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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, I am having a problem with one of my dogs and can't seem to find a solution. She is a 10 year old Miniature Pinscher and she has walked well on a leash since she was a puppy. Recently while on a walk, she suddenly stopped walking and looked a little spooked. I carried her home and inspected her to make sure nothing was wrong. Since then, she has started doing this on every walk. She suddenly stops walking and refuses to go anywhere, in any direction, and if I approach her, she wants to be picked up. If I force her to walk, she is fighting against me the whole time. I started noticing that before it happens, she sometimes flinches/blinks and then slows down, as if something is spooking her. We let her off the leash while walking a trail at the park to see if the leash was causing the problem, and she did it then too. She is small (4lbs) and sometimes gets spooked by leaves or garbage blowing in her path, but I can see nothing to cause this during our walks, and when it is a leaf or something, she flinches, but then walks normally once it is gone. She runs around the house and the yard with no problems, and she is extremely excited when we take out the leash for a walk, so she clearly wants to go. The vet checked her out and everything seems normal (no signs of pain, arthritis, etc.).

I am not sure how to address the problem. I don't want to leave her out of our walks, but I don't want to give in and carry her when she does this because I don't want to encourage it. At the same time, the strategy of just continuing on when she stops (which worked to train her on a leash when she was a puppy) is just not working. Any ideas or tips would be appreciated!
 

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It sounds more like something is hurting her, rather than scaring her. I would have a vet check done to rule out any physical problems first (such as arthritis, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Kayla, Thanks for your response. I did have the vet check her out and everything seems to be just fine physically (I edited my post to add this information). If I leave her outside, she will run around the fenced yard all day with no problems. Also, the way she flinches is exactly the same as she does when something spooks her, which is part of the reason I think it is a "mental" thing rather than physical.

Melissa
 

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What about the collar or harness? Do you put something on her to walk that isn't worn the rest of the day? Seems unlikely you wouldn't notice but what if she is getting stickers in there or there is a pinch for some reason?

How about the route? If I took Max for a walk by himself and went a way he hadn't gone with Sassy [who was his courage] he would get super freaked out. A couple dogs who seemed friendly to naive dog owners but definitely weren't upset him once and occasionally he will refuse to walk down that street now, had anything happened right there any time? The best was the time a snake slithered in front of us and really upset him. For YEARS I had to carry him past that place on the trail. And this is a 30+ pound dog. Annoying but I did understand why he was upset each time, you don't have a clue yet.

Could this be leash reactivity in reverse? Usually dogs act out when they are trapped by the leash but maybe she is freezing from fear? Out and about is scaring her where her back yard is safe?

Unless you went to eye and ear specialists you don't know for sure if sight or hearing could be causing her trouble or not. A 10 year old dog may be starting to lose sight or hearing making it easier to get spooked.
 
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