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Well trodden ground so I'm sorry if I'm repeating what all first time grey owners ask.... but grey still won't walk with partner. Help!


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Ok. So we're 8 months in with our lovely boy. He's doing brilliantly, relaxed and playful now. Nothing like the terrified, introverted creature that first turned up.

My partner and I both take him out daily and he's a happy lad - confident, cheery and will walk for as long as we want, wherever we want. He's still a little nervous with loud noises, other dogs, kids and raucous groups but overall a lot happier when out and about. 

I walk him alone every day also - not quite so confident, leans in a lot if people or dogs approach him head on, and is reluctant to walk in busy areas. He's clearly most comfortable when his whole 'pack' are with him. He Is more content with a short 15 minute toilet trip, sniff and wander before heading back but it's a nice and easy, no major problems.

However - he will NOT go out with just my partner. He'll get excited at the mention of a walk, but the second he realises I'm not going too he'll dash over and stand in front of me with this lovely big eyes looking at me pleadingly, and statue when it's time to go. 

I work from home and he's very clingy with me (I'm working on that, leaving him each day for increasing increments of time...etc) and is generally sprawled out nearby. My partner is either out for the day or working in the makeshift office/2nd bedroom. He's a hoarder so Samson can't really get in there, which I suspect is why they aren't as close. But if we're all out for a walk and my OH nips into a shop Samson will wait in the doorway watching and refuse to budge until he reappears.  When my OH comes home he's (Samson!) excited, tail waggles and throws his toys around. So clearly they have bonded. I am the main source of training, play and interaction so that's probably why we've bonded more. But everything I see between Samson and my OH is fun, relaxed and playful. Nothing worrying to imply that Samson is wary or untrusting of him.  

I have grilled my partner (probably quite harshly!) on if something has happened whilst out. I'll be honest - I'm the patient, sensitive and calm one, he's definitely an impatient sort who would get frustrated with a statuing dog. But he swears he has been nothing but gentle and encouraging. I've sent him out with tasty, smelly treats and a list of dos and don'ts (don't drag him, wait patiently and let him take a moment to look around and assess if he's nervous, maintain a cheery voice..etc)  but nothing is working. 

I don't know if the problem is walking with him or walking without me. I've tried not being around when it's their walk time, to see if that helps, but he just dashes around to find me and tries to herd me out also.

I'm pregnant (another thing to worry about - Samson is terrified of kids. But I'll fret about that later!) and there will eventually be times when I possibly can't walk him. So I really need to try and sort this out now - I'm sure it will take some time to resolve. 

Does anyone have any ideas?? Anything at all? I'm genuinely all out of suggestions and I hate the idea of Samson either going without a walk or going out and being upset/nervous :-( 

Thank you! 

 

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What do you think would happen if you both took him out, but you left the walking party on your own toward the end of the walk? It might take a few tries before Samson could handle that, or maybe he'd be fine because he's already on his way back home. Then, the idea is you'd slowly do the disappearing trick earlier and earlier -- not every time, but on random occasions. The second-to-last level would be you both take him out the door but you immediately go off in another direction. Once this was comfortable, you could then move to random times where your partner took him alone -- maybe with you pretending to get ready for the walk as if you were tagging along.

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38 minutes ago, stevevt said:

What do you think would happen if you both took him out, but you left the walking party on your own toward the end of the walk? It might take a few tries before Samson could handle that, or maybe he'd be fine because he's already on his way back home. Then, the idea is you'd slowly do the disappearing trick earlier and earlier -- not every time, but on random occasions. The second-to-last level would be you both take him out the door but you immediately go off in another direction. Once this was comfortable, you could then move to random times where your partner took him alone -- maybe with you pretending to get ready for the walk as if you were tagging along.

We've tried this a bit. If either one of us disappears mid walk he will stop and just look around for the other one, reluctant to move on. Eg if we walk with my OH to the station, he'll go in and Samson will stand outside for ages staring in and waiting for him to come back. He's a big 37kg chap so I can't just pick him up and carry him away, and I don't want to drag him around so it takes a lot of patience and cajoling to get him to move again!

It's worth us trying it again, perhaps on a more regular basis. Thank you for the suggestion :-) 

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Do you always leave the house by the same door when you go for a walk? Could you try having your partner leave the house by a different door? Or you could try driving to a favourite walking place and wait in the car while your partner walks Samson. I don’t have any experience of this behaviour although I do know that they are creatures of habit, and sometimes an alteration in their usual routine can break patterns for them.

I’m sure you’re right that your partner and Sampson have bonded. But does he ever feed Samson? That might help to strengthen the bond even more and might help you out a bit more. I have a clingy boy as well but he will at least walk with my husband!

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

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3 minutes ago, MerseyGrey said:

Do you always leave the house by the same door when you go for a walk? Could you try having your partner leave the house by a different door? Or you could try driving to a favourite walking place and wait in the car while your partner walks Samson. I don’t have any experience of this behaviour although I do know that they are creatures of habit, and sometimes an alteration in their usual routine can break patterns for them.

I’m sure you’re right that your partner and Sampson have bonded. But does he ever feed Samson? That might help to strengthen the bond even more and might help you out a bit more. I have a clingy boy as well but he will at least walk with my husband!

Brilliant idea, but sadly we only have the one door out. The garden door doesn't go anywhere. We're in Central London and don't have a car (although if it might help I'd go and buy one ;-/) 

Good idea re feeding though. My OH does the morning feed. I'll suggest he does the evening feed too and pass that job over - maybe that will help ..... time will tell :mellow:

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15 hours ago, MerseyGrey said:

I’m sure you’re right that your partner and Sampson have bonded. But does he ever feed Samson? That might help to strengthen the bond even more and might help you out a bit more. I have a clingy boy as well but he will at least walk with my husband!

I agree, if your OH takes over looking after him he'll hopefully accept that he is OK to walk with.

When you are out walking and you leave your OH with Samson don't make a big deal of it. Just a quick "see you later" and go. Don't even break your stride, tighten the lead or give out any other signal.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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