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Puppy leash issues. Please help! 9.5 weeks
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    I have a 9 1/2 week old shiba inu puppy named Blaine. All in all hes fine: we love him, hes well mannered, he doenst bite, and he is house trained.
    We have been having a lot of problems walking him. Whenever we put him on a leash he revolts at first and wont walk. When he does start walking, he wont walk in front of us, stops behind us when people cross our path, and occasionally he stops walking all together. We live in a semi-urban area. There are really busy streets and quiet streets. Ultimately I just want him to be happy but he needs to be disciplined to walk and go out of his comfort zone. He also seems to be afraid of everything: squirrels, cats, little kids, etc while walking. Someone opened their front door the other day and he ran the other way.
    What can i do to teach him how to walk with a leash properly?
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-12-12 23:47:21
  • KibaInuKibaInu
    Posts: 214
    Practice indoors at first. Or carry him around while he experiences new sights and sounds. He's probably scared.
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    yeah. we have been carrying him around a lot. Sometimes he just lays down on the concrete and relaxes (above picture).
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    My Shiba is also scared of some things, but not everything. He really doesn't like strangers but if another dog is around he doesn't mind so much. He was also a pain in the butt to leash-train.
    When I first got him he wore a simple harness with a leash attached to it around the house to get him used to it and so I'd have an easy-catch if he did something I didn't like. When I first tries to get him to walk he would sit and look away. I was just patient with him and let him do things at his own pace for the first couple weeks, even if it meant taking 20 minutes to get to a patch of grass.
    After he was more willing to walk I'd lure him with a treat to get him going if he stopped and only gave it to him if he kept going. This is basically what I do with him.

    As for the fear, just take it really slow. Stick close to home until he gets used to seeing things there and is comfortable. Then slowly introduce him to something new, a squirrel across the street, until he isn't afraid anymore. Play the "look at that" game and when he looks at something give him a treat so he thinks whatever he's afraid of = treat.
    Try not to encourage his fear though. It can be hard now to. If he's truly afraid of something remove him from the stimulus. You can carry him around at first but don't let him get used to it or beg to come up when something scares him. That will create problems later on. The site I linked to above has some other really good training videos.
  • hahaha oh my gosh, you're posting the cutest pictures. at 9 1/2 weeks, i didn't worry that he couldn't walk properly yet. i don't think he walked properly until he was like 3 months.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Robert, I changed the category to Behaviour/Training, since you already posted an introduction thread.

    As for the leash walking... Your puppy is a puppy. He has NO idea what a leash is or what you want him to do once he is attached to it. He is in a new environment with all sorts of scary unknown things.

    You have to teach him what you want him to do. Losech gave you some good tips.

    Baby Steps:

    1 - Get a harness for him and attach a short leash (4 feet or less) to his harness while he is inside. This way he gets used to having a leash attached to him. And having the harness is much safer than having the leash attached to a collar.

    2 - Once he is okay with the leash trailing after him, take him out to a nice QUIET grassy area and keep hold of the leash while he explores. The point is to get him used to being outside with a leash on, not to get from point A to point B.

    3 - Once he is good with being outside in a quiet area, start having him follow you. There are many ways you can do this, calling out to him in an excited voice, luring with treats or a spoonful of peanut butter, etc. The point is to let him have fun and realize that walking with you is AWESOME!

    4 - Rinse and repeat step 3. As he gets older, he will figure it out. But in the meantime, you may want to work on socialization as well. It sounds like he is pretty fearful of new things. Make sure that you take training treats (preferably something really tasty and smelly, like string cheese, freeze dried liver, salmon treats, etc.) with you whenever you take him out. Expose him to lots of different people, places, and things. And make every experience a positive one. If you have to carry him, carry him. And be happy about it. Getting upset with your puppy when he is fearful only reinforces the fear.

    Good luck, and keep us updated on his progress. Just remember that a puppy is a lot like a baby, they have to be taught (in a positive manner). :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • MomotaroMomotaro
    Posts: 62
    to piggy back on this - heres the question - what do you do if he is too scared to take treats?
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    sometimes when i walk him he is too scared to take treats. what helped the other day though was to walk him with other dogs so he has an example to follow by. Still though he struggles to deal with the leash. Does anyone have any thoughts about retractable vs. non-retractable leashes or collars vs harnesses?
  • AraksAraks
    Posts: 399
    I'm not sure about collars or harnesses for puppies (since I've never had a puppy) but I HATE retractable leashes. Just get a regular 4 foot leash now since he's a puppy and when he's older you can get a 6 foot one.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    If he's too scared to take the treats you need to get away from what's scaring him. If you can, try to work from farther away and gradually close in on the scary things until he can at least tolerate them. Conker used to try to flat-out run away from strangers no matter their distance and now he will walk past them but he's not happy about it. If they try to pet him he will move away but not bolt anymore.
    Conker is so much better with other dogs around. He will allow people at the dog park to pet him but not on a walk if there's no other dogs around.

    I also hate retractable leashes. I have have nothing but bad experiences with them ranging from horrible cuts from dogs wrapping around my legs to the cord snapping and the dog running off. None of them were mine but belonged to other people or friends. Plus you have no control if the dog suddenly bolts into traffic or after something, or another dog.
    I use a 6 foot leash with Conker. Since he heels so well now I attach it to my belt (NEVER a belt loop, those break) and loop the extra up so he doesn't get tangled in it. That way I've got less in my hand and can operate my clicker more easily, and if he wants to he can stop and sniff something then catch up to me when he runs out of leash. I also have a 30 foot lead that I use for training and walks in areas where I want to give him more freedom but still have him under control. That's a two-hand deal. One hand is looped through the handhold or attached to my belt, the other I use to gather the extra line if I need to.

    I use a harness simply because when I first got him Conker would bolt and try to do a Shiba 500 (or Zoomie) at the most random times and I didn't want him hurting his neck. And because he slipped his collar twice the first day I had him. AND because a lady in my previous apartment complex owned evil Pomeranians and never leashed them so I could easily lift Conker up when they tried to attack. (That is why he doesn't like dogs smaller than him...)
    He also doesn't like collars too much, but I'm slowly integrating one in since I don't like to walk with a harness all the time. I prefer to use a harness for dog-park stuff (so he's easier for me to grab if a fight breaks out), hikes and car rides and a collar for shorter walks.
    I prefer to use collars for well behaved dogs I can depend on to react properly when situations arise. Basically a well-trained adult dog gets the collar, a younger dog gets the harness until they can be trusted to not unintentionally harm their neck by trying to chase something.
    Post edited by Losech at 2011-05-08 09:28:43
  • Serkle kSerkle k
    Posts: 974
    After talking to some behaviorists, I was told that a retractable leash is not a really good idea for a puppy, and definitely not good to try to teach how to walk "properly" on a leash because of the pressure it creates when the dog is walking.

    They explained it as "oppositional reflex" and most dogs that pull are pulling away from you, because you are pulling them back. Same is (usually) true when you are trying to pick up a dog or when you see people trying to push their dog into a "down" position. And this is always present with a retractable leash (unless you lock it), and can be counter productive for puppies or dogs learning to walk on a leash. It also conditions the dog (and human) that if I pull enough the leash will eventually get longer. And ultimately it can make the dog walker a bit lazy because the lead get's longer without you having to move, LOL.
    Post edited by Serkle k at 2011-05-09 12:01:15
  • MomotaroMomotaro
    Posts: 62
    Not to steal robes' thread~ but we use a 6 foot leash attached to a puppia harness.

    On getting him away from being scared. Well, I'm not sure that's possible - as what hes scared of is the outside of our house. Think Momo just has a dislike for the city.

    Over the weekend he had me at my wits end. I was furious at his bad behavior. He was doing the scream, pulling his leash in the opposite direction, biting his leash, growling at me when i finally picked him up - just being a bad bad boy. Finished his walk, came inside put him in his crate. Hour or so later took him out again to poop(he only peed the first outing) and he was a perfect gentleman. The little bastard drives me crazy - but I guess thats why they're made so cute to make them easier to love and forgive.

    We're taking it day by day but it is a bit grating for him to be on such bad behavior when we're taking him out to go bathroom. As far as meeting people - he is curious to strangers but hates being touched. Which proves to be a bit of a problem since he is adorable and will pull towards them but then when strangers go to pet him, he'll bark at them.

    More on Momotaro here
  • Alex575Alex575
    Posts: 171
    Monju won't take treats outside either. No even now at 9-months! Anyway, I would definitely go with the harness just because it won't hurt their necks. Monju would pull so hard that she'd choke herself to the point of hacking. Another forum member suggested I try the easy walk harness (here's a link to that thread: ) and I gave it a try. It worked really well since it kept her from pulling, and finally after a couple of months, she started walking normally. She out grew that Easy Walk Harness pretty quick but then I just bought the Puppia Harness and when I take her for her walks that's what she uses. For just toilet breaks, she gets the leash and collar, but we don't go far since she still likes to pull every now and then.

    And she was really scared of all the noises and sounds and strangers. She's still skittish and doesn't like the sound of trash trucks or loud motorcycles or buses. And she doesn't like the sound of a skateboard or skates on the concrete and will try and bolt, which is understandable--maybe she thinks it'll run her over? And she doesn't like strangers either unless they have dogs with them, too.

    It'll take time but I'm sure Momo and Blaine will get used to their surroundings, although they may never be the type of dog that calmly walks around outside, but at least it won't be a battle each time.
  • MomotaroMomotaro
    Posts: 62
    Thanks so much for the advice guys, definitely didn't mean to take away Robert's spot light - I'm sure there'll be many more questions later but for the time being things are looking much improved (so I am thinking it was due to Momo adjusting to his new surroundings!).
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
    BUMPING this.
    @sunyata thanks for the steps! I have left the leash on him and will slowly start training him to get use to the idea.

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