I was at a Home Dog Training client in Buford last Tuesday on a follow-up lesson. We had taken care of the jumping, nipping, running out the door, and basic obedience commands. My client told me that the next big issue he had with his Doberman, Maximus, was the walking. It wasn’t that Maximus didn’t know how to walk, he would just sit down in the middle of the sidewalk and say “he was done”. No matter what my client did, it always turned into a tug of war to get Maximus to move again. Because of this, he stopped taking him for walks, even though he loved to get out into the neighborhood.
Having dogs to the “sit and don’t move” trick in the middle of a walk has plagued dog owners since the dawn of time. To tell you the truth, I had no idea how to easily fix this problem when I started out as a dog trainer over 13 years ago. After multiple trial and error; and some just blind luck, I came across a great way to put the gas back into our dogs and get them to continue the walk.
The mistake that we make when our dog sits and decides not to move is to become agitated and start pulling on the leash. Pulling on the leash simply starts a game of tug of war that our dog loves to play. It is a natural dominance game that they normally win. Our getting mad that they aren’t obeying us gets us excited and builds our adrenaline. This excitement and adrenaline feeds our dog’s adrenaline and play drive. He simply pulls harder and doesn’t move. The more we increase our actions, the more our dog increases his actions. We go on and on and on. See where I am going with this?
We need to fine a peaceful and quiet way to get our dog back on his feet and moving down the way to continue the walk. Remember when we were kids and were playing tug of war with our friends in the playground? We would pull and they would pull and it normally ended in a stalemate. Sometimes one side “got smart” and decided to have a little fun. All of a sudden they would let go of the rope and the other side would all fall down. This is the same type of action that we are going to do with our dog.
We will never win by just pulling. We need to misdirect and redirect our actions in order to get him to stand up and then walk. What we are going to do is to misdirect our dog’s actions to actually have him stand up all by himself. There are two things we need to understand:
- Our dog thinks he is playing tug of war.
- (Hopefully) We are smarter than our dog.
We need to go on a walk with our dog and wait until he decides to play the “I am sitting and not moving” game. Here is what we do:
- Calmly start to tug on the leash so that he is pulling back.
- Quickly start to move around him in different directions, stooping down low and giving quick tugs on the leash.
- As soon as you give a few tugs at one location randomly move to another location and stoop/tug again. Again, stay calm as you are doing this.
- What you are doing is to get him off balanced until he will be moving towards you as you give a tug. (Just as the kids let go of the tug of war rope when the other side was pulling back.)
- Within about 30 seconds of you swiftly moving around your dog and giving quick tugs, you will randomly step into the situation where your dog will be pushing in the direction you are tugging. He will pop right up.
- As soon as you see him on his feet, immediately start walking him in that direction. Before he knows what has happened, you are back on the walk. His little game has ended and you “calmly won”.
After Maximus figured out he couldn’t just sit and get his way anymore, everything was just fine.
Please call Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Buford Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Buford Georgia.