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Your dog refuses to walk? Try this.

It is not uncommon for dogs to refuse to walk sometimes when they are outside. They might just "put the brakes on", or they might sit or lie down.

If your dog is a really young puppy, you might want to just take a break and let them take the world in. You do not have to worry about your dog becoming lazy. This is not a sign of a personality trait that leads to a lazy older dog. Often it revolves around a puppy being ever overstimulated or tired. A puppy's energy level moves up and down very quickly. He might just need to take a break. Use this time to socialize your dog to the world passing by. If time is a factor, just pick up your puppy and go home.

It is nice, however, to know how to get your dog moving when you need to. I have had many clients call over the years because their dog lies down in the middle of the street. This can be a harrowing experience, that is for sure.

Here are some tips to help motivate yoru dog to keep moving. It is important to practice these techniques periodically on every walk. Not just when the undesired behavior is happening.

  1. Say, “Let’s go”, gently pull him to your side, or motivate him to come to your side by tapping your leg or gently walking away.
  2. Click (if you are using a clicker) or say,"Yes" and throw a toy in front of you when he appears by your side. This associates, "Let's Go" with movement and motivates your dog to start running after hearing the cue.
  3. Practice quick, gentle "Let's Go" behaviors periodically throughout the walk and get really excited after saying the cue.
  4. Ask your dog to sit or lie down and practice this cue. This will make it clear that this cue is associated with movement.
  5. Work on sit or down stays and then ask for a "Let's Go" and run a few steps forward with great enthusiasm. Treat your dog after more steps each time to increase the distance traveled. This is a great way to increase the anticipation and excitement upon hearing the cue and "springing" into action.



  • dogwalker Saturday, 04 August 2012

    The advice you give is to excitedly say "Let's go?" I think every dog owner says this already. That won't make a dog start walking when he is refusing to walk.

  • Jeff Millman Sunday, 05 August 2012

    You must not have read the whole post. Did you see the other suggestions such as throwing a toy, or working on stay combined with "Let's go"? Sometimes simple tweaks in strategies can make a big difference. Are these the only ways to do this? No, but this post title mentions, "Try this" it didn't say these are the only options. Good luck.

  • Sal Morelli Monday, 10 September 2012

    Just got a new puppy 10 weeks old. Starting to play fetch with her, using a new paint roller. She is getting the idea. But will only retrieve 5-6 times and then that's enough for her.
    She sits down every time I try to walk her on a leash, and she will bite the leash.
    have not tried to throw a toy yet wile she is on the leash.

    Can we start clicker training this early?

  • Michele L. Cooper Friday, 16 November 2012

    I have a German Shepard/ Husky mix that is 1 1/2 yr old. Ever since he was about 8 months old I have tried putting him on a leash to restrain him but he will not allow me to attach the leash he gets defensive if I come near him with the leash, I had him on a leash once and he pulled badly wanting out of it so I bought a harness and I cannot even get it on him. I don't know what to do to break him and let him know it is okay. When it comes to adjusting his collar, taking it off is fine but when I go to put it back on he shows signs of aggression. I have had him since he was 6 weeks old and He never had to be tied up but now we have been told we have to. Any suggestions?

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