Dog afraid to walk on tile - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Dog afraid to walk on tile


We recently adopted another rescue dog to bring us to a total of two. Anyway, the rescue we just adopted is having issues walking on tile and going upstairs. We have tried luring her to walk on the tile with fresh chicken, cheese, and peanut butter. She WILL not walk into into kitchen area, she only walks on the tile to get outside to go to the bathroom and even then goes to great lengths to walk on the carpet behind our chairs. I have carried her to the tile and she seizes up and doesn't want to move when she gets there. I tried putting a towel down and even then she will not go on it. I tried a leash and gently lead her towards the tile and she pulled off the collar and ran away. We keep the dogs water and food on the tile and it is presenting an obvious problem.

All she is doing is sleeping all day and night, she doesn't want to spend time with us and is not in to play with us or our other GSD. The rescue is only 9 months old too.

Can anyone please provide some thoughtful insight as to what we can do to make her life easier as well as ours.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 10:30 PM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

How long have you had the rescue? Boy or girl?

Does the doggie have a name?

My Shadow did the same at our home. He was 6 months. He had been in a shelter for 5 wks, he had been a stray.

I assume he was born a little weaked nerved to begin with, so do not exspect this will ALL go away, but this will get better.

The dog needs time to settle first, know your routine, know what you want from it. Then you need to take leadership and let it know there is nothing to fear.

The first time Shadow mastered the stairs he ran back down to run back up again. I do not think he had ever been in a house.

One step at a time. Someone else on here says, 3 days, 3 wks or 3 months. Different dogs need different amounts of time.

Shadow is over most of his fears, sometimes I find new ones. I am amazed at how far he has come. DO NOT give up, it can be the most rewarding thing you will ever do watching this doggie come out of it's shell.

I hope the rescue is supporting you. You may also need to contact a professional trainer.

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Bella (Beagle 8 yrs old)
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 10:34 PM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

I had one bitch who was ALWAYS bad on tile or hard floors. She'd curl her toes and tense up so that she was skating along on her nails. We had to keep them very short, and also used a show product called "Tacky paw" (You can also get it at Staples I think under the name of "Tacky finger") it's like a bees wax that helps the pads have more traction. We used it on most of our show line dogs to help them on the horrible footing @ many indoor shows.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 10:35 PM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

Poor baby! You just never know what you are getting into with a rescue, it sounds like the previous owner might have had some strong consequences for her entering a room that had tile, had a bad experience in a room with tile, or possibly just has not been exposed to it.

I haven't dealt with this particular issue, but many others with our rescues Moose and Gator. It takes a lot of patience and tiny baby steps sometimes.

I would try first just getting her comfortable with being BY the tile. I would sit on the carpet NEXT TO tile and call her over. Don't try to coax her on to the tile, but just do something with her that she likes, play with a toy, pet her, give her treats... Stay on the carpet and allow her to stay on the carpet. Just get her to learn that being next to the tile is ok. The next session do the same thing, but move over an inch closer to the tile. Just ignore the tile. Make the session about having fun or cuddling. The next day move over another inch... Eventually, she will be happy about the activity and not so worried about the tile. I think eventually you can get her on the tile. The key is trust and feeling safe.

We did a similar exercise with Moose and food. He went from not eating and cowering when we were in the room with him to eating out of a bowl on my lap.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-20-2009, 12:27 AM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

Rescue dogs, they can come with quirks. they are worth it though. Do like Ruthie says, and use roll over dog sausage for bait. Sheppys cannot resist rollover. That said, I had a rescue for 7 years that wouldn't go downstairs into the basement.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-20-2009, 02:16 AM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

I've had a couple rescue dogs that were very freaked out by non-carpet flooring. Positive food/treat-floor association reinforcement(eg not forcing to walk on it by bribing forwards with treats since the treats can then also become adversive tools if she isn't going for food at all) and making flooring a "no big deal" event (eg instead we left some scattered treats on the flooring very near to the carpet/rug and then progressively moving outwards more and more) worked very well for one. We used some scattered rugs as "safety nets/spots" so to speak while we transitioned while using the food method.

For the other dog, it was far less easy (no way, no how would food work at all) and because there was far more flooring in the house what I did was buy those inexpensive undercarpet non-skid mat things and cut them up to have "runners" as "pathways" on the flooring & stairs. I then gradually progressed to making them smaller and smaller until they eventually pretty much "disappeared". Worked really well for this particular dog. There is also the very cheap carpet mats that can be bought and cut to your specifications. It didn't look very pretty but it didn't take too long to transition so it was a temporary thing anyways. It may be an option to use if food or the sticky paws product doesn't work and/or you could use an amalgamation of all of the above (some runner sections available while also using food to condition her to the flooring in a non-stressful, at her own pace way).

Towels sometimes work but because they can slip, many dogs are reluctant to use them, which is why the no-skid mats seem to work really well (as do bath carpet mats but they are more expensive).

I know it can be frustrating but trying to use a lead to direct the dog may cause more reluctant behaviours toward the flooring, especially if she is very new to your home (lots of other stressors going on with the new environment & getting used to her new people).

Good luck and keep us posted!

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-20-2009, 12:18 PM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

Originally Posted By: Nicole L what I did was buy those inexpensive undercarpet non-skid mat things and cut them up to have "runners" as "pathways" on the flooring & stairs. I then gradually progressed to making them smaller and smaller until they eventually pretty much "disappeared". Worked really well for this particular dog.
That has to be about the most inventive solution to that problem I've ever read..
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 02:22 AM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

We had to have rugs at bottom of stairs and eventually across the room the the back door as our buddy started having leg problems. I hated the rugs. The day he passed we threw them away. I swore we would never have them again. Then new pup came along. He would jump from the third step and fly across the laminate. It really scared us. So we went back to the store and bought new rugs/runner. I am now used to them again. They are actually not that bad after all. Plus they keep us from slipping when we come down the stairs. Great for rainy days to catch wet paws.

I suggest getting cheap runner and do as prior poster suggested. She needs to feel secure as she adapts to this new world. I think you will see a huge change in her. I remember my old boy literally chosing to not come sit with us because the rug was too far away so we would have to bring it closer to us. Keeping our four legged friends is just as important to us as it is to them. Good luck.

The only fault our friends have is that they don't live long enough.

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Sealy (9/24/08ish) rescue, Snowshoe Siamese

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Kiki (10/87-10/21/04 12:00am) small, all-over tortie
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 05:18 AM
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Re: Dog afraid to walk on tile

Are we certain that it's a behavioral issue? Dogs with arthritis or other orthopedic issues are often very resistant when it comes to walking on hard flooring. I know she's only 9 months old, but unless you know her history for certain, I think I'd have my vet take a look at her just to make sure there isn't something else going on. You shouldn't need to run xrays unless your vet finds something, so it will just be the cost of an office exam. It's a precaution, but I always like to rule out physical (veterinary) causes of unusual behavior.

The fact that she's avoiding the family *might* also indicate that something else is going on. Sick dogs are often lethargic and may isolate themselves. Puppies DO sleep a lot (up to 17 hours a day), but isolating herself is a bit of a concern. Without knowing how long you've had her, it's hard to comment, except to say "hmmm.. This could be something."

Often, it IS behavioral. But often enough, our dogs are trying to tell us something with their unusual behavior: that something is hurting them, or they're worried that they'll get hurt because a limb or a joint is weak. Vets don't usually do this sort of checkup with a young patient, unless there's symptomatology. So if she were mine, I'd take my new little one in for a thorough bumper-to-bumper review!
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