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Terrified Dog

Guest Bradleybearnugg

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Guest Bradleybearnugg

Just adopted a six month old grey hound.

Training seemed to be going fine and suddenly he is terrified to be outside refuses to go to the toilet unless he is back in the house. Crys when Im in bed wanting to get on and even runs from me sometimes in the house even thou I have only ever been kind and loving to him.


Had him three weeks. He was on a farm with other dogs of all breeds. Gets on really well with my little frenchie and children also.


Help please.

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I think you should find a force free trainer to help you. Too little information for us to help from afar. Good chance something really scared him while he was outside and that's causing a lot of these issues, but with such a sudden change in behavior and him being as fearful as he sounds I strongly suggest you get professional help. If you tell us where you are, I may be able to recommend some good professionals.


Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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You can help by showing that you understand the body language signals he is sending to you, it's even possible to send some of them back. For example you can lick your lips, yawn and turn away to appear less intimidating. Avoid hard eye contact, approach slowly in a curve.


Take a look at this short article:


My Peggy went through a phase like you're describing. It was like she just realised she'd lost everything she had, along with any reference points and safe places too. and the new people couldn't even speak dog! Being able to show that you 'get it' and not crowding, intimidating and hugging etc, should help you and your dog make some progress. Be gentle gentle... nice un-stressed voice... no rapid arm movements...

Edited by JohnF
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Find a certified animal behaviorist who can come in and observe him. There's way too little information in your post, and way too many things to suggest. It could be a normal puppy fear phase, or something medical, or something has scared or hurt him while you've not been around - or, or, or! Please try and be as calm and patient as possible with your little one. He's really just a baby still! Hand feeding, sitting near him on the floor and reading a book or paper, appropriate play and cuddle times, make sure he gets enough sleep. If he's food motivated at all, use really YUMMY treats to make outside a good thing. A vet visit may also be in order if it seems he is so anxious he may injure himself.


NeylasMom (above) is a trainer and she can steer you to a behaviorist in your area who will be able to help you.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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This website helped ease understand my formerly terrified dog. I suggest you check it out.



Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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The default reaction of my male hound, Spirit, to any new person or situation is fear and anxiety. He barks and bluffs and quake. He's almost 11 now and I've had him for 8 years. He is far, far better now--calmer, with less of a frantic edge to his fearful reactions--but he is unlikely ever to be an outgoing social butterfly my girl, MoMo, was. The thing that helps Spirit triumph over his fear is that he absolutely loves petting and attention. And treats. Never forget the treats. Patience is key with him, as is letting him control the pace of interaction. I've also learned that he is far calmer and braver if he's on leash with me, and I can broker that existing relationship to help him meet new people and manage new situations.


Since you are in this relationship for the long haul, I'd suggest that you take your time, watch your hound, get to know him and what he likes and loves and hates. That knowledge gives you the tools for developing your relationship with him. Feed him, walk him if you can, just hang out with him. Those times together, even if non-hands on and not all that demonstrably cuddlesome, seem to me to be pure gold with a timid dog. Learn to watch for the little changes and celebrate them. Remember that your relationship with this dog is going to be different and individual, not a replication of the relationship you had and treasured with another beloved dog.


Spirit has always had a harder time with men--larger in stature, booming voices, somehow more threatening. My next door neighbors are a lovely family--a couple with grown children and grand kids and dogs of their own. One son-in-law spends a lot of time there helping care for the yard. He's a big guy--just the type to intimidate Spirit. I was moved to tears several months ago as I looked out into the back yard and saw Spirit--my Chicken Little--standing up on his hind legs, front paws on the fence, getting petted by this son-in-law. Somehow, they'd managed to establish a real friendship and it was beautiful and touching.


This is what I know about Spirit's background: He was bought by someone from a litter of puppies sold at auction and was sent to the racing kennel of a couple I know. They never actually raced him because he was just too fearful to be able to handle all the people and activity and flurry of a day racing. They did not believe that he'd been abused through his first year of life, but they suspected that he had been given little attention. Once in their care, he spent his time at their farm, where everyone on staff worked at just loving on him. It was there that he learned how much he loved being petted and made over by humans. There they gave Spirit the gift of a hunger for human attention. They also gave him the gift of not being pushed beyond his limits of comfort. I met him on a visit to my girl, MoMo, who raced at their kennel. Spirit stood up in his kennel, buried his face in my armpit, and worked his wiles on me. :lol He knew a sucker when he saw one. I adopted him and brought him home. He has been my first fearful dog and he's taught me a lot. It has also been a challenge and an experience I wouldn't trade away. At home, with those he trusts and loves, he is an absolute delight. He can go most places with me and be reasonably comfortable. I call that a win.

Lucy with Greyhound Nate and OSH Tinker. With loving memories of MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, Miles the slinky kitty (OSH), Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin), Winston, Yoda, Hector, and Claire.

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