Any tips on getting a stubborn dog to walk on a leash?

I’ve trained several dogs to walk on a leash. Usually it’s not a big deal. Go out to the drive way. They usually resist the leash. They try to take off and get a surprise when the leash stops them. Then we you start walking they pull/drag a few feet behind. After a yard or two they start walking. Repeat the next day. Usually by day 2 they got it figured out. I never worried about “heeling” I’m satisfied if they walk beside me or a step or two behind.

My Boston Terrier must have some bulldog in her. Geez she’s stubborn, or retarded. :wink: Maybe both. Been working with her for awhile now and she STILL resists the leash. Makes me pull her along. She’s getting better. Sometimes she’ll walk a few minutes. But then unexpectedly STOP. Darn near caused me to fall. That jerk on my arm when she stopped was so unexpected.

I’d like to get her running with me. But can’t trust her yet. She stops unexpectedly and it might hurt both of us. I really hate it when she decides to switch sides. I’m holding the leash in my right hand and she darts over to the left side. :rolleyes:

Any ideas? I’m hanging in there. I can be just as stubborn as her. :stuck_out_tongue:

This is a first for me. A dog that can’t figure out walking on a leash.

Boston Terriers are legendarily thick. I’ve known a few that could out-stupid a bag of hammers.

With a dog like that you need a consistent leash-training regimen. Fortunately a Boston Terrier is light enough that they shouldn’t be able to knock you over if they get stubborn.

First make sure your leash isn’t too long. Especially for training, you want a leash that will allow the dog to comfortably get about three or four feet ahead of you without too much slack. If the leash is too slack, it allows the dog to wander to far without feeling any tension, and it becomes much harder for the dog to associate the feeling of tension with the leash. Remember that you can’t explain cause and effect to a dog; they need immediate feedback, so a proper leash length is important.

I like the stop-and-go approach. When the dog pulls the leash ahead, simply stop moving and do not allow the dog to progress until they come back within the leash-zone. If the dog stops, simply keep moving and drag poor Fido along if necessary. It seems a bit mean, but this is how they learn that the human is in control of walking when they’re on the leash, and it shouldn’t take more than a few days for them to get the idea.

Make it fun, make it worth her while. Does she like squeaky toys? Is she food motivated? You can use either of those to get her amped about going out and wanting to be with you. You may have to make a bit of a fool of yourself too, being very up, very happy-happy-joy-joy!!

If you use treats, make them something super special that she only gets while out with you - deli meat or bits of chicken or something. My “I know this is hard for you but will be so worth it” training treat is liverwurst. I’ve also gotten the dog food that comes in a sausage roll and cut that up.

Because she’s little, you can also use peanut butter smeared on a wooden spoon. She gets the PB when she’s coming along next to you with no tugging. And also mega praise, throw a party for her.

With the toys, if she likes them, ask her to walk with you for a few steps at at time and then toss the toy a bit in front or play tug with it. Then ask for a bit more polite walking, and back to the game.

Will she walk anywhere on a leash? Is she ok w/ it in the house or around the yard? If it’s only going somewhere new she may be worried about it. Go slowly, lots of praise, lots of her favorite reward.

We got our dog when he was already an adult (from one of my wife’s coworkers, not a rescue). He was not good on a leash, because his previous owners (oh, wait, I’m in Boulder: guardians) didn’t walk him regularly. He would pull so hard that he’d restrict his airway. Sounded like an 80 year old emphysemic.

We did two things: 1) Started using a chest harness for the leash, rather than his collar, and B) carried treats with us to reward him for sticking close. Being a Lab, he’s basically a stomach wrapped in fur, so the latter was especially effective. He’s really good on the leash now, and, in fact, will excitedly walk into the harness himself if we hold it open for him.

Some other friends of ours use the Gentle Leader muzzle harness. I don’t personally like that, since a lot of dogs tend to plow the ground with their heads trying to get it off, but some people have good success with it.

I swear by the Gentle Leader (actually we used a Halti, which is the same thing). And your dog will plow their heads into the ground trying to get it off…for like a few minutes and then they get it straight.

I’d say the owner needs as much training as the dog when it comes to starting on a Gentle Leader. I actually had my dog’s obedience trainer do the initial “dragging around by the nose” for me because I was too freaked out to do it myself.

I wasn’t sure if the GL was an option for a Boston Terrier but according to this Boston Terrier site, it’s fine.

OP, are you accustomed to having brachycephalic breeds? If you’re using a collar, it may bother her, as Bostons can have airway issues. Or she may be getting hot/out of breath easily if she’s not used to walking quickly with you, and may need some long training time to get her to the point where she can run with you. Be prepared for her to not be able to run with you in any sort of warm weather, brachycephalics overheat easily even when they’re in good condition.

If you already know all that, great, just putting it out there in case. I would avoid neck leads with her unless or until she’s good about not pulling or stopping suddenly.

She doesn’t snort or gasp for air like many pugs or bulldogs. I am careful not to pull her hard by the neck.

You make a good point about hot weather. I’ll avoid any fast walking or excessive exercise when its hot. I don’t exercise her after eating either because she’s prone to regurgitating her food. That’s typical of short necked dogs.

I have a parallel problem with my dog. Well, I think it is just patience. I use this site – dogtrainingasleader.com --that helped me with my dog. I just train him additional stuffs, walk her on leash everyday to practice him and VOILA! :smiley: On top of that, I used NO FORCE EVER! :wink: