You are here:

Dogs/taking dog for a walk

Advertisement


Question
I have a 3 year old german shepherd that runs and hides when her leash is brought out. She understands what the word walk means, so if you say lets got for a walk she will hide. We have had to get her in an area that she can not get away from us in order to get her leash on. Once her leash is on, she is fine she walks right at your side, does not pull and seems to enjoy the walk.  We got her when she was 6 weeks old and has always had this issue. I do not like having to get her in an area that she can not get away and would like some advise on how to get her to enjoy the process of getting the leash on and going for a walk.

Answer
Hi,  this is an easy fix, but a time consuming one.   

First, don't ask her to go for a walk.  That is triggering anxiety for some reason.  Just get the leash and put it on her.   

If it is getting the leash on her that she fears, then feed her treats while you are sitting down on a couch and bring the leash out, do not put it on, but give her a treat.  Keep doing this until she realizes that you are NOT going to put the leash on, but she is getting a goody.  that is step one. Do the same ritual all day long, but keep things relaxed as possible.  When she seems more relaxed, bring out the treats and the leash and slip it around her neck and remove it immediately praising her and giving her a treat.  Repeat this until she doesn't seem afraid.  Also, I forgot to mention do this with a different type of leash, not the one you have been using.  (make sure it looks different than the one you have been using)  This changes the scene a bit for her.  I would suggest a show leash that you can buy online that just slips over the head.  I will add a link so you can see what it looks like.  When she finally seems relaxed enough to let you put the leash on and off while you are sitting, then one time leave it on and go for a walk.  

She is not cured!!!!  you will have to repeat this whole procedure a few more times although I am hoping that being a shepherd she will "get it" quicker than most.  You see what I mean that it is time consuming, but once this is past her everything will be fine.

The last thing is if she has a fear  of a leash in general.  In that case you will tie a three foot ribbon on her collar and let her wear it all the time for a few days.  You will then get a very short leash (or cut one about two feet long) and put that on her and let her wear it around for a few days until she stops noticing it is on her.  Try and keep her happy by playing with her a lot and in general doing normal things with her.  Even when you walk her. leave the short leash on as well as the original leash.  Finally put a longer leash on her.  This is where it gets tricky.  It is very important that you are with her at all times when you do this last step.  The longer leash can get caught on things which would set her back terribly.  This longer leash is only on her when you are around.  At this time when you walk her outside hold both leashes (her original and the second)  When you return from your walk, if you are going to be around leave the new long leash on her, if you are not going to be around put the two foot leash back on.  When she no longer seems afraid, your problem is solved.

Please let me know how you make out.  I love to hear about all the dogs.  

nancy  

Dogs

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Nancy Perry

Expertise

You can ask me anything on dog training, dog breeding, dog grooming. What type of dog you should get. Pertinent facts about different breeds. I am also specifically knowledgeable about terriers and the diets that help maintain coat excellence. I have trained and helped owners train their dogs.

Experience

I have worked in dog training for 35 years. I have been a dog groomer for 25 years..

Education/Credentials
Certified trainer with Petsmart Certified Groomer with Petsmart

Past/Present Clients
approximatedly 2 to three hundred clients since 1993

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.