Canine Behavior/stubborn


QUESTION: Ms. Connor, thx for taking time to read my issues. I have a couple of challenging issues, so with your blessings and out of respect for your time - I'd like to address them separately. (hope that's ok)
Often, when I feel it's time to take my little girl out for a walk, it'll fall on deaf ears. I'll say, time to go out - or who wants to go out, etc. She'll just look at me, and do nothing. The few times I've offered treats, that also falls on deaf ears. I don't want to force her to go out, so I simply forget it - and try again later. Am I correct in what I'm doing ? Again, I don't want to force her - or "make her" go out when she's apparently not interested. Thx much Ms. Connor.

ANSWER: Well, now, let's see:

How many times do you offer this outing in one day, how many hours apart?

Has she ever soiled in the house?

What breed or breed mix is she, how old, is she spayed?

When a dog goes out is up to you, not up to the dog, unless of course (and this is NOT the case here Steve), the dog is rarely taken out and is desperate.  Many dogs don't enjoy being "out" and go just to eliminate.  Perhaps she has not well understood a phrase you have attempted to associate with a positive outcome (treat and going out).  

Unless the dog is soiling the house (in which case I would appreciate your answers), four times daily in an adult, healthy dog (especially a spayed female and any dog not suffering from problems such as colitis, bladder problems, or age related things) is sufficient.  The "joy" (or lack of same) that the dog associates with "going out" is not as important as the RESULT of the dog going out (urinating and defecating).  So long as she is not soiling the house, my reaction is that this dog is being attended to in a very scrupulous and loving manner (by you) and has no urgency and possibly no true desire to *see* the outdoor world (which can be quite intimidating to some dogs). So back to an old adage:  "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" lol

Ask any question, any time, that's why I'm here.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Ms. Connor, with much appreciation. I offer outings 3-4 times a day usu 4 or 5 hours apart; she's never soiled in the house; 5 years old, spayed, pure Lhasa Apso. All recent exams, thyroid, etc were fine, no issues. You are right about my scrupulous and loving manner. That said, however, if I read you correctly, I should just leave things as is - and take her out when I know she really wants to go out ? I know when those times are because when I say "time to go out" or "who wants to go out" - if she wants to go, she'll beckon and head towards the front door. So, should I leave it as is ? - and never physically make her go out ?
Thank you very much, Ms. Connor.

Yes, Steve!  You are a scrupulously caring owner but your dog doesn't appear to be as happy to go out as some are (and no reflection on you at all!)  I suggest you wait until you know she will happily respond.  Do this consistently for several months and you may find that, when YOU want to go "out" with her (for a casual walk) she will be happy to cooperate.

Canine Behavior

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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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