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Hi - my 3.5 year old (wonderful & normally super bouncy & friendly) Spoo girl sometimes doesn’t want to get up in the morning (she then is the last to come downstairs), then she sometimes doesn’t want to go for a walk, or (and this is the trickiest) she suddenly stops towards the end of a walk and won’t move to go home.

This has been going on and off for at least a year. Needless to say, we’ve taken her to our vet numerous times when this has happened, and although blood tests revealed nothing and couldn’t detect any real muscular pain (but he twice said that perhaps there was some resistance in her back hip), she was put on Metacam for a few weeks and we were told to keep her still.

The thing is: as soon as you throw a ball or stick or whistle (she’s trained to come when I whistle), she (almost involuntarily) starts running again.

And when we were told to keep her still for weeks and on Metacam, the 1st few times this happened, she would beg us to throw ball or sticks for her in the garden, running around the garden like a crazy thing when anyone so much as made eye contact with her.

On a good day, this type of playful engagement with her gets us home when she stops at the end of a walk with me. On a less good day, she then stops again and only walks a few steps, to get a treat that I hold out for her, and repeat. I can’t pull her by her collar (she’s 23kg), and pulling her along on a harness doesn’t work either. When this happens, I often shove her body a bit and leave her while walking away (if it’s safe). She then normally snaps out of it and runs towards me, and normally this gets her out of this funky state and we make it home.

On a bad day I’ve been known to carry that 23kg lump of Spoo the last stretch home (not a pretty sight), or my husband picks us up in the car (usually by that time she snapped out of it and we’re nearly home).

I’m the one who feeds/trains/plays/stimulates her the most, so she is more likely to stop walking with my husband. In fact, sometimes (especially when it rains) she refuses outright to go on a walk with him (because he tends to go on the same route; he doesn’t tend to throw sticky for her, you get the picture: he’s not making the walk all about entertaining her...).

Let me add: this never happens when we walk with other dogs, nor does it happen when our teenage children come along on the walk (super-rare, super-exciting for our Spoo).

We have been thinking she’s just a fickle lady, and laughed it off as yet another quirk of a creature that is so much more than “just a dog” for us, but over the last couple days she didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to get out with me, and when I drove her to her favourite dog park area, I noticed she didn’t want to get out of the car. She then stayed at the entrance of the park, and even laid down and whinced for a bit, before I took her home again (jumped willingly into the car!).

I was at the vet 3 days ago (for immunisation), had in fact again mentioned her intermittent refusal to walk, and we both had laughed as the vet said he couldn’t find anything physically wrong with her, tutting and play-scolding her for being such a capricious poodle (with her loving all the attention, wagging tail & being extra cute).

And now, directly after my last trip to the vet, another couple of days where we worry that something serious is wrong with her.

Has anyone seen this type of behaviour in a poodle?

She’s our 1st Spoo, so perhaps she really just doesn’t feel like walking/can’t be bothered to walk home when it’s no longer fun?

???
 

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My girl is not a spoo but a toy, Beatrice will absolutely not take a step if I am stressed out she has done this since she was a puppy. I have to clear my my mind and mentally destress myself in order for her to happily walk.
Flip side of that is Beatrice has had bilateral luxating patellas, and needed surgery to repair both knees before the age of three. Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at age four and with terminal cancer at age five, she is six now and I have to determine if she in pain or is refusing to walk because I am upset.
In this Covid world, I have to balance out what is going on with my little Beatrice.
Recently she was diagnosed with low thyroid, a change in pain medication and the addition of thyroid meds has her very happily walking again.
I guess my point is don't dismiss that your dog might be in pain if it continues get a second opinion, but try relaxation exercises before your walk your pup and see if that might be the issue is as well.
 

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I've had it intermittently when the dog was experiencing pain, or anxiety, or wanted to do something else.

My boy Pogo didn't want to walk alone as a puppy, especially close to dark. He was better when we brought his brother Snarky along. He eventually grew out of it. However, he went through phases where he made it clear that he would have preferred to stay home with my husband instead of walking with me. This was especially common when he was feeling unwell.

My new puppy Galen acted the same way. He had to be coaxed along unless we brought Pogo. Fortunately, he had reached the point where he was happy to walk alone before Pogo died. Now, however, he finds walks a little bit boring. The other day he dug in his heels a few hundred feet from my house. He was so insistent that I let him turn around. When we got home I saw a flock of wild turkeys emerging from my neighbor's yard. Galen had apparently heard them and wanted to go chase them.
 

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Adrenaline is an amazingly effective short term pain relief - I have seen Sophy go from unable to move from back pain to dashing to the door at 60 mph. It doesn't mean the pain or injury have gone away, however, and the dashing may well make it worse once the excitement has worn off. I would want to investigate further for a pattern - is it almost always on the way home? At the same spot? After both long and short walks? Was she immediately bouncier on metacam (nearly always a sign of pain without it)? If it continues, and your vet can find no explanation, I would be tempted to ask for a referral to a fully qualified animal osteopath - I found one who made a huge difference for Sophy's pain and my anxiety!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Many thanks to all of you, @twyla , @cowpony and @fjm - what you write is really helpful, and helps me keep taking this seriously. I also agree that getting a new opinion from an animal osteopath is useful; I'll do that and report back. What a helpful community this is!
 
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