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Thread: My dog is afraid to go outside at night

  1. #1
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    My dog is afraid to go outside at night

    My 1.5 year old Jack Russell / Lab mix loves to go outside during the day but not at night. I take her for her last walk at 10pm right before I go to sleep. We live on a busy road and I walk her in the grass swail. A few months ago while she was going potty a car drove by and made a loud noise that scared both of us. Now she runs and hides and won't want to go out. My husband and I usually corner her but he is out of town for the next few days and even though I eventually caught her she did / does growl and snap at me / us. She is not aggressive just scared. Any ideas on what to do? She won't eat treats before we go out but I give her a couple when we come in then I put her in her bedroom for the night.

  2. #2
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    Hi, welcome to Pet Talk! This will take some time, and consistency, but you can train her back into being okay with the outdoors at night.

    We had a similar thread recently here, but I will tell you what I told her before she got the medical diagnosis:

    Do take her outside after dark, and stay out until she does her business. As soon as she eliminates outside give her a treat, and lots of praise. Do not "baby" her - relax and consciously act like nothing is wrong. Do not cajole and try pleasing, coddling her will reinforce she should be afraid. Be patient - even bring a flashlight and book with you, spend non-stressful time with her outside and praise praise praise. Take her out for a short walk, the next evening a longer one, and even longer. Work on any commands she knows when you are outside, run her through sit, down, stay, spin - whatever she knows so she associates being out there with happy things, and with a "job" to do. Does she like to play? Get her excited with a ball inside right before you go out - when her leash is already on, grab a ball, bounce it, etc. so she gets more interested in it than she is afraid of the dark. And when you are outside, stay calm, deep breaths, and keep her interested in whatever way you can, have her focus on you.
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Karen.

    Once I get her leash on she bolts outside across the sidewalk to the grass, walks while she tinkles, takes a step, poops then runs back inside pulling my arm out of the socket.

    I will work on commands while we are out there since she is good at them. Any ideas on how to put the leash on her before the walk? She runs behind the sofa which my husband and I have to move nightly to catch her. She cowers on her back when we reach for her collar and tries to bite us. I truly believe she is just snapping out of fear but I'm afraid one time she'll bite one of us.

    Once she gets back inside for her treats (and during the day) is she is an otherwise happy dog.

  4. #4
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    Can you put the leash on her earlier, and let her just drag it around in the house for an hour or so? She may get tangled on furniture legs, so you will have to watch to deal with that.

    You could also put the leash on, take it off and treat, then go do something. Do this several times over the 2 to 3 hours prior to the final walk, so she never knows which one is "the" one.
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  5. #5

    just a thought

    Such great ideas have been shared. Hope that time and patience on your part will help.. Here's something you might try.. Sounds easy... but it's going to take a super human effort on your part.... Relax.... Yep.. dogs ( especially JRT's )are scary psychic. If you are displaying any anxiety.. they're going to pick up on it immediately and go into over-drive.. Try taking a few deep breaths.. tell yourself and her that all is well.. She's safe and so are you... give it a try... remember to BREATHE!!

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone. I will try the suggestions tonight.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkathleenj View Post
    Thanks everyone. I will try the suggestions tonight.
    Oh, good - let us know how it goes!
    I've Been Frosted

  8. #8
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    I went out with friends for dinner and when I came home Cally Berry wouldn't go out. My husband is out of town and Cally Berry is sleeping in the bed with me. I waited until she was snuggling in the bed and I pet her and spoke sweetly then I put the leash on her. Gave her treats on the way out of the apartment, after potty-ing, and after completion of commands but when the fireworks went off at the beach she freaked out. My normally treat motivated dog pulled so hard to get inside. Will keep trying nightly and report any good news. Thanks again.

  9. #9
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    So hard this time of year, with fireworks. Most (but not all) dogs are afraid of them and often will not go anywhere near where they ever heard such, even once.

    Keep at it.
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

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