HELP!!! My dog needs a doggie shrink

  1. My family dog, Nitro the black lab, was always a tad skittish. He does not bark, is not bothered by other dogs, but was always VERY playful.

    My parents house is undergoing a renovation- where they finally decided to rip up the tile floors and put in wood floors. Nitro handled most of it fine. There was paper taped down everywhere for a while to keep painters etc from splattering on the floor.

    Well about 3 weeks ago, Nitro was walking on part of the papered floor, and it was not taped down. He ended up slipping and falling down. Nothing bad, but his legs just slipped from under him.

    Now he will not walk on the floor. But not only that, he won't come in the house. Not even for food, and trust me, he is a dog that will eat anything. It takes about 30 minutes of coaxing him to get him even two paws in the door.

    He will only lay on his dog bed. He doesn't even move. He will only drink his water if it is directly next to his bed- which he just sticks his head in the bowl.

    When we do finally get him to move, he gets so skittish that he slips a bit because he moves quick fast. It is like a vicious cycle!

    He never greets us at the door anymore, which he did for 8 years straight, doesn't come to sit by us, doesn't move off his bed. But when we take him outside he will go back to his old self, but then he gets sad if we aren't out there with him. It is SO sad!

    The Vet said he can see a cognitive behavioral therapist... but I'm not sure my dad's thoughts on that :amuse:

    Anyone else have anything similar happen or have any ideas??? If you could see him you would just feel so sad!!!!

    Here is he just a few minutes ago


  2. :cry: poor thing, he must be traumatized or something...I hope he gets well.
  3. awww poor nitro :sad:

    is there a room that is not wood floors?

    you can try to slowly introduce him to the wood floors over time and see if that helps
  4. awww *hugs to nitro* I actually saw a Cesar episode that was exactly this problem. He basically put the dog on a leash and walked him in the door and back out many many times, and kept going further, within a matter of minutes (ok I say that, but it was on tv, so who knows) the dog was able to walk on the floors. Maybe you could try this and just practice walking with him by your may help.
  5. Awww Megs Nitro is so cute... I want to hug him, he's so precious! Hope he gets well soon.
  6. Danica beat me to it but Cesar did have a dog with this problem. The dog was scared because he slipped and fell on a slippery floor. That dog was beyond traumatized but he was cured. It is on the first season DVD set. In fact it's the first episode, called "NuNu and Kane". Check youtube or the net (bad I know).
  7. Poor Nitro! My dog has the same white paw print dog bowl by the way. It will be an adjustment for him. I can only imagine my hubby's expression if I ever suggested taking our dog to a shrink!! He would beat me over the head w/ her dog bowl!
  8. poor lil fella. he sounds just very traumatised over what happened. depending on the animal, could take a while to break him of that behavior. he needs reconditioning although I'm not quite sure how to go about it. you have to find a way to make walking on the floor a positive experience. maybe just start with getting him to lay down on a patch of floor and just snuggle with him and brush him - do whatever makes him feel good and safe and pleasant. do that as often as you can until he stands up on the floor and sees that he won't slip. again, praise him and brush him or just pet him and give him a treat just for standing on the floor. sooner or later he'll be confident enough to take a couple of steps and just praise the hell out of him when he does. he'll learn to walk slow on the floor. we have hardwood floors too and my dog and cat chase each other all over the house often slipping around but it doesn't seem to bother them too much. sometimes my doggie will yelp but then she's back at it again. we also have alot of large area rugs that carpet alot of the room so there is less floor for them to have to deal with. I'll try to find a animal behavior website for you and see what they say.

    p.s. maybe look into little doggie sneakers like the ones the rescue dogs wear.

    p.s.s. also try to fight the urge to reinforce his fear by "rewarding" him for staying off the floor (ie; coddling him for staying on the dog bed). thats not to say punish him at all but just don't give him too much attention for staying on the bed or he will think thats where he should stay. the minute he gets off the bed or even attempts to, praise him gently and pet him or give him a treat. If he just stays on the bed, just walk away and say nothing.

    p.s.s.s. (sorry!) not sure if keeping his dishes next to his bed is a very good thing either. just reinforces him that he should not step on the floor. not to be heartless but maybe just move them a couple of feet away at least. believe me, when he's that hungry or thirsty, he will get up and walk to them.
  9. Aww, poor Nitro! I don't have any advice, but I sure feel for you (and him). I hope you find a method to help him get over his fear.
  10. megs, don't give up -- it's not hopeless. i'm not a dog expert, but i have had a couple similar things happen with dogs, and i treat them like horses -- horses are flight creatures given to fear-based reactions, so by dealing with them i've had to learn about how to help reduce fear and increase confidence.

    i metion that because i'm going to start out by telling you a story about what happened to one of my horses. getting in a trailer can be problematic -- they're enclosed, noisy, dark places and horses need to learn not to be afraid of them. my very first horse was a champ -- would walk right up the ramp into the trailer, no questions asked. then one person did something stupid that caused him to get hurt on a trailer, and from then on it was impossible to get him on -- just trying he'd try to run off, hurt himself and reaffirm the fear.

    years down the road and with more horse experience under my belt i decided to teach him to load on a trailer, come hell or high water. so i took him outside, had him put one foot on the ramp, gave him a cookie and then let him back up to where he was comfortable. every time the lady with the trailer was back we'd go out and do the same thing, gradually making progress. after a few weeks we were in the trailer and happily eating carrots without issue, and when it was time to move him home with me i could use a trailer insead of hiring the giant, less scary horse van.

    and that's what you have to do here -- teach nitro that something that he used to do without a problem is OK. the way to do it is with baby steps that build his confidence, and when he starts to show anxiety, go back to where he's in his comfort zone. it's basically ask, reward, and then take the pressure off.

    i would approch it like this -- he's a dog, and so he has to go out, but the long stretch between his bed and the door is stressful for him, and even though he makes it accross all he remembers is the fear, not the fact that he made it. so i'd go buy a cheap runner and rug pad and put them down between his bed and the door -- this is his safe zone. then begin asking him to leave his comfort zone in very small increments. be satisfied with one paw the first time, and praise him profusely! do that a few times and then see if you can get a second paw -- if he's not ready, then go back to one paw. in the beginning you will think that you'll never make any progress, but this is the hardest and slowest part. keep telling him he's brave, and that you promise he'll be ok, and that you wouldn't ask him to do it if it would hurt him. eventually it will click and progress will be quicker. and you will back-slide occasionally and wonder why he won't go as far as he did the day before. don't worry about it. when he makes the slightest progress reward him as if he just started reciting shakespeare.

    and i know this sounds goofy, but one of the most important things is that YOU believe he will get over it.

    good luck -- you can do it.
  11. Thanks all for the suggestions!!!! Both Bagnsho and DQ gave great advice, and really detailed.

    The problem with the leash and trying to walk with him is he will physically not move. I end up dragging him, which chokes him and pulls his neck so hard.. which he then brings out his claws and gets skittish.

    I am going to get some runners for the area.

    As I type this he is sitting on the back porch, with the house door open, a treat about one foot from the door, him not budging and him crying. It is soo sad.

    I know he will get over it... but its so sad!!! Breaks my heart :crybaby:
  12. Oh my gosh, this is very sad. What DG and Bagnshoo suggested is systamatic desensitization, where you slowly get the animal used to the stimulus with a reward for small steps forward. The assumption is that they begin to get scared but before they get too fearful then let them calm down, then try again. But never let them get too scared or worked up. Good luck. Poor little fella.
  13. I don't have any advice except the non-slip rug idea. Since he's older, and had the accident, he will feel safer without his feet slipping. Poor baby. I'm sad just reading this, Megs. Sometimes they just remember something like this a long time before they go back to more like themselves. Hugs to you and Nitro.:flowers:
  14. megs, you can try putting a towel around his belly and holding him up in it like a sling -- so his feet are on the ground and bearing weight, but he's getting support and guidance from above. (a canvas firewood carrier works nicely, too, if you happen to have one.) i've had to help move along my share of geriatric labs, and this is a really good trick -- not that nitro is geriatric yet!

    poor baby - give him a smooch for me. :heart:
  15. I moved the door rug long ways towards his bed, which left him about 3 feet to his bed rather than 5ish-6 on the wood floor... and he went to his bed rather quick for him!!! We gave him lots of love and praise right after and he seemed rather proud too!

    He is so scared to slip, and the wood floors and slippery to him. It is just sad because we can tell he wants to come be by us, but he is terrified to. But we keep working on it!

    Thanks for the support all... Nitro says thanks too!