Dog Stopping While On A Walk

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Olya, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Olya New Member

    Hi everyone, a newbie here :)

    Was hoping for some advice. We have an almost-two-year-old border terrier. We do many country walks, and usually keep her on a long extendable leash.

    While on a walk, she does not pull much, but she does the opposite - if she smells something interesting in the grass, she just stops there! And I need to give her a hard pull to get her moving again.

    Any advice on how I could stop this behaviour? I guess making her constantly 'heel' would work, but as we live in a countryside, we do like giving her some freedom when we can...

    Thank you!

  2. fly30 Experienced Member

    Play with a toy. When she stops, let her sniff the grass for a few seconds (after all she's a dog and she loves that) then tell her you "have the ball" and invite her to play.
  3. Olya New Member

    Wouldn't it only work when I would have a ball with me then?... And she does it all the time, I would be playing with the ball 90% of the walk time... :)
  4. fly30 Experienced Member

    Well she need to learn, and you may have to do this for the next few months, then have the ball with you in case and you'll have to play with her to remind her that it's there. Remember, you have to look more interesting than anything else for your dog. So you have to fix her on you. Playing in a pleasant way of doing this. Keep in mind that it take time to change a dog's habit.
    I play 90% of the walk time with my dog, and I love it.
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Be more interesting than whatever she's sniffing. Smooch, whistle, clap your hands, etc. Try not to use your recall cue because you will dilute its meaning if she isn't advanced enough to obey it when she wants to sniff something.
    Work in a less distracting environment, for instance in the house, on teaching her a cue to come back in your direction and continue walking. Walk through the house(on her leash) and if she gets interested in something(she may look for something because walking in the house is boring!), become really interesting and say your cue("Let's Go!" for instance). Be really exciting, not scolding or cooing. Exciting and fun! Sniffing this bush was pretty interesting, but Mom sure sounds fun right now! Reward her when she does come to you--whether it's treats or praise or toys or whatever, just reward her.

    Most of my walks are also in the country, but off-leash. My newest dog is just starting leash training, one of my others is working on being trustworthy off-leash, and the other is completely trustworthy off-leash. Regardless they have all learned a release word. They have to walk in heel position for a while, and then they get their release word. For Mud, the most advanced, "GO!" means she can run off and sniff or whatever she wants to an extent. She can only go so far, basically within earshot so I can call her back, so she has a pretty good amount of "free rein" to do as she pleases. But, she has learned the distance where I will probably call her back, and when she gets there she will stop and look back, waiting for me to either call her back and not say anything so she can still run. After a little while, she gets called back and has to come back to heel position and walk nicely for a while.
    So basically, for my dogs they are expected to have structured walks, but this is rewarded with free time--the release word. But, they still have to come back and walk nicely again, so recall is very important. Coming back is rewarding though, because they get praised for coming back and they know that coming back and walking nice gets them more free time. If they were to not come back the rest of the walk would be leashed with no free time. (This is SUPER BORING for my dogs, all working breeds and very bored with just a plain old walk.)

    In a 1 hour walk, they may get the release word 5-10 times depending on their behavior, with up to 3-5 minutes of free time each time. Of course, this depends on the dog. The amount of times they get "released" depends on how well they are doing, so as they get better they get more and more free time. For the less advanced two, the free time is very short because they can't have too much free time. It's harder to get them back and focused on walking nicely. They work their way up and earn more and more free time. If I wanted to, I could really give Mud her release word right from the get go and at the end of the one hour walk call her back, and she'd come right back, but I don't. We also incorporate a lot of tricks in our walk. Sure you can sniff stuff when you're "released," but when you come back you get to play a whole bunch and do tricks with Mom! Mud looooves trick-training, so when we do tons of tricks during our walk she just loves it. Being with me is more rewarding than running off and sniffing stuff.
    For my newest, this will be a bit harder to train, as she loooooooooves using her nose. But her recall is excellent already, and I do everything I can with all the dogs to make time with me more rewarding than anything else in the world. Walks for my dogs are very active, we're not just walking. The entire walk is basically a training exercise. Random tricks throughout the walk, work on recall, work on stays, work on releasing, work on walking nicely, etc. The whole thing is extremely mentally stimulating along with the physical part of it.
    Freedom is perfectly fine, and it's great to want to give your dog that, but remember it has to be trained. :)

    That being said, if they are sniffing because they are about to relieve themselves, there is a very good probability that you won't be able to call them away. When you gotta go, you gotta go!

    Hope this helps. :) Good luck!
  6. fly30 Experienced Member

    @tx_cowgirl we both work exactly the same way with our dogs (y) My dog is free most of the time and walk time is generally training, playing, running around but always in control.
    Anneke likes this.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol! I think it keeps it interesting for everyone involved, and it really helps with recall and release. All of my dogs get sooo bored with just walking; Mud is so excited when she hears, "GO!", she takes off and just runs off ahead of me for a while. She does sniff some but really she just likes to jog ahead. Zeke isn't quite trustworthy off-leash yet, so he gets released, but on a long leash so he can't go too far. He does not like being too far from me, very clingy, but his weakness is small creatures--if he were to see a cat he would be gooone and no calling him back once his attention was elsewhere. Thus the need for the long leash. But he's getting there. Gypsy I think will be trustworthy fairly quickly, her recall is excellent already even with tough distractions but of course she's got a lot of training ahead of her.
    I haven't had just a boring walk in a loooong time, but I remember how much Mud and Z used to pout. They were so bored with the whole ordeal! It was like I had asked them to forget what kind of dogs they were! Instead of a "YAY LET'S GO FOR A WALK!" expression it was a "Gee, a walk, really? Well I guess if that's what you want..."
    Anneke likes this.
  8. fly30 Experienced Member

    Same here, and I just have to say "do you wanna go..." and before I finish my sentence, she gets excited, gets her ball, gets her leash if I ask her to, gets anything really as soon as we are on our way to the gate, as if she was answering "ready when you are !"
    Anneke and tx_cowgirl like this.
  9. fickla Experienced Member

    Well if you're giving her a hard pull to get her going again then that would imply that you stopped. I would just keep going at a steady pace. As long as she's alternating from running along sniffing things to stopping and sniffing at certain points then I would think she should quickly get it as long as you're not stopping. If not then you might need to put her on a shorter leash and not have her heeling but still just walking, no sniffing.

    But since she is on a flexi I would gather that this walk is for her. It's for her to run around at will, stop when she wants to sniff, go when she wants to go, but enjoy the country. In that case then I would just let her do it. If you only go a block, well then you only go a block.
  10. Olya New Member

    fickla thanks for you reply. I try to pull her on the go, without stopping. I'm thinking about putting her on a shorter leash, but that would be a shame - she loves her walks... And I don't mind her doing her dog thing, just don't like her stopping and completely ignoring me pulling her, so I need to drag her along... She is such a stubborn girl!

    we usually go for long walks, so it is becoming rather annoying.
  11. Olya New Member

    tx_cowgirl thanx for your message. We don't like letting her off the leash, not just yet anyway. She was attacked by a big dog for no reason at all before, so I like having her nearby so I can pick her up if needed... And she does try to jump on people when she meets them - she is just still too excitable.

    I'll try to grab her attention and be "more interesting than a bush" to her, but I have a feeling that this would mean I would be playing with her all the time, when I quite like just to have a walk and a chat with my husband sometimes as well :)
  12. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    No no, not saying to let her off leash, lol. Not till she's trained to be trustworthy off-leash. Z can't be completely off leash yet either, but I do have a 50 foot leash and when he gets his release word he gets to run off within that 50 feet. Still a completely controlled situation. ^^ That's really what I meant, if you choose to give her a release word she's "released" from a structured walk, not just totally released of any leash.
  13. Me and Clancy New Member

    Clancy has recall and also we walk in heel but once we get to a place were he can be off leash we unhook him and say 'go see' but once he gets to far we say 'clancy here, front, fuss, come or heel' and he is right there.

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