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Right thing to do with end-of-walk freakouts?

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Hi all!

Kevin's walking skills have vastly improved in the last few months but still aren't perfect. Recently, he's developed a habit of jumping up and biting/tugging at the leash just at the very last block of our walk - so, we're two minutes from home. Don't judge me BUT yes I have given in (I know, I know, it's bad and sanctions the game in his mind) a few times and just tugged him home, the end fo the leash in his mouth, so that we can just get there.

I have tried:

- changing my voice to get his attention sniffing something else

- shifting his focus into a series of sit/down/wait and tossing a treat for him to leave first, then go get

- doing nothing, not making eye contact, just letting him kind of tug me home without responding.

My efforts to shift his attention often work in the moment while we're holding still, but as soon as I attempt to walk again it's back to leash tug. He seems to think this is great fun (ah, dogs.). I do not! What is the right thing for me to do here? Sometimes I'm not really in a rush, and I suppose if someone wise says I need to wait him out, i could try - the problem is that he is  SO much more patient than I ever am! Hard to wait him out; I feel that he could wait me out for an eternity - and then tug me all the way home....

wisdom much appreciated!

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A couple of quick thoughts are to use a chain leash for a while that he probably won't like chewing on. I've even seen the suggestion of adding a clip to one end of a metal choke collar and clipping the leash onto the other end to use it as an uninviting leash extension.

And I know this may not be practical, but it's the ideal way to approach it -- don't take him for a walk unless you have the time to stop and deal with the issue with training when it happens instead of continuing to go home.

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35 minutes ago, GentleLake said:

don't take him for a walk unless you have the time to stop and deal with the issue with training when it happens instead of continuing to go home.

^ This.

I understand about just needing to get things done. but with dog training you simply have to be 100% consistent or nothing works. So, stop letting him do that.

I would probably use a chain leash as GL suggests, to see if that makes him stop. If it does, problem solved and he will grow out of the desire to do it. If he still bites at the leash,  stop using a chain so he doesn't damage his teeth.

I say continue with asking for a sit or a lie down. But make it a longer wait, and don't toss the treat for him to go get. Just a wait in lie down position, then start walking again and the moment he starts up you repeat the lie down. Do it over and over. Don't ever let him pull you back home or behave badly. If you have run out of patience, and are physically able to pick him up, then carry him the rest of the way home if he won't settle down after many repeated times of having him lie down. (In all that repetition hopefully you have gotten within a half block or so of home).

The basic idea is to get across to him this: If you walk nicely we keep going. If you jump around, you have to stop and sit or lie down. 

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In addition to using a chain leash (clipping a chain slip collar to the end is genius if you can't find a chain leash), if this is something that always happens just at the very last block or your walk, try not always making the last block be the end of your walk.  It sounds to me like Kev knows when the walk is about to be over, and is doing whatever he can to take control at that point.   We advise people when teaching a recall not to only use the recall when the fun is about to end.  Do lots of recalls, reward, and then release your dog to go play again.  You may need to apply the same principle to your walks.  When you do return home, can you sometimes walk a block or two past your home, turn around and then come back? Can you vary your walk so that you approach home from different directions?   Can you drive a block or two or three from your home, park your car, walk your dog, return to your car, and then drive the two or three blocks home?     The idea here is to make it less predictable to Kev when the walk is about to end. 

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These are all great ideas! I really appreciate the reminder for consistency and to only do things when we have the time to do them properly. In many ways I feel like the process of training Kevin is like a constant meditation - I am endlessly having thoughts pop into my head ("What if we do THIS thing that I think will be super fun that you almost certainly won't be capable of and it will all go horribly!?") and then reminding myself "Nope, let's just do what he *can* do." And sometimes I have to remind myself of that multiple times on the same walk.

Thank you everyone for these suggestions and reminders!

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Hooper2 has an absolutely genius suggestion. I just wanted to say I feel for you on the thought he has more patience than you! I went through the same with Jax. We go for walks by driving a lot and as soon as he saw the car park it would be bite the leash o' clock. I definitely picked him up and carried him on more than one occasion (I'm sure other people saw me and thought I was off my head carrying this lanky dog around under my arm :lol:). So I started making our walks go by the van more than once - basically going back to the van, getting in for a minute, then getting back out - walk x2! We also would sometimes just get in the van at home for no reason then get out and play a game in the garden. It worked really quickly. Good luck with yours! There's nothing like getting your arm ragged about at the last hurdle to make an otherwise good walk sour. It passes! Mine has lots of other methods of driving me nuts now :lol:

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I concur with Hooper2 that inconsistency of your walking route should help you 'outsmart' your smart dog!:)

My BC Roan displays a similar stubborn pattern:  When we near the end of our daily walking he decides he wants to slow down and begin lollygagging.  It seems he is quite aware the walk is ending and doesn't want it to.  So, to extend the walk, or to delay the inevitable conclusion of the walk, his pace slows to a crawl and every scent needs to be explored in detail. 

To counteract this pattern I change up the routine by walking past the house, or by turning around or by taking an unpredictable course.  These things work but I don't always have the time or inclination to put in the effort.  I have just come to accept that sometimes he wants to exercise control where able and it really isn't destructive or negative.  I realize Kevin's tugging and biting can be more challenging however I believe the cause is the same.

Another suggestion might be to hide the leash from him.  Is he capable of walking off-leash and in control?  If so, this technique may confuse him enough for him to focus on the lack of leash versus where you are in your walk.  My experience with BC's is that their intelligence contributes to coping behavior we may not always understand.  What I enjoy is constantly trying to solve the puzzle whereas we both win and bonds are strengthened. 

Good luck

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