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Hi - have only recently joined this forum but am learning things already from all you dog mums and dads out there.

I have a beautiful greyhound called Pridey who is 5 1/2. She has been with us just over a year and is the most loving, sweet thing. We love her to bits! That is why i wondered if anyone could help me with her one little flaw.

She is very confident and feels totally safe inside the house and loves nothing better than to lounge around going between her several beds round the house or to lie in her basket and just watch what is going on. However, when I go to take her out for a walk she is sometimes - not always - really reluctant to go, even really digging in her paws so that I have to practically drag her out the door, which I hate doing.

She is quite nervy outside. We live in a village which is fairly quiet but any noises such as car doors slamming suddenly, crow startlers cracking or people out shooting game - in fact any loud cracking noise, even people chopping wood, has her pulling for home. And now I think she anticipates these things even before she steps outside the door. However, she can walk past a tractor at speed and not bat an eyelid!

However, I did say this doesn't always happen. Sometimes we go out and she is bouncing at the door when you get her lead. My boyfriend and I take her for 'pack' walks together where we go to the beach or fields where she can run free and chase her ball - and she absolutely loves this.

We have spoken to a dog behaviourist who advised us to just look forward and keep walking when she pulled back. We have tried this for a while now but she is not much better when she feels nervy. It just ends with me pulling her which I don't like and if she is scared of something I would prefer to try and help her in a different way than just pulling her.

I also meant to say that once we get out the door and start out she usually calms down a bit and walks along fine. However I am nervous to let her off the lead when she is in a nervous mood in case she suddenly takes fright at something and bolts off.

If anyone has the same problem or can advise me please let me know as I really want to help her through this. Not knowing her history makes it difficult as there could be something there too. I am confused as to how to help at the moment and find that each walk is a case of testing the water when preparing for it as to her mood. How can I help her love her walks again and look forward to them?
 

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Do you carry treats on the walk? I would start carrying some high value treats with you and treat her for walking nicely next to you. See if that will overcome some of her anxiety about going for a walk. You can also give treats if you see something potentially scary, which will help her associate previously scary things with yummy treats.
 

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Hi - thanks for replying. Yes, I have always carried treats on the walk. We have a game we play when she is relaxed where I throw the treat up as we are walking along and she jumps up. However, when she is in a nervous mood she won't touch any treats. Nothing seems to tempt her then she is just focused on getting home. As soon as we are back home she goes back to wolfing her treats down.
 

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No personal experience with this sort of thing. However, there was a golden in our obedience class who would sometimes become very anxious about nothing in particular and in response he would try to back out of his front-attaching harness. Basically pulling on the leash just backwards. The owners tried pretty much everything to try to encourage him to continue to walk at their sides when he'd get like this, but eventually the instructor told them since none of that was working to just wait him out. In his case they needed to put so he wasn't reinforced by being allowed to pull them back, but if yours just stops you probably don't need that step. Just try to wait her out, put your patient self on, and reinforce her when she decides to walk with you once more.

If it's just being out in public that causes her to be a bit unsettled and not the walking specifically, you could also try to take her to a park or anywhere that's got some action going on but isn't overwhelmingly busy, finding a nice quiet spot to sit down, and reward her for focusing on you or being relaxed. When dogs go into that panic mode, the response is physiological as well so it can take awhile for them to calm back down. When my dog went through a reactive phase, when somebody set her off she'd go off on anybody else she saw in the short time after even if prior they wouldn't have been a problem. Our trainer at the time suggested we find a lake with a path to walk around, walk a bit which would cause her to become increasingly uncomfortable as she saw more people pass by, then after a set time/distance of walking put down a mat in the grass for her to lay on and we wouldn't continue again until she was no longer in that heightened state and therefor less likely to react. I never got around to it (oops), but I thought it was good advice and I think in our case it would have been helpful albeit stressful for me. You might be able to alter that to your needs and try something similar.
 

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Hi Greyhoundlady - I have a dog who is part whippet and she exhibits similar behavior. She is very sensitive overall, and sometimes shakes, hides, when we try to take her out of the house. She is bubbly and energetic at home, but sometimes is a completely different dog when we go out. And we try to take her as many places as possible, camping, on vacation, to visit family. Anyway, she is 2 yrs old and we have had her since she was 4 months old. If you don't know your pups history maybe the key lies there. I know my dog never saw the outside until she came to us. I would say hone in on what gets her excited and makes her comfortable, whether it's treats, praise, affection, general enthusiasm. I've often compared my pup to a shy kid, she just needs the right environment to thrive and it's up to me to figure out what that is. Good luck!
 
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