Poodle Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve mentioned this in a couple of threads but never directly asked about it. Bobby has this behavior when on a walk. If you give him a toy to carry, or anything for that matter, he becomes a totally different dog. He becomes hyper focused like it’s job or a mission. He doesn’t look at anything, except straight ahead, including won’t look at me. There is absolutely no way to get him off his “task.” He is absolutely driven to carry the item, “somewhere.” He starts pulling and walking fast, like he has to carry this thing as a job. Also, he hyper focuses, to the point of obsession, when he carries certain squeaky toys, particularly his rubber chicken, around the house. It’s like he thinks they are real. He is so gentle with them. He seems to love carrying them in his mouth to the point that he can’t stop himself.
I’m not looking to fix anything. It’s more of a curious, interested in explaining this behavior. I just don’t have him carry stuff on our walks and squeaky toys are a once in awhile deal and only for a certain amount of time. So it isn’t an issue with us.
Any thoughts? Explanations? Just a weird poodle behavior? Is my poodle weird? 😉
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,721 Posts
Pogo was very materialistic. He loved carrying things around, including on walks. Having this job did seem to help take the edge off his leash reactivity. Now Galen enjoys carrying toys on walks as well. Snarky never did, unless he was teasing Pogo. I once saw a spoo carrying a stuffed dragon while I was driving to work. It makes sense that many poodles would enjoy carrying things around, as they were bred to be retrievers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
Normie has a rubber chicken that's been hidden away for its safety. I'll have to try giving it to him next time we walk. It will be fun to see what he does.

(I'm betting on instant decapitation.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
My mini Kiko, would occasionally find a paper coffee cup on our walks in the woods. When she did, she would pick it up and carry it, and became very focused on getting it home. Instead of poking around and smelling things, now we had to walk very quickly back to our car, while she carried the paper cup. She took it in the car and out of the car into the house, and would tuck it into one of her beds. She would be protective of it, and tuck it into her belly or under her neck. Then one day she would tear it into tiny pieces and that was the end of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
My mini Kiko, would occasionally find a paper coffee cup on our walks in the woods. When she did, she would pick it up and carry it, and became very focused on getting it home. Instead of poking around and smelling things, now we had to walk very quickly back to our car, while she carried the paper cup. She took it in the car and out of the car into the house, and would tuck it into one of her beds. She would be protective of it, and tuck it into her belly or under her neck. Then one day she would tear it into tiny pieces and that was the end of it.
If memory serves, that sounds like a junior high romance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Bobby most definitely has very strong retriever instincts which, knowing poodles are retrievers, I wasn’t too surprised. He consistently was retrieving toys the first week we brought him home. I didn’t train him at all. Fetch is great fun for him but he’s not obsessive about that.
I asked my original question because the carrying stuff does seem obsessive but maybe it’s more like a strong drive and untapped work ethic in the carrying and retrieving. I know nothing about hunting dogs. He’s SO intense about the carrying while walking. I’ve worked so hard to teach him to walk nicely and his focus on me is very good and most of the time, he walks very well. However, if he is carrying something on our walk I seriously do not exist and he pulls forward like a sled dog. He is absolutely driven, on a mission. But now I’m thinking, maybe I should work on this. Use this drive in some way positive. If it is truly a job in his mind, and we work on focusing when asked, maybe carrying something and pulling would be another fun thing for him, his “job” to do. I’m quite sure he would enjoy it.😊
If I put a harness on him and just let him pull and carry, only when I permit it, would this be like his special “sport” so to speak? It seems I could train him to know the difference, especially if I use the harness, since we no longer use one for the regular walks. Is this a weird question? Am I totally off base? He’s a smart boy so I think we could train him to know the difference or would I be undoing all the hard work for loose leash walking and heeling? I think Bobby would have seriously made a great hunting dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Decided to do an experiment on our evening walk that we just returned from. I put on Bobby’s harness and his martingale (his walking collar). We started out with normal walking on the collar. Then after a few blocks I switched to harness mode and brought out his mini rubber squeaky loofah dog, which he loves. I had him sit, wait as I held his toy in front of him, told him “take,” and then told him to “Carry.” I was beyond proud of him. He carried it proudly for almost a mile.” He pulled ahead as I expected but he kept the longer leash I used loose. While he didn’t listen well, it wasn’t a total bomb either. I was able to get him to sit and come next to me when needed. I then switched back to normal walking mode. He easily gave me the toy. He walked great in normal mode. I then switched back to carry mode, same routine and he did great! I think this new little activity will be very good! He seemed intense but I do think he enjoyed it. I think it was a nice workout for him.
I had taught him as a pup the words take, out and carry so these words/commands transferred perfectly. So, I still am not sure if my poodle is weird but I do think we have a fun new activity that will be super good and fun for him and increase his training as I am going to work on better listening skills as he carries his toy on his walks. Based on tonight’s walk, I definitely think he will know the difference and not lose his normal loose leash and heeling skills.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,721 Posts
Decided to do an experiment on our evening walk that we just returned from. I put on Bobby’s harness and his martingale (his walking collar). We started out with normal walking on the collar. Then after a few blocks I switched to harness mode and brought out his mini rubber squeaky loofah dog, which he loves. I had him sit, wait as I held his toy in front of him, told him “take,” and then told him to “Carry.” I was beyond proud of him. He carried it proudly for almost a mile.” He pulled ahead as I expected but he kept the longer leash I used loose. While he didn’t listen well, it wasn’t a total bomb either. I was able to get him to sit and come next to me when needed. I then switched back to normal walking mode. He easily gave me the toy. He walked great in normal mode. I then switched back to carry mode, same routine and he did great! I think this new little activity will be very good! He seemed intense but I do think he enjoyed it. I think it was a nice workout for him.
I had taught him as a pup the words take, out and carry so these words/commands transferred perfectly. So, I still am not sure if my poodle is weird but I do think we have a fun new activity that will be super good and fun for him and increase his training as I am going to work on better listening skills as he carries his toy on his walks. Based on tonight’s walk, I definitely think he will know the difference and not lose his normal loose leash and heeling skills.
That's great! It also sounds like you might be able to use carrying the toy as a reward. I can often use a ball as a reward when Galen has been heeling nicely.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,633 Posts
Sounds like a good plan to use carrying something as a reward for walking nicely. Keep that going. Bring two toys with you so you can switch them out and make carrying something even more enjoyable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you Click and Cowpony. I think that’s exactly what I will do. I never thought of it in those terms as carrying toys on walks encouraged pulling for him so I just stopped but if we do the toy carrying with the approach we did did last night I think there are great possibilities.
I do reward him by letting him “carry” my hand when he walks nicely from out outside to the house after walks and car rides. He loves carrying my hand. It’s so sweet. He carries my sock balls for me every morning too. 😊
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,276 Posts
Sophy once killed a young rabbit (it was already suffering from advanced myxomatosis so I felt she saved me having to deal with it). She carried it back to the car with great determination, although it was half as big as she was, and only gave it to me when she realised there was no way she could get it into the car by herself. When she has killed very tiny ones she has eaten them on the spot - I think this behaviour was more taking food back to the den. Poppy will carry sticks if I find her safe ones, and then very carefully hide them away from the path so humans won't find them and throw them away again.

Mixing up carrying with sniffing and loose leash walking sounds like a very good way of making walks more interesting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lily cd re

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,132 Posts
fjm that is interesting thinking on why Sophy did that. Lily loves toys and often carries them in the house and also will take them outside, but then generally abandons them. She used to take them on walks but then would drop them. Once she realzed that I was not going to carry them for her she stopped bringing them, even though I made sure we could rescue them on the way home. But it was really Peeves who was the must carry something around dog. He spent probably 80% of his life walking around with toys in his mouth. When he was a pup on into adolscence he would pick up fallen branches and drag them along on walks, and I mean branches a couple of inches in diameter and 6 or more feet long! Lily is gentle with her toys while Peeves ultimately killed many of his (and hers too). Javelin doesn't play with toys much since Lily always takes them from him. He has lost his sense of fun for them.

I overall like the suggestion of the toy being given as a reward for nice loose leash walking, but would give it near then end of the walk or give it and take it back a couple of times on a longer walk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The allowing of carrying and pulling forward has been an absolutely wonderful addition to Bobby’s walks! I am so glad I tried this with him! We have been doing this for several days now, not every walk but on our evening walks when he’s more energetic. He consistently knows the difference so his regular walking skills have not been negatively affected. In fact, I’m quite sure it actually has improved his walking ability because he is way more focused on me during our regular walking. While he has walked quite well I have always thought of him being a more distracted dog. He loves to observe the world which can sometimes work against a good walk.

This carrying activity has been a game changer. He is way more focused on me now, I have no doubt, waiting for his “prize” to carry something. I think this activity is really bringing him joy and fulfilling a need. Another observation, I think he wants to carry it home so I give him the “prize” when we are set to go back home. So my conclusion is, my poodle is NOT weird. 😉 He just has a real need to retrieve and carry things.
 

·
Registered
Standard Poodle (arriving April 21st !!)
Joined
·
625 Posts
I'm sure we are weird from our poodles perspective at times! Maybe more times than we think! I know Elroy thinks I'm weird now and then .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
I brought a small tennis walk on our walk today and placed it on the ground for Normie to find on our way home. He picked it up, put it back down, and went about his usual walking business (staring at robins in the distance).

I tried offering it later and got the 'humans are weird' look. "Lady, I'm busy."

I guess he thinks that walks are for birdwatching and tennis balls are for fetch at home.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top