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Regression - Fear


Guest amylucha
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Guest amylucha

Hi Everyone!

 

My Penny has begun to be afraid of certain things at home. I've had her for about 5

months now, and she's been fine for the most part since I've gotten her.

 

Now, she's acts afraid whenever I'm feeding her. She'll take a few bites and

then goes right back to her crate. When she first started doing this around two

weeks ago, she would only do that whenever I walked away. (She would only eat

when I was standing near her.) Now it seems it has gotten worse.

 

She also seems very afraid of our tile floor. (We have tile for the entire

downstairs of my home.)

 

In the last 2 weeks or so, a couple things have happened that I think may have

contributed to her newfound fear. A couple of times, she got spooked by a loud

noise, or something falling down. This happened once while she was eating. And

after getting spooked, she tried to run, and our floor was apparently too

slippery, which made her slip and slide and almost fall. In the last two weeks,

this slipping and sliding has happened about 5 times! This hadn't happened

before for the whole time I've had her, so I thought my housekeepers might be

using something new on the floor that made it more slippery. I have since asked

them to use a solution that isn't so slippery.

 

She also seems more reluctant to walk past the chair that my boyfriend often

sits in. She isn't afraid of him at all, except when he's sitting in that chair.

(One time, he went to move his laptop from his lap to the floor and that sudden

move made her take off and slip/slide on the floor.)

 

Anyway, the floor seems to be better now, but her fear remains. I want her to be

able to walk freely around the house without fear. But now, it seems she just

lays down and avoids the tile at all times. It worries me. I don't want this to

become a habit or for it to become her new normal.

 

Some ideas I've had: get a dog behaviorist to work with us, or get an additional

greyhound. LOL. (She seems her most confident when she's around other dogs...)

 

Do you guys have any ideas? I am baffled. :(

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Here's something you can do that might help a lot.

Read Turid Rugass's article about Calming Signals in the link *

http://www.canis.no/rugaas/onearticle.php?artid=1

You can actually send these signs back to your do so that she knows you 'get it' and aren't angry with her. Always leave her a clear escape route so she doesn't have to go close to people or things that might block it. Put down good quality carpet runners in areas across the slippery floor that the dog needs to use.

It will take time. When Peggy got stung by a wasp on the corner of a road near where we live it took her 6 months to be 'brave' enough to forget about it and not want to cross the road before getting there.

 

* I emailed Turid Rugass about Peggy in her early days here as was getting more reclusive and kind of spooky. What she told me actually helped a lot.

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Guest undergreysspell

Putting smaller floor mats ( like stepping stones) across the tile floor , and then gradually either removing a couple or placing them farther apart seems to work. It takes time and patience but eventually they don't even realize they're walking on the floor between the mats. Saw this on an episode of Dogtown and it worked for them.

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Throw rugs--or even bathmats if you already have some. Just make sure they have no-slip backing. Slippery floors can be a challenge. And if you have housekeepers, the small amount of extra work (periodically cleaning the rugs!) is no big deal!!!

 

You're probably spot on about the strange fears of the chair and eating. She sounds very sensitive. She'll get over it, but perhaps you might try feeding her in a different location and see if it helps?


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You can get runners to put down so she will have a safe place to walk until she gets over her fears. I agree with Susan, she sounds very sensitive but should get over this with time.

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If she runs to her crate at feeding time, feed her in her crate. All of my dogs are feed in their crates. This helps when I have multiple dogs in the house.

 

I second the runners/floor mats. Walmart has them for a good price and they are washable. I had to use them for my Chloe. She wasn't afraid of them when I first got her, but she developed hind end weakness and her back end would slide out from under her. That's when she became afraid of the floors.

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It does sound like getting scared and then having that fear heightened by the slippery floors is the source of the current problems. She's developed some bad associations with specific circumstances (her food bowl, your boyfriend's chair), but you can help her overcome these. The suggestions for rugs and carpet runners to help her regain confidence in her footing are a good starting point.

 

It is also important for you to remain calm and confident in the situations where she gets scared. If you act very worried about her, she will sense your anxiety and feed off of that (she doesn't know you're worried about her - she may think you're worried about the same thing she is). Feeding in her crate is also a good idea for now so that she can eat without feeling stressed. I recommend feeding in the crate anyway as it gives them security and also creates a good association with the crate.

 

Depending on when she starts to act nervous near your boyfriend's chair, you can desensitize to walking near that area. Is she only reluctant to walk past the chair if your boyfriend is sitting in it? Or is she reacting to the chair itself? What if you're sitting in the chair? The goal of desensitization is to start at a point when she is still relaxed and happy, and reward with special treats for gradually getting closer to what she's afraid of.

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