Refusing to Walk

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Meg13, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Meg13

    Meg13 Registered Users

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    It's been awhile since I have posted! Life has been crazy haha

    Haley is about 5.5 months now and is doing really well, however for the past week or so whenever we go for a walk, especially the evening walk, I have noticed that she is resisting a lot more. She used to happily walk wherever I would lead her, but now she refuses to go on routes she doesn't know. She will literally stop and sit...even if it is in the middle of the street! Once I get her going again she will walk a few feet and sit...
    She does this even on routes she knows...but not as often...it happens every walk, but usually only once or twice.

    I have also noticed that she seems almost afraid or intimidated by other dogs and humans we pass. If a person with or without a dog is approaching us she will stop walking and I will have to coax her to move again. Once she gets closer to them she gets excited and happily sniffs and plays.

    She was never like this before, she would happily go anywhere and was excited to greet everyone.
    She loves people, and when I take her to doggy daycare (she goes a couple times a week) she greets everyone and every dog happily...

    Nothing has happened that I can think of to make her fearful of new walking routes, or people or other dogs. I have no idea what caused this or how to fix it. I bring a pocket full of treats to coax her to move again, though I don't want to get her in the habit of refusing to walk knowing she will get a treat because of it.
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Hi there, sorry you are having this trouble.

    What are you using to walk you dog in - eg flat collar, harness, halti etc?
     
  3. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    I don't know if this has anything to do with what Haley is experiencing but at about 5 months a puppy goes through its 2nd fear impact phase. First fear impact is 8 to 11 weeks.

    Fear impact phase is when a scary experience can effect a puppy and it remembers it. For example if a fire work makes it jump at this time it may always be afraid of fire works for life.

    When you meet other dogs or people on walks and she seems nervous/scared you could try counter conditioning. This is when you try and alter the dogs association so when you see another dog approaching once Haley has seen it get a really tasty treat out and get her attention with it and either feed her as you pass or after you've passed the dog. She should start to associate other dogs with nice tasty treats rather than something to worry about.

    Not sure if that helps but good luck I'm sure she will be fine. :)
     
  4. Meg13

    Meg13 Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    I currently use a flat collar

    I will try the counter conditioning, thank you! The frustrating thing is, I have always been the one to take her for walks, and I know that she hasn't had a scary experience on one...no scary event, no scary people or dogs....so I have no idea where it is coming from :/

    What do you think I should do when she refuses to walk when there is no one or no dog around? When it is just the two of us and she wont move? Treats only seem to get her to go for a couple of feet before she stops again...
     
  5. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    I had a very similar problem at about the same age - I think it was to do with a harness (which is why I asked). But I didn't have any sign of nervousness though, so my situation may be completely different.

    I used treats to get him walking forwards at my side. I then "faded out" the treats. So at first I used very high value treats (roast beef!) and when I had him happily trotting along, I'd ask him to go a bit longer before he got his beef. Then a bit more...then dropped the value of the treat, then faded them out.

    I think it's fine to use treats as "lures" but don't keep doing it. Shift away to rewards, then to just occasional rewards.
     
  6. Meg13

    Meg13 Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Ok, thank you :) I have been using her favourite treat as a lure...so I will do that and slowly fade it out. I hope it works...we used to go on such lovely walks. I miss that :(
     
  7. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Nice to see you back ,
    Jen is right ,this can be a tricky stage at this age and I think that's mainly what is the issue .
    When my dog was the same age,if he pulled ,wanted to go in a different direction,or just stopped,I did too but we were working through a program to teach him to walk on a loose lead.
    I've got a nearly 2 year old now and he will stop dead and dig his paws in if he feels he wants to go a different way to me ;D we have a stand off ,until he makes the slightest move ,and then I give him the most enthusiastic verbal praise and high reward treat for 'good walk Dexter' that gets him going again,he gets nothing but indifference from me when we are standing still so understands walking on his own initiative gets the treat !
     
  8. Meg13

    Meg13 Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    I am doing that with Haley when it comes to pulling. Eventually she gives up and just stares at me with her massive eyes haha We are working on walking with a loose lead and have made great improvements over the past weeks...though...I would say we are about halfway there haha
     
  9. Penny+Me

    Penny+Me Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    The behaviourist i used to work with at one of the kennels always said to ignore a dog that is refusing to walk. No eye contact, no talking or touching, as they learn that if they stop they get attention and fuss and treats, and will do it more as they know you will give in and they will get what they want.

    Instead he suggested to either just stop and wait for them to get bored and start walking again, or give them a firm tug with a firm 'come on then' and once they start walking again (in both scenarios) is when they get showered with praise and attention. It may be hard at first but this method, I have found, is usually quite effective.

    But I suppose if you have a dog that's refusing to go because it's afraid of something this might not work, however it doesn't sound as though your pup is scared as you say you can't think of anything that may have spooked her.

    In any case I think lots of positive association with approaching people and dogs is a good thing to do but the timing has to be right.
     
  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    I have to say, I viewed lagging behind, or stopping, in exactly the same way as any other movement away from walking at heel - whether that was pulling to the side, or moving ahead. I really viewed it as simply as getting your dog back in the heel position, and rewarding for that, and at first keep rewarding.

    Looking at it like this worked for me just fine. I didn't view it as a massively different problem from any other departure from getting a dog to walk alongside you.
     
  11. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    We had a stage of fear of strangers on walks, I can't remember exactly what age but probably about the same as you. We got round it with lots of positive encouragement that she walk nicely to heel and not growl or bark at strangers; this good behaviour was rewarded with tasty snacks. Worked brilliantly; at 2 1/2 years old she now nearly always just comes back and walks closely to heel of her own accord when we are walking and she spots a stranger up ahead.
     
  12. Labradora

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Hi, new to forum, and new to this scenario.....I have a 7 year old soayed lab. She has always loved her walks and is naturally friendly and full of joy- loves people, but can be wary of dogs when she's on a lead and in a confined space, path etc. she was attacked and bitten by a friends dog when visiting their house four years ago. She has had digestive and skin problems, now under dietary and med. control. Normally, full of bounce and alert, although sometimes stares intently at what us sometimes - and sometimes isn't- something on a ceiling. ( we do have lots of spiders!). Until last year she was one of three labs, the youngest. My senior dog, lovely girl, very dominant but gentle, died. Little Damson grieved for weeks, but gradually adjusted to being one of two. My other girl is ok placid, good natured and willing, although her walking is reduced and influenced by arthritic flares. Walks as a pair are dominated by her ability, so I also walk Damson on her own. This system had worked well for months. However, over the last six months she has taken to being reluctant to walk, sometimes planting herself on the drive and refusing to move. Firmness from me escalates this to lying down. I have tried patience, distraction, even treats to encourage but not cajole her to move. She looks flat and dejected and perks up only if time constraints mean i have to call it a day and say 'go home'. Bad enough when that happens leaving/ at home. Worse when it happens when we have actually gone out.....without warning. It happens on any walk from the house and at any time of day, at any point on the walk, outbound or inbound. She even refuses the 'go home' and we wait until something ' clicks' and she moves. To my knowledge she has never been hurt or frightened on any walk. She does this when walked alone Or with my older dog. Walks from the car - away from home area are often, but not always,[fine. . Is she bored? I have been through all the health checks we can think of, blood work ups, checked for Addisons, physical issues and other than the skin/ digestive concerns I mentioned first, her anal glands do fill up every 6 weeks. I have taken to taking a toy on the walk, stopping for a play, then carrying on. This sometimes works.
    Flummoxed! Only other thing is my husband used to work from home, but now goes out to work...
     
  13. Mollly

    Mollly Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    A warm welcome to the Forum.

    I am afraid I am no use to you but I just wanted to say "Hello".

    There' slots of very knowledgeable people on this forum, no doubt one will be along soon.
     
  14. drjs@5

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Hi there, and welcome to the forum.
    Sorry to hear your struggles.
    I was wondering how Damson is at home?
    If she was a human, you might think she was depressed....do dogs get depressed?
    Could she be thinking that she has lost her best doggy friend, now her "dad" isn't around, your older dog is maybe less interested. Lonely?
    Do you have any opportunity for playdates with other dogs to maybe try get her out and about. Or maybe taking her out somewhere in the car for a walk? Would that make any difference?
     
  15. Labradora

    Labradora Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Thank you. It's good to get feed back and other views. I had wondered about her being lonely/ sad. She's certainly the most complex Labrador I've ever had. You're right, my older dog really isn't interested in play and although they get along, they can pretty well take or leave each other. She is a little uncertain of other dogs and unpredictable in her response. She loves going to the beach, no hesitation there, but it's a good 30 minute drive and not possible on a daily basis. Other walks, which we reach by car are considerably better, but she still occasionally 'stops'. Her biggest problem seems to be going out on walks from home - we have great walks here! I live in the country. Today, it took 5 attempts ( with rewards) in increments to get her to the front gate, another 4 to make 100 yd progress, then we were away for about 1/2 mile and - stop. One reward and then 'go home' , which we did in one go. Later walk was to a stream nearby 1/4 mile. Coaxed to leave the drive(1 reward), ball play in and around the stream, retrieved and returned well, and she then carried it all the way home to much praise with no stopping. When she does stop, I need to engage her attention, and when she looks at me, she is bright, alert and happy. Until she does, she looks forlorn...I haven't tried 'dog clubs'.....maybe that would help. Can't do much about OH not being here. She used to play with her toys in the evening, but doesn't anymore, although I have introduced new interactive to try and encourage her. As I write I am convincing myself that she is depressed.....any further ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated. We used to do two or three good walks a day, partly on, partly off lead. Off lead she us fine, but needs to be on lead leaving home on foot. Incidentally, this behaviour is irrespective of who takes her out, OH, me, or a friend she knows well.....
     
  16. Lisa

    Lisa Registered Users

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    Re: Refusing to Walk

    Hmm, it does sound odd. I would guess some kind of depression was happening too, and I'm not exactly sure how you get past it. I had a dog that got depressed because he had a cut on his pad which meant stitches and no going outside, or at least, very limited going outside. And it happened right about the same time I ended up having to go to work full time for about 6 weeks, which was also out of the usual routine. By the time we got to the end of the 6 weeks he was basically hiding under the bed and I had to practically drag him out from there to get him going outside. Once regular routine started again he snapped out of it and was back to normal in a day or so. So I could imagine that with the different upsets in your dog's life that he could be experiencing some kind of depression. Maybe if you persevere with the treats and games on the walks, and try to keep everything else in her life stable and in her regular routine she will start to perk up? I don't know for sure, sorry I can't be more help!
     
  17. HS

    HS Registered Users

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  18. HS

    HS Registered Users

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    I am having the very same issue with my 7yr old lab! I realise this is a post from 2014 but how did you overcome this? Any help much appreciated.
     
  19. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Luna is now 21 weeks and she did this for a few weeks around 3 months.

    As she was a puppy to start with I just picked her up and carried her along the path a bit and we would continue our walk. When she started just sitting again straight away I would try giving the lead a little tug with an encouraging/playful 'this way' or 'come on'
    Another thing I tried was just waiting with her. I made sure she wasn't in the way and let her take in the sounds/smells/sights around her and when she was happy she would start walking again. I think this was her starting to accept the world and take it all in.

    If your dog has a certain area or trigger try to encourage them or distract them to keep moving so that they don't notice until they have past it.
     
  20. Saffy/isla

    Saffy/isla Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi my girl,who is now 21 months has done this since she was a puppy.

    I have tried everything to no avail. I now find it best to wait and let her move again when she's ready as i think with Isla it's based on nervousness and anxiety. If she hears or sees anything that she considers unusual she stops and observes whatever it may be(a workman, a new skip in someone's driveway, people coming out of their house ect). When she's satisfied she'll move on but this can take a while.

    Is this a new behaviour with your lab?
     
    Christina2807 likes this.

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