How to Train a Dog Who Sits in the Middle of a Walk

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Most dogs love to go on walks. However, fear, health or the desire to sniff some grass might prompt your dog to refuse to follow you. There are several ways to solve this problem, depending on the motivation of your dog.

Determine Motivation

First, ask why your dog might be exhibiting this behavior. There are several reasons and each requires a different training method. Check with your veterinarian to rule out any health issues, especially if this behavior began suddenly. Observe your dog's behavior. Does she seem to be limping? This might be a health concern. Does she hold her tail low and ears back? This is most likely fear. Does she seem more interested in the environment than you? This could be overstimulation.

Reduce Fear

If your dog is showing fear, it's important not to push him. That will make the fear worse. Instead, try to figure out what is causing your dog's fear and reduce it with desensitization. Stand far enough from the scary stimulus that your dog doesn't seem frightened and reward him just for being in its presence. Gradually move closer until your dog can walk past the scary object without fear.

Warning

  • Move slowly when dealing with fear. If your dog is showing signs of fear, you are moving too fast. You may need to begin just walking your dog around the backyard and rewarding for that until your dog is brave enough to move to actually walking.

Keep Walking

Many dogs stop walking because the behavior works. If your dog stops, you respond in a way that she likes, such as by picking her up or stopping to let her sniff. Instead of doing this, give a command, "let's go," and keep walking. If your dog follows, give her praise and a treat. If she likes to sniff, you can even reward by letting her stop at her next favorite spot. If your dog is still refusing, get excited and call her to you, or try walking in a circle or walking in another direction. If she moves at any point, praise and reward.

Tip

  • Don't use the treat to lure your dog into walking. This will reward the behavior and cause him to sit more often so he can get a treat.

Teach Touch Command

Teach your dog to touch your palm on command. Put out your hand and wait until your dog touches it. Say "touch" and give a treat. Practice this around your house until your dog is eagerly doing it. Then, practice on the walk.

Teach Heel

Teach your dog to heel so that he knows what you want him to do. You can practice this without a leash in the house or backyard just by luring your dog into the heel position, taking a step and rewarding your dog for being in the correct position. Practice on leash but still just around the house. Keep sessions short so your dog has fun. Practice on walks. Giving your dog a command when he is doing a behavior that makes you unhappy can help him understand what you want him to do, as long as you have practiced it enough he knows what it means.

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