Does you Scottish Terrier walk well on a leash?

This poll was inspired by this morning’s walk about which I will write more later. Please also feel free to add any training tips you might have in the comments.

Update: Bridget falls somewhere between category two and three. There are times when she will happily go for two and three mile walks, but even on her most jaunty days, there are certain stretches where she just does not want to move and we have absolutely no idea why. She also goes through periods where she is difficult on almost all walks, but thankfully these don’t seem to last more than a few days.

See the Scottie News dog poop poll.

27 thoughts on “Does you Scottish Terrier walk well on a leash?

  1. Bonnie usually walks well on a leash, but thats after 3 obedience classes and training her with an Easy Walk harness. Still, if there is a critter…cat, squirrel, raccoon…anywhere around, bets are off. It’s pull and tug and bolt season. I have very good biceps now. We also only use a regular leash and not a retractable one. We have a clip on the leash that we fasten to our belt loops as she has managed to get away from both of us by going from 0 to 60 in a nano second after a squirrel, both times near major highways with multiple lanes.
    Harness, leash, back up clip, biceps, obedience class, treats, microchips, tags, prayers. Yep, walks pretty good most of time! She has NO RECALL though. Unless she is in the mood, which is in class with good treats. Outside, even in the dog park…she comes when she feels like it..not when called, no matter the sacrificial chicken treats. Gotta love the independent streak!


    1. Hi Pam – oh boy, I do sometimes wonder why I love scotties – they can be such little b….s!
      My 17 month old scottie, Jack – he’s ace in dog classes, very good at tricks, recall to whistle, all the basic stuff – but…. any distraction, ie, other dogs, people, and he’s OFF. Recall ?????
      Dunno what that is Mummy ! I am getting brain dead reading about how to overcome this oh so typical terrier trait – never had a terrier that I have to keep, most of the time, on a long line.
      Our excellent dog trainers assure me he will grow out of it..
      boy, I hope they’re right. You just can’t relax, and I do love to see dogs having fun and then coming back when called. ( I don’t like running at the best of times, and even less when trying to catch up with a rocket-fuelled terrier – 0 to 60 ? Easy-peasy !
      We battle on !
      Good luck

  2. Dougan walks well, by which I mean he walks with a purpose. My husband and I are over 6′ and Dougan’s standard pace keeps us at a brisk stride. But does he heel? Hell, no. Perhaps obedience class is the way to go, but he’s always so excited to be on lead that I can’t bring myself to reign him in. I also completely agree with Pam that the regular (non-retractable) leash is the way to go.

  3. Walk well on a leash? Of course..just as long as I go the direction HE wants to go!…He will obey me when he knows I am “serious” otherwise I let him take the lead as we walk in a park twice a day…when he was 6 months old I enrooled him in a obedience training class with other canines of un known origin…The Instructor owned or was owned by THREE session ( I don’t remember what the routine was for that day) we were surrounded by all the other “classmates” she noticed my Buddy wasn’t responding to the commands..she came over and whispered…”Scotties do not do well in a large setting with other dogs”..How RIGHT she was! End of Training class!….

  4. Our puppy mill rescue scottie took to the leash like a champ, like someone had drilled the procedure for months. Loose leash, responsive to our direction.

    The other scottie is fine on leash unless a bike goes by – or a skateboard, or stroller, or a leaf blowing in the wind, or another dog she doesn’t like, or if she decides for no reason to go off in another direction.

  5. Noodle walks cirlces,to the right, around me, the entire time. We have had 3 classes, thats’ where she learned “come” means “run away as fast as possible” and “goodbye” means “stop, think about going to the person”. I think its because she is only one of us that speaks Scottish. We use a real leash, and harness due to that nanosecond zero to unlimited take off.

  6. Bonnie (a brindle) is the best walker of my three Scotties. She is 7 and walks really well unless there is a United Parcel truck or another loud car/truck that goes by. When a truck goes by she leaps in the air, turns 180 degrees while barking the whole time. The UPS driver thinks it is pretty funny and waves.
    Glinda is a three year old wheaten that I got a year and a half ago from KS through a rescue in MO. She plows on ahead and ferrets out everything. She can spot a dog half a block away and starts squirming. Rabbits tend to leap out at her. Squirrels chatter away. I call her Glinda the Bold.
    Mia is the third one. She is a black Scottie who is at least 8 and over 30 pounds. I have had her only 3 months and got her from a rescue in IN. She comes up WAY in the rear. She is very slow and I kind of pull her along.
    We are quite a team. We take up about 5 sidewalk slabs with Glinda in the front- regular leash full out, Bonnie next at a good pace, then me and Mia full extended leash behind. Everyone in the neighborhood knows us. People come out of their houses to see how we are. So, are they good walkers, not really. But as one woman says, “you just make me smile when you go by.” I figure if we can bring some laughter into people’s lives we are fine. We have three houses where people have treats for them. They perk up when we are about 5 houses away from those houses. We have a good time.

    1. I had to smile at your description of your walk 🙂 I have definitely been there with the “one leash fully out in front and one leash fully behind”. Funnily enough when their Dad is on the walk too they are a bit better behaved – sexist dogs!

  7. Our 11 month old Gracie is also equipped with an arsenal of containment devices. We live in a rural area – plenty of squirrels, chipmunks, deer, etc – so we have a wireless fence system (the “correction” is very mild – like a fly buzzing on your arm – I tried it myself several times). Gracie learned her boundaries very quickly. I highly recommend it. For walks we use a harness and a retractable leash. We have lots of property, but if she is off leash, she will run after a critter to the end of the earth. Calling her is a waste of time. When she is in hot pursuit, she only has “call waiting”. She loves everyone she meets – dogs and people. We are grateful for that.

  8. Taylor the silver-brindle girl diva wants to meet every other dog we see, at whatever distance, she whimpers to be allowed to do so. Unfortunately, Brody the Rambo boy wants to kill every other dog we see. So we never get to meet any of them. Taylor is out front, breathing heavily like a Choo Choo, and Brody drags behind. Unless they see a cat, then between the 2 of them, they can actually pull me over if they get the leashes wrapped in such a way around my legs. Other than that, they walk pretty well, look cute in tandem, folks stop and compliment.

  9. If you have problem with pulling on leash, read the book or view the DVD of Turid Rugaas: My dog pulls – What do I do?
    I made a dog trainer education in her school and her method works very good and is very calm, dog friendly and efficient.
    And by the way – harnesses are much much healthier than collars – make a selftest if you don’t believe it. Many dogs have serious back problems because of collars.

  10. I am so glad I found this blog and read all of the comments! I thought I was alone in walking badly behaved scotties. My Echo, a brindle 22 month old, charges ahead like a husky sled dog. He loves everyone and thinks everybody wants to meet him. If another dog comes along, there’s an excited greeting which easily escalates to Scottie alpha male behavior. Chloe, my wheaten 16 month old is much more calm–unless there is anything out of the ordinary–like open garage doors, recycling containers, flags, etc. Then she walks sideways so she can keep her eyes on whatever concerns her. I am developing biceps from hanging out, jerking, trying to guide, etc. I use a coupler and each dog is on a harness. If a squirrel or bird comes in close proximity, Echo yanks me along. By the end of our daily walk, they start to slow down and behave a bit like other dogs….I just feel better knowing that I’m not alone in experiencing “Scottie walks.”

    1. Captain generally walks well on the lead once he’s settled into it, as long as there are no other distractions, I find I have to check him occasionally though as he will take advantage if my attention is not on him because he wants to be in front if he can get away with it. He is very hail fellow well met with evey body and just loves to meet and greet other dogs and strangers as though they were long lost relatives. Now he’s a year old there is definitely some dominat behaviour at times with other dogs – but he’s not sill, he is very careful who he picks on, generally the younger ones.

  11. Nessie LOVES walking I have to say – though she always always has to be out ahead – as in leading the pact….she is nosy and sees and smells all. She wanders from one side of the road to the other to inspect everything….so as far as HEELING I would say difficult BUT overall walking no problem.
    Now my Westie can be ODD at times she slows down and almost at a standstill and if she could get you to carry her all the better, however Sunday she surprised us and did a nice gait for 45 minutes no slow down or problems… who knows maybe it’s just however they feel that particular day!!!

  12. I’ve tried a three-way hookup to the leash, and find it doesn’t work too well because one or the other has to stop and inspect something about every other minute of the walk. Sometimes they get tangled up, but they always sort it out, so that part is OK. the thing is, this is MY exercise too, and I need to do a brisk walk. So I have given up on walking them all at once. All three, Bonnie, Greta and Bairie walk pretty well if they are the only one one on the walk. Do they heel? Are you kidding?! But they will walk briskly with me for a few minutes at a time before stopping to sniff something. And they are so excited to go on a walk–I have to allow the stops–it’s their walk, too. They don’t usually pull too much when we are actually walking. I trained them when they were young with a martingale collar. the slip part of the collar was a chain. They didn’t like the sound of the chain because they associated it with a tightening of the collar around their neck (not a very tight collar, but snug) and it meant they had to obey and come my way. After a few times just a tiny jerk on the leash made the chain jingle and they understood they had to come. I don’t use it now because when I jerk lightly on the regular leash and say “Come” they usually obey. Of course you all know there are times when they have their way and I have to wait for then to finish whatever they stopped for.

    I really enjoy my walks with them one at a time. They are fun.

    1. Wow, I admire you. If I had three dogs who were problem walkers I’d probably just take them to the dog park and then hit the gym for my exercise.

  13. I have two Scotties Hattie, who out on walks has a mind of her own and Hamish who does not walk well on a lead as he becomes aggressive to other dogs. I have been walking them seperately and have them on a very long training lead.

    Recall is good, with Hamish especially, however, I’m still not sure that he wouldn’t run if something really interested him! Hattie, definately would, she has selective hearing!

    When I try taking them together it’s a nightmare as they love to bark and of course leads get all tangled! Today at the park a Dog Warden stopped when she saw me walking Hamish on the long line and asked if it was because he wasn’t good on recall.

    I told her the story and she made me feel like I wasn’t good at training them as I should let them off lead and trust them. I said it is a Scottie your talking about here and she replied all dogs can be trained. Dogs shouldn’t be on a lead, they should be allowed to run up to other dogs if they want to and people, it’s good for them.

    Basically she thought I was showing my dogs how nervous I was. I felt so annoyed. I had a Scottie for 13 years before these two and he was fine and easier to train. I feel so much better reading the other comments about Scotties knowing other owners have the same problems.

    At the end of the day, no one knows your dog better than you! Scotties are the most faithful, loving dogs. My two are my best friends, I love them to pieces. Hopefully the day will come when I can walk them together off lead, I’ll keep on trying but won’t hold my breath!

  14. Here are some really good training videos about loose leash walks:

    and here the problem about barking towards other dogs:

    It was stupid of the dog warden to tell you to let your dog just of leash. The dog needs training and it would be dangerous to just let the dogs off leash, especially if the other dog is on leash, then it’s your responsibility to keep your dog in a distance which is good for both dogs. Of course a dog should run off leash in controlled situations. Aggression on leash can be caused also by frustration when the dogs always wants to say hello to other dogs and never is allowed. But in most cases it’s caused by fear and there you need to change the emotion of the dog (see video).

  15. MacDuff, my 13 year old black and silver brindle, has the most annoying habit of slowing down at the end of walks. He’s done it since he reached middle age, and I’ve tried literally every training method in the book to correct the behavior.

    It was not always this way. When he was a small puppy, I diligently waited him out when he’d veer off course, holding my ground without pulling on him. He would eventually give up and start going back in the correct direction, at which point I would say “yes” and throw a treat a few feet in front of him. This worked great on all surfaces except grass, and I only had to do it for a few weeks when he was eight or nine months old. After that he walked perfectly; always slack leashed; on my right; just one step behind me. He trusted that I would allow 8-10 good stops which I mix up occasionally; he was the perfect walker.

    But around his seventh or eight birthday something changed. No matter what route we take– the beach, the trail, the neighborhood, the park, or any other path he’s seen more than once–his little GPS sensor alerts him when we have gone three-quarters of the way. That’s the point when he drops anchor and makes it known that he wants to extend the duration of the walk, despite the short distance we have left to go.

    I tried re-training with the old wait-him-out drill, and he does eventually acquiesce in the right direction, but when I tossed the treat to reward the behavior (even a high-value treat like salted jerky) he just looked at it for a second and then continued sniffing around until he eventually he’d make his way to the treat. By the time he’d eaten it, he didn’t remember what the treat was for. Pointless.

    I gave up the retraining after about three weeks because it wasn’t working and he was eating entirely too many treats. It’s been several years now, and he’s pretty much had his way since that time.

    Sometimes he looks at me and I think he’s trying to say:

    “Pardon me, Mr. food-and-walk-man, but I’m quite aware of my elder status in this relationship. As such, I plan to be outdoors–hot on the trail–as much as possible before I go.”

    I guess I can’t blame him. After all, his beard IS longer and greyer than mine.

  16. My 3 (Bonnie, Bairie, and Greta) are gone now. It’s been over a year since Bairie left and I still miss them terribly. Maggie owns me now–a lovely wheaten rescue–and I am more convinced than ever that Scotties make their own rules. If you ask them to do something, they will think it over and do it it they think it’s a good idea. Of course this mean walking when, where and how you want them to. Maggie is aggressive to other dogs–this is her 4th placement so who knows her history–so I can’t take her on the street. My friend’s dog entices her to run in my big back yard, and I’m trying to get her to fetch (ha!), so that’s all the exercise she get. Hooray for Scotties!

  17. In April 2014 I left a comment about my two Scotties Hattie & Hamish who didn’t walk well on a lead. It is true, believe it or not, with patience, perseverance and many hours spent on walks to train them, it does pay off. Finally in 2016….they are almost 4 , I can happily enjoy walks with them. I love seeing them have fun off lead. They play and chase one another, enjoy meeting other dogs. Hamish shows no aggression & actually wags his tail when he meets new friends. I truly NEVER thought I’d achieve this with these two. They know I’m their leader & do as they’re told. Walking my two best friends, my loyal & loveable Scotties, is always a pleasure.

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