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Potted Dog Syndrome

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Walking a dog on leash is always an adventure.

Besides the obvious – whom, or what, will we encounter on the walk? will the rain hold off ’til we get back? did we bring enough poop bags?  ad nauseum – there is the question of a certain dog’s behavior while leashed.

Who is going to walk whom? Will the tabby next door make an unwelcome appearance? Can we stroll past a bicyclist without chasing it? Will my rotator cuff survive my pulling maniac of a dog?

And then there is Potted Dog Syndrome.

The dog – it doesn’t matter what age or breed – will stop and plant. As in Potted Plant.

Some dogs plant when the walk inevitably takes a turn towards home. Because, after all, the dog is not done yet. So she plants.

Other dogs object to walking at a certain pace. Or perhaps a whiff of rabbit tinges the air and the dog is compelled to follow it.

Potted Plant Syndrome is a form of silent protest. No, your dog is saying, I want to go HERE. Not that way. This way. My way or the highway.

Whatever the case, the dog won’t move.

Here are the things owners have tried to induce movement:

  • Pulling hard on the leash;

  • Calling the dog to come;

  • Pleading with the dog to come;

  • Haranguing the dog to get its &%$%)@ moving;

  • Squeaking a pocket toy;

  • Waving a succulent treat under the dog’s nose.

Sometimes these things can work. Sometimes not.

Here is a little trick you can try with your Potted Dog:

Walk in a circle around the dog.

If the dog is on your left, make a sharp left turn and continue in a smooth circle completely around the rhododendron that is your canine. Keep walking with calm purpose toward your destination. Don’t do anything distracting like talking or touching the dog. Just walk confidently.

The majority of dogs – yours, too – will magically move.

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