Exercising with my dog- it's not working!

Hi! When I walk with my dog, she pulls at first and wants to go so fast that it's a little like skipping a warm up. I'm ending up with calf cramps. We're having trouble too with off leash dogs coming at us on the sidewalk. Twice they've attacked my dog (super traumatic!) and I'm in the middle of it because my dog is leashed. If I walk by a fenced dog, mine is scared immediately of the barking and we're changing routes. Twice this week an unleashed German Shepherd left its owners side to come check us out and I'm so scared I'm yelling, "no! Go home!!!" I hardly want to walk mine. Suggestions for walking with the dog or the calf cramps? rjqv0i9arju4.jpg


  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,252 Member
    I can't give you any tips myself (I'm a cat person 😁), but I'm wondering if @wunderkindking can't give you any, I believe she's a dog trainer. If she sees this, I hope she can give some advice.
  • IllustriousBee
    IllustriousBee Posts: 70 Member
    I live in a very rural area, and tons of people like to just leave their dogs out with no leash or fence. It's super annoying, and it goes against county law, but I just do my best to avoid them. We live on 2.5 acres and I let my two small dogs out to potty on a long lead. They do their business and come back. I do like taking them on walks, but it means dealing with other dogs. I do have a bit of walking that I can do with them that avoids the other dogs, but it's not much. I definitely don't rely on that for exercise, but it is exercise for them since they're tiny dogs. Maybe you could try a park instead or just walking without your dog for your own exercise. I personally prefer to workout at a gym, but I know that's not an option for everyone. I mainly just wanted to express my shared opinion of people who let their dogs free roam. I hate it. It's not safe for the dogs, and it's a potential threat to others.
  • IndyFitAgain
    IndyFitAgain Posts: 67 Member
    First thing that came to mind when reading your post is that your dog has not been trained to walk on lead; she should walk at your pace, fast or slow. Training will also help give confidence again.

    The same thing happened to my calf muscles and I'm still recovering. Once I'm recovered, I will start with light stretches, then move on to calf raises; here's one article that may help: https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-do-calf-raises-4801090

    Good luck, let me know how it goes!
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,400 Member
    Our dog, a golden retriever, loved everybody until he was attacked a couple of times out of the blue. Then he got fear aggressive with large dogs. He would pull and lunge, barking. We learned to wrap the leash around something, a tree or me, so that he wouldn't pull free or pull us to the ground. Over time, he became less fearful, but there were certain breeds he wouldn't tolerate. We did manage to keep control over him by teaching him to sit instead of lunge.

    We had a neighbor's dog come out of its yard and attack our dog twice. I called the Dog Warden who talked to them and said that if it happened again, the dog would be put down. After that, they made sure the dog was tied up in the yard and couldn't get out. (He was going under the fence.) Can you call Animal Control in your area about the loose dogs?

    If not, figure out which routes are likely to have loose dogs and which keep their dogs in the yards. Our area has a lot of dogs on e-collars, which work most of the time for most dogs, but not always. I know which streets to avoid and where I want to make sure I have mace in hand if I can't avoid them.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,699 Member
    edited July 2021
    I can address the pulling because we rescued a large husky who had never been trained on a leash and pulled like, well, a dog bred to pull heavy loads ;)

    I conveyed that we were not going to walk if he was going to pull. He pulled - I stopped. Then I'd try again until he pulled again and I stopped again. He learned that he wasn't going anywhere if he was going to pull. Our initial "walks" were not focused on walking but training. It took a while before he was great on a leash, but eventually he was The Best Dog in the World.


    I walked him a half mile in the AM and longer at sunset. My (now ex) boyfriend had him during the day. He took him to dog park at least once per day. That helped him burn off some excess energy, and was necessary for our dog, an adult working dog breed with not a drop of training before we got him.

    Dog park might also help both of you with the fear. I know I'm leery of strange dogs, and dog park helped me with that. Our dog was not socialized to other dogs, and dog park helped him with that.

    I watched a lot of Dog Whisperer / Cesar Milan back then but cannot find any videos on point right now, except for the part about burning off excitement.

    Now that I've found this video I remember the part about practicing changing directions, which this guy does to build engagement, but it also short-circuited the pulling:

    The "I'm in charge of this walk" attitude was something I had to work at. My ex, on the other hand, had no problem with that, LOL.
  • sveltey
    sveltey Posts: 1 Member
    I have similar issues with my dog pulling ( I use a gentle leader to reduce that) and she also likes to stop and sniff at everything, so walking her for MY fitness wasn’t working. I decided to walk her for her needs, and I use an elliptical machine for MY needs. This turned out to be a win-win. I look forward to a medium level walk with my dog (my heart rate never goes above 75) and I also look forward to working out on my elliptical where my heart rate gets up to 160. Both activities are enjoyable.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,699 Member
    I don't have any useful advice, but if misery loves company, I'll tell you about walking my cat. He gets super excited, sometimes he manages to slip out the door when I'm not trying to take him. He basically just wants to walk back and forth around the parking lot for 20 minutes, then sit on the fence while I ask him what he sees and if it's birds.

    Oddly, our cat will do a walk walk on the leash in the woods, but this time of year we stick to the street, and he just wants to poke around and flop.
  • Megan_smartiepants1970
    Megan_smartiepants1970 Posts: 27,528 Member

    Here are my 2 babies ....Dakota the German Shepherd and Aspen the Husky (she is my walking partner along with my daughter ....we walked 10 miles today because a German Shepherd came out of nowhere so we walked another route today ....My German Shepherd isn't able to walk long due to his hips :(
  • OnceAndFutureAthlete
    OnceAndFutureAthlete Posts: 192 Member
    I can't address the off-leash dogs other than to say, sorry, that sucks.
    My JRT (on leash always, they're notorious bolters) was mauled by a Mastiff (off leash) a couple years ago and it was super traumatic for the both of us.

    For the pacing/pulling, I walk my dog with a long (20') extending leash when it's an exercise walk. This allows me to keep a pretty steady walking pace, but allows my dog some leeway to stop and sniff and do doggie things. I don't let her get too far ahead - keep my thumb on the button - and I reel her in when we cross a street or anyone else is nearby (not often, fortunately). It's probably breaking all kinds of training rules, but it works for us. Not sure if this is something you could try.