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Can anyone help a dog that's terrified of bees?

March 25th, 2007, 09:59 PM
I have a mix breed Terrier/Cattle dog who has developed a sudden and intense fear of bees. He's not been stung, at least not in the 5 years I've had him but this phobia has gotten so bad that he refuses to go outside if he hears a bee in the area.

Unfortunately the trees are now blooming where I live and there are bees everywhere. They are BIG bees about the size of your thumb and the dog can hear them from the doorway.

He literally has a melt down when he hears them and refuses to leave the apartment. He starts to shake, cowers and if we are actually outside he runs as fast as he can for any door in range.

I've tried everything. He's always on a leash and I'm always with him so it's not like he's facing them alone. I've tried distracting him with treats until we get to an area where he is "safe" (not easy to find unfortunately) and have even tried carrying him until we get past the trees but he fights me every step of the way and even nipped at me a couple of times.

Having had dogs all my life, I'd thought I'd seen everything but I've never experienced anything like this.

Short of only going out after dark or moving (which may be an option but not nearly soon enough) does anyone have any ideas?

I'm really afraid he's going to make himself sick or hurt himself.


Edited to add, normally the dog is very well behaved and obeys most commands without hesitation just in case anyone was wondering.

March 26th, 2007, 05:55 PM
I am afraid I don't have a suggestion, just wanted to share that I know how it is. Maybe your dog has been stung and you didn't know it? Delaney has been stung, several times over the years, and is very afraid to go out at this time of year. She swells up badly and has been to the vet for her stings. Now she peeks out the door and checks both ways before going out. She won't dilly dally in the lot this time of year. The boys on the other hand, chase and bite at the bees...they must be getting stung at times, but it doesn't seem to bother them.

I wish I had a solution for you, maybe someone here does. A doggy spray to repel the bees maybe?

Good luck,

March 26th, 2007, 06:32 PM
It sounds like he probably has gotten stung at one time that you weren't aware of. I don't have any suggestions other than taking him out early in the morning or later in the evening when the bees aren't active.

March 27th, 2007, 02:01 AM
This might be a really dumb idea but could you maybe put some ear muffs on her to muffle the sound?

March 27th, 2007, 02:04 AM
Is there a possibility that he tried to play with a nest and got attacked? I honestly have no idea how to deal with this, other than to force him to by making him sit and be calm in areas of high "buzzing", but that could do more harm than good. One thing I know NOT to do, is to coddle him when he's afraid by telling him "it's okay" (reinforcing that there's something to fear).

Forget obedience... have you talked to a behavioral therapist?

Dog Dancer
March 27th, 2007, 12:26 PM
Wish I could offer you some advice, but really don't have anything that I know would work. I agree that you shouldn't let him suck it up about the bee's though, and yes he's probably been stung. I would guess the best would be to not carry him past the tree's, but to force him along into a walk (nicely not drag kicking and screaming) but coerce him with a diversion that he loves (for my dog that would be the laser). Get him slowly closer and closer to where he hears the bee's then leave before he has a chance to react to them. Continually do this, getting closer each time then leaving again. Work with him until you can go through the area without him panicking. It will probably take days or weeks as you can only move forward with him slowly.

I am a beekeeper actually, so am sorry I can't suggest anything better. I actually do find them fascinating, although a bit intimidating when there's 75,000 swarming around when you feed them.

One of my dogs is extremely allergic to stings and has to get to the vet if she's stung. Both dogs love to chase the bee's and try to eat them, and the lab often catches them and gets stung. Her mouth will swell up and she drools, but it goes away quickly. So I try not to let the dogs chase them for the most part. That said, the bee's don't seek out the dogs. Mostly what they go after is wasps, which come around the dinner table and such. Given any chance the bee's will stay in the tree's or flowers and not even give you or your dog a second look. Unless you're chasing and swatting them.

Good luck, really I think patience and persistence is all you can really do.