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Tobi is afraid of walks - or being away from home
  • Has anyone experienced this behavior? Tobi is 3.5 months old - he's a very active dog at home, but when we try to get him to go on a walk and explore, he wants to come back home or to be as close to home as possible when he's exploring.

    This helped when I accidentally left the patio door open and he escaped (we don't have a fenced backyard) - he doesn't go far and came back to sit on the deck waiting for me to open the patio door - I didn't even know he was out there i was too busy gossiping on the phone! oops!

    Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We've tried just following him around - but he doesn't want to leave the yard - even crossing the street to get mail is a no no until we pull him along. We've tried luring him with treats - treats work with sit, down, come, and shake - but no way is he going for a walk for treats.

    He is fine otherwise - he's been to many different homes, a lake cabin, played with many dogs - adults and puppies, and is in puppy class. Is this normal? Please help! We want to go on walks, camping, fishing, and all sorts of outdoorsy things in the summer - this really blows that we got him in the cold months because we are less active - but not by much.

    Thank you!

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 15:34:43
  • Yes, but It sounds like something has scared him while he was out at some point....maybe while he was alone?

    At 3.5 months old he is still a puppy and has not developed the autonomy that comes about at 11 months down the road. The world can be overwhelming for some dogs, particularly a puppy. How long have you had Tobi? Depending on where he came from he may have not had exposure to a lot of stimuli or quite possibly he was put in a position where something traumatic happened and it scared him. It also could be that is is more sensitive or a combination of all of the above.

    Take it easy and do one thing at a time. I would walk him is a familiar quiet place over and over before moving on to new ground. Probably the best bet is to ask about it in puppy-k class, to help ease his transition use treats like Crystal mentions below....

    Good luck and make sure to keep an eye on him in the future!
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2009-11-04 20:24:43
  • Also, don't force him- ie: pull him along- If you can slice this fear into very small bites he may be better able to handle it until he grows older and bolder. If he is enjoying say, the back yard, but seems reticent to go to the front yard, break it down for him: come one step toward the front yard (for a lick of peanut butter or whatever is REALLY super way good) and then send him back into the area he is comfortable in. Dont just let him get his pb fix and retreat back- be faster than him so you are suggesting/approving lets go back to the back yard, while he;s still licking the peanut butter off your finger. Then forget about the front yard for the rest of the day. Next day try for a step again, and send him back to the yard he likes. I know it seems painfully slow, but he will soon begin to take more steps in to the previously scary yard, and you may see what specifically he looks at or balks at. It wont be one step a day, its just to get him to know you hear that he;s scared and that you will only ask a little of him- not more than he is ready for yet. Since he is unafraid in other environments, it sounds like he was frightened by something local, I agree with Static.
  • In a way, you are very lucky that Tobi wants to stick close to home.

    Have you considered constructing a covered kennel for him with dog house? (By covered I mean somthing with either a roof or wire covering to protect him from overhead predators, such as hawks or owls.) Maybe do something with the patio? This would provide him with a level of security and an opportunity to view the outside world. Put in a gate that can be secured/locked from inside the "kennel" (to deter would be puppy thieves)
    Post edited by sukoshi’s mom at 2009-11-04 19:23:35
  • Thank you for all of your replies. To answer some questions - We've had him for about a month now. His parents lived on a farm, and that's where he spent his first 10 weeks. We've tried to socialize him in many different surroundings, but there's definitely much more socialization to do. We'll keep at it.

    I didn't even think of this, but he was afraid of a fenced dog that kept barking at him on a walk a couple weeks ago. He then darted in the opposite direction and got loose. There's a lot of traffic around the area, so i dove for the was a scary moment for me, but then he went feral on me and growled/barked and was very defensive. He was definitely scared.

    How do I reverse the fear? I didn't think I'd get a nervous walker out of that one bad experience. I'll bring this up with the trainer tonight as well...We tried just following him around the yard and he seems to be branching out of his comfort zone a bit last night, so that's good. I'll try Peanut Butter as well.
  • We can forget that its a different world at dog's eye view. Barking dogs behind a fence are scary to many dogs, they are often enough trying to be. It's like walking with a child down a street where people are yelling and swearing at you to get the hell off their street. Maybe even threatening you with physical harm if you dont scram. You live in people world and can ignore it, but your pup knows exactly what the other dog is saying and his fear is real for him, which is why we dont pull them when they balk. they need to think & process. they need to see that YOU are calm and will take care of them and have everything under control.

    Growing pups also have fear periods (and someone else can remember when exactly they are better than me) and during these times they are very impressionable. A scare can affect them more in a fear period because stuff just doesnt roll right off their back. Live help is exactly what you need, good idea to bring it up with the trainer. I am happy he is already branching out of his zone a little more! Good job.
  • Thanks for the analogy Wryly. We were forcing him to keep walking, so that will stop. I didn't realize that's what he was scared of...but your explanation makes a whole lot of sense.

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