Berner refusing to walk?

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by MosierDog, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. MosierDog

    MosierDog New Member

    Hi everyone,
    My dog, Annie, is very particular with who she walks with. She will walk with my husband, myself (only if I am walking her with my daughter, though) or my daughters only if they walk her together. If my youngest tries to walk her by herself, then she will refuse to walk and not budge. The only way to get her to walk is by using treats, but I feel as if this encourages her behavior. She won't walk with me when I am by myself. It makes it difficult to walk her when my husband is away or during the day while he is at work.
    How can I encourage her to walk with my daughters and myself when we walk her by ourselves?
  2. bernermagic

    bernermagic New Member


    After trying to walk many Berners I have come to the conclusion they are simply not good walkers. They are too inquisitive and like to explore versus walk. My feeling is they either like to walk or they do not. We start walking at 4 months to get their joints flexing in a low impact way. They either cooperate or you need to force them to walk with you. I also find that they are rambunctious at the beginning of the walk and once tired walk right with you. I just do not think passive walking is their thing.
  3. sunny85

    sunny85 New Member

    My Rosie did this!

    Hi! I adopted Rosie when she was a little over a year old and she did this for SO LONG. I grew up with huskies so this was completely bizarre to me. She would stop, I'd try to wait her out, she'd lay down until I walked over to what she wanted to smell or walk her back if she wanted go home.

    What works for us:
    When she stops, I simultaneously give her a firm but calm "NO, come on now" and I hold her collar and put my hand on her butt and GENTLY nudge her forward. I'm really NOT yanking, just saying, no that's not what we do here, and I am big enough that I can be guiding your collar and your rear at the same time.

    ALSO, Rosie does not do well when I use a stern tone, she does better when I tell her "Uh uh, no." and then give her a hug and say nicely that she's a "good girl, let's keep going". Somehow the gentle praise at the end makes her stop fighting me and follow along. It's like she needs to know we're on the same team again.

    She rarely does the stopping in the middle of the road and laying down thing now, and it's made a WORLD of difference. She fooled the dog walker and me for months...I was scared that she was tired or hurting. She was just testing us...
  4. katesbug

    katesbug New Member

    Berner Walking

    Hi - I'm no expert. This is our first Berner, but, since she's a champion heeler, I'll opine here for a while.

    When we first got Bug, she couldn't make it halfway down the block without flopping over and refusing to budge. We chalked it up to puppy exhaustion, picked her up and carried her home.... where she promptly went ape in the backyard with all her excess energy. She kept the act up 'til she was about 5 months and weighed as much as a Mack truck. ;) My arms and back got super toned and my neighbors always had a good chuckle.

    Enter Sabrina, the dog trainer.

    Sabrina had us buy a 6' Kong leash with a traffic loop for Bug from Petsmart. This was pretty instrumental in teaching Bug to heel. Bug always walks to the left of us and when we were training her, we kept her on the traffic loop. Nice and tight to our body and consistently at a heel position.

    Bug doesn't get to mosey when she's on leash. There is no smelling flowers or checking out strange scents. She can do plenty of that at the dog park where she gets to run off leash. Walking is serious business to be interrupted only by the call of nature.

    We also used a prong collar for training. I know some people are terribly opposed to prong collars. In fact, I was one. When I first got Bug I swore up and down that I wasn't going to use one. Our dog trainer convinced me that I was being stupid. She had me put the collar on my quad and apply the same force to the collar that I would to Bug. (Our quads are about as strong as the neck muscles on a big dog.) It got my attention, but it didn't hurt. That's the whole point of the collar -- to get their attention, but not hurt them. And, it allowed us to use gentle tugs here and there to direct our big goofball.

    Now, Bug heels at our sides without the pinch collar. And, we're working on heeling off leash.

    Our neighbor, who currently has three Berners (at once!), walks her dogs 2 miles a day and credits their good health to these long walks. She's had 7 Berners in total.

    I hope you persevere and work out the walking issues... Prolonged exercise is so good for these big lugs.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  5. Luna11

    Luna11 New Member

    Wow! I feel a lot better. Our Luna is 5 1/2 months and she frequently goes "on strike" when walking. I found that many of the tips below are true for us too. Different routes, not eating until after the walk, more people and walking with other dogs all help.
  6. LouisBerner

    LouisBerner New Member

    My experience:

    This year, in the month of March, i was first introduced with a berner that i was given task to dog walk and he was 9 months old that time. The first meeting was nice because berners are naturally friendly, but when i was doing my regular routine, it was hard to make him walk. Sometimes, there are no walks happening in a particular day.

    But now, 8 months have passed, i can walk him without a leash and i have NO more problems in the past like: not budging, sitting, laying down, refusing walk..etc, etc... when i call him out for walks its like wow! in the past this is so difficult, but now its the opposite!

    Still part of my experience:

    This berner that i have known since 8 months ago, have mild hip displasia issue but after some exercise and walking (as physical therapy) he eventually overcame the joint problems and he is VERY fine now! If your berner has no health issues, i guess, the berner needs more a little bit of "knowing each other".

    What i did...

    Petting, grooming, playing, feeding, and keeping him company, physical therapy, very very short walks, massage after walks are the things i have done in the past 8 months. There was a significant, but gradual change as time passed by.
  7. Nathan Lyke

    Nathan Lyke New Member

    When she was feeling more comfortable and protective while walking with your husband. One more reason is friendly behavior, may your husband is more friendly with dog and he play with her, which may be one of the reason that she refuse to walk with you. Maintain your relationship with your dog and play with her, care he, then she will feel comfortable to walk with you.
  8. Gypsy2015

    Gypsy2015 New Member

    Our Berner is now just over a year old, and is starting to act up when walking again. We had gotten over the stopping and lying down, and were going for nice 45 minute walks, consistently.
    I do let her sniff as we go, which is a big part of her enjoyment of the walk, but she usually walks and sniffs at the same time, so we were still getting a good walk.
    Now all of a sudden she keeps stopping and sniffing at one particular area for a few minutes at a time. I have been shortening the leash and walking in the middle of the road to try and stop this, but it's a constant battle of her trying to pull me over to the side. I have my usual supply of treats that I dole out when she is walking well, dropping something she picked up, or not jumping on people we meet, but I find that when she is in the intense 'sniff mode' she won't even take a treat to keep going...she just spits them out.
    We seem to have a really good walk, like yesterday, and then an awful experience like today, when she lay down, refused to walk and I felt like I was forcing her to keep going just to get home.
    A few days ago I thought it was too hot, so I have been taking her out really early, but it's obviously not that.
    I'm thinking I should just start sticking to short walks so that we have enjoyable walks.
  9. summersnowbr

    summersnowbr Active Member

    Walking Berner

    When we brought our 9 week old Berner home she did not like to go very far from the house. She is now 19 weeks old and can do a mile walk. We do a lot of training while on the walk. We practice the, sit, down, stand, heal command which she gets a treat when she does these. Before crossing streets she now sits, she gets a treat for that. I think now it becomes a game to her. If she thinks she hasn't had enough treats she sits, once she gets the treat she's off and ready to go. Try practicing the commands while walking it just breaks it up for the puppies.
  10. will47

    will47 New Member

    Ours (6.5 mo) is a good walker on-leash most of the time, but he sometimes refuses to walk too, even when he clearly has plenty of energy.

    The funny thing about it to me is that he seems to know when we're going towards home vs. away from it - if we're going towards home, he'll walk quickly, but if he sees we're going away from home.
  11. Gypsy2015

    Gypsy2015 New Member

    How funny! We are having all these same problems...again, and at the same age. We just returned forma 5 week vacation, and the dog sitter was quite puzzled by the whole lying down thing.

    If I can catch her before she lies down I give her a tug and move into the middle of the road, shorten the leash and give her a treat and praise.

    If I am lucky she will "Up" if I tell her to, but the best thing to do is to turn away and ignore her for about 30 seconds, then tell her to sit and then start walking again. I try and not reward her immediately, as I don't want her to lie down so she can get a treat for getting up. Instead I let her walk for about a minute then praise her and give her a treat.

    I do find that she walks better when it's cool, especially if it's raining. She also has preferred routes, and I try and stick to those in order to have a successful walk.
  12. EnzoTheBMD

    EnzoTheBMD New Member

    We have had the same problem with our boy Enzo. He is 11 weeks, he walks, sniffs for a minute, walks then lays down and we can't move him. So we tried something different. We took him to the park on the trails. The little brat walked perfectly for about a half a mile! He was doing so good that we had to turn around because I didn't want to overexert him.

    Keep trying. Find something that works. Take him out of his comfort zone (your neighborhood) and see what works.

    We also have to understand that these 11 week old puppies are just babies still and a Berner takes longer to mature than other dogs.

    My question for everyone is, how far is too far for your Berner to walk at 11-12 weeks? He was not tired at all and didn't show any signs of being tired until we got home and he took a killer hour nap!

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