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It's frustrating taking my Golden for a walk. There are times, mostly on nature trails, where he is excellent. But other times, mostly on roads, he will just stop walking. He seems more distracted than fearful. Often he will walk alright if we turn around, but sometimes, he won't go forward or backwards. Bribing with treats gets him to walk a few more feet, but I feel like I'm rewarding bad behavior. I have a very positive and happy energy when I take him out. I can't imagine I'm giving off bad energy. I praise him when he walks well. One time, I took the approach that I was the pack leader and we were going for a walk and he had no choice but to follow the leader. I took off enthusiastically on the route I wanted to take and I didn't give his the option of not walking. When he he hesitated, I just pulled him along. It sort of worked, but I heard it was bad to pull the dog, so I stopped. It's hard to figure out what is affecting the dog...crows, a train whistle, an airplane? Who knows? Now my strategy is if he stops, we go right back home. No fun for you. But then, I feel like I'm letting him "win". Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Dogs hide pain well, I would take him to a vet and rule out any sort of displasia given that he is a retriever. Mind you it may not be hip, it could be elbow or knee.

I don't buy into 'bad energy' and mood treatment only works on a dog who's responding with an emotional response (like fear) anyway. It truly sounds like your dog may be in pain.
 

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I use a cue phrase when it's time for my dog to come along with me. If she decides she wants to sniff or just rest for a little bit then I let her, but when it's time to go I always say "let's go", and she gets treats for coming along. I've found that she understands now that "let's go" means it's time to leave whatever she was focused on and get moving with me.

I would echo the previous statement that he might be experiencing pain that you aren't aware of. Dogs don't complain. And they only tend to whimper or favor things when they are really really in pain. My dog now had an injury to her leg where she would limp and not put pressure on it, but she never made a sound about it. So I think a vet trip might be in order to make sure that pain isn't the issue.
 

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The fact that he's better on nature trails makes me wonder if there are things in the road walks that have him reluctant? Do you notice if his reluctance coincides with anything like an increase in vehicle traffic, or maybe a loud truck or bus going by? Honking horns? Sirens? Cars with loud music playing? Are there yards along the walk with barking dogs? Is there a lot of pedestrian traffic? Any of these could make a dog decide "Uh, no thanks. Let's go home."

What about the surface you're walking on? I would assume the nature trails are dirt and the road walk is on asphalt/concrete? Could this be harder on his feet? Are his nails kept trimmed nice and short? If not, it could be bothersome on the solid surface but not so bad on the forgiving dirt where his nails could sink in the path.

And as previous posters said, if there is any soreness, the harder surface would definitely exacerbate it. I can walk much longer on a dirt trail than a concrete sidewalk without getting fatigued and sore.

Hope you figure it out and everything goes well!
 
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