Why is my dog refusing to walk?

(Q) I have a 14-month-old Wirehaired Dachshund who refuses to walk. On some of her walks she just stops and won’t go any further. I’ve tried waiting, pulling, and giving her a treat but none of this works.

If I pick her up and walk just a few steps and then put her down, she is fine and carries on walking.

(A) Behaviourist Claire Arrowsmith says: Refusing to walk can arise for many reasons. It’s worth asking your vet to examine your puppy to make sure that there’s no problem with her back or legs that could cause her sporadic problems. However, this is most probably a learned behaviour.

Many small dogs do this when they are very young. They become tired or are overwhelmed by the world around them and stop walking.

Since they are small we usually stop and fuss them and pick them up. They learn to like this experience and so it becomes a habit. It’s often worth building up walks slowly and making sure that you provide the rewards and praise while your dog is walking, rather than waiting until she has put the brakes on. Otherwise, she is likely to feel confused about what she is actually being rewarded for.

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