My Berner lays down on his walks and won't get up

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by Ferris bern, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Ferris bern

    Ferris bern New Member

    My 11 month old Berner lays down on people's lawns or in the middle of the road and won't move. We shortened his walks because we thought going around the block was too far. We have brought numerous treats and toys to get him moving and nothing works. At my wits end. Has anyone else had this problem?
  2. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    Unfortunately, that distance is not too far for an 11 month old. In fact, i know two that age who hike a mile.

    This is likely a clear sign that something hurts or is uncomfortable and it is time to get him in to an orthopedic specialist for x- rays of hips and elbows to rule out dysplasia. From there you check shoulders and knees if needed.

    If all is clear I would then as a last resort, head to a chiropractor in case somehing is simply out of alignment or out of joint.

    It will require all of the above to truly rule out something physical.

    Good luck!
  3. mshelt01

    mshelt01 New Member

    same thing

    Jackson did/does the same thing. He's 10.5 months, and about 2 months ago, he started acting the same way on walks. I tried to lure him with treats, and I think that made him realize that if he laid down, he would get the treat. What worked for me (and he still does it sometimes) is this: I walk him in the mornings and at night always before he gets his breakfast or dinner. I find he's more motivated if he knows a bowl of food is waiting at the end. I also ignored him when he got onto his back, and started giving the leash gentle tugs to get up. Once he was up, I wouldn't give him a treat until he was walking a few paces and back on track. I also changed up the route; his walks were so routine and I found that he would lay down when we were clearly on the way back. So now, I try and go different directions each time so he doesn't know how long it's going to last. Everything seems fine with him physically, and he runs quite a bit off the leash in the yard, so I don't think it's a bone/joint issue. However, if you are concerned about that, definitely take him to a vet. If you think he's stubborn just like mine, see if any of that helps. Good luck!
  4. Peachey

    Peachey New Member

    If he's not in pain or injured, he's probably doing it because you're paying more attention to him while he's laying down. I've started telling stories to mine while we're walking so that she knows I'm paying attention to her and she only puts the breaks on if she sees someone she wants to greet.
  5. Ferris bern

    Ferris bern New Member

    Thanks for the great tips. It's not health related. He has been checked out by the vet. He clearly walks into the house and out to the back yard and runs around and plays tug. I will try your suggestions. Nice to know that my Berner isn't the only one that does this. Thanks!
  6. Marynan

    Marynan New Member

    Haha yea my boy does that too,
    Sometimes he rolls onto his back and acts like a goof, the trainer said to ignore him and keep uncomfortable pressure on him until he moves again. Sometimes its when he's tired (Ive walked him in the wee hours of the morning and middle of the night from time to time) and he just sits cause he misses his bed but other times I think he's just playing
  7. Marynan

    Marynan New Member

    Story time on walks? Thats adorable
  8. LouisBerner

    LouisBerner New Member

    hello, i have the same problem too! why is it like this? maybe berners most of the time are kinda "lazy" the things mentioned above are exactly happening here.

    but thanks, i got some tips from walking the dog!

    Another one i have experienced is that when two or more people are walking with him, he walks just fine, but there are times he stops in the walk but it is easy to resume because there are two people persuading him. And he also tend to walk farther.

    hello from vietnam :)
  9. Beasmom

    Beasmom Guest

    My 6 month old has been doing this for months. Usually in defiance; doesn't want to come inside, just wants to lay in the cool grass, doesn't want to leave the park. She also will roll onto her back if I get near. I have to keep treats but only reward the regular commands, up, come, etc. Eventually she complies.
  10. Nathan Lyke

    Nathan Lyke New Member

    Most of the time it was happen if your dog is having some problems. It was also due to your lazy dog, it has been seen that some dogs lays down when they go for walk due to tiredness or laziness. The daily activity of walking will let him to be active all the time.
  11. Chago

    Chago New Member

    This is all funny because mine won't even go on walks period. I had him going on walks around 5 months old for about 3 weeks then for whatever reason he wouldn't go again. He is and I think all berners are real home bodies. Walks were quite honestly to force me to get some exercise and not the dog. We live on acreage and he is free to run and play all day and he does a lot of it. He is super fit so exercise is not a concern for us. I have built a sled with harness which he pulls my daughter around in the snow for hours. I put a leash on him to control him just in case he doesn't run off with my daughter LOL and he has no problem walking around the property over and over for hours. But I try taking him to the road, once were about 200' from the house he just digs his paws in the gravel and not even my truck will move him. I turn around to go back towards the house and he's up and running right away.
  12. NancyS

    NancyS New Member

    This stubbornness is a very common trait among berns. Many of them do this on walks or when they are outside in the snow and do not want to come in. The more you force the, the more they resist. The best thing to do is to sweet talk them, stop and pet or give kisses for just a moment and then say lets go, or some command you wish to use. Make the whole walk a positive experience and eventually they will outgrow it. I have found with my berns this is the best way to get around their stubborn streak. Kindness and warmth works every time. Scolding or forcing will Never help them to outgrow this trait! Berns love to walk so make it a fun and loving experience and it will become something you all look forward to!
    Also try to do lots of training on your walks. Sit, stay, heel, this way (when you want them to turn around with you) and any tricks you are teaching them. Especially helpful if your dog is food driven. Most of my dogs snacks are given during our walks. Treats while walking and given while training tends to keep them busy and paying attention to you completely and they often don't have time to stop dead and not move.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  13. Asif_Assassi

    Asif_Assassi Banned


    Thanks for your help & give us more of those things.......
  14. Lindsey

    Lindsey New Member

    Hi there,

    I'm having a similar problem with my 11 week old Berner. She loves being outside, but going on short walks is a struggle. Every few meters she stops, lays down, and settles in. We started doing clicker training with her at 9 weeks and I think she knows that if she comes she gets a reward. She's outsmarted the system! We know that forcing her to get up or pulling on her leash aren't good options, but ignoring her behavior doesn't seem to work that well either. Does anyone who's also using clicker training have advice for discouraging her from laying down again and again mid-walk? What should be a 10 minute walk takes an hour at the rate she moves!

  15. NancyS

    NancyS New Member

    So many Berns do this. Not sure anyone can ever truthfully answer why, but is such a common trait. The first thing you must do is change the way you think of a walk. Think of it as "training" them to walk. No different then training them to sit, down or stay. It takes time and consistancy. It must be fun and enjoyable and you really need to start with very short walks. I personally do not do clicker training as that means I always have to have a clicker in hand. I prefer the reward of either treats, which I keep in all my jackets, or just endless, over the top, praise with lots of kisses. They want nothing more than to please you and will do anything for that praise so make everything a very big deal. You want them to to always succeed so if you know where she always stops, then stop before that and make her sit and look at you and praise her. Then walk a few more steps and again stop and make her sit. She should be focusing on you on her walks.
    When I first starting training my most recent pup, every time we went for our walks, she was praised and treated constantly. If anyone was watching me they would have thought I was crazy:). But every few steps she would get a treat or my excited voice saying " what a good girl". Anything to get her tail wagging and her eyes on me. Eventually we were able to go for much longer walks but I still made it exciting for her. She now never does the stubborn berner stop and she is a little over a year old.
    Like teaching other commands such as sit, it is constant work. Try not to go out with the intention of going for a walk just to enjoy being outside, but with the intention of teaching her to walk with you. If she stops and won't budge, get down with her for a moment and just pet her and sweet talk her, then get back up and use a command (I use "let's go") and start the walk again.
    Good luck!
  16. Lindsey

    Lindsey New Member

    Thanks for responding to my post NancyS! I agree that using lots of praise and reward is definitely the way to go! I suppose we'll just need to take it slow and remember what you said--enjoy being outside versus taking a "walk."

    Thanks again.
  17. Gypsy2015

    Gypsy2015 New Member

    I have the same issue with my 8 month old Berner; our previous Berner did the same thing, but she outgrew it and became an excellent walker...we would walk for at least an hour every day.
    Gypsy, on the other hand, was getting worse and a lot of the times the lying down was an obvious control, when she couldn't walk where she wanted go (as in through someone's yard).
    I spoke to a trainer and was told to ignore her when she lies down. It is slowly working, with less lying down on each walk. I make sure to talk to her and praise her a lot when she is walking, and to avoid eye contact and not speak to her when she lies down.
    Most walks go fine now, but she still lies down when we are almost home, usually on the neighbour's lawn, and sometimes on the bottom of our driveway.
    I try and alternate coming home from the front and the back of the house, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.
    I figure patience on my part, and age on hers.
    Which also brings me to ask how far should I be expecting her to walk at this age? We manage 20 - 30 minutes successfully right now.

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