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Advice for puppy lead training (puppy getting worse)

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Lbull, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. Lbull

    Lbull New Member Registered

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    Hi I have a 4 month old springerdoodle puppy, I’ve been walking him now on the same path twice a day for about 4/5 weeks (I’ve recently started doing 2 laps of the park which has took it from 15 to 20 mins)

    It’s a 5 minute walk to the park (there are 2 ways there I go one way there then the other way back) then I let him off his lead for 10 mins on the park.

    For the first minute of his walk he’s a nightmare, he lies down/pulls the other way/sits just generally misbehaves like he doesn’t want to get walked (he’s only started this recently and it seems to be getting worse - I have to drag him along to get him going and I know this isn’t good). After the first minute or so he’s perfect though he stays to my left with the lead loose the whole way to the park.

    I then let him off his lead and do a couple laps of the park and he’s really good he runs around and explores but he always comes back when I shout him, he plays really good with other dogs also.

    Then as soon as we leave the park he must know he’s on his way home and he constantly pulls. I’ve been trying to stop walking when he pulls and only walk when the lead is loose but it’s literally take one step then stop, take one step then stop as every time I set off he just pulls on the lead again.

    Can you give me some help/advice to make him more responsive on his first minute or so on his walk, and for the journey home? He also won’t eat treats on his walk, he loves them in the house but once we’ve left he won’t go near them

  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    There are a few things you could try. But definitely don't pull him please, that is not going to make him happy about walking.

    Since he also pulls to get home, I wonder if there is something on the road that makes him nervous? And the fact he won't take treats is another indication he is very stressed, a stressed animal won't eat. So to build his confidence and tell him that you are listening to him, when he lies down I would let him. And wait. If he wants to go home, do that. You would need to look on this as not ”going for a walk” but rather as just a training exercise. Once he realises he won't be asked to do something outside of his comfort zone, his confidence might grow.

    Can you drive to the park for his run around?

    If you are in a situation where you really need to get him to move along, I'd suggest you face him and take a step backwards, encouraging him towards you.
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    When you head out for a walk, what would happen if you simply followed where he led? Would he choose to go straight home again, or in a different direction away from the park?

    Will he take treats when he's at the park and enjoying himself? What if you offered him really high-value stinky treats? Also, how busy is the park with other dogs? Could he feel at all intimidated by the other dogs? (Sometimes it's hard to read dog play.)

    For what it's worth, many people would die for a dog who walked on lead perfectly for at least some of the walk at that age!
  4. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    The following are observations NOT criticisms. Pups are a lot of work and offer many challenges.

    At that age, rather than go for "walks" I take my pups for "experiences". So we go a short journey, I let him/her play in a safe environment, we go home. If at any stage a pup doesn't like what we are doing, I leave that exercise until a few weeks later, then try again. So - we might stand by the gate and watch the world go by, might drive a short distance and let him/her sniff around in the woods/fields, might sit on a bench and listen to children in the playground or watch traffic go by.

    I never let people get in pup's face, don't let them stroke him/her or give treats. I want my pups to think I am the centre of the universe from where all good things come, and that I will keep them safe. I don't want them rushing up to strangers, dog or human. It is incredibly irritating when you have a dog that for one reason or another doesn't want to rushed at, and people think it's okay for their dog to jump all over us. This doesn't mean my pups have no interactions with others - just that I choose those others very carefully, the same way responsible parents will with their children.

    You may or may not want to do some/any of these things, and it's entirely your choice. However, I do them because I don't want to overwhelm a pup or create a nuisance to others, nor do I want an awful experience to scare my pup permanently. We should always remember they are babies in a bewildering world with no rulebook. If a pup doesn't want to go to a place, or along the road, there is no virtue in forcing it. Eventually they gain confidence and overcome their fears in their own time and with help from us. But their signs can be subtle so we have to be watchful.
    Finsky and JBP like this.
  5. JBP

    JBP Member Registered

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    Has he a favourite toy at home that you could take with you instead of a treat, just a thought.
  6. Erna

    Erna New Member Registered

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    As JoanneF suggested, give him time and be patient. He is still pretty young. By the way, all my dogs were/are much quicker on our way home because they knew there would be food for them.
  7. lurcherman

    lurcherman Well-Known Member Registered

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    It’s just normal stuff. Don’t like walking, don’t like the lead or collar, the phrase is slowly slowly catch the monkey, as said don’t pull, stop wait then walk ok with a small move on tug, sometimes I think we overthink , never in my 40 yrs had a problem, I’m old school, it gets sorted unless you have a right stubborn little thing, then you back track and redue the first steps ,
    Biker John, niamh123 and Finsky like this.

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