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Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16498
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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Help! We have a rescue yorkie, approximately one and a half

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Help! We have a rescue yorkie, approximately one and a half years old, female, spayed. She was abandoned by the roadside and it took a net from animal control to catch her. She has always been a fearful and anxious dog. Recently we arrived at our destination in our RV (her first trip) and she refuses to go outside. Will not because she is so terrified of any traffic sounds or even passerbys. We adopted her at 16 weeks.

We took her to a local vet and they prescribed doggie Xanax. She's been on it for 24 hours so far. Just now she did something we never would do - she peed on our bed! A bed she sleeps in with us!! This dog took to crate and house training like a champ and never has been a behavior problem. Maggie, her name by the way, also had to be checked for a bowel obstruction because she will not poop either. We've gotten her to go only once in four days.

So I did some online research and just had a tiny bit of success. I put her leash on her and walked around the rv and rewarded her with a small treat. I moved closer and closer to the door and treated her for going close, repeated getting ever closer, down a step, then another until she willingly went outside. Then we just sat on the steps until it was her decision to go back in and I praised her. Waited a bit and repeated same. Now we are on sitting by the picnic table and when she lingers a bit I reward etc. I finally got her to squat and pee.

My husband cannot believe his precious dog (he loves her) would show disrespect. I simply don't have an answer other than she is trying to tell us she hates this rv. I must be her for a operation and we have plans to travel and enjoy retirement and travel in it!

What can we do? Any and all advice desperately needed!
Hi there. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm happy to help you with your Yorkie and her new behavior. Just like an in person consult, I have a few questions to help decide exactly what to suggest....

I assume your girl is spayed?

How does she act when the RV is moving?

How many steps are there between the inside of the RV and the outside?

Does she have any problems with steps at home?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, she is spayed
At first, she was terrified, then relaxed. It was a two day drive. She sat comfortably between us.
Four steps
We have no steps other than the four up to the bed. A
Thanks so much for the additional information. I really appreciate it Maureen!!

I suspect that her problem has to do with the steps, rather than going outside. Especially since she doesn't have them at home other than up to the bed.

You've made the right moves so far...taking her around the RV and giving her positive reinforcement through the treats and praise are absolutely the best things to do, and I think if you continue that training when taking her outside the RV, she'll eventually get used to it.

She clearly has a good bond with you so if it were me in your shoes, I'd take her on that leash with those treats a couple times a day and walk her in and out of the RV. Even if she doesn't have to go potty...just for fun....each time, make sure you're giving her as much positive reinforcement as you have been.

When you're taking her outside, watch her on the steps and see if you can tell if she has any problem stepping up or down...the RVs I've seen have very big steps, so it's possible that they're intimidating for a little dog with little legs to get up and down. If you notice that she seems to be struggling, then you may have to just pick her up and put her down going in and out or you may need to get her a ramp to help make it easier to get in and out.

Finally...I know that your husband thought she was disrespecting you by going potty on the bed, but I truly think it was more a case of her not being able to hold it anymore. I also know that she's on Xanax for her anxiety, but it's possible she might need just a little extra something to help take the edge off....there's not alot we can try that she has to ingest...but there is a wonderful over-the-counter collar that really does help with anxiety in dogs:

Try a DAP collar. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's can also find them online at places like and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.

I think with the repeated tries on the leash and the positive reinforcement she'll be going in and out of that RV in no time!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
In addition to her anxiety about going outside, Maggie reacts to people walking by and car noises.
That's not unusual for an anxiety dog...sadly.

I'm hopeful that adding the collar will help her, but she's an anxious/nervous dog, and these dogs can develop new fears pretty regularly...I speak from experience since I live with my own anxiety dog. The important thing to remember is not to baby them when they're acting afraid/fearful...this can actually encourage the behavior.
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