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Afraid of shadows and bushes.

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My parti poodle Indy is so afraid of shadows and the dark that he will not go to the washroom. It is getting dark earlier every night and I am afraid he will get a sore bladder. Even in the morning he is frightend by the smells of the animals that went through my back yard. He puts his tail between his legs and bolts back for the house. I have to coax him to go the washroom. I walk him in the dark and he is so frightend that it is not fun anymore to walk him.
Is anyones elses poodle afraid of the dark and shadows and little animals.
He saw a racoon and was so scared he could of jumped through the door to get in the house meanwhile my old standard wanted to hunt down the racoon and I had to pry her in the house.
I have never had a dog act this way before and it is driving me crazy but I still love him of course.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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2,314 Posts
That's tough, especially if it's no longer pleasant to walk him. Our older PWD is afraid to go in the park at night, as he's worried about dogs coming out of the dark to get him, but he's fine in our backyard so it's not a problem.

This forum discusses something similar. One of the things suggested is having the dog's eyes checked, as the fear could be a symptom of eye problems. Have you ever had Indy's eyes CERF'd or anything?


Assuming the eyes aren't the problem, this person has a suggestion that might work:


875 Posts
How old is Indy?
Puppies go through "fear periods" typically at 8-12 weeks, and then again I believe somewhere between 6 and 8 months (not for certain about the definate age on that second part)

for example:
Brian, my black standard, went through a fear stage at about 6 months. He has been raised around cats, plays with cats, everything. one day my cat Sake ran through the kitchen while he was crated(all the crates are in the "dining area" of our kitchen) Brian started screaming and peeing himself.
this happend ocasionally for a couple weeks, at first I thought a cat was beating him up, as none of them are declawed, then I even went so far as to think he was licking an outlet, or getting a paw stuck in the crate. I didnt know until then that puppies go through these stages.

You may also want to have Indy's eyes checked, maybe he is not seeing things properly, but if he is young, I would bet its just normal puppy fear.

use lots of positive reinforcement, and do alot of basic obedience excersises, they will help build his confidence.

you can also put a few treats just outside your back door, or scatter them around his potty area, then he will begin to associate it with yummy treats.
Do not pet or talk to him when he is exhibiting fear. this will encourage the behavior, and allow him to think there really is something to fear.

361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the links. I have told the vet about his problem and he looked in his eyes and said he is okay, but he is not a specialist. I am going to ask him again. I had him out tonight and he was so frightend and pulled me and his tail was between his legs. I brought a flashlight but he was afraid of it. I have tried treats but he won't take them.
I will keep taking him out in the dark and hopfully he will enjoy it.
I hope he does not have a problem with his eyes.
Thanks again.
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