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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on April 30, 2013

Question

We have a 2-year-old Lhasa apso who will not walk on a leash. She's a nice little dog, but all suggestions have failed.

We let her drag the leash around the house when we are home -- it doesn't work. We've tried offering treats -- no, she doesn't like any kind of treats.

She came from a wonderful shelter, but we think she had been kept in a cage before her arrival there. She was bred before she was a year old. During our six months with her, she has learned to play, enjoys a huge yard and seems happy. But we'd like to be able to enjoy walking her.

P.B., Stephens City, Va Apr 30, 2013

Answer

It is good to know that you adopted this sweet little victim of a puppy mill.

She may have a phobia about going into open spaces and strange places, not of being led on the leash. Patience is called for -- a virtue that you are clearly not lacking after helping her recover from life in a cage.

Be sure she is not wearing a collar attached to the leash. Instead, keep the collar, but fit her with a comfortable, snug harness and attach that to the leash. The pressure on her neck when you try to walk her with the leash attached to her collar could trigger fear and, if she struggles, cause serious damage to her windpipe.

Just yesterday I was driving my car and saw a young woman walking what looked like a longhaired Chihuahua. She suddenly jerked the dog backwards, and all four of the dog's feet left the ground. The pressure of the collar on the dog's trachea could cause permanent damage, especially when repeated as a "no pull" training method.

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