QUESTION: "I have a 3 year old bitch who used to walk with my other dogs every morning. Lately she has been balking at walking so I let her stay home. Am I doing the right thing? Since the weather is cold, I think the walk is good for her. What is the right thing for me to do?Kendall"
ANSWERHi Kendall - The first thing I wonder when an adult dog has such a sudden shift in behavior is: What changed?Three thoughts spring to mind.1) Is there salt on the sidewalk? How cold is cold? Some dogs are more tender footed than others. If she pulling hard to get back into the house, standing on three feet at a time outside or licking her feet when she gets back inside, it might be time for the oh-so-hated-but-useful booties. (Oh, and if she was just groomed and her feet were "cleaned up" that could be the problem.)2) Is she intact? If yes, when was her last cycle? False pregnancy, impending heat cycle and, god-forbid, pyometra might all have a bitch saying "no" when she would normally say, "GO!" Is she less active inside? Off her food? Tail or ears lower than usual? Less tolerant of other dogs or taking herself under things or away from the group to rest? All those things mean: Vet, NOW! (See Follow Up Below)3) Is a young dog/new-to-you dog hassling her? I know you would notice the overt threats but watch for the subtle ones. The jostling at the door, the quick head swings to block her, the silent glare from several feet away. This can also lead to her staying more on the outskirts of things than she used to. If she is and if you've recently added a new dog to your group or a young dog has recently "come of age" look there.What would I do? After I knew she was hail and hearty and if it wasn't too cold, I'd try walking her by herself. If she is game for that than I would be highly suspicious that she is getting pressure from some other dog in your group.Hope this is helpful and please let me know how this pans out.Follow UP: Bitch was in heat in October. From Sarah: If the bitch were bred October 15th, she'd be due today. So, a false pregnancy seems like a possible cause of her recent shift in behavior.No guarantees, but hormones may well be at the wheel.
QUESTION: You walk your pup or dog outside for a long time and nothing happens. However, when you get in, the pup goes immediately - often to his papers (or to where they used to be). He simply will not go outside.