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reluctance to walk

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by andrewd, May 24, 2017.

  1. andrewd

    andrewd PetForums Newbie

    May 24, 2017
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    Seeking advice on an issue which has arisen with my lurcher Jake. Not sure of his age - he's a rescue, somewhere between five and eight, I think.
    In the 16 months I've had him, he's always enjoyed plenty of exercise - we've been used to five walks a day, varying in time from half an hour up to an hour. Sometimes I'd have been happy to let one of the walks pass, but Jake always agitates to go out and frankly the exercise does me as much good as him.
    However, in the last ten days everything has changed. He still agitates to go out, but more often than not he wants to turn back home after a very short distance - usually no more than 100 yards. I was concerned about this when I became really aware of it, and last Wednesday took him to the vet. She wondered if it was his arthritis kicking in, and gave him a shot of an anti-inflammatory. It made no difference, and on Friday I returned with him to the vet. He was given X-rays and blood tests. The X-rays show that his heart is enlarged to a certain degree. The vet thought perhaps this was having an impact on his exercising (perhaps making him feel faint). She prescribed Frusecare, which I have been giving him since Friday. It has made no difference (although I guess it might be a little too soon).
    However, I'm not entirely convinced that this is a physical (or at any rate, solely a physical) matter. Although on the majority of occasions he turns back home after a short distance, on several occasions he has walked a reasonable distance, and several times has charged around the garden at a rapid rate of knots chasing a ball etc. Also, I think if it was a question of discomfort in his heart, it would not have suddenly developed, but would have been building up. This is not the case - the change happened virtually overnight.
    I did wonder when it first kicked in if it was fear - he doesn't like gunshots, and there were bird-scarers in the fields near where we sometimes walk. However, I'm not sure that stacks up ... his reluctance to walk seems to be unrelated to whichever particular walk he happens to be on.
    Sound familiar to anyone? If so, any advice? Thank you.
  2. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

    Nov 13, 2012
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    Can't really answer the main reason for your question but wanted to say something about the enlarged heart problem you mentioned

    With my last dog I had no idea that she had an enlarged heart until she had her xray when it was discovered that she had a grossly enlarged heart. She must have had this for quite some time, but showed no symptoms until one day she had difficulties continuing a walk when it became warm and she almost fainted several times before we were able to get her home. The drugs helped enormously, a tablet to reduce fluid and another to improve her heart, but they did take a while to work properly and have an effect.
    Personally, having had experience of this with another dog, I would have thought the bird scarers were the problem. Your dog wants to go out for a walk, but then remembers the bangs and then wants to go back home again. It doesn't really matter what time it is and whether the bird scarers are still going, he just remembers the bangs from a previous time and wants to get away to a safe place in case it happens again.
    There are various remedies which can help to relax a dog, but it's best to check with the vet in case these interfere with his heart and medication
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Jan 5, 2013
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    Following on from Siskin's post - lurchers can be extremely sensitive, so the fear aspect could be relevant here.

    I would give the heart meds time to kick in properly and work a little on reassuring him on walks, gently encouraging him a little further with treats/praise/reassurance but not forcing him to go far (esp. with the heart issue ;)).

    Is there a local person with a dog you could walk with?

    A friend's greyhound won't go far on her own now (she is 12 with health issues) but will happily walk with my lurcher Jack a good distance.

    If you have access to a garden could you just go out there with him when he starts to fidget? Maybe he just needs to go to the toilet, but doesn't want a walk?
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