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Excessive shaking during walks
  • krystahkrystah
    Posts: 7
    Hi. Not sure if this is the appropriate category, feel free to move the question if necessary.

    Kitsu is currently 4,5 months old. During our walks, he stops to body-shake quite frequently, and I can't figure out the reason behind it. From what I've read in similar threads, body-shakes aren't all too uncommon for Shibas; he shakes after waking up, after petting, after handling, and so on. I don't mind that.

    During walks, however, he shakes way more frequently. He may stop to body-shake once every 15 meters for no apparent reason. This is a risk to him as he occasionally stops to shake in the middle of a pedestrian crossing or other dangerous places. It is also a risk because he often walks right in front of me, and sometimes he stops to shake so abruptly I've had to fall to the ground in order to avoid stepping on him. It is also a risk if he's walking behind me and stops abruptly while wearing a regular collar; I don't want to end up pulling sharply on his neck.

    Do you have any advice on what may be the cause of this behavior? I considered the possibility of it simply being bodily discomfort, but both his harness and collar are a great fit for him right now. I've also tried different brands and adjustments without luck. He can also wear a collar/harness inside for hours without any complaints, he even sleeps happily with them. Does he perhaps just need desensitization-training for his leash?

    Thanks in advance.
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 396
    not the leash but the collar/harness. they feel something is sticking behind their neck, which is the collar, and they try to shake it off. make him wear the collar even at home without the leash. once he gets really used to it then he will shake less. it wont go completely away at least not in my experience.
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  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1269
    Does anything seem to trigger the shake, like a leash draping over his back or a gust of wind? Ozzy will shake more often outdoors too, but it isn’t constant or anything. And usually it’s in a response to something or like as he’s gearing up to hop into the car haha. He also just doesn’t like things touching him between his shoulder blades. He’ll almost always shake if I ruffle him there, and it can be a reliable way to get him to shake off after taking a shower, but sometimes wearing things that cover the top of his shoulder blades is a nuisance for him.

    Maybe it’s a kind of stage that will pass. Or maybe it is due to something bothering him even if it isn’t really “uncomfortable.” Sitting still in the house for hours in a harness is different than walking and feeling it constantly shift. Ozzy haaates step in style harnesses. Maybe they cross over that position on his shoulders a bit more or something. I’ve owned probably like 30 or more harnesses hahaha, and he has never liked any of the step in ones (mesh, nylon, leather, fleece... no step in style has ever been approved by him lol). He will also hold off on shaking if I prompt him to keep going with a command, like “let’s go.” If we’re crossing the street or blocking a path or something, I’ll lead him across until he’s out of the way and then give him a second to shake off and gather himself haha.

    If you think it could be associated with wearing the leash, you could let him drag the leash indoors or tether him to you to get more used to it. Of course, only let him drag it around if you’ll be watching him completely to make sure he doesn’t get caught on anything or put himself in any danger.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2018-04-08 21:05:51
  • krystahkrystah
    Posts: 7
    Thanks for the replies! I've been watching this situation for a bit, and I've noticed that his shaking noticably decreases during the walk. We're currently using the Ruffwear Front Range harness (over-head) and he doesn't seem to be very bothered by the act of putting it on.