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Recently Developed Fear Of The World?


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Recently (past few weeks) Eli has been getting more and more skittish when we take him out. At first it was a fear of school buses and a lot of jumpy behavior in the meadow next to our house. Then it grew to include the meadow and the woods behind our house (in addition to being skittish, he also keeps his nose plastered to the ground, sniffing absolutely everything and making me drag him [gently!] most of the way). Now I've started taking him down the street to the other bit of woodsy area, but he walks backwards half the time because he doesn't want his rump facing the scary woods behind our house. I'm pretty sure the cause of all of this is the coyotes I hear at night (I know they're out there, in addition to the fox, owl, deer, hawk, and abundance of squirrels that live in the woods), but we've never actually seen a coyote, so it has to be the smell of them he's reacting to (right?). Or it could be something entirely different that I just haven't picked up on. Any suggestions for helping him realize that the smell itself won't hurt him? I could walk with treats, but then he wouldn't potty either (he's really easily distracted).

 

Other than that, he's started to settle in more and show his true (really quirky and odd and adorable) personality! I just love this guy - such a character and a little kissy lovebug.

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Guest grey_dreams

He could be reacting to the sound of coyotes or other unknown (to him) animals in your woods. Also please note, that sniffing the ground is a calming signal. It seemed to me that he was sending calming signals, rather than actively smelling something new, especially as you say his nose is plastered to the ground. Is it possible the coyotes are actually still in the woods behind your house during the day, but you don't know they are there? In that case, it's easy to understand why he may be very nervous to walk outside, and so actively signal his nonaggression (by smelling the ground) to anyone who may be watching.

 

Try to be patient with him during this time. And be observant of the woods to see if maybe you can see something too. Follow his gaze, you might see what's bothering him.

 

Good luck!

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Find other people with dogs who can come walk with you in those spots. Or offer to foster an out-going dog from your adoption group. Once a dog gets an idea about an area, he will continue to think that idea is true (finding a rabbit in the same spot, car back firing, bus/truck rumbling by etc). He needs to pick up some cues from other dogs, because his first go to reaction is fear - vs curiousity. In my opinion, this behavior will only get worse, not better, if he doesn't have another dog to tell him everything is OK.

 

Greyhound Gang has a free guide with lots of helpful information. All our booklets are now available on Kindle too.

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Find other people with dogs who can come walk with you in those spots. Or offer to foster an out-going dog from your adoption group. Once a dog gets an idea about an area, he will continue to think that idea is true (finding a rabbit in the same spot, car back firing, bus/truck rumbling by etc). He needs to pick up some cues from other dogs, because his first go to reaction is fear - vs curiousity. In my opinion, this behavior will only get worse, not better, if he doesn't have another dog to tell him everything is OK.

 

Greyhound Gang has a free guide with lots of helpful information. All our booklets are now available on Kindle too.

 

Useful advice. Henry has decided he's terrified of approaching the apartment (not the apartment itself, once we get to the door he's fine). I'm hoping it's the wind we've been having from Sandy, but if not we'll have to try this idea.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Zoe exhibited fearful behavior of the large field by our house for several weeks last fall, which morphed into several streets around our home. I then found out that a bear had been seen (and photographed) in our neighborhood! I believe she had actually smelled him before anyone spotted him. After those weeks (and the bear left), she was fine with those areas again. Then, this fall, we went through a period where she was afraid of the field. I just assumed something had gone through there that made her uncomfortable. After several weeks, she was fine to go there again. And, she walks with 3 other dogs who did not have the same reaction. But, they are all boys, lol

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Well, I suppose it's possible, but I don't think most Greyhounds would be afraid of coyotes. Mine sure isn't! One approached us and George went NUTS and scared the bejesus out of the coyote who turned tail and ran.

 

From what I understand, in some parts of the country they still use Greyhounds to hunt coyotes.


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