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Discussion Starter #1
My 2 year old female basset (Scarlet) has apparently forgotten how to be potty trained. All of a suden she is scared to go outside. I have to shove her outside or carry her and then she still won't go potty outside. She used to be the best, she would jump at the door to go outside and she learned this right away. Haven't had a problem until the last couple weeks. She did just come out of heat, I don't know if that has anything to do with it. This was her 3rd heat and never noticed this problem before. I tried making going outside fun with a treat and stuff but it hasn't worked. What could she be so scared of all of a sudden? My other girl is having a similar problem but it isn't near as bad. Any thoughts?

Erica
 

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Erica, I really can't help, but I do know that Twinkie seems to pick up a phobia every now and then. Right now she is afraid to go down the two steps to the side door. I have had to really, really coax her the last couple of days, and I have no idea why or what happened. About a month ago, she was peeing in the house (after having gone for months and months without an accident) and I had to limit her access to certain rooms of the house for a while, but now that's back to normal. Last fall she was afraid to go out if there were leaves blowing around. Don't know why or what happened, but this year it hasn't been a problem. She always seems to get over it after a couple of weeks or so, so I guess that's the good news. Hang in and hopefully things will right themselves with a little encouragement/correction from you.

Janet 'n Twinkie
 

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I'm not a behaviorist, but I can tell you what has worked for me with fearful dogs I've dealt with over the years. I think the phrase "business as usual" sums it up best.

In this case, I would just put her leash on as if she were going for a walk, then proceed confidently with her out into the yard. Let her do her business, praise, then take her back inside. No fanfare, no coaxing, nothing out of the ordinary- just "business as usual" without acknowledging her fear. She will pick up on your confidence.

As I said, I'm not a behaviorist, but this approach has worked well with fearful dogs I've dealt with over the years, including our current rescue dachshund Minna who was a basket case when she came to us in May of 2005: afraid of people, dogs, stairs, loud noise, and the world in general, because she had been confined to a house for the first 3 years of her life with no outside contact.

Hope this helps.
 

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Since both dogs are behaving oddly, is it possible something happened when they were outdoors alone? A neighbor kid or passer-by teased or hurt or frightened them? They would then associate being outside with whatever happened. If it's something like that, they'll just need time to get over it, and I think the others are right -- just act like everything's fine and continue to do everything as usual and they'll figure out it's okay to go out. If you go out with them, it might make them feel more secure.

Gigi, who was a stray before she adopted us, considered being outside punishment for the longest time. She wouldn't go potty, she'd just stand at the back door and stare mournfully in at us, begging to be let back in. It took weeks before she caught on that if she'd go out, do her business, and THEN ask to come back in, she got back in every time. It takes a while for dogs to forget bad things.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the replies. They are never outside alone so I don't think anything specific happened. I think I may have figured it out though. Scarlet gets very scared of loud or obnoxious noises. They are doing some work on the road behind us and I can hear equipement beeping. I think that might be what shes afraid of, we'll see how it goes. Maybe its just a phase.

Erica
 

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When Murrray was a baby he was afraid to go out into the backyard when the High School band was practicing (drums, trumpets, etc.).

One day when the band started practicing,I went out and sat on the back step with him and we shared a bowl of vanilla ice cream .I didn't talk to him or pet him,or even look at him; just sat calmly and gave him a little taste of ice cream every now and then. By the time I got to the bottom of the bowl, he was calmly lying by my side and ignoring the noise.

Maybe this tactic would work with the road noise problem.
 

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MurraysMom :

What a great idea! Associating something good with being outside with the noise! I would have never thought of that. :)
 
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