Most dogs love the outdoors, especially when the conditions outside are amiable for them. Many dogs spend hours howling next to the door or nagging their parents to at least let them out. Their happiness increases with the time they get to spend outdoors. However, how would it be if your baby was different?
What if they are not exactly keen to go outside? It is common among puppies and dogs who are rescued. Why? Because they are in the process of adapting to their new homes.
However, this can happen to older dogs as well. They can be afraid of going out of their homes even when they otherwise were comfortable throughout their lives.
If your dog is afraid of going outside, it may be upset and stressed. It also indicates that they need help to deal with the situation. In such cases, the reasons could be many and varied.
It could be a stress-related issue, perhaps they have become obese, or the lack of exercise has caused a condition in them, leading them to act as such. This fear of going outside can also make it hard for you to potty train your pup.
The signs that your dog is anxious on walks
Your baby would not be able to talk to you per se. However, as a pet parent, you must know how to read their body language. That would help you get an idea of their fear. It would let you know the exact specifics, such as when and why they are scared.
There are several ways to understand that your dog is anxious about going outside. Perhaps they would panic. The dogs would lie flat when you tried taking them outside. At times, they would suggest this through their facial expressions. If they are nervous, their pupils are dilated. Their eyes would become wide, referred to as whale eyes.
How they behave on a walk is a good indicator in these cases. For example, they would pull the leash hard toward home. Apart from these, there could be other signs of stress.
The reasons behind your dog’s hatred towards going outside
You may be wondering why your dog would not go outside. You may be trying to unearth the reason behind the same. Now, there could be several reasons for the same. Perhaps your baby is new to your home and the wider surroundings. It is common. For young dogs, this situation is called puppy panic.
Whenever you bring a new pup to your home, it can be a stressful experience for all the concerned parties. Perhaps they have been rescued from somewhere before you brought them into your life.
The situation could be a lot more complex. Since here you cannot talk to the earlier owner, you are always in the dark about what makes them afraid in such situations. Perhaps they are perturbed of being put in a collar and leash, as you have to do when they are outside.
It could be they are not at ease with such confinements imposed on their body, especially as far as the pups are concerned. It is something new for them.
The reasons why dogs get scared of the outside all of a sudden
If a senior dog is afraid of going outside suddenly, it could be because they have had an adverse experience. It could be the dogs were startled by a loud noise – you may not even have realized that the noise was scary for them when the incident happened. Following are some of the most prominent reasons in this case:
- the noise being emitted by vehicles like garbage trucks
- the noise being emitted by instruments such as lawnmowers and loud engines
- fireworks and thunder
- the barking of other dogs
- lack of familiarity
- medical issues
What to do if your dog is afraid of going outside?
You must be careful in dealing with these situations. No matter how good your intentions are, it could lead to the worsening of the situation further. There are certain things you must avoid doing. These include punishing or taking them outside by force. You must not over-intervene.
Following are a few things you should do in such situations:
- identifying the trigger
- making the experience a pleasant one
- matching their pace
- taking safety precautions
- keeping the training short
- getting help if you have to
Some helpful tried and tested steps
As experts on canine behavior, you should try methods like desensitization and counter-conditioning. These methods help deal with the fear your dog has of the outside. The first step you need to take is desensitization. It can help your dog feel less afraid when they are outside.
Counter-conditioning can be divided into exercises for reducing noise anxiety and exercise for general anxiety that your dog experiences when they are outdoors.
You may be wondering if you should be carrying your dog outside or not. Well, you should know that this is a method of applying force.
Sometimes, dogs get more scared at night than during the day when spending time outside. It could be because they are overwhelmed by the noises and smells. It happens, especially in urban environments.
You could also want to know what causes sudden anxiety in dogs. The biggest reason for this is a negative experience they may have had outside. It could be an unpleasant physical sensation as well.