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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please excuse the length of this post!

I have a 3 year old beagle/cattle dog/maybe whippet mix who is pulling what we are calling her "stubborn mule" move on a every single walk we take her on. My husband and I like to take her for a walk once each day (on leash) around our neighborhood for about a mile, but without fail, she will completely stop and refuse to move at the beginning of the walk, then continue doing it consistently throughout the walk. She will usually do it more during the first part of the walk as opposed the the end.

She has done this basically her whole life, but it was manageable before. She used to only do it at the beginning of the walk, maybe once or twice, but then she'd snap out of it. I was gone from the house for a week earlier this month, and my husband said that each day he'd try to take her for a walk, and each day he'd spend an hour and only get her to move 3 houses down the street. She had done this before when one of us would try to walk her by ourselves around the neighborhood (ie we BOTH have to walk her if we want her to move). When we lived in an apartment in a different area (ie no yard) I had to take her for walks twice a day by myself and I almost never had this problem.

When I came home from my trip, we expected that we'd get back into the normal routine, but she has continued her behavior. We've been taking her for a walk each day since then (hoping that the routine will snap her out of it), and we will manage to get her through the walk but it's frustrating. She'll stop at least 20 times throughout the walk. Tugging on the leash results in her tugging more in the opposite direction, and from what I've learned the "opposition reflex" is probably what's going on there. We try to avoid it.

Here is what we HAVE tried:

  1. Taking treats on the walk to try and engage her and make the walk more interesting. We don't reward her for moving, in general, but rather we use them to get her to sit or shake or something.
  2. We removed her harness and walked her just using her (normal) collar. It seemed to help a little, but it hasn't proved to be a solution.
  3. Talking to her only when she moves. I felt like we were "rewarding" her stubbornness by talking to her as soon as she stopped. This hasn't made a difference.
  4. When she did stop, I would walk ahead a little, then call for her and start running. This has been the most consistent way to get her moving, but usually when she'd catch up, she'd stop again.
  5. I'd walk slightly in front of my husband (who is walking the dog). This would work for awhile, but she'd often stop again.
  6. I'd walk her, and if she'd stop. I tell her to sit, then wait a minute and say "OK" (her release command) and give a quick tug on the leash. It worked the first few times, but it's not working consistently anymore.
  7. We vary our walk each day. It's always a slightly different route, but the problem is we're coming from the same spot (our house) and she ALWAYS stops on the way out of the house. We may have to try driving a few blocks away and walking her from there...
  8. We used to walk her in the morning, then give her breakfast when she got home. We realized that she might be hungry on the walk, so we started feeding her before the walk. When that didn't work, we started walking her in the evenings, 1-2 hours after her evening meal. It hasn't made much of a difference.
  9. I've tried "walking around her" when she stops to "snap her out of it" (it's a method I've read about online). It did nothing.
  10. We will clap or nudge her gently on the side/butt with our legs when she stops. Sometimes it snaps her out of it, sometimes it doesn't. :provoke:
  11. Sometimes, when she stops we just wait for her to start moving again, then praise her when she does.

I think one of two things is going on here: 1) she's getting bored on the walks and/or 2) She has somehow gotten it in her head that she's the alpha in our family while on walks (I was always in control before I left for a week). She is submissive, and so she doesn't know quite what to do with her power... heh. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I've thought about it a lot!

Has any one else had experience with this kind of problem? Any advice as to how to "snap her out of it" when she does stop while walking?
 

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The whole "alpha" thing is disproven. You can ignore it entirely. Your dog doesn't think you're a dog, nor does she have the brain power to "show you" by not walking.

1. Take her to the vet. She may be in pain, you should rule that out first.

2. Why not use the treats to reward walking instead of anything but? If my dog were refusing to move, I sure wouldn't be treating sitting, I'd be luring and rewarding moving.
 

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2. Why not use the treats to reward walking instead of anything but? If my dog were refusing to move, I sure wouldn't be treating sitting, I'd be luring and rewarding moving.
Exactly what I was going to say :) Reward for the behaviors you want to increase them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
We did reward her for moving forward (it was the first thing we tried), but then she'd stop to eat the treat and refuse to move forward AGAIN... unless I brought out another treat or tried one of the other tricks (nudging, or me running ahead). I stopped doing it because I felt like I was rewarding the stopping. Instead, I would periodically give her treats throughout the walk for doing other things as a way to make the walk more interesting and break the cycle. Obviously that isn't really working either.

Also, I highly doubt she's in pain, because she'll run around our yard at full speed (think fast like a whippet) and play fetch with no problem or protest.

Any other suggestions? Does anyone have any idea why she might be doing this?
 

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To clarify, you reward while she's moving. Feet moving = treat. If she's too short to treat while moving, put some peanut butter on a wooden spoon to treat her with.

I'd also walk her somewhere not in the neighborhood. Do you have any parks or hiking trails near you? Mix it up and keep it interesting. A walk around the block isn't all it's cracked up to be :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I tried to treat while moving, but she always stops to eat it, no matter how tiny the treat is. So the problem is built into the reward, you know? Maybe I'll have to give the wooden spoon thing a shot - she does love peanut butter! I'll attract every dog in the neighborhood!

I think you're right though - it seems it is indeed a boredom thing. There is a nice paved "hiking trail" that's fairly close to our house as well. I just don't think it's realistic to think we'll drive somewhere to walk her every day. Maybe a few times a week will be enough to break up the monotony? Thanks for your help!
 

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We did reward her for moving forward (it was the first thing we tried), but then she'd stop to eat the treat and refuse to move forward AGAIN... unless I brought out another treat or tried one of the other tricks (nudging, or me running ahead). I stopped doing it because I felt like I was rewarding the stopping. Instead, I would periodically give her treats throughout the walk for doing other things as a way to make the walk more interesting and break the cycle. Obviously that isn't really working either.

Also, I highly doubt she's in pain, because she'll run around our yard at full speed (think fast like a whippet) and play fetch with no problem or protest.

Any other suggestions? Does anyone have any idea why she might be doing this?
The treat's probably too big then. It should be so small that it takes no time at all to get down. Peanut butter on a long spoon is a great idea, just give her a lick and move the spoon ahead.

As for the running around the yard, maybe, maybe not. Dogs don't show pain like humans do. When she's having fun, she shows no pain, when she's not she does. Or the pain relates to the collar. Or the sidewalk. Get it checked out just in case. Worst case scenario, your dog is fine.
 

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If it's not a medical problem but rather a problem of boredom...

I'd try brining some of her favorite toys with you, running ahead of her and letting her play with one for a minute or so when she catches up. I'd make the time a little longer that she has to walk each time before she gets the toy or a treat. Just make it fun though. ^^

If that doesn't work, I'd clicker train her... try what Emily does at around 3:20 in this video:

Again making the time longer between each reward until you can eliminate them completely. Chicken is a great motivator. ;) just don't feed her any treats with pork in them as it can lead to pancreatitis.

And if that doesn't work... I'm not sure what I'd do after that lol. Beagles are the most stubborn dogs that I walk at the clinic. Not sure what it is about the breed but when they don't want to budge, they really seriously don't want to budge. :eyeroll:

Good luck with her and keep us updated on this please :)
 

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I could be reading this wrong but if you treat her moving what happens after she gets the treat is a moot point.

To clarify, in classical conditioning, what happens directly before the treat is the behavior that will be enforced. What happens after doesn't have any bearing on her behavior unless you are giving treats while she is sitting still

The progression of events (from the absolute beginning) would be something like:

right paw moves, click, treat(x10 or x20, whatever works)
step with either paw, click, treat(x10 or x20 ww)
two steps, c/t, repeat
series of steps, c/t, repeat
15 seconds of walking, c/t, repeat
etc
etc
if she gets stuck on a step back up and go to something easier, and always end on a positive note!
whatever behavior you want to c/t is fine as long as you remember that baby steps are key :)
 

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I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one that has this problem. He has the EXACT same behaviour. He is even starting to lay down so that I can't pull him. I have to stop, pick up his behind so that he is standing again, and try to encourage him to come.

It has been so discouraging. He has been seen at the vet and there is nothing medically wrong with him. When he is in an open field without a lease, he tears through there with no problem.

I have taken him to other locations incase it is boredom and he will turn around to see where I've parked and will only go so far before he stops and wants to turn around to go back to the car.

I am interested to see what others may give for advice because I have the same problem.
 

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I'm having the exact same problem with 11 week old brittany spaniel. Who ever heard of a Brittany who isn't excited for daily exercise?! My family's Springer Spaniel had the exact opposite problem - she's 12 years old now and still tugs terribly on lead.

Sadie will plant her butt or just totally lay down in the middle of a walk. If we've been walking for awhile, I'll happily give her a 30-second break as she is just a puppy and is probably worn out. However, she'll do this 30 seconds into our walk! If she's laying down, I frequently have to walk over, pull her up by her scruff and set her on her feet before she will begin walking again.

My boyfriend took her out yesterday and came back inside minutes later, saying she laid down on her side and would not get up for anything, even when he started pulling her.

BTW, she's not in pain or injured - she tears around the apartment like a wild woman, and can play fetch for hours on end. I've done brief sprints across our grassy area with her and she does so much better running vs. walking, but I know she can't accompany me on jogs yet for quite some time. I'm honestly at my wits end -- i try to make ample amounts of time per day to take her out for exercise, but more than half of the time i'm dragging her along on her butt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
BTW, she's not in pain or injured - she tears around the apartment like a wild woman, and can play fetch for hours on end. I've done brief sprints across our grassy area with her and she does so much better running vs. walking, but I know she can't accompany me on jogs yet for quite some time. I'm honestly at my wits end -- i try to make ample amounts of time per day to take her out for exercise, but more than half of the time i'm dragging her along on her butt.
We've figured out that our dog will run with us on walks, but she'll stop and dig her heels in once we slow down to a normal pace. It's too bad we're not runners!
 

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I went for a walk with my friend tonight. She has a shihtzu. She asked me to give her my dog and I took hers. She thought that she could encourage him but he did the exact same thing to her. He laid right down on the pavement.

So frustrating.

I wonder if a collar is better than a harness? He may feel more free to walk? I just feel that he is more secure in a harness. What are your thoughts?
 

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I went for a walk with my friend tonight. She has a shihtzu. She asked me to give her my dog and I took hers. She thought that she could encourage him but he did the exact same thing to her. He laid right down on the pavement.

So frustrating.

I wonder if a collar is better than a harness? He may feel more free to walk? I just feel that he is more secure in a harness. What are your thoughts?
I know how frustrating it is...I got angrier than I've ever been with her tonight when I took her for a walk. She hasn't gotten a lot of exercise today so I was hoping she's be ready and willing for one, but she was worse than ever! It doesn't make any sense to me, that she walks best when she's worn out, but I guess it is a sign of boredom, that she wants to be doing something else. The problem is, I live in an apartment and we can only play fetch so much inside the house, she needs to get outside for some brisk exercise, but I can't let her off lead yet!

I can't find any help on what to do-- all the leash training videos are either for initial leash training (she walked fine when I conditioned her to the lead) or for correcting leash pulling.
 

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I'm having the exact same problem with 11 week old brittany spaniel. Who ever heard of a Brittany who isn't excited for daily exercise?! My family's Springer Spaniel had the exact opposite problem - she's 12 years old now and still tugs terribly on lead.

Sadie will plant her butt or just totally lay down in the middle of a walk. If we've been walking for awhile, I'll happily give her a 30-second break as she is just a puppy and is probably worn out. However, she'll do this 30 seconds into our walk! If she's laying down, I frequently have to walk over, pull her up by her scruff and set her on her feet before she will begin walking again.

My boyfriend took her out yesterday and came back inside minutes later, saying she laid down on her side and would not get up for anything, even when he started pulling her.

BTW, she's not in pain or injured - she tears around the apartment like a wild woman, and can play fetch for hours on end. I've done brief sprints across our grassy area with her and she does so much better running vs. walking, but I know she can't accompany me on jogs yet for quite some time. I'm honestly at my wits end -- i try to make ample amounts of time per day to take her out for exercise, but more than half of the time i'm dragging her along on her butt.
A puppy that young is probably afraid to go too far away from her den... Have you tried just walking back and forth in front on your house? As she gets used to it, you can increase the distance, making sure she's still comfortable... Please don't drag her - it can only have a negative effect...
 

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A puppy that young is probably afraid to go too far away from her den... Have you tried just walking back and forth in front on your house? As she gets used to it, you can increase the distance, making sure she's still comfortable... Please don't drag her - it can only have a negative effect...
It's not fear, I can assure you. It's just stubbornness, maybe boredom. But I don't know how to fix it.
 

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She sounds frightened to me. Every day you force her to go where she does not want to go, just makes her more unnerved.

This is not "stubborn" or "alpha". That's all nonsense, as folks are saying. Dogs do sit down strikes when they are very uncomfortable with the environment.
 
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I'm having the exact same problem with 11 week old brittany spaniel. Who ever heard of a Brittany who isn't excited for daily exercise?! My family's Springer Spaniel had the exact opposite problem - she's 12 years old now and still tugs terribly on lead.

Sadie will plant her butt or just totally lay down in the middle of a walk. If we've been walking for awhile, I'll happily give her a 30-second break as she is just a puppy and is probably worn out. However, she'll do this 30 seconds into our walk! If she's laying down, I frequently have to walk over, pull her up by her scruff and set her on her feet before she will begin walking again.

My boyfriend took her out yesterday and came back inside minutes later, saying she laid down on her side and would not get up for anything, even when he started pulling her.

BTW, she's not in pain or injured - she tears around the apartment like a wild woman, and can play fetch for hours on end. I've done brief sprints across our grassy area with her and she does so much better running vs. walking, but I know she can't accompany me on jogs yet for quite some time. I'm honestly at my wits end -- i try to make ample amounts of time per day to take her out for exercise, but more than half of the time i'm dragging her along on her butt.
Absolutely with an 11 week old puppy she is not ready to go for walks around the neighborhood yet. She is indeed uncomfortable with going that far from home. Stop pushing her. You will just make the situation worse.
 

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It's not fear, I can assure you. It's just stubbornness, maybe boredom. But I don't know how to fix it.
You are asking a 2 year old toddler to hike a mountain and enjoy it, then calling the child stubborn/bored because the she sits down.



Look, for all you people who want to ascribe negative or manipulative motivations to your dog's behavior, you are on the wrong track and by insisting on seeing things this way you are not going to be able to solve the problem.

When you have to scruff a puppy to get her moving, its time to consider that the whole situation is wrong for the puppy. Don't put the puppy in this situation.

There are really only two reasons a dog sits down in a walk and won't move.

Sit down strike almost always means "I don't want to go there... I'm overwhelmed."

The other explanation is "I hurt."

That's it.


Saying the dog is stubborn is human projection. Its not helping you, or the pup.
 
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