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Suddenly Afraid Of Our Tile Floors


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I am hoping that the wisdom of GT can help me with an issue that just popped up today. How do I help Chloe overcome her new fear of our tile floors?

 

About 2-3 months ago we pulled up the carpet in our living area and hallway and put in tile. The kitchen and entryways were already tile. Walking on tile or on slippery floors has never bothered Chloe at all. Until today.

 

I can only guess at what happened. When I left for errands this morning and when DH left for work, Chloe was lying on the tiled hallway between our two carpeted bedrooms. Whenever either of us comes home, Chloe is the first at the door greeting us with her wagging tail. When I came home from errands, she was not there, just Olivia, and I heard Chloe whimpering and whining back in the bedroom. I was afraid she was hurt, checked her over, and she was physically fine. But she was terrified and would not come out. She did the statue thing. But I wanted to see her walk to make sure that she was walking normal so I put her leash on and persuaded her to come out. She did a mad dash to our first rug and then was fine in the rest of the house and even back in the hallway until this evening. All I can guess is that when she was getting up to come greet me at the door, she slipped, scared herself, and is now afraid.

 

Later on this evening at dinnertime she was suddenly afraid of the floor again. Their food dishes are in the front entry which is tile and always has been. She walked (on her own) back to the bedroom and then wouldn't come out on her own. I was able to lure her out about two feet with treats and then she wouldn't budge.

 

How do I help her? I don't want to do anything that reinforces her fear or makes her more afraid.

Qui me amat, amet et canes meas...et felem.

Olivia (RDs Merrygoround, b. 4/6/07, Gotcha 12/19/11

Chloe (PAR Candice, b. 5/22/08, Gotcha 12/18/12)

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Please try to place rubber-backed bath mats or rubber-backed rugs down for Chloe ASAP. If you don't have any extra mats stored in a closet or can't find someone from whom to borrow them, please move the food/water bowls to Chloe's carpeted room.

 

Considering a permanent solution: I'd strongly recommend buying some cheap runner rugs, plus rubber rug-grippers to place underneath the runner rugs. Many Greyhounds have suffered serious injuries from falls on hard surface floors. One of whom died while attempting a zoomie, but fell and slid into a wall.

 

Please continue watching Chloe very closely and consider a vet visit if needed.

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Yes, please use some rubber backed mats. Chances are she slipped and hurt/scared herself while you were out and that's why she's behaving like this. Some can be persuaded to get over it, but most (it seems) can't. The trouble is that once they've slipped and become nervous, they tend to walk on in such a tense way that they are practically walking on their nails and much more likely to do it again.

 

Our first greyhound did this, and injured his tensor fascia lata very badly. The referral centre said it's a muscle injury they only ever see in greyhounds, and there wasn't much they could do about it, the op to repair it only having a 50-50 chance of success. Since he was an older dog and very nervous, we chose not to put him through it. Always after that he refused to walk on anything that looked slippery - one time I put a plate of warm turkey slices a yard inside the slippy room and he wouldn't go and get it. He danced on the threshold and moaned in frustration but would not set one foot onto the Evil Floor.

 

Since then most of our dogs have experienced the slippy floor syndrome - we have rubber backed mats everywhere, but eventually someone will get over-confident and slip on the uncarpeted bit, and then will never again set foot on it.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Throw rugs.

 

George remains terrified of any shiny floor after all these years. I don't think he's ever had a bad experience, it's just who he is. I bet you're right--she fell--and who knows how long before she gets over it, if ever!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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A few months after Henry lost his leg, he suddenly developed a fear of slippery floors. I'm sure he slipped and scared himself. But (as harsh as this might sound), I didn't want to baby him by putting down a path of rugs. The world is full of slippery floors, and it's not like I can throw down rugs for him everywhere, especially when we're out in public. I had him re-learn the floors through counter-conditioning. Leashed him up and walked back and forth over the floors, throwing down high-value treats in front of him, so he would learn to make a better association. He caught on quickly, and now he does slippery floors with no problem. For a dog who is terrified, you may have to go really slowly. Don't pull or drag her by the leash. Let her go at her own pace, and do quick sessions 2-3 times a day.

 

The other part that I find really important with this type of problem is keeping nails as short as possible. Once they get spooked, they have a tendency to curl up their feet, which is when they start doing the "baby deer on ice" thing. As long as Henry's nails are short, he doesn't go sliding, even if he loses his balance and starts to lock up.

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Thank you! I moved the ones we have last night to make her a trail to the food/water bowls (I did make sure she ate/drank) but I'll have to go buy another one or two today to complete our trail coverage. Thankfully we have a small house!

 

It seems she's only scared in the hallway where she must have slipped. She's pretty confident in the other areas still. But it's as Silverfish said, back there she is so nervous and does such a panicked style walk she makes it so much worse that it's like a self fulfilling prophecy - she ends up sliding like Bambi on ice.

 

Off to the rug store!

Qui me amat, amet et canes meas...et felem.

Olivia (RDs Merrygoround, b. 4/6/07, Gotcha 12/19/11

Chloe (PAR Candice, b. 5/22/08, Gotcha 12/18/12)

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Yoga mats work well too if you need a longer path. Sometimes Sweep will randomly freeze up on our floors; I toss down the mat, she gets where she's going, and 95% of the time she snaps out of the fear immediately afterward.

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Rachel with feline rivals Tootie and Richard and squatter cats Crumpet and Fezziwig.
Always missing gentlemen kitties Mud and Henry, and our beautiful, strong, silly
 Sweep:heart

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I have rubber backed mats everywhere. None of my dogs has been particularly afraid of slippery floors, but as they have gotten older, they tend to slip, and I don't want them hurting themselves. Tuesday Morning is a great place to pick up a bunch of non slip area rugs for cheap, if you are not particular about the color/pattern :lol I mostly get several smaller ones, easier to throw in the wash.

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A few months after Henry lost his leg, he suddenly developed a fear of slippery floors. I'm sure he slipped and scared himself. But (as harsh as this might sound), I didn't want to baby him by putting down a path of rugs. The world is full of slippery floors, and it's not like I can throw down rugs for him everywhere, especially when we're out in public. I had him re-learn the floors through counter-conditioning. Leashed him up and walked back and forth over the floors, throwing down high-value treats in front of him, so he would learn to make a better association. He caught on quickly, and now he does slippery floors with no problem. For a dog who is terrified, you may have to go really slowly. Don't pull or drag her by the leash. Let her go at her own pace, and do quick sessions 2-3 times a day.

 

The other part that I find really important with this type of problem is keeping nails as short as possible. Once they get spooked, they have a tendency to curl up their feet, which is when they start doing the "baby deer on ice" thing. As long as Henry's nails are short, he doesn't go sliding, even if he loses his balance and starts to lock up.

 

 

Unfortunately, counter-conditioning doesn't work for all of them. I have spent much time trying, with previous dogs, but as I said, with Jim no amount of tasty food treats would induce him to set one foot on the floor. He would honestly have starved - and if he had tried, he'd have injured himself again and for what? Yes, the world is full of slippery floors, but mostly not in the places I want to go with my dog. Sid, who is a registered therapy dog and a tripod, used to wear Pawz rubber boots on his hospital visits. There ARE ways round it.

 

And I don't want my dogs injured just to try to make them walk on floors that scare them. I see no point to it.

 

 

GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Yea! She's making progress! I got some rugs down to help her get through the hallway and into our bedroom so she can sleep in there with us like she usually does. Heading in doesn't seem as scary to her, it's the coming out. But she did it and got rewarded with lots of praise and yummy treats. There's enough rugs scattered around the house now that hopefully she just keeps getting more confident that it is safe for her to go where she wants. But thankfully I'm noticing that her fear is pretty localized to just one part of the house. (And nail trimming is Saturday even though she does keep hers pretty short on her own with all her zooming and digging.)

 

I do think that she may have slightly hurt a back leg in her initial sliding/falling scare - like a muscle is sore. She walks around just like normal, but when she went out for her mid-morning zoomies (she has created a "racetrack" in our backyard) she stopped three times in the exact same spot where she makes a turn around a tree, like it was just too sore to do a high-speed turn and needed to walk instead. I'll keep an eye on it.

Qui me amat, amet et canes meas...et felem.

Olivia (RDs Merrygoround, b. 4/6/07, Gotcha 12/19/11

Chloe (PAR Candice, b. 5/22/08, Gotcha 12/18/12)

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I did some simple CC with Henry, because he was still willing to take treats. But if you can't get Chloe to go on that part of the floor at all, even for high value treats, there is another method you could try. Place rugs down about a foot apart. Then each day, gradually space the rugs further and further apart. Two feet, three feet, six feet... you get the point. After some time, you should be able to remove the rugs completely without her really noticing. I would suggest removing the rugs altogether eventually. You want her to actually re-learn the behavior, instead of using the rugs as a permanent crutch. It's good that you're working with her now. Once you lose that window, the fear becomes deeper ingrained and much harder to reverse.

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Unfortunately, counter-conditioning doesn't work for all of them. I have spent much time trying, with previous dogs, but as I said, with Jim no amount of tasty food treats would induce him to set one foot on the floor. He would honestly have starved - and if he had tried, he'd have injured himself again and for what? Yes, the world is full of slippery floors, but mostly not in the places I want to go with my dog. Sid, who is a registered therapy dog and a tripod, used to wear Pawz rubber boots on his hospital visits. There ARE ways round it.

 

And I don't want my dogs injured just to try to make them walk on floors that scare them. I see no point to it.

 

 

 

Agree with silverfish.

 

 

 

 

... instead of using the rugs as a permanent crutch.

 

In my experience, rugs are not a "permanent crutch". Rugs are for Greyhounds' basic physical safety of having secure footing in his/her own living environment. Sure it's nice to have a hound that isn't frightened of smooth floors, but IMO there's no reason to risk a dog's medical safety at home when a reasonable solution is to provide secure footing for their walking mobility. Too many hounds have had serious accidents from slipping on hard surface floors. Some hounds have been left in pain for hours (spread eagle) unable to move until a human finally returns home. Secured runner/area rugs are worth their weight in gold for our pack.

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short nails and 6 ft neoprene runners by bungalow rugs. they have them at bed bath and beyond. find a 20% coupon. i use them in the car- they never slip on the leather seats. i recommended them to a friend for his dogs- worked....and they wash very nicely. my 91 year old mother uses them at her door ways- no skidding what so ever.

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