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anxious dog when on walks

JDsmom
November 25th, 2006, 02:13 PM
Hi. I'm new to the boards. I had a question about my 2 year old dog. I'm ashamed to say that she has not gone on many walks. We will be going out of town next month and I knew I better get her used to it again. Anyway, she barks the entire time I walk her. Not a mean bark but almost an uncontrolable yippy bark. It seems to me that she is anxious. Anyone have any ideas to get her to clam down? Thanks.

tenderfoot
November 25th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Sometimes it’s tough to judge an issue without seeing it. She might be excited, anxious, frightened - it’s hard to say. Some dogs get excited and yip just for the joy of it. However it is annoying and not great manners.

Unfortunately, obnoxious walking manners often stop the person from wanting to take walks and then learning stops too. Avoiding a situation does not teach. Just as practicing bad manners (lunging, barking, pulling etc) only gets the dog better at the bad manners. So today needs to be a new day. If she is barking out of happiness for the walk then we are going to do other things besides just keep walking - which rewards her for barking.

How well does she do other things for you? Can you walk her on the leash in the house and she is fine? How about around the yard? Does she 'come' well? Does she 'leave it', 'sit', 'stay', 'down'? Is she yipping at things or just in general? Is she actually yipping at you or the world around her?

I would encourage you to do some drills before leaving the house to get her mind focused, and on you. Then go just outside your door and do the same drills there. Don't plan on going for a walk for a few days. Better to practice your skills and let her earn the walks.

That said - if you are walking and she yips then I would stop moving forward. When she calms down and looks at me then I would move again. But I might have to stop right away if she yips again. If that doesn't faze her then I would walk in the opposite direction we are headed and start walking away from what is exciting her (if it is something specific that is exciting her). You can also give her more jobs to do so that her mind is busy with you and not on yipping. If she is totally out of control then I might even startle (foot stomp, slight leash correction, 'quiet' in a short sharp tone) her to stop the yipping and then reward the second she gets quiet. Catching her early is the key - before she starts. The best thing is to stop the thought before it becomes an action - be proactive. Tell her to 'leave it' the second one hair is out of place and you know she's thinking about barking.

Right now I would say this behavior is from a general lack of leadership. If you can start providing her with structure and guidelines for her behavior then she should start to make some good changes. And when you say 'quiet' she should respect your words and stop. But that also means that you need to do work with her before you go for a walk. It's who you are with her all of the time that shows her you are a good leader. Teach good manners before you need them, and they will be there when you do.