By melinda 1
I have a 1 1/2 year old Basenji. She is scared of EVERYTHING ! She gets scared of the wind blowing, sounds, people, leaves, lint, inanimate objects, ETC. She doesn't urinate everywhere, but if it is bad enough, she will have leakage from her anal glands. She will run off and hide, shake, or get all weirded out by pacing back and forth with her tail down looking like she has no idea how to get away. What should I do? It is very frustrating!
April 7, 2008
Melinda, I would definitely say don't give up - it may take years for the dog to become trusting. My poodle had been abused when I adopted her, and she was terrified of everything, too. It took a long time to get her to trust people, but once she got past her "past", she became quite the dog! Definitely look into getting a crate and putting it in a quiet area where the dog feels secure while you are making noise. If she knows she has a quiet and safe spot she can go to, it should help a lot. I would also talk to a vet about anti-anxiety medications you could give her during storms, or if you have people over.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
April 8, 2008
I didn't read all of the advice but I'm sure it's excellent. Also consider Rescue Remedy, a holistic calming therapy. I've never had to use it but I've read about many many good experiences. It's harmless & it benefits the dogs greatly. I've had abused dogs & it can take yrs. but like everyone says they eventually come around to be wonderful dogs. There is no time limit because every dog is different. Just be there & let them be themselves & take their own sweet time working through it.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
April 8, 2008
Hi there, I have had a female basenji for 5 years, but I have not had the trouble that you speak of. My basenji has been a handfull though so I can relate to your problem from that context. The first thing that came to my mind regarding the urination is to look into Fanconi disease, you would need to do a websearch on it to find out more. But the getting scared part almost sounds to me like your dog is high strung like most basenjis. And a good "cure" for that is to make sure that they get at minimum a 30 minute walk everyday. You would be surprised at how much a long walk each day helps a very wide variety of problems that seemingly have no relationship to something as simple as exercise. The lack of exercise can cause a dog to behave "neurotically". Lastly if you haven't seen the cable tv show The Dog Whisperer, it would be a good idea to watch his shows because he is excellant at helping dogs and their owners with problems similar to yours not to mention a host of other problems. He also has a book out if you can't find the tv show, his name is Cesar Millan. Hope that helps. Cary
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
April 9, 2008
I would definitely discuss the situation with your vet. They do sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety meds for dogs, and this would probably help. You also probably have some dog "behaviorists" in Houston, and they deal more with psychological issues. (doggy shrinks)
I give one of my dogs a product from Drs.Foster and Smith catalog (also have a website) called "Ultra Calm Biscuits". It is an herbal blend, shaped like a dog treat. It really takes "the edge off." But my dog is old and just recently suffers from anxiety. Since your dog is so young, you should probably try to treat the source of the behavior first, rather than just medicating the symptoms. Good luck! I am sure it can be helped.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
April 10, 2008
Thank you to everyone for your advice. I hope i can find something that will help. Thanks :-)
April 10, 2008
One thing you shouldn't do is coddle her when she is scared. Then you are rewarding the wrong behavior and it is more likely to continue. Good luck!
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
October 3, 2008
I have a 10 year old Basenji who has always been afraid of every little noise as well - especially children. But, just recently, he started acting like he's seeing things and has gone to hiding behind a plant or behind the couch. Stays there all day except to eat and go do his business. Now that I see this, I'm wondering if it's a Basenji thing?
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
November 9, 2008
I have a 2 year old maltese poodle with the same problem. the wind blows she runs for cover. I have to carry her inside because she won't go near the trash can. I tested that and she stayed in the entrance of the house not moving near the trash can for a half hour before I got her.. She'll still bark when she thinks she hears someone at the front door so I'm sure she's not really bad off. but it's kind of frustrating listening to her run off and hide every time I turn on the tv.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
November 9, 2008
I'm reading this and I think of my dog Mandy. She is just the same I tried opening a can one time with a manual can opener and she was at my feet. the second she heard the pop she ran away horrified I'm sure she would have gone under the bed if she wasn't afraid of it.. lol. I opened a comic book once and I didn't see her for a few hours until I went and got her from her crate it's like her safe zone or something.
She won't eat regular dog food I have to feed her what I eat or else she runs away I brought home some dry food for her and she started shaking uncontrollably when I poured it into her bowl. She was an abused dog, also.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
November 18, 2008
I have a 12 week old Australian Shepperd and he is the same way. He just got the courage to smell a tennis ball for the first time today who knows when he will actually play with one. If you walk into the room he runs and hides. Every little thing scares him. Any fast movement or any movement towards her she runs. You have to wait till she comes to you or you cant get near her. She truly is afraid of everything.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
December 23, 2008
Well I have a 1 yr. old Bull Mastiff. It's quite the thing to see this massive dog run away from people and especially children all the time. I just don't know what to do. I want him to be able to know what's safe from what's not. Anyway if anyone has anymore advice I would love to hear.
July 2, 2010
I heard on NPR, "Calling All Pets" that there is a dog and.or cat pheromone that you plug into your electric socket like a night light. It releases the calming pheromone. (included is a web site info)I would give this a try. "What Good Are Pheromones to Me and My Pet?"
Certain pheromones secreted by dogs, cats and horses are calming. Some of these pheromones are the type secreted by lactating mothers. These pheromones help the babies feel content, secure and safe. In addition, some calming pheromones help animals recognize familiar places. As a group, pheromones that have a calming effect on animals are referred to as "appeasing" pheromones. Scientists have created synthetic versions of these appeasing pheromones for use as treatments to help pets deal with anxiety and fear. The advantages of using pheromones are that they're not sedatives and haven't been found to cause dangerous side effects. Pet guardians don't need a prescription to obtain them for their pets. However, the use of any chemical affecting your pet should be approved by his veterinarian before you use it.
There have been a number of studies evaluating the effectiveness of synthetic pheromones in treating behavior problems in companion animals. The results of these studies indicate that commercially available synthetic pheromones can reduce anxiety in many pets.
Check with your vet or Google it online.
March 3, 2013
I have a three year old brittany spaniel/English setter. My step sister had a son and we baby sit him every once and a while. But when Carson which will be one in a couple weeks, comes near my dog the dog bolts and some times he growls at him. Every once in a while the dog will start to shake. We really want to know what's wrong and why he can't just get along the first time.
It had happened Carson went up to the dog and the dog growled at him. So my dad yelled at the dog and ever since the dog will bolt away from him. The dog can't even look at Carson. Please help.
I have a 16 yr old dog that has always had anxiety issues. Lately it is out of control. I have a huge lawn for him to run and play in. I have always been able to just let him out without supervision. (He is way to scared to go anywhere.) He just runs around the house which has always been good exercise for him. He actually has a path.
Lately he will not go outside, I have to drag him out with a leash. When outside he runs around the house to all of the doors ripping the molding off, chewing the door knobs, and jumping up and scratching the doors destroying them. He has torn all of the rubber molding off, so there are holes in the bottom of the doors. I am so afraid he is going to break the sliding glass window. I have tried blocking the doors with things, but he just destroys the stuff. His ultimate goal is to get back in the house. Even when I am outside with him he just walks at my feet tripping me.
While inside he just paces back and forth causing him to breathe heavily so he throws up all over. He has started peeing and pooping in the house because he hates going out. At night he sleeps on the floor in my room (on his $150 memory foam bed). All night he keeps me up running around the room panting and acting as if something is spooking him. If I lock him out of the room he destroys the door to get back in.
I have had him since a puppy. He has never been abused. I do have a crate that I keep him in when I leave. Lately it is the only place he can be because he is making me mental. I don't want to constantly leave him in there what should I do?
September 9, 2012
Your veterinarian would know the answer to this or at least give him some calming medicine. Since he never destroyed anything before and he is constantly underfoot and peeing and pooing in the house and because of his age, it sounds like he is nearing the end of his life. Please take him to the vet.
I took on a friend's female Bishon who is 2 years old. They bred dogs and she was one of their breeding dogs, but they had not bred her yet. They were getting older and need to get rid of the animals.
She had very little human contact so they were not able to sell her. They were going to take her to the pound so I asked if I could have her. The first week was a nightmare. She wouldn't come near me and hid in the bushes, rain, shine, or cold. Little by little I got her to come in the house. It has been about six months and she stays in the house most of the time. She won't let me touch her except when she is in her bed and I can pet her. She will run up to me, but never closer than arms length. When she is outside she runs around in circles. She will stand in the living room growling for no reason at all. I was able to pick her up when some friends were here (I had to get her in the bedroom in her bed before I could pick her up).
I took her into where they were and was going to show my friend how she was licking her self raw on her bottom. Well she did everything she could to get down and she pooped she was so scared and I let her down because she was way too strong for me. To get her to come into the house or a room I have to step away and then close the door after her. She will run around for hours.
We took her out with my friend's other dogs to run in the pasture and she stayed up by the fence and ran up and down it and never came to be with the other dogs. In the car she is terrified. I had her clipped and they said she was scared, but other than that she was OK. My friend took her for a walk with her other dogs, all on a leash, and at first Daisy was fine and then out of the blue she went wild. She wasn't sure what to do, but try and calm her down and Daisy bit her. So she just kept walking and she felt the lead getting strange and looked and she was dragging Daisy so she picked her up and carried her the rest of the way.
My friend keeps saying she is mentally damaged. I have been giving her magnesium, but it only makes her sleepy in the day and freaky at night. Can anyone tell me if they have ever heard of this before and is there hope for my Daisy?
By Karen MC
May 9, 2012
Do be careful with the magnesium supplement. It will give your dog cramps and diarrhea. I do not know what amount you are giving her, but 40 to 80 milligrams is a laxative dose for an adult human. Bless you for giving Daisy a 2nd chance. I hope things work out.
How to break a dog from being scared of everything!
By MShearron from Nashville
October 11, 2012
First thing to do is learn a new pet vocabulary that doesn't include the word 'break'. Believe it or not, using words like 'break' in relation to training a pet can set up a mindset that uses fear to train, and since you are hoping to help your dog adjust to things that frighten him, fear is probably going to be counter-productive.
Right then, on to helping your little guy...
Is he a pure-bred dog, and if yes, where did you get him? It's possible that he is the result of poor breeding practices and either has some neurological problems that cause him to 'startle' easily, or he suffered abuse before becoming part of your family.
Is he a rescue? Even more likely he suffered some abuse.
Have him examined by a good canine vet to be sure he doesn't have physiological problems that can be alleviated with medication, improperly healed fractures or other injuries from past abuse. A canine vet is one who specialises in canine care and should be able to perform an exam that will answer those questions, and will also be able to advise on ways to help your little guy overcome his fears.
One especially successful assist to the process is to provide your dog with a 'safe place' he knows is his alone and is somewhere he can go to take a time out from the upsetting stimuli. Wire crates work well if you place it somewhere there is no household traffic, like a bedroom or study used by his favourite person. Drape a blanket over the crate to create a dark, warm, private spot-he'll instinctively see this as a 'den' and will retreat to it when ever he is needing some physical and emotional space.
By now you surely have a feel for the things that frighten him-doorbells, loud voices, too many people at one time, pots and pans clanking, etc. Know what upsets him, and remove him to the crate if you are going to be unable to control those stimuli.
Put him in the crate but don't latch the crate, close the door to the room the crate is in-this will give him a sense of control (he can get out of the crate if he wants to) and also help him to trust you that you will protect him from the things that frighten him without 'punishing' him for being afraid by locking him up.
Gradually bring the crate closer to the areas where the frightening events occur. Speak calmly and matter of factly whenever the frightening events occur as you move him to the crate so that he understands you are in control and can protect him from the scary stuff.
It will take a lot of time and patience on your part, and the part of any household members. But the effort is well worth it. Back in the mid-seventies I rescued a young dog (about four months old at the time) who had been badly abused; it took nearly a year to help her but that hard work on our part (and her's, imagine how hard it is for a dog to confront and overcome fear must be!) paid off.
She lived another 15 years and was a very important member of our family, teaching both my children to walk by patiently permitting them to clutch onto her thick fur and then slowly walking them around the house. She was also bar none the best watch dog we ever had, preventing two burglaries over the 15 years she was with us.
Check your library and the Internet for books on helping a dog overcome debilitating fear, and remember, the word 'break' is no longer a part of your animal companionship vocabulary:)
A month ago, my boyfriend and I adopted a two year old beagle/chihuahua mix, Cooper, from the Animal Rescue Foundation. We love him to pieces, but he is scared of everything.
We thought that surely after the first month he would adjust a little, but I have seen hardly any improvement. He is scared of squeaky toys and paper (Christmas sent him hiding behind the couch, and Monopoly money had him running to the closet); he is scared of startling noises, and when I put on my coat; he is scared of being approached from people who are standing, and he is scared of any quick movements.
He recognizes his name, but has no response aside from looking in my direction - I can never coax him to walk toward me. I have rescued an abused dog before, but never one that acted like Cooper.
Cooper will sit on my lap for an endless amount of time as long as I'm still, but as soon as I stand up and set him in the floor, he gets scared and hides under the bed in the other room. If I shut the bedroom door and don't allow him in, he gets so scared, he pees on the floor. If I don't physically remove him from underneath the bed, he stays there all day long.
Also, when we ran the blender in the kitchen, he was so scared he actually pooped all the way to the back bedroom closet.
It makes me sad that no matter how much love, compassion, or space that we give him, he still will not trust us. It breaks my heart to not receive love from my baby. Please, someone help me and Cooper.
Courtney from Tulsa, OK
<img src="/images/articles18/afraid-dog293x300.jpg" width="293" height="300" border="0" alt="My Dog Is Afraid of Everything" hspace="5" vspace="5">
Not being a dog-person myself, I am hardly in a position to offer reliable advice. However, I would suggest you inquire at the ARF you adopted him from regarding his past and maybe any advice they can give you. At the same time, DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE!!! Keep on giving love, talk to Cooper reassuringly, telling him he will live with you FOREVER, for the rest of his life. Also, tell him when you plan to stand up/shut the door/run the blender/whatever, and also explain the reasons why your are doing this and how long it will take. Tell him you are taking him to a safe spot (under the bed?) for the duration of the noise or whatever. Treat him the way you would treat an abused child who came to live with you. It is clear that he has been severely abused emotionally and apparently also physically. Good luck to you and hugs and kisses to Cooper!
PS: I am a social worker with experience in child protection issues--- (01/17/2007)
I've had and am having experience both with abused children and animals-- it takes a lot longer than a month. Be patient and keep on being gentle in voice and movement, and like the social worker above said, talk before you do anything! (I still automatically do this with my adopted daughter who came at age 7 and was scared of everything, "I'm going into the other room to get some tissues." Nothing is too small to explain beforehand-- but my daughter has become very well adjusted and is now saying "Mom, you don't have to tell me everything you do!")
Animals will react to your tone of voice so be careful to speak gently! Also approach any animal with your hand from underneath-- never above.
Love and pats to you and your cute doggie. (01/18/2007)
I read your story and it is a double on our own experience with our rescue dog Inca, a black Labrador who was rescued from a hell hole as a pup. We were about the eighth family to take him as he kept being taken back and we were told he was not trainable as he is too nervous of everything. Getting him home was a nightmare as he can't cope with noise, strangers, animals, etc. He looked so like our other lab Jet that we had to have him. He took 18 months to house train, he is now clean at 4 years old, our dog Jet helped enormously in bringing him on. I give him bach flower remedy, a couple of drops on the tongue when expecting stress, eg fireworks night, or visitors. He needed lots of encouragement and love and now he is trained to give paw, sit, lie, stay etc pretty much like Jet does and he is the best guard dog ever despite his nervousness, probably his way of showing appreciation for sticking with him! It takes so much time but it is really worth it. Inca is so much part of our family now and time is a great healer, you haven't had him that long so give it time and patience and I'm sure he will come good! (01/18/2007)
As a child we took in a stray beagle that we soon realized had been very abused. He was afraid of everything, and he would urinate on his food after taking a few bites. I know that it took a good six months for him to feel safe. He turned out to be one of the best pets we ever had. Follow the wonderful advise already given. Don't give up! You have a diamond in the rough.
By Ole Lulu
Don't give up. My parents had a similar experience. It actually took their dog 3 years to adjust and not bark like crazy whenever something startled him, but he was an older dog. Hopefully your dog won't take so long. (01/18/2007)
Could you maybe try to ease his hyper-responsiveness with a short term doggie tranquilizer?
Think of it as a way to give Cooper some much needed relief from his debilitating post-traumatic fearfulness. It will quiet his frayed nerves so that he can experience love and security, and begin to trust.
Ask your vet. (01/18/2007)
Good for you for adopting Cooper. We adopted a lab/chow mix at age 1 who had been in 3 homes before ours. I don't think he was abused, but it did take him 6 months before he really began to trust us. He was aloof and always watched us with his ears at full mast never changing his facial expression. We have had him now for 5 years and he turned into a very expressive, puppy-like dog and we love him dearly. It will take a long time and Cooper will probably never be very assertive. Don't give up on him. There are books written by dog behaviorists that might help you. (01/19/2007)
He's adorable, and you're wonderful for caring so much. I agree with the advice people have offered. Patience is a good thing - my dog was so hungry when I got her that it was 3 months before she walked away from food. Two suggestions for you and your boyfriend - Try seeing things from Cooper's point of view. He seems to fear things going on above him. Get down on the floor with him. I instinctively did this with an abused dog once, and we quickly became good friends. Second, sometimes a crate in a quiet part of the house makes a safe place, with one of your soft blankets and a soft toy. He seems to need his own little place where he can feel safe and secure, doesn't he. He looks like a very sweet, intelligent dog, and I'm sure he'll repay you many, many times for your love and patience. (01/20/2007)
I actually watched an episode of Rachael Ray this week and it had a little dog that was scared to the point of chewing off all his toe nails. They had a vet on there that recommended doggie anti-anxiety meds from the vet or he even recommended chamomile tea although I don't know how you would go about giving it to your baby. (01/20/2007)
Oh he is adorable those eyes!!! I agree patience.
I rescued a Jack Russell Terrier who had been left in
a kennel for over 10-14 days with no food or water.
When we got her she would drink so hard she would choke and get sick. I would just rub her back and coo to her baby talk and she jumped if doorbell
rang or phone even on tv! I would quickly scoop her frail little body and baby talk and coo to her sing even. She soon learned to deal with 'the noises'
and it took some time but she is the best doggie
and is such a good girl. Cookie Mae is a loving,
sweet and very mellow girl. It took maybe 6 months for her to relax and sometimes if someone yells
even during a football game (me) she runs and hides under her blankie. (01/20/2007)
My husband and I adopted a cat, Kitty, at age 9 months. She had been an outdoor cat and who knows what had happened to her. We renamed her Kamilah (to keep to "K" sound). She was afraid of coats, chairs, our pet turtle, doors, being alone. I carried her around a lot - after I fished her out from under the bed, that is. I took her to the bathroom and held her in up to the mirror to show her "mommy and me". Five years later, I still talk to her every morning and tell her what time mommy and daddy are going to be home. I hug and kiss her when I get home. I warn her if the vacuum/food processor/coffee grinder is going to be used. I make sure she has a safe place away from our dog. My reward? She comes when called. She gives kisses when requested. She sleeps on my pillow above my head, her breathing like a balm on my soul. It takes time to work with any rescued animal. It might take 3 months, 6, 9, 1 year or two. It is absolutely worth it. (01/20/2007)
If all the other suggestions don't work, take all dry foods away and try to feed him mostly home cooked, not fried, meats like chicken, beef, and turkey, NOT ham/pork/tuna/bacon, salty things because dry foods tend to make the nerve endings
in all pets frayed, and they become overly sensitive to touch, sounds, and shocks. Make certain there is always enough water and that the dog is not COLD, remembering that the bottom 1/4 of rooms are always the coldest and that this breed has little hair
for covering. I'd advise a comfy little jacket he can sleep in, or two, to keep one clean. Even though that
area near the floor may not seem cold to humans, it can be for that breed. Also, keep in mind that all
humans seem like monsters. If the humans are especially naturally loud with their voices, heavier
body weight, the loud sound on wooden floors can
seem like World War for a tiny pet. Also, giving a
single small can of special less salty canned meat
is o.k. occasionally, but not regularly. Never salt the
dog's food or give salty scraps. Just watch the salt
and noises for a LONG time, even if you have to put the dog in a heavier jacket with a hood that folds it's ears a bit. Try not to yell for any reason and for a
very long time, perhaps for the whole time you own the dog. Watch the loud music, TV and appliances
as well. All of these things are terrifying to tiny pets. Keep tiny pets away from large pets at all costs until the tiny one is well adjusted to all things.
Hope this helps and gives you food for thought. God bless you. : ) (01/20/2007)
I know it's a month late but I wanted to just point out that your dog needs a crate. Dogs like crates because they want their own cave to sleep in, instinctually. We see crates as cages, they see them as dens. Your dog is using the space under your bed for this purpose. When you close the bedroom door and he can't get to it, he is separated from his only safe space, his home. This of course creates major anxiety. He uses the closet for the same purpose. The peeing and pooping is not intentional, it's a reaction to fear - it is both a natural physical reaction (it actually happens in people, too - it makes you lighter and more able to flee if necessary) but the dog will also do it because it will tense up all its muscles when scared. He isn't pooping because he's thinking, "I need to poop," he's instinctually making it easier for himself to run away.
If you get him a crate that is his size and possibly a crate cover (a towel or blanket will also work this way) so it is a little dark area for him to sleep and teach him by putting him in there when it is bedtime and whenever you leave him in the house alone, he will feel safer and safer. He should never be fed in the crate, and the crate should NEVER be used as punishment. You can look up crate training all over the internet.
Also, do not drag him out of there if you can help it. Let him come to you. You wouldn't like it if someone dragged you out of your house by your head and locked the door behind you so you couldn't go back in, especially if you had been the victim of some kind of violence or trauma.
Good luck with him! He is cute, certainly. If you spend the time and are patient but firm (he still needs you to be the alpha, not just let him do whatever he wants) he will come around. My coworker rescued a Katrina victim and it took him 6 months before he stopped being terrified of the phone ringing or other dogs barking. My friend rescued an obviously abused chihuahua and it took him almost a year before he stopped hiding in corners whenever something fell. But they are both doing fine and all it took was some patience and showing the dog that they were safe. (02/12/2007)