Post-poop dog won't move on walks, help!
August 26, 2008 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Leash training question. Dog stops walking all of the sudden on walks and will not come. We end up having to carry him back to house every day. Any advice?

Our shih-tzu (not sure on age, 6-10 years, we got him from a shelter ~3 months ago) used to do OK on walks. He would stop sometimes but would come once we slightly tugged on his leash. We take him on a short walk around the block so that he'll poop every night after he eats. Now after he poops he stops, he doesn't go any further unless it's just sniffing around in the grass. He resists us pulling on him and doesn't come to no matter what we say/yell.

It started last week the day after he got a little scared on walk. That night when I was walking him a lightning storm came through and there was one loud thunder clap very close to us that he bolted toward traffic to get caught by leash and then pretty much sprinted with me back to the house. The next day he would not even go past driveway with me but would go to the "pooping spot" with my wife but would not come back. Some days he's a little better than others but today he wouldn't move at all post-poop.

I don't think he's just getting tired. He has lots of energy to play in the house and used to energetically run on walks on 100 degree days.

If I google "leash training" all I get is stuff for dogs pulling on their leash which isn't really what is going on here, we're the ones pulling on him! Any links or advice for what we can do to help him out?

By the way he has very bad eye-sight and CANNOT see a treat or anything unless it is an inch under his nose. So there is no stick-and-carrot type of stuff we can do, we've tried.
posted by wolfkult to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
maybe something that smells tasty, like bacon?
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:59 PM on August 26, 2008

You need to associate a reward with the return phase, in incremental steps. Day 1, he takes one step, he gets a reward and praise, you carry him back. Day 2, he takes two steps, he gets a reward and praise, you carry him back. That's a little extreme, literally step by step, but you get my point.

Eventually, he gets one reward and praise for coming all the way back on his own, and then you gradually replace rewards with praise only.

And rewards that smell/taste good are always better than visuals.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:07 PM on August 26, 2008

Best answer: Take him on a walk before you feed him. I know, I know, you'll just have to do it again so he poops before bedtime, but if he associates a walk with getting to eat afterwards, he might be more enthusiastic. Don't yell! He's already scared. And don't pull/drag them forward - it's their natural instinct to pull backward.
posted by desjardins at 4:08 PM on August 26, 2008

Also squeeky toys might be another incentive. We used to carry one with us and anytime we felt resistance we would give it a squeek. At the end of the walk he got have the toy and chew to his hearts content.
posted by genial at 4:14 PM on August 26, 2008

Best answer: As far as the inability to see treats, bring several in a box or bag, and make sure they smell very tasty. Before giving him the treat, shake the box loudly. Then put it near his face so he can smell it, but not necessarily see it. And then give it to him. He will learn very, very quickly that objects shaking in cardboard box=treats.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 4:18 PM on August 26, 2008

Best answer: Can you take a different route on the return trip home? Maybe he doesn't want to face something in that direction, or has a negative association with that route since the storm.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:22 PM on August 26, 2008

Not only the smell of treats but at home you could start to associate a voice command (like "come") with getting a treat. Then when he freezes up you can tell him to "come" from a distance away and he'd know there's a reward involved.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:58 PM on August 26, 2008

Pavlov him! I've taught my dogs that a bell ring means tasty liver treats. I started in the house. I rang the bell, and kept ringing it until the dogs came because they were curious at the sound. As soon as they got to me, they got a treat. I kept doing this (in the house, still) at random times, always giving them a treat as soon as they got to me. When it got to the point where they would come charging in from the other end of the house, it was time to try it outside. We have a huge (fenced) backyard with neighborhood kitties and squirrels and digging spots, and I can yell myself hoarse, and they won't come in from the backyard. So after all the house bell-training, I let them outside. When I wanted them back in, I rang the bell. There was a little confusion at first because we had only done bell-ringing in the house, but when they saw me standing at the back door with the trreat jar in my hand, they came running. Now, I don't even need to stand at the door. When they hear the bell, they come find me. I know you said your dog's eyesight isn't the best, but if he can hear, he should be able to follow the sound of the bell. Right now, I'm at the point where I'm tapering down the treats. They still get one for coming in from outside, but when we're in the house, they only get a treat every other time the bell rings. I'd like to eventually get to the point where they'll come for the bell and be satisfied with a "good dog" when they come, because liver treat farts are awful.
posted by dogmom at 6:45 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

scared, blind, My Snickers went blind & would "freak out" if she didn't know exactly where she was. thunder can be very scary for old/blind dog..........maybe she is scarred of doing her thing, walking off & "BOOM"? Dogs have very good sense of smell/location....but loss of sight is a real handicap.
posted by patnok at 6:57 PM on August 26, 2008

Along the lines of genial, bitdamaged and dogmom's suggestions, have you considered clicker training? Once your pup starts associating the sound of the clicker with a reward then you should be able to train him to respond appropriately. It seems like a great idea for any dog, but especially a visually impaired one.
posted by platinum at 10:24 PM on August 26, 2008

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