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Thread: Agoraphobic dog

  1. #1

    Default Agoraphobic dog

    I am wondering if anyone can offer any help or suggestions here? I have finally come to conclusion I have an agoraphobic dog. She is a complete delight to live with, playful, no funny ways or timidity or nervousness of any kind. She was confident at puppy class when young and has been shown and does not find that stressful (.....she is the type who kisses the judge when on the table!). She is very affectionate and a surpeb mother. She is the one in my profile picture which was taken at a show.
    However when we go for a walk she squeaks anxiously all the way and this some times turns into a distressed squeal. I have tried everything I can think of. She has been doing this since she was about 1yr old and she is now 4.5yrs. She walks fine on the lead in the garden and does not mind wearing a collar. She has got a litter of 9 week old pups and due to that and the snow, I have only just begun walking her out again. Today she came back so stressed I am beginning to wonder if it is worth putting her through it.
    I feel all dogs need the exercise and mental stimulation of going out for walks.
    We do have a lovely big country garden and she is happy to run about in there or go for trips in the car.
    What does everyone else think?
    Hearthfriend Cavaliers

  2. #2


    If only they could speak I'm sure a run in the garden with the others would be more exercise than lead walking. Other than that, I can't advise you.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Woodford Green, Essex


    I shall be interested in reading the replies to Philippa's thread as we too have a dog that is constantly noisy when she goes out for walks. However, unlike Philippa's dog our little monster never gets stressed or squeals, it's just excitement. For this reason we never take her out with puppies in case they pick up this habit.

  4. #4


    My old cavalier who is 8 is much the same, out in the garden she will run all over, put her lead on in the garden and she is fine but put it on her in the house or venture out the gate after putting it on her in the garden and she totally just tenses up an sits trembling! In the garden tho she's fine with it on, i've got to stage now of letting her just run outside as she clearly does not like going for a walk! Just hoping pups not going to be same once she's allowed out

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Leogem View Post
    it's just excitement. For this reason we never take her out with puppies in case they pick up this habit.
    Solo's mother Bridie does this excited yelping as she is great hunter. She always winds the others up for '[the big hunt'. For this reason I also never took Solo/ or any puppies out with her!
    I walk puppies out with my old Saffy who is very steady. I have grown up puppies from Solo and they do not seem to be inflicted with this problem, nor do her puppies who have gone to pet homes. So hopefully yours wont be. Some Cavaliers are more vocal than others but her problem is not just vocalisation as she gets stressed as well.

  6. #6


    I've got one....and, just as with others on this forum, she didn't start out that way, she was chased by a beagle and now thinks wide open spaces are scarey
    unless.......that is.........she has a big black boxer with her

    Then all is sunny and light and she hasn't got a care in the world.
    No boxer - no walkies for Tulip.

    In larger breeds of dog I've always defined a weak temperament as "the inability to recover from a bad experience".

    In toy dogs probably more allowances are made but it is the same principal. Not knowing what triggered this stress response to change a happy golucky dog to a wary one, wont help as you wont know what areas to work on.

    A very confident dog to walk with, coupled with avoiding situations which give stress, may help in the short term.
    Given that she may hate walkies so much, it may be best to do as Pauline suggests, ie play in the garden. Set up a little agility course and let her have fun.

    Good luck,

    Last edited by Mary Cunningham; 01-16-2010 at 01:25 PM.

  7. #7


    I think at the moment whilst she has the pups at home you won't resolve the problem as she will just be more stressed because she wants to get back to them
    Can I ask previously did you take her on the same walk every day? Did you walk or did you just stroll along the road letting her sniff at all an sundry as you ambled along??? Has anyone else taken her for a stroll and did she behave in the same way.

    These questions sound a bit silly I know but many years ago I had a young dog who behaved in the same way. I realised "eventually "VBG that what I was doing was "roadwork" ie walking from A to B without giving the dog the opportunity to investigate and scent where I was taking him.
    I enlisted the help of a friend who was more than happy to just amble along the road letting him stop, sniff and look around when ever he wanted. Initially they only went about 400 yards or so and then came back. Over a couple of weeks I think it was she increased the distance but brought him back when he started wittering. We then took him out with another of her dogs and he was fine and the problem seemed to be solved.
    I think the "big wide world " overwhelmed him when on his own because like your bitch he was fine in the car and within the confines of a show venue with other dogs around he was fine

  8. #8


    Thank you Mary and Annette.
    Firstly Mary. I really don't think she had a bad experience. Very interesting about the 'recovery for a bad experience/temperement comment though. Walking her out with another calm dog has no effect whatso ever, or walking her alone, in case it was excitement. She is just the same.
    I have been through periods of repremanding her - doing the dog whisperer thing of hissing 'ssssh' and stopping the walk until she is quiet, she just stasts again as soon as she moves. It did drive me bonkers at once point - and people stare. Then I realised that if she was winding me up, that would only wind her up more, so I took great care to keep calm, breathe deeply and walk nonchantley with no pressure on the lead. That helps a bit.
    Annette, She did it well before the puppies. I think your idea is well worth a try - I will report back.

    Allowing them to sniff or not is an area of hot debate between me and my friend Liz. She says absolutely not and so does Ceaser Milan.
    It is another question I was going to ask on this forum sometime!
    I feel it is important to them to 'read the newspaper' and i let them sniff up our lane - takes about 5mins and they usually eliminate here too. Then i say "walk smart" and we walk to heel (in theory! ha ha) until we get to the fields where they go off lead. When she is actually off lead she is better, vocal - but she comes back to give reports on what she has found - so sweet! She gets squeaky when she goes back on the lead to come home or back to the car. I will definately give the 'just going so far and coming home' a try.
    I have also wondered if teaching her to carry a glove or something might help. Give her something else to think about and keep her mouth closed!!!!
    Thank you so much for your ideas.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Bowers Gifford, Essex, UK.


    QUOTE=Busybip;18348] Allowing them to sniff or not is an area of hot debate between me and my friend Liz. She says absolutely not and so does Ceaser Milan [/QUOTE]

    I'm a real meany I'm afraid.... When we take our Cavaliers for their walk, we walk.... I'd absolutely HATE my Cavaliers sniffing around other dogs faeces, gateposts, tree trunks, and all the other places where stray dogs, foxes, or other wild life have eliminated. We have a very large garden laid out especially for our dogs, with lots of interesting nooks and crannies, fruit trees, tunnels, raised benches etc .... all purposely put there or planted for the dogs to investigate or chase around whenever they want, but when the leads go on... we walk, and the dogs know what to expect. When they see the leads come out of the cupboard, ours always run into the garden to empty themselves before setting out, and they never do their business when outside of their own garden.
    This has drawbacks for the show dogs though... because at the first few shows mine will usually want to 'hold on' until we reach home which worries me. It takes a while for them to realise it's OK to relieve themselves in the specially laid out areas at shows.... but it use to be exactly the same when we took them away on holiday..

    >>She gets squeaky when she goes back on the lead to come home or back to the car>>

    Oh dear... that would be a tough one for me Philippa, because I honestly don’t think I could live with a noisy Cavalier... things would have to change, but I have no idea how I'd achieve it. I remember some 10 to 15 years ago many of the progeny from one particular sire were excitable, very noisy, but on the plus side most of them were also beautiful to look at. I could never have used that stud dog though, because day to day his children would have driven me to distraction. We didn't even have to look to see these dogs arriving in the show venue car park... because we could HEAR I’m not much help to you on this subject.


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