Poodle Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So my friend's toy poodle always wants to be carried. Now here is the mistake the owner is making and in my opinion whenever her poodle whimpers, the owner gives in and carries her poodle. Trying to exercise the poodle by walking her turns out to be a complete failure. I took the leash and made some success walking her but she constantly whimpers when we have to stop like at a stop light. Should we continue to force the toy poodle to walk even though she whimpers because the whimpering stops once she starts walking. The toy poodle has no health issues or problems. We don't go to a park because there are no parks nearby and so we just walk her on the sidewalks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,213 Posts
If the stops are close to roads and busy traffic and the dog is used to being carried in those situations, I would not worry about it too much. Where it's possible to keep moving I would jolly her along, pausing for sniffs where she wants to, trotting a few steps, giving her a treat every few yards, generally making a fun and happy game of it. Chocolate for your friend, lavish praise, and some funny stories, may help keep her on side - humans respond well to positive reinforcement, just like dogs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lily cd re

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,349 Posts
How old is the dog? And how active is she when at home? Can she comfortably run and jump when at home?

If she's overwhelmed by being out on a busy sidewalk where she's the smallest creature, then she's probably frightened. That's not spoiled. She may need help overcoming her anxiety.

Frank, tough love is not the answer. Small dogs often have reason to be anxious in stressful situations. Help her overcome it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,570 Posts
I agree it is some kind of discomfort: fear or perhaps even pain, if the sidewalk temperature is too hot or cold. Poodles are nothing if not curious. Something is upsetting her if she wants to be carried instead of staying on the ground where she can sniff and explore.

I think continuing to force the dog to do things that make it uncomfortable might backfire.

Think of it in human terms. You know a shy girl, and you think she's very cute. You want to get to be closer friends, so you take her to a nice little cafe. Before she sits down she sees a spider. She gasps and jumps backwards. What would you do? Giving her the spider and telling her to be brave probably would not end well. Much better to move to another table, far from the spider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
How old is the dog? And how active is she when at home? Can she comfortably run and jump when at home?

If she's overwhelmed by being out on a busy sidewalk where she's the smallest creature, then she's probably frightened. That's not spoiled. She may need help overcoming her anxiety.

Frank, tough love is not the answer. Small dogs often have reason to be anxious in stressful situations. Help her overcome it.
The dog is a little over a year old and very active at home. She loves to play fetch however my friend lives in a very small studio and can't really throw the ball that far. Yes she can comfortably run and jump at home. Like I said, the dog has no health problems or issues. The dog definitely is not getting enough exercise by just being at home so what do you suggest specifically? I just think it is ridiculous that her dog needs to be carried around by the owner or me on the streets when there is no danger to the dog and the dog definitely needs the exercise because if the dog gets enough exercise, then the dog is very calm at home. If she is carried home, then the dog is just too active and just running and jumping around everywhere inside that small studio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I agree it is some kind of discomfort: fear or perhaps even pain, if the sidewalk temperature is too hot or cold. Poodles are nothing if not curious. Something is upsetting her if she wants to be carried instead of staying on the ground where she can sniff and explore.

I think continuing to force the dog to do things that make it uncomfortable might backfire.

Think of it in human terms. You know a shy girl, and you think she's very cute. You want to get to be closer friends, so you take her to a nice little cafe. Before she sits down she sees a spider. She gasps and jumps backwards. What would you do? Giving her the spider and telling her to be brave probably would not end well. Much better to move to another table, far from the spider.
What do you suggest specifically? The owner's home is a small studio so the dog definitely is not getting enough exercise just being home.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,002 Posts
the dog has no health problems or issues.
When was the last time she (what is this little poodles name please?) was seen by a vet, to be sure there isn't a medical issue?

I'm shorter than average and am not at all comfortable when there are many people larger than me in a crowd.
I drive a smaller car and am very concerned when surrounded by larger vehicles on the road.
This is a safety issue for a small dog and may well be the primary cause of the whimpering.

If this is this is the same little poodle you wrote of before, you'd mentioned going to parks. Is that a rare occurrence, rather than easily accessible for walking, and not to stay all day? Is there any public building with accessible grounds that might be safe to walk in?

Fyi, I'm going to call the poodle Serenity for now.

Ultimately, yes, it would be nice to help Serenity learn that she will be safe with you or both of you so that she can walk without fear.

A recent thread about helping a pup past fears. (Thank you, cowpony for this. I will forever growl at and poke garbage bins in your honor :))

And borrowing suggestions from our member and certified trainer, Click-N-Treat again:

" The Look at That game. It's one of the most useful tools for helping a stressed dog calm down.

Start in the house. Have an object in your hand (book, plastic bottle) Wave it, say look at that, when the dog looks, say YES (or click) and give a treat. Hide it behind your back. Take a breath, and repeat. Put the object in different places, over your head, to your left, to your right, between your legs. Keep the game fun and happy.

The dog will learn to LOOK at something and then LOOK back at you for a reward.
The goal of the game is to teach the dog to look at a scary or overstimulating thing, now look at me.

Go very slowly. Look at one scary person, treat, go back inside where it's safe. Next time, look at two very scary people, treat, go back inside. If your dog spits out treats, you're too close to the scary thing. Back up until the dog is comfortable then try again."

This "game" gives them permission to be scared but by looking to you, trusting you to keep them safe, they can move forward and closer to what they fear, until they no longer fear it.

This is something to try in short sessions, maybe 5-10 minutes per session, as with any training, maybe 2 or so times a day.

"Honor how he feels and it works. Isn't it funny how changing your own reactions to your dog's fears can make such a huge impact? Instead of worrying about how to fix it, run away from it together. Get far enough away where you can play the look at that game. Pause and take a step forward together, and another.
I remember when Noelle was terrified of helium balloons. She didn't know what they were, why they were floating, why they moved like that, and they really scared her. In a public place, I pointed to a red balloon, and told Noelle, "Oh no, it's Pennywise! We gotta go, run!"
And we did. We fled to the other side of the store, and we watched those balloons together. And we took one step closer, and Noelle sat. And we took two steps closer, and Noelle sat. And when we took three steps closer, Noelle wouldn't sit.
"Noelle! Did you see Pennywise? Run!"
Now, I'm laughing, of course. And strangers were no doubt looking at me like I'd just landed from Saturn. I didn't care. But, slowly Noelle got used to the balloons. We did it on her timetable, not mine. While we watched balloons I encouraged her. When you encourage someone, you give them courage. Giving courage as a gift sometimes looks like running away in mock terror from a helium balloon.
Laughing, being playful, while moving away from whatever was causing Noelle stress, let her know that I was there with her, and not against her. That we would meet the fearful thing and defeat it together. Balloons are a natural for being worried about Pennywise. Talking about alien abduction covers just about any other problem.
"Yes, Noelle, I know. You were standing by that loud door when the aliens abducted you last time. Let's get out of here!"
If you're willing to be playful, and have fun, and tune out the strangers who are staring at you, counter conditioning can be a lot of fun. Run away laughing. Stop and watch things and then take a step closer. Take two steps closer. Did you push it too far? Run away laughing. It keeps you from being tense and worried, and your happiness goes right down the leash.
Your dog knows you're playing. Frightened animals don't play. So, if you're acting goofy and playful, you're sending a strong signal to your dog. Huh, maybe this very scary thing is not very scary. And maybe I can relax, because my person is relaxed and happy. Move at the dog's pace and you'll get where you need to go. I encourage you to trust yourself, and encourage your dog. You're on the right road, going in the right direction. Great things are coming your way. You'll see."

As for burning energy, physical energy is only one component. Training games are simply playing with a purpose. If Serenity knows basic obedience commands, try adding some tricks to her repertoire. This is the AKC list of tricks to master:

Videos to Teach Novice Tricks
Crawl
Get in a Box
High Five
Hoop
Paws Up
Push Up
Shake
Sit In A Box
Spin & Twist
Touch
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,570 Posts
I just think it is ridiculous that her dog needs to be carried around by the owner or me on the streets when there is no danger to the dog
Like my story of the shy girl and the spider, it's not what you think. It's what SHE thinks. You want your girl to think the date was fun, so she agrees to go on another date with you. You know most spiders aren't actually very dangerous. However, you don't win points with your girl by forcing her to deal with the spider. You win points by protecting her from the spider, even if you think she's being silly and over reacting. Imagine the date at the lovely cafe, and you make her sit at the table with the spider because they don't scare YOU. She probably won't want to go on another date with you. You win nothing by being tough. Imagine instead you remove the spider, carefully inspect the table for any more spiders, and only ask her to sit down when the table is spider free. She is now happy and comfortable, and she thinks you are a great person. You win by honoring her fear and by being kind.

It's harder with a dog, because it can't actually tell you what it's scared of. Still, it has told you what you can do to comfort it - pick it up.

She loves to play fetch however my friend lives in a very small studio and can't really throw the ball that far.
The dog is a little over a year old and very active at home
Sounds like a normal young dog. Last night my boy Galen played with a tennis ball for THREE HOURS. He brought it to me. He brought it to my husband. He even brought it to the cat, and I can say with 100% certainty the cat has never thrown a tennis ball for him.


the dog definitely needs the exercise because if the dog gets enough exercise, then the dog is very calm at home. If she is carried home, then the dog is just too active and just running and jumping around everywhere inside that small studio.
Exercise is healthy, so it's good to give a dog exercise for that reason. However, the dog will get into better shape with more exercise. Better physical conditioning means it will take longer and require more exercise for the dog to get tired enough to behave well. Ultimately, you won't be happy if you need to walk the dog for 2 1/2 hours every evening before bed. Working the brain will also help get the dog tired. Other people have already suggested some tricks and training you can try.

Finally, the important thing, when teaching bravery, is that the dog must always feel it can retreat to a safe place. That safe place should include you. It might help to compromise on your walks. Carry the dog to a quiet safe place - a building lobby, a courtyard, something like that. Put it down and let it explore. Make the activity fun for the dog by playing, looking at things, and giving treats. Dogs are interested in different things than we are, so pay attention to what the dog wants to examine. A dog may find a frozen dead flowerbed absolutely fascinating, because the smells are very interesting. Don't force the dog to do things that make it nervous; pick it up or remove it from the situation. (Remember, metaphorically, you aren't trying to teach your girl to endure spiders; you are trying to encourage your girl to say yes when you ask her to go to a cafe. Make sure each date you take your girl on is a fun date for her.) Go to different places with different things to examine. One day choose a place with lots of flower beds; another day choose a place with a noisy splashing fountain. Pay attention to what the dog is telling you. Curiosity, lots of sniffing, pulling towards something - this is a dog that is benefitting from the activity. Hanging back, asking to be picked up - this is a dog that is outside its comfort zone and is not benefitting. Help the dog to retreat back to where it feels safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'd like to thank everyone's response. But here is another question that has been on my mind. When the dog is whimpering when we are at the stop light, the dog owner will give the command to sit and the dog will sit on the sidewalk and stop whimpering. When the light turns green, she'll get up and we start to walk with no issues. It is only when we are stopped at the light but once we start walking, then she is fine so when we stop, the owner will give the command to sit and no whimpering.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,002 Posts
So Serenity walks willingly, maybe even happily, sniffing, prancing, looking around, on the sidewalk of a presumably busy street, with traffic and noises and has no issues until coming to an intersection with a traffic light.
At that point, and only then, Serenity starts whimpering.
The owner tells Serenity to sit.
Serenity sits and the whimpering stops.

If I'm understanding all you wrote correctly and describing it back correctly that's a specific response to a specific set of circumstances.
Can you think of anything that has ever happened at an intersection that might be a cause for whimpering?
What happens if you reach the intesection and the light is with you so there is no stop?
What happens if you stop in the middle of the block rather than the intersection?
 
  • Like
Reactions: cowpony

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,021 Posts
I was doing the novice obedience stand for exam with a friend and her Pomeranian on Friday. She has a very specific routine for how she wants it to work so that her girl does not flirt with the judge. The dog is generally very good for this exercise, which I would not bother teaching in deep detail to a pet dog, but every time I help her with it I am reminded of how weird the tall world of humans and big dogs must seem for the little ones, Look at that would certainly be a good game to teach her to connect to her owner when she feels nervous. I think we have to remind ourselves that the world looks very different for small dogs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Liz and Rose n Poos

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
So Serenity walks willingly, maybe even happily, sniffing, prancing, looking around, on the sidewalk of a presumably busy street, with traffic and noises and has no issues until coming to an intersection with a traffic light.
At that point, and only then, Serenity starts whimpering.
The owner tells Serenity to sit.
Serenity sits and the whimpering stops.

If I'm understanding all you wrote correctly and describing it back correctly that's a specific response to a specific set of circumstances.
Can you think of anything that has ever happened at an intersection that might be a cause for whimpering?
What happens if you reach the intesection and the light is with you so there is no stop?
What happens if you stop in the middle of the block rather than the intersection?
The owner got the dog for free from someone who no longer wanted to raise her so the owner knows nothing about the history of the dog. If the light is green at the intersection, then we all just continue to walk and no whimpering. Again, no issues just stopping at the middle of the block. You bring up a good point! I have no idea what the issue is at the stop light. But as I say again, if the owner tells the dog to sit at the stop light, then the dog will sit and no whimpering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Do we know that she's whimpering because she doesn't want to walk? My dog whimpers when he's anxious/impatient and doesn't want to wait.
I didn't think about that. The dog could be anxious/impatient and doesn't want to wait. What is your solution?
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top