What could cause a dog to suddenly become afraid of his yard? ???
We put Buddy on a tie-out that gives him about 25' in each direstion, in a half-circle on the side of the house, which is where the front door is (dumb set-up, I know). I have been letting him out on the tie-out since I brought him home and he usually explores every inch of his territory.
Today, for some odd reason, he is afraid of most of the area directly in front of the door and about 10' to either side, beyond the sidewalk. He will step JUST off the sidewalk to pee or poop, then leap back to the cement like he's jumping to save his life. I tried walking out with him and coaxing him to follow me, but he wouldn't. When I went to the back of the house to check on the tomato plant, I expected him to follow me as he always does. Nope. Stayed on the sidewalk. I called him, and he scurried down the wall of the house, almost rubbing against it, to get to me. When I headed back towards the door, he made the 15' or so to the sidewalk in two leaps, again, alongside the wall of the house.
Okay, so I'm thinking maybe he somehow got tangled in the tie-out and that made him think the grass is evil. So, I put his leash on and took him out there. I could not DRAG him over that certain patch of grass! :-\ He'd go with me on either side of the area, but only at a safe distance.
I checked him over for stings or bites, in case maybe a wasp or bee was in the grass and got him, but I can't find anything. No one else has been here, nothing is different out there, I have walked over every inch of the area and can find nothing that would spook him like this.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
My guess is he got bitten or stepped on something and pinched his foot.
I would do a bit of counter conditioning, pairing good things with that area (why not give him his dinner just at the edge of it?
I was going to say what Nancy said!
One of Henery's friends, a mini-schnauzer, suddenly became fearful of the grass in her yard. She would only potty on the deck near their pool, and not set paw in the grass. Turned out she had gotten stung or bitten by an ant in the grass, and that's why.
Her owners did exactly what Nancy said, fed her on the grass etc, gave her high-value treats on the grass, and she got over it.
Good luck with Buddy!
Hard to know, since no one witnessed it. Could be anything - perhaps even being taunted by another animal in his yard.
I'm all for the counter conditioning also.
Good luck - keep us posted.
Brenda from Connecticut
I was going to say maybe a bee sting or something.
Last summer Lilo and Bella were chasing each other in the yard. All of
sudden Bella stopped in her tracks and started looking at the ground
and her paw. I thought at first that she twisted her paw or something
in the chase so I didn't call her to me in case she was indeed injured.
I walked over to her and checked her out and all was all. I'm guessing
she stepped on a bee in the grass. Ever since then she avoids that
area of the yard to this day.
Thanks for the replies. I will try the counter-conditioning.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
Are you diligent about poop pickup? Because we aren't always. When we haven't picked up in awhile, Boomer acts like that in the yard...and I know it's because he doesn't want to go anywhere near where he may have pooped. Like the yard is unsafe.
A bee sting is a good theory too.
This is probably way off, but how about time of day. Especially the last time he was out and developed this behavior. HK has a fear of these landscape lights people use. My neighbor across the street has a few. Since the first time HK saw them, late dusk, HK avoids that side of the house other than in bright daylight. If she somehow forgets and gets in the 'bad zone' during excitement, she will back out of it without taking her eyes off those lights.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.