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Linda Simon
Linda Simon,
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  Locum veterinarian at Panacea pets ltd
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Snapping and snaing whilst we try and get a lead on, Only a

Customer Question

Snapping and snaing whilst we try and get a lead on
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Can you tell me a little more about the dog's situation? How long has this been a concern?
Customer: Only a few weeks
JA: When did the dog last see a vet? Are they taking any medications?
Customer: Saw vets for last injections in January. No medication.
JA: And what's the dog's name and age?
Customer: Milo aged about 19 months
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: Don't think so
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Dog Training
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
When out there can be some initial resistance but on the whole he likes walks.
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

Hello, you are through to Dr Linda, a UK based vet.

I'm sorry to hear this and appreciate your concern for Milo.

What breed is he?

Has he ever had any behavioural issues before?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
He is a cocker spaniel. There has never been issues like this but he doesn't like going out for walks until he's out
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

Does he try to get away when he sees the lead?

And do you use a neck collar or body harness?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
he does. We have both
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

So will he snap whether you clip the lead onto the neck collar or you are putting the harness on? Both are suddenly an issue?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
It's around the neck collar
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

And his behaviour is okay when the body harness is used?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Once it's on there are no issues. It's literally putting the lead on him
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I put the lead on first. I do try and use the rope lead first
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

But if you were to just clip a lead on to the body harness, would he be okay with this?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I think do but of course we have to get him first
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

Yes, ok sure.

I am just typing my reply now which will take a few minutes.

Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

Given that this is a new behaviour and it is specifically the neck collar that irritates him, I'd be suspicious for a source of discomfort.

If, for example, he has an ear infection, sore neck or mouth pain then he will be resistant to having the collar put on.

A vet check is sensible so we can examine his ears and all around the neck area.

In the meantime, build confidence and trust by only using the body harness and rewarding with treats and praise when he is calm and happy for you to put it on.

It may help to distract with e.g. a peanut butter stuffed Kong while approaching to get the lead in position.

Some dogs are more tolerant of the harness being put on when e.g. in the garden and distracted.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
The collar is on all the time tho
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

I understand but he may be fearful of the clip being put on if it pulls him in a certain way (while being put on or while out walking).

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
When we are out he is fine with beng clipped on both. My husband doesn't tend to use the harness.
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

It is certainly also possible that this is a behavioural issue, but a health condition should be ruled out first (particularly an ear infection; which is so common in this breed.

If we do find it is behavioural, we can work to desensitize him to having the collar put on by slowly re--exposing to it and making him associate it with good things (like treats and praise and enjoyable walks).

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
We also have the issue of him not wanting to come out of his crate. If you say the word walk he will go back in his crate
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

It certainly sounds like he associates the act of going for a walk with negative feelings.

As I say, we first need to rule out a medical issue.

If his health check is all clear, consulting with a behaviourist on this would be the next sensible step.

They can assess him in person and make a tailored plan going forward.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
book a vet appt?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
how do I book a behaviourist?
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

This would be the first step as it may be that there is a more 'simple' fix like a short course of antibiotic ear drops or pain relief.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank-you
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.

Not at all and please do feel free to keep me in the loop.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I've just done some work with milo by putting his rope lead on him and then the harness and not a peep of protest.
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 13 days ago.
That's good!
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Well what a difference a day makes!!!!!
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 12 days ago.

Ah, wonderful news :)

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I spent a lot of time thus morning just reassuring him. No issue with rope lead. A little growl at harness but nothing like yesterday. Put retractable lead on the harness. Slight resistance at walling initially but then happily went up the road where as in previous days I've had to carry him to the top if the road. Just been down to him now, put rope lead on walked round garden no problem. Even accepted treats on walk today and he normally isn't treat based at all!
Expert:  Linda Simon replied 12 days ago.

Fabulous- I'd take it slow as dogs can sometimes 'take a step back' (especially if having an anxious day) but this is all very promising.