Baffling Behavior On Walks...

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Pawtential Unleashed, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Pawtential Unleashed Experienced Member

    I have never heard of this before and my suggestions up to this point have yielded no change so I am opening the floor to you brilliant people...what do you think?

    Dog: Rocky
    Breed: Boxer
    Age: 1.5 yrs
    Neutered: Yes
    Housetrained: Yes
    Other Dogs: Yes - Mac, 5yr old Boxer - best buddies
    Level of Training: Basic

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    Problem Behavior: When taken for a walk, on leash, with or without Mac, about a mile to a mile and half into the walk, Rocky will stop and express his anal glands and continue to do so every 20-30 feet for the remainder of the walk until they circle back to the car at which point the behavior stops.

    Factors:
    * Anal gland secretion is clear
    * His stool is normal and he toilets freely on walk
    * Vet has been consulted and has given Rocky a very clean bill of health
    * Occurs in a variety of locations - no specific walking track but always about a mile or so into the walk
    * Occurs at a variety of walking speeds - though more common at brisk pace
    * Does not occur when just sniffing around the block on a potty walk or loose at the dog park
    * Happens every time they try for a regular brisk walk
    * Leash is loose after the initial excitement and he is neither pulling nor lagging
    * Client notes he seems to not be able to control himself doing this - he gets back on the trail and literally every 20-30 feet he has to express again. When they get to a certain point in the loop where they are almost back to the car - the behavior stops.

    Initial Thoughts:
    Possibly anxious or sensitive to leash or speed of walking - client paid more attention and says he is happy and engaged, general young boxer behavior. I have not walked with them yet - so I am not sure.

    It seems like an anxiety based issue to me - but I have never heard of anal gland expression being paired with a level of anxiety that low.

    The client says he enjoys walking, does not try to turn back and go the other way but instead gets back on the trail and heads forward happily?

    Questions? Suggestions?

  2. Anneke Honored Member

    That's a tough one.... My first thought was anxiety, maybe afraid to loose his way?? So spreading his scent on the path. Since you discribe it only happens after a while and stops when they turn back.
    I have only heard of dog opening their analglands in extreme fear, so this has got me puzzled.
  3. Anneke Honored Member

    That's a tough one.... My first thought was anxiety, maybe afraid to loose his way?? So spreading his scent on the path. Since you discribe it only happens after a while and stops when they turn back.
    I have only heard of dog opening their analglands in extreme fear, so this has got me puzzled.
    I'll be pondering on this;)
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    With the information you know so far, I'm definitely thinking anxiety. For a dog to express its own anal glands that often, and only in that context, I would think it would have to be anxiety-based.
    The fact that it stops when they head back to the car could go either way--YAY we're going home now, eveything's okay; or he's just empty.
    What happens if they stop and rest before he expresses them? Rest for 15-20 minutes, maybe some massage, generally just relaxing, then go on about their walk. At the next interval where he would normally express his glands, stop again. Then carry on with no more rests to see if he does express them still, how long it is before he does express them, etc, to see if the stopping had any impact at all. Honestly I'm thinking he probably still will, but with the information given that's all I've got right now. :confused: I'm interested to hear your take when you actually get to see and work with him!

    Also the dogs are really cute. :D
  5. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I read and re-read your post, and now have two questions. You said:
    So - if they are doing a loop, and the dog says ok, I'm almost back to the car, I don't have to do this anymore, what would happen if the client started the loop all over again, or turned back and now walked the loop backwards, just changed everything up on the dog, would the dog start the behavior all over again?

    Second question: This occurs when they try for a 'regular brisk walk' but not on a regular potty walk around the block. Before these 'brisk walks', is the dog having an opportunity to have a 'regular potty walk' and do his thing, just be a dog for a while, have 15-20 min of sniffing time here and there, or it is all about briskly walking with the human, which maybe *for this dog* is just too much to handle.

    If there's no "dog time" beforehand, maybe give *this dog* time, let him 'be a dog' for 15-20 min, just wander, sniff, do his thing, potty, etc (rather than hurry, go potty, we need to exercise - and of course I'm not sure that's what's going on, I'm just throwing out ideas) - and then maybe he'll feel more ready to handle a brisker walk with his human.

    I'm interested to hear, also. Good luck.

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