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Re: Afraid to go outside

Posted by:  Leslie Hemsing
Posted on:  June 02, 2002 at 19:52:33

In Reply to: Afraid to go outside
Category:   Other
Posted by:  Linda
Posted on:  June 02, 2002 at 17:09:25

Question:

: Our 2 year old female Chloe is afraid to go outside. This started about a week ago. We looked around the steps and found a bees nest underneath and figured she must be afraid of the bees. We got rid of it and have tried to show her that it is "safe" now, but she still will not go outside unless we leash her. We have a big fenced in yard and until a week ago she loved being outside. The only thing we can figure is that maybe she was stung by a bee, however she has been perfectly normal and her usual JRT self in the house. Any suggestions on how we can help her overcome her fear of stepping out the door?

: Thanks,
: Linda


Response:

Dear Linda,

One of the most endearing, and frustrating, qualities of this breed is how quickly they "learn" to associate objects/sounds with pain or fear. Once learned, their inate stubborness makes it twice as hard to change their minds. :-)

To change Chloe's mind about the steps, you need to make "them" a source of comfort and fun. I suggest you open the door and just sit on the top step; few terriers can resist being with their owners but if she doesn't come to you on her own, you can try offering her a "special" treat but she must eat it on your lap. Praise her for coming to you ("Good girl, Chloe!") and end the exercise. Continue to move down the steps; if she balks at moving forward, then she's not yet gotten comfortable with the previous "step" and needs more time.

The "fun" part of using the stairs is that she gets to play with you once she gets near the bottom. When she remains on the stairs after you stand up, continue into the yard (instead of back into the house) and start tossing a ball around or whatever toy she likes to play with. She'll either come down the rest of the steps on her own or she'll "fuss" because she's not included. Let her fuss for a few minutes, leave the ball/toy at the bottom of the steps and then everyone goes back into the house. Repeat the process until Chloe takes that last step herself.

Best of luck and hang in there; Chloe will overcome her fear with your patience.

Leslie