Is Your Canine Afraid of Going Outdoors? Right here’s How one can Assist Her

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dog is scared of being outside

One of many huge causes you might get pleasure from sharing your life with a canine is that canine simply LOVE to go outdoors! Going for walks, enjoying within the solar — may there be a greater motive to get each of you out and about?

However sadly, not all canine really feel this manner; some four-footers are afraid to go away the home, and no quantity of fetch-playing or tree-sniffing is attractive sufficient to encourage them to get on the market and seize the day by the tennis balls.

Don’t fear! We’ll clarify why some canine develop fears regarding the good outdoor and share some methods to assist your canine overcome them beneath.

Key Takeaways: My Canine Is Afraid of Going Outdoors!

  • Whereas most canine love going outdoors, some undergo intense worry once they should enterprise outdoor. As homeowners, it can be crucial that all of us study to acknowledge the indicators related to this worry, corresponding to panting, trembling, freezing, and pacing.
  • Canines may be terrified of going outdoors for a number of causes. Just a few of the commonest causes canine are afraid of the good outdoor embrace pet panic, overstimulation, unfamiliarity with leashes and collars, and prior destructive experiences.
  • It is vital that you simply study to be a great advocate in your canine, and assist her overcome a worry of the outside. There are a variety of the way to take action, however utilizing desensitization and counter-conditioning are two of the simplest methods for soothing your pup’s frazzled nerves.

Indicators That Your Canine Is Afraid of Going Outdoors

signs your dog is afraid of going outside

As a result of we are able to’t simply ask a canine what the issue is, it helps to take note of your pet’s stress indicators and determine what her triggers are. This can make it easier to acknowledge when your canine is feeling scared, so you may finally desensitize and counter-condition her to realize confidence within the presence of issues that frighten her.

Canines normally tell us if they’re feeling scared by canine physique language. Some ways in which canine typically painting worry embrace:

  • Panting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Whale eye
  • Lip licks
  • Glancing away
  • Freezing
  • Pacing
  • Drooling
  • Trembling
  • Melancholy
  • Urinating or defecating
  • Pinned again ears
  • Extreme barking or whining
  • Refusing to stroll and mendacity down (pancaking)
  • Stopping all of a sudden whereas strolling and refusing to maneuver
  • Pulling exhausting on leash, presumably towards residence
  • Aggression or reactivity
  • Crouching
  • Tucked tail

Anticipating a majority of these behaviors can assist you determine in case your canine is afraid or careworn, and it could actually additionally make it easier to uncover what your canine’s triggers are.

When a canine is afraid of going outdoors, it could actually have a massively destructive have an effect on on almost each facet of her life. It might make potty coaching virtually not possible and might result in weight problems since there are fewer alternatives for train. It might additionally elevate your canine’s stress ranges, since canine launch lots of psychological stress by sniffing and exploring their setting through out of doors enrichment actions.

Why Are Some Canines Afraid of Going Outdoors? 

reasons for fear of outdoors in dogs

Canines who’re frightened of going outdoors aren’t attempting to be tough – pooches normally have a wonderful motive, of their thoughts, about why they don’t wish to go outdoor anymore.

Under, we’ll talk about some frequent causes canine are frightened of going outdoors. Determining which class your canine falls into can assist you set her as much as really feel braver when venturing outdoor. This could make desensitizing and counter-conditioning your pet to her triggers simpler.

Pet Panic and Improper Socialization

puppy panic

Pet panic and improper socialization are the basis trigger for a lot of fears that canine have of the outside.

Some puppies which have not too long ago gone to a brand new residence with a brand new household are very careworn about all of the adjustments occurring of their lives. This could manifest by the pup displaying worry of nearly all the things, together with the out of doors areas close to her new home.

Moreover, there are chunks of time known as pet socialization intervals that final till puppies are 14 weeks previous. If the pet doesn’t have sufficient optimistic experiences in new out of doors locations earlier than then, she might at all times be extra fearful or uneasy in regards to the sounds and smells of outside environments as an grownup. Pups may additionally expertise traumatic occasions outdoors throughout their ultra-sensitive worry intervals that will negatively impression how they view the outside.

Canines who’re older than this socialization window can undoubtedly proceed to have optimistic socialization experiences. However counter-conditioning canine as soon as they’re already petrified of one thing will take extra effort and time than working to correctly socialize younger puppies.

Sound Sensitivity and Overstimulation 

things that frighten dogs about outdoors

Sound sensitivity and overstimulation are additionally frequent causes a canine could also be afraid of going outdoors.

In case your canine started to point out out of doors fearfulness seemingly out of nowhere, it’s attainable that she heard a loud sound outdoors that scared her.

Some frequent sounds that may scare canine and turn into triggers are:

  • Barking canine
  • Lawnmowers
  • Building websites and tools
  • Thunder or fireworks
  • Vehicles backfiring or loud engines
  • Rubbish vehicles
  • Snow plow vehicles

Even should you can’t determine what the precise noise was that scared your canine initially, watching your canine for fearful conduct and taking steps to forestall your canine from listening to noises she thinks are scary can go a great distance towards easing her total stress ranges.

For some canine, all of the randomness and exercise that happens outdoors (particularly in busier city areas) causes them far more stress than staying inside.

Canines who’re affected on this method usually are typically extra simply scared or overwhelmed than the typical pooch.

Inexperience with Leash and Collar

leash unfamiliarity can cause fear

Leash coaching is a crucial a part of taking your canine for a fear-free stroll, since some canine have nervousness about carrying a leash or collar.

In some circumstances, this nervousness might stem from lack of familiarity with this sort of strolling tools. This can be as a result of your canine hasn’t spent a lot time on a leash, both as a result of she is a younger pup who hasn’t worn a collar and leash earlier than, or as a result of she is an grownup canine who was by no means or very hardly ever walked on a leash prior to now.

In both case, carrying new tools may be demanding.

Your canine may additionally have made a destructive affiliation together with her leash or collar if she was handled poorly by somebody whereas carrying a leash that she couldn’t run away from, or was given harsh leash corrections.

Regardless of the explanation in your canine’s leash or collar nervousness, you’ll want to handle these fears and assist her really feel higher about utilizing this kind of tools in order that she turns into much less frightened of going for protected walks outdoors.

Initially introducing a collar and leash and working towards with it in your home and yard is an effective begin.

Moreover, using a harness throughout walks can assist scale back the quantity of stress in your canine’s neck, which can additionally assist her really feel extra comfy and assured whereas exploring the outside.

Be affected person, take your time, and enlist the assistance of a force-free coach to help in leash coaching and strolling conditions that don’t appear to be bettering.

Accidents and Different Medical Points

Injuries can trigger fear in dogs

Medical points and accidents can affect how your canine feels about going outdoors or accompanying you on a stroll.

Paw or leg ache might trigger a canine to dread out of doors time. These points may be brought on by one thing so simple as overgrown toenails or a reduce on her paw, however they may also be brought on by persistent points that require therapy, corresponding to arthritis.

Different issues may additionally make your canine much less inclined to journey outdoors. Inner well being points, for instance, may trigger your canine to really feel torpid or usually crummy, whereas imaginative and prescient issues might trigger your canine to be afraid of going outdoors, particularly when it’s darkish.

Senior canine appear to get scared by adjustments extra simply and bear in mind their worry longer than youthful pooches. They will additionally develop situations like doggie dementia or “sundowners syndrome,” which might trigger them to behave oddly even in acquainted circumstances.

If you happen to suppose your canine might have a medical motive that’s inflicting her to worry the outside, get her checked out by your vet ASAP.

Detrimental Out of doors Experiences

bad experiences can cause fear in dogs

Detrimental experiences can stick to a pooch lengthy after the preliminary traumatic incident and have an effect on how she feels about going outdoors.

Getting bitten by bugs, consuming stinging bugs, or stepping on one thing sharp may be disagreeable sufficient that your canine might wish to simply keep away from the scary outdoor altogether! Experiences like assembly an unfriendly canine or particular person whereas outdoors may additionally persuade her that staying inside is safer.

One other destructive expertise that impacts some canine’ willingness to enterprise outdoor is the usage of radio fences. Because the receiver collar the canine wears will typically use a static shock to discourage the canine from approaching or crossing the fence boundary, some canine will turn into afraid of going outdoors for worry that the collar will shock them.

Most wi-fi radio fences have a coaching setting that can trigger the collar to solely beep or vibrate as your canine approaches or crosses the boundary.

Eradicating the receiver collar aside from throughout radio fence coaching periods is a good suggestion till your canine feels higher about going outdoors.

You would additionally think about a distinct answer for safely containing your canine, corresponding to constructing a bodily fence, utilizing a canine tie-out or trolley for brief intervals with supervision, or utilizing optimistic reinforcement-based boundary coaching.

Life Modifications or Bodily Obstacles

stairs frighten some dogs

Life adjustments and bodily obstacles are different frequent causes some canine are uneasy about going outdoors.

For example, should you simply moved to the second flooring and your canine doesn’t have a lot expertise with stairs, she could also be scared to traverse the steps.

Slippery flooring or different new flooring sorts may additionally frighten or confuse your pooch, however including carpet runners or rugs so your canine has extra traction whereas crossing the brand new flooring can do wonders to assist your canine really feel extra assured. She might not want this answer in place eternally, however it’s a fast repair to assist your canine get again within the behavior of having fun with heading outdoors.

How Can You Resolve Your Canine’s Worry of Going Outdoors? 

desensitize dog to triggers outside

In case your pooch is scared, and also you wish to assist her really feel higher about her out of doors excursions, there are just a few steps you may take to assist her out, relying on what her fears appear to be. Simply bear in mind to take your time and transfer at a tempo she’s comfy with.

Establish Your Canine’s Triggers 

One of the helpful issues you are able to do in case your canine is afraid of going outdoors is to determine what her triggers are so you may assist her study to progressively really feel much less frightened of them.

If you happen to aren’t positive what she’s frightened of, it may be harder to assist her enhance how she feels about going outdoors.

So, pay shut consideration to how your canine acts when she sees and hears various things, keep watch over her physique language, and she is going to in all probability let you understand precisely what’s scaring her.

Desensitize and Counter-Situation Your Pooch

Utilizing desensitization and counter-conditioning strategies can assist your canine to enhance her emotions about her triggers.

garbage trucks triggers some dogs

Since canine can’t like one thing and be frightened of it on the similar time, including optimistic emotions to your canine’s triggers could also be what is important to assist your canine conquer her fears.

These strategies might not remedy your pooch in a day, however the effort is properly value it as a result of the optimistic adjustments in how your canine feels about her triggers shall be everlasting.

Finally, over time, you need to see your canine’s conduct and response to the set off change.

Utilizing optimistic reinforcement coaching strategies can be an effective way to enhance your canine’s relationship and belief in you!

Think about additionally implementing some normal methods for lowering your canine’s nervousness throughout walks to make the whole expertise a bit much less demanding!

Desensitizing Your Canine to Out of doors Triggers

Desensitization refers to a way by which you progressively get your canine used to the triggers and environments that scare her.

For example, in case your pooch was by accident left outdoors throughout a giant thunderstorm, the noises she heard throughout the storm might have turn into a set off. Desensitizing her to those sounds will progressively assist her really feel much less frightened of them.

For resolving storm nervousness, you may begin by discovering a recording of thunder and enjoying it quietly for a short while in the home. If she startles and runs away from the sound, play it quieter, or put the speaker additional away out of your canine’s location.

Our canine also can take their worry cues from us, so should you act like nothing out of the atypical is going on, that will assist calm your canine too.

Steadily enjoying the storm recording louder and longer over time can assist your canine turn into desensitized and accustomed to what was as soon as a really scary sound.

desensitizing your dog to triggers

Counter-Conditioning Your Canine’s Triggers

Counter-conditioning takes altering your canine’s response to scary triggers one step additional. As an alternative of merely getting your canine used to a set off, you’ll assist your canine affiliate good emotions with the set off by pairing it with treats.

In case your canine completely can’t hear the storm recording with out performing careworn or fearful, enjoying the recording softly whereas your canine eats a meal can assist.

If her meals isn’t attractive sufficient to maintain her centered, giving her a number of tiny, very tasty treats whereas the recording performs for a brief time period is much more efficient for many canine.

As soon as your canine is performing much less frightened of the set off, you may enhance the quantity and period progressively, persevering with to pair the set off with fantastic experiences like treats, stuffed Kongs, and even play periods.

Counter-Situation Pre-Out of doors Cues

desensitize your pre walk routine

In case your canine is afraid of going out the door, something you do instantly earlier than attempting to exit together with her also can turn into a stressor. On this case, you might wish to try to enhance your canine’s emotions about making ready to go outdoors individually from her out of doors triggers.

Counter-condition any pre-walk occasions (corresponding to transferring towards your canine’s leash, choosing it up, attaching it to your canine, or placing in your footwear) and shuffle the order round to assist reframe these actions as enjoyable and optimistic!

Watch your canine for frequent physique language stress indicators as you get able to take her out and determine what actions you’re doing which can be inflicting your canine stress. Then, observe randomly pairing every of these actions with treats just a few occasions a day with out going outdoors afterwards.

Hold Out of doors Excursions Transient and Constructive

Ideally, you wish to go outdoors along with your canine for brief intervals of time, whereas attempting to ensure her triggers gained’t occur whilst you’re out.

In case your canine can stroll out the door and spend even just a few calm seconds outdoors earlier than eager to race again inside, be able to reward her calm conduct with a bunch of tiny, superior treats!

One strategy to gently encourage your canine to maneuver towards one thing that frightens her (just like the entrance door) is to make a deal with path or a row of reward stations with paper plates (which make the treats extra seen) to assist her transfer towards and out the door on her personal is invaluable.

This can assist your canine turn into extra relaxed with strolling as much as and thru the door so she is much less careworn when she reaches the outside.

keep outdoor trips brief

Observe strolling towards the open door, going by the door, turning round, and strolling again inside in a relaxed and centered method just a few occasions in a row earlier than attempting to stroll additional away.

As she will get higher at exiting the home, begin to feed her treats out of your hand somewhat than her choosing them up off the bottom, and progressively enhance the gap she has to stroll to obtain every deal with.

In case your canine is frightened of the yard, feeding her meals there by progressively transferring her bowl (between meals — don’t transfer her bowl whereas she eats) out the door and into the yard is an effective way so as to add optimistic emotions to that area.

Hold Triggers Away: Distance Equals Security

Enhance distance between your canine and her recognized triggers whilst you’re out strolling to assist maintain her beneath threshold. If she’s performing fearful, being reactive, or gained’t take treats, enhance the gap between your canine and her set off. This can assist her really feel much less uneasy about it.

For example, if you understand your canine is triggered by sudden loud noises and also you see orange cones and development tools forward of you whilst you’re out strolling her, altering path or heading again the way in which you got here could also be higher than exposing your canine to a scary sound. Tactical retreats could be a very sensible technique!

Observe Leash Manners Extra

practice leash manners

Establishing good leash manners, like free leash strolling, can do so much to spice up your canine’s confidence on walks.

Work on good leash manners inside and out of doors, if attainable. And make sure you give loads of treats to your canine when she walks near you with a free leash.

This may increasingly seem to be an odd answer, but when your canine has sufficient profitable observe periods strolling with you inside that she seems like a professional, she is going to in all probability really feel extra assured about strolling out the door and strolling round with you outdoors as properly.

Drawback-Clear up New Options

finding solutions to dog's outdoor fear

Don’t low cost utilizing simple options for resolving your canine’s fears too! Generally the best choices are the perfect ones.

For example, in case your canine is afraid of strolling throughout your slippery flooring to go outdoors by the door, add a carpet runner to make her journey to the door simpler, or hook her up with some socks for hardwood flooring. Or, simply exit a distinct door.

If a number of stairs are the problem, attempt to assist your canine enhance her confidence by inserting treats on a number of the stairs, or carrying her a part of the way in which (this is without doubt one of the solely conditions by which carrying a scared pooch slightly is OK). Then, set her down on the steps so she will observe touring up or down the previous few stairs on her personal.

Be a Affected person and Good Canine Advocate

All the time take your time when attempting to spice up your canine’s confidence within the outdoor and supply her with an exit technique. In case your canine can solely stroll with confidence to the tip of your driveway and again, don’t pressure her to stroll additional than she’s comfy with.

You by no means wish to pressure your canine right into a state of affairs the place she’s not comfy. Persistence and encouragement for the small victories is one of the simplest ways to see success!

Take some nice treats and encourage her to stroll slightly additional down the sidewalk every day till she feels good about strolling in different, much less acquainted locations. Simply make certain her strolling tools is escape-proof so she will’t run away in a panic.

Accurately sized martingale collars are another choice for canine who’re a flight danger.

In case your canine is getting braver close to her triggers, proceed to reward her bravery, take note of her stress indicators, and be her advocate.

advocate for your dog

Above all else, be sure you can assist her go away a state of affairs if she begins to be overwhelmed.

You may by no means know precisely what occurred outdoor that scared your furry buddy so badly. However, should you can pinpoint her triggers after which progressively and positively reintroduce her to the issues that scare her, whereas serving to her produce other experiences outdoors which can be nice and never scary in any respect, you’re properly in your strategy to serving to free your pooch from her out of doors fears.

The Dos and Don’ts of Serving to a Canine Construct Out of doors Confidence

help increase your dog's confidence

Now that you understand a number of the primary methods for serving to canine overcome a worry of the outside, we are able to share just a few useful suggestions to bear in mind whereas working towards.


  • Go sluggish and permit your canine to maneuver nearer to her triggers at her personal tempo. Use a number of superior treats to strengthen her bravery and to proceed to enhance her emotions about her triggers.
  • Make certain your canine is carrying escape-proof strolling tools while you go outdoors if she is a flight danger. Chances are you’ll even wish to double up and use a martingale collar and a front-clip harness to make sure that fail-safes are included if she wiggles out of 1 piece of apparatus.
  • Make a deal with path to observe going out and in the door. Enhance the gap between treats as she turns into extra capable of transfer with much less worry and stress.
  • Steadily begin feeding your pooch outdoor. That is particularly good for canine who’re frightened of the yard.
  • Place some favourite toys or treats outdoor in your canine to seek out. This can be a good way to make use of nostril work video games to have interaction your canine’s mind and encourage her to discover an space that she considers scary.
  • Play a favourite recreation outdoor along with your canine. If she is engaged in doing one thing she loves, she’ll be distracted whereas additionally associating optimistic emotions with the setting, which might scale back her fears.
  • Desensitize and counter-condition your canine while you uncover a fearful state of affairs or set off. Serving to your canine really feel higher in regards to the issues that scare her will assist her progressively really feel braver.


  • By no means punish your canine for exhibiting fearful conduct. It won’t change these behaviors, and she or he might even start to really feel afraid of you too.
  • Don’t pressure your canine to go outdoors or confront her set off. Fearful canine can panic or act aggressively if they’re scared. Quite, let her transfer into and out of scary conditions at a tempo she’s comfy with – doing so can stop accidents and accidents.
  • Don’t overwhelm or “flood” your canine. Let your canine method fearful conditions at her personal tempo, and ensure she is aware of she at all times has the chance to go away a state of affairs that’s too scary for her by working towards strolling her away from them.

Worry of the Outside: FAQs

Nonetheless have questions on your canine’s worry of the good outdoor? Don’t fear! We’ll reply just a few of the commonest questions homeowners have beneath!

Must you carry your canine outdoors if she’s afraid?

No. Forcing your canine additional right into a state of affairs that scares her may cause extra hurt than good, particularly in case your canine’s set off is outdoors already. Taking your time and transferring as slowly as your canine must go whereas giving her loads of reinforcements even for small enhancements is one of the simplest ways to assist your canine construct her confidence outdoors.

What can I do whereas instructing my canine to be braver outdoors?

The perfect factor you are able to do to assist your canine as she learns that outdoors isn’t scary is to concentrate to her physique language and encourage her bravery. Attempt to encourage her to go outdoors when her triggers aren’t round. For example, if she’s frightened of the trash truck, don’t attempt to encourage her to go outdoors till the truck has already moved by your neighborhood on trash pickup day.

What do I do if my canine will get scared earlier than we even go outdoors?

Work out which of your actions that precede going outdoors are triggering your canine, then observe counter-conditioning these actions. For example, if she begins to crouch and tremble while you choose up her leash, observe choosing up the leash, tossing her a deal with, then setting the leash again down 20 occasions randomly all through the day.

As soon as she’s feeling good about that step, observe transferring towards her with the leash, giving her a deal with, then placing the leash away. Break every motion down into tiny items, and reinforce all of them till none of your actions that precede going outdoors end in your canine exhibiting careworn behaviors. Additionally, switching the order of the actions round can assist stop your canine’s worry from constructing with every step.


Since a lot of our pet canine spend most of their time indoors with us, it is smart {that a} scary expertise outdoors may make them wish to keep inside with us on a regular basis. However, canine who’re frightened of the outside are lacking out on some fantastic elements of life as a canine!

Taking the time to assist your pooch change her thoughts about her out of doors fears utilizing optimistic reinforcement coaching is an effective way to assist her get pleasure from herself extra, regardless of the place the 2 of you spend your time.

Is your canine frightened of going outdoors? Are you aware what your canine’s set off is? How did you assist your canine really feel much less scared about her out of doors fears?

Share your experiences (and any questions you might have) within the feedback beneath!

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