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Walks with puppy are no fun - is this normal?

(27 Posts)
Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 09:26:07

Hi, can anyone tell me if this is in any way normal.
Our puppy whimpers and scrabbles up the back of our legs for the entirety of her short walks. I don't know if she is over excited or terrified or what. It certainly is not a fun walk for us.

She has been going out for walks for a week now. She is a bit over 12 weeks. A miniature poodle.

Prior to her last vaccination we went for short walks with her in our arms and she used to scrabble and whimper, but I thought she was very excited and would be glad to be on the ground. Not the case.
We have just been on today's short walk. It was about 5/10 minutes then a big sit down on a bench. Then back again. She was jumping up and up and up, whimpering and not happy-seeming, then when we sat down she was desperate to sit on our knees.

Is it something I have done wrong/am doing wrong? Is it normal and just a case of time. Or should I speak to a behaviourist who can set me on the right track?


OP’s posts: |
BadDucks Thu 13-Aug-20 09:29:59

Mine was like this he found the outside utterly terrifying! It took time but it got better. Some days we’d just sit in the boot of the car and watch the world go by!

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Thu 13-Aug-20 09:40:44

We did a lot of walking up and down our street which is very quiet. And then lead practise in the garden.

It takes time. A puppy a child but on fast forward - everything is a phase, but you go from Thomas the Tank Engine to teenage tantrums in the space of a year or so...

Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 10:08:48

How long did it take to get better for your dogs? Maybe I have pushed it too fast by going to a park today.

OP’s posts: |
WaltzingBetty Thu 13-Aug-20 10:23:16

Take it slowly and avoid lifting her/putting her on your laps. Give her praise and attention for sitting calmly/all 4 feet on the floor

Just sit and watch the world go by with her. What were her parents temperaments like?

Miniature poodles can be quite anxious. Have you done any separation training with her at home? You'll also need to teach her to self settle/not follow you room to room so that she gets used to time without you.

BarkingHat Thu 13-Aug-20 11:07:47

We let ours off the lead the first time we took her out. There's a local park where we can do that. As they are little they stick with you. Have lots of treats, and let her hide behind you if any dogs come up, but big dogs tend to be conditioned to be nice to puppies or ignore them. Puppies get a lot of leeway from older dogs up to about 6 months.

Letting them off early and calling them back for treats is really important for recall later. They really do stick to you when that little.
We found that improved her confidence walking on the lead.

We still haven't done enough lead work and she's still quite pully. But at 7 months she's moved on from being nervous. But I think it's quite normal for puppies to be a bit scared at first, the lead is new, being outside the garden is new, everything is new. You just have to help them gain in confidence. Little and often probably. And also take them new places and do new things with them - so a garden centre, or a cafe.

The face book group dog training advice and support was recommended on here to me and it's got some great modules on this. Puppy training classes also probably very good too.

Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 11:10:51

When we met the mum she was quite protective of the litter, so she was separated in the kitchen and then taken out for a walk. I didn't try to pet her because I didn't want to stress her out when we were all there. So, essentially, I can't say much about her mum's temperament.

I have some experience with borrow my doggy of miniature poodles' anxiety, so I suppose from that point of view it is not surprising. I just hadn't imagined it being this bad.

I think we will step it back and just go to the end of the street and sit in the park there. Hopefully without any scary situations arising.
WaltzingBetty when you say not putting her on our laps, do you mean when we are sitting on a bench? This morning, we had a second sit down and sat on the grass, and at that point she sat on one of us - was calm then. But is that setting a bad precedent or allowing her to relax outdoors?

Not done enough separation training yet, no. She sleeps in the kitchen in her crate at night fine though. Presumably we leave the room when she is awake and in her crate with a Kong for 5/10/15/20 minute bursts, then reenter the room without making any fuss? There are so many people around all the time now, that it is difficult to police that while working. How many times a day should we do it? Sorry - I am sure I can google this.

OP’s posts: |
BadDucks Thu 13-Aug-20 11:11:37

I would say by the time he was 5 months he was much more confident but we took it very slow and he was happier off lead. We made sure he didn’t get bombarded by other dogs as he was initially very scared of them.

Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 11:12:06

Zoom puppy training starting tonight. I hope it is helpful.

OP’s posts: |
Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 11:15:49

5 months. Definitely need to slow my expectations then.
She is off the lead as soon as we are away from danger.
Bombardment from other dogs seems to be tricky - lots of people around here have bulldog/boston terrier breeds or big bouncy labrador types. Old or young, they are all more bouncy and frightening than her.

OP’s posts: |
Winederlust Thu 13-Aug-20 11:16:38

When we first got our dog he was terrified of loud cars and lorries etc. It took a bit of patience and training, eg treats everytime he walked past a lorry, or just standing at the end of the street watching the traffic go past so he got used to it.
He got there in the end, although he's still not keen on motorbikes the noise of cars driving through puddles!
It's all about patience and taking things bit by bit imo.

Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 11:17:51

Boot of the car to watch the world might be nice.

OP’s posts: |
Vodkacranberryplease Thu 13-Aug-20 11:22:09

Maybe a short walk to a picnic/sit down on the ground? Then you can pop her on the lead & walk her a bit, treat her, walk her back to the picnic. They love you sitting on the ground with them & it might help her to get more comfortable being in the big wide world.

BadDucks Thu 13-Aug-20 11:34:28

Dpup used to do that rigid toddler move and refuse to get out grin

Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 11:37:06

I guess my slight concern with that approach, is that the jumping/scrabbling at our legs from behind might be her saying 'sit down so I can sit on you'. If we then only go out and sit down (and she will then sit on us for the entire time), are we setting up bad precedents for the future? Or, just giving her a nice gentle introduction to the world and she will move on as she gains confidence.

OP’s posts: |
BarkingHat Thu 13-Aug-20 11:53:06

I think it's all just about building confidence and however that is is probably OK. So the gentle introduction sounds like a good move. As she gains in confidence she'll get used to the idea that if she wants to explore a bit that'll mean lead walking (unless you are in off lead walking area).

Practice the recall as well. So having 2 or 3 of you standing in a circle and excitedly calling her name with treats and or cuddles to reward her for coming. And (very) gradually expand the circle. You can do that indoors too to get her used to the idea.

RiaRoth Thu 13-Aug-20 11:53:42

Or, just giving her a nice gentle introduction to the world and she will move on as she gains confidence.

Absolutely this approach is best. No stress or anxiety no need to look for reasurrance.

Cherrytangfastic Thu 13-Aug-20 12:05:27

Don't worry yet. It seems to be more of a poodle thing, they are needy compared to other breeds I've had!

Both of ours did this and our friend's poodle did too. It just took time and practice. They're all fine now. I never gave in and picked them up and they soon gained confidence in being on the floor.

We've found them to be very smart and they love to be trained, so maybe try training while you walk for a distraction. Lots of sit/heel training with treats to make walks a positive experience. Good luck with your puppy, I'm not jealous grin

Loveatthefiveanddime Thu 13-Aug-20 12:21:23

She is really clever, and her recall is fab.

Thank you everyone. I have found this to be massively reassuring.

OP’s posts: |
pigsDOfly Thu 13-Aug-20 13:16:16

My dog wouldn't walk away from the front door for some time when I first started walking her. As pp have said, let her watch the world go by and take it at her pace.

Won't be many months before you're back on here asking how you can get your teenage dog to come back to you and stop running off grin

That's when the 'fun' really begins.

OuiOuiKitty Thu 13-Aug-20 18:38:49

We thought our 7month old would never walk like a normal dog. She was so nervous and just refused to move, she is a bull breed so I should have been prepared for her stubbornness! We started by going somewhere really quiet or walking late at night when we wouldn't meet anyone else/there were no loud noises etc. We lured her along with food because she is very food oriented and now she is grand to walk anywhere. It just took a lot of patience and taking it at her pace. She is still not a fan of people but will just make sure she gives them a wide berth rather than freak like she used to.

Veterinari Thu 13-Aug-20 21:13:43


Are you sure the mother was definitely the mother?Responsible breeders don't generally breed from aggressive bitches and meeting the mother (and father) to assess temperament is a recommended part of puppy buying which responsible breeders would normally do. So I'd be suspicious that this was either a commercial operation and that wasn't the pup's mum, or the mother has significant behavioural problems which is a concern for your pup's genetic heritage.

In terms of addressing these issues you really need to focus on socialisation, ensuring she is confident and comfortable in the world as a dog with 4 feet on the ground which means stop picking her up - she has to learn normal social interactions and how to deal with the world at dog height, not from a human lap. It's fine to reassure her but bend over or crouch down and stroke her rather than lifting her when you give her reassurance.

She also needs to be comfortable alone and learn to self soothe so starting separation training is a good idea too.

Borderstotheleftofme Thu 13-Aug-20 22:47:09

When we met the mum she was quite protective of the litter, so she was separated in the kitchen and then taken out for a walk. I didn't try to pet her because I didn't want to stress her out when we were all there. So, essentially, I can't say much about her mum's temperament
Not good.
I would be aware that if the mum is genuinely the mum (I share PPs fear that ‘mum’ may not be) is very possible that your pup has inherited a very anxious/fearful personality from its mum.

With careful training and handling she can probably be moulded into a relatively comfortable dog but she’s probably always going to be extremely nervous so I’d be very careful around new sights, sounds, children etc as fear can often manifest as aggression, probably not now at only 12 weeks old but perhaps when she’s nearly adolescence.

MissShapesMissStakes Fri 14-Aug-20 00:17:27

Hi. I too have a mini poodle (best dogs ever!).

He was fine to walk as a puppy apart from leaf chasing. But he did go through a 'fear stage' that lots of dogs go through around their teenage time. Mine was about 6 months. So he suddenly became super wary of everything when out - signs, bins, trees hmm

I chatted to a trainer and she said not to force him to approach anything he wasn't sure about. But not to rush past either. She said to give him time to suss it out, and that rushing things or trying to overly reassure him would be counter productive. Just to give him time and be calm and slow.

I'd defiantly do as pps have said and take it really slow and calm. Go to really boring places to start with where there won't be lots going on. Sit and watch the world go by.

They change so much. 12 weeks is tiny for the big wide world.

LizB62A Fri 14-Aug-20 00:38:13

This might be a silly question, but is it definitely cool enough to walk your puppy when you take it out? Might she be trying to climb to get away from the pavement ?

Round our way (SE England) it's been really hot by 9am recently and definitely too hot to walk dogs (although people here still do ...)

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