Vonny-Bronx avatar image

Stubborn Bulldog getting more stubborn on walks

Hi all,

Could anyone give me some tips on a new bad habit that my 14 month old Bulldog has started? Lately when I take him out for a walk, if I don't go in the direction he wants to go (which is to a grassy area that he plays in every day), he stops dead in his tracks and won't budge. He sometimes even lies down and refuses to listen to any commands. 

He only does this in the first 2 or 3 blocks away from home and keeps wanting to go to his grassy playpatch. I use the gentle leader harness on him because he used to pull but its designed for pulling if the dog is in front if you, not behind. His neck is thicker than his head so we can't use a normal collar cause it pops right off his head no matter how tight.

He is trained and normally listens to me but this is becoming a nightmare for potty breaks! I am at home so he goes out at least 3-4 times a day with me for potty breaks. I always take him to play after his potty so it's not like he never gets to play. His best friend the Labrador is also in the grassy area so that's why he wants to go so badly. I take him to dog parks at least 2 a week and down the beach for romps and no issues there with not wanting to leave.

I've tried treats but he is not interested. I've resorted to lifting him up at the harness and making him walk for a few steps then letting go but he starts laying down in a few steps again and plays statue. People are laughing at us- its so embarassing!

Suggestions please?

Stephanie and David's picture

It's easier to pull them if they're in a harness.

Bulldogs are stubborn. Whatever you do, don't carry them the two blocks or they'll expect that royal treatment for the rest of their lives.

Vonny-Bronx's picture


Haha! Even if I wanted to carry him, he is 60 pounds of stubbornness! I haven't been able to carry him since he was 9 months old:)


he is supposed to walk next to your leg and never to choose the path. start from there. you should even be the one that decides when and where is he allowed to pee. Harness is good afterwards, when the dog learns to behave. Ive used the collar with spikes and he very quickly learned what i demand from him. and after he realized that im the one that is choosing the path on a walk everything else became easier. Before that, it also used to happen, that he refuses to move, he would become like some kind of an immovable property. You dont earn respect with strength but with character. you are the boss, you are able to decide whats good and whats wrong, you choose the path and you are the guard. dogs job is just to be happy and to sleep good.

captainy's picture

Our 11 month old

does the same thing.  Although he only goes down on all fours if we are by DH's work (it's only a block from home and he is real stubborn if I don't let him go in).  

If a couple of tugs don't work, I use a treat to get him to move.   I dangle it like a carrot and give it to him after he walks a half-block or so.  He is so food motivated it normally works.   

I know he does it on purpose for attention.  He is such a little actor.  On walk like he acts  soooo tired, just slowing moving along.  People feel sorry for him and pet him.  Then as soon as we get home he is a raging maniac.


Chef D's Mug Shot

Vonny-Bronx's picture

Ogi and Captainy,Thanks for

Ogi and Captainy,

Thanks for your advice/response too. It always helps to see how others handle issues. When Bronx was a puppy, we used a collar on him to teach him to walk. He was fine, walking by my side, until he saw somebody he wanted to see, usually our neighbor. (Who didn't help with his excitement by calling our pup to him), then he would pull and choke himself till he fell over. I trained him out of pulling by making him sit/stay and treats and switching to the Gentle Leader Harness. He has been fine until recently, so I'm talking months without issues. He doesn't pull; that's not the issue. He just refuses to walk. From the time we leave the front door, he lags behind me and keeps slowing down. It's not to sniff at anything and he isn't trying to pee or take me somewhere. He just doesn't want to walk in the direction I'm going. If I go the direction where his play area is, it's fine. The past week however, he is even reluctant to walk in that direction. He slows down then just stops and stares at me. If I try to get him to walk, he lays down. I've tried circling him to try walking in the opposite direction with the idea of walking back again but he stays down no matter which direction I try go. 

Treats worked only somewhat the first few times. My bully isn't food motivated. He is attention motivated. I could hold a steak in front of him but if there was someone new wanting to pet him, he would ignore the steak! 

Today, I had the same issue. I had to say things like "what's THAT??" and point down the road just to get him to walk. I did notice once we were out the neighborhood he was walking 100% fine again. Is it possible he is just bored of walking in the same old neighborhood every day, and has learned that potty walks = boring, and walk towards park = fun?

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture

Outhouse Or Park .... Hum

Which would you choose?    LOL!    I think you answered your own question.  He's learned that the other way is far more fun.  They are a very smart breed, unlike what many think.  They have an uncanny way of teaching us just what they want to do.

You have to figure out what motivates him....any special toys he likes that would help to motivate him to go where you would like, since he's not food motivated.    I personally prefer the positive reinforcement methods of training. 

Good Luck! 

captainy's picture

I so thought of you today

Chef D was very stubborn today on our walk. Twice he stopped and got pissed I was not going in the direction he wanted.    At one point people were laughing at him and saying "the poor boy is tired".  Um, no, he is just stubborn.  They said "so if you start walking that way he will go".  I said, "yep" and took a step in that direction.  Sure enough he starting walking.   They busted into laughter.  

What a brat.  


Chef D's Mug Shot

prong collar

i know a lot of people on this board will argue against this but the prong collar has been a godsend for us.  oliver did the same thing i was ending up spending an hour just to take him outside to go potty.  you do need something to teach you how to size it and use it properly (we hired a trainer).  and i can tell you that the little corrections that we give him are much less than pulling on a collar or harness.  it has been night and day with him and now he is one of the best leash walking bulldogs that i know, easily go 3-5 miles when its not too hot out and he loves it.

Vonny-Bronx's picture


Hi Captainy, 

Your post had me giggling! I know it's actually not funny when it happens, but in a crazy way, it's comforting to know its not just me! 

I agree that Bulldogs are an exceptionally smart breed, even though some people wouldn't agree. Tonyjerry, I'm not opposed to using a prong collar as such. I've heard it really works if used correctly. I must admit it does look pretty intimidating. I'm not sure if our boy would respond to physical corrections very well though. He is such a sensitive boy. I will absolutely consider it though if we don't manage to sort this out with positive reinforcement. Today, I took his Jolly Ball out with us and it worked. Maybe a little TOO well though. He was hopping and jumping and running in circles staring at it... But was too hyper for a proper walk lol. He wouldn't even potty... Too excited. 

Anyway- on a side note, I think I *MAY* have figured out why he has become resistant to walking lately. He has an infection starting in his paw pads (interdigital cysts) from his allergies that we are struggling with lately too. His paws have probably been getting painful over the last few weeks. 

This might just be a good lesson for me to think broader than just training issues when a dog starts acting out of character. We are treating it so it will be good to see how he behaves once he is feeling a little better again.

thanks for all your advice. I may still need it!