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Stubborn dog doesn't enjoy walks.

ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I have two Jack Russel Terriers, about 10 and 12 years old. The oldest for the past few years has been something of a pain to take for anything but the most token of walks. She doesn't get excited about walks anymore, sometimes even will avoid me if she knows I'm about to take her on a walk, but the biggest problem is that she "puts on the breaks" frequently during walks in an attempt to make me turn around. She'll try to pull me onto paths that lead home more quickly if I have a longer walk planned, and even if she doesn't try to stop me she will drag behind me and it's a constant battle to get her to keep up with my pace. When it becomes obvious to her that we're on the way home though she'll magically pick up her pace and maintain a perfect heel.

The younger is a polar opposite. He goes apeshit for walks, would probably sprint with me for the entire duration of the walk if I wanted to, and I've had to work on keeping him from darting ahead of me and taking me for a walk.

If it's relevant, both dogs were somewhat overweight for about 5 years. My parents had fallen into a habit of constantly keeping bowls with food out for them. During this time is about when I would say the elder started to become troublesome, although the younger has always been very energetic even when he was a fatty. I've had them on a more regulated diet for a few years now and they're much healthier looking now, although admittedly not athletic lean.

Any suggestions on what might be the issue, or possibly ways of coaxing her into coming along more readily are welcome.

Scosglen on

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    NappuccinoNappuccino Surveyor of Things and Stuff Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    When you walk, do have your arms at yourside in a relaxed position? Do the dogs constantly pull on the leash? Do they walk in front of you instead of right beside you?

    If all those are yeses, then the dogs don't really see you as a master. Try to just keep your arms relaxed and walk like you would even with out the leash.

    (just some basic tips I got from that show "Dog Whisperer")

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    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Show stubborn one a treat. Make her sit and stay while you put a leash on her. Then give her a treat. Walk her a little ways and give her a treat as long as she doesnt pull or put on the breaks.

    Keep doing so until you just give her a treat at the end of the walk.

    starmanbrand on
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    supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Take the dog to the vet. She’s old enough that it could be arthritis or metabolic.

    supabeast on
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    ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    She's very food motivated, so I think if it's behavioral, an approach like what starman suggested might work. She's very smart and is receptive to training. I've attempted something like that in the past but I wans't able to consistently reinforce it. Might be worth another try.

    I'm concerned that it might be arthritis, and she's going to the vet soon for something unrelated anyway so I will be sure to ask about it. Does arthritis still make sense if she is otherwise excitable and will readily bolt around the house chasing after the cat, various neighborhood critters, play fetch, and "air dry" herself after getting a bath, goes nuts when the pizzaman rings the doorbell, etc?

    Scosglen on
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    CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Scosglen wrote: »
    She's very food motivated, so I think if it's behavioral, an approach like what starman suggested might work. She's very smart and is receptive to training. I've attempted something like that in the past but I wans't able to consistently reinforce it. Might be worth another try.

    I'm concerned that it might be arthritis, and she's going to the vet soon for something unrelated anyway so I will be sure to ask about it. Does arthritis still make sense if she is otherwise excitable and will readily bolt around the house chasing after the cat, various neighborhood critters, play fetch, and "air dry" herself after getting a bath, goes nuts when the pizzaman rings the doorbell, etc?

    No there isn't such a thing as "selective arthritis", your dog either has it all the time or not at all. This sounds like a behavioural problem anyway. I have a 14 year old Alsation who has such bad arthritis she can barely support her back legs but she still loves her walks. Try going the training route old dogs can sometimes learn new tricks. :P

    Casual on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    some dogs are just lazy. try changing your walk route up.

    my dog will do the exact same thing but she just wants things her way, but she usually gives us once we get out of sight of our house

    mts on
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    underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2009
    supabeast wrote: »
    Take the dog to the vet. She’s old enough that it could be arthritis or metabolic.

    Don't push a dog that doesn't want to go for a walk. There could be a medical condition causing discomfort of some sort. Was this a sudden change in the dogs behavior or did it happen slowly over time? Has the dog always not enjoyed walks?

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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    it doesn't sound like arthritis to me. Jack Russels are really smart dogs, so it's probably behavioral. Could be he sees the younger one pulling and "leading" and is like "fuck that shit." lack of a clear Alpha can lead to some crazy behavior.

    Although, the vet isn't a terrible idea. A checkup wouldn't hurt. they might be able to give you some tips as well.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Show stubborn one a treat. Make her sit and stay while you put a leash on her. Then give her a treat. Walk her a little ways and give her a treat as long as she doesnt pull or put on the breaks.

    Keep doing so until you just give her a treat at the end of the walk.
    This is a bad idea. If you keep doing this, the dog will act nice just so he can get treats.

    Bartholamue on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    the dog is just trying to get its way.

    mts on
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    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Show stubborn one a treat. Make her sit and stay while you put a leash on her. Then give her a treat. Walk her a little ways and give her a treat as long as she doesnt pull or put on the breaks.

    Keep doing so until you just give her a treat at the end of the walk.
    This is a bad idea. If you keep doing this, the dog will act nice just so he can get treats.

    ...That's what animal training is?

    starmanbrand on
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    ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    underdonk wrote: »
    Was this a sudden change in the dogs behavior or did it happen slowly over time? Has the dog always not enjoyed walks?

    She used to love walks. We have kind of a ritual before the walk where I ask "Do you wanna go for a WALK!?" and they would both get very excited. The older one stopped getting excited during the ritual gradually about 5 years ago, around the same time they started becoming a little obese.

    Scosglen on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Show stubborn one a treat. Make her sit and stay while you put a leash on her. Then give her a treat. Walk her a little ways and give her a treat as long as she doesnt pull or put on the breaks.

    Keep doing so until you just give her a treat at the end of the walk.
    This is a bad idea. If you keep doing this, the dog will act nice just so he can get treats.
    That's pretty much the point. The dog isn't going to really want to go for a walk, but it can be encouraged to go along with it if it thinks there's a tangible benefit.

    Quid on
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    DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Just stop taking the older dog on walks.

    Problem solved.

    Demerdar on
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    NappuccinoNappuccino Surveyor of Things and Stuff Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The older dog needs exercise too, if you want him/her to stay healthy.

    Nappuccino on
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    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
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    MimMim I prefer my lovers… dead.Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    It's the obesity I believe. You ever see an obese person enjoy a walk? No? Neither have I. My dachshund is obese and he hates walks, which sucks because he has to lose weighr. My vet reccomended making the walks fun. Walks around the bloc are good. If you can, take them both to a field that is enclosed and toss a squeeky ball and have them chase it. My big boy really cannot resist chasing the ball. It's fun for them and healthy. Also, limit their food intake. No human foods unless it's low calorie like a carrot. Their food should be half a cup a day, as my vet says because they're small. You feel terrible about it at first, thinking you're starving them, but it's for the best. But yes, do find time to take them to an enclosed park ( don't want them running away) and toss the ball. Or even toss the ball in the house when you can't go outside, chase them about, play tug of war, wrestle (my small mutt dog likes to wrestle me and bite my nose so it can be done, better on a bed than on the floor. Good luck, it's hard but doable. I can put more effort into having my dogs lose weight now that school is over. Maybe there should be a pet health thread on HA.

    Mim on
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    KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Get the dog to a vet. A 12 year old dog can have a lot of different physical problems that make walking difficult, including arthritis but a lot of other things as well.

    Also please read your bag of dog food. They vary wildly in calories per cup so saying that half a cup a day is appropriate for a small dog may or may not be true depending on how many calories per cup your dog food has. For instance my dog is only 25lbs but he is very active and does agility and generally has a high metabolism and I would guess needs probably 4-5 times the calories that your dog does but we have him on a calorically dense dog food so he only needs 1 cup per day.

    It sounds like you have the weight issue under control but if your dogs are acting hungry green beans or canned pumpkin (not pie filling) are both high fiber low calories additions that will help your dogs feel more full. Most of the "weight loss" food is just normal food with low calorie fiber added so it is usually cheaper and healthier for the dog if you just cut down on their normal food and add some healthy filler yourself.

    Also small pieces of lean boiled chicken breast are healthier treats than most of the crap that is sold as dog treats. I'm always confused when people say no people food. Veggies and lean meat are just as healthy for dogs as they are for people and if you take into account their calories there is no reason dogs shouldn't have them.

    For anyone who doubts that dogs can learn to work without food present if they are trained with food try watching this video. It rocks! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crmD_B8ERzk

    Here is an article where he discusses his training methods.

    Kistra on
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