Anxious Escape Artist Lab

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Candy_Ellie, May 15, 2019.

  1. Candy_Ellie

    Candy_Ellie Registered Users

    May 15, 2019

    This is quite a long story, so thank you to anyone taking the time to read through it.

    I am having some severe behavioral issues with my 8, almost 9 year old Labrador. About two years ago, when we were living in Melbourne, she started displaying very strange behavior that I'd never seen before. She would sit at the back door and shake and whine, looking very distressed. She would do this even when she couldn't see us inside. A few days later I got home to find she had escaped the yard. I had no idea how she got out until I saw her scaling the back fence, a tremendous feat! I pulled her down and she was pacing the yard whining, with her tail between her legs. She managed to escape two more times. We installed some new fencing that she could just fit her head through, and I once watched her trying to push her whole body through this fence, with her tail tucked so hard underneath her, whining and just so determined to escape the yard. She had huge cuts on her chest from trying to push through.

    And one day this all stopped. Nothing had changed, I have no idea what brought it on or what stopped it.

    A year ago we moved to a smaller rural town, and I was convinced that the strange behavior was behind us. Until about a week ago I noticed the signs; digging in the yard, acting desperate to come inside all the time. And last night she dug under our fence and managed to squeeze out and run away. Again, nothing changed in our yard, in our schedules or behavior. I am so worried because when she wants to escape it's like nothing will stop her. She's like a total different dog, it's like she's possessed.

    She has regular vet checkups and is healthy. She eats fine, loves going for walks. Yesterday she was fine all day; eating her Kongs and laying in the sun. But then out of nowhere she "goes crazy" and escapes.

    Any help/advice would be so greatly appreciated, I am at wits end and have no idea what I should do.

    Thankyou so much.
  2. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

    Mar 19, 2019
    North Yorkshire
    How awful for you and her. Something is obviously really upsetting her. Are there any new electrical items or anything similar in the area? I have a torch which gave off a really high pitched noise when charging. My OH couldn't hear it but I could and one of the dogs didn't like it at all.
  3. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    May 26, 2018
    Blackmans Bay, Australia
    Hi @Candy_Ellie

    What part of Victoria do you live in? I know a very good dog behaviourist and trainer who lives in Carboor. If suitable I can send you the contact details.
  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Aug 25, 2018
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    There are many, many possible causes for this.

    But really, it sounds like she is shut outside? Many frightening things can be experienced outside and spook a dog, from critters running about, to neighbours dropping stuff, to trucks backfiring, to other dogs passing by and barking - and so on.

    I can't recommend shutting a dog outside so she can't retreat indoors to safety when she wants to, but has to just be exposed to whatever it is she is scared of, in the yard :( That is just unfair and a bit cruel. If she couldn't get indoors, of course she is going to try to get out the yard the only other way - by going over the fence.

    Please allow her access to your house and a dog door, so she has a safe place to retreat to.

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