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Canine Behavior/Dog refusing to go outside


Dear Jill,

I'm currently safekeeping (with the help of my family) my girlfriend's rough collie male, who is nearly 8 years old, while she's out of the country. Up until recently we have been walking him 4 times a day, around 4-5 hrs total, as was the arrangement when he was living with her and her family. However, now that the day is shorter (at the moment, here in Serbia, the sun is up from around 7AM till 4PM), he has started boycotting his afternoon walk. The morning walks are mostly ok, from 7:30 to 8:30, and from 10AM to 11:30AM. However, in the afternoon hours he goes into passive mode, sleeping around the house and seems comfortable with not going outside until around 10/11PM. If I do manage to get him out before, it is only possible with the help of at least one more person from the household (he's a hoarder). Even then he might just stop during the walk for no apparent reason, completely refusing to budge an inch in any direction except home. He is very stubborn and capable of standing in one place for a long time until I give in. For instance, this very afternoon we have been standing in one place just outside our apartment building for half an hour, in snow, with him on the leash, me occasionally tugging him, until a firecracker exploded nearby, after which he just started frantically pulling on the leash towards home.
This fear of firecrackers only amplifies his other anxieties, which is a problem because they can be heard more often as we are nearing New Year's Eve. His fear of exploding noises is nothing new, because he also had it when he was living with my girlfriend and her family too, as he would always run towards home upon hearing such noise.
He also has a problem with authority, because I believe he never had learned to fully trust other people. My girlfriend is the only person whom he complies to 99% of the time, then to a less extent the rest of her family (two sisters and father), and in the end my family (mom & dad, me and my sister). I myself am not new to him, I've known him for around 4 years, and walked him sometimes alone even before he came to live with us. However, it took time for him to let me walk him, because he did not trust me in the beginning.
Is there a way to persuade him to go for a walk, and how unhealthy is it for him to spend such a long time indoors (we live in an apartment building, so there is no yard, and he is not potty trained)?
Sorry for such a long question, but I wanted to include everything important about him that I could remember.


Rough Collie: I've had two, wonderful breed.

The average adult dog, even in early senior years (as is this one) is capable of going out for the purpose of ELIMINATION only (overly exercising a senior dog is not advisable due to orthopedic issues you may be unaware of) three times, optimally four.  If the dog does not want to go out, DO NOT FORCE HIM.  I have no idea why this dog is not housetrained, that is a serious error on the part of his owner.  I suggest you purchase belly bands which prevent a male dog from urinating indoors:

I have no idea if you can get these shipped to Serbia but you can try.  This dog can spend the majority of his day (and especially NIGHT) indoors: both my Collies did.  They do not require (especially in senior years) long walks that tax their bones and may expose them to things they fear or are not habituated to (such as the firecrackers).  As to "responding to authority": this breed is essentially a ONE PERSON DOG and is genetically programmed as such because it is a herding and herd guarding breed.  To get a dog's "attention" and "teach" him to respond to you, go here:

This is a video library associated with Dr. Ian Dunbar, an expert in positive reinforcement training.  Unless the dog resists going out and then urinates in house (in which case use followup feature for further help) he is making a "statement" and it has nothing to do with trust issues, it has to do with physiological problem (unknown), age, inability and distaste of long walks, etc.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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