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Doesn't want to go for walks

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by lulubel, Aug 22, 2013.


  1. lulubel

    lulubel PetForums Senior

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    I started taking Jimmy (nearly 15 weeks) for walks about 10 days ago. I know this is quite late, but he was ill and his jabs were delayed.

    We'd already been practicing walking on the lead in the garden, and he was getting the hang of it, and to start with everything went fairly well. I allowed him plenty of time to sniff everything, listen to noises, etc, and gave him lots of encouragement, and praise and treats when he walked along nicely next to me.

    I've been trying to mix things up on our walks, so he spends most of the time going at his own pace on his extendable lead, and I let him wander around and sniff things as much as he wants. Then I add in the odd 30-60 seconds here and there where I encourage him to walk along beside me and ignore all the interesting smells. The result of this is that walks can take as long as 40 minutes at times, even though the distance we cover would take 10 - 15 minutes if I was walking on my own.

    Recently, he's started to be reluctant to set out from home. He'll sit in the lane and refuse to budge. I started out going a little way ahead of him, and encouraging, calling and coaxing, and rewarding him when he came to me. Then I realised this led to him coming to me, then sitting down to repeat the process, so I stopped rewarding him unless he came to me, and then walked on with me for a few seconds. He continued to get more reluctant, so then I tried going a few metres ahead of him when he sat down, and just standing with my back to him until he came to me and kept on walking, then praising/rewarding. He still spends more time sitting down than walking.

    I've also tried picking him up and carrying him for a bit, but he struggles and wants to be put down. As soon as I put him down, he starts heading for home again, or sits down, or jumps up my legs.

    He hasn't had any major scares on his walks other than dogs barking at him from inside their own gardens, but after the initial fright if he doesn't realise they're there, he finds them more interesting than frightening.

    On the way home, he walks along happily, sometimes running ahead of me, sometimes stopping to sniff things (seems just like a normal, happy dog on a walk), but never sitting down and refusing to move.

    We have 2 walks from our house, and they are both out and back. He can't cover enough distance to do a circular route yet. And I can't take him somewhere different in the car for a walk because we don't have a car!

    I wonder if it's because he's the only dog in a 2 human/2 cat household, and he's afraid he's going to miss something exciting while he's out?

    Any ideas? And any suggestions on what I can do to get him more enthusiastic?
     
  2. Prowl

    Prowl Guest

    From experience I would say something is worrying him on his walk.

    Don't pick him up as you will encourage the worry.

    Look out for what worries him and approach the situation carefully let him accept these things on his terms.

    It can take a long time for a dog to accept a situation that worries them as its not so straightforward to them as it is to us.
     
  3. Hopeattheendofthetunnel

    Hopeattheendofthetunnel PetForums VIP

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    Quick question: do you put his collar and leash on just before you head out?

    Or does he ALWAYS wear a collar?

    If he doesn't wear a collar in the house, he MIGHT be sulking about the collar. Or even the collar and leash combination. Some pups take a while to befriend themselves with those restraining devices and refuse pointblank to go anywhere.

    It MAY also explain why he is always eager to head home...as you take those evil "instruments of great torture" ;) off.

    One of mine had a pouty sulk as a wee pup about his leash & collar. So to combat this I snapped his leash ( a soft, lightweight one ) on whenever I fed him and let him trail the leash around for a while afterwards. Oh, and I kept his collar on around the clock.

    He got to enjoy going out on his walks VERY quickly. One suggestion : the less of an issue you make of it, the faster it will resolve itself. Sometimes we try too hard with clicking and praising and treating...and the pup gets overwhelmed and discombobulated by it all.

    Incidentally, not long ago, one of my friend's pups went on walking strike as soon as we set off from home. Plonked his bottom down, wouldn't move. Coaxing made him even more determined to stay put. So I did nothing and played backgammon on my phone until he decided that sitting down & being ignored was really boring.

    Whatever the reason for your boy's current reluctance ( e.g. Not fond of the leash, doesn't like the road surface, would rather stay home, etc.) just make sure that him not doing what you want him to do - i.e. walking with you - doesn't become MORE rewarding than doing what you actually want him to do. Which it can if he gets lots of attention, cuddles and lures for going on strike.
     
  4. Prowl

    Prowl Guest

    Thats humanising a behaviour :>

    Whats happening in your case is your dog is learning through association its a process see:

    You have to teach your dog to accept the collar
    to accept the lead

    You do this by acceptence training associating the collar with a good reward.

    If a dog wont accept the collar its because:

    Something happened during the process of putting on the collar and going out that the dog did not like or

    has not yet accepted the collar.

    You can use treats/toys and clicker treaining to help accept the process. Its better the dog does not wear a collar in the house as they can get caught up on things easily especially when their young.
     
  5. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

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    He's just a baby, perhaps it's all too much for him right now. What sort of environment is it? Are we talking busy urban street here or quiet country lane? What happens if you carry him somewhere (park, supermarket etc) and just sit and watch the world go by with him? Let him take it all in and make it a pleasant experience for him.
     
  6. Hopeattheendofthetunnel

    Hopeattheendofthetunnel PetForums VIP

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    I respectfully disagree with several of your points.

    The best way to get a pup used to a collar is to leave it on. Not put it on, take it off, put it back on, take it back off ad nauseam.

    Leaving it on will lead to rapid habituation. Constantly removing it won't.

    Secondly, the risk of a supervised dog suffocating himself via his collar are minute. Negligable. I would consider it an infinitely higher risk that the pup could rush out of the door - say, when the postman calls, or a friends drops by - and you haven't got anything to hold on to him to. And nor does anyone else who encounters the loose running dog.

    And lastly, if you treat and reward your dog for absolutely EVERYTHING - a reward loses impact and value. Fast. A young dog has to learn many, MANY things - and considerably more complex things than wearing a collar - so I don't reward my dog for really trivial things. Like wearing a collar. Sometimes things just are what they are and they have to get used to it.

    As to humanizing things....not entirely sure what you mean TBH. I am a human, not a dog and that aside a dog has to learn how to fit in and gradually understand a human world. Are we supposed to become dogs instead? If so, I better dash to roll in some fox poo, eat some horse manure, bark at the neighbours cat, and sniff someones crotch before going to bed...:p
     
  7. lulubel

    lulubel PetForums Senior

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    Thank you all for your replies. I'll respond to some of your points individually, and then tell you what happened last night and this morning.

    I do try to avoid picking him up, but there's only a short window when it's cool enough for walks, and once we've sat in one place for 10 minutes, it becomes a choice of either picking him up or abandoning the walk altogether (which I figure would be worse because it would be doing exactly what he wants).

    He doesn't wear a collar at all. I have been searching for something I like that he can wear all the time, but now the idea that he could get caught on it has been put in my head, I'll probably give up with that idea. He has run of the house when we're both out, and it's entirely possible that he could get caught on something.

    He wears a harness for walks, and he's never had any issues with it at all. From the first time I put it on him, he just carried on as if nothing had happened. It's very soft and adjustable, so I assume it's very comfortable for him.

    That was the reason why I tried standing still and ignoring him, but he's obviously very stubborn!

    It's a quiet country lane that goes nowhere, and the first part of it is dirt track. We pass dogs in their gardens, and he jumped at first when they barked at him, but they've stopped barking now they've got used to us, and just look interested. Jimmy looks interested back, and would like to go closer to them. A car goes past rarely, and I always encourage him into the side when I hear one, get him to sit and wait for it to go by, then give him a treat because I think that's very important behaviour and needs rewarding.

    I agree with this. If I rewarded everything, he'd get more treats than meals. He didn't get a treat the first time I put his harness on. If he hadn't liked it, but had still sat patiently while I adjusted it, he would have got a treat, but he was enjoying the fuss and attention and didn't care about the harness.

    Yesterday evening, my partner offered to come for a walk with us to see how he was, and I had absolutely no issues with him whatsoever. He went straight out of the gate, straight up the lane, and trotted along quite happily, either beside us or a few feet ahead.

    This morning, I took him out on his own, and I had the usual problems of getting him to move, until we met a new person with a dog, which obviously got Jimmy's interest. Once he'd finished greeting the dog's owner, and the two dogs had met, we carried on walking together, and they happily ran circles round us. When we got to the point where we turned for home and the other dog carried on, Jimmy was not impressed about being taken home and away from his new friend, and did some sitting in the road until they were out of sight and he realised I wasn't going to let him follow them.

    I think I may need to do something to make his walks more exciting, but I'm not sure what :confused:
     
  8. Hopeattheendofthetunnel

    Hopeattheendofthetunnel PetForums VIP

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    Lulubel...don't overthink it.

    Adults, kids and dogs or all ages can do the strangest things on occasion. Thing that don't really make sense. The reason for it? Capriciousness. They themselves don't know why they are doing or not doing something.

    Example - How many small kids do you know who refuse pointblank to eat something on the grounds that "I don't like it"? Never mind how much the parent may plead for them to try it just ONCE. But no, they kid has made up its mind that they don't like it and won't touch the stuff...even though there is no way they can't like it as they never tried it!

    You could spend years trying to figure certain behaviours out and you may never know the answer. Least of all with a non- verbal creature like a dog.

    Just keep doing what you are doing, be patient, perhaps initially add a powerfull enticer* - like throwing a piece of sausage or cheese ahead of you when you open the door to set off with your pup - and he'll snap out of it before too long.

    But if he is still averse to join you in a couple of weeks, you may want to consider scaling back on the amount of attention you give him before the walk. Let your walk, or starting to go out on a walk, be the highlight of your interaction. The hopeful association for him then is " harness & leash on = lots of attention"

    * an enticer isn't the same as a reward or a lure. As the name says, it is designed to motivate reluctant behaviour.
     
  9. Finnboy

    Finnboy PetForums Member

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    Hi Lulubel, I don't have a solution for you as I'm fairly new to this myself but our 14 week old pup does exactly what you described when your partner walked with you!

    We have noticed that if the kids are with us, or all four of us go then he'll trot along happily but if only one of us takes him he is unsettled and reluctant....I wondered if this was a pack anxiety issue for him and he was unsure as to why we weren't all there?
     
  10. lostbear

    lostbear Bear right at Newcastle . . .

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    As he is happy to walk back, and having a good sniff round and without particularly hurrying, it suggests that there is something that is spooking him on the way out. It could be anything - perhaps a particular bush looks threatening to him, he got a shock at a particular place on the walk one time, and he's reluctant to approach it again. Does he stop at the same place each time?
     
    #10 lostbear, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  11. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    He should wear a collar and tag with your details on when he's outside in public places, that's the law. Even if you use a harness. My goldies get their collars put on for a walk and taken off again afterwards.
     
  12. Prowl

    Prowl Guest



    All though this is a muzzle acceptence training you can use to your advantage in other things such as the OP's situations it gives you a good idea on to teach a dog to accept things and understand something isn't going to hurt it.

    Teaching A Dog To Wear A Muzzle (Muzzle Training) - YouTube

    A puppy is likely to hurt itself while wearing a collar in the house
    Use baby gates or crate to stop the dog from rushing out the front door a puppy should not have full house access anyway!


    My dog used to have a crate she now sits on the stairs and waits for visitors to enter or leave she never runs out.

    Its only the law for dogs to be wearing collars and id tags when their on their walks.
     
  13. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    whatever the age, its a dog!:)
     
  14. Prowl

    Prowl Guest

    Thats what I mean >.>
     
  15. sjallen88

    sjallen88 PetForums Junior

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    Hello

    I had this issue with bubba when he first started going out. He would just put the anchors on and not budge for minutes, finally come and then do it all over again which does get very frustrating. The walking area sounds the same as yours so we had no idea what spooked him or was making him nervous.

    We overcame it in a week or so using a high value treat( roast chicken scraps), holding it in a closed hand in front of his nose and using the phrase "walkies" when he was moving. After 2 days we could move the hand away and just use the phrase to get him to budge and after a week he stopped being a diva and walked fine and has never had an issue since.

    Might not work/ be how've how you want to deal with it but just thought I'd pass on our experience on it
     
  16. lulubel

    lulubel PetForums Senior

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    Is it? In Spain? Are you sure?

    Anyway, the problem seems to have mostly resolved itself. I just stuck with what I was doing, and he's much more enthusiastic on the way out now. Maybe it just took him a while to get used to going for walks before he realised they're actually fun.
     
  17. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    oh didn't realise you were in Spain, sorry! Its the law here in the uk.
     
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