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NancyH, Dog Expert:Rescue, Train,Breed,Care
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+ yrs dog home vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior&training, responsible show breeding, genetics
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Why is my dog all of a sudden afraid to come into the house

Customer Question

Last Wednesday morning my 3 year old dog woke me up at 4:30am...I took her out, but that wasn''t what she needed...when we came home, she followed me was quite obvious that something had spooked her...she was never like this...since then, she is afraid to be left alone (not at all her normal way) and is terrified to come back into the house after we go out...I don''t understand this and don''t know what to do...she has always been an extremely well-adjusted dog, socializes regularly at doggy-day-care (which she loves)...I''m beside myself....what can this be and what should I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  NancyH replied 8 years ago.
It may be she had a seizure and that is what woke her and you that Wednesday. Sometimes the post ictal (after seizure) behavior indcludes being very fearful. Image you woke up out of a dream a monster had you only to find a monster did have you! I found my dog was extremely fearful of both the outdoor area she had her first seizure in and the indoor area where the second one impacted her. She acted as if the location was the problem. So we worked on it as if it were a behavior issue such as using special treats for being in the area, playing fun stuff near there, and in general making it clear the spot wasn't the problem.
If it was a seizure she doesn't know or understand what happened and is sticking with you so you can save her if it happens again.
You might want to have your vet do a check on her as sometimes a seizure is triggered by a health issue such as a thyroid problem, or a liver issue etc.
You can read about seizures here
Dogs don't always thrash around as the television might lead you to believe. A seizure can also be pretty quiet depending on where in the brain it happens.
Hope this helps you!
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thank you for your response...I have made a vet appointment for tomorrow afternoon and will explain to him everything that has transpired with Espresso since Wednesday...any tips on how to bring her back into the house after I walk her to help her get over this fear? I don't want to just pull her in...should I pick her up and carry her?
Expert:  NancyH replied 8 years ago.
If she has a food treat she thinks is tops I'd pick her up, carry her in, and give her a tiny treat of her favorite food. With my dogs a little bit of chicken is a great treat or a tiny bit of liver. Some dogs love cheese - again its just a taste.
I'd take her back out once you established there are goodies inside and walk her up to the door and open it. See if she will go in for a treat. If not place her inside the door and then hand her a reward and put another on the floor a step or two in. You can make it obvious by putting the little treat on a paper plate or the lid off of a small plastic container.
What you want is to change the association of inside is really scary to inside - super treat may appear. She learned to be afraid so teach her to not be afraid.
Here is a training method called target training you can try if she is too stressed to smell or take the yummy treat as yet. Its called target training
You can teach her about the target outside and move it inside to help you get her comfortable with the house again.
Remember treats are small to keep her interested and not to unbalance her diet.

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