My 2.5 year old Collie boy is afraid to go outside??? Behaviour

Discussion in 'Collie (Rough)' started by OMCHamlin, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    My 2.5 year old Collie boy is afraid to go outside???

    I have a rescue Collie, I've had him coming up on two months. At first, we'd walk 2.5 miles each morning and another mile or so each afternoon. One morning several weeks ago, on our normal morning walk, about a block into it, he had already pooped once and peed several times, he just stopped dead in his tracks and froze, did not want to go on one more step. The only direction that he would willingly go was back towards the house. This has happened several times, at various places on our morning walks. Sometimes, I can wait a bit and he may change direction and want to head that way, other times I would give him a tug and he would go on, sometimes repeating the stop thing in another 50 yards or so, sometimes not.
    This morning, we got 20 feet from our front door and he locked up solid, only wanting to go back in the house. I waited, and led him in a different direction, going behind our house, and starting down a quiet ally, thinking that might make him feel better. No. In 30 yards, he froze again, and just wanted to go back home. I could bully him, and make him go, but I've always looked at these walks as being their time, and if he hates, or (as I suspect) is frightened of the idea, that's not fair to him, so I indulged him and we returned home. He didn't even want to go out in the back yard, clearly seeming to be frightened by the idea.
    Someone, please give me some insight on this, I've never seen a dog so traumatized about something that they should be looking forward to?
    He's physically healthy, his joints and paws are good, no issues.
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  3. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Chris, you and Brody are still very new to each other and he is, as you have said, so different than your previous oldies. Something is bothering him about leaving his still very new home - maybe he is just scared that he might lose it? And maybe he is just frightened that he might lose you?

    If he has been vet checked and there is no physical reason for him not wanting to go out, I think I would just honour his decision for the moment and not try to force him to go out if he does not want to.

    Being a rescue coming from a totally different environment, maybe, as I said, he is just frightened if he goes too far from you and his new home.
  4. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    I agree, something IS bothering him, vet says he's okay physically, but there is something very, very real going on in his head. Not sure about losing his home? Maybe? But losing me? I'm on the other end of that leash!

    I wish I could help him, at first, we'd walk for miles and he seemed so happy about it.
  5. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    Vets! Have a thorough physical on all his 'moving parts'.

    I know when my previous boy started to do this it was because he had hip displacia that was previously undiagnosed and he showed no obvious signs.
  6. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    Physical exam was good. To see him sprint when he wants to, would quickly dispel any physical issues thoughts. He can run like the wind, it's actually beautiful to watch my lean, lanky boy stretch his legs and fly.
    There is something in his head, and if I don't find the root cause, I can't fix it.
    He did it again later, we made it a block and a half, but when he stopped this time, he looked frantic. We went home. No fussing, no scolding, there's nothing at all to scold him about. My poor boy...
  7. Malka

    Malka Member

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    He wants home and he wants you with him at home. Whether you are at the other end of the leash or not, he wants to be at his new home with you with him.

    Why? I do not know but it could be that he gets flashbacks to his life before you and maybe is frightened that it could happen again?
  8. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    Can you think of anything that happened on the walk or in back garden that could have scared him?

    If you have a car id try taking him somewhere completely different and see how he reacts.
  9. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    What a puzzle. I think you are right to handle it sensitively.
    I would try doing as Vee says. Drive to a nearby beauty spot and see how he reacts to having a good look or sniff around on a loose lead. If he is relaxed, turn it into a happy walk.
  10. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    Scared him? Not sure. He reacts by "exploding" (barking like a crazy dog, standing on his hind legs, dancing around, utterly uncontrollable) on certain things, like other dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, people on bikes, skateboards, golf carts. Mowers, loud trailers (clanking metal plates), and I have taken him on a short leash in a quick hurry before in order to control him. I can't scare the neighborhood kids by giving them the impression they are about to be attacked by "Lassie", nor other dog walkers thinking my dog is going to go after theirs. I don't beat him (of course!), but I have had to yell at him in an attempt to get him in line. Speaking sweetly or quietly just has no impact in certain circumstances.

    No scares to him in the back yard at all.
  11. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    I don't know either, I really don't but this matters to me a great deal...
  12. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    Ah, so he reacts to a lot of things. The best suggestion would be to bring in a reputable behaviourist who uses kind methods to assess him so that you know what you are working with. It sounds very much like the 'putting the brakes on' is a symptom rather than the root problem. He needs work on the other issues before you'll come close to making him feel comfortable while out an about in my opinion
  13. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    Yes, that would be best, for sure, unfortunately, I live in a fairly desolate place, at least when it comes to resources like that. The best hands on professionals I can hope for is a trainer and our vet.
    I believe he has, for lack of a better term "canine agoraphobia", I tried again this morning, same result, if not worse, the poor guy is frozen with fear and just wants to go home, and we never even made it off of the property!
  14. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    GsdSlave likes this.
    Well, this whole thing ended up getting worse and worse, to the point of him not wanting to even cross the threshold to the outside. Several mornings ago, I tried the "tough love" approach, and when he balked, I gave him a few seconds and then just pulled him along. He went. That morning, he stopped about six times, early in the walk, but settled out and walked the rest of the way without stopping. That evening, with the wife along, he stopped twice, both times several blocks away from the house. Each time, we sat him down, and gave him a "high value" treat (slice of summer sausage) and he took that, stood back up and continued walking. He seems completely fine now, goes out the door enthusiastically, and walks fine, seems interested but not afraid. We went 2.5 miles, day before yesterday, down country roads, he seemed quite happy.
  15. Malka

    Malka Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    Yaay - I think you and your wife may have got it. Plus, of course, the slice of sausage, whatever it is. ;)

    Slowly slowly and Brody will learn to love to go out with you Chris. Just do as you are doing and give him time...

    ...and the treats he loves! :)
  16. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    Good to hear things are working out .
  17. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    Me too! He's doing much better being around other dogs (calmer) and even settles down after he sees a rabbit or squirrel. He and the Mrs. review commands daily and he is doing great responding to them, at least inside the house or back yard, however, when he's out on the street, his attentiveness goes out the window.
    He and I play rough in the evenings, maybe a little too rough, I have a couple small holes and a large bruise on my right forearm!
  18. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Give him time Chris, and he will need time. I think that slowly slowly Brody will learn enjoyment.

    I have a small dog who refuses point blank to go out of the yard. So she does not, so what. But I still love her and I know she loves me.
  19. OMCHamlin

    OMCHamlin New Member

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    Well, of course, Malka, Brody needs time, but he IS doing a little better each day, and on the days where he is not, well, we love him that much more. We'll give him his whole life-time to learn that he is safe here, and to enjoy his life. I promise!
    He crawled up on the bed between us this morning and sprawled out with his head on the pillow, and we both rolled in towards him, snuggling with our giant, hairy boy... I'm pretty sure he was happy.
  20. Malka

    Malka Member

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    OMCHamlin likes this.
    I do not know you Chris - I do not know Brody - but I feel, him in my heart. He does not know you but he but he still needs time.

    Crawling on your bed that he shows he feels safe. But it will take time and he is already showing he feels safe with you.

    Just love him.

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