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When did you start really enjoying dog walks?

(23 Posts)
Chocolateandamaretto Thu 11-Feb-21 15:42:28

Have an 8 month old puppy. I love him, he is my big fluffy bear and round the house he is well behaved and lovely.

He has always been obsessed with playing with other dogs but we worked hard on his recall and not letting him near others and prior to Christmas we were really getting there - he was coming away from our friend's well behaved stooge dog on a walk and it was all feeling very positive. Then over Christmas it all fell out of his ears and now is walked on a long line all the time because his recall is so hit and miss. He's suddenly way more obsessed with sniffing everything so just walking along the pavement is so long winded - I was having some success putting this on cue but at the moment it just seems like a losing battle and he just sniffs when he fancies. He's also impossible to call away from something he's sniffing if he's further away on a long line.

He has a good retrieve and at the moment we are having reasonable success with using a toy on a walk to keep his attention but it just feels like everything lasts for a few weeks then goes to pot.

I just feel like we are working really hard on this and I spend time every day practising recall, practising loose lead walking, but honestly the whole show is just getting worse and worse outside the house. I walk around my garden and my drive to practise with fewer distractions, my neighbours probably think I'm bonkers. I know it's a lot of work and it takes time and I understand that and I'll keep doing it, because I love him and I want to include him in our family life but I guess I'm hoping for some encouraging stories where walking your adolescent was hard bloody work then it DID get better???

OP’s posts: |
IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere Thu 11-Feb-21 15:51:59

Have you had him neutered? Entire males are harder to train and more stroppy/stubborn.

Our big dog is three and he is not reliable off lead although he walks well with my husband. He is only let off in very limited circumstances and in places where he there is nowhere for him to run off to.

It's not an option for us at the moment because of lockdown but there are lots of dog fields around the country where you can hire the field for an hour or two for exercise and training. As soon as we can do that I am looking forward to taking all three of our dogs to our local field as I have nowhere that I can let the puppy off lead.

Wolfiefan Thu 11-Feb-21 15:55:33

Neutering isn’t the answer here.
He is an adolescent. They can be utter buggers!
I used the book total recall.
Also do you have a secure area he can play with another dog and tire himself out with? One that WILL come when called to get him in the habit?

Dnadoon Thu 11-Feb-21 15:58:31

Sorry no good news but in answer to your question I now enjoy walking my 11 year old ddog at first light, on my own just me and him, he has never been a very sociable dog and has got grumpier with age.

Chocolateandamaretto Thu 11-Feb-21 16:02:20

No not neutered, he's a lab and won't be done until he's a bit older.

Have total recall. Local dog field not taking new clients at the moment. I've had all the advice, I'm following it as best as I can, have a trainer I'm working with. I guess it's just feeling a bit relentless and I wanted someone to say that if I do all these things he will eventually get a bit better!!

OP’s posts: |
Beamur Thu 11-Feb-21 16:06:14

I can't say I have ever really enjoyed either of my dogs! Previous one was worst, always pulled, dodgy recall, high energy and loved a scrap. Every walk was stressful.
Current dog much better except she only walks well with me if we're walking as a family. She's always wanted to sniff all the time and will simply put the brakes on when she wants to smell something. My elbow is actually quite sore from the jerking! She's very anxious generally and has recently developed some very annoying behaviour when she thinks we're on the way home she gets all giddy and starts walking in front of me and tripping me up. Her eyesight is poor and I don't think she always knows where (or who!) I am so sometimes thinks that I am ahead of her and legs it trying to find me 🙄
She's a sweet old thing and is great indoors, but is being a bit of a pain on a walk!

sunflowersandbuttercups Thu 11-Feb-21 16:08:22

The teenage months/years are so difficult flowers I found them so much harder than the puppy months, for sure.

Mine started settling when he was about 2 years old - he's three on Sunday and pretty much a dream to walk now. He's calmed down a lot, he's less interested in other dogs and his recall has improved ten fold. We trained constantly but to see it all pay off is amazing!

It will get better - just keep going and keep practising, and try not to let a bad walk or a bad week make you feel hopeless, though I know that can be really difficult when they test your last nerve for the tenth time!

Happytentoes Thu 11-Feb-21 16:13:40

2 labs here - male & female. The male was a piece of work at that age. And we attended lots of training, canine good citizen awards etc.
Labs, especially males, can be hard work as they are so very sociable, so very energetic and pretty smart too.
It gets better, even without neutering. Just stick with the training and try to keep him from hurting himself. One day the training kicks in. Probably past 12 months in our case. But it took me a while to relax.
We walked with another gun dog when he was young, they burned each other out pretty fast, then we got DDog2 and she keeps him busy.
It will get better!

MissShapesMissStakes Thu 11-Feb-21 18:06:52

It sounds like you're working really hard on the important stuff for enjoyable walks.

I had a 1-1 dog training session with mine when he was about 1. He wasn't terrible at recall but I wasn't relaxing on walks as he was about 70% so still on a long line etc. Mostly because he was sometimes too eager to say hi to other people.

I told the dog trainer I always see other dogs walking nicely and having relaxing walks. She said no dog is 100% on recall. Ever. And that to wait till he was 2 and just keep doing the right things. She said it's very likely any dog you see thats got great recall will be over 2. Plus their owners will have worked hard to get there.

My dog is now almost 3 and his recall is 95%. Walks are much more fun and relaxing. I'm confident with my dog's desire to be with me above anything else (except maybe squirrel poo - then he goes deaf).

A1b2c3d4e5f6g7 Thu 11-Feb-21 18:20:19

Oh I really hope so because my dog is just over two and still a nightmare at recall! The sniffing everything has got worse. I love the walks though regardless - just getting out of the house for a purpose and walking miles. I wouldn't bother if I didn't have him

MimsyBorogroves Thu 11-Feb-21 18:30:18

My lab is the only dog I have ever loved taking on walks! He's 19 months old now and, aside from a couple of off days, his recall's always been great.

For us the recall came with a tennis ball - and a lot of his exercise where he can go off lead is still tennis ball based. So if we go to the woods I will get him to sit and stay with me, throw his ball into the woods and send him on a search mission. Tires him out more quickly than a long walk, he has a "job" and he isn't as distracted by other dogs. Without a ball he is still wanting to play with any other dog (I always recall him back to me on sight of another dog and put him on a lead unless the other dog owner - and dog - are friendly snd want them to play)

Leedsmum27 Thu 11-Feb-21 18:51:41

He’s a lab! Ours is now over 2 and an absolute pleasure to walk - but it took a long time. Obsessed with other dogs and had a very selective recall as a result! Is your chocolate by any chance? The answer for us was through his stomach smile. He only gets fed when out on walks. First thing our dog trainer said - why give him a meal without making him work for it! Knows he gets something nice when he comes back. So settled now, recall probably 95% ..... unless finds discarded food Also takes ages sniffing - I’m sure could have been trained as a sniffer dog in another life.
It will get better promise.

CrepuscularCritter Thu 11-Feb-21 19:36:43

It absolutely does get better. My sweet lab seemed to get his head around it all at about 18 months and walking with him was a joy. You're putting in lots of effort and that should pay off in plenty of happy times.

HandyBendySandy Thu 11-Feb-21 20:08:40

My border terrier is 13 months and such a dick to recall, we've given up for now and just keep him on a lead.

We were doing so well, went to classes and practised and practised in empty fields with a long line, he was 100% at 7 months. But with other dogs within half a mile? No chance. We really tried, but even a pocket full of roast chicken won't get him back from another dog. He'll vanish if he sees one right over the other side of two massive fields or he'll go missing in the woods, nothing will stop him until he's been to say hi to every living dog in range and had a game. Even being chased off by a grumpy dog hasn't put him off.

He goes off the lead with the dog walker, but that's only because he goes with 4 other dogs and is much easier to bring back if there's already a dog with him - in fact he's less interested in others altogether.

He prefers another dog to food and he has no interest in fetch. Only tug and keepaway.

Beamur Fri 12-Feb-21 00:30:50

I thought I would pop back and say I sometimes dog sit for a friend and have a border collie come to stay. I absolutely love him to bits, his recall is impeccable, immensely affectionate and cuddly and has almost no interest in other dogs. Loves to play, chase balls, frisbee etc. He is almost the perfect dog. I've actually asked my friend to leave me his dog if he writes a will grin
Dog is also bomb roof with cats and even my very nervous cat will come and sleep next to him. He sleeps next to my bed and wakes me up with a paw either side of my face and a big smile in the morning.

MaryIsA Fri 12-Feb-21 14:06:15

Lead walking haven't really put enough time in - but now at 13 months she's calmed down and seems to have understood that lead walks are for getting somewhere or sniffing.

Off lead walks - from the very first one, at about 12 weeks, lots of sausages and treats - she was enchanted by everything but stayed close.

She always keeps us in sight and checks on us. She's a dream off lead.

The only time she gave us trouble was a little stint in adolescence - then it all came back.

Try0 Fri 12-Feb-21 14:10:43

It will get better. Sounds like he's hit a rebellious phase! Check out Absolute Dogs - Are you sexier than a squirrel? It goes over how to tackle issues of dogs finding almost anything else except you more interesting on a walk and gives you exercises to keep the dogs focus on you!

GuyFawkesDay Fri 12-Feb-21 14:13:54

@HandyBendySandy ah, the border terrorist terrier selective deafness.

gossipgirlxoxo Fri 12-Feb-21 14:45:09

I have a lab who is going to be 2 in April. He was neutered back in October when he hit 18 months (we were waiting until he was fully grown as he was very submissive, so thought him reaching his full size was important).
His walks have been quite joyful for a few months now! We had a lot of success with a ball thrower + Chuckit ball. When I take him out on early morning walks, it's too dark, so I don't take the ball and he just sniffs and walks with me and still has great recall. He goes quite far off but our local park is quiet early so I feel quite relaxed. Which for me is excellent as I had massive anxiety over having a puppy and found it very challenging for a long time. I can even have one earphone in and listen to a podcast sometimes! However his recall is MUCH better when I'm carrying the ball thrower as he really loves it.
Due to the current pandemic my kids have been home a lot more so have been on more walks with us. It's been hard getting to the point where I can trust him off lead while also chatting to and looking out for my kids (8,7,5), but we have got there eventually. There was a lot of walks where I would have to put him back on the lead because his recall was awful and it can be so embarrassing!
I have to say though if he smells something dead he goes totally deaf and it's very hard to get him back until he's eaten it or I've managed to catch him. Sometimes I can get him to drop it if I pretend I'm going to throw his ball. Thankfully this doesn't happen too much, and we are working on this and have seen a bit of improvement as it's happened a few times recently.

You will get there, it's just a bit repetitive but consistency is really key. I sometimes can't believe how much I enjoy it now as having a puppy turned my life upside down and I felt sick with anxiety for months over how my life would never be the same again, major puppy blues. He is just amazing and I'm so glad I have a dog.. most days 😂

PugInTheHouse Fri 12-Feb-21 20:12:22

Oh dear, my pup is 4.5 months and I was hoping for it to get better soon. We are in for the long haul then . . . grin

Tellto Fri 12-Feb-21 20:14:43

honestly.. about 4 years :/ probably not what you wanted to hear!

Moondust001 Fri 12-Feb-21 20:21:38

Oh dear. This is probably not the time to mention that most of my Border Collies did go through a deaf stage at around 16 weeks. Possibly for 3 -4 weeks. After that, perfect recall. My current 5 year old did have a dicey period at about 14 weeks when he was very nearly murdered....

Ihaventgottimeforthis Fri 12-Feb-21 22:04:00

I think if you have a scent motivated dog, then a 'sniff walk' for them is good entertainment & helps their stress & confidence.
Taking a dog away from a scent was once described to me like snatching away my newspaper half-read.
Perhaps try allowing the first part of the walk to just let him sniff for as long as he wants, then train a specific command - 'let's go! for example - for when you pick up the pace & the energy of the walk.
My teenage dog is so much better on lead when he's got smells out of his system a bit & I am power-walking at speed & with high energy & excitement! He's collie cross & has always been good off lead thank the gods.

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