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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20221
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our 10 year old brown labrador (Bumble) has always enjoyed

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Our 10 year old brown labrador bitch (Bumble) has always enjoyed long walks, only going on the lead on pavements and roads where there is traffic. She has always had a leather choke lead which hangs loosely round her neck.
Recently at the start of a walk but particularly now at the end, she suddenly stops, pulls back and refuses to walk further. Twice this has happened when crossing the road with oncoming traffic. She is walking normally (no limp, no outward manifestation of pain). I stop, then walk a few steps with her very slowly and then she stops again. Off the lead she will run in front as usual, chase cats, etc and walk as normal. Any ideas what could have happened to have suddenly brought on this refusal to walk?
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.
Does it ONLY happen on roads and pavement?
I am assuming she has never been in the same position off leash, but if she has, does she still react the same?
Does she act this way more often after exercise ?
Does she avoid jumping up or stairs or take them a lot slower than she used to?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, it only happens on roads and pavements and WHEN ON THE LEASH. Walking up a country lane off the leash presents no problem - but then she walks at her own pace, sometimes dawdling behind sniffing, sometimes trotting ahead.

This is only a recent problem. Bumble is very obedient, walks to heel and has never pulled on her lead (except when a cat is in sight!).

She has pulled back and stopped before we get out of the drive sometimes, but it is far worse after a walk (usually about 30-45 mins). This morning we had to walk the last 200 yards of our walk a couple of steps at a time - so something is wrong somewhere.

She does not jump up as much as she used (she was trained not to jump up anyway) and she has never done stairs.

Thanks for the additional information. It sounds like she experienced a negative experience when on her leash and on the payment. it may have been related to traffic but could also be related to a problem in the neck or back.
The first thing I would suggest is a senior check up and make sure your vet checks for disc and other spinal issues. Let me give you some sites on these below. If she is experiencing some loss of sensation on her paws this might cause her to be more hesitant on smooth surfaces. Having a leash attached might also put some pressure on areas of the neck or back.

Large dog breeds sometimes suffer from a condition called degenerative myelopathy which can also cause problems with the rear legs and lead to a loss of sensation and paralyses. You can read about this here:

Arthritis is often an issue in senior labs as well. So please get her checked over and have your vet check the paws, pads and nails well. If her nails are too long, she might be fine on other surfaces but hard roads might cause discomfort when she walks on it.
If there is no obvious medical cause, then it may be bahavioral. In this case, you want to convince her to go across pavement with not delay. One method would be to have vienna sausage slivers in your hand and as your approach the problem area, feed her a couple of thin slices as you are starting across. Try not to think about her stopping . If you worry about it, she might pick up on that and figure it is ok to worry about crossing the road.
Use the treats to keep her interested in your hand and her attention off the pavement. You might start this at a road she is more comfortable with and work up to the road she has the most trouble with.
It is important to remember that when you show her a lot of attention, massage her, and reassure her, she sees this as positive reinforcement for the behavior and will continue to display it to get the attention. It is better to not show any worry, walk at a fast pace and use the treats to give her incentive to keep moving forward. Be sure to give the treats only when she is moving forward and in such a way that she continues to move forward and doesn't have to stop to eat the treat.
So use the training I have suggested, try to worry less and get her an exam as soon as possible to rule out a medical cause for the behavior.
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 .
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