Dogs/my dogs change in behaviour
My 7 yr old lab has become scared to go out and walk with myself or my partner he will go if we go in the car but still very nervous of noises around abt him.We took him for walk in the woods thinking no noise but someone was out shooting far away i may add, and he went into a panic and had he been off the lead he would have fled, he was like a husky pulling on his lead to get back to the car, just so unlike him.My partner is away 3 wks at a time so no car is available to take him, so its just me and he wont come with me anymore, and we have had lots of nice walks, only thing i can think of we were out one night and a firework went off beside us, and i got a big fright, so i guess my dog was scared also, buttttt he has since walked ok, and walked ok with my partner, at the beach etc, but now he doesnt want to go with him also.I got a friend to take him out yesterday while i was at work, her dog is my dogs brother, but without her dog as my dog loves to go out with his brother, he went no bother, running for his ball and having fun, then a lorry went past, his head dropped ears back flat and he stopped running, and changed totaly, just like a light going off in his head, so she just walked him abt but he was pulling to get home,He has to excersise, i just dont no what to do for the best i play the noise tape in the house but he doesnt react to it its only outside, and by his body language its not a pleasurable experience for him now to walk, and before he would stay out for hrs running about, now he is happer to come home than he is too go out, i have had him on a milk protein from vets for 3 weeks and it hasnt worked.Thanks
Hi and thank you for writing to me about your dog suffering from sudden anxiety. Something, possibly unknown to you has triggered this fear. The first thing I always recommend is an exam by a qualified vet. Do some bloodwork and especially look at the thyroid, which should be dead center, not high or low normal. The next thing is to check for lyme which can cause emotional issues.
There are calming herbs you can give to your dog...Rescue Remedy, Tran-quil, etc and in addition I would recommend an anxiety wrap. These have done wonders for dogs with anxiety. You will also have to use a special treat to get your dog to look at going outside as a positive.
There are many books and tapes at www.dogwise.com that address canine anxiety. Please look through them and try some of the techniques. There are also yahoo groups, facebook pages, websites, etc that deal with canine anxiety.
Sometimes vaccinations will cause a chance in behavior as well.
It wouldn't hurt to work with a trainer who uses only positive reinforcement, perhaps clicker training, to help change your dog's outlook on taking a walk..which is so important.
If you follow my suggestions I believe that this can be reversed.
Best of luck,