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My dog has started not wanting to go on a walk with me

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Caroline Cunningham, Feb 23, 2021 at 11:47 AM.


  1. Caroline Cunningham

    Caroline Cunningham PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, my border collie is 6. She stays with me for a week at a time and then stays with my parents the rest of the time. She is very comfortable with me and my partner and loves coming to stay with us. However recently around 2 months ago, I took her out for a walk just me and her, there was a loud bang which startled her and she started pulling on the lead wanting to go back to the flat and didn’t want to go on the walk which is very unusual for her. I thought it was a one off but it has happened every time since then when it is just me and her. Whenever I take her out with my boyfriend or my mum she is willing to go out and excited about it. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to change this. I am worried it is something about myself that is worrying her. Any advice would be great. Thanks
     
  2. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Are you walking her anywhere near to where the bang happened?
    Border Collies are notorious for making links between anything scary and whatever/whoever is around at the time, and it can take a long time for them to get over it, if ever. A BC cross of mine was scared by a gunshot that went off just after a whistle had been blown (not by me), so after that it was whistles as well as bangs that frightened her. Then people would shout their dogs in the park, then whistle them, so it became distant voices too. And birds with a whistling call, like oystercatchers. And places in the park where she'd heard a whistle. It was a relief when she went deaf from old age.
    Your dog will now be sensitised to bangs, so don't let her off lead. She could run away if she hears one and of course you can't control what happens.
    What you CAN do, is take her out (as you'll have to for her to toilet if nothing else) and make it as enjoyable for as possible. Just sitting with her, giving her treats or playing with her favourite toy, until she's calm and attentive to you. If you can, take her well away from where this bang happened. Are your parents also seeing a change in her anxiety and behaviour? Can you sometimes walk her from their house, to help break the link between walking with you and the memory of the frightening event?
     
  3. Caroline Cunningham

    Caroline Cunningham PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, I live in an estate with a park so a lot of the time it is the same walk that she will remember from the day she got a fright. I will try and take her different routes as much as possible. Do you know if it’s best to let her pull me back and take her home when she starts refusing to walk or should I try and get her to come on the walk still when she pulls me back? Your advice is great and helps a lot thanks.
     
  4. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I’d let her decide and take her home if she wants to go.

    IMO you’ll gain nothing by forcing her to face her fears - just more anxiety - but if she knows you listen and have her back, hopefully, she’ll regain her confidence.

    Do some training with her using treats and take alternative routes for a while.
     
    Torin., Burrowzig, JoanneF and 3 others like this.
  5. Caroline Cunningham

    Caroline Cunningham PetForums Newbie

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    Perfect il try that! Thanks a lot
     
  6. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

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    As Burrowzig said, collies certainly begin to form a chain link effect starting from the initial thing that startled them, generalising to lots of other things. Towards the end, there was virtually nowhere my collie was happy walking and even things like a car door slamming would have him in a panic. He got to the point where he was constantly anticipating hearing scary things, even if we never did.

    What I later found out was he had spondylosis and studies have shown a clear link between arthritis and noise phobia. Might be worth getting your dog checked out for any pain issues.
     
    Torin. likes this.
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