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Old 02-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy sometimes won't walk on lead

Hi everyone

We have a 16 week black miniature poodle. She is a beautiful little dog and generally a real people pleaser. I know she is young and perhaps i am expecting too much but she doesn't seem to look to me for reassurance and it worries me. I am clicker training her to make eye contact and when in the house she does this but outside she worries and just wants to go home. If my husband and i are together she walks happily and enthusiastically. When i am on my own she is anxious and doesn't want to go far from home, she sits and won't budge unless in that direction. I have tried luring, ignoring and waiting until she comes to me which she does but in a "please save me" fashion.

I am trying to find a local dog to go for walks with but no luck yet.

On the recommendation of the vet we have been walking around the block from 12 weeks (second vaccination at 11 weeks) so she has had four weeks of this and not much improvement. What can i do to give her more confidence in me?? I feed, groom, do my best at training etc but i feel she doesn't look at me as the alpha. Nothing is for free, she always has to do something (sit, down, wait) for food and sit before i will throw for a fetch.

This is my first puppy so please go easy on me if what i have done is wrong! We have done puppy class and doing a juvenile training class for 5 weeks in March so hopefully that will help but any help prior to that would be appreciated.

Kate
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Kate, it's ok. your doing just fine, having a new little puppy, is like having a new baby, it's hit and miss. You sound like you might be a little anxious when it's just you and her, without Dad there.and thats ok, so what if for now she does not go far from home. go slow , love her, play with her,all things will come in there on time, Please understand, I have never walked my dogs , my yard is very large, and safe, so when not playing inside, they can play out there.There are many people on here that not only walk there dogs they show them, they will be more than happy to help you with your fur baby, and there NOT, going to jump on you at all, you have done nothing wrong, there going to try and help, we all started out with a 1st puppy, or a 1st dog, and we did not know anything eather, just like you, Kate were all here for you, and your little baby.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My goodness! Aren't Pups are a lot of worry! She is just insecure and the way to help her is to take her everywhere with you! Even if it's a quick errand! She just needs to be exposed to the outside world and people and other surroundings! My Molly just turned 1 and she is a social butterfly now! At 16weeks we made a lot of trips....to the beach, to the park, to relatives homes, we even sat in an outdoor Mall so strangers could pet her! I always took a very large baggie of treats with me to hand out so she would associate strangers or children with good treats! Make being with you the most fun in the world! Relax, and she will relax too is also a good thing.....they pick up our emotions very quickly! Good Luck with your fluffy bundle of joy!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First, regarding the alpha stuff. Perhaps you should do this. I know there's a lot of information out there and as a new dog owner, it can be hard to differentiate fact from falsehoods.

http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit..._statement.pdf
Dominance and Dog Training
(also good) Dominance Myths and Dog Training Realities
The Pet Professional Guild - Dominance Theory in Animal Training
The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...olves-dogs-and
COAPE - Centre of Applied Pet Ethology, Pet Behaviour Courses

Please let me know if you want more information.

Chances are that if you're freaking out, your puppy will pick up on this and feed off you and do the same. Which may explain why she seems to do better when you're with your husband. Or maybe she feels more comfortable communicating her fear to you, and not so much when your husband is around. It's hard to say without seeing it.

There are several things that you can try.

Driving her away from the house and then walking back.

Using higher value food or toys or petting, or whatever else she really likes.

Going faster so her mind is on keeping up rather than on being scared. I don't mean that you should drag her. I mean she should get excited and happy about running with you.

Teach her to retrieve or carry something in her mouth to take her mind off of her fear.

Ask her to do fun tricks while you're walking to build up her confidence and excitement.

Consider if the collar or harness may be causing her discomfort.

See if there's a medical problem involved that's making her uncomfortable walking outside. Maybe a more thorough vet visit is in order.

Try taking a different route.

Go short distances while praising and rewarding her richly and then turn around and go home. Do this for several sessions a day so you're never asking more than she can handle. Turn back before she wants the walk to stop.

You might have to hire a trainer because we really have no idea what's going on that's causing this behavior.

She likely has a very good reason (in her mind) for wanting to stop the walk. It's important to find out what that is. Pretending to be an "alpha" dog won't make sense to her because you're not a dog and chances are, she's too smart to think you're one. And because it doesn't address the cause for her problem behavior.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you all so much, some very helpful tips and i think i am going along the right lines then. I do take her everywhere with me, to work, to the beach, to the shops, to friends houses and when we are in a safe environment she stays at my feet but when we are out she doesn't seek comfort by being near me.
I am probably freaking out subconsciously because i feel this has become a "problem" so am probably putting too much focus on it.
Thank you msminnamouse for the alpha information, very insightful and makes a lot of sense, I have just heard so many people talk about it that you are led to believe it.
I don't think she is in pain as when we go the park with my husband she runs about like a loony and we leave her harness and collar on.
I will keep going with all the tips and advice until we see the trainer. Will keep you posted!
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think as your confidence grows, so will hers - good classes and working with a good trainer will help both of you. Lots of good advice above - one other thing I did, especially with Poppy who was rather nervous as a pup, was to find a bench where we could just sit and watch the world go by. I'd have a pocketful of good treats, and as we weren't trying to get anywhere, or avoid bicycles, or meeting anything she was unsure of, we could both just relax and chat about all the interesting dogs and people passing by 50 yards away, and then go home again.

If I were you, I'd ask someone with good observational skills to watch how you, and your husband, behave with her, and see if they can elucidate what it is he is doing that makes her feel more secure when he is around - this is the sort of thing a good trainer could help you with. It might, of course, just be that she likes men - Poppy was wary of all strangers except large men with deep voices, who reminded her of her breeder's husband - it was obvious when I met them all that she was very fond of him, and that early has carried over into the rest of her life.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Going out on my own with Annie is still like that at times. She's 6 months now, and finds it so much easier to walk with the two of us, rather than one alone.

You just have to keep it going with puppies. She'll get used to it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Maybe she is worried when she cant see both of you that something will happen to the one left behind! The other thing what sort of surface are you walking her on? My toy poodle doesnt like walking on pavements but is fine on grass.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Thank you msminnamouse for the alpha information, very insightful and makes a lot of sense, I have just heard so many people talk about it that you are led to believe it.
Your welcome. I hope I didn't come across as sounding critical because that wasn't my intent at all. With the resurgence of the dominance theory, it's really hard for dog owners to know what's what. And when you get people who call themselves "experts" using the concept incorrectly and teaching dog owners what they think they know, well, it's just not great for anyone involved.

If the dog has a problem, people will just say that it's being dominant and they won't find out the real reason and how to fix the cause. Trying to "dominate" the dog only suppresses the symptoms of the problem, but not the problem it's self. So this dominance business is doing a lot of people a disservice and I don't like to see it.

Dogstardaily.com is a good source of solid information from reputable behavior professionals. It's pretty comprehensive. And a lot of the writers on there are published if you want even more resources.

I'm sure that most places you take your dog, people are going to give you some training advice, whether you want it or not. The best thing to do is to research what people tell you before implementing it. That way, you can be sure whether it's right for you and your dog, or not. Nowadays, EVERYONE seems to be a dog trainer! And remember, this field is unregulated so really, everyone CAN be a dog trainer.

I think you have really good instincts, the way you listen and think about what your dog is trying to tell you and trying to discover WHY she's doing what she's doing. Communication is good! You can't understand your dog if you don't listen to what they try to tell you. Your dog is VERY lucky! I hope you'll update us with her progress.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well progress has been made already, she's so smart maybe she read my post
My husband wasn't home until very late last night so had no choice but to go by myself. She had been home on her own for the afternoon so was very happy to see me. I took her favourite toy and a carefree attitude and wasn't expecting much. She marched down the park and was so happy had a great play with another puppy and then came home. This morning when my husband was in bed i could tell she wasn't in the mood so we didn't go far and then when he left for work we went back to the park and no problem. At least i am now quite confident it is because she doesn't want to leave my husband and we can work around that for now (i think!)
Bubbles - it is good to know i am not alone, thank you.
msminnamouse - i didn't think you were being critical at all. You offered very good advice (and again in your second post) and you are right in researching before implementing. As you said lots of people will offer advice and it is good to be selective in what you take onboard. Thank you for the kind words too.
Thank you all for the confidence to give her a bit more confidence!
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