Mike's Q&A

An interactive question and answer forum with expert dog trainer Michael Wombacher for all of your most pressing dog behavior and dog training-related questions.

Resistant to Trail Walk

Q: I have had my rescue puppy (4 1/2 months old) for 8 weeks, and she is great on-leash around my home, and around the block in my community, but when I take her to an outdoor trail, she stops, and sits down, and seems scared when she looks down the trail. I have tried the same trail 3 times. I did take her once to an off-leash trail and she was willing to follow for 25 minutes, but on-leash she doesn't seem to want to go on this other trail. Should I just keep trying? I keep her on-leash for this one trail, because there is a lot of poison oak, and other bikes/pedestrians, so I prefer to keep her on-leash. I have succeeded in getting her to walk for about 5 min. then she sits down and seems to want to go back to the car.

 

A: I would keep trying. Bring her favorite treats and toys and see if you can cajole her with those. You can also try a 30-foot training lead and just start walking. By the time you get 30 feet away your dog might be more inclined to follow. If not, then just insisting might work. Once the dog gets moving and realizes that nothing terrible is happening to her she might lighten up. But again, it might require you just insisting and moving the parade forward. Once the dog is moving reward with lots of high pitched praise, favorite toys and killer treats. Just keep going with it. Also, if she has any dog pals maybe bring them along to give her some confidence.