 pm

As Sgurr above says it's about finding what works for you dog(s). My 2 are greedy buggers so I have a whistle and I've trained them to come to me when they hear the whistle to get a treat. If yet to come across something interesting enough for them to ignore the whistle!

One of mine loves sticks and toys so if I just had her then I'd keep a few toys in my bag to tempt her back with but my other dog isn't fussed about toys so toys aren't completely reliable with my 2.
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby Caberfeidh » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:36 pm

Put harnesses on them and they can tow you up the hill; in winter harness them to a sled and they can tow you for miles over the frozen tundra of the Cairngorms!

Nansen_Johansen_depart_14_March_1895 with Caberfeidh#2.jpg
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby OpenC » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:28 pm

I never met a dog that didn't respond to food. Start with long leads and a pocket full of (small) biscuits. Let them stretch their leads to the fullest, call them back and give them a biscuit. Do it again, at random intervals between 30 seconds and ten minutes over the course of a four or five hour walk. Next time you're out, only give them a biscuit every other call back. Then one in three, etc. And tone of voice is important; low, quick and growled is more effective and they won't see you as aggressive (although other walkers might), just giving a command. Spaniels love to work and to be directed. It's also useful to be able to speak to more than one of them at a time. When I call mine "dogs", they know I mean all of them.

I have three cockers (albeit working dogs from good stock which I would have been disappointed if they didn't behave) and I can just about call all of them back every time with only this very basic training. They don't bother with sheep or other livestock, and I rarely if ever have to put them on a lead at all these days.. except when, for example, parking on a layby next to the A9 :) When I reached the stage when farmers and landowners would happily drive straight past me on quads with the dogs sat next to me leadless and still waiting to be told to move, I knew I had made it. Took a while, but was worth it. Although I suspect that the bloke whose coffee Lola drank on top of Blencathra has still not forgiven her :)
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby Beaner001 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:57 am

Thanks all, will just have to be patient with them, probably expecting too much for their young age.
Haha Caberfeidh, i wonder how long they'd last before insubordination!! Wouldn't want to get into a Mawson/Mertz situation in the middle of the Gorms!!!
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby nmaaria » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:20 am

Actually, using the dogs to help going uphill (and on flat) works well and they really seem to enjoy the pulling. Even mine, who aren't really the breed meant for the task (great danes). In here (Finland) the dogs must be kept on a leash in national parks and also in most of the other areas as well so mine are used to it. Only when going downhill and on rougher/slippery terrain they need to be told to follow behind to keep it safe. I use canicross type of equipment (waist belt for me, flexible leashes and harnesses for the dogs) to make it comfortable for all of us and also to keep my hands free. And with this setup the occasional harder pulling isn't too bad as it's easier to use the whole body weight instead of just arms to control the dogs. Still, when possible I let them run free and they respond to a whistle if I need them to come back to me - something I taught them pretty much the way described earlier by OpenC.
...I envy you in Scotland, would be nice to have the dogs running free more (without breaking any laws). :)
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby Moobli » Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:38 pm

Your choice of breed is hampering you a little, in that you have springer spaniels who are bred to range away from the handler and "spring" game from the undergrowth. Most spaniels I know are ruled by their noses - hence why they pull on the lead and range further away than you may want (hunting). However, there are a great many spaniels who are working gundogs and who will walk to the heel of their handler when not quartering and working. It is all about training which requires a great deal of patience and consistency. Training using small treats is great for heel work, as is clicker or marker training (basically marking the point where the dog is walking next to you with either a specific word or a click and a treat).
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby Beaner001 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:01 pm

Hi nmaaria and Moobli, thanks for taking the time to respond. :clap:
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Re: Dogs in the hills - Help/advice

Postby bdearg » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:17 am

just clean up after u or make them go further than 10cm from the paths edge was up lawers and after about 1000yards needed to take socks of to count the piles of cack (and here is where I want to swear but wont) I had 3 dogs at one time and picked up after them.Its not the dogs fault...........just clean up please!!!!!!!!
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