Exorcising the Garden.
An Online Behaviour Consultation
Jerry is an eight-year-old rescue Lurcher with various health problems including arthritis and laryngeal paralysis. He is on painkillers and regularly sees the vet.
Temperamentally he is usually a confident dog, unlike the lady’s other dog Zac – another Lurcher.
Two weeks ago, in the evening after dark, something happened. Panic!
The lady was in her garden with her two dogs. All of a sudden Jerry jumped, almost like he’d had an electric shock. He then ran around the garden in a panic, screaming and shaking.
Since then Jerry won’t go out in the garden after dark and is even a bit wary in the daytime. He will however, happily go out the front door.
My money is on a sudden intense pain of some sort. Because it happened in the garden in the dark, it has poisoned the garden in the dark.
Exorcising the garden.
We must now, in effect, exorcise the garden when it’s dark. This means starting at whatever level he’s okay with and working from there.
Now, during the day when he’s comfortable, the lady will do things with Jerry that he loves – in the garden. One of his favourite things is a ‘catch the sausage’ game which they usually play when out. Now she will reserve this for the garden. She will also let him forage for his food in the garden.
Over time she can work towards doing this at twilight – always ready to stop and go back to an earlier time if he is at all scared. He must not be allowed to panic again. Bit by bit he should be back to going out in the garden after dark.
When she goes back to the vet she will suggest the possibility of a sudden and very strong shooting pain of some kind caused him such panic.