Jump to content
BC Boards

Why are walks with 2 people harder than with 1?


Recommended Posts

Hi all! Kev is much improved on the leash - there isn't much to complain about when he's on a walk with just one of us, apart from the occasional bike or car lunge (it's a work in progress, but we're all getting much better at it - him at controlling himself, me and J at preventing it before it even starts). But! When the three of us go out in the world, it's a totally different story - it's like walking Kev 8 months ago: he is supper pully and obnoxiously barky. He doesn't bark too much on solo walks, maybe just the occasional "Wow! The world!" But when we're all out together, he would bark the whole time if we let him.

So, obviously it's not super fun to walk as a "family" and we have therefore worked on it much less, alas. I have a couple questions:

1) Is the barking something we can work on, or is that just a dog being a dog? We really don't like it, and he doesn't do it with just 1 walker, but I also don't know if it's fair for me to blame him for this (dogs bark!) or if it's something we just have to live with.

2) To deal with both the barking and the pulling, from the get go on these walks we've started just dropping treat after treat after treat, because as long as he's eating a treat right beside us (or preferably even a step behind us), then he isn't barking or pulling. I would like to fade this exercise out, and I try to intitiate it before the barking/pulling starts so it doesn't come as a reward for the barking/pulling. Any other ideas on how we might go about this?  

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Extra people (or dogs) often changes dynamics. The reasons why aren't important (and quite possibly unknowable for your dog), but, obviously, how you address it is.

Who actually walks him, i.e. who is holding onto the other end of the leash? Whoever it is should focus almost solely on the dog and try to imitate as much as possible how you interact with Kev when each of you is walking him alone and he's behaving as desired. I'd suggest essentially being in training mode and addressing whatever behaviors Kev comes up with just as you did when he was younger and just as you would if you were walking him alone. Probably keep conversations between you and J to a bare minimum at first, then you can gradually increase your interactions as Kev's behaviors improve.

It'd probably be a good idea to take turns being the person on the other end of the leash, too, either trading off a few times during a walk, or taking turns for individual walks. You might have to experiment to see if one way works better than the other. Or, it might be better if one of you walks him until Kev's walking well for that person, then switch and start over. So hard to say. You might have to experiment and see if one way works better than another.

Seems to me you're approaching the barking/pulling issue appropriately. Just see if you can lengthen the period of time when he's behaving as desired a little bit longer before he gets the reward. It will probably have to be mere seconds at first but gradually he should be able to be better behaved for longer and longer periods.

So, it sounds like family walks aren't going to be a lot of fun for a while, but please do keep it up and do them as much as you can. Like anything else you've got to be thinking about the end game rather than the immediate annoyance. Kev will continue to improve and in time you should be able to get past this phase of his development too. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

It might help to think of Gentle Lake's suggestions as the pathway to family style walks, rather than as something you're going to have to do the rest of Kev's life. It's a new skill for him to learn ~ pay attention to the pace, the leash, etc, no matter who the human is or how many of them there are.

Ruth & Gibbs

Link to post
Share on other sites

Specifically in regard to your question 1) about whether barking is something you can work on, my answer is YES!   Sure dogs bark, and barking is being part of being a dog.  Dogs also pee and poop and chew and mouth things and roll in smelly stuff and jump on people and chase things.  Those things are all part of being a dog, but we teach the dog when and where those things are appropriate, and when and where they are not.  The same principle applies to barking.  

You've gotten good advice above on applying the same excellent training you've done individually to now extending that to teaching Kev that the rules apply when their are two humans along as well as when there is just one.  But you should absolutely feel that teaching Kev to control his desire to bark is every bit as reasonable as teaching him to control his desire to engage in other unwanted behavior.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just add that sometimes dogs learn behaviour in one situation, but as soon as you change that situation, in their dog mind, the behaviour they have learned does not apply, because the situation they learned it in does not apply.  E.G. dogs who can do obedience heeling at dog club, but not on walks.  It takes some time for the dog to generalise that you want this behaviour whenever they are on lead, not just in one specific circumstance.

On the positive side, the dog is not learning a completely new behaviour, just that the behaviour he has already learned also applies in multiple situations, so after an adjustment, you may see a 'click' moment when Kev works it out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you @GentleLake and everyone for your advice! It's helpful to reframe this as a matter of not having generalized the rules he learned this summer (which he learned so dang well!) to a situation with two people. The sun sets at close to 2:45 pm here these days (ah, Swedish winter) but I think what I'm going to do is get the whole family out in the courtyard in the evenings to do some of those exercises we worked on in the summer (just me and Kevin) with all three of us, and then take it to the streets after a week or so. My idea is that maybe that 'click' moment @Lawgirl mentioned might come faster if we start with the exact same exercises that we drilled so much just a few months ago, but with all of us present.

Goals! :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...