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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18817
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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When out walking our miniature schnauzer (6 months old) frequently

Resolved Question:

When out walking our miniature schnauzer (6 months old) frequently crouches down and refuses to move for no apparent reason. He is especially likely to do this in the middle of crossing a road.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

I do want to add that your question was just moved into the correct category and that is why it took so long to get an initial response.

How far are his walks?
Can it happen at any time or is it after you have been walking a little ways?
Does it happen when there are any specific noises present like horns, etc?
In what other places has he stopped and refused to continue walking?
What obedience training has he had?
Is he neutered?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry about the delay, I do not generally spend much time online.

In answer to your questions

Jet is not neutered. He is about 6 months old and we plan to have him neutered at about 11 months or 1 year old.

He has done this stopping and refusing to move on walks of various lengths and there doesn't seem to be a pattern related to distance walked or time taken.

I haven't noticed any specific noises at the time. Although he is a very young dog he doesn't seem to be fazed by noises such as thunder or household appliances etc. He was not even bothered by some fireworks that were set off recently in the locality.

We did not get him until he was about 5 months old. He is a pedigree dog and had been bred as a show dog. The breeder had decided that he had some minor imperfections which would have made it impossible for him to win any trophies so we bought him. He has since had a thorough veterinary examination and he is in good health apart from a minor ear infection which we are treating. He will just be a household pet, he will not be entered for any competitions. The breeder has about 30 dogs and they are kept in a series of kennels and presumably Jet has not much experience of the outside World. He is very curious about everything around him.

I have tried to work out some kind of common factor governing the times when he has just refused to move and I can't think of any. Such things as overhanging trees, narrow pathways with high walls or hedges, different surfaces don't seem to be the answer. If you have any ideas, we would be most trateful.


Peter Gilham

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the information. It is helpful. Since he was bred to be a show dog, then it is likely he has a pretty stable personality. It is probably just that he isn't used to going for walks or crossing roads as well.

However, I don't think it will be hard to correct. He may have just found that if he stops and refuses to move that you will pick him up and carrying him even if it is just to the other side of the road. Many dogs do this especially if they are not used to being walked on a leash. The solution is to make the dog want to be by your side and come with you all the time.

Number one, put your dog on a leash before leaving the house. Make your dog sit or lie down before leaving. You walk out first and the dog should follow you out. With a proper walk, the dog should be right at your side or slightly behind. You dog should be paying attention to you, frequently glancing at you to be sure you haven't changed your mind about where you are going. They should have worked with him on this if they had planned on showing him but he also might be just used to going in a large circle. I will be using the word correction. A correction will indicate a short quick tug and release of the leash to get his attention back on you.

If a dog or pup won't move or are hesitant, stopping, laying down, a stinky, tasty treat usually convinces them to follow. I use almost paper think pieces of hot dog (vienna sausage) as the oil from them coats your hand and keeps the smell on your hand. Let your dog smell the treat in your closed hand. If they get up and come to your side, feed them the treat. Put another in your closed fist and let the dog smell it as you move forward. The dog should follow. Since he currently is moving forward initially, reward him with a treat and verbal praise. Continue to reward him as he is moving forward every couple of minutes so he understands you are rewarding him for moving. Gradually increase the distance he must go by your side, smelling your hand in order to get a treat. Before you know it, your dog will be walking right next to you all the time, with or without treats. When you stop, praise your dog with your voice or a few pats to let your dog know how good he has done. You might start this in the yard to begin with and as then practice crossing a road over and over again to be sure he will repeat the behavior over the road.

Important note: If he starts to stop or lays down, do not give him a treat, as this will teach him that if he does that you will give the treat. Try to time it so that he is always moving forward when a treat is given. You might try practicing on a seldom used road initially so you have some time to give a correction for not staying at your side and can show him the treat. You won't give the treat until he is back waking at your side. Just because he gets up or start moving toward the treat isn't enough. He has to take a few steps by your side to get it. You don't want him thinking that if he stops, he gets the treat which is why you do a lot of treats early on.

Once he is walking on a leash, he may start moving in front or pulling away from you. Keep your leash short, but without pressure on it. If the dog starts moving away, a correction toward you should be made. This shouldn't be a dragging, but more of a tug to get their attention. Occasional treats help with this phase too. If they stay where they belong for a time, reward them. Once your dog is pretty much always walking at your side, you will want to make a correction any time they stop paying attention to you. For instance, they are looking at a cat in a yard, give a correction so they look at you. They are busy looking ahead and haven't glanced at you for awhile, give a correction and reverse your direction. Do not stop and wait for the dog, just a quick correction and reverse and walk. They learn to keep an eye on you as well as on what else is going on.

This is a method I use when training dogs to work on a leash and it is very effective. In most cases, a dog will be walking by their owners side in one training sessions even when they have never been on a leash before, so I am confident it will help in your situation.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18817
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your suggestions, we will be trying them out. I am sure after some time we will be successful.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

You are very welcome.

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