Dogs Living With ADHD

I have blogged about being my dog’s retriever (Aug 21, 2019), and have speculated that all dogs have ADHD. But Wilson shares one experience with my non-ADHD spouse in relation to me. Their patience is often tested by their ADHD family member.

My wife recently suggested that I begin gathering everything I need for walking Wilson before saying, “Let’s go for a walk.” So, here’s the checklist: get the bag and training treats, grab my cell phone, get his leash from the leash basket, find my house keys, make sure I have some poop bags, and tie my shoes…before inviting Wilson to walk.

My usual pattern is to say, “Let’s go for a walk,” and then consider what I need to take with me. Wilson has learned to wait with skepticism while stretched out on the floor, resting his chin on the kitchen tile, moving only his eyes. He follows my movements, and his posture conveys this: “I will get up when I believe you are truly ready.” My wfie says something simiar when waiting for me. He watches me as I pick up the leash and then put it back down to look for my phone and house key. He observes me grabing the leash again, then kneeling and putting it on the floor, next to my left foot, while I tie my shoes.

So now, I’m preparing to take him on a night walk and getting what I need to take with me. After going to the bathroom first to take care of my business, I search for the flashlight, get the training treats, and make sure the little poop bag holder (attached to his leash) has bags in it. Then I get the leash, find my cell phone, grab my house key, and say, “Let’s go for a walk.” He looks confident in me now as he gets up from the floor and steps forward. 

Before changing the order of these tasks, it took me so long to get everything together that I could not always find Wilson for the walk. He would give up and go to bed. But tonight, he remained in place, anticipating an invitation to walk. And as soon as he steps outside, he becomes the sled dog, dragging me up the street. I regret having allowed him to watch a PBS documentary on sled dogs. 


4 Responses to Dogs Living With ADHD

  • What an endearing account of how you and your dog Wilson interact on a daily basis! I enjoyed the lightheartedness of it all. I hope you will continue to enjoy your weeks!

    • Thank you Cindy, and please forgive me for overlooking your comment. I am just now discovering several that I have missed. I am resuming blogging and always grateful for encouraging comments like yours. My dog, Wilson, teaches me useful lessons daily. I cannot miss how my ADHD affects him and others around me. It is not bad to be reminded that acceptance of the disorder means accepting its effects on others. Pets can make us better people! : ) And the benefits are mutual. Cultivating my patience with his stubbornness is good for him!

  • I love it!!! Reaching for a leash is a big trigger for excitement for both of my dogs. So I try to get the other stuff ready and reach for the leash last. Tying of the shoes is a clue and gets their attention, but reaching for the leash pushes them over the edge.

    • Hi Heide. I just discovered that I missed several comments over the past year. Imagine that! My lifetime membership in the ADHD family is irrevocable. Seeing your comment months after you sent it helps me realize that Wilson and I have progressed. He has taught me well, just as your dogs apparently have taught you. But Wilson’s beagle brain (half Pyrenees/half beagle) contributes to a strong will, and the canine ADHD contributes to his disliking my abrupt interruption of his daydreaming. When I’m ready to walk, I say, “Do you want to go for a walk?” Hearing that prompt, he walks away and tries to hide behind the coffee table or under the dining room table. He doesn’t dislike walking with me…he just dislikes ANY imposition, especially his harness. He reminds me that I too am capable of defiance. Good to hear from you!

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