I’m wondering if you could help me figure out why my dog refuses to walk with other people.
Over the last several months, my husband Matt and I have had several days where we’re away from the farm, and our parents have taken turns coming to stay with the baby and the dog.
My dog Baxter knows his “grandparents” very well and likes them (perhaps because he knows they usually come with treats).
However, Baxter does not like them enough to go for a walk with them. On days when we’re not home, Baxter will wait stoically (or stubbornly) until we return to take him for a walk.
If one of the grandparents manages to coax him outside, he will stand on the driveway and refuse to move. He won’t even take the opportunity to go to the bathroom.
This behaviour appears also if Matt and I are home and someone else tries to walk him. No way, Jose.
This is a bit frustrating because it would be very helpful to us if we didn’t have to personally fit in a dog walk in every day—especially after a long day away from home. (One of us always gives him a walk in the morning before we leave.)
Baxter and my daughter Ellie occasionally spend days at their grandparents’ houses. On those days, when he’s not on his home turf, Baxter happily goes for a walk!
Why does my dog refuse to walk with other people?
I’d love to hear from the ThatMutt community what you think is going on with Bax.
Is he afraid his grandparents are secretly dognappers? Does he feel a duty to watch the house when we’re not home? Has he appointed himself our official welcoming committee and doesn’t want to miss our arrival?
(The last two don’t make sense because he won’t walk even if we’re home… but his grandparents having a secret career as dognappers also doesn’t make sense.)
How can I get my dog to walk with other people?
I’d really appreciate some suggestions for possible solutions.
One idea I have is an obvious one: going for walks with Bax and my Mom, so he gets more comfortable walking with her.
We’d build up over a few days, and she could start to hold the leash while we walk together. And then a few days after that if Bax is walking well I’d gradually drift away as he and my Mom walk on.
The challenge with this is it requires an additional commitment of time from the grandparents when they’re already helping us out a lot with baby and dogsitting.
What do you think Baxter is thinking?
How do you think we can help him be more comfortable with different walking buddies?
Julia Preston writes for That Mutt about dog behavior and training, working dogs and life on her farm in Ontario, Canada. She has a sweet, laid-back boxer mix named Baxter. She is also a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating.