Leash failure

Posted by Kiriakos
Jun 12, 2009
I think I have blown up my efforts for walking my 10 weeks old Doberman on a leash. I started dragging her when hesitant to walk. Now when she sees me opening the door, she will not come out and when I get her to ware the leash she will not walk easily. I suppose she distrusts me.
Any correction I can apply?
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 14, 2009
Hi kiriakos and thanks for your post,

The solution to this sort of problem is to desensitize her to all aspects associated with being on the lead and being out doors. This is done by slowly introducing new things in short non-threating doses while ignoring nervous behavior and rewarding all calm behavior. Try to get her used to the lead in a non threatening way first. Bring it out into the room with her and put it gently on the floor, if she approaches to sniff or walks near it calmly then immediately but gently praise and /or treat. (If she will not approach and is scared to walk anywhere near it even after a few trys, try putting a little food near it and praise every time she goes anywhere near till she is comfortable). Once she is ok with this step advance to holding it in your hand and later holding it near her body again ignoring nervous behavior and rewarding calm behavior. Once she is good with these try clipping a lead to her collar but do not hold the lead initially but just keep praising her for calm behavior while it is attached.

Also desensitize her to going outside on the lead. Try feeding her on the door step and eventually try taking her out just on the lawn on her lead and feeding her there. Try doing all of these in several very short lessons a day repeating each step several times till she is confident. If she becomes too nervous always go back a step. Until she is fully comfortable on the leash in the yard and later the near by street it is best if you don't take her on walks because this may be just too much for her in the early stages and make cause her to get increasingly worse. Once she is comfortable with walking around your house and section on the leash start small walks with treats and toys to fun places like the park. Continue to treat and praise calmness. Keep working on this with her over several days and she should soon be feeling much more confident.

Also the most important thing to remember is that all the time you should be positive and try and have a bit of fun because these emotions will be passed on to her. Always encourage any calm-non nervous behavior. If you catch on to thing she enjoys doing or playing with try and incorporate them into the training for example if she likes a certain ball try and play with it with her outside or even inside while the leash is on initially to distract her from worrying about the leash being attached.

I hope you find this useful and let me know how you get on.