English Bull Terrier refuses to walkThis is English Bull Terrier Indie and he is now two years old.

Ever since he was a puppy he would, throughout a walk, frequently put the anchors on. He refuses to walk. This starts a few yards from their own drive. He would simply lie down and ‘refuse to budge.

Indie is well known in the area!

Forcing him to walk

Believing that they should not be beaten, that he should not ‘dominate’ them, his owners would then drag him until he was forced to move forward again.

With one of the daughters he would sometimes go on strike and lie on his back in the middle of the road. There was simply nothing she could do while the cars had to drive around them.

The relationship between the dog and his family has deteriorated because he refuses to walk. It’s largely fuelled by anger at being ‘defied’ by him which has led to quite a confrontational relationship with the lady in particular. Indie is a constant trial to her now.

The dog gets all his attention from being ‘bad’. It has now got to the stage where the lady is at odds with her family. She feels so angry and upset with him, at her wits’ end, that she would be happy to see Indie go.

Misunderstood

Having put so much work and love into our dog, having done our very best, we can feel exasperated, let down and angry. It becomes a sort of downward spiral as we increasingly try to gain control. The relationship with our dog can become a shadow over our lives, making us feel helpless and unhappy.

What I saw was an intelligent and misunderstood dog that was seldom given the chance to please. He was frequently being corrected – crossly. His attention came either when he was insistent and demanded it, or when he was doing something they didn’t like.

Over the months their efforts to ‘control’ him have led to him growling and snapping. This is mostly when someone has physically tried to move him or when he is protecting a valued resource. This could be a huge bone or the daughter’s boyfriend.

Whereas the people would say NO as he tried to leap onto someone on the sofa, I gently clapped my hands and pointed at the floor with a gentle ‘Indie Off’. I knew that he would come down straight away and he was rewarded with ‘Good Boy’. With Indie it’s a question of showing him what he should do – not what he shouldn’t.

Refuses to walk, so no walks at all

He’s crying out for attention but is getting it for all the wrong things, like when he refuses to walk. Because of the problem on walks he now has little exercise or happy stimulation.

A mix of gaining his willing cooperation in all aspects of his relationship with his owners should change his life. They will do this through encouragement, reward and praise rather than force and confrontation. We created a cunning plan to get him walking willingly – making sure that if anxiety is anything to do with it that it’s treated appropriately.

This will make his owners happy too – especially the lady.

I bought a T-shirt at the Victoria Stilwell seminar I attended last weekend printed with ‘Kindness is Powerful’. That says it all really. But what is kindness? It’s not doing everything a dog demands and giving it control over you (spoiling it), and then despairing when it won’t cooperate when you wish it do to do something. Bonding comes through understanding and patience, not the use of force.