Luvk9s Dog Training

This corgi’s body language says it all - I am not moving!

       Photo by Martin Behrendt on Unsplash

                 Grinding to a halt


The approach of fall signals the return of outdoor activities that were challenging in the heat of summer – like walking your dog! Walking the dog is an activity most dog owners enjoy. Not only is it an opportunity to socialize – it’s also a great form of exercise.

But what if your dog decides he is not going to walk? What should you do to get your dog moving if he stops and grounds?

The key is figuring out why your dog has decided to stop and drop.


If your pooch is still a pup, it is likely he is not comfortable walking on a leash.

- Practice walking with your dog – off leash – in the house. Lure your dog over to your left side and start walking, rewarding your dog with treats out of your right hand. (Feed the treats at dog level so he doesn’t jump to get the treat.) This teaches the pup that good things happen when he walks beside you.

- Have your puppy drag the leash around to get used to tension on his neck. Put the leash on, play a fun game and take the leash off. Better yet, put the leash on, place his meal several feet away, release him to eat and take the leash off when he is done.

- After a few days, practice walking in the house with the leash on. Keep the pace fast and be generous with your treats and praise.

If this goes well, take it outdoors! Break the walk into short segments. Walk 10 feet, stop and reward with a treat. Turn around and go back 10 feet and repeat. Slowly add distance as you quickly walk these short segments back and forth.


Do not get into a tug of war with your dog if he grounds. Dogs have an opposition reflex, which means if they are pulled in one direction, they will automatically pull back in the other direction. I like to remind my clients that “insistence builds resistance.”

If your dog is an adult and used to walking on leash, consider these things first.

- If your dog is a senior, it may be that the walks are just too long; take shorter, more frequent walks.

- The weather may be too hot; take longer walks earlier and later in the day when it’s not so hot. (Also be aware of what surfaces you are walking on; blacktop gets incredibly hot very quickly.)

- Make sure there isn’t anything medically wrong with your dog. (Check his feet and toenails.)

- Is there an issue with equipment? Is the walking harness or collar pinching or too tight? If using a retractable (flexi) leash, is the constant pressure on the collar bothering your dog?

- Did something happen that scared your dog on a prior walk? If so, you may need to do some counterconditioning and desensitization to address the specific fear.


Try the following on your next walk.

- Have somebody else take the leash; your dog may be picking up on your frustration. Tension travels down the leash.

- Walk with a friend; better yet, walk with a friend who has a dog.

- Keep your walking pace brisk. According to a study done by veterinarian and animal behaviorist Sophia Yin, you should be walking two steps per second.

- Wait your dog out; most dogs will eventually get up on their own, particularly if you ignore them or start doing something interesting. Try running in place, doing jumping jacks, singing or dancing,

- Walk around your dog and start heading back in the direction you came from. If your dog gets up, keep moving. After a minute or so, cheerfully call your dog’s name, do a U-Turn, and head back in the direction you were originally headed.

- Bring along a favorite toy to entice your dog to get up. (I find carrying a tennis ball works wonders with my Labrador retriever if I am in a hurry.)

You can also use cues your dog knows and some reverse psychology to get him moving. Try it; you’ll be surprised at how effective this method is.

- If your dog knows the “touch” cue, hold your palm in front of his face and as you give the cue, move your hand back slightly. Many dogs – who find the “touch” cue to be great fun – will stand up and “touch” your palm. Praise and reward and quickly move on.

- If it’s safe, start quickly backing (or running) away from your dog and call him to “come.” Praise and reward, do a few more repetitions of come and move on.

- If your dog knows how to sit, try asking him to sit. Hold a treat over his head if need be. If your dog gets up and offers a sit, praise and reward and then ask him to stay. Wait a few seconds and then very excitedly release him with the “OK” cue and keep moving!  The “OK” cue is important, as most dogs love being released from a stay with this cue and will often just automatically get up.

- You can also make this work using the down cue – while your dog is already laying down. Say the cue (even though he is already in a down) but then follow it with the stay cue. Wait a few seconds and cheerfully release him with the “OK” cue.


Happy training and happy trails!