Gilby had a really rough time with the Fourth of July.  Needless to say, he did not like the fireworks, much less the 4 days in a row they were going off (Don't they get old after an hour, people?)

We did our best to keep him comforted and let him hang out where he was most comfortable. He had some heavy anxiety. 

So, problem being....

As of yesterday, he refuses to go outside.  Normally he trots very happily outside after getting his leash on.  Now he does everything in his power not to head towards the door.  If I get him to the door to the hall that leads outside, he literally drops to the floor and holds himself against the panic mode.  You couldn't drag him if you wanted to.  I've tried picking him up and bringing him outside to show him that everything is ok, and it is over with, and when brought outside, it's a mad dash to get back inside.  He will not even use the potty.  Never in my life have I seen a dog pull so hard.

We feel terrible for him, and really want to help him through this.  We are not able to use treats to lure him outside, he's so anxiety-ridden he won't take food.  We are really at a loss for how to help him through this.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Views: 242

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Take it slow. By picking him up and carrying him out there, you are doing what is called "flooding" - forcing him to deal with being outside when he clearly is not OK with being there. I know it is easy for our human brains to rationalise this, by thinking, See puppy, it's not so bad after all. Look, nothing bad's happening to you! But a dog doesn't reason the same way we do. All he can think of is how badly he didn't want to be here, now he is here, so he has to scramble back inside as if his life depended on it.

Try counter conditioning leaving the doorway, without his leash on so he knows he can "escape" if he feels like it. You can sit on the floor, on the threshold of the doorway and just wait for him to slowly approach. Try an extremely high value food - raw hamburger, for instance, and leave it on a small plate bits at a time in front of you. Just sit there, and wait. And wait. And wait some more. If/when he gets up to lick tentatively, don't use a happy excited voice as that will probably make him more anxious, despite your good intentions. Soothing, calming tones to reassure him. Move the plate slightly out the doorway when you think he has become more comfortable with licking food off of it in one location. Move it back to an old location if he starts to shy away again and get discouraged. Only raise criteria once you are sure he is feeling OK with eating at a certain spot.

My Cardigan got his tail stuck in the doorway of my workplace because some blooming idiot didn't watch where they were going, and he was TERRIFIED of going back out. It took me probably close to two hours for him to be OK with going in and out of the place again. I used this method as he is an extremely sensitive, "soft" dog and does not take flooding well at all. It was time-consuming but well worth it. It's been over a year now and Ace will happily frap through the doorway when he gets the zoomies. It's all about patience!

Thank you for the advice, it makes a lot of sense.  I will give that a shot

You can try giving him Bach's Rescue Remedy (health food stores) for a few days to see if it helps him generally relax.  It is not medicinal, so no worry about dosing or side effects.  Don't look for instant results but it will take the edge off his fear and allow you the space to work with him. You can put a few drops in his mouth (not at mealtimes) 3 x a day.

If you have an attached garage, you might also try taking him in the car, driving a couple blocks, and walking back towards the house from the other direction. Just get him used to being outside without the association of going out that door on the leash.

Beth, excellent suggestion!   Even taking him by car to someplace he's been before and likes, then driving him back home may be beneficial. I would give the Rescue Remedy before taking him, to help ease him into the experience. Some good treats when he's out may help as well.  I would avoid a Dog Park situation because, if he has some fear, the other dogs may not react well to him.

Thanks for all your input everybody... Just wanted to give you guys an update....

It's been a tough couple days, but he finally seems to be coming around.  We had made some great progress on Monday night, til (yup, you guessed it) another firework went off as we were heading inside.  Shot us right back to square one.  He seems to be doing a lot better as of this morning, still not perfect, but we are getting there.  He seems otherwise pretty good, a bit of anxiety, and a bit more watchful of the back door, but he is coming around.  

Been sleeping more than usual, which I'm assuming is his way of working through the anxiety?

And thanks again to everybody for their advice, it was all very useful in helping Gilby work his way through this.  And I will definitely keep you posted as we finish dealing with this


Rescue Store

Stay Connected


FDA Recall

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Recall

We support...



© 2024   Created by Sam Tsang.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report a boo boo  |  Terms of Service