I let my dog go outside.After a few seconds, my dog came back running really fast inside. When I looked at him he was shaking really fast. I looked outside but saw nothing. After a few minutes I tried to take my dog back outside. When he saw me open the door he went to hide.I don't know what happened and I need help!!!!!
Thank you for your question. Since we do not know what happened outside to make your dog run back into the house and begin shaking, we won't be able to use our logic or our ability to reason. This is a tool that humans rely on when a problem arises, logic and reason are used determine when it would be a better time to experience or avoid a particular situation.
So in this case, we must think like a dog. Although a dog CAN think, they DO NOT reason. A dogs life is cause and effect; therefore, I use the formula of action/reaction/reinforcement for rehabilitation. An example of what I am saying would be: If an iron is hot . . . and you touch the iron . . . you WILL get burned. If a dog touches the iron . . . they will ALSO get burned. In this way we are the same. However, we both have decided that we do not want to get burned again. So when we go to the iron . . . we will make sure it is turned off or unplugged - because we have the ability to reason. A dog does not understand electricity, or on/off switches. It does not have the ability to reason, or understand the iron won't be hot under these conditions. IN FACT, the iron can be on a mountain of snow, and the dog will STILL believe that he will get burned. Action: touching the iron - Reaction: getting burned - Reinforcement: NEVER touching the iron again! Although we know you do not have a bunch of hot irons in your back yard . . . we can manufacture a thought that maybe your dog was bitten by an insect or stung by a bee, or any number of things. What ever did take place, your dog now thinks the back yard is no longer a safe place to be.
This is the core of our rehabilitation. By encouraging your dog to go outside when using techniques such as luring him with a treat, or pulling him by the collar and stopping when he puts the breaks on, then petting him to reassure him - this will only bring more distrust towards the environment. We must remember that with a dog, touch is reinforcement or acceptance if his behavior. Remember: Action, reaction, reinforcement. ACTION: You're pleading with me to go outside. REACTION: I am afraid. REINFORCEMENT: The back yard is a bad place! This will only stop us from achieving our goal. So what the dog is interpreting you are saying is, "You have every reason to be afraid of going back outside . . . I don't blame you! I have assessed the situation, and I agree, Fido. . . the back yard is a bad place to be." Although you are only trying to reassure your dog the back yard is safe, it is not being received in this manor.
I am happy to say, your solution is quick and simple. Attach the dog's leash to his collar, walk your dog around inside your house. Seem indifferent. You are the leader, the dog is the follower. At some point, go to the back door - and open it. Then walk away. Walk around inside your house a bit more, sometimes moving quickly . . . sometimes at your normal speed. Now without concern, warning, or care - walk quickly towards and through the back door without hesitation - continuing about 10 to 15 feet from the door - stop and look around enjoying the great outdoors remaining indifferent to your dog. Wait for your dog to show a calm or relaxed body posture . . . . THEN praise your dog. Now together walk back into the house - not allowing him to hesitate or bolt forward - continuing about 10 to 15 feet inside the house. Stop, remain indifferent and praise for appropriate behavior. Repeat as necessary until your dog has no hesitation to go outside. In no time your dog will realize this was only a fluke, and return to his old self enjoying the back yard.
1) Dogs absorb and react to our energy and fears, so remain indifferent. Your dog will quickly do the same.
2) Dogs live in the moment. Although they remember the past, they live for today. They don't plan for tomorrow . . . they simply live in the moment.
3) When there is a sudden change in your dog's behavior, don't sweat it. Even if we might not be able to make the connection - you will always be able to move forward, rehabilitate, and regain your dogs balance and state of mind.
If you have any questions about your dog's behavior, send it to us at email@example.com, and Rick will answer in his column. Rick gives private and group lessons behavior lessons. Information: 951- 354-PAWS.