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My dog is petrified of flies..

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Liza Bennell, May 7, 2018.

  1. Liza Bennell

    Liza Bennell New Member Registered

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    I have a small jack russell, he is 7 now and last summer he started acting odd. He’s always loved the garden and sun bathing, but ever since last summer he’s been absolutely petrified of flies. It’s gotten to the point that when it’s sunny, he will hide under the bed all day until it is 6/7pm when he finally feels it is “safe” to come out. He goes for walks absolutely fine, even though there’s loads of flies out, but as soon as we’re home he goes back under the bed almost immediately. He will occasionally come out, for example he like some playing with the hoover so if I’m hoovering he will come up and play (acting completely normal and happy) but as soon as it’s turned off his tail goes between his legs again, and he runs off back to my bedroom and hides under the bed again. When he is under the bed, he doesn’t respond to anyone calling his name, tempting him out with food, anything! He will only come out when he feels like it. I really don’t know what to do, we’ve tried getting him used to the “flies” in the garden but he’s even escaped the garden and ran off before when we left the only door back into the house shut.
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    How unusual. Is it definitely the flies he is afraid of? How does he react to flies in the house?

    Did he get stung by a bee or wasp and now associates flying insects with that do you think?

    It isn't the easiest of thing to desensitise him to but if he will go for walks, can you take him places similar to your garden, like a park for example rather than a beach or woodland, and try to start desensitising him there? Also you might find an Adaptil product might help. It comes in a spray (for blankets etc., not for directly on to the dog), a collar and a diffuser. It replicates the hormone a bitch has after having puppies and has a calming effect on dogs.
     
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  3. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    I was going to say Ive never heard of this fear before but I guess the way to combat is is the same as one would with any other fear,
     
  4. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    From what you have written is that he could have been stung. Also some flies buzz so might put him off
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    It's quite common among sighthounds - I know of several who are scared of flies, including my dog! But your JRT does sound like an extreme case - the ones I know of only tend to get upset when there's one buzzing around in the room.

    He may well have been stung at some point, but that's probably immaterial now. A couple of thoughts I've had:

    1) Is there any chance there could be a background 'buzzy' sound in the house, such as from a fridge or other electronic/electrical device that's upsetting him as he thinks it's a fly? It might not be something a human could hear, of course, as his hearing will be much more acute. This is unlikely since his fear is linked to the sun and time of day, but it might be worth considering.

    2) What is it in particular he likes about the hoover, and did he also like it before he developed this fear? Could the hoover be blocking 'buzzy' noises? (If so this might suggest that there is a background noise that's bothering him.) You could try a white noise generator and see if that helps.

    It would definitely be worth trying calming methods such as Adaptil, as suggested above, scullcap & valerian, and similar. Zylkene is meant to be good too. And have a look at Thundershirts - they work well for many dogs. But I'd also have a word with your vet - there can be medical causes underlying anxiety and they could rule them out, may also recommend calming supplements, and if all else fails, even a prescription anti-anxiety drug as this is affecting his life so much.
     
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  6. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    My first thought was being previously bitten/stung, and now there's that association. It does sound like some desensitisation training might help as has been offered above.
     
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  7. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    We had a rescue who came scared of flies but we discovered it was a rolled up newspaper that was the cause. In some previous home I guess the owner had killed flies in the house this way and maybe given him the odd whack also for punishment. So like the sting theory just suggested, it will be associated with some other negative event that has now conditioned him. It's gonna take patience.
     
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