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Sally G.
Sally G., Dog Training Consultant
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Service/assistance dog training/ behavior /obedience/Therapy dog Evaluator/AKC Evaluator
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my 1 year old st bernard/english setter mix dog will not go

Resolved Question:

my 1 year old st bernard/english setter mix dog will not go outside at dark. when there are fireworks thunder/ or the whole house air condition unit is on (our ac unit is by the back steps) Unfortunatly that is the only door available for use to the fenced in back yard. during daylight hours she will go out as long as the ac is not on. this is a new occurance since a few days before the 4th of july . people in the neighborhood have been setting firworks off for about a week before the holiday. this is the time she started having a problem. If i put her leash on and try to beg her out she will start to pee on the kitchen floor and strain against the lead. she is a very friendly happy dog normally and the only noise that bothered her before this was the sweeper. thunderstorms didn't effect her before this problem with the fireworks..
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Sally G. replied 5 years ago.
hello and welcome to Just Answer. This is the only door to the back yard? Is the yard fenced ? Is there a gate anywhere outside leading to the yard? If you brought her through a gate would she have to pass the AC unit?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
this is the only door to the back yard. the yard is fenced in there is no other way to the yard.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 5 years ago.

Ooh , that's a danger in itself, sorry , fire person talking here:)

What you may need to do is walk her from the front of the house rather than to try and get her through the back door. For now unless she knows and obeys her commands very well, she will continue to put on the breaks, especially since it is too soon after the fireworks. If she is well trained to heel ,sit, down, etc. then I would start having her do these commands on lead while in the house, and not at a time she needs to go out for potty. Praise her well for every command she obeys on the first asking, use hot dog sliver or chicken slivers. A few times walk her out the front door to the street curb to do her business. gradually as you work her over time inside the home on lead with commands you may be able to heel her right out the back door.

If there is a toy that might motivate her if you throw it out the door then use that as well/.

What I fear may happen if you just put the lead on her to tempt her out the back door that she will soon associate the lead with something bad , unpleasant , or frightening and we don't want this to happen.



It may take some time before she will go to that area again but do not coddle her or sweet talk her or she will feel there is something to fear if she crosses that line. I would not even tempt her at this time by tossing treats out the door because she is wise to that event as well. So get her practicing inside on lead for commands, as she is doing commands you can throw in a trick or play here and there to lighten things up, and gradually when she seems at ease with inside training and she believes she will be taken out the front door, then you heel her and run her out the back door instead.


Anytime we baby a dog when they are frightened it increases their fear. Right now she knows the lead means she may have to go out that back door and we want to change that thought process and try again at a later time when she is not sure where you will be taking her.


If there were a gate in the yard I would say lead her in through there for now and then try to get her to go through the back door that way as that is also a different way to associate the back door.



I am careing for a neighbors dog so I will be stepping out for a few minutes , but will check to see if you have any questions when I return.


ah one more thing, if you do not clicker train I might suggest that as a positive reinforcement thing.


Clicker training/positive method training


video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I probably didn't explain correctly. The other entrance to the back yard (fenced) is on the other side of the AC unit. I can not get her out the front or the back door after dark.

she refuses to go out once it is dark outside. I tried the use of the front door (not by any AC unit) and she refuses to go out the door. She is trained and has listened well up to the problem with the dark/firworks/ac unit. During daylight hours she sits at the door and waits until it is opened. If I put her leash on she will go to the door and wait until we open the door. All of her problems are with the night/darkness. I do have lights in the back yard and front but even with the lights on she will not go out after dark. It is becoming a problem due to her not going out to potty and doing so in the house at night. She will Sit/ down/ stay/come in the house and even outside during daylight. my problem is at night.

Expert:  Sally G. replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for that information. For the night I would suggest crating so she cannot mess in the house. I would suggest if she has a collar on you switch to a harness so you can basically lift her and take her though the front or back door. If she is allowed to go on fearing it then it will continue. You may also along with a harness want to use a beach towel under the abdomen to help lift her that way. Once she goes through the door a few times this way she may realize that the way she is now acting is not working and she may then go out on lead. Do not feed her dinner so she is hungry and will want to eat whatever you tempt her with.

You may want to also try some over the counter melatonin to help with her anxiety. I will direct you to a site with information and dosing.

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