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Another Freezing Discussion...


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Hi,

 

2 months ago myself and my partner adopted a 3 year old ex-racer called Toby. From day one he was a great walker - he had no issues leaving the house and was always keen to walk, he'd usually do 20-30 minutes in the morning with me and then the same again in the evening with my partner. We'd also vary our routes which didn't seem to bother him in the slightest. We had some situations where he'd want to stop and sniff, and being that he's new to the neighbourhood (and to life in civilisation in general!) we figure that it's fine to let him stop - but we never had any issues with him starting to move again.

 

This was all up until 3 weeks ago - seemingly overnight we went from walking fine to not even being able to walk up our own street. As soon as we get to the front of our garden path and onto our small cul-de-sac road we got instant freezing, associated with lots of sniffing of the air. We'll be the first to admit that in our efforts to get him moving again we likely did things that were counter-productive (pushing from behind, enticing with treats, comforting while freezing etc...), but as new owners we were really at a loss as to how we could break through this behaviour. We've seen his behaviour ebb and flow over the last 3 weeks - sometimes we'll get a 10 minute walk around the block in with a couple of freezes (each lasting anywhere between 30 seconds to 5+ minutes). Other times (such as this morning!) we won't even be able to get to the alleyway at the end of our street. There doesn't seem to be any logic to it that we can discern.

 

We've given up trying to get into his head to figure out what might be wrong, as in all honesty trying to hypothesise about all the different possibilities was starting to drive us insane. We're both self-confessed over-thinkers, and are definitely guilty of trying too many different options to deal with this situation. Some interesting facts that we've noticed about his behaviour:

  • He always seems to freeze in the same places (top of a particular alley, end of the alley, outside a shop and pub up the road, outside the vets...)
  • He loves sniffing cars and will freeze indefinitely if there's a car parked that he can sniff.
  • In general when freezing there's a lot of sniffing the air, and his tail goes between his legs in what seems an anxious fashion.
  • He will *sometimes* walk towards us if we have a treat, but this gets old quick and we can't help but think we might be reinforcing the wrong behaviour here (i.e. he freezes so that we produce a treat and then he walks forward to get it - overthinking again, perhaps?)
  • He has absolutely no problems walking in a park near our house when we drive there, straight out of the car for a 20 minute lap around the park.
  • After he's finished freezing (usually because we've got him walking with treats) he has no issues walking until we hit another of his freeze spots.

We love walking with our boy and we just want to get back to normal so we can enjoy it again. We understand that we're definitely out of the "honeymoon" period and his behaviour is changing as we settle in, but we're struggling to figure out definitive next steps that will help us get back to normal walking without freezing. We've also noticed that, because we can't get in the longer walks we were previously, he's got a lot of boisterous energy - this is manifesting in chewing of pillows and pulling of blankets off of chairs and out of his crate. We're not sure if this is the beginnings of separation anxiety or boredom, but we can't help but feel that him not walking and the more destructive/attention seeking behaviour are maybe related.

 

Our general feeling is that something in our neighbourhood has spooked him, but we can't figure out what it might be or identify how we can get back to a point where he's comfortable walking around where we live.

I've read countless threads on here about it so in all honesty i'm not sure if there'll be anything new that people can tell us, but there's some catharsis in writing this post, so thanks in advance for any replies!

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Theres absolutely nothing wrong with bribery. It's how they connect commands and behaviors. So up your treat value significantly, decide on a command, and go out walking. Use the treat-and-command to get him going. Circling can also be helpful.

 

You might think about driving away from your neighborhood a few times, especially on weekends.

 

You can drive yourself nuts trying to figure out what's "wrong," so it's best to just act like nothing is. Walk ahead confidently - and even a little quickly - and speak in a friendly and encouraging voice. He needs to learn that he's not in charge of all the walking, so make them good, short, focused training times, as well as pleasure walking.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Welcome to the world of the greyhound. As posted elsewhere mine wouldn't turn left out of the driveway until a couple of days ago and now she will. She won't go down the alleyway to the local park in the afternoon but will in the morning. Every now and again for a couple of days she'll only want to walk round the block which takes 5 minutes instead of one of our longer walks.

 

I suggest you just go with the flow and don't worry about it. He might be picking up your anxiety and freezes to try and work out what's causing you to worry.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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Thanks for the replies - I'd agree that I need to work on being less anxious about the whole thing to make sure that's not affecting him. As much as it's frustrating it's also helpful to know that there's a lot of people also struggling with the same issue.

 

And update from our walk this morning, I'd probably rate it a 3 out of 5 :) I'm trying to make sure i'm being diligent with only rewarding when Toby is actively walking forwards by my side which seems to be working...but who knows!

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