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Refusing To Go Into Backyard Now
  • SobaSoba
    Posts: 11
    Hello,

    I've been searching the fear/anxiety subforum for some answers and found a slightly relevant post (http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/7964/afraid-to-go-outside-again). It had advice to slowly change behavior with gentle coaxing - in this case carrying him into the back yard and staying with him for periods of time. But I'm looking for more answers.

    Soba
    2 year old male
    neutered
    introvert
    generally preferred being outside

    My Issue: After getting out of an apartment, we purchased a house with a fenced backyard last October and Soba couldn't have been happier. He would stay out there for hours (with water, toys and available shelter) and wouldn't come in even when we called. It was 'his yard'. He rang a bell by the door to alert us when he wanted to go out.

    A month ago, Soba stopped wanting to go out into the yard. He would do his typical whine and ring the bell to want to go out, but when I open the door he'd stand there or shy away.

    It's been like this all June. I have started to pick him up and take him outside in the morning and when I get home from work. My husband works from home and Soba just stays with him now, though whines more.

    He will cry very loudly, that high pitched anxious call, to be let in. That's a first time behavior for him.

    I've tried to think of reasons, and here's a list of possible factors:
    - Our lawn has been treated with fertilizer and weed killer several times this spring, so we took him on several walks a day instead of letting him into the yard while the chemicals dried. 48 hours to let the chemicals dry.

    - Three weeks ago, a stray cat got into the sun room that leads to the yard and while I tried to get it out of the yard that morning, Soba chased it the rest of the way. Possible lingering scents?

    - It's hot here in Michigan as of the beginning of June. I've been brushing out his coat consistently as it blows out and our back yard is nicely cooled by a huge oak tree.

    On a positive note, I usually take Soba's breakfast into the back yard as I leave for work. He willingly followed and ate this morning.

    Any ideas, guys?
    Post edited by Soba at 2016-06-22 12:01:56
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 339
    Is he content to be outside if you or your husband are with him?
  • SobaSoba
    Posts: 11
    @spacedogs , Yes, it would seem so. Yesterday I tested this idea by staying out on the patio while he roamed around for 10 minutes. I then snuck back into the house and a few minutes later he was asking to come back in.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 339
    Perhaps he's just bored with the yard or with the toys.

    I have to cycle our 7 month olds toys or she gets bored and ignores them. Every few days I'll replace a few and tuck the others away for a few weeks. It's annoying because I have to keep track of which ones she's played with lol.

    As to the yard, neither of our Shibas care to be out there for any period of time alone. If both are there they'll play together but otherwise they don't care for the yard unless someone is there to interact with. At first they loved it and wanted to be there, but after a while that novelty wore off, the yard was explored and charted and thoroughly sniffed out and I suspect the 7 month old secretly wishes I would rotate it out as I do her toys.
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    My little girl went through this for about a week. She didn't want to come out the yard with me anymore. Instead when I would bring her out she would give me a dirty look and go back inside! Lol. Then she would start to whine and I would come in and check on her and she would be standing at the front door. She wanted to go for another walk even though she'd only just been on a huge walk! I think she just didn't want to share my time with the cats because after our 2hr morning walk, sora has a short nap while I take our cats into the yard to play as well as do household chores. After Sora wakes up she then comes into a safe area I have made in our yard. Anyway it only lasted about a week and now she's decided to play out in the yard with us again. I have noticed that Sora goes through different phases and enjoys testing the boundaries but it never lasts. Just be patient and see how she goes. In the mean time maybe take her on some extra walks instead if situation allows. It does sound like she just wants to hang with you and I know people talk about how independent shibas are but they are also very loyal and can be prone to separation anxiety at times. Good luck.
    Post edited by niki82 at 2016-06-22 19:34:39
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Do you walk him? It sounds like he wants attention/interaction rather than to be alone outside.
  • SobaSoba
    Posts: 11
    Update:
    We took a bit of all of the advice/experiences shared and have seen some improvement.

    Typically, we'd go on walks if it wasn't too hot out, but we increased the frequency to before dinner. I also bought him a new outdoor ball which he loves. In regards to the attention aspect, he was usually content to seek time to himself so this sudden change was interesting.
    When I put him in the yard now, I stay out there on the stoop and he's content to wander and do his business. I've been spending shorter periods with him gradually and he is more willing to be alone out there while I do chores.
    Thanks for your help!

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