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jadedangel57, owner
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19836
Experience:  breeder/ vet assistant.
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We have a 6 month old French Bulldog, Duke. We've had him

Customer Question

We have a 6 month old French Bulldog, Duke. We've had him about 8 weeks or so. he is PETRIFIED of walking on a lead - legs go straight and literally would need to drag him. He's also very, very nervous and is taking a long time to adjust. He will come to us and lick toes, feet, etc but will not easily let us pat him. He runs away and easily jumps and flinches if you move towards him. he's a beautiful dog but just wondering if this could be a sign of him being previously exposed to abuse or if he's got an anxiety issue? Can't wait for him to enjoy walks and joining in family activities!
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: He's in perfect health, no issues.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Duke?
Customer: No nothing. he's a really playful puppy and plays in the yard with his toys.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 11 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

At 6 months of age, it may take him a little time to get used to you. If he has never been in in any other home then the one he was born it, it may be quite traumatic to be around different people and a different home. He has nothing familiar and a lot of people trying to start a relationship with him. If anyone is trying to reassure him, that is not the way to have him gain self confidence in his new surroundings.

If he has never been on a lead that can lead to that balking at leash walking. My recommendation would be to start obedience training with him. When a dog realizes that when you give a specific command you want them to do a specific act, they start becoming more self confident and less fearful. This helps. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF) once he knows a few commands. It is outlined below.

Now the first step with leash training in a situation like this is to just put a leash on and let him trail the leash around. he may not move initially, but as he gets hungry or thirsty he will move. You might even put the food a few feet away from him so he is more likely to move with the leash attached.

Now to leash walking. Don't feel bad at him refusing to move. Most will do this initially if they have never been on a leash. It's a matter of getting your dog to want to come with you regardless of the leash being attached. You will get multiple answers depending on whom you talk to as opinions differ on the best method to solve this problem. Some experts will suggest a Halti (head collar). I personally believe in establishing control over the dog with training. I use a chain collar for training purposes.

Number one, put your dog on a leash before leaving the house. Make your dog sit or lie down before leaving. You walk out first and the dog should follow you out. With a proper walk, the dog should be right at your side or slightly behind. You dog should be paying attention to you, frequently glancing at you to be sure you haven't changed your mind about where you are going. I will be using the word correction. A correction will indicate a short quick tug and release of the leash. It will take time for you and your dog to get to this point.

If they won't move or are hesitant, stopping, laying down, a stinky, tasty treat usually convinces them to follow. I use almost paper think pieces of hot dog as the oil from them coats your hand and keeps the smell on your hand. Let the dog smell the treat in your closed hand. If they get up and come to your side, feed them the treat. Put another in your closed fist and let the dog smell it as you move forward. The dog should follow. If he normally doesn't move forward, reward him with a treat and verbal praise. Gradually increase the amount of steps he must take by your side, smelling your hand in order to get a treat. Before you know it, your dog will be walking right next to you all the time, with or without treats. When you stop, praise your dog with your voice or a few pats to let your dog know how good he has done.

Important note: If he starts to stop or lays down, do not give him a treat, as this will teach him that if he does that you will give the treat. Try to time it so that he is always moving forward when a treat is given.

Once he is walking on a leash, he may start moving in front or pulling away from you. Keep your leash short, but without pressure on it. If the dog starts moving away, a correction toward you should be made. This shouldn't be a dragging, but more of a tug to get their attention. Occasional treats help with this phase too. If they stay where they belong for a time, reward them. Once your dog is pretty much always walking at your side, you will want to make a correction any time they stop paying attention to you. For instance, they are looking at a cat in a yard, give a correction so they look at you. They are busy looking ahead and haven't glanced at you for awhile, give a correction and reverse your direction. Do not stop and wait for the dog, just a quick correction and reverse and walk. They learn to keep an eye on you as well as on what else is going on.

This method should take care of your problem.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 11 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 10 months ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.