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I adopted two dogs (bonded) about half a year ago. One (Dog A) behaves as every other dog I've had in the past. One (Dog B) is a bit of an oddball. Both recognize what I mean when I ask them when it's time to go outside ("want to go outside?") or eat ("want some food?"), and get excited. Both know the difference between the two, as for food they'll go to the kitchen (where dog food is stored) and for outside they'll go to the couch (where leashes are stored). But that's about where the normalcy ends. Dog A will jump up on the couch waiting to be leashed, but Dog B begins to wander around aimlessly in the kitchen, presumably looking for food that's been dropped on the floor.

I would also potentially consider this normal, assuming once Dog B saw the kitchen when walking to the couch it realized it wanted food scraps more than going outside, but it is spontaneous without reason. Dog B can be sitting on its bed with the kitchen directly in its field of view for an hour or two prior to going outside & make no moves on the kitchen even with all the time & opportunity in the world (which makes sense. 99% of the time there probably isn't any trace of a food scrap on the floor). And when Dog B does go for the kitchen, it's more of a slow, aimless walking around that leads to the kitchen rather than a targeted "I see the kitchen and walk directly towards it". And this spontaneous aimlessness happens only and always when we get to the couch, preparing to go on a walk. Sometimes it will wander aimlessly into other rooms, but it's usually the kitchen.

Dog B is only 4 years old, so I wouldn't think it's dementia or similar. It happens even in the morning, so it doesn't seem like sundowner's syndrome either. Is there some mental disorder or other problem that could cause this behavior, or is Dog B just a big doofus? His breed is half Jack Russel & half Italian Greyhound.

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    Welcome to pets.SE! My first guess: There was something painfull in connection with being lashed or go outside in the former life, which the dog now want to avoid. But here are more experient dog-people :) which can explain this better :) Jun 14 at 3:37
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    Please have a look at: Dog likes walks, but is terrified of walk preparation. Does this answer your question?
    – Elmy
    Jun 14 at 19:41
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    The aimlessly walking around is avoidance behavior, which dogs usually do when they don't like something. Something about the process of preparing for a walk is physically or mentally uncomfortable for him. That may have been the behavior of his former owner, but it may also be your own behavior or posture while putting on the leash. In the post linked above, the dog ran away and hid under the sofa, your own dogs choses to act as if he isn't there and sneak away from the situation.
    – Elmy
    Jun 15 at 4:51
  • @Elmy I do have a step-in harness for each dog, but I've experimented over the past few weeks & am not sure it is related to the harness. Even if I put the harness on, wait thirty minutes, and then ask the dogs to go outside after they have already been wearing their harnesses for some time, Dog B will still meander around. The only thing left is the leash, but I wouldn't expect that to be painful/scary.
    – Drew
    Jun 27 at 22:06
  • Hmm, that's strange. How did he react while putting on the harness? Did he meander around as well? If he did, it could be that the verbal cue of asking "wanna go out?" is tied in his brain to the unpleasant experience, even if he's already wearing the harness. (Just like watching images or videos of lice makes you itchy, even though you don't have any lice.) If not, it could be something else that is or was unpleasant to him, or maybe it could just be his personality. It's almost impossible to diagnose such subtle triggers over the internet.
    – Elmy
    Jun 28 at 4:33

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