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I Think My Dog is Fake Limping

It’s been a busy few days and we’re finally back with another dog-tastic blog for our pet lovers to read.


Dog owners everywhere will have experienced many unique events when spending time with their dog, revealing behavioral tendencies and general quirks of their personalities. One strange occurrence that some owners have faced is the peculiar state of limping within perfectly fine dogs. Limping is often associated with injury yet just minutes or hours later, they will be up and running again. This might have happened sometimes if your dog has been told off after a misdeed, it can be alarming if your beloved pooch suddenly starts limping. Let’s take a closer look at this abnormal behavior found in domestic dogs.

dog wear superman costume


Learn to Distinguish Between Injury and Behavioral Actions


Dogs have undergone years of domestication and have exhibited high level of IQ during numerous tests. They are a loyal and intelligent pet that cohabit with humans in pleasant harmonious living. Spending time with your dog is only a rewarding experience and many memories will be shared throughout your journey together. It is for this reason that many will feel great concern when their pup shows signs of injury. It is important to remain composed and take a closer look at the situation, you may be surprised to discover that your dog is capable of fake limping.   


Fake limping is a rare behavioral action and if your dog is seen to be moving with a limp, immediate medical review is required. After closer inspection however, there is a chance that this behavior may be psychologically induced. Dogs suffering from physical pain that hinders movement will typically show expressions of anguish and loss of appetite, if your canine buddy is showing a combination of symptoms, an urgent visit to a local vet is in order. There may be a number of physiological issues to investigate and it is best to support healthy development and maintenance of your dog through a well-balanced diet, promoting muscle, joint and bone health.


In some rare cases, dogs will be observed to walk with a concerning limp. Yet, when greeting them or offering tasty snacks, this limp magically disappears as if it had never existed in the first place. Watch your pup break Olympic world records as they race towards you, injury free.  



Why Dogs ‘Fake’ Injury

dog groomy face sad face

As caring owners, we want the best for our dogs and understanding reasons behind actions is essential. Fake limping in a dog currently lacks scientific studies to investigate this exact behavior but it is commonly known that dogs can fake injury based on personal desires. Dogs that have been denied their most desired wishes may start to demonstrate this behavior in a form of protest when playtime has been cute short or they feel their meal is slightly off the fulfilling side. Taking your dog for long and enjoyable walks and serving accurate meal portions are only some of the possible solutions to try. To summarize this bucket of behavioral actions, it is a plea for attention from your dog. Dogs seem to be conscious of the fact that an injury is a valid key to communicate they want attention for one reason or another from their owner. We emphasize focus on communication here as it is an opportunity to figure out why your dog needs more attention and what can be done to resolve the matter that is causing your dog to limp without injury.       

Emotional influence is also a factor in this observed behavior. Dogs that play the lame game may do so because they feel it’s a way to further bond with their owner. An initial trial of this observed behavior may result in hearty laughs as you may wonder what on earth has gotten into your dog all of a sudden. Positive reinforcement through facial expressions and laughs will mistakenly communicate that walking with a limp makes your happy. In some cases, reward may be associated with ‘play limping’, a connection that should be avoided. Dogs are clever but reactions against certain habits can send false signals and it’s best to think about how you act around your lovely pet.   


 Should I Correct This Behavior?

corgi dog and yorkie running

Dogs that pretend to have a limp on the rare occasion are not a cause for concern. It’s best to spend time with your lovely pup and figure out if anything is amiss and to fulfill their request for attention. Dogs that start to observe habitual limping for basic needs will need guidance to prevent fake limping out of compulsion. Limping often can yield negative effects on the physiology of your pet and it’s best to encourage correct posture and mobility. A simple approach of sending the right signals when this behavior is observed will help fix things. Ignoring fake limping is important to prevent further connection with positive reinforcement. When your dog behaves normally, shower them with love, care and perhaps a treat or two. They will soon get the message and fake limping will be left as a distant memory. Woof!

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