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Our New Grey "freezes" On Walks - What To Do?


Guest wmlaven
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Guest wmlaven

We just got a 3 yr. old male who has two personalities - inside the house he's wonderful and fun and playful. When we got out to walk, he'll stop dead in his trackers and not budge. He was in another home before (had to leave because problems w/second dog) but that was in the city and we're on a farm surrounded by wonderful sights and sounds. He doesn't pull the leash - he just stops and looks and listens and won't budge. When he does move, it's away from the house and it takes cheese treats and squeak toys to lure him back to the house (which he'll soon learn to ignore). We're pretty convinced he's just soaking it all in and is maybe a bit overwhelmed by in-sight horses, alpaca, cows, birds and within earshot of peacocks and more. But we still need to figure out what to do. As all you greyhound pros know, getting a 70 pound grey (ie 69.99 pounds of muscle) to move just doesn't work and want the walks to be fun for us all. We're also worried that he just won't get much exercise walking 20 steps and stopping for 20 minutes! Any suggestions?

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Sounds JUST like my Festus when I first got him in 2001. The vet actually suggested that maybe he was having mini-seizures. But we started taking him to the dog park so he could run, and either that really worked, or he just got over it over time, because after about a month, he stopped doing that, and he never started again.

Tami, Nikki & Gypsy (non-greyhounds, but still pretty good dogs.) Deeply missing Sunscreen Man, Angel (Back on the Job), Switzler Festus and Joe (Indio Starr)

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Guest wmlaven

Sounds JUST like my Festus when I first got him in 2001. The vet actually suggested that maybe he was having mini-seizures. But we started taking him to the dog park so he could run, and either that really worked, or he just got over it over time, because after about a month, he stopped doing that, and he never started again.

 

 

The seizure idea just doesn't fit since it's so activity specific. I forgot to mention we can't run him for at least a month or more because he has a tiny bone broken in his foot so needs time to heal. Yours sounds like a good idea, but his hurt foot won't allow it. Any other suggestions?

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Not budging on walks is a very common for new greys. Seamus did it for months and many of our foster dogs have done it too. Seamus was particularly obstinate when we were walking up hills or when we found ourselves out in a drenching rain. :lol

 

The thing that worked well for us was to walk him in a circle and then get going in the direction that we wanted to go. Sometimes it took a few times, but he eventually would give in and get moving again in the direction we wanted him to go. A few times I was tempted to call up my husband and have him come pick us up in the car, but I resisted and after awhile, we worked it out.

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Guest wmlaven

Not budging on walks is a very common for new greys. Seamus did it for months and many of our foster dogs have done it too. Seamus was particularly obstinate when we were walking up hills or when we found ourselves out in a drenching rain. :lol

 

The thing that worked well for us was to walk him in a circle and then get going in the direction that we wanted to go. Sometimes it took a few times, but he eventually would give in and get moving again in the direction we wanted him to go. A few times I was tempted to call up my husband and have him come pick us up in the car, but I resisted and after awhile, we worked it out.

 

 

Yes, the first time this happened I needed to go to the bathroom and Tracker wouldn't budge. I waited forever and thought I would pee my pants, but my wife came out to see why I was gone so long and saved me!

 

The circle idea sounds good and I'll try it, but so far not budging means not budging -- if he takes a step in the direction he wants and I try to turn him, he'll just freeze again. I don't want to tug so hard that it hurts, of course, and because his right foot is injured I need to be particularly careful about not over-stressing the pressure on it. aaarrgh

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Guest AGirlNamedMe

I could have written something very similar to what you wrote when we first got Bella.

 

I have some suggestions.....

 

* food is a reward, not a lure - it's a delicate balance, but you know you've upset the balance if you're holding out food before anything was done to earn it

* limit his world - when we took Bella out to the front of the house where there were more sight and sounds, she would always freeze. In the back, though, her world was smaller, less overwhelming, fewer distractions

* practice makes perfect - take 2-3 steps, praise and treat....take 2-3 steps in the other direction, praise and treat. We (seriously) wore a path in the backyard because we walked back and forth, back and forth, BACK AND FORTH over of the same 20 feet so many times. Walk, praise, treat, turn, walk, praise, treat, turn. When she got used to this and started looking up at me for praise and treats, I knew we were on our way and began going just a little further with her (3 more steps at a time).

 

I know others will disagree with my next piece of advice: you're the boss. Boss the situation. When you want to walk, there will be walking. (It might only be a few steps, but there will be walking.) With Bella, I am convinced this was what made the difference. We tried patience and kindness and soft talking and love and praise and everything else suggested (and I think you should, too), but in the end - I'd had enough. "Annnnnd we're walking...." Two days later, she improved by leaps and bounds.

 

Someone here once said (and I have repeated a zillion times): You can bet they never had this problem at the track.

 

We've had Bella for just about 3 months. She hasn't had a significant freezing event for more than a month.

 

Good luck.

xo

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Not budging on walks is a very common for new greys. Seamus did it for months and many of our foster dogs have done it too. Seamus was particularly obstinate when we were walking up hills or when we found ourselves out in a drenching rain. :lol

 

The thing that worked well for us was to walk him in a circle and then get going in the direction that we wanted to go. Sometimes it took a few times, but he eventually would give in and get moving again in the direction we wanted him to go. A few times I was tempted to call up my husband and have him come pick us up in the car, but I resisted and after awhile, we worked it out.

 

 

Yes, the first time this happened I needed to go to the bathroom and Tracker wouldn't budge. I waited forever and thought I would pee my pants, but my wife came out to see why I was gone so long and saved me!

 

The circle idea sounds good and I'll try it, but so far not budging means not budging -- if he takes a step in the direction he wants and I try to turn him, he'll just freeze again. I don't want to tug so hard that it hurts, of course, and because his right foot is injured I need to be particularly careful about not over-stressing the pressure on it. aaarrgh

Might it be a pain issue with his injured foot? Is he on meds for it?

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Guest Bang_o_rama

Bang used to do it when she was new, esp on the stairs. She is over it for the most part, unless something scares her. The only vestige is that she still occasionally will stop on the stairs, but only on the westward-facing sections of the staircase.... I have no idea why west is bad. But a gentle tug on the leash gets her going, whereas when she was new we were moving her one paw at a time.

~D~

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

To new adopters in our group I give them a few pieces of advice in this area:

 

1) as "agirlnamedme" said, "you're the boss. Boss the situation" I agree to this statement, with a caviat: There is no need to be rough with your hound, but conversly do NOT coddle your hound, or allow your hound to dictate the walk. It all boils down to confidence on your end of the leash. If you have a shy hound that freezes and you coddle him with sweet talk and coaxing him with food beggin him to move, you are not helping him at all. He will look to you (his leader) for confidence. This is especially true when a hound enteres a new home. So, dont coddle, be firm and fair and simply ignore the freezing.

 

2) so how do you "ignore" the freezing you ask, well here is a trick that they do at the track (as others have said, they dont have this issue at the track), you simply grab the collar like a suitcase and walk. With a martingale it is very convenient. What you do is to take your four fingers, put them through the extra loop of fabric in the collar (the part that sinches up), hold on like you are carrying a suitcase, and walk. Give a short sharp quick command like "lets go", or "move it" or whatever you want, and simply take the hound with you. Dont fight the hound at the end of a leash straining the neck, if you grab the collar it is much easier to get the hound to move. Believe it or not, MOST times greyhounds will instantly relase and follow you when you grab the collar. They have been trained for many years at the track that when a trainer grabs their collar, they are going where the human tells them, if they like it or not.

 

 

Please dont take this as me telling you to be rough, mean, or otherwise overbearing to your hound, but realize that any hesitance on your part will only work to amplify the problem.

 

If you have any other questions about my method, feel free to ask.

 

Chad

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Guest Jubilee251

 

2) so how do you "ignore" the freezing you ask, well here is a trick that they do at the track (as others have said, they dont have this issue at the track), you simply grab the collar like a suitcase and walk. With a martingale it is very convenient. What you do is to take your four fingers, put them through the extra loop of fabric in the collar (the part that sinches up), hold on like you are carrying a suitcase, and walk. Give a short sharp quick command like "lets go", or "move it" or whatever you want, and simply take the hound with you. Dont fight the hound at the end of a leash straining the neck, if you grab the collar it is much easier to get the hound to move. Believe it or not, MOST times greyhounds will instantly relase and follow you when you grab the collar. They have been trained for many years at the track that when a trainer grabs their collar, they are going where the human tells them, if they like it or not.

 

 

We had the same problem with Molly and followed Chad's advice. It worked like a charm. She wasn't spooky or scared, judging by her body language, just VERY distracted. And believe me, we had tried EVERYTHING - cooing at her, treats, walking in a circle, picking up her paw, etc. but none of those worked for us.

 

Within a week of this, she was trotting alongside me perfectly. She still occasionally will stand and sniff/listen for something, but a "Let's go!" now gets her moving, whereas before, it did nothing. Good luck!

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Guest Energy11

Hummm ... Sounds like the injured foot could be part of this. Our Staggerlee, 9.5, has corns on his back feet. When we walk him, we use booties, but sometimes, he will just freeze, especially, when he has had enough.

 

Our Goldie, 9, arthritis, freezes, too, when she has had enough.

 

With your guy, it just MIGHT be that sore foot. Time will tell. Good Luck, and you are right, ... there is really no good way of moving a "frozen" greyhound! Treats work for us, but ours are VERY food motivated!

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Guest wmlaven

The suggestions have been very helpful. We just combined a few and took Tracker to a narrow fenced area alongside our house (ie few distractions) and walked with him. If he paused and I got him going again with just a call, I'd click and treat ONLY in response to good behavior and not as a lure. Then, if he froze and wouldn't respond to a mild tug and call, I'd lift him like a suitcase as Chad suggested, take a step and when he followed, would click and treat. We're being careful of his foot, but once he walks, he walks without problem. You can tell when he stops it's not because his foot (he lifts it when it's sore so we know when it's that) but his ears perk up and he stares at something in the distance, ie interest in something, not foot pain. So, we'll keep doing this combination of things as folks suggested and if a new problem arises, will ask and will also check in after a few days of similar practice to let you all know his progress. Great forum BTW.

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Guest KungPaoKat

We had the same problem with Monroe the first week was home. We basically did what Chad mentioned, and he got over it pretty quickly and now walks very nicely. If he stops for something, we give him a minute to check it out, then we give a little tug and say "let's go" -- if he doesn't move, we pick him up by the collar and say "let's go" again, and that gets him moving of his own accord.

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Guest burgerandfrey

Our first grey Aries would sometimes stop and focus on something down the road that we couldn't see. A deer? A cat? A ghost? We usually never saw what she was so fixated on, but it seemed like she was watching something. It wasn't like she just didn't want to walk. Although... if the weather was nasty enough she would sometimes walk a half block and then stop... refusing to walk any direction other than towards home :lol

 

She would also sometimes stick her head into a shrub (decorative tall grasses were her favorite, but she also liked a small rhododendron in our neighborhood), and just stand there quietly trembling... like she was in a trance. It would be really hard to pull her away, but once we could get her to move on she would act totally normal.

 

Our current greys don't seem to exhibit any behavior like this, but maybe it helps that we walk the two of them together. If we walked them separately they might be more likely to get distracted...

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Guest DebSzal

We have the same problem with Gracie usually when she encounters something that overloads her senses. She will not budge. I have had some success with holding the leash close to me. giving it a tug and saying "walk" firmly. However, sometimes this doesn't work. She can be very overwhelmed and will not move. I recently tried grabbing her collar as suggested and so far this has worked. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for starting this thread-it has helped me too.

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Guest lasharp1209

Many times you don't even have to tug on the collar. Just your fingers being there gets them up and moving. Like Chad said, when someone grabs their collar, they are going, regardless of what they think of it. I don't tug at all unless I still don't get movement when I grasp the collar, and even then it usually only takes a small tug.

 

The other thing I wanted to mention is you might move the collar higher up on his neck (behind his ears). It is a more sensitive area and more likely to give you a response than if the collar is sitting low. Just something to check --

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