After Nellie got her shots a few weeks ago I was really excited to take her out on walks, but now I have another problem in addition to the pulling. Whenever I take her out to go on a walk, she'll do okay for about say 30-50 meters or 1/3 of a block and then start looking back towards the house and refusing to walk. If I try to pull her further she will yelp and whine. At first I thought it was because of her harness but she does it on her martingale too. When I turn around to go back to the house she pulls and pulls and is just so excited to go back. I'll try to then pass the house and then go in a different direction on a different block, and she'll walk a little bit and then want to turn back again.
However, she doesn't do it as much at night when I walk her with my roommate. Maybe it's the darkness or the sense of security she gets from having another "pack member" around, but she tends to be much better in going forward in those situations. I also walked her once with a friend and her dog in a completely different neighborhood and she was fine.
Sometimes I try to lure her with treats but even treats only work for so far, and if I don't have them then she only walks to where she usually stops.
I've heard of driving a little ways away to walk in a different area that is away from the house, but then how would that eventually translate to walking her from the house? Or should I just keep encouraging her with treats so that she just gets used to walking from the house?
Hmmm....never encountered that situation. I have the opposite....Max gets going and refuses to turn around. On the street I can just walk down a different block towards home but on the trail he just sits and won't budge when I try to head back to the car.
Will be interesting to hear what advice people have.
Nina, try bringing with you a squeaker toy to get attention...bring her fav toy. Make the walk fun and exciting. Does she seem to have interest in a walk at all when u are about to leave? (i.e Juno starts panting and running around once he knows he's going on a walk) You can also try running to see if she'll follow like most dogs. What happens if u refuse to let her go back? have u tried? What if u walked across the street and walk "pass" the house?
Juno's suggestions are good. You want to keep her guessing and be interesting enough that she wants to follow you. Also, the going back to home part, her crazy pulling ending up at the house again is rewarding her for that behavior.
What happens when you stop? If you just stop completely? Does she still pull and struggle or does she eventually stop and sit? She needs to know that you're in charge, and be confident enough that you're in charge and keeping her safe. A lot of dog behavior "quirks" have to do with their sense of security or insecurity. Maybe she thinks you've forgotten where the house is, or who even knows. But letting her pull and get to her desired destination just rewards her.
It is kind of funny about the darkness part, dogs don't see that well in the dark (just like us) so sometimes get more nervous/cautious in the dark. I know Machete tends to be a bit more cautious when it gets dark on our evening walks.
Is there a park or out of the way area you could take her and try a walk outside of her normal/recognized neighborhood?
Start small. 1/2 mile walk here or there, 20 minutes, something small. Gradually increase. Consistency is important.
Here's the link to a discussion about this kind of behavior. It brings up a lot of good points.