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Mornings Stella ALWAYS walks out the front door tail up and game--lets go. To the park. Pretty much any time later in the day that I take her out for a walk, she digs in her feet and says she doesn't want to go. She gets out the door and stops. No. No way.

Up until a couple days ago, I've been doing one of three things... I will kind of trick her into moving down the block by asking her to go up on a stoop, perch on a wall, touch my hand. Treats. Or I will make her sit and stay and I walk down the block a couple doors and call her. Treat. Or, I will just pick her up (46 lbs) and carry her down the two or three doors, set her down and we go. I don't know what it is. Once she gets by those few houses she's fine.

But I've been feeling like she is shaping me.

So a few days ago, when I had lots of time, I brought the clicker along and just waited her out. When she stopped, each time, the leash went taught and I stopped, keeping it taught and my feet mid stride still facing the direction we're going... Its your choice Stella... when she finally took a step I clicked and treated... I was thinking I should just try rewarding her for coming along happily... Leash walking rehab. And I kept it up for the whole walk, when she kept pace as we got walking, trotting nicely beside me I would click and treat, click and treat for nice stops at the corners until we got the light and click and treat for ok-lets go, happy releases... this seemed like a better way to go. But, I don't know. I've only tried it twice, but it seemed to make for a happier walk all around... so the question is, what trouble am I getting myself into here? Is this alright? Will it work?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
Sometimes I see all the happy agility videos and forget other people have complicated dogs, too. <3

That sounds like a good thing to try to me, especially if you're clicking her for walking along happily too, not just when she stops and starts again.
Jun. 6th, 2013 01:39 am (UTC)
I often get clients who are afraid that what they're rewarding is a "bribe" either by them, or by the dog. Their concern is that they're creating a behavior that will "stick" and mess them up. And I get that. But it's not been my experience. Say you re-homed Stella today, another town, house and family. Would she do this exact same thing? Would she do it for long? What would that family do to change it... key = something different. When I see dogs getting stuck in some behavior that doesn't work for the handler I try as hard as I can to TOTALLY re-shape the picture. Go out a different door, have the dog wear something odd (like a costume?), do things like you're doing, rewarding what you WANT and ignoring the other stuff.

They're always puzzles, these little furry friends. Re-shape too how you feel about what she's doing on these walks. The more neutral, the better. But I think that's hard for you right now, because your world isn't very neutral. Give both of you some more time?
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:45 am (UTC)
I think it sounds like a great idea! What's the difference between this and shaping a dog to like having its nails trimmed (as in something else a dog might not like)? And it sounds much easier than carrying her. :-)
Jun. 6th, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
Why would that not work? It sounds perfect! Fun times happy wagging goodness
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )