Puppy scared of going on walks!

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Puppy scared of going on walks!

This is a discussion on Puppy scared of going on walks! within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Hi all, I recently rescued a 3 year old puppy - he's part catahoula and we think part lab, but it's hard to say! He ...

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Old 01-21-2015, 01:23 PM
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Puppy scared of going on walks!

Hi all,

I recently rescued a 3 year old puppy - he's part catahoula and we think part lab, but it's hard to say! He was living on a farm in rural Texas before I took him, and was in pretty rough shape (underweight, fleas, worms, etc.). He's doing a lot better now and is exhibiting lots of normal puppy behaviors.. barking, chewing, whining, all the fun stuff.

The thing that's really stressing me out is that he's TERRIFIED of going on walks. He'll take a few steps onto the front lawn, then start whining and try to run back to the house. A few times I've managed to coax him a few houses down with treats and encouragement, but more often than not he'll stop and refuse to go any further when we get to the end of the driveway.

Sometimes I'll carry him down the block a ways and then let him walk home, although it's more like he's running home for his life. I'm stumped on how to help him get over this. I'm worried he's not getting enough exercise which is contributing to the other hard-to-manage behaviors.

Any tips on how to get him comfortable? And any ideas of how to get exercise in until he's okay with walking? Thanks for any help!
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Old 01-21-2015, 03:38 PM
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That sounds a lot like my dog when he was a puppy. The most important thing is to take things slowly. I wish I had done so with my dog because rushing him into things just made him more fearful, including some things he was never scared of before.

What really helped my dog was to have another dog as a walking buddy. Having another dog to show him the ropes really brought up his confidence. I would also allow your dog to turn back when he gets scared so he doesn't feel trapped while rewarding every step he makes forward. I understand how stressful it can be and it will take some time but youll benefit in the long-run.

Another thing you can try is driving to a quiet park/place and see how he does there. My dog would be fine exploring the park but start pulling me the minute he recognized the way home.

As far as other ways to exercise, if you have a yard playing with a flirt pole or fetch can be a good way to tire your pup out. Inside you can try training, tug, puzzle toys etc.

Good luck! I'm sure things will get better, your pup probably just needs some extra time to get used to all the changes

(And just to clarify, is your pup 3 years or 3 months?)
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Old 01-21-2015, 04:49 PM
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A 3 year old puppy? Could you clarify that? Do you mean a 3 week old puppy, a 3 month old puppy or a 3 year old dog?
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:39 PM
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Sorry, I meant 3 months, not 3 years! Probably daydreaming about the day he's 3 and calmed down.

I'll definitely slow things down and go at his pace. I don't want him to be scared! He hasn't yet had his final parvo shot, so unfortunately he can't hang out with other dogs yet. I'm also a little wary of taking him to parks for that reason. Maybe it'll have to wait another couple weeks.

So I guess we'll stick to indoor activities for now (since he also has no idea how to fetch... sigh). Any recommendations about puzzle toys? We have also played tug but I've heard this can lead to more chewing/biting problems. I'm already having an issue where he bites at my pant legs and stuff pretty frequently.
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:14 PM
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I wouldn't take a puppy who hasn't finished his parvo shots out anywhere, even if it's just around the neighborhood. I think it's better to be safe than sorry so I'm glad you haven't taken him to parks or anything.

My pup was also very insecure during walks. It got to a point where she just shut down and stopped walking during our walk. I was stuck outside for 30 minutes trying to lure her back home. The trip would have taken 2 minutes tops but she was just not having it. How I wished she was a 10 pound pup instead of a 30 pound pup at that time. I noticed that she was very willing to walk at anywhere other than my neighborhood. She did well at parks (with the occasional freeze since she was unsure sometimes) and did extremely well at pet stores. I realized something must have scared her during our walk around the neighborhood.

It took a lot of work to get her more comfortable during the neighborhood. I switched to using high value treats (hot dog meat cut up into tiny pieces) in luring her. Every step she made, I praised the heck out of her. I also let her sniff around. I made her walks very short, 10-15 minutes tops. This helped me avoid her shutting down on me. As she progressed, I extended our walks. Sometimes, it's still a challenge getting her off the driveway but I find that she gets better as the walk goes. It's a huge step for her. Meanwhile, I still took her to places she loves to walk at. Of course it's more convenient to walk her around the neighborhood but it was important to me that she gains more confidence in the outside world. So I made the extra efforts to take her to pet stores and parks. We went to often the pet store people knows both our names XD.

There is also the possibility that your pup is just still very young. Sit out there with him, give him treats as he is outside. This way, he will associate being outside with good yummy treats. If you have a yard and he's not comfortable there either, start in the yard with him, then move him to the front. It might take a couple of days for him to get use to it but eventually, he would get curious and want to move. I wouldn't force him to take steps he isn't ready for since it's just going to make it worst.

There are tons of inside activities you guys can do! Do basic obedience with him. Teach him to sit, down, stay, come, etc. Those session will tire him out! Playing tug is ok, but teach him to drop/let go when you say so. He's still a baby and he will grow out of biting pant legs. When he does that, remove yourself from him and wait 10-20 seconds before going back to him. He needs to learn if he bites your pant legs/clothes, he will lose a playmate. You might have to repeat this many times, but believe me, he will learn.

Puzzle toys are great! Kongs, busy buddy,omega treat balls, buster cube, etc are all great choices. I would use them to feed your pup to help tire him out. You can also use a box and put a treat inside and let your pup figure out how to get it. It's cheap way to mentally challenge him. I've also used water bottles (with the cap, ring, and label removed) and put kibble inside for my pup. She had a ball trying to get all the pieces out. Be very careful though. Supervise him to make sure he doesn't chew them to pieces and swallow them. My pup loved to chew but she does not swallow any stuffing, plastic, etc. She is very good at spitting them out. I only know this from months of supervising. I've heard some dogs who would swallow these type of things, so supervision is always the best.

You can also get a flirt pole. This is one of my favorite things. Don't make your pup jump up and down as they are still developing their bones but keeping the toy on the ground and making them chase it should be ok.
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:26 PM
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Young puppies don't need to go for a walk around the block. That is a human construct. Best not to frighten him by forcing the issue. Take it slow and keep it fun. If he is not having fun, then you won't be making progress on his fears.

Remember, he is still a very young little guy!
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoohoo View Post
Sorry, I meant 3 months, not 3 years! Probably daydreaming about the day he's 3 and calmed down.

I'll definitely slow things down and go at his pace. I don't want him to be scared! He hasn't yet had his final parvo shot, so unfortunately he can't hang out with other dogs yet. I'm also a little wary of taking him to parks for that reason. Maybe it'll have to wait another couple weeks.

So I guess we'll stick to indoor activities for now (since he also has no idea how to fetch... sigh). Any recommendations about puzzle toys? We have also played tug but I've heard this can lead to more chewing/biting problems. I'm already having an issue where he bites at my pant legs and stuff pretty frequently.
Haha no worries, I thought that's what you meant!

Here's a thread with some treat dispensing toy suggestions: https://www.dogforum.com/dog-food/wha...ng-dog-187042/
I personally use a Kong Wobbler to feed my dog his meals.

As for biting, I actually used tug as a way to teach my pup what's appropriate to chew/bite. If he were to nip at me I'd redirect by giving him a toy and playing tug. If he continued to nip at me, I'd stop playing. As long as the game is controlled, I don't think it will cause any further issues.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:00 AM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses. I'll hold off on the walking issue until he's had his final shot, and then take him to the park to see if he's more comfortable there. He's totally okay in our back yard, so I do try to play with him there, but it's been very rainy for the past few days so unfortunately it's not too fun for either of us. I also have a friend with an older dog, so I'll try walking them together in her neighborhood when possible.

I've been trying to do fun indoor activities with him to tire him out, but unfortunately biting has become a huge problem. It seems like no matter what I do, all my pup wants is to come after me and bite my hands, feet, clothes, arms, legs, face, hair.. you name it. I have broken down in tears two days in a row because I'm so overwhelmed.

I've tried yelping to help teach him bite inhibition. The first couple times he reacted, but since then he just ignores me and if anything gets more agitated. I have tried replacing with a toy and then praising him, but he has absolutely no interest in the toy and just keeps biting at me. I've tried turning away and not playing, but he just keeps biting at me from behind. If I leave the room momentarily to show him I'm not playing if he bites, he goes on to biting and destroying something else (like the couch). I've done time outs but he just resumes the behavior as soon as I let him out. I also taught him the command "kisses" which works okay, but only if he's pretty calm. If I go limp he just keeps chewing away at me. Even treats don't distract him.. he'd rather bite at me than chew on a bully stick.

I know biting and chewing are normal puppy behaviors, but it's making it difficult for me to even be in the same room with my pup, let alone play with him. He's biting hard enough that I feel like I need to be constantly protecting myself, and I'm so frustrated that I know I'm not handling this well.

Please please help.. I'm at my wit's end I know this can't change in one day, but it's so unmanageable right now that I feel like I can't even bond with my puppy. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed and feel like I'm failing as a puppy parent.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by yoohoo View Post
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses. I'll hold off on the walking issue until he's had his final shot, and then take him to the park to see if he's more comfortable there. He's totally okay in our back yard, so I do try to play with him there, but it's been very rainy for the past few days so unfortunately it's not too fun for either of us. I also have a friend with an older dog, so I'll try walking them together in her neighborhood when possible.

I've been trying to do fun indoor activities with him to tire him out, but unfortunately biting has become a huge problem. It seems like no matter what I do, all my pup wants is to come after me and bite my hands, feet, clothes, arms, legs, face, hair.. you name it. I have broken down in tears two days in a row because I'm so overwhelmed.

I've tried yelping to help teach him bite inhibition. The first couple times he reacted, but since then he just ignores me and if anything gets more agitated. I have tried replacing with a toy and then praising him, but he has absolutely no interest in the toy and just keeps biting at me. I've tried turning away and not playing, but he just keeps biting at me from behind. If I leave the room momentarily to show him I'm not playing if he bites, he goes on to biting and destroying something else (like the couch). I've done time outs but he just resumes the behavior as soon as I let him out. I also taught him the command "kisses" which works okay, but only if he's pretty calm. If I go limp he just keeps chewing away at me. Even treats don't distract him.. he'd rather bite at me than chew on a bully stick.

I know biting and chewing are normal puppy behaviors, but it's making it difficult for me to even be in the same room with my pup, let alone play with him. He's biting hard enough that I feel like I need to be constantly protecting myself, and I'm so frustrated that I know I'm not handling this well.

Please please help.. I'm at my wit's end I know this can't change in one day, but it's so unmanageable right now that I feel like I can't even bond with my puppy. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed and feel like I'm failing as a puppy parent.
It takes time and consistency to teach them that biting on the human means the end of playtime, biting on a toy means the human will play.

Since he's going after furniture and such when you leave him, I'd put him in an exercise pen instead. You can attach it to the wall so that he cannot topple it over if he jumps against it, and they come up to 4 ft high so you should be able to find one that's to tall for him to jump over if he's a jumper.

Never play with him with your hands, always play with him with a toy. That needs to be a hard and fast rule, or he'll keep trying to bite you.

Every time he goes to bite you redirect to a toy, you'll have to keep one nearby, and play with him with the toy.

If he drops the toy and goes for you again, give him the toy back and try playing again. If he still goes for you then put him in the ex-pen and ignore him for a few minutes before trying again. If he's still going after you then back in the ex-pen he goes.

It'll take a few weeks, lots of repetition, and complete consistency, but he will learn that if he bites you fun time is over, if he gets his toy fun time starts.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:04 PM
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Don't be so hard on yourself! Puppies are exhausting. I'm pretty sure every member on this forum that has had a puppy before has felt this way. They just deceive us with their adorable puppy faces.

Yelping did nothing for my pup as well. I had to physically remove myself every time her biting got out of hand. Of course, this meant back and forth for many times. What Rain suggested is great too. Always have toys around. Redirect his biting to toys. Get different types of toys with different textures and find out what he prefers. My pup always went for ropes as a puppy so I always had them around me. I left every time she bit me and I would leave only for 10 seconds or so. That way, her attention doesn't go else where. You just have to be consistent and repetitive. It took me 2-3 weeks to calm the biting. There is improvement but it took a while for her to remember. Don't give up! He will learn. Even now, she just turned 1, she still gets mouthy when she's excited. I immediately stop play when she does just to remind her. You can do it! Just keep reminding him with a consistent method and you'll be fine.
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