Too scared to go outside :-(

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Jes72, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Oh, boy!

    Homer is scared of bangs and noises. This has been going on for a while. We've been through a few moments especially Oct/Nov last year. New Year we were ready with 'happy drugs' for him which helped a lot and recently he's been a lot better. Last week we were away while storm Katie came over, I sent his dog sitter a message to find out how he was getting on and mentioned he wasn't fond of storms and she replied he was terrified. This week I got the dog desensitising tracks and have started playing them on a very low volume.

    Yesterday we got caught in a thunderstorm on our afternoon walk. There was not a lot of thunder, a few loud-ish short rumbles then heavy rain and a bit of hail. At the first rumble he turned back to go home. He was reasonably good as he went ahead of me but stopped every now and then to check I was coming and stopped at the usual place to have his lead put back on, but in no uncertain terms he wanted to get back home!

    This morning he was a little reluctant to go for a walk but as soon as we got going he was fine. we went a slightly different way turning off onto a different path to play ball.

    This afternoon he was all keen to go for another walk but as soon as I opened the front door there was a bang from builders down the street, a good 10 houses away and not a very loud bang but quite sudden. He would NOT step outside and turned to go upstairs. I left him for a bit, made a cup of tea and got on with some gardening out the back and he came out to the back garden with me. He settled down so after a while I said 'let's go for a walk!' He jumped up all excited, I picked up his led and went to open the front door and he legged it halfway up the stairs. I left the front door open played ball with myself but he wouldn't come down.

    So I took myself for a walk on my own up to the vet. Had a good chat to the veterinary nurse. I've come home with some Adaptil plug in spray which is now plugged in in the kitchen.

    Homer has spent all his life in London with traffic, aeroplanes, helicopters, sirens building works (nearly every house in our street has been renovated including our own new roof). He was fine until about two years ago, but I cannot think of any specific trigger.
     
  2. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    Poor lad , it must be so tough when you don't know what has caused this and no doubt upsetting for you to witness too :( You are doing absolutely right not to force Homer , to make light of it all and get him out into the garden . One of my past Labs was helped enormously by the desensitising CD , but it took a while , about a month of playing in the background . I do feel for you and hope he will soon improve .
     
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  3. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    We are going through this at the moment, it started of when a firework went of in a house we were walking by last year, then the shooting season, now it is any loud noises especially lorries, then a small dog set upon him, that just seemed the last straw for Buster. for the last 4 weeks we have been giving him a lot of treats to help him be able to go for a walk, but at the moment we are limited to 3 places that he will walk, but since this noise problem I have never been so aware of noises as I am now.
    Last week we had a behaviourist come round to us, who told us we were doing the right thing by giving him treats and getting him to find it while approaching the "scary" bit of road. The aim now is for Buster to look in the direction of the noise that is causing him anxiety and treat him, and a few other things.
    We did by the noise cd, we did get it up to a good volume without any problems but I was a bit concerned that he was hearing the same noises in the same order over and over, but I must admit when Buster hears the occasional gunshot now he doesn't seem overly bothered by it, but I would love to have my lovely happy go lucky boy back who doesn't have a care in the world. I hope with hard work from us that he starts to trusts us to not make him to walk somewhere he is worried by.
    We are still having good and bad days some mornings he will only walk up to his scary spot then want to come home, but hope in time he will be fine.
     
  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    This must be so worrying for you (@Jes72 and @Helen too). I really have no experience of this (my dog had a brief period of being nervous of noises after he'd spent time in a vet hospital, but that is the only relevant experience I have).

    I'd say consulting a professional is the way to go if you've got to the point where your dog won't leave the house. I think that is easier said than done, as there are a lot of people who claim to be professional around, that are anything but!

    My wonderful gundog trainer was the most insightful person about Charlie's period of nervousness, she has a lot of experience of working line dog being gunshy and shy of loud noises (that wasn't the case with Charlie, but it was the same end result). So, finding someone with experience, and who has real insight - wherever that comes from - is the key thing.

    Best of luck with it, I hope you sort something out.

    For what it's worth, I took Charlie to new places everyday, even if just for 10 minutes. And I found a fair that was being constructed on a large Common, so I could have whatever distance I wanted, and it got louder everyday. We worked around that a lot. With Charlie it really seemed to be a temporary thing, related to a recent easily identifiable event, so we got over it quite quickly.
     
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  5. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    ".....but I would love to have my lovely happy go lucky boy back who doesn't have a care in the world."

    Hubby managed to get him out the front door and to the bottom of the road this evening. Phew.

    I wish I could explain to him that I'll protect him from any harm.

    xx
     
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  6. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Is it possible to take Homer out in the car somewhere new without any previous memories? It would be good for him, and you, to walk somewhere which has no associations with loud noises. It might just help to rebuild his confidence a little
     
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  7. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I know ,wouldn't that be lovely x
     
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  8. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    So much for telling him I'll protect him, he was lying on the top of the stairs in the dark and hubby stepped on him!

    I was thinking that I might take him to Richmond park but it's a much more open space so might be more difficult if anything went wrong.

    I'm interested to see what effect the Adaptil will have on him. He does appear calmer than usual this morning. I one I've got lasts a month so plan to keep it on for a month then either reduce how often I put it on or stop completely. Then have some ready for busy times and planned fireworks etc.

    Has anyone else used Adaptil?
     
  9. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I've used a plug in but I was dealing with some stress around being left alone and I did a bunch of other things at the same time so it's hard to quantify the effect. It does no harm though so it's worth a go. Best of luck resolving Homers anxieties.
     
  10. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    We got the Adaptil collar last month, I've just put a new one on him, as the problem is out of the house I thought that would be better, although as you've read it hasn't cured him, but I think it has definitely taken the edge of it for him.

    Maybe see how you go, we were going to give it a month to see if we could sort the problem ourselves but in the end we deducted to go with a behaviourist.

    I do wish you and Homer all the best, it is a horrible situation that we are in.
     
  11. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Yay, made it to the common, away from where the thunder was . There were some bangs from the flats near the path on the way home. He fled away from me and the bang, stopped and came back to me shivering. Lead back on and slowly, slowly home to stop him pulling all they way.

    Now to put the noise tracks on very, very low.
     
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  12. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Wishing you all the best too.
     
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  13. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I feel for you. Willow is scared of certain noises, too. Yesterday, there were a couple of distant avalanche explosions while we were out on our morning walk. This morning, before we went out, she heard another one - barely audible to us. She immediately slinked off to her bed, and wasn't herself while I was getting collars and leads ready. We got about 20m outside the door, she sat down, shaking, and wouldn't go any farther. She wouldn't take any food, even roast chicken.

    I called DH to come and get Shadow to take him for his walk, so I could concentrate on Willow. I managed to get her relaxed by playing kicky-snow (she loves chasing it, trying to bite my boots and getting covered in snow), and we caught up with DH and Shadow, but as soon as we turned for home, she became anxious again. Poor girl, I hate to see her like that :(

    Noise on the TV doesn't seem to do anything for her, so once we get the house in Spain (fingers crossed), I'm going to start a daily program to see if I can make any dent in her fear.
     
  14. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    It is awful to see them scared :(

    My in-laws dog hates the bird scarers round by us. He'll barely go for a walk when they visit.
     
  15. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    We have made some progress but we took him to visit my brother and in their garden there was a gate banging in the wind. He was off with his tail between his legs trying to get inside the house. Hubby managed to bring him back to the rug on the lawn for tummy rubs.

    It's all those unecpected noises that are so difficult.
     
  16. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    This must be stressful, fireworks and thunder are one thing, but a gate banging - it sounds quite extreme, poor boy.

    I did wonder, I don't know if this is a crazy idea, but could there be anything wrong with his ears? I just mention it because I read an article the other day about a person who had suffered some hearing damage and now found loud noises actually painful. It really might be a mad idea (just trying to think of things to suggest....).
     
  17. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    Hi Jes, you might find that any noise Homer now hears he might react to, I didn't want to mention this to you as I hope this is a very small glitch in Homers life at the moment. My husband found it very frustrating at first, at its like anything it takes time for you to try and get your head round it all.

    Arm your self with plenty of treats, do you know Find it game? When out on your walk play find it as it helps them focus on the treat and (hopefully) not focus on a noise he hears, if Homer hears a noise and wants to hop foot it home, try find it, but if he is still not having it then take him home, we were doing this for 3 weeks before the behaviourist was able to come to us, so now we are at the stage of Buster has to look at where the noise is coming from in order to get a treat, I must admit it's hard to do that but very slowly it will get easier.

    The other night some kids were playing football in the street they certainly were not loud but Buster thought they were very loud, he was already anxious and we couldn't walk him any further so we had to come home as we hadn't read the behaviourists report so didn't know how to respond. Then the next afternoon me and my son were walking down a quite high street when we passed a guy on a motorbike (wasn't on at this stage) when we got further up the road he did start it up and Buster did start to pull towards home I immediately chucked a treat on the floor and asked him to find it, and asked him to spin (his speciality) and he thankfully calmed down quickly. But we have been dealing with this for 5 weeks now. We are no where near an end in sight but I hope in time and perservence we can help Buster enjoy the outdoors and all its sounds again.
     
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  18. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Thanks, I think I will book in a visit to the vet, if anything to illuminate any ear problems although his ears are clean and there is no obvious infection.

    I'll try treats and his ball. He was fine this morning when we went to the common but wouldn't go far with hubby this evening after getting back from visiting my brother. Only problem is treats don't work when he's got a bee in his bonnet. I'll need super irresistible treats.
     
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  19. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I had a problem with Maisie and confidence/fear following a nasty dog attack last summer which left her very frightened and scared of everyday things. Everything that was once ok became a problem, kids, men, dogs on lead, noises, bikes, unknown dogs, etc,etc. She was very reactive and very scared of everything . What worked for us was using a natural calming tablet called Nurtacalm prescribed by our vet. Within a week she was visibly calmer when out and about. We had a six week course and then weaned her off over a two week period. The treatment allowed me to deal with her reactivity and allowed me to work on building her confidence. Just a thought, but it may be something you could look into.
    http://www.nutravet.co.uk/nutracalm
     
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  20. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    That looks interesting, @Debs - well worth chatting to your vet about, @Jes72 ?
     

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