I got Waffle when he was 10 months old from a breeder who is fantastic in all aspects except for socialization. When I got him, I will admit I didn’t walk him very much. What I did instead was take him to the beach, take him to someone’s house, play with him in the house, take him into the backyard and play soccer, or play hide-and-seek, train him, teach him tricks, etc to keep him stimulated/exercised/exhausted. I take him hiking at least once a week for at least 4 miles, climbing rocks, crossing streams, navigating dangerous terrain, avoiding bears, etc. Obviously all of these activities are very stimulating and he has had little exposure to the leisurely neighborhood walk.
I’ve tried biking with him before but he hates it. He’s very capable of following my bike at a good speed for a good distance but he just doesn’t want to. The first time we biked, he ran a whole speedy mile with me before slowing down. His enthusiasm for the activity waned quickly. When we’re walking to the place where we bike—a high school track—he plants his feet in the ground and I have to practically drag him the whole way. Needless to say, we don’t bike anymore. I suppose running on a track isn’t very stimulating more than once.
Now, I wanted to get into walking him twice a day. When we get started on our walk, he plants his feet and keeps looking in the direction of our apartment—exactly what he did when he didn’t want to bike. I tell him to “come on” and tug on his leash a bit to get him moving forward, and he’ll go about 3m before planting his feet again and looking back. If I stand still and tell him to go where he wants, without fail, he will head back to our front door. Once we reach the halfway point of the walk, he is walking great—presumably because the latter half is more interesting and because he knows it’s shorter to keep going forward than it is to turn around. After 3-4 days of complete inactivity (I’ve been sick a lot) he is eager and even excited by the prospect of a walk, but the next day he is back to refusing.
He eats a whole prey model raw diet and has consistently for almost a year. He’s been to the vet to get his skeleton checked out and everything is great except for an extra chunky L7 and S vertebrae, which caused some limping after our most difficult hikes, but has been managed with diet/supplements and medication [Deramaxx 25 mg] which is administered only before very strenuous hikes. There is no reason for me or my vet to believe his mild condition causes pain on something as simple as a walk when everything else he does is orders of magnitude more intense and he performs without hesitation or signs of soreness afterward.
Is it possible he is just super bored with normal walks around the neighborhood to the point where he’d rather stay home? Does that happen? I think this is part of the issue, though not necessarily all of it.
He does have a fear issue with other dogs. He has NO confidence meeting new dogs and he reacts very fearfully to them, which is an issue I have been trying to address but may not be doing very well at. Whenever he sees a dog, I give him treats. This worked for a little, but now he is so focused on the other dog (often 10-20m in the distance) that he refuses to pay attention to me. I suppose I have accidentally been rewarding him for being dog-focused (instead of making the dog=good! association) and now I don’t know how to fix it. Would anxiety of seeing/meeting a dog cause him to want to avoid a walk? How can I reduce that anxiety since obviously what I’m doing isn’t working? It’s worth mentioning that his distaste for walks has persisted since before he grew so fearful about meeting new dogs. He was attacked by an off-leash pit a while ago which really escalated both his distaste of walking and his dog fear.
It sounds as if he has a few reasons for being reluctant to walk. As long as your vet has cleared him for walks I would just head out on a steady, not too fast walk. If he plants his feet, keep going, if he starts to walk again, praise him and keep moving. I would skip trying to have doggy greetings while on a walk until this phase passes. Do not give him attention while he is resisting the walk only when he is moving.
We never greet dogs on the walk because he is, frankly, too scary/scared--I guess when I said "meet" I meant "see or pass a new dog" which is unavoidable. I have been doing as you suggested with no improvement, and I don't want to make him do something he clearly doesn't want to do on a regular basis. I suppose my problem is more of a "how can I get him to like it?" rather than "how can I get him to walk?".
At the risk of sound like a hard guy, it's not up to Waffle to like it, it's his job to obey you. Corgis are stubborn and you have to insist that he obey or he'll slowly begin to think you're not in charge. Walk on with him on his leash and ignore him even if he resists. Just keep walking. Praise him a little when he's being cooperative. Gromit likes to turn down our street before I do when we're walking and will step right in front of me to make the turn. I purposely walked on a few times, skipping the turn, and he got thumped in his hard little corgi noggin by my feet. A couple of times of that and he waits now for me to make the turn.
Jack, I swear, plans which walk he wants before we leave the house. If we choose his walk, he's a happy guy. If we choose a different walk (and he doesn't always want the same one) he becomes quite insistent that he most certainly will not go THAT way because we are going THIS way.
I drag him where I want him to go and he gives in. On occasion, I let him choose which way he wants to go, as a bit of a treat. He's stubborn as a mule regardless, so I sometimes humor him.
Beth, if Jack could write, he'd be saying all this about you! :-D
lol. Gracie is the same and we have the same arguments at the same street corners. It must be funny for the neighbors to watch. She enjoys going the longer route once we get going, but she'll stubbornly sit down on the corner and glance to the right at the shorter route. I say 'Come on'. Nope. So I bend over and ask her if we need to discuss this. She looks at me and might yawn in my face as if she's made her decision and I'm totally boring her. Eventually it's a stand-off and she gives in when she sees I'm not giving up. Then she happily leads the way. :) My dog just cracks me up and I think she knows it. They are way too smart these little Welsh Gnomes.
I'm just hesitant to keep forcing him to do it in case there's a reason other than he finds it boring. The last thing I want to do is push him to do something when he has a lot of anxiety.
That is funny Doug but you are right you must show him who is the boss
For the problem with other dogs, I'd suggest
I've not read it, but Patricia McConnell is very good at dealing with aggression issues. You can check the back entry in her blog www.theotherendoftheleash.com for some info. I believe she teaches a combination of "watch me!" and "Where's the dog?" to get the dog used to realizing it's other dogs that bring rewards while also focusing back on the handler. I think you sound like you are stuck on "Where's the dog?" and don't have enough "watch me."
For the walking, I'll bet he's just being a stubborn Corgi! After all those trips to the beach and hikes, walking around the block is just dull. Mr. Jackpot will frequently pull the foot-planting trick, usually the minute he a) realizes we are going through the neighborhood instead of the park, b) realizes we are not going on the walk in the park that HE planned, or c) realizes we are leaving a group of dogs and/or people behind, because why would we EVER want to go off on our own when we can stay at the party longer!
Jack is the opposite of Waffle and is the social butterfly; we call him "The Mayor." But walking through the neighborhood? BOOORRRINNNGG!!! He plants his feet and makes a stubborn, petulant face and I have to generally drag him to get him to move. Collar starts to come over the ears and everything. That's my well-trained TDI dog, right there. There's a reason you don't see many Corgis in advanced Obedience.....
To keep him from being bored, I'd randomly mix in stuff he likes. Change up the walks, switch speed, do some tricks and training, encourage him to wander and sniff. If there is something fun you can walk TOWARDS on occasion that might help get him into it. He probably feels the same way about a walk as I do about riding a stationary bike.
She's actually having a sale at her website now, 20% off.
I'm working through one of Patricia McConnell's books now and will probably pick up the one you linked and the one she wrote about fearful dogs in general. You're right about the "watch me" thing too--d'oh! It seems so simple when someone else says it!
I'll see if changing up the walk helps him get stoked.