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Old 03-23-2014, 10:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Frightened Dog/Panic Attack?

Does anyone know if dogs can be afraid of the dark?

Tonight my husband took our dog, Ben, on a short (20 min) walk after dark. Ben had been whining to go out, though he had already been outside for a little while. Anyway, according to my husband, on the way back to our street (a familiar walk), Ben started straining to get home quickly, then started literally fighting on the leash: mouthing his legs (but not biting down), lunging around to "get away," and barking like crazy. My husband got him to lay down and tried to pet him to settle down. He says Ben laid there, but was biting on the grass the whole time.

Then he tried to get him to walk home calmly again and again Ben barked and was wild, desperate to get home. Apparently, once he got to our house, he started walking calmly and came inside.

He had been somewhat anxious since then, panting a lot and whatnot. Then he fell asleep on his blanket in the living room. Just now my son woke him up by opening the linen closet down the hallway and Ben started barking like crazy, even growling and barking once my son came into the living room where Ben could see him. He didn't lunge at him, but he barked and growled (once). He only stopped barking when my husband grabbed him.

I'm so freaked out. We have had Ben five, almost six months and have never had any kind of serious aggression (growling and barking) toward our son or on walks. He had a problem with nipping/herding us early on, but doesn't do that very much now. Tonight's behavior is over the top and scary.

Any insight is much appreciated.
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So, same night, right after my son took his shower and came out to say good night (this was after getting stuff out of the linen closet), our dog whined, got up, walked over and licked my son's hands. I was sitting next to our son and was somewhat nervous, but didn't try to stop Ben from coming over to us.

So now I'm just puzzled, but still rather worried. He had never done anything like that before (the growl upon waking). Maybe residual anxiety from his fright outside?
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There was something your husband didn't see. How old is the dog?
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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czarina that's very insightful, I didn't even consider it. she may also have heard or smelled something that got her agitated. don't show fear if your dog shows aggression towards anyone in your family and don't treat her any differently (not that you did). go sit by her and pet her or call her over for dinner even if it isn't time. if she doesn't want to move just sit by her and watch tv or read a book for a little bit. if she's scared or agitated you need to show her that the situation is always OK. don't let her fear dictate the mood. it sounds like your husband did the right thing on the walk.

talking to her in that 'hello baby, who's a good baby' tone could also work because addressing her like an adorable puppy is totally at odds with being afraid. again, just you set a good mood and never show that you are freaked out by anything she does. you are the always calm, all-knowing all-seeing being.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Could be..

He's around 14 months or so. We got him at aged 9 mos (estimated) from the pound. We've had him since October and we don't know his history. The most they could tell us is that he was picked up as a wandering stray. We do know that he was emaciated and we spent the first two months just getting him to a healthy weight. He doesn't seem to have been physically abused, though, as he is never afraid of sticks, or flying objects (balls), or people. He loves young men especially.


He's a well-socialized boy, as we take him to the dog park literally every day. We've had a lot of compliments on his good-naturedness; he's literally known for his sweet personality. He is good with small dogs, big dogs, and people.

I mean, he _was_ nervous/uncertain the first two weeks or so that we had him, but I feel like he's quite secure these days. He's never afraid to go new places or meet new people. He's a friendly guy and loves to lick and snuffle little kids when they ask to pet him if we're out in the park or whatever; also he's always been very good about letting my son hug him and kiss his head and stuff like that. That's why I'm so weirded out by this.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh, also, when Ben started barking and growled, my husband did get up and put his arms around him, but we didn't scold him or anything. He just quieted him down and then we asked if our son was okay, he said yes, and then we told him to go take a shower. I went in and talked to him and he said he was "a little" scared, but that he thought Ben must have been just waking up and not realizing.

We just sat around after that (my husband and I) and Ben went back to laying down, although he did pace a little first. Then my son came back out after his shower and sat beside me on the couch. Ben whined a few times, then got up and walked over to lick my son's hands.

He seemed like he wanted to go outside, so my husband took him out and I sent my son to bed while they were outside. When they came back in, Ben paced around a little, but I dimmed the lights and he went right to sleep again.

I think something scared him pretty badly, but I don't know what.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yea it definitely does sound like something spooked him. so i guess be glad you have such a watchful guard dog, hopefully this never happens again. it doesn't sound like he would have hurt your son since he didn't realize it was him initially. he's now a certified family protector
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Is it possible that something bit your dog?
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Uh, no offense, but...I don't really think my dog freaking out on a walk and then growling at my kid makes my dog a "certified family protector"...I'm just trying to find out if anyone has heard of dogs having panic attacks.

Anyone heard of actual panic attacks/fright? Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd say if Delgado reacted that way while outside I'd say he's either reacting something I'm not noticing or hurt by something and by the rest of the evening I'd go with hurt possibly. Did you check him over for any injuries when he got home?
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