You are here:

Dog Training/Walking the pooch problems

Advertisement


Question
Hello - I have a 6 month old female French Bulldog, Rubie. She is a wonderful pup, completely housebroken and well behaved except outside. When my husband and I walk her she is a totally different misbehaving dog.  She pulls, tries and at times is successful in eating things on the sidewalk. Wants to say hello and make friends with everyone/everything from people to pigeons! The one thing that is the most frustrating is when she sits down and doesn't move. This happens when she walks too far and doesn't want to walk back or if we want to go in one direction, she disagrees, and doesn't budge! With a harness we do not want to pull her so we end up picking her up and walking home. This is getting exhausting. I tried bringing biscuits or apple with me to move her along - it worked for a bit but not anymore.

Answer
HI Anne:

I am sorry to say that, the only option is to drag her a few paces, otherwise she continues to have enforced that if she sits and won't budge you will pick her up.

Try doing shorter walks, at six months she's still a young dog and you may just be pushing her too far.

As with all training we do with dogs, the 3 D's apply (Distance, Distraction, Duration).
for example we may be able to do things in the home but not outside, this is Distraction, there is too much ele going on, for them to focus.

Start simple short training sessions outside in a quite area, then move to busier and busier areas as you progress.

Here are some notes on training that may help:-

Behaviours to Avoid During the Walk

When going for a walk with my dogs, that is what I go to do – walk. Too often I see dog owners going out on a walk but the aim is to let the dog go to the bathroom. Now in some cases that may be the only way to do this as the owner lives in an apartment – but – the moment you begin to take your dog out and allow him to sniff at every lamp post, fire hydrant and tree, you are encouraging him to begin the habit of marking territory.
As a pack leader you should be the one guiding the way and setting the pace with your head up, shoulders back, exuding confident, calm. You take control and are head of the pack.
So before setting off on the actual walk take your dog into your yard or a place where you will not create neighborhood problems, and teach him the command to go to the bathroom. I say “Weewees” –.” You may say, “Get busy” or use some other cute non-common word to teach him the same. Now when you set off on your walk you know he does not have to cock a leg or she does not have to squat at every smell.
Dogs do give a squirt of urine to mark their territory. Their noses provide the most important information through scent. These “social messages” received through sniffing feces or urine will often prompt a dog to over-mark that scent with his own. They claim the territory with the scent. Often this results in dogs urinating far more than they need to, and even when nothing is coming out, they will still go through the motion of cocking their legs. Even females will mark with a quick squat. Some claim that a dog will communicate so much information through the smell of the urine that it is almost a dog database as they walk through the neighborhood.
Marking identifies territory to another dog or covers and masks the odors of dogs that have been there before. But what seems simple is actually a bit more complex than that. A male dog will go and mark where a female has been. Females will spread urine around when coming into their heat cycle, just to tease and let the “boys” know they are “ladies in waiting.” Sometimes a group of dogs will form a line to a “pee place.” When my two female dogs go out in my yard, often the older one will stand next to her younger friend and wait for her to finish urinating before she goes and squats on the same place. It’s a kind of “what’s yours is mine” mentality, or perhaps just a sign of friendship and bonding. Either way, it becomes a routine.
My dogs have never marked, and I have had many dogs throughout my life. If I have a dog from the time he’s a pup I do not let him mark. Not ever. I teach him to go to the bathroom on command and to eliminate completely in one or two goes. I have to add that because I occasionally breed them and produce a litter, they are not neutered. Now what does all this mean?
I believe it revolves around leadership. When a dog has an owner he can trust and believe in, someone who gives him what he seeks in life, who sets boundaries and limitations and provides discipline and direction, and builds good everyday habits, he look to that person for leadership. Dogs take leadership roles only when the owner does not. Some dogs have a natural dominance and want to be “king of the hill,” but most are looking for benevolent guidance and leadership. When we provide this in the early training of pups we teach them to go for a walk, not a marking circuit. We develop in the pup the desire to be with us, watch us, and be guided by us. We become the center focus for the dog.
I do believe that in some instances a marking dog is one that really lacks confidence and is attempting to say, “this is my territory – please keep away, I don’t want confrontation.” In other instances there is the dominant dog that says, “this is my territory and if you don’t want trouble then keep out of it.” And of course there are the ones where the owners have encouraged or allowed them to mark simply because they felt that is what dogs do.
I watch a dog and note the body posture, the tail, the stiffness of the back, the head position, and try to determine what the marking may be. In some it is definitely dominance – “I am here and letting you know.” With others it appears to be almost friendly – “Oh that smells nice; I think I will leave them a message.” Kind of like the Facebook for dogs!
What can be concerning is when the dog that begins to kick back with his hind legs after defecating or urinating. This is what I call “spreading the word.” A dog has scent glands between his paw pads and it is thought that in this way he is spreading his scent even more. As with marking, I dislike and don’t allow this behavior. For me it is a sign of dominance, an indication that this dog wants to be leader of the pack, and sees himself as independent with a will of his own. I have seen this mostly with the northern breeds. Nearer to the wild dog genetically maybe?
In most instances marking occurs because of lack of training, leadership and the development of good habits. Without realizing it, owners often place their dogs in leadership positions. The dog then believes he has to establish a territory and show he is the protector of all within it. This may go as far as marking in the house on personal belongings, even the owner’s bed. Once a dog has left a mark of territorial scent, you will find when he revisits the place he is almost “triggered” to mark again – an almost involuntary response to the smell. Then he gets into even more trouble than he was in before, which results in confusion in the dog and anger in the owner – energy that is anything but calm and assertive.
Elimination should be a function that is just that. Yes, dogs have to find the right spot but it does not have to be every tree, hydrant, post or other marked object. Take him in your yard or the usual place first, give him a command to eliminate and then once he has done his business, take him for his walk. He doesn’t go until he has eliminated. The walk should provide the joy of togetherness as you both tour your territory. Couple this with a consistent training routine to establish and reinforce a balanced relationship and you are not only on your way to having a nice mark-free, invigorating walk but a trusting, confident, healthy relationship too.

Loose Leash Walking – For Dogs under 6 Months
The most important part of Leash Walking is the POSITION of the COLLAR.
Ensure the Collar is at the very top of your dog’s neck, (you should see the collar, sitting just behind his/her ears).  To keep a Collar there it needs to be TIGHT (you should only be able to fit 1 finger between collar and dog’s skin).
Here is WHY:-    1) You will have better control
     2) The Collar is not on the Neck/Throat area and your dog will not Choke or Gag also there
will be no risk of your dogs trachea collapsing.
     3) Safety, on nearly all breeds a properly fitted collar prevents a dog from slipping that collar.

The next most important thing is how you hold that Leash.  The Handle/Leash Loop is designed for safety, it should be over your right hand, around your wrist.  Your dog should be on your LEFT, your Left hand is for scooping only, that’s scooping the leash to your left which is where you want him/her to be, on your left
.
DO NOT WRAP the leash around either hand and do not DEATH GRIP it either.  This causes tension and tension will make a dog pull/react to that tension.  Also watch your body language, you should be relaxed, with shoulders back, walking with confidence.  You will be amazed at how these minor details affect your dogs walking.
Keep an eye on that Collar, if it has slipped down, have you dog Sit and re-adjust.

Always start with your dog in a Sit on your Left, always step off with your Left Leg (Body Language, this will become very evident when working stays and waits).  Say Let’s Go, and walk at a descent pace for your dog.  Remember they are learning, so if you walk too slow, they will get distracted by other scents, things around them, if you walk too fast they will begin to run.  Finding that perfect speed, takes a bit of practise.

Start walking, if your dog swings to the right use your left hand to scoop that leash and bring him/her back to your left side, always keep moving forward, do not stop, slow down or speed up to accommodate your puppies wandering, you are leading this walk, not your puppy.  Only if your puppy surges ahead of you and hits the end of the Leash will you stop.  Make sure you stop dead the second he/she hits the pull, now you wait for some slack in the leash, the second you get that slack say “Yessss” and start moving forward again, scooping in need be the puppy back to your left side.

Puppies love to wander and investigate, everything around them is new, what they need to learn is not too Pull You.  As Puppies are so easily distracted (like a small child), Loose Leash Walking – Not Pulling – is what we want them to learn.  To Follow along with you at a reasonable distance, giving them the opportunity to do some investigation of scents, sights and sounds, but to learn to stick with-in a Leash length of you.

Your constant movement in the direction you chose only stopping if they Pull you forward teaches them this.  Here the crucial method is Timing – The Timing of your Stopping (immediately they hit a pull forward) and Marking – Saying “Yesss” the second they give you slack and that you then start to move forward again.



Loose Heel On Leash Walking – For Dogs over 6 Months
The most important part of Leash Walking is the POSITION of the COLLAR.
Ensure the Collar is at the very top of your dog’s neck, (you should see the collar, sitting just behind his/her ears).  To keep a Collar there it needs to be TIGHT (you should only be able to fit 1 finger between collar and dog’s skin).
Here is WHY:-    1) You will have better control
     2) The Collar is not on the Neck/Throat area and your dog will not Choke or Gag also there
will be no risk of your dogs trachea collapsing.
     3) Safety, on nearly all breeds a properly fitted collar prevents a dog from slipping that collar.

The next most important thing is how you hold that Leash.  The Handle/Leash Loop is designed for safety, it should be over your right hand, around your wrist.  Your dog should be on your LEFT, your Left hand holds the leash at the point where when it’s tight your dog is just a little off position of where you want him/her to be at your side.
DO NOT WRAP the leash around either hand and do not DEATH GRIP it either.  This causes tension and tension will make a dog pull/react to that tension.  Also watch your body language, you should be relaxed, with shoulders back, walking with confidence.  You will be amazed at how these minor details affect your dogs walking.
Keep an eye on that Collar, if it has slipped down, have you dog Sit and re-adjust.

Always start with your dog in a Sit on your Left, always step off with your Left Leg (Body Language, this will become very evident when working stays and waits).  Say Let’s Go, and walk at a descent pace for your dog.  Remember they are learning, so if you walk too slow, they will get distracted by other scents, things around them, if you walk too fast they will begin to run.  Finding that perfect speed, takes a bit of practise.

When your dog moves out of position, give a short jerk/snap SIDEWAYS, and use your “Correction Sound – Eh Eh”.  Sideways not backwards if you pull snap/jerk backwards your dog will immediately lunge forward.  The idea is to knock him/her off balance a bit, so they right themselves and do not lunge forward.  Do Not Pull, just a snap/jerk SIDEWAYS, if your arm hurts you are pulling not snapping/jerking.  This will take a bit of practise.

Additional Notes:- For the Collar fitting, I always suggest TWO COLLARS, so you do not have to constantly adjust one.  I have the Walking Collar always attached to the Leash.  Their other pretty, bling bling collar is fitted very loosely, so as to not leave a mark in their fur and this collar has all their tags on Rabies, City Licence, ID Tag.  So for general safety, this everyday collar should be loose enough for a dog to slip it, in case it ever gets caught on something, tree branch, fence etc.

Dog Training

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


The Dog Nanny

Expertise

Any Training or Behviour questions in regards to dogs.

Experience

Over 25 years as Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor and Certified Canine Behaviourist.

Organizations
Canadain Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers International Positive Dog Training Association Canadain Kennel Club Therapeautic Paws Of Canada

Publications
NuBowWow CAPPDT News Letter Happy Dog Connections

Education/Credentials
Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor Certified Canine Behaviourist Accredited Dog Trainer Director of Evaluators TPOC Certified Therapy Dog & Cat Evaluator Certified Canine Good Neighbour Evaluator

Awards and Honors
Certificates of Appreciation from various local organisations for Volunteer work as Guest Speaker on the subject of Dogs, Dogs & Children, Canine Behaviour, Mentor, Therapy Dog Programs etc

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.