What to do if your dog puts the brakes on

You do not have to worry about your dog becoming lazy. This is not a sign of a personality trait that leads to a lazy older dog.

It is not uncommon for dogs to refuse to walk sometimes when they are outside. They might just "put the brakes on", or they might sit or lie down.

If your dog is a really young puppy, you might want to just take a break and let them take the world in. You do not have to worry about your dog becoming lazy. This is not a sign of a personality trait that leads to a lazy older dog. Often it revolves around a puppy being ever overstimulated or tired. A puppy's energy level moves up and down very quickly. He might just need to take a break. Use this time to socialize your dog to the world passing by. If time is a factor, just pick up your puppy and go home.

It is nice, however, to know how to get your dog moving when you need to. I have had many clients call over the years because their dog lies down in the middle of the street. This can be a harrowing experience, that is for sure.

Here are some tips to help motivate your dog to keep moving. It is important to practice these techniques periodically on every walk. Not just when the undesired behavior is happening.

    1. Say, "Let's go", gently pull him to your side, or motivate him to come to your side by tapping your leg or gently walking away.
    2. Click (if you are using a clicker) or say,"Yes" and throw a toy in front of you when he appears by your side. This associates, "Let's Go" with movement and motivates your dog to start running after hearing the cue.
    3. Practice quick, gentle "Let's Go" behaviors periodically throughout the walk and get really excited after saying the cue.
    4. Ask your dog to sit or lie down and practice this cue. This will make it clear that this cue is associated with movement.

Work on sit or down stays and then ask for a "Let's Go" and run a few steps forward with great enthusiasm. Treat your dog after more steps each time to increase the distance traveled. This is a great way to increase the anticipation and excitement upon hearing the cue and "springing" into action.


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