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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to train Gemma to walk outside on a leash for almost a month now. She is no longer really afraid of the leash, but she just won't walk or follow me. If she walks at all, she just takes a few steps to get off the sidewalk and into the grass and tries to eat flowers/rocks/pinecones or whatever is in her sight. She has no interest in really walking ahead of me and exploring.

I have tried all of the following and they just aren't working:

*making it a game by trying to get her to chase me
*getting down on the ground in front of her and slapping my knees and calling her in an excited voice
*luring her with tiny bits of cheese or kibbles (she really likes cheese, by the way)
*putting the leash down and walking away to see if she will follow
*having my boyfriend give her a gentle nudge from behind when she decides to park her butt on the ground
*just walking at my own slow pace and gently pulling her along, hoping she'll just start walking with me so she doesn't feel the pull
*standing still for minutes while she sits on the ground and waiting to see if she will move at all

I have no idea what else to do. Will she just improve in time? When she gets older will she be less frightened and nervous about everything? I feel like we've been working at it for so long and there's been no improvement. I've read walking with another leash trained dog might help, but the problem is that Gemma is also terrified of other dogs right now. I take her out in public all the time and she sees tons of people and dogs, but when anyone or anything approaches her, she runs behind me with her tail tucked between her legs. :(

I feel like I'm failing completely with training and socializing her. I'm trying all the tricks, but none of them are working. Any suggestions?
 

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Milo has only just started walking better on the lead; I can't remember exactly how old Gemma is but it's taken Milo until his 18th week to get the hang of it!

I'd say just keep doing what you are doing, and in time she will learn that walks are enjoyable. When Milo used to just sit and refused to walk, I waited him out. We were going the way I wanted to, not where he wanted, and he was going to follow me whether he liked it or not! I didn't drag him along, just waited until he got bored and realised the only way we were going to move anywhere was if he followed me! This lead to several stand-offs but I made sure I won every time.

Have you taken her dog training? Milo is going twice a week and it really helps his confidence. To start with he refused to walk around the ring but now (with a bit of encouragement) he's trotting along nicely! Especially when he met a chihuahua, he followed her like she was the only one in the room! All the dogs should be under control, so Gemma may gradually relax.

And just keep socialising her. I let anyone who takes an interest in Milo stroke him, talk to him etc. I realise Gemma is a lot more nervous, but if she has good experiences with strangers she may become more at ease. Could you have some friends come out with you, have them act as strangers, and then give her treats? Another thing my dog trainer told me is that you (as the human) need to greet the other dog/person first (if it's a dog crouch down and greet them), and if your own dog wants to hide behind you, that's ok, don't force it to say hello, because that will just make it more fearful.

Hope this helps a bit xx
 

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Caitlin she will get it with time, when I first got Diamond at 4 months he was a little fearful about walking in busy areas. He was scared of buses, the car and just general loud noises. But with time his great and confident the only thing his really fearful of is underground (subways or tube or train don't know everyone calls it in their country). However to be truthful I would be scared of underground if I was his size.

I agree with Marie just keep doing what your doing she will get it eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Milo has only just started walking better on the lead; I can't remember exactly how old Gemma is but it's taken Milo until his 18th week to get the hang of it!

I'd say just keep doing what you are doing, and in time she will learn that walks are enjoyable. When Milo used to just sit and refused to walk, I waited him out. We were going the way I wanted to, not where he wanted, and he was going to follow me whether he liked it or not! I didn't drag him along, just waited until he got bored and realised the only way we were going to move anywhere was if he followed me! This lead to several stand-offs but I made sure I won every time.

Have you taken her dog training? Milo is going twice a week and it really helps his confidence. To start with he refused to walk around the ring but now (with a bit of encouragement) he's trotting along nicely! Especially when he met a chihuahua, he followed her like she was the only one in the room! All the dogs should be under control, so Gemma may gradually relax.

And just keep socialising her. I let anyone who takes an interest in Milo stroke him, talk to him etc. I realise Gemma is a lot more nervous, but if she has good experiences with strangers she may become more at ease. Could you have some friends come out with you, have them act as strangers, and then give her treats? Another thing my dog trainer told me is that you (as the human) need to greet the other dog/person first (if it's a dog crouch down and greet them), and if your own dog wants to hide behind you, that's ok, don't force it to say hello, because that will just make it more fearful.

Hope this helps a bit xx
This is all very helpful! Thank you! I feel like when I wait Gemma out, if she does eventually start moving, it's usually in the opposite direction of where we are supposed to be going or she tries to head for the grass or woods as usual to sniff and eat things. Or, she just lays down and gets ready to take a nap! Should I just hold my ground until she starts moving towards me on the sidewalk?

She is 15 weeks and she is not in puppy training classes. I don't think we have those sort of classes here. If we did, it would most likely be a private trainer sort of deal and very, very expensive. Something I definitely could not afford. I do really wish there was something because I'm sure it would help her a lot.

I do let everyone who wants to approach her do so and let them stroke her if they want. She hasn't had any negative experience with strangers. She just gets attention and love from them. We went to the pet store the other day and there was a male Chihuahua there who was very interested in Gemma. After about 30 minutes of being in the pet store and Gemma still being terrified of every dog in there, the Chihuahua and his owner came up to us to greet us and Gemma. I gave the little guy a scratch on the head and then he went over to Gemma. He sniffed her and she ran away, and even tried to hide in between the male Chi owner's legs, lol. :( It was sad.

We also had my boyfriend's sister and her boyfriend come over to our place a few days ago to see Gemma, and the whole two hours they were here, Gemma just hid behind me or my boyfriend. I don't know why she is so afraid of other people and dogs. We've been taking her out in public since we got her. Nothing bad has happened so there's no reason I can see for her to be afraid of everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Caitlin she will get it with time, when I first got Diamond at 4 months he was a little fearful about walking in busy areas. He was scared of buses, the car and just general loud noises. But with time his great and confident the only thing his really fearful of is underground (subways or tube or train don't know everyone calls it in their country). However to be truthful I would be scared of underground if I was his size.

I agree with Marie just keep doing what your doing she will get it eventually.
Thanks, Iesha. I hope it's just about her being so young and little right now that's making her fearful of everything. Maybe as she gets older she will become more confident.
 

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Lion was the same way. It took two months to get him to follow me on a leash! He would just sit down and stare at me, even if I would drop the leash and continued walking. One day he just decided that he wanted to walk.

As for the socializing... I think you are doing the right thing. Have everyone feed her treats, and maybe she will warm up a little. She may just be going through a fear stage.
 

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My male dog did not walk on leash until he was well over a year old, he just hated it.. then one day it was like a light switch, he's a pain to walk because he's soo slow :lol: but he enjoys his walks now!

My female had never seen a leash until she came to live with me and she got it the first try!! she was an adult also.
 

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I had a lot of trouble with Chloe walking on a leash when we first got her, but when she hit 12 weeks old she just started walking. She never walks ahead of me. The best I can get her to do it walk beside or behind me. She won't walk on the grass because it's way too distracting. Keep her on the sidewalk is possible. That seems to work much better for us. She may come around to people and dogs. I hate to worry you, but some dogs are just way more nervous than others.
 

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Caitlin, you are NOT failing, because you're not giving up. Have you tried walking her with another dog, so she can see how it's done? I saw an episode of the Dog Whisperer where Cesar Millan was dealing with an aggressive chihuahua, who really really needed to exercise but wouldn't walk on a leash. He brought one of his family's chihuahuas along on a walk and the other dog started walking almost right away. It was so cute. Not sure if you've already tried that, but it might be worth it?

I know you mentioned that you were considering starting a chihuahua meet up. Did anything happen with that? It would be a great chance for Gemma to meet some dogs her own size that she could see on a regular basis and become friendly with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I like this thread. Cricket is five yrs old and no one ever leashed trained her. I have to now. Thanks Caitlin.
You're welcome. I hope you get some tips out of it.

Lion was the same way. It took two months to get him to follow me on a leash! He would just sit down and stare at me, even if I would drop the leash and continued walking. One day he just decided that he wanted to walk.

As for the socializing... I think you are doing the right thing. Have everyone feed her treats, and maybe she will warm up a little. She may just be going through a fear stage.
Sounds exactly like Gemma. Hopefully one day she will just get it, too!

I hope this is just a fear stage. It almost seems like it because when we first brought her home, my boyfriend's Mom came over to visit her and she was totally fine. It was weird when she was so afraid of his sister. We weren't expecting that.

My male dog did not walk on leash until he was well over a year old, he just hated it.. then one day it was like a light switch, he's a pain to walk because he's soo slow :lol: but he enjoys his walks now!

My female had never seen a leash until she came to live with me and she got it the first try!! she was an adult also.
Good to hear! Well, not good to year that it took him to be over a year, but good to hear that there's always hope for my Gemma. :p

I had a lot of trouble with Chloe walking on a leash when we first got her, but when she hit 12 weeks old she just started walking. She never walks ahead of me. The best I can get her to do it walk beside or behind me. She won't walk on the grass because it's way too distracting. Keep her on the sidewalk is possible. That seems to work much better for us. She may come around to people and dogs. I hate to worry you, but some dogs are just way more nervous than others.
Guess I will just have to make the leash short enough so that she can't get to the grass. The thing is, sometimes she will walk a little with me when she's on the grass, always with her nose down sniffing everything, so that's the only reason I've been letting her walk over there. On the pavement she just has no interest. I will wait her out, though. I want her to walk with me on the sidewalk.

I know some dogs are just nervous and shy by nature. I'm okay if Gemma turns out this way. I just want to make sure I'm giving her all the proper training and opportunities to come out of her shell.
 

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Oh, I also wanted to add that it took Odie a long time to walk on a leash, and now she's great. I never thought I would be able to take her on walks around the neighbourhood, and now she goes hiking on leash like a pro. She still does follow me some of the time, which is fine, but when she gets really into it, she'll follow beside me or even take the lead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh, I also wanted to add that it took Odie a long time to walk on a leash, and now she's great. I never thought I would be able to take her on walks around the neighbourhood, and now she goes hiking on leash like a pro. She still does follow me some of the time, which is fine, but when she gets really into it, she'll follow beside me or even take the lead.
That's great to hear. So I guess Gemma is just like most other Chis. :p We'll just keep trying every day!
 

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Haven't read all the other replies, but here's my method - make her wear a really old, daggy, lightweight leash in the house during the day all day. Watch carefully to ensure you're always there to quickly undo any tangles if she wraps around a table leg, chair etc. Just let her drag it around everywhere.

Then, every time you go outside, whenever there is room & safety (perhaps a park) put her on a long, long leash, the longer the better - one of those retracting ones is best. Wind it right out & just let her mosey around by herself with you following, gradually winding the leash in bit by bit without her being aware of anything. Just do that for a few days so she's used to you ambling along behind her. Sometimes you sit & let the leash right out again (so she doesn't get the idea that you will always be following her, 'coz the goal posts are about to be moved).

Once she's got the hang of that, you'll find her much more willing and able.

Also helps immensely to have a "friend" dog walking in front that she wants to keep up with - that can train them to walk forward instantly, and I mean instantly - a real lightbulb moment for some. Perhaps go out walking, meet someone with a small dog that likes her & vice versa and then ask them to help you by simply walking off in front of you & G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Haven't read all the other replies, but here's my method - make her wear a really old, daggy, lightweight leash in the house during the day all day. Watch carefully to ensure you're always there to quickly undo any tangles if she wraps around a table leg, chair etc. Just let her drag it around everywhere.

Then, every time you go outside, whenever there is room & safety (perhaps a park) put her on a long, long leash, the longer the better - one of those retracting ones is best. Wind it right out & just let her mosey around by herself with you following, gradually winding the leash in bit by bit without her being aware of anything. Just do that for a few days so she's used to you ambling along behind her. Sometimes you sit & let the leash right out again (so she doesn't get the idea that you will always be following her, 'coz the goal posts are about to be moved).

Once she's got the hang of that, you'll find her much more willing and able.

Also helps immensely to have a "friend" dog walking in front that she wants to keep up with - that can train them to walk forward instantly, and I mean instantly - a real lightbulb moment for some. Perhaps go out walking, meet someone with a small dog that likes her & vice versa and then ask them to help you by simply walking off in front of you & G.
Thank you for all of your advice, Dee. You've given me a few new tips to try out. I think the friend dog idea is probably my best bet. I actually know of someone in this city that has a young Chihuahua who is three months older than Gemma. I've asked my boyfriend to email the owner and ask if it would be possible for her Chi and Gemma to get together for a playdate. Hopefully they can try walking together.

There's also a woman living below us in this apartment building with like 5 Japanese Chins. I think two of them are even puppies. Maybe we could go out walking with one of her dogs as well.
 

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Eva used to do this and sometimes still does. Most of the time though she is good about walking on a leash. I think she will get better with time. :)
 

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I was also going to suggest walking her in the house.

Kalisee cant go out yet because she hasnt had all her shots but I have enough problems getting her not to be afraid of certain rooms in the house still. She just got used to the kitchen..I have had her 2 weeks so shes made some progress. If I take her up to my sisters apt she shivers like she is freezing. If I carry her out to the porch for a bit, she practically has a heart attack. She is scared of most stuff still.

I can only imagine what walking is going to be like! I am very interested to see all the replies on this question because I know whats to come.
 
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