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Dog Training/Dog's gerbil phobia!


Hi, I have a 5YO collie who is frightened of my gerbil cage - he knows from experience they are inclined to do a sudden 'dash' in the cage and he always runs out of the room when they do this, and is uncomfortable being around them in case they happen to dash.
Sometimes when he is excited he will jump around the gerbil cage a bit obsessivly, but that's the only other interaction he has with them.
I tried keeping them in my bedroom for a couple months and at first he was ok about it but eventually he wouldn't even go in the same room! He's been around gerbils for a couple years and its just getting worse.

Thanks for your email, Jay. There's not any simple training you can do to resolve this. My best advice, for the safety of the gerbils and the mental health of your collie, keep them separated during the rodents' active times. A 5 yo dog is not likely to change his mind about this. He's confused about what he's sees as potential prey being in the same room and not being allowed to get it. The gerbils are also likely worried about a predator nearby.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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