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Beachbum135

New Hound Terrified of Walks

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Hello. I recently rescued a retired racer down here in Florida named Polly. She has been a little skittish but nothing that I felt was unusual for a retired racer. That is, until this last weekend when we had a large storm pass through. Although she seemed fine with the thunder, the sound of the wind rustling the palms seriously alarmed her. Unfortunately, when I took her out for a walk that evening, a palm frond fell out of a tree and landed near us, putting her into full panic mode and she yanked and nearly choked herself trying to get home. Now she's extremely reticent to go out the front door and continually pulls on the lead to get back in. I've been feeding her on my back patio so that she can hear the wind and palms and she seems fairly calm back there (even laying down on her dog bed), but no noticeable improvement on getting her out the door. Since I live in a condo, I have to take her out to do her business, but I'm afraid that forcing her to go out is only making matters worse. Any suggestions?

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So sorry to hear that she got spooked.  You probably need to start using a 3-point harness to make sure that she does not back out of the collar - spooked dogs will do that.

Does your back patio lead out to the street as an alternate way to take her out?

If you have to take her out the front door - get some steak and give her a few pieces in your living room and then use it to SLOWLY entice her to get closer and closer to going out. Take plenty out with you on the walk.

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23 hours ago, MaryJane said:

So sorry to hear that she got spooked.  You probably need to start using a 3-point harness to make sure that she does not back out of the collar - spooked dogs will do that.

Does your back patio lead out to the street as an alternate way to take her out?

If you have to take her out the front door - get some steak and give her a few pieces in your living room and then use it to SLOWLY entice her to get closer and closer to going out. Take plenty out with you on the walk.

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately my back patio is kind of a screened balcony, so no exit there. I tried what you said and seemed to help a bit. Unfortunately, something must have upset her tummy because I woke up early this morning to her having loose stools all over her bed. Because of this I've had to take her out several times today without going slowly so she wouldn't have more accidents indoors, which I don't imagine is helping her anxiety! I ordered a harness, but I have her collar fitted well and she has big ears, so it would be hard for her to back out as long as I'm paying attention.

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5 hours ago, Beachbum135 said:

I've had to take her out several times today without going slowly so she wouldn't have more accidents indoors, which I don't imagine is helping her anxiety!

It might help because it doesn't give her a chance to think and once she's been out a few times she might realise there's nothing to be worried about and it'll save the bedding.

Leave her collar on so you can quickly clip on the lead, say "Let's go" in a firm voice and march out before she has time to think and her giving her no choice but to go with you. Of course a big treat and a bit of fuss when you get outside.


Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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Poor girl.  what a horrible introduction to her new neighborhood.  I remember when my Henry was new, the wind moved a branch on a small tree and he attempted to bolt.  I landed face down on the sidewalk and broke my glasses, BUT I held on to the leash so he didn't get away.  I think we all have similar stories.  The big D is undoubtedly from stress.  Just remember, this too shall pass and soon you will both enjoy your walks (although she may not want to go near that dangerous tree).

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I decided to hire a trainer to see if he had any suggestions. We went for a walk around a local park with his two dogs and he showed me some tips for keeping her attention away from things that cause her anxiety. I think just being in a neutral space with other dogs that were calm and using a harness really helped her, as this morning we went out for potty without incident, though she still wanted to get back in a hurry after she went. I think I just need to work on building up her trust in me and confidence and we'll get over this. Thanks everyone!

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