Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

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Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

Post by Billy1972 on Mon Oct 01 2018, 12:20

Hi,

I have a beautiful 9 year Blue Staffie called Bella who we rescued when she was 9 months old.

I have walked her once or twice a day for the past 8 years and she's never refused to walk.

We live in the country away from anything scary or hazards and within the last couple of months she now refuses to go for a walk? She will happily jump in the car and be driven to a local park or dog walking area and she runs around like a whippet but a standard walk on the lead and she won't budge! She will literally slip her collar.

It started a few months ago when she just stopped for no reason as part of a walk and put her tail between her legs and dragged me home (about half a mile from our house).

Then her walks progressively got closer and closer to home to the point she won't walk outside the front gate now? Her tail goes between her back legs and she just wants to come home? But if I put her in the car and drive anywhere else she runs freely?

As I walk her I know she hasn't been spooked by anything, she's been to the vets twice and she is in tip top condition no aches or pains in the legs, back or paws? As I say if you let her off the lead or lead walk her she will pull like a train or run like a whippet absolutely care free.

A local dog behaviourist has quoted over £400 to help but can't guarantee a result.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? It's not like Bella is a pup, she's 9 and no doubt getting stubborn or has anyone experience this with their staffie?

Thanks
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Re: Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

Post by Mistys Mum on Mon Oct 01 2018, 13:18

Hi Billy.

Well that sounds an awful lot like Misty not so long ago. Misty had always loved walks as she never had these before we got her. She started off terrified at anything when we got her but now she's great and confident. So about two months ago she started to refuse to walk around the streets local to us. I was out one night and she stated to barrell down the street to get in the house even though no one was near us. She dragged me down the road. The next day she wouldn't even get to the end of our road and this carried on for the next walks. She would just stop and look at us when we got to our cars parked on the street. She wouldn't go further. We found this really stressful as it was seeming like she was terrified of something but we didn't know what as nothing has happened. I can only assume maybe it was a new smell or a new dog which terrified her. We spoke to our dog trainer who recommended that we only take her places in the car for a while so we did and she was fine. However I did miss our local Street walks so we tried again after two weeks of car walks. Our trainer recommended high value treats, so instead of biscuits we used hot dogs and cheese. This worked well but again it was baby steps, I know for sure she wouldn't walk right out of our road but she would go leftt with encouragement. So we just went slowly and never tried to go right and it worked. We use constant high value treats and it seems once she is out of our estate and onto the main road she's fine. Friday the unthinkable happened and I took her for a walk and she chose to go right, I didn't make a deal out of it and we went our old usual route and she was fine.

I still don't know exactly why she refused for so long, however it seems she is finally coming out of it. Fingers crossed.

Hopefully Bella can too. My advice would be have a break for a while and just do walks you can drive to then use some very smelly treats and hopefully you can build up.


Last edited by Mistys Mum on Mon Oct 01 2018, 15:31; edited 1 time in total


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Re: Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

Post by gillybrent on Mon Oct 01 2018, 14:44

Poor girl, and poor you - it's worrying, isn't it?

You say nothing has happened, but your senses aren't as keen as hers, and it sounds as though she has either heard, smelt or felt something scary.

The best way is to find something she really likes (food wise) and ONLY use it for outside encouragement. Start by taking her to the gate, praise, treat & go back. Gradually increase the distance, with plenty of quiet encouragement. If at any time she spooks, go back a stage & carry on from there.

Don't forget, that she may have felt suddenly threatened by something quite innocuous, that didn't even register with you!

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Re: Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

Post by Billy1972 on Mon Oct 01 2018, 16:56

Ladies, thank you both so much for your responses and Emma I'm experiencing the exact same problems with Bella. However it's been going on a while now and its such a shame because we live in a farmhouse with fields front and back but she is insisting on being chauffeured to the local park and wont go past the gate on a lead. Which is worrying for both of us including my wife who used to love walking with us.

I think the extra smelly treats is the next way forward as I've tried regular dog treats and she took baby steps and stopped. The tail would then go between her legs and she would sprint home.

Sounds crazy but I can place her in the car and literally drive 100 yards up the road and she will jump out and walk, but on occasions she doesn't and I end up being stranded with the car 100 yards from home.

If it continues I will have no option but to call in a dog behaviourist but I was put off because I asked 'If Bella still doesn't walk after your assistance what is the next step?' to which she replied 'Well you would need to take her to the vets!' Which she doesn't know I've done twice because I was worried Bella may have been in pain (which she isn't).

I'll try the different treats and report back, thanks again. x
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Re: Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

Post by LizP on Mon Oct 01 2018, 17:28

As well as high value treats, the other thing is to not ask too much. As Emma says, it's baby steps that will get you to the giant strides.

All you need Bella to do to start off with is to get to the point that she starts to worry, and learn at that point that there is nothing to worry about. That point should shift as you make progress, so what you're looking for each time is the 'uh oh' point, the point she starts to be concerned.

When you hit that point, stop. Don't turn back, but equally don't ask for more. Just stay where you are, relax and throw some treats on the floor. If she's too worried to eat, you've gone too far into her worry zone. When she relaxes, then you can turn back. You're then not rewarding her worrying but her relaxing. Doing what someone wants most can be the biggest reward, but you have to make sure you're rewarding the right thing.

If you find she can't get herself to move past that point, then wait till she's relaxing and casually throw a treat a little way forwards. Don't make a big thing of it, the objective is for her to stray into her worry zone and then realise she's there and it's ok.

The other important thing is for you not to anticipate that she'll stop. She will pick up on that and it may make her stop in itself. Don't look at her to see if she's coming, just keep aware of where she is in your peripheral vision so that you can respond when you see her concern.



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Re: Partial Refusal To Walk After 9 Years

Post by -Ian- on Tue Oct 16 2018, 13:33

I have a Staffy that does exactly the same as Bella. She started this a couple of years back and we have no idea why just like you and Bella though we might know why now with hindsight (just guessing though)

We were lazy and gave in so pop her in the car and as you’ve discovered, she will run and play and is definitely happy to be out. We tried the treats, the really tasty treats, the walking a different way and even resorted to the carry but nothing except the car works. Once a Staffy decides not to then it’s like trying to move a rock!!

Good luck trying to resolve and if you do, let me know Wink


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