Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

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Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by Phantomfamily on Sun Jan 08 2017, 08:39

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on how best to deal with a puppy who is resistant to walking.

I've had Phantom since he was 8 weeks old (he came from a KC registered breeder) and he has always wanted to be outside. We waited till he had his jabs to start walking him and we are lucky to have fields, suburbs and a main road to choose from. Our streef is quiet and he has had good experiences toileting on the big bit of grass outside. His toileting is great.

He loves to meet other people and dogs, he has been in the car and new experiences don't seem to phase him. He was really enjoying walks and benefitting from the exercise until a fortnight ago.

Now he just will not move. I put his lead and coat on and make happy noises but as soon as he is on the pavement,  he refuses to move. I have tried verbally praising him for walking when he does - only when we are several streets from home. I thought this might be boundary testing but it has carried on. I tried Cesar Milanos short leash technique, he will just drag until he makes awful choking noises, I worry doing that might be damaging his neck. I have tried calling him, treats (which he will follow if I hold them out but I don't want to bribe him) and bringing toys, nothing helps

His Dad is a big dog and Phantom is a big puppy, too heavy to carry for long. I don't want every walk to be a carry him situation! Once he us on his walk, he happily walks along and heels. He will even happily stop at the kerb to cross.

Anything I can do to change this pattern?
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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by -Ian- on Sun Jan 08 2017, 11:12

This is quiet common with my girl. We get the stop, turn around, herding and then if that doesn't work well get the sit down followed by a full roll over if she doesn't want to go. There is nothing wrong with bribery so I would continue with that also does he have a fave toy? If so take that along too and yes use it as a bribe.

Now you can take the same way as me which was not to give up and be firm with the instruction that we are going whether they like it or not. This has resulted in me picking her up but I can see that in your case it might not be something you can do for very long, however, it n the main being firm and standing your ground should slowly sink in and then refusal isn't worth the effort.


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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by Phantomfamily on Sun Jan 08 2017, 11:21

Thank you, I think your point about doing what is necessary with treats and toys to reinforce the point that we are going out no matter the resistance, it helps me see that it's ok to use this tactic.
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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by -Ian- on Sun Jan 08 2017, 11:39

It's absolutely fine then when walking becomes easy without resistance you can ease off with the treats and eventually (hopefully) you won't need them. You might find you have to up the treat from a humble biscuit to something of a higher value. Frankfurter is a very high value treat, always works for me Laughing


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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by Mia05 on Mon Jan 09 2017, 11:24

I would just persevere with the walking and plenty of encouragement and treats but only give him treats when he has followed your instructions. Me personally i wouldn't carry your pup as he will know how to play you like a typical staffy Laughing
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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by Phantomfamily on Mon Jan 09 2017, 13:06

Mia, absolutely, I am walking him, not taking him on a tour of our street like a tiny prince, lol. Plus he is too heavy now.
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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by LizP on Mon Jan 09 2017, 13:12

Yes and no to various the ideas above. My animal background includes being a professional remedial horse trainer (problem solver), so I tend to look at dog problems with that hat on a lot - much of the basic theory is the same. You need to get into the mind of the animal, why it's doing something, how it perceives our response, what it is actually learning rather than what we would like it to be learning.

The no is dragging or being determined no matter. Although on one level Cesar Milan can appear ok (boundaries rules limitations, etc.), he isn't all that great and also isn't always fair on the dogs. He will use methods I consider to be unethical. A short lead and actually dragging a dog along would go into that category, I'm afraid.

If we look at it from the dog's point of view, it may prove counter productive. You have a young dog who is learning the world, learning what is good/fun/tasty/safe/etc, and what is not. If he has become worried by something, is forcing him to do it in an unpleasant way going to teach him it is good after all, or is it going to confirm that he was right and that it is horrid? Animals can (amazingly) learn through force, but experience tells me that you get a better and quicker result if you avoid it, and you'll also end up with a much, much better relationship if your dog knows you will listen to his worries and not force him to do nasty things.

More effective is to look at things from his point of view, understand and address fears constructively, and build up positive associations wherever possible. In this case, the worry could have started for various reasons - suddenly cold, dislike of the coat, an incident you may not have noticed, etc. It will then have continued because that was now in his mind (it's part of the survival mechanism), and possibly because he's now associating walks with being forced.

I'd go back to the beginning. I personally would drop the idea of a walk per se altogether for a short while and instead focus on being outside and having fun. It sounds like you might be doing training such as heel work - forget that for now too. Make being outside with you as easy and undemanding as possible, and always a positive experience.

Depending on what is in your immediate vicinity, you might find it easier to drive to somewhere where you can play - streets aren't great - so you can play fetch, play chasing games, do play bowing and just have fun. Outside is just the best place ever! If you need to have him clipped on, use a long line so that he has freedom to move but without being able to get into trouble. If he will stay with you then work loose.

Find what really motivates him. It might be treats, it might be a ball or another toy. Teach him to chase after it. Also, teach him to follow you, not to heel or anything but by playing chasing games, or by backing away from him and calling him to come with you. Lots of rewards, praise and high value treats.

Do the same sort of thing in your hallway and, if he's happy there, in the front garden if you have one, then keep that play going to what would normally be the beginning of a walk. If he looks worried, go a little closer to home and try again, nudging the ball or tossing a treat just far enough that he has to go into his uncertain zone to get it. When he's done well, go home again. How simple was that?

What you should see is his confidence building up. You should find that he starts to look forward to the play time and that that can then begin to translate into going for a walk. Until he's put it behind him, though, just do short walks (just a few minutes). If he does appear worried, go back a few steps, reassure, play and then try again. Maybe just stand there, let him see he's fine, then reward by going home. Remember that what the dog wants to do most is the biggest reward you can give.

There's a big difference between bribery and reward. Bribery often results in an animal learning how to do the bare minimum to get what he wants and he often isn't even really thinking about what he's doing to get it. There is nothing wrong, though, with an animal being aware that a reward is on offer and then getting it once the task has been accomplished, provided they are aware of what they need to do to get it. Again, it comes down to seeing it through the animal's eyes, how the perceive the reward and its achievement, because that is what he will be learning. So if you hold out a treat for your dog to snatch a treat then run away again, that is what he learn regardless of the fact that he had to come to you to get it. If, though, you teach him to walk towards you, get a treat, wait a moment to get another, you will have taught him to come and wait quietly. See what I mean?



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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by Jenc on Mon Jan 09 2017, 20:35

Great advise from Liz, all I can add is if you have someone with a dog you can walk with it may encourage him to walk happily with it Smile


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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by Phantomfamily on Thu Jan 26 2017, 09:50

Thanks for the good advice. I spent more time playing outside and going to open spaces where Phantom could run around on a long leash. What helped was my friend bringing her 1 yr old female staffie and they had a field walk together; it really brought Phantom out of himself in terms of courage and he had such a fun time, he is a lot less resistant to walkies.

I baked some banana peanut butter treats and he really loves them as a reward.
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Re: Walking: 16 wk puppy is suddenly resistant.

Post by LizP on Thu Jan 26 2017, 20:26

Brilliant update, thanks for letting us know. Play, a friend and peanut butter & banana treats - sounds a winning combination for many a dog!


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