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Help! Greyhound Refused To Go Outside At All, Even To Potty


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Guest mommyanddaddy

Hi, this is my first time posting and we need some help. My dog refuses to go outside, even to potty.

 

We got our grey, Shelby, Sept 2012, when she was 2 1/2 years old. For the first couple of months she loved going for walks. Then, suddenly, she had to be coaxed to go for a walk, although she LOVED to run around in fenced yard and would pee and poop out there. We hadn't trained her at that point, and only my husband was able to get her to go out for a walk. Long story short, we hired a very good but VERY expensive trainer for about 4 months in mid-2013. She showed us how to lead Shelby, get her to focus, and we were able to walk her again. Fast forward to about 8 months ago. Shelby started refusing to go for a walk in the morning. My husband leaves for work very early, and sometimes she would come downstairs and he'd let her in backyard to potty. But when I tried to takeher out again around 8:30, she refused to even come downstairs. I tried EVERYTHING to get her down (treats, going outside, starting my car and coming back in with garage door opening/closing) with only rare success. That meant that she wouldn't go out again until around 3:00 pm!!!! She only had 1 accident in the house. Otherwise, she'd go out with husband when he came home from work around 3. She didn't seem sick and had normal poops and pee. We'd take her out at night before bed without any problem, and she was fine then too. However, she wouldn't touch her morning meal - probably because she didn't want to have to poop again???

 

About 3 months ago, she started refusing to go out at all, even at night. We'd get her leash and she'd run to her bed in the den, or the couch. However, once we were able to get her outside (morning or night) she was fine. Then, about a month ago....it started again, whether on or off leash. On the rare occasions I am able to get her out, she goes down the driveway, pees, and then stops. Maybe I can get her halfway down the block, but after that - she digs in her heels and I cannot and will not drag her down the street. I try the techniques the trainer taught us (that once worked before) but now nothing works! She won't even poop. And worse - she won't even go outside. She won't even go out when out neighbors try to walk her, and she loves them. She used to go for walks with them without any problem.

 

She is afraid of certain loud noises - school bus, "booms", and others - but even when there is no discernible noise she won't go. I do not know what to do! She's a little better with my husband, who has established himself as the alpha, but she won't budge with me. We have a vet appt in a couple of weeks for her yearly, but I don't know how much help he'll be. I'm really worried about her physical/digestive health, in addition to mental health. We cannot afford another trainer or a dog walker. This is not normal behavior. I feel like such a bad parent!!!

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As long as there is no medical problem causing this, use the search function to find NLIF Training (Nothing in Life is Free). The key is that every member of your household must enforce the training consistently. Use this in conjunction with Clicker Training and you will probably resolve the problem. There are tons of older posts about these types of training and lots of good info online, so i won't write a long post here. Others who have experienced similar issues will also chime in and give you some suggestions as to what has worked for them.

 

Good luck. It just takes some time and patience, but is something you can overcome with consistent reinforcement of these types of training.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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If she genuinely appears to be very sensitive to noise you might want to ask your vet if medication would help. I have my Greyhound on Zylkene which has helped him with his noise sensitivity.

 

Also, forget about tha "alpha dominance" type of training approach, she needs to be rewarded and encouraged not dominated. I'm sorry I don't have time to write more now as I have to go to work, I am sure others will chime in....I will try to get back later with some suggestions.

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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Welcome to Greytalk.

 

Are you able to remember any more helpful information and/or triggers noticed just prior to her "key" behavior changes?

Any difference noticed in her behavior on family members' days off vs. work days?

Can you elaborate more about her previous training?

Is she afraid of neighborhood children?

 

Considerations while thinking about her history:

Fears (besides previously mentioned?)

Anxiety (e.g., many dogs refuse to eat morning meals if feeling anxious about something, like being left alone for work day, etc.)

Medical related. One example of many, corns on paw pads are very painful, especially on hard surfaces like sidewalks. Owners sometimes notice their hounds walk more comfortably on soft grass lawns during walks, and inside on carpets vs. hard floors. Many hounds are reluctant to walk outside (aka: statue) when feeling pain/soreness, or are fearful.

 

Greyhounds' sight and hearing is very keen. They hear noises that humans can't, and see from a far. Greyhounds are extremely sensitive to their environment, humans' moods, etc. They will often "shut down" if feeling scared or overwhelmed about something. Their minds are like elephants, they remember everything. Some hounds try to avoid walking by homes with territorial dogs. One of our middle-aged hounds was afraid to take walks for several months after hearing small fireworks during one evening walk. (BTW, that hound had male racing trainers. He had no interest in associating with female humans for his first year+ in retirement. After earning his full trust, he's become a momma's boy :wub:, and much more friendly towards other women.)

 

If you haven't done this yet, you might consider eliminating all walks (temporarily). Just let her outside in her own fenced yard for potty outings for now. She's trying to communicate her fear or discomfort. A dogs way to communicate discomfort is fight or flight. Fortunately, she's chosen flight while inside the house. (Please be extra careful to not let her off leash unless in a fully fenced enclosure.)

 

We'll be able to help more with additional information. :)

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Clomipramine and fluoxetine are used for anxiety and OCD in dogs (and in people). They both can take a few days to "get in gear" on your dog.

 

The dog version of clomipramine is Clomicalm. That's often available only from your vet or by mail order (prescription is required). But clomipramine for people (Anafranil) is available at most people drug stores at much lower prices. Access www.goodrx.com for coupons that will get the price down. (In my neighborhood, the price for thirty 25mg pills is $213 without GoodRx, $19.28 with their coupon.)

 

Fluoxetine (generic Prozac) may be available on a drug store's $4/month plan.

 

When I'm at the vet and one of the dogs needs a prescription, I pull up GoodRx on my phone and my vet looks at the prices and figures the best combination of dosage and quantity to get me a good price. (Lots of times, it's cheaper overall to order a 90-day supply at one time, so he'll write the script that way.)

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Guest mommyanddaddy

thank you all for your advice. I will ask the vet about meds. does anyone think that putting a Thundershirt on her when we try to walk her will be helpful?

 

We can't think of any one particular thing that triggered these issues. She is definitely afraid of people bouncing a basketball, kickball, etc and will react by jumping and rearing while on her leash and trying to get back home. Likewise for kids playing with hockey sticks in their driveway. But she was doing so well until a several months ago, at which time she refused to go outside with me in the morning. Now she won't go outside with me at all, any time of day, unless I am able to trick her by pulling my car out of the garage, parking in the driveway, turning my car off, then coming back in the house. This only occasionally works, by the way. She will go out with my husband once in a while.

 

Even if I am able to get her outside in front of the house, I have to drag her down the driveway by her leash. And I hate this, and she hates this, and I just can't do it because it's too upsetting for both of us. What is even worse is that she refuses to go out in our fenced-in backyard. She normally loves it out there, and even went out today a few times in the hot weather. But I tried getting her outside in the yard tonight and she refused to get off the couch. I know she must have to potty and I'm really afraid she's going to harm herself by holding it in for so long. I feel like a lousy mommy to her but I don't know what else to do. Her normal is 2-4 walks per day and we don't have 30 minutes to cajole and coax her every time we try to take her for a walk.

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With any change in behavior, it's always a good idea to make sure there's not a medical problem. Also, did the start of any of the problems going out coincide with storms or fireworks, if those things bother her?

 

What is even worse is that she refuses to go out in our fenced-in backyard. She normally loves it out there, and even went out today a few times in the hot weather. But I tried getting her outside in the yard tonight and she refused to get off the couch. I know she must have to potty and I'm really afraid she's going to harm herself by holding it in for so long.

 

So is she still going outside into the fenced backyard voluntarily sometimes? But other times she doesn't want to go? Any pattern to when she will or will not go out in the fenced yard? Maybe there are times when she really doesn't need to potty and just wants to stay in. How many hours is she holding it?

 

It sounds like there are some real stress or anxiety issues here, but I'm also wondering if your response to her refusals to go out is somehow making it worse. The more you worry and make a big deal over something, the more it will stress the dog out. If just going out to the backyard 2-3 times a day keeps her from having accidents in the house, I'd just let her go out only as much as she wants for 2-3 weeks. Don't force the issue, and don't make her go on walks if she doesn't want to.

 

After a period of just letting her be and not fighting her about these outings, try again. If she's still reluctant, try different ways of approaching it. For example, rather than trying to leash her up in the house, if she'll go outside into the fenced back yard on her own, let her out first, then leash her up out there and start your walk from the back yard. Also remember to give her lots of praise, and even reward with treats, for any good behavior associated with the sequence required to take her out, such as getting up off her dog bed when asked, going outside into the fenced backyard, letting you put the leash on, etc.

 

If she seems hesitant, let her progress at her own pace and don't force her. Take baby steps. If she'll only step outside the gate at first, start there and slowly work toward walking around the front yard in the beginning. Don't leave the property until she's acting more comfortable walking around your front yard. Keep walks short unless she acts relaxed and comfortable walking out into the neighborhood. And don't forget to praise and reward any progress she makes, no matter how small.

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I wasn't able to reply fully earlier, but I completely agree with JJNG's educated and thoughtful post.


A couple other thoughts re: one of her trigger times (3 months ago):

- Children were starting summer break. Children playing can be so scary/threatening from a dog's perspective that it's enough of a trigger to frighten dogs from taking walks. Some retired racers have never had previous exposure to children playing. (One of my sweet fosters was so afraid of children that she wasn't able to handle walking near a playground for a long time.)


- I'm not aware of your climate, but Greyhounds are extremely sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. I realize your girl was reluctant to take walks at night too, but many areas like Arizona or Florida retain warm air temperatures into the night. (Our hounds can handle walks into the low 70's, but struggle or refuse walks in warmer weather.) Also, dogs can blister/burn their paws pads on hot sidewalks/pavement during the day or evening. (I test sidewalk heat with my bare hand, if in question.)


Forcing your girl to go on walks when she's become so uncomfortable or fearful is counter-productive, and can damage her trust.

Again, I'd suggest to stop taking any walks for a (long) while. Reduce her stress level by letting her eliminate in the safety of her own fenced yard. Allow her whatever time she needs to rebuild her feelings of safety, trust, and confidence in her own home environment first. Weeks after she's consistently comfortable in her home environment, later you could try baby steps to extend her comfort zone beyond the back yard.


I would not walk her with a Thundershirt; she could dangerously overheat, especially if she begins feeling stressed during the walk. (Their body temperature increases when stressed.)


I'll look forward to your additional answers re: her collar used for walks, and JJNG's questions re: hours she's holding urine/bowel, etc. Thank you for your interest to help your girl.



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This suggestion may be out there but, what about her vision? If her sight is compromised in some way she would be freaking out.

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