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This may be an utterly ridiculous thought, but...

(5 Posts)
GinAndOnIt Fri 09-Sep-16 08:09:25

Is there such a thing as 'lead anxiety'?

GinDog is 4 years old, and has always been a farm dog. His daily routine used to be to go to work with DP, run alongside the tractor for most of the day and come home, so no set walk IYSWIM. So up until a few months ago, he's very very rarely been on a lead blush

Anyway, a few months ago, I gave up work and I wanted GinDog home with me more often. We didn't want to stop him going off to work with DP completely, because at the moment he's really good at knowing the sounds of different machinery, and acts sensibly around them, and we don't want him to forget that. So at the moment, he's staying home with me for most of the week, and going off with DP probably once or twice a week on the days when I need to go food shopping etc.

As we have lots of farm land around us, I tend to walk him around that rather than on any public footpaths, so again, not a huge need for the lead. I take it with me though and he gets put on it if we go near a road or something like that. GinDog now knows which bits are for the lead, and generally slows down so I catch up to put it on. All fine.

The only thing is, I've noticed that whenever I put the lead on when he's not expecting it, he just poos all the time. He normally only goes once a day in the usual spot!

Yesterday for example, we were walking our normal route through the fields when a horse rider appeared. The horse looked a bit nervy, so I put dog on lead. Dog is fine with horses etc, but would quite happily trot along next to it which I realise could panic a nervy horse. We'll ignore the fact the rider shouldn't have been in the fields!

So GinDog is on lead, I slow down and horse rider speeds up. After a while, she is quite far in front, so I take GinDog off lead. A little while later, I noticed she had stopped with horse, so put dog on lead again so we could go past. I then decided it would just be easier if we did a bit of a detour and head home. GinDog (still on lead) then does three sets of poos in the short time he's on lead, but is fine again when he comes off.

Another incident was when I stupidly took him in the garden centre with me. I wanted to look at some plants on sale quickly on the way back from the other farm. Within twenty minutes, he had done three sets of poos again, and we had to leave.

And again, last week my friend asked if I wanted to meet up with her for an hour, so we went on the green near her house. Kept GinDog on lead next to me. Three sets of poos again.

Am I being ridiculous, or could this be linked? I don't really know what to do about it other than keep trying to get him used to the lead. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter if he forever hates the lead, because we can just stick to the farm land, and a few poos is preferable to other behaviour if he really does need to go on the lead.

Do you think it's worth trying to sort this out, or is it really too late now considering his age? Very sorry about the length of post, didn't want to leave details out!

DanielCraigsUnderpants Fri 09-Sep-16 12:53:39

Absolutely possible and not a ridiculous thought at all. You limit a dog's ability to fight or flight- you could try making the lead a positive thing, i would say regardless of age its worth doing if you think it would help. You obviously love gindog and would rather him to be stress free

GinAndOnIt Fri 09-Sep-16 16:24:58

Ah thank you, I do completely adore him! I was worried I'd get called a terrible owner so thank you for that grin

What would be a good way to encourage the lead do you think, perhaps a treat as soon as I clip it on, and then a treat or some fuss at the end of 'lead time'? It's hard to know whether he will even know what the treat is for!

DanielCraigsUnderpants Wed 14-Sep-16 10:34:26

Sorry for the delay, I'm not a regular mumsnetter. Of course you're not a terrible owner. You sound lovey.

Yes- good idea that when you clip the lead on offer a treat. Maybe practice in the garden with a lead, just walking round and round, or in an environment GinDog feels safe in, offering lots of positive experiences. Food, games. I actually play tuggy games with my dogs with the lead, but you need to have a good off switch for that, otherwise you end up with the dog chewing and messing about with the lead forever more.

It may well be worth consulting a trainer / behaviourist for some advice. Its difficult to do this properly when you cant see the dog one to one. Sarah Whitehead is very good and can do web chats i think. Or you may have one locally.

good luck

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Wed 14-Sep-16 12:36:28

My dog trainer told me constant pooing can be a sign of stress. We'd had about a month away from training due to various things and when we went back my dog just crapped everywhere. Very embarrassing for me but she said it's probably just stress.

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