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Discussion Starter #1
Finnegan is 21 weeks/not quite 5 months old. We moved to a new place a few weeks ago. Before the move I would take him for a short walk twice a day, every day. He never really seemed to love going for walks, but he would at least walk without too much coaxing. Things are much worse now. A walk is nearly impossible. I attempted to keep up the same schedule after we moved, but he wouldn't walk the same. I figured he was a little scared or confused about the new area, which is fair, so I took it slow to get him comfortable. But while he's adjusted perfectly to every other aspect of the new home, he still refuses to walk. He gets a few feet from the door and then won't budge. Sometimes he sits down and just looks around. He'll walk a few feet at my coaxing, then stop again.

My theory is that he just doesn't find walks to be fun. We have a fenced yard now, which we didn't have before, and he loves running around out there playing games of chase and fetch, etc. I've been exercising him this way a lot more lately because he just won't walk when I take him out. So how do I make walks more fun and motivating? I use my marker word every time he walks to tell him he's doing good. I've tried giving him treats while he's walking, but I just can't get it to work. It's really awkward trying to bend and treat him while we're both walking, and he stops walking once he has the treat in his mouth. Obviously I don't want to use force/leash corrections. I was away last week and my sister-in-law took care of him, and she said he "walked fine" for her because she "just kept walking," aka pulling on him/his harness so that he "knew the expectation was that he walks." :(

My other theory is that it could be a fear stage? I noticed that in addition to him just generally not wanting to walk, he stops anytime he sees or hears another dog, a cat, a big truck, construction, a lawnmower, etc. He doesn't bark, he doesn't try to hide, he just stops and watches for a long time, slightly wary.

I want him to love going for walks as much as I do. What else can I do to encourage him? Is this just a puppy thing? I thought all dogs loved walkies!
 

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Is it as hot where you are as it is here? My dogs LOVE walks, but lately they've been sluggish, and not crazy about them. I've found they are much better in the early morning/evening, and much better if we walk on grass instead of pavement.

Is his harness rubbing him under his "armpits" or somewhere else? Sometimes it just rubs them weird and they won't walk in them.
 

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He is likely still adjusting to the new location and/or the heat if applicable. I wouldn't worry about it and let him progress naturally. I bet it will be fine!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's been a little hot the last few days, but I do take him out in fairly early in the morning, and he's fine to run around in the yard despite the weather. I'll have to make note of whether he's happier to walk on grass than on pavement. I've tried walking him with both leash and harness and he's the same either way, so I don't think it's discomfort in that area.
 

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Sawyer (my aussie) went through a time when he was younger were he wasn't a big fan of walks. And for a long time we could only walk a certain distance before he would dig in heels and go no further. I don't know if it was the stretch of houses we had to pass or what but for some reason he decided to stop before them. Even coaxing with treats didn't really get us much farther. Now he doesn't have an issue walking further then were he used to veto walking further, weather were walking with my other dog or by himself.

He may just need more time to settle in, or he could just be going through a period were he doesn't want to walk. Try talking something extra high value next time to see if that will motivate him. Or you can try taking him some were else that's a little quitter, maybe he'd be more interested in walking on a trail rather then along a road.
 

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I could have written this post verbatim (you mentioned in my puppy blues thread that you were having these same issues). I had the dog behaviorist for the last 2 hours and we walked Jasper together. Thankfully Jasper did the same with him that he does with me. What he observed that was reassuring to me was that he isn't stopping out of fear, but more out of trying to take everything in and also sort of "size up" the street, if you will. He is figuring out who lives where (we are a VERY dog heavy street), smelling everything, and taking it all in. He had me have Japer on a very short, taut leash (about 12 inches from the collar), and each time Jasper stopped, give one firm (but not too forceful) tug on the leash and say "walking Jasper" and take a step forward. Once Jasper started moving forward, he had me say "good walking" and after like 10 feet, treat him. This worked fairly well. The other thing he had me practice was standing still and not looking at him at all, holding the leash taut, and as soon as the leash went slack (from Jasper moving toward me), say "good walking" and offer a treat. We tried that too and I definitely had to be patient (sometimes it would take over 45 seconds for him to move forward). Like I said, we just did this today about an hour ago. I am to practice this method every time we go out now and we will meet again next Wednesday. I was reassured to know he isn't afraid at all, and it seems more a behavioral/stubborn thing. And he also recommended a martingale collar so that he isn't getting his neck pulled by the leash. I had an Easy Walk harness that I have used a few times but he doesn't think he needs that. Anyway, just wanted to post my follow-up and let you know I feel your pain!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes haha I meant collar and harness :eek:

Well I'm relieved to know that this isn't an unusual problem, at least. This morning I took him out and tried just letting him do what he wanted (sit, stare down the road, sniff the flowers, stand there doing nothing) without coaxing walking too much. It was tough, I wanted to go for a walk! But I guess I will have to adjust my expectations for the time being, and hope he grows to enjoy walks more as he gets older. Right now, even the tuna treats I made, which he will do anything for, can't motivate him to walk. :rolleyes:
 

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If he's not sitting still and showing signs of stress (whale eye, ears back, tight body, etc) and he's just wanting to explore in one area- sniffing things, looking around, meandering, you might just need to lower expectations.

I have a 1 year old Boston, and when I got her, I was living in a neighborhood where I had grown up and lived for 11 years. When she was 10 months old, I moved to a different neighborhood in the same city, where there was less foot traffic but way more dogs (like 2X the number of dogs, seriously), and in a larger building (with 18 units vs the 3 units in our old one), and with an elevator access apartment with no yard, compared to the ground floor, garden access apartment she'd grown up in. There were also tons of dogs in our building and had been none in the old one, or in either neighboring building.

She was a perfect auto-heel, loose leash, great attention kind of a walker in the old neighborhood, but in the new one couldn't walk an inch without darting, lunging, trying to sniff everything.

We were there for about a month, and three weeks in she got markedly better, though she never got as good as in the old place. Now, we just did a cross country move to an industrial town in California, where we're in a dog-heavy apartment complex with very little around it and right next to a service dog program where there are often many dogs running loose in a big (fenced) field on our walking route. She is OK inside the complex after a week, unless she sees another dog, in which case she gets excited, but is a complete mess outside the complex- again, darting and wanting to sniff everything, and when we go past the group of dogs outside she gets anxious (because they tend to rush the gate and bark at her, we've since changed our walking route).

All that to say: moving will affect dogs, in different ways, and the difference in the new vs old place and neighborhood will make a big different in how they react to things, and they may at times seem like a totally different dog in the new place.

Don't worry too much about it, IMO. Let him take things at his own pace. It doesn't sound like it's a fear thing, more just he has a lot to take in and is young and scatterbrained. You could just make him move through it, if its not fear. Yes, there is some risk of fallout with this, but not the same as if he were afraid (again, assuming its not fear). I would probably just let him do what he wants on walks, at this age. At five months, I'm still focusing on not pulling, stopping when I stop, maintaining some semblance of attention to me (checking in), but most all all learning that walks are FUN, strangers are FUN, and other dogs are FUN. If you only get a block in 10min because he has to sniff every little thing, there are worse things in the world. Eventually, he'll be ready to go for a real walk, and its likely a phase at this age/stage of his life (what with the new move). Don't stress, he's not broken, lol!
 
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