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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18947
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My 2 year Dalmatian is stopping on walks & wont go any further.

Customer Question

My 2 year Dalmatian is stopping on walks & won't go any further. She is refusing to walk along roads which she has walked often & where nothing traumatic has ever happened. This has been happening for a quite a few months & the area where we walk is now getting smaller. She's keen to go on her walks but stops & wants to return home.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you
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.
.
What do you do when she stops?
Do you try and coax her?
What have you tried so far?
Has she had obedience training?
Does she have any health issues?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jane


 


When she stops I wait until a few moments then I try & coax her with a treat. Sometimes she has stopped in the middle of the road & so I have to pull her to safety.


She has not been to obedience training but she has had trainers come to the house. She is well behaved & very friendly to people & other dogs.


She has unilateral hearing & sometimes is startled by unexpected loud noises. She is used to road walking so busy roads do not bother her.


She also has a skin allergy which is controlled by steroids & Piriton.


 


 

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Val,
.
Thanks for the additional information. It is very helpful. She might have started this behavior for a specific reason, but may now do it for a totally different one. If she stops and you pull out a treat and tempt her to move, a dog learns that if they stop, you give them a treat. So that part needs to be changed.

Treats can be used, but you need to change the way you are using them. I'm going to suggest that you get a hot dog and cut paper thin slices. You can get 30+ tiny slices from one hot dog thus not filling them up. What you want to do is when you start your walk and she is moving well at your side (keep a hot dog slice in your hand), open the palm and as you are moving forward let her lick it out of your hand. This may take practice, but you need to be moving forward when you give the treat. Never give the treat after she stops. You can keep the treats in a pack that hooks around your waist so you can quickly get another treat to put in your closed hand. I usually have the leash in the opposite hand the treat in the hand held down at nose level on the side the dog is. The dog normally will follow the hand. This teaches her that she gets the treats when she is moving forward. Start doing this training as soon as you leave the house and when you start to run out of treats, start back toward home.

As she learns that she gets treats by continuing to move forward, you can give the treats farther apart and less often but continue to give them until she no longer stops ever. Also be sure she is checked for hip and joint issues that may make long walks uncomfortable. That is probably not the case, but still should be checked.
.
If you feel anxiety is an issue, you can use a DAP collar that produces a pheromone similar to the one a nursing mom emits to calm her pups. These collars frequently work for a variety of anxieties.
.
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 .
.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Just a quick follow up to see if you had a chance to try any of my suggestions. I hope you found my suggestions helpful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Your advice was helpful but being a vegetarian I do not want to handle any meat. I've tried cheese, pieces of apple, carrot & other food Poppy likes but still the same problem of moving a few steps & stopping.


I don't want to make a big issue of this problem as she appears scared (tail between her legs) when I try to get her to move.


She has managed on one occasion to get out of her harness & dashed across a road, so I'm reluctant to use too much force.



Nothing seems to be working for her & I'm frustrated for Poppy & myself that our walks are so short.


 


Thank you for trying to help


Val Arrowsmith

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Val,

I understand your reluctance to handle meat if you are a vegetarian, but dogs are not vegetarian but meat eaters and will not be as motivated by cheese and non meat products. I can only give you the suggestions on how to correct the situation and can not do them for you. Substitutions do not work as well. If you are not able to handle meat, perhaps you have a friend that could demonstrate how well they work or help your dog get over the initial issue of crossing the road.

Or go ahead and get a professional behaviorist in to evaluate her and work with her. In one way his would let you know if you are affecting her behavior. If an owner gets tense, a dog will be anxious. If a trainer is working with your dog and she crosses without much problem, then you will know that you being anxious is contributing to the issue.

Additonally, at this point you might haveyour vet take a quick look to make sure she isn't developing hip issue or arthritis that might be contributing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your advice & I think the problem is my anxiety about Poppy coming off the harness when I try to get her moving. I'm probably passing my fears onto her & so she's reacting in this way.


 


I realise she needs some meat treats to get her interested & so I will definitely try this. Not pleasant but anything to help her.


 


I think I may be the one who needs training, so I'll be the leader from now on.


 


Regards


Val

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Val,
.
That could be. I'll follow up in a couple of weeks with you.

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