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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, looking for some help here! My dog is very hesitant to let me put a leash on her. She will let my wife do it, no problem. But when it’s just me and the dog, she runs away from me as soon as she sees the leash. She is a 14 month old Newfoundland, and we’ve had her for a couple months now. She will walk with me on the leash without any trouble, and she behaves herself anytime I have her on the lead, but she will not let me put it on her. My wife can do it and then just hand it over to me, but this poses some problems when I am home with the dog and she needs a bathroom break! Any help would be much appreciated! Along with any insight as to why I might be the lucky one that she gives such a hard time to. Thanks
 

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It is not unusual for a dog to find men to have more presence than women. Tone of voice.and demeanor is often just a bit different. This can be concerning to the dog.

The thing you need to do is make the leash a game. You do this when she doesn't need to go out. Use food, toys and a clicker or marker word.

Does your dog wear a collar in the house? Will she come to you when you are sitting in a chair?

Drape the leash over the chair. Sit in the chair and call her to you. Mark it with Yes! Feed her a small treat. Give her your release word. Repeat. This time as she is eating, quietly take hold of her collar. Let go. Feed a treat. Release her.

Rinse, repeat but this time attach the leash. Feed. Take the leash off. Feed. Release her.

I suspect that when you take her out you pick up the leash when standing and you lean over her to attach it. That is very intimidating to some dogs. Try doing the sit in the chair thing to attach the leash making it a game with rewards.

Then, as part of the game sometimes you take her out (and be sure to play with her outside so you are FUN).
 

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I agree - for a dog (especially an anxious or rehomed dog who has not yet bonded with you), the act of leaning over & attaching a leash can be quite intimidating. When we adopted our Beckett, it took a YEAR before my husband could attach a leash to his collar & take him for a walk (even when the other dogs were all leashed up & ready to go)

What helped was for the two of them to engage in fun activities (like B's favorite game of fetch) with no pressure or expectations put on him during the process. Now, they are best buddies, but... even after a decade of living together, there are times when I'm not home (I'm the primary dog walker/caregiver) and my husband goes to take the dogs for a walk & Beckett will balk & not want to go. (shrug - he's neurotic, but you gotta love them for who they are)
Lucas Path walk 05.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is not unusual for a dog to find men to have more presence than women. Tone of voice.and demeanor is often just a bit different. This can be concerning to the dog.

The thing you need to do is make the leash a game. You do this when she doesn't need to go out. Use food, toys and a clicker or marker word.

Does your dog wear a collar in the house? Will she come to you when you are sitting in a chair?

Drape the leash over the chair. Sit in the chair and call her to you. Mark it with Yes! Feed her a small treat. Give her your release word. Repeat. This time as she is eating, quietly take hold of her collar. Let go. Feed a treat. Release her.

Rinse, repeat but this time attach the leash. Feed. Take the leash off. Feed. Release her.

I suspect that when you take her out you pick up the leash when standing and you lean over her to attach it. That is very intimidating to some dogs. Try doing the sit in the chair thing to attach the leash making it a game with rewards.

Then, as part of the game sometimes you take her out (and be sure to play with her outside so you are FUN).
Thank you, we’ll definitely try this! You couldn’t have described our situation better. I never have given much thought to being “fun,” or being less imposing to the dog. I guess I forget that she’s still a pup sometimes. To answer your questions, she does wear a collar inside and she will come when called if she doesn’t sense I’m trying to take her outdoors. For my wife, she obeys all commands instantly and gives her no grief about a leash. Side note, she also barks like crazy when I go to leave the house and has even nipped at me a couple times. No behavior like that at all when my wife and/or daughters leave. But one thing at a time! We will definitely try the leash game and I’ll try the chair idea and to generally be more fun with her! Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree - for a dog (especially an anxious or rehomed dog who has not yet bonded with you), the act of leaning over & attaching a leash can be quite intimidating. When we adopted our Beckett, it took a YEAR before my husband could attach a leash to his collar & take him for a walk (even when the other dogs were all leashed up & ready to go)

What helped was for the two of them to engage in fun activities (like B's favorite game of fetch) with no pressure or expectations put on him during the process. Now, they are best buddies, but... even after a decade of living together, there are times when I'm not home (I'm the primary dog walker/caregiver) and my husband goes to take the dogs for a walk & Beckett will balk & not want to go. (shrug - he's neurotic, but you gotta love them for who they are)
View attachment 264330
Thank you for responding, I see a lot of similarities! Hopefully she’ll warm up to me like Beckett did to your husband. Nice to know it isn’t just us!
 

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People have to sometimes "act the fool" around a dog to make things fun. Age is not a factor in this (as much as you might think otherwise). I have a GS dog coming 11. Her eyesight is going (old age retinal issues) and she needs a little meloxicam once in a while but she LOVES it when we get silly. She initiates play with the 4 year old GSD who is a bit more serious and she will STEAL his ball and run off with it. Her favorite game is to play keep away and she still rather come to me with her ball and then run away acting silly like "I beat you AGAIN!" As a young dog I required MUCH better obedience and there was no "keep away" but at almost 11 shwe pretty much gets whatever she wants. The result is that she still comes when called and is happy to and just LOVES outings in the woods and will run with the young dog hunting chipmunks and other things.

NEVER stop the fun. EVER. And act the fool sometimes.. it keeps US young too!
 

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Thank you, we’ll definitely try this! You couldn’t have described our situation better. I never have given much thought to being “fun,” or being less imposing to the dog. I guess I forget that she’s still a pup sometimes. To answer your questions, she does wear a collar inside and she will come when called if she doesn’t sense I’m trying to take her outdoors. For my wife, she obeys all commands instantly and gives her no grief about a leash. Side note, she also barks like crazy when I go to leave the house and has even nipped at me a couple times. No behavior like that at all when my wife and/or daughters leave. But one thing at a time! We will definitely try the leash game and I’ll try the chair idea and to generally be more fun with her! Thanks again.
It's also sometimes hard to think of a big dog having fear issues, but from what you're describing, that's exactly what it sounds like is going on. Putting less pressure on her, being 'fun', and allowing her to adjust on her terms & at her speed will help the process. When you go to leave the house, try getting her attention & tossing treats on the floor away from you. This does two things - it makes your leaving something good (treats fall from the sky) and rewards her for creating distance in a more positive way (the chasing & nipping as you leave could be her way of trying to create more space between you)

Also remember that being 'fun' also has to be on her terms & fit her definition of 'fun'. She might like silly, higher pitched voices & fast games, or she might prefer you to be more quiet & reserved (at least for now) Don't worry about whether or not she listens to your commands - just let her learn that you are SAFE. No pressure to perform. You'll get there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
People have to sometimes "act the fool" around a dog to make things fun. Age is not a factor in this (as much as you might think otherwise). I have a GS dog coming 11. Her eyesight is going (old age retinal issues) and she needs a little meloxicam once in a while but she LOVES it when we get silly. She initiates play with the 4 year old GSD who is a bit more serious and she will STEAL his ball and run off with it. Her favorite game is to play keep away and she still rather come to me with her ball and then run away acting silly like "I beat you AGAIN!" As a young dog I required MUCH better obedience and there was no "keep away" but at almost 11 shwe pretty much gets whatever she wants. The result is that she still comes when called and is happy to and just LOVES outings in the woods and will run with the young dog hunting chipmunks and other things.

NEVER stop the fun. EVER. And act the fool sometimes.. it keeps US young too!
Thank you again! It sounds like you all have a lot of fun!
 

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Thank you again! It sounds like you all have a lot of fun!
You know, we do. In fact yesterday I went to dog club (haven't been in awhile.. Covid) and the comment made while I was working him is "He seems very happy to be training." HE doesn't know it is training. It is "Play with some rules." He LIKES me (no accounting for his taste, I know..) and anything we do together is fun times.
 
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