Dog won’t walk!

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Drunkentulip
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:59 am

Dog won’t walk!

Post by Drunkentulip » Wed May 23, 2018 12:36 pm

Hello. I have an 18 month old English cocker spaniel. We have had him since he was a puppy and have always socialised him as much as possible. We take him on lots of different walks and he gets to play with lots of other dogs.
He has 2 walks a day, one in the morning, which is about 1- 1.5 hours long, which he spends mostly off lead. He then has a shorter walk in the evening. This varies between on and off lead.
For a few months, when on the evening walk, he has started refusing to go for a walk. He either lies down and won’t move, or his feet literally clamp down whilst standing. This didn’t happen every night and we thought he was just being lazy or stubborn. Most of the time he would eventually go.
This has now started happening on the morning. Sometimes we can’t even get him out of the door, or if we do, he just stops and won’t move.
We have tried pulling him but this doesn’t work. He wears a harness as he tends to pull, so don’t want to choke him.
We have tried enticing him with treats but I don’t want him thinking he gets treats if he stops and refuses to move.
We can’t think of anything that could have frightened him, and don’t think it is that as it happens wherever we go, whether it be a different route or not.
We are at our wits end and want him to enjoy walks.
Can anyone advise us?

JudyN
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Re: Dog won’t walk!

Post by JudyN » Wed May 23, 2018 1:31 pm

Do you ever drive him to walks and if so, does he seem to enjoy them when he gets out of the car? When he first started doing this, at what stage of the walk was it? Would it be typically when you were still on the way to a place he could go off lead, or when he got there/while he was there? Did he ever put the brakes on on the way home, or does he seem as keen to get home as he is reluctant to go out?

When he plays with other dogs, has there ever been any sign of them intimidating him? Could he not have been enjoying these interactions as much as you think?

What is he like round the house and garden? Is he full of life and energy and keen to play?

I wouldn't rule out something scaring him, as it could be something quite obscure that even he doesn't associate with a particular route, but walks in general (e.g. an insect biting him).

Is there any chance his harness is uncomfortable or rubbing? Does he seem unhappy about having it put on?

I'd get him a thorough vet check if you haven't already, in case there's any pain/discomfort.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Drunkentulip
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:59 am

Re: Dog won’t walk!

Post by Drunkentulip » Thu May 24, 2018 1:14 pm

Recently we have taken him to places in the car, where at the other end he is fine. But this isn’t everyday h goes in the car.
He sometimes put the breaks on just after we have left home, sometimes not even getting on the driveway. He will walk a small distance and then stop again.
It does tend to be on the way to the park or where we are going, although has done it on the way home.
Once we get somewhere he is fine.

In the house he is perfectly fine, likes to play, and also in the garden.

I have wondered about his harness and we are looking at new ones, there are just so many to choose from.
We have always had to lift his legs up to get it on him but he’s fine when it is on.

We haven’t taken him to the vet yet as he doesn’t seem to be in pain.hes always been one to show even the finest amount of pain so don’t think it is that.

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Nettle
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Re: Dog won’t walk!

Post by Nettle » Fri May 25, 2018 4:33 am

He isn't being lazy or stubborn. If it isn't the harness, and it could well be, it sounds as if he has had some sort of a scare. What really upsets dogs is not always what people think of as scary. You need to think of noises and scents as well as sights.

So - detective work time for you! Have a really good think about what might have scared him. If he meets a lot of dogs, it may be as JudyN says, so take him places where he isn't going to have to deal with other dogs. Go by car at first, and if you have anyone who would oblige, drive him somewhere new, walk him back, while your friend drives the car back.

Have there been any changes at home? New people, new pets, new neighbours, new furnishings?
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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Drunkentulip
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:59 am

Re: Dog won’t walk!

Post by Drunkentulip » Fri May 25, 2018 2:53 pm

Thank you for the replies.

There hasn’t been anything new at home.

My partner and I were just discussing how he took him somewhere that we’ve been to before, although not many times. Previous times he was fine on this walk but the last time, he wouldn’t go for a walk. Eventually my partner managed to get him to walk and he was ok as they walked further.

It really is like, he’s fine once we get somewhere, but we have so much difficulty getting him there.

Sometimes we have given up and just taken him back home. We don’t like doing this but don’t want to stress him out even more.

We try and encourage him but it doesn’t help.

We are stumped as what to do.

JudyN
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Re: Dog won’t walk!

Post by JudyN » Fri May 25, 2018 3:16 pm

Sometimes I think the more you try to cajole a dog, the more he can try to resist. If you don't give him anything to resist against, then he can't think 'No, I don't wanna, you can't make me!' Sometimes, if you let them make up their own minds, they make better decisions.

So I'd start off making sure the harness really isn't the problem, even trying a collar and lead instead. And I'd avoid places with too many other dogs or people in case that is part of the problem. Then, if walking from the house, I'd let him choose which direction to go and how far. Let him sniff verges, look at the clouds, stand and stare at the sky if he wants. If he wants to lie on a grassy verge and enjoy the sunshine, that's fine too. Maybe give him random treats to give it positive associations, but don't chivvy him along. If/when he decides to turn for home, let him. Over time, he may develop confidence that you're not going to make him go anywhere he doesn't want to go (for whatever reason), so he'll relax, and be tempted to go further (even if it's not the direction you wanted to go!).

Also, keep driving him to places he seems to enjoy so he gets sufficient 'proper' exercise. If there's a place he particularly likes, which he's keen to get to once he's out of the car, you could try parking just a little further away each time, so he gets into the habit of walking 'to' a walk. If there's a location so close that you'd normally walk the whole way and it would seem silly to drive to, drive him there anyway, parking a little bit closer to home each time. Eventually (in theory), you'll be pulling the car out of the drive and parking it on the road right outside your house, and he'll be walking happily to where you want to go.

I'm not an expert, and I haven't tried this myself, but I've found that letting my dog make his own decisions (as far as possible) and not cajoling him has made him more relaxed and more compliant in the long run.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: Dog won’t walk!

Post by Nettle » Sat May 26, 2018 4:45 am

Great advice from JudyN - let us know how you get on. :)
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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