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Trying To Figure Out Meaning Of Rudy's Behavior On Walks


Guest k9soul
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I'm a bit puzzled by this situation so I thought I'd share the situation here and see if my fellow greyhound people had some insight for me.

Rudy seems to run out of steam quicker than I would expect on neighborhood street walking. What I'm unsure about is if he's truly running out of steam or if he's just getting bored/losing interest, or if street walking is just more wearying for him than other forms of exercise. I've even wondered if it was reluctance or loss of interest because he knows we are heading back home, but he looks so genuinely tuckered out, I'm just not sure what to think!

He does not seem to have a lower energy level than what I'd expect in general. At the Fun Runs he's probably one of the hounds that runs the most.

 

When I get ready to take him on a neighborhood street walk, he's extremely excited and enthusiastic to go. I walk him and my lab mix together. At first he wants to stop, smell, mark, he trots just to the end of his lead (alongside my lab mix), ears up, nose sniffling, and doesn't pull. They aren't particularly long walks, maybe a couple blocks, but on the last leg home he begins hanging back, his head drooping more, walking slower and I have to encourage him a bit to move up with us at times. By the time I get home sometimes I swear I've seen him limp a bit on his right front leg but it's so slight and only seems to happen a little here and there that I wonder a bit if I'm seeing things. I checked his feet for any signs of corn and can find nothing.

 

I've done a few things to "test" and see what happened. One time I went out in the back yard with him after a walk and started running around the way I do to get him to play. Well he joined right in, began running his circles, digging, play bowing and so on.

 

Another time I took him on a 2nd shorter walk about 10 minutes after we got home except with my older girl who I walk slower for and who can't go as far. He was very eager to go on that walk, but not quite as energetic. He walked closer to my side but didn't lag behind. I did go a shorter route on the 2nd walk that does not have any inclines, whereas my longer route has an incline towards the end.

 

Last weekend I took just him to the nature preserve on a long lead, where he could stop and start more (sniffing, marking, going ahead a bit, lagging behind a bit), he seemed to remain more energetic and eager then. There was one point when I was heading back to the car and far ahead on the path was another person walking 3 dogs. He walked up ahead to the end of his leash and was interested but when they finally turned a corner and went out of sight he dropped back closer to walk next to me then. He never showed any sign of a limp at all.

 

So the mystery to me is if this is a physical issue or a mental one. I just can't quite figure it out.

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What happens if you take him on the usual walk, but instead of turning around and heading home when you normally would you keep going? In other words, is the behavior occurring at a certain time in the walk, or because of something that happens, ie. turning toward home?

 

And what do you do when he starts to lag? Do you slow down as well, give him more attention, try to coax him, pull on the leash at all, pick up the pace, talk to him, etc.?

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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My senior boy Sarge behaves differently when I walk him with Leyla (the alpha dog), than when I walk him alone. I bet there is nothing wrong with Rudy. He probably just behaves differently when he's out at a fun run with other greys, than on walks alone with you, vs walks with your older dog, vs walks with your younger dog, vs any other combination... I wouldn't worry too much about it...

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What happens if you take him on the usual walk, but instead of turning around and heading home when you normally would you keep going? In other words, is the behavior occurring at a certain time in the walk, or because of something that happens, ie. turning toward home?

 

And what do you do when he starts to lag? Do you slow down as well, give him more attention, try to coax him, pull on the leash at all, pick up the pace, talk to him, etc.?

 

It does seem to happen when we are going uphill more. One time I did take a different route with him (by himself) and it didn't seem to happen as noticeably.

 

I do tend to click my tongue and encourage him when he starts lagging and I may be subconsciously slowing down a bit more too. Hmmm.. I should watch my own behavior more closely next walk.

My senior boy Sarge behaves differently when I walk him with Leyla (the alpha dog), than when I walk him alone. I bet there is nothing wrong with Rudy. He probably just behaves differently when he's out at a fun run with other greys, than on walks alone with you, vs walks with your older dog, vs walks with your younger dog, vs any other combination... I wouldn't worry too much about it...

 

Thanks this is a good point too. His behavior does seem different when he walks alone versus with my lab mix (who is more energetic and seems like she could walk endlessly).

 

I'm thinking I ought to vary the walks more in length and route too. I just had been somewhat concerned to push him if he had some soreness going on or whatnot but he just shows no sign of any problem in any other situation.

Edited by k9soul
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My female does this *every* day! Once we make the round to the last block before heading home, she drags, looks sad, is reluctant to go. But if we turn a different direction, or if she doesn't know the area, she'll walk forever and stay bouncy. I think it's a combination of boredom and knowing the walk is about to be over soon. When we take them to parks, trails, or fenced dog parks, we joke that she becomes "Adventure Winry!" and is ready to go anywhere. I'll say she tires out before my male hound does, but certainly not on short walks. Sometimes I try to vary our route or go the other way to "trick" her, but it just seems inevitable for routine walks!

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My female does this *every* day! Once we make the round to the last block before heading home, she drags, looks sad, is reluctant to go. But if we turn a different direction, or if she doesn't know the area, she'll walk forever and stay bouncy. I think it's a combination of boredom and knowing the walk is about to be over soon. When we take them to parks, trails, or fenced dog parks, we joke that she becomes "Adventure Winry!" and is ready to go anywhere. I'll say she tires out before my male hound does, but certainly not on short walks. Sometimes I try to vary our route or go the other way to "trick" her, but it just seems inevitable for routine walks!

 

Well it's encouraging to see other hounds do this! I definitely think I'm going to try mixing things up a bit more and walking longer to see what he does. I just worried about him and probably was being overly cautious.

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Guest chickenpotpie

Lucky will get this way sometimes. So sometimes I take her on a longer than normal walk. our neighborhood loop is 1.5miles, so I will sometimes let her choose the direction she wants to go in. That helps with alleviating some of the boredom I think. Also is it possible to maybe take the dogs to a park maybe once a week to walk as a change of scenery?

Edited by chickenpotpie
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Kasey DRAGS HIS HEELS when we head for home some days.

 

To be honest when noticed him slowing down a lot last year and couldn't really figure out why and mentioned it to the vet, figure it was old age creeping up. He had actually dropped weight, and a lot of it - not very noticeable to us but it was on when he was on the scale. Because of his allergies, we were feeding him only a single source protein that was raw and after his weigh in we then decided to try a different type of protein and then a mix of three, and upped his feeding amount. It really made a change in him and he had a lot more energy and put on some weight. So he was slow because he lacked the energy initially, although some days like I said, he takes FOREVER to get to the front door when he knows we are turning for home.

 

I tend to take him different routes to keep it different for him, different pee mail, etc, but we can only head home in so many directions.

 

Just thought I'd mention the energy level just in case....have you weighed Rudy recently? Kasey was perfectly normal, so the energy level thing was a stunner.

Edited by XTRAWLD

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Monty hates the "boring" everyday areas that we cover on our walks. He's up for a great long walk (we've done over 7 miles before) and he only starts to do the pouty "sooo exhausted I can't even drag myself along" bit when we start to get within about 3 blocks of home. I've checked his reaction when turned away from home when he's doing this and he perks right up. For him, it's 99.985% psychological. I'd bet that at least part of your boy's actions are somewhat the same.

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It does seem to happen when we are going uphill more. One time I did take a different route with him (by himself) and it didn't seem to happen as noticeably.

 

I do tend to click my tongue and encourage him when he starts lagging and I may be subconsciously slowing down a bit more too. Hmmm.. I should watch my own behavior more closely next walk.

 

Thanks this is a good point too. His behavior does seem different when he walks alone versus with my lab mix (who is more energetic and seems like she could walk endlessly).

 

I'm thinking I ought to vary the walks more in length and route too. I just had been somewhat concerned to push him if he had some soreness going on or whatnot but he just shows no sign of any problem in any other situation.

It is possible that there's an underlying medical thing going on. I'd say it's less likely (in my totally unprofessional opinion) because even after dragging on a walk you can get him riled up and playing, but running and playing with toys or other dogs is more motivating than just walking so it's possible he puts the discomfort out of his mind for those things and not at the end of a walk. So I'd keep it in mind. I don't think you mentioned, or I missed how old Rudy is? Dragging on walks was the first sign that something was off with Zuri and he would still run on hikes or at the dog park. It turns out he was in the beginning stages of LS. The fact that Rudy drags more on hilly walks would fit with something like this so I would definitely keep a possible medical cause in mind, especially if he's getting a bit older. Have you noticed any signs of hind end weakness? Difficulty with stairs, back end sagging down a little or looking a little tucked, hesitant to jump up on furniture, anything like that?

 

Otherwise, try varying your route to see if that changes things. Also, when he starts to drag, I wouldn't do anything verbal (including the clicking), just try picking up your pace quite a bit and see if his behavior changes. We humans are pretty boring at times and simply picking up your speed can get him more focused on you and excited to keep walking. I would say that if those things don't help, then it might be time for a vet visit and maybe a thorough exam with an ortho.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I've gotten a few ideas from this thread to try and see how he reacts, especially turning another direction when he starts doing it and see what happens.

 

Rudy is 6 years old (turned 6 in July) and shows absolutely zero other signs of physical discomfort at any other time. It generally happens uphill, however because of the way my neighborhood is and the fact I kind of live at the top of a hill, generally we have to go uphill when returning. I will definitely keep a close watch on him though for signs of physical discomfort. The couple times I thought he might be limping a little I just am not sure if he actually was. He kind of was dragging a bit and may have stumbled slightly in the gravel at the side of the road.

 

But definitely no hind end weakness, he jumps like a pro into my Jeep Grand Cherokee and shows no sign of soreness, stiffness or strain after heavy activity like the Fun Runs. After my longer hike at the nature preserve he hopped up into the jeep when we left with no problem at all. I will try changing things up more, quickening pace or changing direction when he does it and see how he reacts.

 

Thanks very much for all the thoughts and tips :thumbs-up

 

Edit: On a side note my mixed breed girl fits the symptoms of LS, but she is nearly 15 years old.

Edited by k9soul
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Ok new update!

 

For tonight's walk I went a completely different way I've never gone before. It was a longer route than we usually go. Head up, perky the whole way. We came home from a different direction than I've ever taken him in. As soon as we hit the driveway, instant "tired" laggy dog. Head lowered, had to tug him to get him to come on.

 

So my biggest suspicion at this point is he's bored/knows we're going home and loses interest when we start going up the hill on my street.

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Ok new update!

 

For tonight's walk I went a completely different way I've never gone before. It was a longer route than we usually go. Head up, perky the whole way. We came home from a different direction than I've ever taken him in. As soon as we hit the driveway, instant "tired" laggy dog. Head lowered, had to tug him to get him to come on.

 

So my biggest suspicion at this point is he's bored/knows we're going home and loses interest when we start going up the hill on my street.

Seems pretty likely. ;) Take some treats with you and see if he acts differently if you offer some treats for him picking up the pace and you may have your confirmation. :)

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Some thoughts:

 

On behavior:

- Why the antagonism towards returning home? I like to train dogs to target their home - be it a crate, the front door, my car door, etc. I like to build drive by training dogs to seek out "home base" and to drive home with great gusto. This makes returning home exciting and it's also a phenomenal emergency behavior. Because, let's face it, some days you'll make a mistake, the dog will forge out of the car, and your most reliable behavior may not be "Come" but "Go home!". It'll save your/dog's butt! Also, I just think it increases the dog's quality of life by having them find enjoyment in these things rather than dread or boredom.

 

For example, before I let my dog back inside from a walk, I'll stop a few feet from the door > wait for an automatic "Sit" and "Focus" > build up some anticipation, and then release her with "Okay, Go Home!". It makes returning home fun, it helps me control her, and it's just good to practice impulse control :)

 

On medical:

- There's an enormous difference between exercising on cement and pavement VS exercising on dirt and grass. Podiatrists cringe when you tell them you run on pavement. It's a terrible thing to do to your joints. When I lived in an urban area, I had no choice but to run my dog on primarily pavement. We didn't do anything strenuous. We topped out at 3 miles/day maybe. My dog's body got wrecked - her back hurt, she was sore, she started lagging on our runs. I stopped running her on pavement and switched to a primarily dirt route. Her back stopped being sore, and she didn't lag on our runs anymore. So, even if the dog acts "normal" on dirt/grass, that may be because the problem is not behavioral but simply due to poor exercise conditions. Those are some thoughts. Hope you find a solution!

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Thanks Giselle,

 

I thought of the pavement situation and encourage him to walk on the grass/easement a bit as long as no one has plants right there, and we definitely don't jog on the pavement.

 

I don't feel he dreads coming home as when we go to the door he puts his nose in the crack and I have to get him to back up to get the door open and he eagerly goes inside. My best guess is when he realizes the walk is coming to an end it loses its excitement for him and he's less eager. However, I think I could rebuild some anticipation about ending the walk if I added some treats at the end or something to specifically look forward to. He's as treat and food-motivated as a lab :lol

 

I'm still going to keep close eye on any signs of physical discomfort and I will take him on any suspicion. He is due for rabies in a couple months and I'll have him get a physical exam then too.

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Sidney doesn't seem to like our walks at all. It's like pulling teeth to get him moving if we stop... Even if we just started out! We decided to leave walks for the weekends and stick to running around and throwing the ball during the week. He seems to like this a lot more.

I will be interested to see how he does after not going for a walk for a while.

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
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On our walks, Annie will slowwww down, hang her head and sometimes try to turn around when she realizes we're headed home. It can be 90 degrees with 90% humidity and she can be panting like crazy, but she still wants to continue. She tries to extend the walk even after we walk a couple of miles, as we do on days like today where it's crisp and sunny. It's not boredom. She just wants to be outside.

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Guest Waterdog66

I guess I am pretty lucky.

 

Audrey is usually doing corkscrews at the door as we get ready for most of our walks and seems to really enjoy herself. (For the Walk Sake, not just because she is relieving herself) We made a habit when we first got her to pick a spot close to home to eliminate AND THEN we go for a walk.

 

But on the return trip, she is always excited about going home. The anticipation of Breakfast/Dinner a treat or even just going to bed seems to put some extra pep in her step as we make the turn and head home. She is much less likely to get distracted on the way back.

 

If she does pause on the way home, it is usually a sign that she is still holding something in her bladder and needs to go one more time :D

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Guest OPointyDog

Yes, we have the dragging, "I couldn't possibly walk any faster and I am SOOOO exhausted" behavior, too. It happens when we get within sight of the house. I feel like I am torturing them. One neighbor refused to believe they were only 4 and 3 years old, thinking they must be at least 12 they were walking so slowly.

 

Then I take their leashes off and they start dashing around the house like crazy mad dogs. It is totally psychological.

 

We also can ONLY do loops. No dog legs! Otherwise the lollygagging goes on forever.

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Yes, we have the dragging, "I couldn't possibly walk any faster and I am SOOOO exhausted" behavior, too. It happens when we get within sight of the house. I feel like I am torturing them. One neighbor refused to believe they were only 4 and 3 years old, thinking they must be at least 12 they were walking so slowly.

 

Then I take their leashes off and they start dashing around the house like crazy mad dogs. It is totally psychological.

 

We also can ONLY do loops. No dog legs! Otherwise the lollygagging goes on forever.

 

:lol It just makes me laugh, they can be so dramatic. Tonight on our walk I took some treats with and gave him a couple as we reached the last leg home. He actually really did perk right up, didn't have any dragging today.

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