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The opposite of a pulling dog...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by McKenzie, Apr 14, 2011.


  1. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    McKenzie has turned into a pretty well-behaved little thing, but walks on the lead are still a nightmare and I'm almost at the end of my tether.

    Basically she just doesn't walk nicely on a short lead. She's very independent (some would say stubborn :rolleyes: ). I occasionally have issues with her pulling forward on the lead but stopping until she slackens the lead usually fixes that.

    The main problem is her stopping dead when she has found something to sniff or is watching something, often accompanied by pulling on the leash out to the side or back of me to get to something just out of her reach. She doesn't just do this sometimes, she does it for most of a walk - it's not just like stopping for a little sniff now and again. It takes forever to get anywhere because I spend most of the time trying to get her to go where I want her to.

    I'm really out of ideas on what to do about this things. I've tried letting her stop and go at her own pace but then we never make any progress. I've tried forcing her to move (almost dragging her which I hated doing) to try to get her to learn that she needs to go where I want. I've tried treating her when she moves but she either isn't interested (even with really high value treats) or moves to get the treat and then stops again. She ignores 'leave' and 'heel' when she's doing this.

    I'm really at my wits end. I see other people walking with their dogs trotting along beside them and I feel like such a failure that my dog doesn't do that! :( I should say that I'm 95% sure it's not an anxiety thing - she is just a very sniffy dog and loves getting stuck into a scent, and also likes to watch everyone and everything. Even the 3 minutes down the road to the park is a mission and takes at least 10 minutes because she stops to sniff every little thing. I almost wish I had a pulling dog - at least then we'd get somewhere!

    Please help me :(
     
  2. new westie owner

    new westie owner PetForums VIP

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    Bobby is same sniffs everything on walk most of time i just let him sniff but if its busy or im in hurry i just pull him away and carry on walking :) or would never get anywhere ;)
     
  3. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    How about teaching a 'Let's go!' or 'This way!' command. Start in a low distraction environment and practise turning in an opposing direction, giving the command and treating/praising. Do this a lot in different environments. You can set up situations around the house where you throw some food down and when she strains to get it, say 'Let's go' and turn the other way and treat.

    The next step, which is the most useful, is saying 'Let's go' on walks when she strains to sniff and as soon as she comes with you, reward her by turning back and letting her sniff the area she wants to. Repetitions of this will teach her that, for her to sniff where she likes, she needs to check in with you first. The 'Let's go' command can then be used to move her on, too.
     
  4. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    I've tried 'lets go' with a treat which has had limited success but like the idea of then letting her turn back to sniff. I'll definitely try that.

    I think maybe my first post wasn't clear - I know lot of dogs stop to sniff, my issue is that she just WON'T move come hell or high water. It seems like when other dogs stop to sniff they are easily moved along but when she stops, she stops, and she stops every 2 steps!
     
  5. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    The sniffing is more motivating than food, when she's out. Terriers will often follow trails of small mammals and such like.

    Have you a chance to walk her with a male dog? One that she likes and has a bit more "go", but not way too much, so she gets intrigued by what he's found to investigate?

    My guy would go for miles without slowing up, so some calm doggy moments with the Cairn & Westie terrier friends he meets are an appreciated influence!
     
    #5 RobD-BCactive, Apr 14, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  6. Andromeda

    Andromeda PetForums Senior

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    You can also start counting "1, 2, 3 let's go" and after it you continue your walk - of course you have to pull your dog.
    Counting is for allowing a dog to sniff but for short time. In the end when he learns command, he stops for a moment and will start to walk after the command.
     
  7. new westie owner

    new westie owner PetForums VIP

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    I have to pull Bobby he still wont move from what he is sniffing at times, he may be small but try shift him no chance its terrier in them nose to ground at all times ;)
     
  8. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Fit wheels and a remote? :eek:
     
  9. kat&molly

    kat&molly PetForums VIP

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    My 2 Terriers are a nightmare, they want to sniff everywhere. I am trying to stop it, when the leads come off its 'their' time- also its easier then to pick up any poo, rather than struggling to do it in the street.
     
  10. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    So many good ideas - thanks! I particularly like the 1-2-3 thing. I also like the idea of wheels and a remote :D I shall be putting all your advice into practice - that's why I love this forum!
     
  11. jjmc

    jjmc PetForums Member

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    What a coincidence, the same thing is happening to me.

    Ted was great for the first few days we brought him out, walking with a purpose, not too distracted and looking like he was having a ball.

    Then yesterday it all changed, I brought him out and he was disinterested, wanted to sniff, then a small whine and then another sniff. Must have been out with him for about 45 mins and we only covered 150 metres.

    To date it was my wife and I on the walk, however she is away on business at the mo, so what thinking he may be missing her. Hmmm :)

    She's back tonight so it will be interesting to see how he behaves tomorrow.

    The upshot of this was getting to meet other people walking their dogs and having a chat with most of them, as I stood there talking to 30cm, 2.5kg of white fur :)
     
  12. jjmc

    jjmc PetForums Member

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    Well we both brought Ted out for his walk this morning and the same thing happened, did not want to go anywhere, all he wanted was to sniff everywhere etc.etc.

    So after 10 back to the house feeling a little confused and desperately in need of a cup of tea.

    I'd read somewhere that puppies can get bored with a walking routine, so with tea consumed we popped him in the car and off to the butcher about 5 miles away. As soon as we stopped he popped out of the car (with a little help) and lo and behold he as back to his normal self on the lead. Walked along with determination, not a lot of deviation save for the occasional sniff here and there.

    So perhaps there may be some truth in him getting bored with routine, or else he's sussed out that we're a soft touch :)
     
  13. DirtyGertie

    DirtyGertie PetForums VIP

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    We have the same problem with Poppy, she is a constant sniffer and her nose is always down on the ground. It's very frustrating at times.

    I've always done "let's go", I've also used "enough, let's go" without much success. I have given gentle pulls on the lead which occasionally get her to continue the walk but most times the smell is more attractive than what's ahead. I may try "1, 2 3 let's go" to see if it makes any difference but not sure it will if "enough, let's go" doesn't.

    We also have the stopping dead, plonking bum on the pavement and "I'm not moving so there" scenario. This is usually resolved with me walking back to where she is and saying "come on, let's go" but it often happens again. She does this even when she knows she's only yards from the beach where she knows she will be let off to run. I've tried rewarding with a treat when she resumes walking and "good girl" but I have not found a cure for this. Some days she's really good, other days we have the stop/start/long time for a short walk thing going on.

    I do vary our routes but living in a small place you quite often end up at the same destination and all routes are now familiar!

    When she runs free on the beach, either on her own or with a doggie friend, she is very good with recall, even with distractions. She gets lots of sniffing there but when we come off and walk home we still get the never ending sniffing most times. Only when she is really tired out will she just walk.

    We've come a long way since she was first allowed out on walks after 2nd jab when she point blank refused to walk anywhere and I did actually wonder if we would ever get her to walk, so I'm hoping that at some point as she gets older she will be more co-operative.

    McKenzie, please keep us informed of how it goes and any improvement.
     
  14. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I can't help wondering, if like when you haul back on a lead, a pulling dog pulls harder, that the sniffing dog gets anxious when it picks up on impatience, so it sniffs more.

    When starting the "1, 2, 3" idea, I'd begin by being patient, and looking for when it looks like the dog is ready. Same as introducing a jaunty "Let's go!" to a puppy, ignore it, wait for it show signs of boredom, and then move and introduce the upbeat command.

    I'm sure you Westie Owners, would enjoy your slow walks more, if you borrowed a real goer for a week, even one like mine that don't pull :)
     
  15. DirtyGertie

    DirtyGertie PetForums VIP

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    I'd love a "real go-er", I'd feel as though I'd gotten some exercise too :001_smile: but maybe only occasionally!

    I'll give the "wait for signs" idea a try when we're out next time but the sniffing takes sooooooooo long I have a feeling we'll wait a good while for the sign. Most of our routes are frequently used by dog walkers so every square inch of wall and every bit of foliage seems to have some other dog's smell on it!

    Mine's a Bichon so not sure if this is one of their traits? It amazes me how a 5kg dog can be sooooo strong when it wants to go in the other direction!
     
  16. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    A Cairn Terrier loves us, and he comes running across the fields to greet, he seemed to really enjoy some fetch games, but helps my guy enjoy a good sniff. So looking for some complimentary company, really might work.
     
  17. jjmc

    jjmc PetForums Member

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    I'm sure you Westie Owners, would enjoy your slow walks more, if you borrowed a real goer for a week, even one like mine that don't pull :)[/QUOTE]

    Ha ha, Ted is a westie and believe me standing around with him was a lot more physically demanding than walking him.


    BTW, just brought him with me to get car MOT, again he walked all around the industrial estate with great interest, tail wagging all the time.
     
  18. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    I'm SO glad I'm not the only one with this problem - I honestly thought I was! I see owners with dogs who walk brilliantly and owners with dogs that pull but I NEVER see another owner with a dog who does what ours do! Although with Kenzie it doesn't seem to make any difference whether we are in a new area or our normal one - if anything I think she stops more in a new area, I guess because there are more new smells there.

    OK an update on how we are doing: I know it's only been 2 days and maybe too soon to tell, but it feels like she's getting better! :thumbup: I've been doing '3-2-1-Lets Go' and it's been working REALLY well. Maybe it's just luck but often she'll start moving even before I get to 1! Quite possibly just a co-incidence but it's motivating all the same!

    The other thing that I've found (by chance) that works is that when we start moving I don't give her the treat straight away. Instead I get her to walk for a little big and then give her the treat - that way she doesn't plonk herself back down straight away.

    The difference in her since I posted here 2 days ago is really great, although again it may just be good luck. What I've really noticed is that now when I do 'lets go', while she sometimes needs a tiny tug on the lead before she moves, I'm not actually dragging her like I have in the past - she very quickly falls into step beside me rather than resisting until she has no choice but to move. Which is fabulous because I felt like such an awful owner when I had to drag her along :(

    An interesting thought - quite possibly true... :)

    I totally agree!!! :rolleyes:

    So hopefully this is a step in the right direction! I should say that so far I've only tried this in our usual walking place (private land) because she's in season so I can't take her out. When I get her out on the streets it will be the real test!
     
  19. jjmc

    jjmc PetForums Member

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    Most of our routes are frequently used by dog walkers so every square inch of wall and every bit of foliage seems to have some other dog's smell on it!

    This is similar to our situation for close to us are some woods where lots and lots of people bring their dogs for walks. To get there a lot, and I mean a lot, of people walk by our house to get there. Initially I thought this would be great fun for him and he would meet lots of dogs, great for socialisation etc.

    However having read that dogs sniff to see who's been around made me think there may be too many dogs walking by for him to differentiate what is going on. To put it another way, walking down Oxford Street for the first time is really exciting, lots of people to look at and lots of shops to keep you occupied. However if you had to do this twice a day it could become boring very quickly, effectively it becomes the norm and can lack stimulation which is something Ted definitely likes.

    The trip to get the MOT was for him like going to a new small town you've never visited before and everything is different, maybe not interesting, but different.

    I'll definitely try the 1,2,3 let's go suggestion though, sounds great.
     
  20. DirtyGertie

    DirtyGertie PetForums VIP

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    Well, I've found one thing that worked tonight.

    Poppy wont go for a walk with just OH, it has to be me or me and OH. This afternoon OH wanted to go to a nearby shop so suggested I went out first. Poppy watched me walk down the path but she didn't know that I just went round the corner. He then put her lead on and said "Where's mommy?". Off she shot, pulled like a train but at least she was with OH on his own. Whenever she stopped he said "Where's mommy?" and off she went again. She did walk nicely eventually on a loose-ish lead. I was actually back in the house, I'd gone out the back door and snuck back in the front door once I knew they'd gone :D.

    So tonight we went out, the usual sniffing started just around the corner. I waited for a sign that she was just about to move and did the "1,2,3, let's go" and off we went. Next time she stopped it didn't work. Naughty me said "Where's mommy?". Up shot her head and off she trotted :lol:. I have to admit to doing it a couple more times after that.

    I wasn't a complete meany, after a good 40 mins on the beach I put her lead back on and let her have a few sniffs on the way home.
     
    #20 DirtyGertie, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
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