refusal to walk

Posted by puppyluvll
Nov 22, 2007
My dog, hippy 8 months old, refuse to walk on leash sometimes especially outside my house. Whenever i take him for a walk, he always head for my car as he expects me to drive him to another place for walks. He simply refused to walk outside my neighbourhood. I tried coaxing, luring him with treats and even jus ignoring him & just walked off (he will run to another place or sometimes jus follow behind but this is not safe as there are moving vehicles at times as is by the roadside). :mad:

As i usually bring all my 4 dogs out at the same time for walk with 3 other handlers, hippy sometimes will refuse to walk wif me holding the leash. However, if i hold another dog & walk ahead of him, he will walk to catch up with me. :rolleyes:

I would like to know how to solve this behaviour problem.
Posted by MartyEd
Dec 12, 2007
Hi there Puppyluvll,

Thank you for your post regarding your 8 month old dog Hippy who you have been having some trouble with on walks. It sounds as though you have put quite a lot of work in trying to train him to walk on leash around your neighbourhood, but without much success. It sounds as though he is trying to out-do you and show you he is the alpha dog if he is not listening to your commands very well. Either that or he has some health related problem, but this is much less likely in young puppy of Hippy's age. If you wish however, you could rule out a health related problem by taking your dog to your local Vet for a quick check up.

I’m not exactly sure if you are having trouble with your dog not walking on the leash at all, or rather if he is pulling on the leash.

If this is in fact a leash pulling problem, it can be relatively easily fixed by teaching your dog the 3 stages of the Heel command as outlined in SitStayFetch. I have copied in the text from Stage 1 of the process below; even this stage should give you good results regardless of whether you have a dog or fully grown dog!

Stage 1
The first stage of teaching your dog to heel is to prevent him from pulling on the leash at all.
1. You will need to have the collar and leash on your dog.
2. Stand next to and to the right of your dog so that you are both facing in the same direction and the dog is sitting on your left.
3. Start walking forward slowly in a straight line, leading with your left leg. As soon as your dog takes off and starts pulling on the leash, stand still and pull the leash back towards you. Do not drag the dog back towards you. All you need to do is halt its progress.
4. Wait until the dog stops, praise it and then continue walking. No command needs to be given at this stage as you are just trying to teach your dog good manners so that it can more easily understand the Heel command when the time comes to teach it fully.
5. If you apply this method for ten minutes at a time and for three or four times per day then within four or five days you should be ready to move on to the next phase.
6. It is quite likely that you will get good results within a few minutes, at least enough that your dog will stop pulling you all over the place. It may take longer for some older dogs that have been given a free rein, so to speak, throughout their lives to change their leash-pulling behavior.

When the SitStay Technique isn't Enough
1. You have to modify the way that you are training your dog slightly. When your dog starts to pull, you need to:
2. Stop and give your dogs lead a few tugs, and growl the guttural growl, ("AAHH!" rather then "NO") then bring the dog back beside you.
3. Start walking away again and hold a treat by your side (so that your dog knows it is there).
4. Your dog should be following along side you, if it tries to jump for the treat ignore it (do not let your dog bite at your hand though).
5. When your dog tires of that, and simply walks along beside you say "HEEL!" then reward your dog for walking beside you.
6. Repeat this over and over, then you should start to see the results. If you praise your dog as it comes towards you then your dog is being rewarded only for backing up (the very last action it performed). You need to reward your dog for walking freely beside you as you move off from the stand still.

Whether your dog is pulling on the leash, lagging behind or not moving at all, the heal command still remains the same. The meaning of the command is that your dog remains by your side. This means that your dog shouldn’t be charging ahead of you, however it also means that he should be dragging behind you either. It will take time to train him to walk beside you and you will need to try various things..

The basis of training is getting your dog to heal, which may take some work by the sounds of things. It sounds as though you may have already started this training. If you devote two or three 5 – 10 minute training sessions every day with your dog, you should notice a difference with a month or so.

The reasons for this behavior are possibly four fold:
1. Your dog has a health related problem and it isn’t comfortable walking at the speed you would like it to
2. Your dog becomes interested and distracted by other things on a walk and thus doesn’t heel
3. Your dog doesn’t like going on walks (I doubt this would be the cause! I don’t know of any dogs that don’t like walking – unless of course it hurts them, but that does us back to point number 1)
4. Finally - you’re dog may just be lazy!!

For the reason of the first point, I would again like you to consider taking your dog to your local Veterinarian to get a quick check up. It is not likely that this is the case, but if there is a disease related issue going on the background here, it is better that it be brought out into the open. You Vet will be able to pick up if you dog is lame in any of him limbs and will be able to check for any other clinical signs that may be pointing towards a diagnosis of a problem.

By depriving your dog of walks for a while, you may be able to notice whether his interest in the walk itself rather than the surroundings picks up. This should help him pick up his excitement and interest in going for walks and you may hopefully find that he stops dragging behind you.

If your dog is simply disinterested in walks, you will need to think of ways to make them more exciting. Take him to the beach if you’re near one, or a dog park where you can let him off the lead and roam around. This may also rekindle a love for walking and the outdoors again. It will also show him that although he may not like the lead, it is worth the trip to behave properly with it on in order to get the reward of being let off the lead.

This will in fact be the basis of your training. For starters, I would like you to (at home) train your dog 2 – 3 times per day for 5 – 10 minutes at a time. Put the lead on him and walk around your backyard (I’m assuming you have a backyard – if you don’t go down to a park). By using a reward he really likes (a small food snack he loves for example), hold this in your hand with a closed fist so he can smell it but not eat it. Begin walking around in a circle around your yard with your clenched fist by your side so your dogs head is about a foot in front of you following the food. This is roughly the position you want your dog to be in when ‘heeling!’. Try picking up the pace with your dog, while giving your dog plenty of encouragement and saying “Heel! Good Boy!!”. Bring your hand up towards your chest and keep walking. If your dog remains in the heal position, give him part of the food that is in your hand (while you are still walking if possible). Repeat this for a few days. After 3 – 4 days of this training, continue with it, however don’t give him a food reward every time he is expecting one. Continue decreasing the frequency he gets food rewards of the next two weeks. After a couple of weeks of training take your dog out in public to try this method. Aim to have a dog park as the final destination of your walk. If you dog does well near the end of the walk with him heeling and he hasn’t been dragging behind you, let him off the lead (if you believe this is safe) and give him a good chance to have a sniff around. By doing this for the next couple of months you should hopefully see a significant improvement in his behavior. A further consideration is to ask yourself if you are pushing the dog too hard currently? Are you walking faster than he can handle? This is something you will know straight away, I’m just trying to come up with possible answers to help you!

I hope the above advice is some help. Please let us know how you get on and how the training went. Also be sure to continuously reinforce those alpha techniques.

Best of luck and kind regards,

Mark Edwards
Kingdom of Pets Team