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Strange dog behaviour

(48 Posts)
wigparty Tue 08-Jul-08 11:57:41

We have a staffie cross, rescue dog who will be 9 this year.

His nature is totally hyperactive but has been slowing down a bit in his middle age.

We usually get to the park and he'll play with his ball for a bit and then we usually go off around the park and he loves it (sniffing/weeing etc.).

For the last 3 or 4 days, we get to the sniffing/weeing stage and he just puts the brakes on and refuses to go any further. No amount of encouragement can persuade him to go any further. Even if I put him on the lead, he'll just put his head down and refuse to move.

Once we turn round to go home again, he can't get there fast enough hmm.

It's really odd as he's such an energetic boy normally and he seems to be acting like a sulky teenager. He seems fine in himself and is eating well. He had very bad anaemia in the past, caused by an ulcer, and lost alot of blood so the first things I checked were his gums and tongue, which are beautifully pink.

He behaves just as normal when we're at home.

He's done the same thing with DP but on a different walk (different park) so it's not a specific place that's the problem.

Does anyone have any ideas, I'm clueless as to what it could be! Could he just be going through delayed adolescence?!

bethoo Tue 08-Jul-08 12:04:26

is it at the same spot that he stops? may be something interesting that has his atention and he does nto watn to leave it?
i doubt it si adolescence as he is an old man bless him.
i would nto worry too much if he is eating well and otherwise behaving normally.
has he been neutered as a lady dog in season may have recently been past that way?

Doodle2U Tue 08-Jul-08 12:08:12

Maybe his legs/joints are starting to ache after the ball game?

Try switching the walk and ball game around first.

Doodle2U Tue 08-Jul-08 12:10:38

Just thought of this....our dog had an allergic reaction when we were on holiday and in between his pads swelled and went red.

The vet told us that more dogs than you can imagine deveop an allery to GRASS!!!!! at some stage in their lives. (I never heard this before!)

Long shot but maybe the ball game sets off an allergy, so by the time it's walk time, his feet hurt!

Just have a quick look between his pads.

wigparty Tue 08-Jul-08 12:11:13

Hi Bethoo,
He has been done as he was a rescue dog so no female attractions! It's definitely not something interesting as when he's not happy to do something he'll put his head down virtually on the ground and his tail will disappear between his legs and he'll stay that way until we turn round to go home again. He is the master of the 'hangdog' approach smile

I thought he may just have gone off that particular walk but he's done it since in another place with DP.

I tried to encourage him onwards today with loads of upbeat chattering (which sometimes works) and brought his ball out again to see if he wanted to play but he wasn't having any of it!

wigparty Tue 08-Jul-08 12:14:10

Thanks Doodle, I'll have a look.
The ball game really is minimal at the moment, two or three throws, but actually that's made me think maybe it is his joints?

Checking his pads now... No, they seem fine.

He doesn't seem to be walking stiffly or anything but maybe a trip to the vet is in order?

Doodle2U Tue 08-Jul-08 12:17:55

I would Wig. I know it costs £30 before you've even taken your seat in the waiting room but I think this little chap needs the once over, just to be sure.

The Vet might have some other suggestions.

Dogs get depressed! Maybe he has ishooes!wink

wigparty Tue 08-Jul-08 12:24:15

I think so too Doodle. He's had a number of digestion problems in the past (eats prescription food) so he's no stranger to the vet!

He is quite sensitive though, maybe he is depressed? <goes off to give him another hug>

I'll give the vet a call and will let you know what she says.

Thanks again!

Doodle2U Tue 08-Jul-08 13:09:03

Yes, would like to know what the vet thinks. Will look out for your post smile

wigparty Wed 09-Jul-08 18:22:42

Hi all,
just wanted to let you know that I tried again yesterday late afternoon and he was 100% up for it, games, running, sniffing...the works. One very happy dog!

Now, he hates rain and it started raining shortly after we went out that morning. Likewise, it's been tipping down today and he's refusing to go out (has obviously done his business in the garden).

I'm holding off from the vet as he was in such good spirits when out yesterday afternoon. I'm wondering if the apathy is because he can sense rain/(storms) in the air?

Will wait to see how he is on our next fine walk and if behaviour's the same, a trip to the vet is definitely in order.

youcannotbeserious Wed 09-Jul-08 18:29:04

My dog did something similar years ago.

He loved going to the park but then I'd start to walk up the path (where he'd been going since he was 12 weeks old) and he just refused to go. Bum on the floor, no amount of cajoling would work.

Would turn and happily go home, even though he'd missed a big portion of his walk.

He did the same at a few other places and we put it down to him not wanting to be on narrow paths. I used a dog walker at the time (who I thought was great but turned out to be a little less trust worthy! hmm) who was adament nothing had happened, but my dog is not very brave and is always getting growled at, and I'm pretty sure he got himself cornered in a narrow path somewhere. After that (to this day) he hates narrow or confined spaces.

Not sure if this is at all relevant, but it might be worth looking if there are any similarities with the places he doesn't want to go?

Just thought it was worth mentioning?

wigparty Thu 10-Jul-08 11:47:09

Thanks youcannotbeserious smile

If it had just been in the same place, it would actually make total sense! Part of this walk is around a sports stadium and they've had lots of end-of-term events with the starting pistol going and he hates bangs. It happened while we were out and the head down scenario starts. (You've actually reminded me of this...).

The puzzle though is when he's done this with DP on a totally different walk which isn't near any areas he's had problems with before.

That's definitely worth thinking about though, he's a sensitive boy and, at least with the first walk, that may well be a factor.


ChickenBurger Thu 10-Jul-08 13:28:47

I had a dog that would just refuse to walk. He had excema on his paws, I'd get the vet to check him out.

youcannotbeserious Thu 10-Jul-08 23:34:16

Is there anything about the 'other' walk, though, Wigparty, that might remind the dog of a bad experience?

I don't think my dog had a bad experience in the narrow path he refused to walk up - it just reminded him of it.

My dog is what you might call a sensitive soul and these problems might well be transferable.

By the sounds of it, this isn't a case of a dog not wanting to walk full stop - so physical problems aren't likely to be the cause. I'm not a dog expert but I wouldn't rule out psychological reasons.

muffinmum Fri 11-Jul-08 00:53:25

Wigparty i bet some horrible noise went off at that place, also your doggy might then make the association of scary horrible noise with another cue so thats why it happens on other walks. There are lovely pheroimone impregnated collars (DAP collars) that are exactly for this, plus do all the confident chattering you are doing and have some tasty treats.good luck

wigparty Fri 11-Jul-08 09:30:09

Thanks guys!
He had 2 walks yesterday in both the 'problem' parks and he was absolutely fine..running round like a maniac, playing etc. Tis very strange.

There's definitely nothing up wit his paws/pads and he doesn't seem to be in pain so I do think it might be psychological. (when the smoke alarm low battery signal goes off he goes into the garden and trembles - ditto a weird tv signal bleep)

He's a rescue dog so who knows what happened in the 2 years before I got him sad, although he's definitely never been abused and was extremely well trained when I got him - somebody really had taken time with him smile

I'm going to take him to problem park number 1 today and will try a different route and games at the end to see how that works.

Thanks again for everyone's input, it's been really helpful. He's currently snoring at my feet as I type this after a big breakfast so all's well in his world grin

Tiggiwinkle Fri 11-Jul-08 09:35:47

Our German Shepherd sometimes refuses to go for her walk-like yours she digs her heels in and refuses to budge! Rain can cause it-she is a big softie and hates the rain, mainly I think because she is frightened of thunder and associates heavy rain with that.
Similarly, in the firework season (never ending these days it seems) she won't go out in the dark!

wigparty Fri 11-Jul-08 15:02:55

Yours sounds just like mine Tiggiwinkle. I think he's just incredibly sensitive. If anyone at home's in a bad mood, he'll try and cover you in kisses. If anyone swears he'll go off and hide.

Took him on the problem walk today and he loved it again. Think whatever strange episode he went through has probably passed. Will keep a close eye on him though...

wigparty Fri 11-Jul-08 15:37:32

have also indulged him in more than his usual quota of "WOWEEEEEEES" and clap, clap, clap when he gets the ball (or misses), he likes that grin

Lovesdogsandcats Tue 15-Jul-08 13:51:27

not only can dogs be allergic to grass but a common one is know the stuff they make white linbes with on footie pitches? Makes them red and saw on the paws...could be this?

My first thought though, is arthritis. Once the initial excitement wears off, they feel the aches.
Maybe cut back on the ball throwing and try the walking alone, see if he is ok then?

wigparty Tue 15-Jul-08 18:45:39

Thanks Lovesdogs. His paws look fine and he doesn't mind me touching them. He's been absolutely fine for the last 4-5 days or so. I'm wondering if it was all the heavy rain that was threatening last week that was putting him off?

Still, he seems on good form atm. I would love to wean him off the ball/frisby playing a bit but with his typical staffie one-track mind he's so into his games and I feel like I've short-changed him if I don't bring a toy. (He also pesters me all the way round the park, convinced I must have a ball on me somewhere!).

wigparty Thu 17-Jul-08 12:42:03

For past two days, my poor little boy has been back to his old tricks sad so have booked him in to see the vet tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully she can help sort out what may be wrong.

For the times he seemed to turn more upbeat again, there were other people walking with me, so I'm now feeling guilty that perhaps he was just 'putting on a show' despite feeling crap (even more sad)

I got him as a rescue dog and they said he was 2, but they acknolwedged this was only an educated guess. Say they were 2 years out, he would actually be 99 years old and not 63! <trying to grasp at explanations for his downturn>

Will let you know what the vet says tomorrow.

wigparty Fri 18-Jul-08 18:45:47

Update on my boy.

We took him to the vet this afternoon and she checked him out and couldn't find a thing wrong with him. Physically, she said he was on peak form and commented on his fine muscle mass!! Suggested we do a park walk one day, round the block the next, to see if that helps (I'm not convinced but happy to try).

We also mentioned he had been 'ear-flapping' a fair bit and she could see something in his ear but couldn't get to it as he was wriggling and shrieking like the drama queen he is smile

We agreed to let them sedate him (he ended up needing gas too as he still wriggled). It wasn't a grass seed in his ear, but a whole load of stuck gunk and hair (eew) which had lodged itself in there.

Fingers crossed, this could be the reason for his apathy. Have a very very dopey and wobbly dog on the sofa at the mo. Here's to a speedy recovery, I hate seeing him so down sad

Lovesdogsandcats Fri 18-Jul-08 21:03:03

Oh wow, yes the bad ear may have meade him feel off colour.
glad you took him to the vet.

I know what you mean about the ball, my first dog lived for it and my oldest boy now is obsessed.

best thing is let doggy lead you...if he wants the ball let him, if he slows down and just wants to plod along, thats fine too smile

Let us know how he is over the next few days smile

wigparty Fri 18-Jul-08 23:40:07

Will let you know how tomorrow's walk goes lovedogsandcats!

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