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Afraid of Grass... Need ideas!

April 11th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Hi everyone. I'm new here and am needing a little help.

Our sweetie pie rescue Boston, a Boston Terrier, is going to get to start playing all he wants in just a few days. He was going through heartworm treatment. But, we have a little problem. He's afraid of the grass.

Here we are with acres of property for him to run and play with J.R., another BT, until his heart is content, agility equipment to learn and play with, but he's afraid.

It's obvious he was kept confined either in a crate, or concrete kennel. He won't even poo in the grass. I don't really care about this. Just an observation. Even if I carry him out away from the house and put him down in it, he runs over to the concrete sidewalk in front of the deck to go. I laughed when I took him to one side of the property and he ran on top of the rock wall along the garden to get back to the deck, but it really isn't funny. If I carry him out where he spys our tree swing, he'll head straight for that. If I sit in the grass with him, he climbs on my lap. I have yet to come up with a toy or treat that will keep him on the grass.

So, I need ideas. All the ideas you can come up with. I have tons of patience and we'll keep trying to help him overcome this obstacle.

April 11th, 2005, 03:52 PM
I am sorry to have no advice for you on this.
The only thing I can think of is to slowly get him used to the grass. Forcing him onto it might make him more afraid.
Did you adopt him the BT Rescue in MI/IL/In? Thanks for resucing. I have a soft spot in my heart for Bostons.

April 11th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Would doggie booties work??
how about playing fetch with his favorite toy, throwing it closer and closer to the grass, and eventually throw it on the grass. Try playing this game with him every day so he gets used to playing on the grass, and associates grass with play time!

April 11th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Liver treats!!! It seems to be the best with dogs that are slightly food motivated! None of my rescues can resist them!!!! I would toss them close to the grass getting closer each time and eventually on the grass. Take your time it will come.

April 11th, 2005, 05:31 PM
Thanks you guys! The little extra encouragement and the idea actually gave us a little success!!

I made some homemade liver treats. Grabbed his favorite toy and my other BT. All three of us headed outside. The fact that my other BT had his toy in the grass, and the fact I had treats made the perfect combination. He came off the porch meaning business!! He wasn't in the grass more than two minutes, but that is a great success!!

Thanks again! We'll keep at it. Rescues seem to take longer to get over their fears.

Safyre I happened upon him at the local animal shelter here in TX. I wasn't planning on another dog, but... well... you know how it happens! I just had to bring him home.

Lucky Rescue
April 11th, 2005, 05:49 PM
That's great. Poor baby probably never saw grass in his life.

Never force a dog to face his fears (i.e. picking him up and putting him on the grass) This will make him feel you won't protect him and he won't trust you.

Luring him is a much better idea!:)

I'm sure he'll soon be having a blast!

Cactus Flower
April 11th, 2005, 09:11 PM
Texas? Hellooooo neighbor! (New Mexico here :D ).

Just a thought- maybe this little one was scared by something in the grass at some point in time (snake, etc?).

I think it's great that you're seeing progress already with the treats and toys- and allowing your other dog to set an example, plus to inspire him to join in!

And, *nudge nudge*, by the way, *nudge nudge*....we really love pictures on this board. Reallyreally.

April 12th, 2005, 08:20 PM
Amanda - your profile didn't say where you were fom thsts why Iwas wondering.
it seems bostons are dumped a lot in the US (i am in Canada) so I am always happy to hear when they get adopted. I know if i see one for adoption close to me it'll be comming home.. such a soft spot for BT's

April 12th, 2005, 09:38 PM
How about if you lie on the grass with him on your lap for a really really long time? Like if you're reading or something, and don't pet him, maybe he'll get bored and curious? Don't force him, just let him do it when he is ready. Nobody would stay on an island forever without thinking of swimming, right? :)

April 13th, 2005, 05:00 PM
Just play with him on the concrete and when he's really good and distracted make him chase you to the grass. When you get to the grass, praise him like a lunatic and give him a jackpot of treats. Should work in about 2 tries.

My girl is deathly afraid of many things. She's afraid of sewer grates, subway grates, manholes, vacuum cleaners, large black statues, gravestones, garbage bags, baby carriages, people on bicycles, streetcars, people on rollerblades, horses, trucks, cement rollers, going down steps, construction of any kind and the list goes on and on.

With a dog like mine, I have to force her on things to let her know that nothing will happen--otherwise she'd be a shut-in and we'd never get anywhere. With the stairs, I just ran down them with her in tow, by the time she reached the end of the stairs she realised she didn't have time to get scared. I praised her like a lunatic and now she can face the stairs no problem.

April 13th, 2005, 05:21 PM
I have to say that I've never had a dog that was afraid of grass, but I know that my son wouldn't let it touch him when he was a baby. I think it tickled him or poked him or something, so I always had to have a blanket.

Anyway, I would have two suggestions: 1) take a blanket or something out into the yard and play with him on the blanket. Maybe when he figures out that just being in the middle of grass isn't bad then maybe the grass itself isn't either. 2) I would take the other Boston (such cute dogs BTW) and play with him in the grass, giving him treats, etc. Maybe the other one will see how much fun the grass is and see that good things come to those who will brave the grass.

Other than what you're already doing, I can't think of anything else. Good Luck!

April 16th, 2005, 07:04 PM
Thank you for all the suggestions!

Great news! The booties worked!!! I put them on and took him straight out into the grass. Didn't give him time to fuss over the booties. After flicking his feet for a few minutes (that was so funny!) he actually stayed in the grass and played a little bit! Whew hoo!!! We have success!!!

After about 30 min. one of the front booties came off and I acted like I didn't notice. Neither did he! A few minutes later I pulled off the other front bootie. He didn't flinch!! We stayed out a while longer, and even though he didn't jump for joy or zoom around the property like he'd found paradise, he stayed in the grass!! Again... Whew hoo!!!

We'll keep using the booties for a while, but as they come off, either on their own or as I pull them off, one by one, he'll definitely pull out of this.

Again, thanks for the support and ideas!