not wanting to go for a walk

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tugidq64, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I was wondering if anyone could help me with this problem. My dog, 5, isn't really interested in going for walks. It is a frequent battle to get her to go. I put the leash on her and she wouldn't move. After saying lets go a number of times she will get up.
    After we get out it seems she enjoys the walk. she is a reactive dog and very aware of her surroundings. Much of the time she is looking around. I think she is nervous. I use a harness and a head halter on her. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. jackienmutts Honored Member

    My initial reaction is - there's something not pleasant *to her* about going on a walk. When you said she's a reactive dog and spends much of her time looking around, it could be that she's spending her time out on a walk basically just being afraid, watchful, anticipating .. what may happen, who may come around the next corner, and omg, what am I gonna do about it? When you want to take her out for a walk so she can enjoy herself, she's thinkin' oh no, not again, it's scary out there, I'd rather stay right here.

    There are several good threads on this forum - I can try to find them and refer you - about working with reactive dogs on leash. I have one - a (mostly) reformed fear-aggressive German Shepherd. it took loads and loads of work, but our walks used to be horrible for both of us. They're now lots of fun, she looks forward to them, she's relaxed, and in a totally different state of mind. No more dread on either of our parts.

    Two books which you may find very helpful are: Feisty Fido by Patricia McConnell and Click to Calm by Emma Parsons. Both have great ideas for helping to calm reactive dogs using only positive reinforcement methods.

    You weren't real specific in your thread - is your dog reactive to people, other dogs, both, or ? Give more specifics, and maybe I (and others) can give you some ideas. I'll also look for the old threads.
    new bear likes this.
  3. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    Thank you for your reply. She probably is afraid or apprehensive to go out. I have both those books and she has improved a lot. She is reactive to people and people. She is nervous about slow moving cars, strangers walking and bikes etc. I c/t when I see something coming but I can't always see. We have had bad luck lately, even going to places where dogs are supposed to be on leash and running into off lead dogs. How did you reform your dog? I admit I am nervous sometimes walking her because I am looking around for anything she will react to, to try to prevent it. I don't know what to do about this. Life happens, maybe we should just go to parking lots. She also has to go to a kennel every couple of months because we visit my daughter and she is to rough with the kids.
    Belle doesn't mind the kennel, in fact she likes it, she does play with some of the dogs there.
    She loves the people who work and run the kennel. We try not to leave her there more than three days. She gets anxious if she is left a long time. She mostly just likes being with us because she is scared if other things. Her approach to other dogs is to aggress first. I don't want any dog fights so I have to be very careful. She likes running in the only off lead place we can take her. Problem is, most of the walks are on leash.
    Thanks again.
    Debby and Belle
  4. mouse New Member

    That is a familiar problem, I have the same with my pup, but her issue is that she is lazy.
    My other dog, he is 1,5 years old, is very aware of his surroundings as well when we go out and can be very jumpy specially with loud sudden sounds, he has always been that way.

    You mentioned you could be nervous at times as well when you walk her? THe dog probably, most likely, notices that as well and gets nervous because you are. I have the same issue, though what I do now before we actually go out is some breathing techniques or yoga or just close my eyes and have a moment of quietness before we go out. If I feel calm, relaxed and excited (till a reasonable level) about the walk, I noticed my pups were reacting different as well.

    Walking just on the leash to relieve themselves can be dull for dogs, not every walk has to be an adventure, but you could try to make the walk more interesting for the dog.
    What I try to do with my dogs to keep them focused on me or my other half, is that at random I make them do the basic tricks (sit, down, give paw, and so on), or suddenly pull out a toy to play with, or suddenly go for a short jog. I also try to take a different route each time, it does not have to be a complete different route of course, but at times turn right instead of left, or go straight ahead.

    My male dog, the 1,5 year old, has been attacked several times by other males off and on his leash. He has the tendancy now to react before anything happens. We are correcting that at the moment by occupying him and keeping him focused on what we may or may not do during the walk.
    I am training my dogs with the clicker training, it takes adjusting at first, but after it is a wonderful tool.
    With Rascal, the male dog, I clicked everytime he would take a step past any dog or object and he is not reacting to it. It takes time and patience and we are still not there but we are slowly getting there.

    My pup, Alice, has a fear of bridges, it is a terrible thing living in Amsterdam with all the canals and bridges and a strong pup of already 23/24 kg not wanting to walk, but I did the same clicker and treat and distracting her routine as I did with Rascal and it is working.

    To sum my super long post up:
    -Go outside with a relaxed calm state of mind, try to be as relaxed and calm as possible during the walk, you own the walk, the walk does not own you!
    -Make the walk interesting and challenging, mind that not every walk has to be that way, but changing routines can make it interesting again.
    -Rewards! Reward every good behaviour she has, bend the undesired behaviour into something you want.
    -Let her confront her fears one at a time until she stops reacting.

    As example; Rascal used to love chasing big birds, what I did at some point was just walk past the birds for a million times, until the birds suddenly were not that fascinating anymore.

    sorry for the long post hope you find some helpful!!
    volito likes this.
  5. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    Thank you for all the help and suggestions. Unfortunetly, Belle is a very stressed dog and I am a stressed person.:msniwonder: I don't want to pull her off the couch. Is it luring her with treats to use them to get her off. I put her leash on her but she won't move.
  6. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Here are a few suggestions of things to try.

    One suggestion would be to leash your dog, take her out side to your yard every meal time, let her eat outside and then bring her inside. Other times leash her to go outside for a game of fetch, play tug or anything else she really enjoys. This will hopefully start giving her a positive association of her leash.

    Is it possible for you to provide enough exercise for Belle without going for a walk ex. playing fetch in your back yard?
    If so I would suggest re-teaching her that walks are a good thing by starting out with very short walks and slowly increasing the distance. You could do a training session where you walk out to the road take two steps, give a cookie and head home, then go back out repeat and go two more steps etc. Maybe if you are watching T. V. you could incorporate this training during commercial breaks. It may sound like a lot of work but if it works it would be worth it.

    I would also suggest finding an empty field or other area to practice in and having one friend walk by over and over and each time Belle gets a cookie. Have the person start about 50 feet away and then if she is doing well come a couple feet closer. If Belle reacts have the person stop and stand still. Practice with various people and then as she gets better over time try multiple people and another dog with an owner. For practice set ups work better then real life because you can control the situation and make sure your dog is successful.

    I hope these suggestions are helpful!
    new bear and volito like this.
  7. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    Thank you for your recent suggestions. I will try to recruit some friends to help get her used to the outdoors. I just came back from a walk with her in a quiet place (a cemetery!!)
    today there were not many dog walkers. She still is looking around a lot. She will stop, and look. I put pressure on the leash to get her to walk again, or just stand still with the leash.
    Thanks again,
    Debby and Belle:dogblink::dogmellow:
  8. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I forgot to add that even when Belle goes out to go potty, she will look around. She will perk at every noise and sometimes even the wind.
  9. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    In that case it might be your best bet to just go sit outside with her for a while and not go anywhere, just let her get used to one spot at a time. Look for those quiet place at first!

    Maybe work on something simple like having her touch your hand or look at you and clicker train to increase eye contact. Make sure she can do it well inside first.
  10. volito Active Member

    Excellent advise on this topic... just wanted to add when your outside and say a truck passes and your dog gets afraid try not to reward when the dog is frightened this might confuse dog in thinking its ok to be in a scared state of mind. Wait till he or she is calm when a load noise happens. I would just sit in front of your house or on a corner and wait until he or she is showing a calm state when cars pass, load noises, people or dogs pass and treat. If dog over reacts take him out of situation then when he is calm start over.

    Hope this makes sense..good luck
  11. new bear Well-Known Member

    Hi, I thought that "Unlock your dog's potential how to achieve a calm and happy canine" from Sarah Fisher would be a great book for you to read. It is about using ttouch methods to calm your dog down. This book also explains what you should do when your dog stop walking and freeze (they called it, going into shock) by learning how to handle the leash in a right way like stroking the leash will help your dog and get her to walk again. The book also shows how body wraps could help to reduce stress and calm dogs down. Here is a video showing how a body wrap could help anxious dogs to relax during walks. A Thundershirt can also helps to reduce the anxiety in dogs and calm dogs down as it consists of some pressure that has a calming effect on the nervous system. To learn more about thundershirt, go: Hope these suggestions help you and your dog. :)
  12. Dodge Well-Known Member

    I like that body wrap! There is a harness you can get which is supposed to create the same effect,I just cannot manage to put a link on here :confused: if you google (you will have to scroll down a little to get the right site) then scroll down and you will find "perfect fit harnesses",we ve got our fleece lined harness from this site,its fab and comfy:)
    new bear likes this.
  13. Dodge Well-Known Member

    :confused:oh dear, duuuuuuh brain me,I did not realize that cause I ve written the web site,it will bring you straight to the site . . .so much for not being able to put a link up,ey:confused: you will just have to scroll down now and with a bit of luck you will get to those harnesses,it will tell you all about them:)

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