Reply
Regular Contributor
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

Our German Shephard puppy (5 months old) is afraid to leave our yard to go on walks.  Everything scares him~ a car driving by, children playing, normal and typical things that happen every day.  If I try to coax him or be assertive he starts to buck.  We've spoken in length about this to our vet  and we are now at the point that he has suggested we try puppy Prozac.We are hoping to avoid using drugs and I am also looking into natural supplements.   I am wondering if anyone else has had a similar situation with their dog and what worked  (or didn't work) for them.   Any help is greatly appreciated.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 35,562
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?


@Bubbles219 wrote:

Our German Shephard puppy (5 months old) is afraid to leave our yard to go on walks.  Everything scares him~ a car driving by, children playing, normal and typical things that happen every day.  If I try to coax him or be assertive he starts to buck.  We've spoken in length about this to our vet  and we are now at the point that he has suggested we try puppy Prozac.We are hoping to avoid using drugs and I am also looking into natural supplements.   I am wondering if anyone else has had a similar situation with their dog and what worked  (or didn't work) for them.   Any help is greatly appreciated.


 

@Bubbles219   I would not put the pup on Prozac. This is no way to train a dog.  You should speak to a good dog trainer who has experience with this.  I have one dog that shakes when I take him to a groomer or Vet, just sitting in the waiting room, not at all like he is at home.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,887
Registered: ‎12-13-2010

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

Yes, my Beagle had this issue when I rescued her and she is fine now. Take small steps. Can you bring her on your front or back porch and just sit with her? Don't walk anywhere. Have little treats and toys and just sit with her and let her get used to sounds and smells. Try this for a week and slowly advance to walking in the yard, etc. I would not put a puppy on Prozac. 

Regular Contributor
Posts: 246
Registered: ‎01-29-2015

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

[ Edited ]

Your puppy does NOT need Prozac. A good, reputable vet would know about what I'm going to tell you. 

 

German shepherds go through two "fear periods." Yours is going through her first. She is going to be afraid of A LOT of things. This is just something German shepherds go through. You need to be extra patient and introduce your puppy to things slowly, praise her, and let her know that the objects she's afraid of aren't scary.

 

We went through it with my mom's shepherd, Orla. She was afraid of the weirdest things: Lawn bags, leaves, t-shirts (she was  fine if we wore long sleeves since we got her when the weather was still cold, so we didn't wear short sleeves), spoons, and even the neighbor's dog she was previously friendly with. 

 

The fear periods are annoying, but you'll get through it. Just introduce her to things, let her check them out, praise her when she does well. She'll go through another period in a few months, but you'll be more prepared.

 

Just so you know, my shepherd was an absolute demon when we got her. She's over a year old now, we trained her at home, and she's turning into a wonderful companion. Shepherds are a hard breed and take extra love and dedication. You're going to come across some WEIRD issues and issues that will make you want to rip your hair out. You'll be fine!  Hang in there!

 

Also, if you're on Facebook, I recommend joining some of the GSD-specific groups that will be more helpful than the QVC forum. The groups "My GSD" and "Me and My GSD!" got me through our first year with Orla. The tips and discussions were valuable, and you have a strong support system behind you. Check these two groups out! 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,636
Registered: ‎08-04-2013

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

@Bubbles219   My DD had the same problem with her new puppy. He had no desire to go for a walk.  Her neighbor came out to walk her dog and DD's dog followed it. He just needed an example to follow.

Highlighted
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,962
Registered: ‎06-24-2011

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

I adopted a 5 lb. papillion who is afraid to go outside. We were in the front yard following a huge storm, when a pit bull was running off-leash across yards and came toward us. I picked my dog up and went into the house. That was 3 years ago. Since then, she shakes, pushes back with her paws, and climbs over my shoulder like a cat if I pick her up and go to the door. I use puppy pads with a tray in an extra bathroom for her, and paper-trained works fine for a tiny dog. Our vet suggested meds too, but I refused after seeing what meds did to a friend's dog's demeanor. The vet also suggested a weighted dog jacket, but my dog is so small; could it work for a larger dog?. Now I open the inside door and let her sit in front of the screen door, and ignore her then. She has grown to really like watching the outdoors from behind the screen. When I have taken her outside and set her down, she shakes and doesn't leave my side. But when the weather is nice I still take her out on occasion. My dog is nervous about other things too. She hides when it thunders/hails and during fireworks, and used to come running when the drapes moved from the wind or the fan. I've adapted to her quirks but semi-ignore some so that she doesn't get attention that could reinforce them. Would it help to use a carrier/crate to take your puppy outside when it's most quiet (6am, 9pm?) and then give a reward, letting her gently ease into the outdoors? In our case, I would be happy if my dog liked being in our yard. Best of luck.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 12,048
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

@Bubbles219 

 

Yes, my now-4-year-old Rottweiler had the same problem.  She was a happy-go-lucky terror in the house, but get her outside and a few feet away from the house, and she would run right back to be let inside.  I couldn’t even walk her from the front door around the house, she was so terrified.  I found out later that she had never been exposed to much of any outside stimulus before we got her.  In fact, the breeder had not even let the litter stay with their mother for longer than four weeks.  She had known nothing but a small room and her litter mates.  

 

It took a long time, and a lot of patience, but she’s fine now.  Little by little continual exposure to things and people.  And lots of treats.  Making new things a game.  Taking her favorite toys outside to play with distracted her also.  Sitting outside listening to those sounds she’s afraid of just so she can get used to them and realize nothing will happen to her.  Training inside the house so that when I took her out and she got scared, I could put her in a ‘sit’ position (with reward) to observe for a few minutes that everything was okay before we proceeded.  

 

I also would avoid drugs.  Do some online research for training pups like that.  And don’t give up!  Don’t give in to her fear because when she gets to be an adult, she’ll really have problems if you let her stay scared. If you live in an area where you can find a good trainer versed with dogs like this, I’d try that too.  But be aware that not all trainers are created equal.  Some could make the problem worse.

 

I’m sure you’ll get a lot of good suggestions here.  Good luck!  Patience, patience, patience!  🍀👍 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,326
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

Is it that puppy doesn’t like or isn’t used to the leash?

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,791
Registered: ‎08-18-2016

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

I'd hate to see you have to resort to meds.

 

I'd start with very small doses of 'outside', simply snapping on a leash, picking him up and holding him while stepping out onto the doorstep for 15-30 seconds, then coming right back in.

 

His feet never touch the ground at this point.

I'd probably start with 4 times day.

Lol!! Start this right away, before he gets any heavier.

 

Once he knew the routine, I'd start taking a few steps away from the door, and try to increase time out to more than 60 seconds. It would be nice if you could set out a chair as your destination, (maybe 6-10 feet from the door) and set him down on the ground next to you as you sit.

 

Sit for a minute, then hold the leash and have him heel (to your left side) as you walk back into the house.

Gradually increase distance and duration.

 

His first real 'walk' will be out the door, around the yard, and back inside all heeling at your side.

 

 I hope you are practicing the name, come, sit, stay, heel, and down commands on leash in the house. Not only does this make a dog civilized and a joy to live with, but it bolsters their self confidence  while it reinforces your bond.

 

Also, do you have a pet crate suitable for using outside?  I drape old sheer white curtains across the carrier so the animal inside can see and hear those typical sounds of traffic & children, while feeling hidden. Helps them become acclimated to and accepting of the sounds while reducing stress.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 212
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: Does anyone have experience with a puppy who is afraid to leave the yard / house?

[ Edited ]

Oh yeah ... my German Shepherd was/is just like that. 

 

We had one routine that  often worked with her when she balked.  I would walk up and touch  the gate/fence/leaf/door .. or whatever terrified her at the moment.  I'd make try to be very happy and light-hearted.  Pretty soon  that good old German Shepherd protectiveness would kick in.  

 

Once she saw me touching that scary thing she would approach it slowly and then sniff or lick it.  She wanted to make sure it was safe for me.  

 

As to prozac ... I hear ya.   We use CBD oil and patience.  Sometimes Composure Pro helps, but not always.   We were prescribed prozac, but decided to go with CBD oil.  It has gotten us through, but I have to say she is still  hyper vigilant at almost 2 years old. 

 

One other thing that worked when she was in a fearful situation was to put on soft music.  It seemed to short-circuit her anxiety.  Come to think of it ... I need to start doing that again.  

 

Re the other comments on fear periods.  I agree there are fear periods, but in Juneau's case, they went on for weeks and  months and affected her ability to get socialized.  So ... every dog is different.