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Leash Training a 4 Month Old?

Discussion in 'Puppies 101' started by Daisy's Mom, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Daisy's Mom

    Daisy's Mom Forums Regular

    Aug 25, 2017
    I have been taking my four-month-old Daisy out for a "carry" while I walk my other dog. I say "carry" because she refuses to budge when I put her down on familiar grass, much less unfamiliar pavement, when I take her along on walks. So, I end up carrying her while I walk around, and she seems to enjoy taking in the sights and sounds that way.

    So, my question is, is four months too young for a Sheltie to get the idea of walking around? Or is Daisy just overwhelmed with the experience? Sometimes when she is exposed to new people and sights, she plops down and does not move. My other dog was very active from a young age, so he never displayed this behavior.

    I have not leash-trained a puppy in several years, and I have never trained a Sheltie, so I am not sure if this is normal, or her personality.
  2. danisgoat

    danisgoat Moderator

    Jul 23, 2009
    Have you tried luring her with treats. I started my pups walking with a wooden spoon with peanut butter. When they were walking with me, I said "yes" and put the spoon down for a lick. This really got them interested in following me, and paying attention to me.
  3. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Premium Member

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    When my dog Piper was young I got him used to the leash in the yard first...he hated the leash and wouldn't move when it was on him so several times a day I'd put it on him and play with him and just let it drag behind him. I'd run and have him chase me and after a while he didn't know it was even there. With Daisy, it could be that she's overwhelmed by everything so maybe try taking treats with you or her favourite toy to distract her if she's scared or get her excited when she starts to shut down (also make sure to keep the walks short at first)
    With Piper I tried to let him experience as many different sights and sounds so things wouldn't frighten him, Shelties are a very sensitive breed and can easily be frightened by things they are unsure of plus they can go through a couple of fear stages where things can suddenly be very scary. By the time Piper was 4 months old I took him to a puppy class where there was lots of socialization with other dogs and I would take him into every store that allowed dogs, to schoolyards with loud kids and to a nursing homes to experience wheelchairs etc...anything I could think of.
    I would also suggest that you walk Daisy alone, do a separate walk with your other dog, the reason for this is that you want Daisy to bond with you, not with your other dog (she'll still bond with them but you want the strongest bond to be with you).
    I would also suggest that you take at least one obedience class (they're typically 6 weeks long), it helps form an incredible bond with you, plus it works their brains as they are a very intelligent breed.
    Good luck and congratulations on your new pup (I love the name by the way, Daisy was my last dogs name:happy:)
  4. Daisy's Mom

    Daisy's Mom Forums Regular

    Aug 25, 2017
    Thanks for the tips!

    I will try using treats to lure her along. That will definitely get her attention. She doesn't seem to mind wearing a leash, but she does seem overwhelmed by new environments. I expect she will relax over time. I was hoping she would pick up on what to do by watching my older dog (which is how he learned when he was a puppy), but he's a Min Pin and they have very different personalities from Shelties. They charge into action while Daisy seems to hang back. Perhaps I can try very short walks with her at first, like trying to get her down the driveway.

    We will begin puppy class soon. I just don't know how she will react. It may take her a couple of sessions to feel comfortable.
  5. Pam

    Pam Forums Enthusiast

    Mar 4, 2017
    My first sheltie was a bit like Daisy, the good news is he was a wonderful dog who I could eventually take everywhere. Just a couple notes from my experience with Shadow (my current dog Beau is a whole other story)
    1) If they have clickers during puppy class (most classes don't have them until later) get Daisy used to the sound by loading the clicker (there are online videos on how to do that properly) prior to class. The sound of the clickers during puppy class scared the daylights out of Shadow.
    2) Before trying to walk her on unfamiliar surfaces just carry her, put her down and treat, treat, treat. Then put her down and try a step, etc. With dogs that shut down--slow is best. And make this one-on-one time
    3) Make sure you have lots of treats, and varied treats at puppy class. When a puppy is frightened you need to keep them really intent on the treats, the higher value and varied will help. If she seems really scared, just treat, treat, treat with her looking at you
    4) Best way to keep a scared dog calm (at least in my experience) is to get the attention or "watch me" going very, very early. Minute she gazes turns to look into your eyes--yes and treat. That will help her calm down outside with the overwhelming experiences as well as she will see you as source of confidence and protection.

    I have used the spoon method and it is terrific--works really well. Good luck, 4 months is still such a baby.
  6. Daisy's Mom

    Daisy's Mom Forums Regular

    Aug 25, 2017
    I tried using treats to lure Daisy along on a walk and it certainly got her attention. We were able to make some progress with her walking a couple of stretches on her own. She is also getting more comfortable outside now.

    She begins a training class this week so I will have the treats ready. She seems to come out of her shell when she has food to focus on.
  7. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    You should not be sad / surprised if she will not receive any goodies at first, she will surely be a bit overwhelmed.
  8. Daisy's Mom

    Daisy's Mom Forums Regular

    Aug 25, 2017
    Daisy had her first puppy training class and it went pretty much as expected. She was timid at first, plopping down near me, but the treats grabbed her attention. It took a while to get her settled in and many treats to get her going.

    Pam was correct with the suggestions regarding treats and getting Daisy to focus on us. That is what the trainer told us to work on - along with many treats in micro stages. We have much to work on, but I think getting her out and interacting with other dogs and humans will help her. She may need some time to break out of her shell.

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