Abused dog won’t walk on a lead


Dear Your Own Vet’s Animal Behaviorist,

I have a 18 month old Lakeland Terrier cross who just is petrified to go for a walk on the lead as she was abused by the last owner. How do I get her to be a dog and enjoy life?



dog won't walk on a lead
Lead training an abused dog is no easy task and requires time and patience

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Dear Courtney,

It is always sad when a dog has been abused. I know that you are trying to do your very best for this dog, but it is going to take a long, long time.
I would suggest that you get a harness and put it on the dog and let it run around the house for about 10 – 20 minutes a day. Once the dog is used to wearing the harness, then attach the lead and let it hang loose as the dog walks around. Keep doing this until the dog is happy walking around dragging the lead.
Then pick up the lead and follow where ever the dog wants to walk – don’t pull the lead, just follow.
Once the dog is happy with you following, then gently tug on the lead to get the dog to walk with you.
This is done in your garden and will take time and patience with the abused dog who won’t walk on a lead.

dog won't walk on a lead
The dog that won’t walk on a lead may have had a bad experience

When going outside take the dog on the harness and lots of treats. Reward the dog every time it moves.
You need to be very confident and encourage the dog with praise and rewards.
You can also take the dog to a quiet area in a park and then try to walk the dog. Some dogs are scared of walking in a neighbourhood as this is scary with cars, other dogs, etc.
You will have patience to work through this. Good luck.


Kathy Clayton

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See other articles on handling abused animals.

Chairman of the Animal Behaviour Consultants of SA

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Accredited Companion Animal Behaviourist &Professional Dog Trainer
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