Dog suddenly doesn't like harness with walkers?

asked 2018-09-11 18:12:23 -0500

Hey everyone, I want to get some other ideas for this problem. I used to walk an adorable dog up until a couple weeks ago when I sprained my foot. While I was healing up, the owner had a neighbor walk her dog although the dog doesn't seem to like this neighbor that much. Anyways, while I was healing, the poor dog got sick and had to go to the hospital. Since she's been back, she's been having issues with other people (she's completely fine with her owners) try to put the harness on her. Before she was completely fine with it. I tried today and she kept trying to get out of it and wouldn't let me put it on at all. The neighbor she tried to snap at when she did.

The owner and I are trying to figure out the sudden behavior change, and I'm wondering if it's just cause she's tired and cranky from not eating a lot/being in stress from the hospital? Besides the harness, the dog is completely fine and behaves wonderfully as usual. I'm hoping this is just a short-term crankiness. The owner and I are trying tomorrow to see if the owner keeps the harness on when I come, if the dog will be fine with me just clipping the leash on. I'm thinking she will be better about it. But I was wondering if anyone else has some thoughts or could give any other advice?

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How often do you see her? You could attempt positive reinforcement training w/ treats, but what I am beginning to learn is that training takes so much more time + patience + consistency than we have as temp helpers, Ive started to just (safely) go w/ dogs' flow rather than trying to modify.

Tim J.'s profile imageTim J. ( 2018-09-18 20:26:12 -0500 )edit

w/ the caveat that all of the above is based on the assumption that this issue potentially continues, and that maybe something might've happened w/ the problematic neighbor to precipitate it. ...

Tim J.'s profile imageTim J. ( 2018-09-18 20:30:29 -0500 )edit

I have a frenchie I care for who tries to play a chase game w/ his harness, and I keep trying to disrupt it w/ treats plus disengagement. It's worked for getting the harness on, but not for interrupting the game. ...

Tim J.'s profile imageTim J. ( 2018-09-18 20:31:27 -0500 )edit

but also maybe your babe's evasive behavior might be easier to modify since it's still very new, and maybe hasnt fully set as a ritual

Tim J.'s profile imageTim J. ( 2018-09-18 20:32:04 -0500 )edit

2 Answers

answered 2019-01-22 12:04:41 -0500

Usually when a dog suddenly objects to a previously acceptable action, something that caused them pain is now associated with it. In this case maybe there was a bad experience with the neighbor.

Be gentle with the dog, as I’m sure you are. When she remembers that you didn’t cause the pain she should improve. Having the owner put the harness on her while you are there is a good start, then assist the owner to harness her and finally move on to harnessing her yourself.

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answered 2018-10-06 02:15:44 -0500

Dogs are smart...they know when they are leashed they lose their ability to go where they please, with whom they please (from their perspective). They will either go along with it or rebel in one form or another. Additionally, if a dog is not feeling well, stressed, etc., they will resist leashing up. Throw in an optional bad experience with someone and you've got a mess.

Posiitive reinforcement is important. It's up to the owner to break this habit.

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