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Old April 8th, 2013, 03:41 PM
DnA DnA is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Calgary
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Question Dog behaviour changing since new furniture

We have a beautiful 8 1/2 year old male Shepherd cross who has always been a bit nervous. Examples: He's terrified of thunderstorms, will jump at sudden noises or if something moves close to him, he doesn't like going in strange places (took us an hour to get him in our new house 7 years ago) and he's very cautious with eating.

We've known about his little quirks and love him all the more for it, but we bought new reclining sofas in November and he got really nervous when we would recline (they're power recliners, so make noise) and wouldn't come near the furniture. At the same time, he started acting funny with the laminate floor, and would NOT come into the kitchen at all for weeks. We had to move his food and water out of the kitchen. It's almost as though he's forgotten how to walk across the floor. He gets all worked up and starts to slide, so he gets more scared and it deepens his fear. He's totally okay with the furniture now, but he's still scared of the floor/stairs. Some days he won't go up or down the stairs without help, and unfortunately, encouraging him seems to make him more nervous.

We've covered up our beautiful new floor with rugs and he seems happier, but I can't cover it all, and I'm not sure why he all of a sudden became afraid of the floor when we got new furniture. He was fine with the flooring until the new sofas arrived. When we saw the vet 7 months ago, he said he was healthy and doing well for his age.

Any advice or help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old April 8th, 2013, 03:53 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 5,357
Just throwing some ideas out there, but have you ever tried an anxiety wrap on him? https://anxietywrap.com/default.aspx (Thundershirt is another popular brand).

Also a D.A.P. (dog appeasing pheromone) diffuser or some calming flower essences might be useful for lowering his overall anxiety levels.

Regular, daily sessions of reward-based training could also help boost his self-confidence so that new things don't make him as nervous.
"To close your eyes will not ease another's pain." ~ Chinese Proverb

“We must not refuse to see with our eyes what they must endure with their bodies.” ~ Gretchen Wyler
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Old April 8th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 6,667
Welcome DnA, I have a 12 year old lab who is afraid of our floors. Mostly the bedroom floors. Sometimes she's fine with them, other times she freezes and won't move, just stands and shakes. I also had floor runners all over the bedroom until we changed the floors and that was good, the runners worked of course, the new floor was better, but now she's getting a bit shy of the new floor too.

I think with you pup, and mine, something has scared them into running and then they slip. The next time they remember the slip so they run to get away from it, and yup, just like they though, they slip again. A friend of mine who is a trainer has recommended leashing the dog and walking back and forth, back and forth. Do not give enough leash that the dog can pull away from you. Just make them walk and realize that it's not dangerous. Reward a good walk.

Now ours is having trouble because we have 2 new puppies. When the corner her in the bedroom she tries to run out and slips. She rarely has a problem with the floor if the puppies are not around!

I have also heard lots of good things about the thundershirts. One of my puppies is very nervous of loud noises (like trucks) so we're working on that, but I'm worried about thunder, thankfully we don't get much of it out in the West here.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 11:59 AM
DnA DnA is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Calgary
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Thanks for the replies! I will definitely look into the thundershirts cause we have a lot of thunderstorms in the summer in Calgary. We live in the west part of the city, so we get a lot of stuff rolling in from the mountains. I will see if walking him helps, but I'm afraid he's just going to be confused about why we're not going out. I cannot control him myself as he's too big for me, so I can't take him for walks. He was attacked by a couple big dogs when he was a pup and he's very aggressive with other animals because of it. The vet says he does this from fear, and we haven't been able to re-socialize him because of it.

Thanks again for your help... all replies are appreciated!
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Old April 9th, 2013, 11:01 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: California, usa
Posts: 1,046
A good *positive reinforcement* trainer, or a good reactive dog class, can help your dog A LOT. I took my dog through such a class after he was attacked.

Can your dog walk normally on the carpet? I might worry about some joint problems, or a degenerative spinal condition, in addition to the anxiety. Even low thyroid. You might also trim the fur around the paw pads for better traction.
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laminate flooring, nervous, older dog

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