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scared of walks

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by mishmor, Nov 16, 2012.


  1. mishmor

    mishmor PetForums Newbie

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    Hi I'm new to this forum so sorry if this question has already been answered, but I have a rescue Staffie who is scared of... well just about everything.... we've had him for two years now and we were doing really well with him, but he seems to be reverting back to his old behaviour again. When he first arrived he hated to go out of the house for walks. Bushes, vans, wind, other dogs presented problems, I would have to drag him around on the lead getting him used to everything, then we found that he loved to walk if he had a ring to carry around with him, he began to play with other dogs and noises he was managing. Then we progressed to chasing a ball, and he was getting some good exercise. Now all of a sudden he hates walking again, he's excited to go out, he runs out of the door, jumps in the car, then i open the boot and he sits shivering not wanting to get out, he makes himself as small and heavy as he possibly can so i can't get him out. He used to run after his ball, but now he just stands and watches the ball so i have to run and get it back, if there is a noise (especially any bangs, of which there is many as i live in the country and we have crow scarers that sound like gun shots near by every day all day) he will bolt straight back to the car, his recall is fantastic usually, but nothing will get him back once he has been scared... my question is should I be dragging him round on the lead, with him hating every minute?, should i drag him out of the car when he's sitting there shivering? or close the lid and bring him home again? he is not food orientated in any way when we are outside (I have tried every meat possible to tempt him, he just wont take it) so that wouldn't help... I have tried walking with other dogs and he will play for a bit until he realises what he's doing and then bolts off... help!!!
     
  2. Dot

    Dot PetForums Member

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    Hi Mishmor, I am NOT a dog trainer or an expert, just a long time owner of lovely dogs as pets but I have had a similar problem with my current dog when I first got him. I say similar because all problems are unique, I think.

    With my boy we got great improvement walking him from the house, not using the car. I wondered if taking the opportunity of starting the walk from the house when he is all excited and happy to go? Just a thought. Not too sure about making him walk when he doesn't want to. Not something I would force him to do but, as I said, I am not an expert only a dog lover/owner.

    I did overcome this problem and we are fine now, so just to let you know not to despair too much.:)
     
  3. Newfinch

    Newfinch PetForums Junior

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    You could try just leaving him in the car with the back door open for a while, not forcing him to get out while also getting him to understand that being there is nothing terrifying. Keep doing this for a number of days or even weeks until he feels happier with the situation. Just dont do too much too soon. When he feels safe being like this, take it one step further by coaxing him to get out but dont force him into doing anything he is really scared of. Give him plenty of praise at all times. Good luck.
     
  4. mishmor

    mishmor PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Thanks for your replies

    "Dot" we do walk from the house regularly too and as with the car, he is excited to go out , but as soon as we walk past the car and the threshold of the drive his ears go back and his tail goes between his legs... he'll continue to walk but as if he's on a mission, straight ahead, not interested in his surroundings, no sniffing or stopping etc, and once the walk is over and we turn and head for home, he will try to pull all the way if i let him :( ... if only they made little doggy ear plugs to block out noises!! :laugh:

    "Newfinch" Thanks I think I might try leaving him in the car with the boot open for a while without trying to get him out, then going home without the fun of the walk, do this a few times a day for as long as it takes... just feel bad for him not getting his exercise... especially as he gets into everything or chewing if he hasn't had the exercise!!:yikes:
     
  5. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

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    You could try a thundershirt. My little yorkie went through a stage when she would growl when startled. I just say in a calm voice 'don't be silly' and carry on. It really helped. The other thing that helped is my older dog isn't bothered by much and at times she will snuggle up against him. Is there anyone you could walk with?
     
  6. LauraLou

    LauraLou PetForums Junior

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    I would try just going out for 10 minutes or something and then going back home, so it doesn't seem so daunting for him, and then maybe build up the time that your out for? Or maybe just sitting outside somewhere with him for a while without going for a walk, so he can adjust to being outside and maybe relax once he realises nothing is going to eat him lol. Did something happen to trigger him finding it scary again?
     
  7. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    MIshmor!! I had something similar years ago with my Bloodhound. Then I started to think about it. Every time he had been in a car previously he had been going to be rehomed and on one occasion being split up from his sister.. The people I got him from were OK with him, but admitted they did not have time to walk him and he more or less lived in the garden anyway. I could not work out why, when I collected him, he did a huge pee on the back seat of the car as he had been in the garden when I got him and had the chance to go there. So, as the previous poster said, might work if you walk him for a while? He may have strange associations with car travel that you don't know about?
     
  8. mishmor

    mishmor PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks Jobeth was thinking about trying a Thundershirt too, that's next on the to buy list lol... I am also always reassuring him speaking to him when there are any noises or bangs and trying to distract him by running and playing etc, but if i take a breath he's off again! nothing seems to be working. Have also walked with a friend and her dog and they play for a bit, and once again after a bit he's off again back to the safety of the car or home if I'm close, so I keep him on the lead now to be safe
     
  9. mishmor

    mishmor PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks LauraLou... Nothing in particular has begun to trigger it off again, except that after he gets scared of the noise in a certain field or area, he hates to go back to that place and it was a nightmare getting him there so I just stopped going to that place and wld find somewhere new until another noise scared him... but I've run out of places to take him!!! so we have to revisit the places he hates..
     
  10. mishmor

    mishmor PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks Calvine but it doesn't seem to be the car that he is scared of, he is so excited to jump in the car and he'll settle himself down on his bed quite contentedly, he's sat in there just on the drive before for hours with the door open whilst I've cleaned the car or doing the garden... we can also do hours of driving and he's happy about that too, it's just the getting out at the end of the journey he doesn't like (unless we are at home of course lol).... On fishing days he will even prefer to sit in the car rather than get out and explore or sit around the lake with us lol
     
  11. Dot

    Dot PetForums Member

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    Hi Mishmor, Don't want to drone on and on about how I cured my boy as it may not be what your dog needs but I had a trainer come and help me in the end. He advised really short walks then straight back home. We started really slow, in the garden. Then over the weeks ventured onto the public footpath (which is next to my garden) but only for five mins then back into the garden. Built it up slowly. Played ball with him a lot in the garden for plenty of exercise while we were building up the time. The trainer told me not to talk to him when he acted scared. I had to keep really calm and relaxed and make no eye contact or touch him. Keep the lead loose and act really chilled! We got there in the end, he is great now. Hope this helps a bit and good luck. :)
     
  12. sskmick

    sskmick PetForums VIP

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    I hit on a problem with my SBT when he refused to go out of the house. He would even go out to toilet. I was letting him out and within seconds he was back in. When I tried taking him for a walk that he usually loves we would get to the gate and he would turn and head for the door. At the time it was very wet weather, raining for days, I assumed he didn't like the rain.

    After a few days his abdomen swelled up I assumed he had a health problem which was why he didn't want to go out. Then he poo'd in the house something he has never done since housetraining. The problem was the kittens he took on the role of dad and wouldn't leave their side.

    I was advised to walk a couple of yards and back home, gradually increasing the length of our walk until we returned to normal walking distances. That worked. I also took treats with me to encourage him to walk that bit further.
     
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