Walking the dog is an excellent way for both you and your pooch to get much-needed exercise.
Of course, it’s the way you get your dog to do his business, but outside of that, it’s also the way that he works off excess energy that would otherwise be pent up inside him all day.
But what happens when walking the dog become and exercise in frustration or outright futility?
Here what one of our readers asked:
So this might be a difficult question to answer but I was wondering if someone could give me some ideas of why my dog will only walk with me and no one else. she’s an older dog now but when anyone else in my family try’s to walk her she will not go. She takes a few steps then puts on the breaks and turns back. This is kind of a psychology question I think and I know that she kinda grew attached to me but that she won’t walk at all with anyone else just curious about that one.
When Walking the Dog is a One-Person Job
While reading through the forums recently, I came across the above question from an owner. Her dog will only walk with her. Although the dog lives in the home with other family members, she throws on the breaks after a few steps if anyone except the owner attempts to walk her.
The owner is becoming frustrated because there is no way for anyone else except her to walk her dog.
I’d like to discuss a few of the things that immediately came to mind when I read this question.
No one reason might be the cause of this owner’s dog only wanting to walk with her, so let’s just look at all of them.
With any dog, the person who puts in the most time becomes the most important part of the pack. Depending on the amount of time spend with the dog and her breed, this pooch could very well have decided that the owner belongs to her, and as such, is the only person who can take her for a walk.
Another reason that walking the dog has become the sole responsibility of the poster cold be fear. Fear and bonding are closely related.
Again, depending on the breed and her life – was she a rescue dog, etc – the dog may only trust the woman who posted the question. If a dog isn’t 100% comfortable with the people around her – for whatever reason – going for a walk could feel like stepping into the great unknown with someone she can’t trust.
Again, this is breed specific, but the owner may have a problem with walking the dog because the dog has just decided that she’ll only walk with the owner.
It’s not uncommon, and it can be closely related to either bonding or fear. Sometimes, though, a dog will just decide that they like things a certain way. That’s when you have to bribe them.
Greasing the Wheels, er, Paws for Walking the Dog
The three reasons above are probably the main offenders to take a look at for the woman who posted this question.
But what can she do about it?
For any of you out there who have this type of problem with walking the dog, here are some tips.
Assess the Problem
First and foremost with this problem of walking the dog is figuring out the root of it. If the dog is afraid, you can’t just throw a leash on him and drag him out the door.
That’s a recipe for disaster.
Figure out if the dog is afraid, so closely bonded with one person that he won’t go, stubborn, or something else. Don’t stop until you find the root of the issue.
Address the Problem
When you figure out the cause of the problem with walking the dog, it’s time to fix it.
If the dog is afraid, have the family spend more quality time with him. Give lots of treats and love, showing him that everyone in the house is trustworthy. If the dog is super closely bonded with the walker, have the other family members do much the same thing as they would for a fearful dog.
If the dog is stubborn, you might want to seek out professional help via a trainer. Stubborn dogs are the most difficult to fix because you can potentially make it 1,000 times worse if you’re not careful.
Walking the Dog Isn’t Always Easy
Although walking the dog is a great activity for both owners and their pooches, sometimes it isn’t easy.
If you’re having a problem walking the dog, look for cues as to what is causing it. If you can’t find anything obvious, speak with your vet about contacting a trainer/behaviorist. It’s important that dog walking work well. It’s the foundation for everything else.