Puppies generally don’t make it very far on walks. Sometimes they get tired and other times they’re just overwhelmed. Let’s take a look at what to do if your pup stalls on a walk. Firstly, we don’t want to force our pups into situations that they’re clearly uncomfortable with. Doing so will likely increase their fear and make things worse in the future. A way to tell how they’re feeling is to watch their body language. If they’re turning away, pulling in the opposite direction, lowering their entire body or portions of their body or tucking their tail, they may be very overwhelmed. The best thing to do here is get some distance and offer some treats while doing so. Distance will help provide immediate comfort and treats will help build a positive association to make it less scary the next time.
If they’re turning away, pulling in the opposite direction, lowering their entire body or portions of their body or tucking their tail, they may be very overwhelmed.
If we’re not seeing a ton of fear and it’s just some slight hesitation, a touch cue can come in handy. Touch in this instance means to touch your hand with their nose for a food reward. Depending on where you place your hand, they’re going to have to cover some ground to get there which will get them moving. Here is how to teach it 1. Put a treat between your fingers and hold your hand out with your fingers extended and palm facing your pup’s face. Wait a moment or two and your pup will sniff the treat. When this happens, say “good” and then offer a treat. You can give the treat that was already in your hand or a treat from your other hand. Repeat this until your pup is catching on and pretty instantly going for your hand. When this happens, move to the next step. 2. Do step 1 but without a treat between your fingers. When your pup touches it, say “good” and give a treat from your other hand. After a few of these, your pup is going to start touching it quickly and then you’re ready for the next step. 3. Say, “touch” and then stick your hand out. When the touch happens, say “good” and reward. When teaching this, be patient and stay still! When you offer your hand out, stand still until your hand is touched or until your pup walks away. If your pup does walk away, happy talk him to get him back and try again. If your pup is giving up, increase the treat value or go back to the prior step. To use this on a walk, you can either be proactive and randomly ask for these and reward or you can wait for a stall to happen and then use it. Either way is fine!