Did you ever wonder why your dog doesn't want to go outside at times for a walk (potty time) or play? I have come across this situation quite often with my pet Charlie (Dalmatian). Every time I encounter this bizarre situation, he just runs and hides under the bed or a table. No matter how hard I try to drag him out, he just won't budge and come out.
Does this ring a bell?
Well, I found the reasons behind such phenomena (find them out below), and I also present here simple and effective ways to deal with your pet in such strange and unusual situations. So let's find out:
First of all why your pet doesn't want to go outside all of a sudden:
There may seem nothing bizarre or scary to step outdoors from your perspective, but things may appear very different to your pet friend.
Dogs' noses consist of over 220 million olfactory receptors (while human beings have just 5 million). They also have super powerful ears that can catch sounds even in the ultrasonic range. Besides, they are highly attentive to their surroundings than humans.
So naturally, we are bound to miss out on the extensive stimulation that dogs are constantly prone to on a daily basis.
Here are a few reasons that your pet may find odd and scary or have anxiety attacks to step outside:
- Distant sounds or scary noises that your dog hears (which you can't hear)
- You’re not following a routine time to walk your dog out
- Your neighborhood dogs barking constantly
- Slippery floors in your home that lead to outside or backyard
- Fear of thunderstorms or rainy conditions
- Foreign items your dog doesn't want to let go (believe me it happens, especially if it's an edible item that it should not eat)
- Suffering from some sort of pain or feeling sick (then immediately take him to a veterinarian)
If your pet is reluctant to step outside due to reasons other than sickness, it's crucial to adopt the right training approach. Remember, some methods to get your dog outside can make matters even worse.
What Not to Do:
1. Avoid Forcing or Carrying Out Your Dog
Forcing or flooding the dog to come outside may work, but it's more traumatic and ineffective in the long run. It's similar to tossing your kid into a swimming pool who's afraid of water. Your dog will eventually hit the panic button, and its cognitive functions shut down. Therefore, it leaves no room for learning.
2. Don’t Punish Your Dog
Whatever the reason, never punish your dog for being reluctant to go out. In fact, it’s entirely counterproductive and the perfect concoction for creating more fear.
What to Do:
Instead of punishing your dog, try the below different methods and here are few things you will require:
- Feeding bowl
- Tasty treats
1. Feed Your Dog Near the Door Leading to Outdoors
You can have your dog stand/sit or feed food in a feeding bowl in front of the open door that leads to outdoors or backyard. Let your pet get familiar with the noises that are common in the yard and frequently expose him to this environment (although, don't practice this when your neighbor is out with a chainsaw).
2. Leave a Trail of Tasty Treats and Toys
This technique is especially useful when you have a dog that frequently picks up foreign items in its mouth.Obviously, the dog doesn’t wish to come outdoors all of a sudden in fear of losing the item. In this case, you can leave a trail of tasty treats to entice the dog to come out gradually. At the end of the trail, you can place a big treat (jackpot) outside and while he finishes eating it, put a leash on him to take outdoors.
In addition, you can also scatter your dog’s favorite bouncing balls or squeaking toys in the yard. Then call him out in a happy voice, and when your pet comes out praise lavishly. Have some fun time playing outdoors. Although, once you get back inside keep it boring. This way, your dog gradually learns that going out is fun and staying indoors is boring.
3. Play the Recorder
If you discover why your pet runs for cover or avoids coming out when he listens to a certain sound, try to mimic it. A better way is to record the sound and then play it to your dog at a low volume. Give tasty treats while playing the sound, and don't give away any treats when you stop the sound. This way your dog learns to look at you for treats whenever the sound starts.
Slowly practice it near the door or in the backyard with real sounds or noise. Toss a treat when your dog hears the sound, and he will get in tune in no time.
4. Get Your Dog Excited for the Daily Walk
Here are few ways to get your dog up and going every day:
- Try taking a new route every day where there are new smells
- Go out the back door (if you have one) instead of the usual front door
- You can also try including a running or jogging session in between the walks
- Take him in your car to a different place altogether
You’re the pack leader, and you can help your dog overcome its fears and other anxiety issues by training him in the right way. Follow the above methods and in no time your dog will be ready to go out every day. If you try out any of these above tips, do let us know in the comments about how it went.