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Leash problem? - April 24th 2016, 11:57 PM

I've had my dog, Coco, since she was born, one of my other dogs was Coco's mom. She is about a 10 year old Chihuahua mix, so she's pretty little. She's always been smaller than any of the other Chihuahua mixes I've had. She's not used to being without me, but I've been going out with my new boyfriend every Friday and I think she's thinking I'm trying to replace her with my boyfriend, so we were thinking about taking her with us sometimes so she can see that I'm not replacing her. The only problem with that is she's horrible on a leash. I kind of understand why, but I'm not sure how to fix it. When she was about a year old I took her for a walk and my neighbor at the time had a German shepherd that came towards her in a playful way as we were walking past and it scared her really bad. I had to pick her up and carry her rest of the way because she wouldn't walk on her own. Ever since that incident she's been horrible on a leash and terrified of bigger dogs. How do I fix her leash problem so my boyfriend and I can take her with us?
   
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Re: Leash problem? - April 25th 2016, 11:07 PM

Hi there.

I'm sorry I didn't respond to this yesterday; I intended to but then things got away from me.

Before I reply to your post, would you mind elaborating on what you mean with your dog being "horrible" on lead? Is it that she doesn't like being put on lead, that she becomes anxious when she is, that she isn't comfortable going for walks outside the house, that she pulls or chews on the lead, etc? If you can give me a better idea of what the issue is I should be able to give more specific suggestions.

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Re: Leash problem? - April 26th 2016, 03:27 AM

I mean she refuses to walk on a leash. She just lays down and shakes really bad.
   
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Re: Leash problem? - April 26th 2016, 04:18 AM

What kind of leash and collar are you using?
   
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Re: Leash problem? - April 27th 2016, 01:29 AM

Thanks for responding! Unfortunately there isn't really a quick fix for this type of problem; since it's long-standing and ongoing it's going to take some time and effort to rectify. Since she had a bad experience while on lead, I would recommend trying to focus on making it a more positive experience for her. Progress slowly and go at her pace, getting her used to first being on the lead and then being walked on it. Start where she's comfortable, even if that means just showing her the lead without putting it on her; in this instance you might show her the lead, and reward (verbally and/or with a toy or treat) her for any interest - so if she looks at it, and then when she's doing that enthusiastically enough you might wait until she approaches it a bit, and so on and so forth, letting her build up her confidence. By making the dog an active participant you're allowing her to overcome her anxiety at her own pace, rather than forcing her to "get over it" as many people might do.

Like I said, this method will take a while, but in my opinion the rewards will be worth it. If you rush it and try to take her out too soon you risk increasing her anxiety and making her even more reluctant to go out. Once she's comfortable on lead you can work up to taking her outside, making sure at first you're in quiet, safe areas where you won't encounter any other dogs or anything that could spook her. When she's ready you can also start introducing her to calm, friendly dogs so that she builds her social skills and extends her comfort zone.

As far as your boyfriend goes, how does Coco act around him? It might be worth him coming over every now and then to interact with her, so that at the very least his scent becomes familiar and she won't be worried if you come home smelling like him. It would also be worth trying to encourage her independence. You mentioned that she isn't used to being without you, so it's possible that she may have a bit of separation anxiety. It could help to start deliberately leaving her alone for short periods of time so that she gets used to being without you, and maybe if you know you're about to go out for a while you might play with or train her before you go so that she's tired and won't notice your absence as much.

Depending on the severity of the issue you might also like to look into hiring a local dog trainer. They'll have experience with this kind of thing and can give you some practical tips and sound advice for how to deal with it, and be better able to assess the dog's behaviour and progress. Good luck with it all, and let us know how it goes!


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Re: Leash problem? - April 30th 2016, 05:22 AM

I agree with Chess and maybe you can take Coco to a dog professional. They might be able to help you with her leash problem and allow her to overcome this fear.


   
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Re: Leash problem? - May 1st 2016, 07:13 PM

Look around for a pet group or pet training group online. I found a lady in my town who helped me train my dog to be a service dog. There MAY be people out there willing to help, who knows. Good luck! I found a lot of good videos on youtube.




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