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Nervous Dog Refusing To Go Outside - Advice Please

Guest Vixivixy

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Guest Vixivixy

Hi everyone, I'm looking for some advice on dealing with a nervous greyhound. We are first time greyhound owners and have had our beautiful brindle girl, Willow, for just over three months. We've been doing our best to build her confidence, with some really good results but her progress has been completely set back and I’m at a loss as to what to do next.


Willow started to get more nervous than usual about 2-3 weeks ago, although I am not sure what caused it – it seemed to coincide with the darker nights and the drop in temperature. We had a couple of toileting accidents over night and during the day (normally very rare) but once we started her putting a fleecy coat on her at night and whilst we are at work that stopped. She also seemed more anxious in the house, and starting doing the statue thing on walks more and more frequently. Her bald patches also got bigger, when they’d actually started to grow back before.


The problem has been exacerbated further by the fact that it is firework season. At the weekend a load of fireworks went off when we were out walking. Willow completely freaked out, and tried to dash back to the house (she would never normally pull). When we got back she was clearly very stressed and wouldn’t eat, which is very unusual as she is totally food motivated. There have been fireworks most evenings since then and as a result she has refused to go for a walk both morning and evening, and also will also sometimes refuse to go in the garden. She has been holding in going to the toilet, and on one occasion went 22 hours without going at all! We have carried her in to the garden but she is so afraid that she won’t do anything except stare at the back door. Right now she hasn’t been to the toilet for 12 hours but will not go outside as fireworks are going off.


She isn’t panting or shaking inside, but is hiding on her bed in the place furthest away from the windows to avoid any firework noises. We have tried an adaptil plug in, rescue remedy, tempting her outside with treats, putting the fleecy jacket on her at all times, feeding carb heavy meals, turning up the radio etc. Although she seems more relaxed in the house as a result, I still can’t get her outside, and I’m not sure what to do next. Any advice gratefully received!


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Forget the exercise walks for a while. Is your backyard fenced in? Leash walk her out there. Set some specific times with the last being before it gets dark if you suspect there will be fireworks again.


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It might be beneficial to talk to your vet about a short-term course of medications--especially if the fireworks are going to continue for awhile. Some anti-anxiety meds need a few weeks to get to full effectiveness, but something like Valium/diazepam is much faster/shorter-acting, and is often prescribed for specific phobias such as thunderstorms and fireworks.

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Guest Sh3rryann

You may want to consider getting her a thunder shirt. My dog Otis actually came with one because he had the same problems. Also make sure that your dog has her own private spot. You may want to consider a kennel. Otis adores his kennel where no one can bother him and he feels very safe. If this doesn't help talk to your vet. Rescue Remedy didn't work on my pups either.

Edited by Sh3rryann
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I would say that you have tried a lot of the remedies except for the thundershirt.... I would talk to the vet about medicating as this must be a very tough time for her. I wouldn't take her for walks, she is probably using up enough energy just coping. We don't take our noise phobe boy out when there are fireworks or storms.

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Hi there,

Definitely problem with thunder/loud noises. Also could be more than that as it sounds very severe. Thunder shirt sounds good. Also came across C.D. of "city noises". If you web surf under greyhounds and phobias you should find the C.D. they have for city noises such as trucks, traffic, helicopters, airplanes, etc... A lot of these web sites give excellent advice. There was one in particular. I promise I will search for it and give you the name again. It was a web sites that dealt with greys and phobias they experience.


I am having a very similar problem except my Zoe is absolutely terrified of children! My husband and I do not have children BUT we live in a subdivision that does. They just built a new play area for the kids about 100 yards behind our house! Although our back yard has a very high wall surrounding it and Zoe can not see these children she most definitely can hear them!


Over the last year she has steadily become more anxious around children although she "tolerates" their petting her. She has never growled, snapped or turned away although she shakes, licks and her nose drips and she danders. I no longer let kids pet her for fear of what may happen. Zoe is terrified of balls, scooters, bikes and skateboards. If she hears or sees them when we walk she will rip my arm out of the socket and drag me behind her to get away pulling the whole way home.


We can no longer walk through the subdivision streets but have to take another path that circumvents it and runs parallel to the golf course (she is not afraid of the golfers, their clubs or the carts). Zoe does stop and "look over her shoulder" as though somebody is following her or stops quite frequently during our walks even though she does enjoy them. I can only walk her between 2:00pm. and 3:00p.m. when the kids aren't home from school yet during the week.


Zoe has NEVER pottied in the house.(The exception was once when she had a kidney infection and we ended up with a $300.00 plus vet bill). In the last 2 weeks she has now urinated in the house 3 times and defecated once although I have a doggy door and do not work. She has used it 3 years without fail or problems. If we've gone shopping or out to dinner and a movie we have left her alone in the house with the neighbor coming to feed and check on her. It was fine.


I can no longer let her "out of my sight" and block off with chairs or ottomans the area where I found her urinating IF she did not go to the bathroom already and I am not looking at her. I took her bed out of the living room and put it in the kitchen. I figured if she potties on the tile it is easy to clean up and I don't have to worry about brand new carpet being ruined!


When she goes outside she does the "statue thing". She will pace or trot in circles, not go to the bathroom and then run back up to the sliding glass patio door. I make her return to the yard and "go pee-pee". This takes several tries. I do not yell at her but I am firm. She goes quickly and always as far away in the opposite corner of the yard from where she normally went and away from where the "kids" are in her mind. Getting her to go "poopy" is difficult. I have canceled Doctor, and nail appointments and days with friends so that I can stay home and make sure she does it out side. I do not want to clean up poop again!


She will not eat at regular meal times. When she does she eats...stops....eats...stops...etc. She will leave food there sometimes until 5 or 6 hours later than she normally eats. Normally she is a pig with fur and just throws it down her neck. She is not playful anymore. She has thrown up on my rug. (Great...Just one more thing to clean up. So far I've racked up $177.00 in Rug Doctor fees for 3 uses in 1 month plus $60.00 on the shampoo, spot stain remover and anti foam).


DO NOT call Bark Busters or TLC-K9 the prices are OUTRAGEOUS, there is no guarantee that what they can do will work, they can not and will not promise you a cure and they tell you---of course---it will take more than 2 sessions! TLC quoted me $395.00 for 2 hours and anywhere from $1,600.00 to $4,000.00 to "fix" it with no promises. YEP!



Anyone else out there with a nut dog and whose being held prisoner because of it?

Zoe's mommy


P.S. will get back with those websites and I found children playing "noise" on an old V.H.S. tape of my nephews birthday party.

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Hi everyone,

Back with those websites as promised. Well, I'm going to have to apply the same theories they offer to "thunderstorms/fireworks" to my "kid" problems. I found them most helpful. My vet also recommended 75 mg of an over the counter "people" medication to calm her when needed.


I WILL NOT tell you which one.

I WILL NOT promote, advocate, or suggest you use or give your doge any such thing without seeing and/or speaking to your vet first.


Please speak to your vet in regards to any medications for your dog and their "nervous" condition. I trust mine. He has been Zoe's vet for 3 years now and is also a surgeon.


I will give you the information I found to be the most educational and informative and helpful! Under Google search type in "greyhounds and phobias they have" You will see:


Shyness, Fearfulness and Induced Phobias in Greyhounds (Judy Kody Paulsen)


Whole article was excellent even if your grey wasn't abused. At the very bottom of article is a link called grey behavior and health. Most excellent!


2. Love-My-Greyhounds.com

great articles specifically about storms/noise/fireworks. Middle of article "Vibrate when a storm was happening"


3. Advice on Shy or Spooky Greyhounds by Lynda Adame


4. Thunderstorms and Fireworks

"Why is my Greyhound so frightened by loud noises?"

I found this one most excellent! I feel it could help you (and me as I am substituting the words "kid noise" for fireworks/thunderstorms) Talks about what goes through little doggy minds and how to treat phobias.


5. Canine Noise Phobia Series by Victoria Stiltwell

She's the gal from Animal planet's "It's me or the Dog" show. She has the C.D.'s and explains habituation and desensitization.


Me I'm combining the information and "positive behavior" techniques for treating phobia/dealing with phobia and her C.D. for city noise and my V.H.S. tape of "kids". This is exactly what these "dog whisperers" in my opinion would charge you $395.00 for 2 hours for and $1,600 thereafter----with no promises of a cure.


Hey, I look at it this way, what do I have to lose? I damn sure didn't spend $395.00 or more! If it doesn't work Zoe and I can share meds :}


Happy reading and good luck





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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

One other thing that is not mentioned here, get a harness for your scared hound. Nothing worse than a hound that backs out of a poorly fitted collar and is loose when afraid of things. Wiggle Wags and Whiskers has a great no-slip harness for spooks.



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