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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I have a rescue puppy that now is almost 8months old. She is doing pretty well overall and since we got her she has become a happier and more confident dog. A few months ago, it was a struggle to get her to walk to the park. Now she happily walks there to play, but now the struggle is on the way back. Most of the times, although not always, she would slow down or stop and make the walk back home a super slow journey. She would also sometimes stops and stares and people or other dogs or anything and no pay attention, which she doesn’t do on the way to the park. I thought that maybe she doesn’t want to go home because at the park is fun and at home she will be bored (I am referring to the morning walk: I am working in a separate room so she will be sort of alone). I am clearly doing something wrong, what can I do to make the trip home easier? She follows me if I let her off leash but I cannot let her off for the entire way. I was feeding her breakfast before going to the park (allowing one hour before the walk) but I am thinking to switch breakfast to when we get home.
 

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Or maybe just give half before and half afterward?
Our dog never wants to come in either. She'll just lay down on a neighbor's asphalt driveway and sprawl out in the sun. She'll even sprawl out in the middle of the street. Does it all time and it's very hot out. She has a black coat too as seen in my avatar.
 

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No dog should be loose to sprawl in the middle of a street.

OP, if she's playing in the park, feeding her afterward would be better for her anyway. Yes, I think trying that would be a good idea.
 

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No dog should be loose to sprawl in the middle of a street.
She's not loose, she's on a leash and we live in a cul de sac so hardly any traffic.

Sorry to derail OP. I think feeding or a treat after a walk might help get her to want to come home.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! I will try. Any suggestion in the meantime on what I can do when she stops or pulls back towards the park in these cases (where to me it is clearly not a fear or discomfort or not enough fun issue, as it happens only on the way home and even when she had a heaps of play)?
 

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I experience some of this with my older dog. I realized at some point that when he started slowing down, I started putting a lot of pressure on him, getting close, urging him forward, gentle leash pressure, circling behind him, etc. I was also frequently frustrated and in a hurry to get home at this point, and I'm sure that came through in my body language and tone, even when I was trying to keep things upbeat and encouraging.

Essentially, I was part of making the trip home stressful, and the closer we got to the house the worse it was.

It has improved, though we definitely still have days where he drags his feet heading back to the front door because he doesn't want outside time to end, lol. But I make a concentrated effort to ease off the pressure. I take a step back and give him space (keeping the leash loose), avoid intense staring or physical prompts to move forward, and let him make the decision to move forward on his own. That gets him gentle praise and a food reward, if I have them on me.

The other thing I did was deliberately plan my walks so that we loop back to the house, but then keep going, so that walking towards home didn't always signal that outside time was ending. Not possible to do it every time, I know, but it helps make the route home more neutral again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Right, I have to admit that I do get frustrated because by that time I need to get home to start working etc and I think she just had a big nice play and why is she being difficult. As if she cares about all this of course! She is worse at the start of the walk back, rather than closer to home, for some reason. Thanks for sharing and for the suggestions, I think I need to allow more time for the walk back, try to be upbeat and encouraging as I was when she was scared of walking, give her treats / breakfast when we get home..
 

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Yeah, sounds like a good plan! Dogs can be surprisingly sensitive to our moods, even when they don't have a particularly 'sensitive' temperament overall. It can be really difficult not to let the frustration travel down the leash, and sometimes I just avoid verbal cues/praise at all because I know I can't keep it out of my voice in that moment. But it really helps to go out knowing I have to commit extra time to working through those problem areas in particular.
 
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