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Old 04-28-2009, 06:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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bangimoshi is a jewel in the roughbangimoshi is a jewel in the rough
Exclamation freaky floors HELP!

So, this is kind of a long story, but I want to make sure I explain this right. I got my pup when he was about 7 or 8 weeks old from a shelter. He was dirty, malnourished, and full of worms and parasites. I'm happy to say that he has grown into a healthy, happy, well adjusted 8 month old. With one exception, that is.

He is terrified of slippery floors. He is generally the easy going type, but when faced with a tile or wood floor he must cross, he cowers and shakes. He's been like this since I got him, but at first I was just working to build his trust, so I never forced him onto floors he was afraid of. It was actually kind of convenient at first, since he would stay on whatever rug you put him on, so he was easy to keep an eye on. But now, at 60lbs, it's far from convenient, and I hate to see him so scared like that, especially cause it's so out of character.

The best I can figure is that as a puppy he went into the house and he wasn't supposed to and got hit or kicked or something. I think that because he is also wary of any new house he goes into, even if it's carpeted, but not really afraid of garages and basements, even with smooth floors. He still worried at first but get over it quickly. And he will follow me out onto a smooth, shinny frozen lake, and will run on ice no problem.

Anyway, I guess dogs live in the present not in the past, so it doesn't really matter what started it anyway. I just have to figure out a way to get him over it. He's gotten so he'll go a little ways away from the rugs in my house, but it takes weeks of me putting his food further and further out from the rug, and even then he seems uneasy the further he gets from the carpeting.

Has anyone had this problem or have any suggestions for how to teach him that floors aren't so bad? I don't want to keep ignoring the problem, because he's obviously not going to just out grow it, but I don't want to do the wrong thing and make his fear any worse.

PLEASE HELP US!!!
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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This is more common than you think and sometimes has to do with lack of socialization. The dogs I have worked on with this have all been based in fear. A dog with low confidence can will be scared by the slippery floor, they can feel out of control and usually try to dig there claws in the get a good grip. What you need to do is teach the dog that walking on a slippery floor is not scary and nothing bad is going to happen to them. Making them walk on the floor is the best way to do this. Do not pull them on the floor instead pick them up (if you can, lol) and praise them for standing on the floor. They may panic and try to run off but just hold on to the leash till they clam down. Praise is important and you can try food but if the dog is really scarred they might not eat. It's important not to correct the dog, you just want them to learn that they can stand on their own. This might be a complicated situation and you may want to work with a trainer. But you can try it on your own just try to work the dog through the fear. Not making the dog face this when they were younger was not a good idea since it might have compounded the problem. But you can still work with them and build confidence. I had a border collie that had the same issues years ago. It took many trips to petsmart working on the tile floor before he really got over it. Good luck
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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My girl Ruby was afraid of our linoleum floors - as if she had been an outside dog or something before we got her. And her food and water bowls are in the kitchen.... All it took for us was to lay towels down in a 'path' from here to there throughout the house and she would walk on them. Eventually we removed the towels and praised/treated for walking on the floor and it was over that fast....
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the replies. Here's an update and an idea I've had.

I have been keeping his nails trimmed very short (luckily he has white paws so it's easy) and have been trying to work on this whole floor issue. I took him to petco the other day and just sat on the floor with him for over an hour. I ignored him mostly, especially when he was whining, but praised him when he started to stand up from his crouched position. For part of the time he just laid next to me with his head on my leg, and I just would pet him quietly. He wouldn't really walk at all though, and when he's that scared he has no interest in treats. So I'm thinking I might just have to totally desensitize him, basically using flooding.

Do you think it would work if I just set him up in a tile floor room and have him stay there till he realizes nothing bas is going to happen? Here's what I'm thinking: the body can only stay in that sort of fear state for so long, and eventually he's got to figure out that there's nothing to be afraid of. How long could it take before he starts to relax? A day? two days? That would be worth it in my book if he can no longer be afraid after that. Now I'm obviously not talking about just locking him in there all on his own for two days straight, but maybe put a baby gate in the kitchen where people will be around, and giving him his water and meals in there. Won't he just have to get over it that way? I still will be taking him out for plenty of exercise and training sessions, but the rest of the time he'd be on tile.

I definately don't want to tramatize him and make it worse, but he's got to get over this and this seems like it might work. He doesn't really trust towels or blankets on the floor so I don't think that the "path" technique will work for him. Also, since I've had him I've lured him out a little ways onto the tile floor by putting treats and feeding him his meals further and further out on the tile. But in about 6 months, he still is very nervous on the tile floors and has only learned certain specific routes where he will walk, but hasn't generalized this to other paths or areas at all.

What do you think?
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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it sounds a little too simple to work, but does he have any other puppy friends? any relatives dogs he gets along with? my buddys mix wouldnt walk on slick surfaces but encouraging play seemed to work. His dog would look miserable until he finally decided to join in the play. then he was realizing that it wasnt so bad.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
 

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Teach him. Name and explain several floor surfaces, carpet, metal, paper, plastic, towel, stairs, up and down. Reinforce (enthusiastic verbal reinforcement) for just acknowledging, initially.

The body can also get hung up in the brain chemicals accompanying that fear, and start to seek them out, creating phobias and fears in other areas.

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Old 05-04-2009, 12:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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What you did at petco was good but don't sit on the floor with him. Stand up and let him make the decision to stand and praise. Then try and take small steps. The room idea is ok but you should be in there with him. You don't want him to be there with out you to praise and support him. This will take time and I think at least a week or two. Don't get discouraged and work with him as much as possible.
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