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The dog that doesn't like walks...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by PoochIife, Mar 11, 2017.


  1. PoochIife

    PoochIife PetForums Newbie

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    Every time I try to take my dog for a walk she just doesn't want to go. In most houses "walkies" is a forbidden word, only to be used when it's the real deal, but when the time comes in ours I have to find the dog as she runs off when I get the lead. When we get to the end of the drive she digs her heels in and I have to drag her 5 metres down the road before she'll start walking. I take her to the same place everyday (have done for years) and there are certain places, same places every time, that she'll stop and refuse to walk and try to turn back home. She also starts shaking and panting.

    She has always walked well although I have lived abroad for the past 7 months and I don't think she was walked as much as usual (she's a family dog and my parents haven't been able to walk her as much due to medical reasons). She has been spooked before by fireworks and farmers shooting and I think this is a lot of the cause of her fear as where we live you can hear the shotguns every weekend and sometimes through the week.

    She's a 4 year old jack Russell and other than not wanting to walk she is totally normal, well behaved, lovely dog. So far I've tried just forcing her to go and dragging her along when she refuses (she has a harness, it doesn't hurt her or anything) and taking distractions such as balls and treats but nothing seems to be helping.
    Has anyone else experienced anything similar or can anyone offer any advice on how to help?
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Vet check to rule out pain. I suspect the dragging doesn't help, you are forcing her to do something she dislikes so she will dislike it all the more if she anticipates getting dragged.

    Do you know anyone with another dog that could walk with you to encourage her?
     
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  3. PoochIife

    PoochIife PetForums Newbie

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    What sort of pain do you think it could be as she isn't showing any other symptoms?
    I can't think of anything we are doing that she dislikes as as most of the walk she is fine expect at certain points. I can't think of any other method of getting her to walk other than pulling her until she walks, which she does after a little bit. I have tried tempting her with treats/a ball and carrying her for a minute to make her feel more safe but nothing works!

    Great idea about walking with another dog but I've tried and it doesn't make any difference unfortunately. It just makes it more difficult for me as I've got one dog trying to pull me forward and one dog trying to walk back home!
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Can you take her somewhere new in the car, so she doesn't have associations with stopping in certain places? And have a friend walk with another dog? Pain could be anywhere, impossible to say over the Internet, it is a common reason for dogs not wanting to walk though because they are uncomfortable physically.
     
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  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    First of all, please stop dragging her. :(

    I agree she should be checked by the vet in case it is medical, but it could just be that something has frightened her in the past.

    What have you done to help her with her fear of fireworks and guns?

    Give her a few quiet days at home so that her stress levels can go down. Each time she gets stressed, her body produces more of the stress hormone which will simply add to her anxiety. Do some training and games with her in the garden.

    Perhaps ask the vet to refer you to a behaviourist (often covered on insurance) to get to the bottom of her issues and help work on them and rebuild her confidence. Someone who only uses positive, reward based training an definitely NOT dominance training as that will make her worse.
     
  6. grumpy goby

    grumpy goby Grumpy wench.

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    As others have said, vet check first. Just get a full once over to ensure everything is okay.

    If it's established to be a behavioural issue alone and not linked to feeling unwell I would take a slow steady approach. I have a terrier and clicker training works a charm with him... especially when working around unwanted behaviour.

    But with or without a clicker I would start at the start... getting the lead on and making it a nice experience. Call her with the lead near you, reward for her coming, then the lead is closer and closer until she comes to you for the reward while you are holding the lead. Then build up slowly until you are clipping the lead on, lead walking around the house approaching the door, til you are out the door, then out the garden etc etc... the important thing would be not to go too far too fast.... drip feed the behaviour over time to allow her to have positive experiences associated with the whole affair. Don't expect miracle overnight solutions but celebrate the little improvements...

    A positive reinforcement based behaviourist would probably be of great use here, but personally that would be how I would approach it.

    If your interested in clicker training etc then there are some great websites and YouTube guides.
     
  7. PoochIife

    PoochIife PetForums Newbie

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    I think "dragging" was the wrong word, I don't just drag her round the whole walk, if she doesn't start walking I won't continue to pull her so it's not distressing for her.

    I think taking her to a different place for a while is a really good idea-thanks!

    I haven't tried anything to sort her anxiety with the fireworks/ shooting because I have no idea what will help as we can't control when it will happen I can't distract her beforehand and once it's gone off she's too stressed. I don't want to sit and stroke her to calm her as I was told that can reaffirm the fear. So I am open to any suggestions as to what will help!

    The thing is she isn't stressed at all at home or when we are on our way home, she just has anxiety when we are out.

    Thanks I'll take her to the vet and see what they say, I'll also have a look in to clicker training too!
     
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