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Biting lead and sitting down - help!

(9 Posts)
Solo2 Sat 23-Jul-11 09:43:57

Rollo - who has been so much better at lead walking since he spent 10 days with his trainer - is deteriorating a bit and I need some specific tactics to respond to specific behaviour:

After a while of walking on his lead, attached to a normal collar, he gets fed up and starts to twist his head and bite onto the lead. I tell him to Drop but he's having none of that. He gets more excited, jumping up and trying to nip at me, where I'm holing his lead. Finally, he'll flop down on the ground, still holding his lead in his mouth, lie on his back and completely refuse to go any further.

I've tried holding the lead nearer his collar - but he just then tries to bite at me (not in an aggressive way), or putting my foot on the lead, nearish his collar, when he's lying down and not interacting at all (difficult if you're dashing back to the car from a walk and have to be somewhere else quickly!) and distracting him with a food treat thrown in front of him, to redirect his attention.

The latter tactic works for a bit but I'm really trying not to return to an old bad habit I used to get him to walk at all - which was throwing a treat ahead of us. He then learned not to walk on at all unless there was a treat on the ground for him and the trainer managed to get him out of that, thankfully.

What else can I try for the lead biting/ jumping up? Secondly, what's the best tactic when your dog simply flops down and refuses to walk at all? He's much more that sort of dog than ones who pull ahead and want to get going? He was better with the trainer with this too as he'd walk with her dogs who were 'modelling' walking on.

misschenko Sat 23-Jul-11 10:15:29

My lab went through a phase of stopping and refusing to budge on walks. It always happened when he we were on our way home so not sure if it's relevant to your situation - sometimes pups sit down because they're walked too much and get tired so worth checking he's not being over-walked for his age.
With my dog it was just that he realised we were nearly home and didn't want the walk to end. I tried offering treats, pulling the lead, waiting and not saying anything, nothing worked. I posted on the lab forum and got lots of helpful advice. What worked was being very firm, holding his collar, hand under the tummy, and making him walk. Once he was walking well I gave him a treat. Only had to do this a couple of times and it was sorted.

fruitshootsandheaves Sat 23-Jul-11 12:14:10

you could try a chain type lead. Dogs often don't like biting metal.

clam Sat 23-Jul-11 15:16:05

Dog trainer just suggested to me to rub a tiny bit of citronella onto the lead as they don't like the taste/smell. Not too much, though, or it will distress them.

clam Sat 23-Jul-11 15:21:19

Also had it suggested to use some of those small stick-shaped treats cupped in your left hand as he walks on the left with you holding the lead in the right hand. Hold the treat with a tiny bit sticking out of your cupped hand near their nose so they're following it while you praise them and repeat "heel."
Ours tends to sit down on the way to the park/wherever, so can't be tired at that point. Fine once we get going and trots along to heel nicely without pulling. Once there he always comes back when off-lead, sits nicely while you put his lead back on - then goes bananas trying to bite it and tried to race you home! Nutter.

midori1999 Sat 23-Jul-11 18:43:15

I think as it's probablu attention seeking behaviour (he is a clever boy Solo and training you well! grin ) I would probably opt for using a lead with metal chain near the clasp for now (just otherwise a normal lead though) so that you can simply ignore him when he does it and then reward him when he is walking nicely without doing it.

Again, with the stopping/laying down I would also just ignore and then praise/reward when he does get up and walk again. Have you tried an extending lead on him so when he lays down you can just walk on ahead? You could even walk on a bit and get the boys to have a 'really fun' game of catch or something with a ball or that looks fun to Rolo so he decides he's better off not laying down or staying put. Don't call him or anything though, simply ignore him and look like you're all having a great time. Again, reward lots when he does what you want.

melliebobs Sun 24-Jul-11 12:49:13

I have a Patterdale Terrier and he has always been an absolute sod for this. It's usually when hes bored or he's seen something he can't have and get's a little giddy.

If we are doing a walk where he's having to stay on his lead try and keep it as interesting as possible. Have your treatbag with you and do some tricks. Do heel work with varying paces. Every now and then get them to stop and sit. Get them to stop and down. Ok you look a bit odd to anyone you're walking past but your dog is focused on the task in hand and doesn't know what's coming next and for me this tends to walk. Also if he does have a silly moment and goes for his lead, hand in the treat bag, tell him to 'leave' or whatever command you want to use and treat them as soon as the leads out of the mouth. Took some time to do this and quite often as soon as he'd got the treat he'd be back to killing the lead but persevere and it will pay off.

Solo2 Mon 25-Jul-11 09:02:56

Thanks for all the advice. It seems to happen more when either he need to wee and I didn't realise (and he was just waiting to find exactly the right patch of grass to go on) or if he's tired. It also probably happens though because he can't go off lead now and he's frustrated. Since he had recurrent diarrhoea, I have to be hypervigilant about what he tries to lunge for, even ON lead - and he'll go for everything and anything from fruit to poo to grass to stones, plastic, feathers etc etc.

So essentially, I'm now walking him along pavements or short grass instead of an off lead run in countryside. Even so, he's miles better at lead walking since he had 10 days with the trainer. I can't put him on an extension lead as I need him v v close to me all the time to monitor what lies ahead and to either side of us and pull him away from anything he might snatch to eat.

The other thing is that I can't give him absolutely anything as a treat at all and only use the kibble he now has exclusively as his food - Royal Canin Sensitive Whitebait and Tapioca. He really likes this but obviously I can't offer any higher value treats anymore, in case he gets ill again (he's still on a third course of antibiotics - this time for three weeks!).

So if he's not in the mood for his ordinary food, then there's nothing to tempt him with. If I walk with his food in my hand just in front of us, this can also start off more leaping up. In fact, since reducing using treats/food to get him to walk at all, it's been better.

If I treat him once he's back up on his feet again, this can sometimes spark off even more jumping up and nipping. Ignoring him helps sometimes but not always. If the DCs are with me, it can also sometimes help is they go ahead and then call him. Also, if he gets distracted by a passerby or a train or a car or bike, this can alter his attention from the lead biting and jumping up.

I haven't yet tired a chain lead but my instinct is that the extra jangling sound might make it even harder.

melliebobs Mon 25-Jul-11 18:37:23

We tried a chain lead and it didn't stop our dog. But then again ours is very stubborn and just plain stupid

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