A question I am often asked is “why won’t my puppy walk?”. After chatting to owners it is usually that their puppy refuses to go out the front door, or they suddenly put the brakes on during their walk.
This can be frustrating for us as owners, and embarrassing! One of my Whippets did this often as a puppy. Arthur found traffic worrying and could easily be overwhelmed, so he would just sit and process everything.
The world beyond the back garden is often overwhelming! It is full of sounds, sights and scents our pups have yet to experience! This can be a lot to take in one hit, and it can leave some pups very bewildered.
This is often why pups park themselves and refuse to move, the world has suddenly become overwhelming and confusing. They are not being stubborn, they are puzzled.
What should you do if your puppy does this?
In the moment, let your puppy watch the world, let them take it in. Let them watch and understand, when they are ready, praise and reward them with a tasty treat for moving along with you. You may have to stand there the first few times for a while, but if thats what they need, it will help prevent alot of problems later on!
Try and resist pulling them along or forcing them to walk, as this will teach them your not supporting them and may create resentment about being onlead. Along with this try not to tempt them forward with treats. This can become an ongoing chain of luring them with food, them stopping and starting over. You want to reward good choices as they happen, not lure them when they may be over emotional.
If your puppy regularly does this, try and increase their confidence and lead skills. Very often being onlead around scary or exciting new things can be frustrating or worrying, as they have no movement to get away.
Practice often with your puppy being onlead and enjoying it, practice in the garden and in open spaces.
Pick the places your first outdoor experiences are carefully. Very often we will try and walk our pups up the road and this is quite scary , particularly if the area is quite busy. Try taking your puppy to open spaces in a SECURE harness and long line, and let them explore the world with you. Try taking them on car trips to supermarket car parks, crank the window down so they can hear the world while enjoying a chew / kong / lickimat, They can then get used to the sounds and sight of the world without being overwhelmed.
Every puppy is different, so don’t be concerned if your puppy is struggling more than others. Taking your time during puppyhood will help alot. And these phases don’t last forever so try and ensure your not too stressed either!