Dog Refuses to Go Outside

jomackenzie writes to me:

I adopted a terrier mix 7 year old male dog whose owner had died. They lived in Beirut and he was put in a dog shelter there for about 9 months. Rocco was brought to France & fostered for 4 months in the countryside until I adopted him in October. From the start he was reluctant to go out (I live in the city), he doesn’t want to go to the beach or for long walks, he is unhappy & dragging behind me until he knows we’re going home, then he can’t get there fast enough. He trembles & pants if I take him on public transport or in a car. Since there were fireworks on New Year’s Eve, he is even more fearful. He is almost never left alone, & if I have to leave him, it is never for more than an hour or so. I have tried calming medication from the vet, Zylic√®ne, which seemed to have no effect at all. I have started him on Bach Floral Remedy for Dogs, no change. I have now sent away for a pheronome collar & will also get a training leash & collar for him, but is there anything else I can do in the meantime? I would so like both of us to enjoy our walks.


Adam replies:
Hi, Jo:It’s going to take some time. It’s a process.

I’ve heard good things (from my vet) about the DAP hormone collar.

In addition, I recommend crate training the dog. And use meal times to represent being outside in social settings, if possible. Even if it’s just feeding him on the front porch or my hand, while you’re out on a walk (if he has the food drive).

But far and above, the best remedy will be starting him on an obedience program where you’re incorporating the training around your every-day lifestyle. He’ll soon start to respond to the structure and look forward to it. In addition, even though it sounds counter intuitive, I would start him on the “Nothing in Life is Free” program– which will simply help build his trust in your leadership.

Please keep us posted. He’s a beautiful dog!
– Adam.

Jo responds:
Hi Adam,
Thank you for your fast response. I’m already getting results just from having read thru your book & realising that I needed to assert myself as the Alpha dog. I live in the middle of Nice, in an apartment, so feeding him outside won’t work, & he’s not very food orientated, but I’ll figure something out.
On an entirely different subject, do you (or anyone else) know of anywhere online where I might find a small frisbee? Rocco doesn’t seem interested in balls.
Thanks again,
DPTrainer4 adds:
We’ve had a lot of good times with the Ruff Dog K9 Flyer frisbee…it’s just a rubber frisbee-like thing, no sharp curves in it like the “fast-back” design, easy on the mouth (our current dog won’t touch plastic Frisbees) and it’s light enough to fold and carry.They make a K9 Flyer Jr that’s 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) in diameter, which might be a lot easier on his mouth than the 10 inch (25.4 cm) one we have for our dog!

There should be some other suggestions on the Amazon page to “Similar Products” or what-have-you, but that’s the one my family likes!

By the way, I’m JEALOUS you’re in Nice…my brother went over there years ago for an exchange program and LOVED it, and I’ve been wanting to go there ever since, especially since my French minor has been rusting uselessly in the back of my brain!