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Canine Behavior/My dog is suddenly spooked by something


Hi Simon

We have a 10 month old male Amstaff puppy who has been desexed. He was a rescue dog and was found by the side of the road with bite marks on his face and he was very malnourished. We have had him for just over 2 months and he has been a really loving, sweet dog who follows me everywhere around the house and the yard.

Yesterday, we were in the kitchen and my husband had a towel over this shoulder holding an ice pack in place. He moved the towel up and Harvey bolted out of the kitchen and has been petrified of being in the house ever since. Normally if we put him out the back while we are inside he stands at the back door waiting to be let in but he spent most of yesterday afternoon voluntarily laying out in the yard, looking up at us in the house. When we brought him in and shut the door behind him, he jumped up onto my husband's lap (which he never does) and was panting and breathing quickly. After about half an hour my husband put him on the floor and he immediately went under a chair and wouldn't come out.

When he's out of the house he's fine, happy to play in the yard and go for walks as normal. He's not off his food. There are no new smells or new objects in the house that might be bothering him and our other staffy is completely normal.

Can you help us to get Harvey back to normal?

Hi Carly

Thank you for your message. I would actually recommend something from the vet clinic called DAP. Basically it is an anti anxiety spray that you plug into the wall to mimic the pheremones of the mother so calms them down faster. If this behaviour is new teach him to lie on a mat in the living room or even consider a crate. This creates a comfortable place for him to lie down and relax. In terms of training there is not much that you can do other than just pretend every noise, sight and sound is perfectly normal.

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Simon Goodall


I can answer any questions relating to dog behaviour and dog training. My expertise lies in general dog training but also dog aggression issues or other behavioural issues that may arise.


12 years dog training Owner Dog Guru Dog Training and behaviour company in New Zealand with 26 staff 15,000 dogs trained in past 10 years

International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants International Association of Canine Professionals

Pet Magazine Fetch Magazine International Association of Canine Professionals Stuff website blog

Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Psychology, Graduated 2002 Completing MBA

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