Stubborn Hound Won't Walk
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Thread: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

  1. #1
    Junior Member kelly7's Avatar
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    Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    I have a 8-year-old, beagle/basset rescue, Penny. I've had her for 6 months. I love her to bits, but she's an absolute nightmare to walk. As expected of a hound dog, she loves to sniff sniff sniff. I understand that it's her natural instinct, and judging by her wagging tail, it is her greatest joy.

    However, with the weather getting nicer, I'd like to get her moving outside a little more on more robust walks to exercise her more. But, it's clear she doesn't have a lot of leash training. As soon as I try to move forward (or in any way she doesn't want to go), she plants her feet and tugs backwards. With her strength, you'd expect her to weigh much more than 35 pounds! I end up having to drag her along, which is clearly not the most effective way to go about things. I have her in a harness that attaches to the leash from the top, so I don't think it hurts her; still, I don't even want to run the risk.

    I've tried treats - normal treats, her beloved kibble, even beef and roasted chicken - with no luck. Clapping, whistling, yelling, dancing. Nada. Nothing can pull her away when she's on the trail. To try to ease into things, I've been training her to come on command in less stimulating places, like inside the house or in an empty parking lot. She's much more responsive in those situations. But, once we're outside, Penny totally calls the shots in terms of when we walk and how fast. I usually end up picking her up and carrying her back to the house by the end.

    In terms of leash technique, I've also tried just doing one quick tug when she goes a way I don't want her to, and then loosening the leash when she's facing forward, in the hopes she'll follow me. My thinking is that she'll associate tug=stop, loose=go. Sometimes it works, and she will walk forward, but most of the time, she will just turn back to try to keep sniffing, and I think she's going to end up with whiplash!

    As far as I know, up until she came to me, she spent her time outside unleashed in yards, sniffing around at her own pace. I understand she deserves sniff time - I started recently putting her on a long leash in the yard for 20-30 minutes a day - but I would like to be able to set the pace of our walks. Any suggestions that don't involve treats? (Leash technique, new harnesses, etc.)

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    what about focus games. When I've worked with a kennel dog they in their own head.. and even when they do look at you they really looking around you /past you.. They just never learned to focus and year you. Just like starting from scratch with an 8wk old puppy , they have to understand what you want, and build up longer and longer ability to stay focused, stay on task. If a dog no matter how old they are or how long you have had them if they don't have the basics then nothing is getting through.. Any beginner training you would do with an 8wk old would work in short quick time spans. and try getting a stuff sqeeky toy or coon tail... or try clicker

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    Junior Member kelly7's Avatar
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    Re: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    Quote Originally Posted by PatriciafromCO View Post
    what about focus games. When I've worked with a kennel dog they in their own head.. and even when they do look at you they really looking around you /past you.. They just never learned to focus and year you. Just like starting from scratch with an 8wk old puppy , they have to understand what you want, and build up longer and longer ability to stay focused, stay on task. If a dog no matter how old they are or how long you have had them if they don't have the basics then nothing is getting through.. Any beginner training you would do with an 8wk old would work in short quick time spans. and try getting a stuff sqeeky toy or coon tail... or try clicker

    Hi, thanks for the response! The idea of her "being in her own head" makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it - if I can just get her to focus on me, I think that's the key. Unfortunately she's afraid of squeakers and uninterested in all other toys, but a clicker might be a good thing to try.

    I'll look into focus games! And, I'm wondering, would doing basic training classes be helpful...? Or is it just as good for me to try and train her? Also, I tried Googling it, but I'm not sure what a raccoon tail is... is it one of those cat toys on a stick/string, or one of those Weazel Balls?

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    Was thinking an actual racoon tail. I'm in a different generation before all the activist stuff.. Thinking hunting dog might enjoy hunting dog stuff to play scent games with. Nose work or a nose work class could be a lot of fun for yall to do something together, build team skills through interaction. My little J that was a kennel raised dog, I would often stop , go to one kneed to be more eye level to her , lovingly cup her face and talk to her what was about to happen, doing chores around the farm. Like kneel down, J, going to the horses, Johnny, Bob and she race off in that direction, or J stay outside, as I went through a door and shut it behind me for her to wait for my return. It took her time and we do interaction stuff twice a day and some days we did nothing. She started to get the hang of it, started to look up at me , started to realize we doing stuff together as a team and not just her.

    A class could be good or overwhelming same chances as any other dog going to classes for the first time. Anytime introducing something new, Be strong enough to let them adjust in their own way. if that means getting a tiny bit, and the rest they so excited they want to watch everything else , I let them enjoy it, and know in time they will build the skills your working on.

  7. #5
    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    For my sniffy dog, I taught two distinct walking behaviours: "Go sniff" means you can go do whatever you want on the leash as long as you don't drag me around, and "Let's Go" which meant we are walking now, walk with me at my speed and ignore everything else until I say otherwise.

    Something that might help in the immediate is teaching your dog to give in to leash pressure. This video is aimed at fearful or reactive dogs, but the method can be used for any dog. The idea is to teach them that pressure/tension on the leash is a cue to move in the direction of the leash, and once they've learned, to practice it over and over until it becomes automatic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4vEayrRyB0

    Focus games are almost never a bad idea. There's even an online class specifically for that starting in June: https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.co...p/courses/1699

    It sounds like she would really enjoy a nosework or tracking class. My dogs all love nosework.
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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    I walk in the street when I want to move along. No good sniffies in the street!
    I do go sniff at the end of every block, works well since the difference between a good place to sniff and a boring place is very distinct. Once dog gets that then you can work on not sniffing for a few steps on the sidewalk, allow sniffing and just walk in the street when you cannot take it any longer.

    Something that really helped with previous dogs was working to the sniffy spot. No pulling allowed! I'd put dog on sit or down stay and walk to the end of the leash and did a recall. Did that until close enough to the sniffy spot that dog wouldn't be hitting the end of the leash. Then I'd just let the dog enjoy herself. When she was done I stayed put until she looked at me. Otherwise she was in complete control of the walk. Not okay. This is the start of a focus. Much better for the dog to want to focus on you than be nagged into doing so. Once she gets that it's okay to look at you then you can start working on asking for focus but mostly she should want to focus on you.

    Another thing that helped a great deal was to be patient and wait. When dog lifted her head I praised her for doing something I liked - stopping sniffing! Forcing the dog to leave made the sniffing so much more valuable that she actually sniffed more when I tried to move her along.

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    Re: Stubborn Hound Won't Walk

    I think that you need to keep in mind two things about Beagles and Basset hounds. They were bred to work independently and they were bred to use their nose. This does not mean they cannot learn to walk on a leash or be reasonable on a leash (planting feed and refusing to move in unreasonable). Usually food is your friend. If you are going to work on walking, skip her night meal AND her morning meal. Take her out to walk. Steps forward = food reward. Make her understand that this is the job and this is the ONLY place you will eat and you will ONLY eat if you walk forward. If you cannot get understanding, put her up (NO FOOD!) and wait an hour, rinse and repeat.

    If you think that pressure on the collar is causing the issue, you can work on that at home making collar pressure rewarding with food. Again.. the thing is to ONLY feed her on her walks and ONLY for doing the job you want. No more meals.. she earns every bit of food taking a walk.

    Be innovative. Toss food ahead of her to go and get. Anything to break the balking.

    When she is better at walking, you can carry food but go back to regular feeding (unless you want to teach something else and she is a bit resistant).

    Balking, BTW is usually the result of not understanding what is wanted. Horses that balk and dogs that balk find it safer, in the face of uncertainty, to simply stop moving forward (or stop moving).

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