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Discussion Starter #1
In August I adopted a 7 year old greyhound terrier mix. The rescue made it very clear to me that he had some anxiety issues, but after bringing him home, "Anxiety issues" is only scratching the surface. Murphy is afraid of everthing: Loud Noises, No noise, being alone, being with new people. If it isn't me, the couch or his bed, he isn't a fan. From what he know about his history, he has never had a "home" and lived in a vet clinic from the age of one until 7 when the rescue that I got him from took him to help facilitate him finding a home. We have definitely made progress with the assistance of all sorts of therapies but our biggest hurdle that we are facing right now is his intense fear of elevators and the outdoors. He has never liked the outside, so, this isn't a new behavior or development, I have just tried everything and I am not sure where to turn next. We live on the 8th floor of our building and it is a constant struggle to get him to go outside. He cowers in the elevator, has to be drug out of the building, pees on himself as he is running back toward the door to get back into the building and then cowers again in the elevator on the way back up. And, if people get in the elevator with us....all bets are off.

We have tried Reiki, L-Theanine, Behavioral Modification, treats, rewards, praise, Xanax, Clomicalm, Larazopam, Rescue Remedy and many other approaches to assist him with his anxiety and nothing has helped with his fear of the outdoors. I have accepted that he will never be a people loving dog, and thats okay, I love him and all of his quirks, but doing his buisness in the apartment just isn't an option. Should I just suck it up and buy him a potty patch for the apartment? Is there something I am missing or doing wrong?
 

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He needs a much slower introduction to the elevator and outdoors. Every time you force him into those situations you are making it worse. Unfortunately with you living in an apartment or condo you are not in the best situation to work with those two fears.

Was the rescue and yourself aware of these two fears before you adopted him? Is there a house with a fenced yard that you can take him to?

Do you have a balcony on your unit?

Why do you have to force him into the elevator, why not take the stairs?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't believe the rescue was aware of these specific fears.

Unfortunately the stairs in our building are metal and loud and echo which, also scares him. Because we live on the 8th floor, taking the elevator is sort of the lesser of two evils, 16 flights of stairs round trip takes longer than the elevator ride round trip. We do have a small balcony, so a potty patch is a viable option.
 

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I don't believe the rescue was aware of these specific fears.

Unfortunately the stairs in our building are metal and loud and echo which, also scares him. Because we live on the 8th floor, taking the elevator is sort of the lesser of two evils, 16 flights of stairs round trip takes longer than the elevator ride round trip. We do have a small balcony, so a potty patch is a viable option.
 

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How much does he weight? If he's small, I'm thinking you could just carry him into the elevator for now.

Have you tried treating him before going into the elevator? Then again inside, and then when getting out? Let him know that the elevator is a happy place to be. I'm in a condo and also do the elevator thing so I understand how important it is. It took about a week for Fin to get used to it, and after a couple months she didn't think twice about it. Mostly she'd be watching for my hand to give her a treat. :)

When we adopted her she had a lot of anxiety issues, and I found none of those calming treats worked at all. A Thundershirt helped calm her down, but to the point where she wouldn't move an would fall over (she wasn't used to wearing a sweater yet). What did help was giving her Brewer's Yeast, it's very good for dogs with anxiety (and as a bonus is great for their skin and coat). I'd recommend looking it up - you can find it on Amazon pretty cheaply.

When you go outside, what do you exit into? Is it a parking lot, a quiet area, or a busy street?http://www.dogforum.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

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I would see if your building will let you put the elevator on service for an hour during off peak hours maybe once a week. Explain the situation to them, they might be sympathetic. And us that to ease him into getting used to the elevator and eventually outside. Work in small steps. Get him to come to the elevator door slowly, then inside the elevator. Then close the elevator door. Then take a ride on the elevator. Lots of treats and praise and let him go at his own pace.

In the meantime - if he'll go potty on the balcony with no fear I would do that until he's comfortable with the elevator and outside. If not, then I would go with a designated potty area, with pee pads, in the house.

Also for his fear of sounds, you can get apps that have different types of sounds, start off playing them very quietly and give him treats when he's calm, then slowly work up to playing them louder and louder.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Murphy is about 40lbs. Carrying him is an option but, I am only 100lbs, so it isn't easy when he is flopping. When he is stressed out he shuts down and has no interest in treats, but we figured out that if we smear peanut butter on the top of his nose, he will lick it (albeit nervously) while in the elevator and that helps a bit. I will definitely give Brewers Yeast a try! Our exit options are a busy street, a small grass area with a building being constructed near by or a parking lot. We try and alternate based on the time of day and which is the least busy (avoiding the construction during the middle of the day, avoiding the street exit during rush hour etc.) I dont think that we can shut down the elevator, but that does give me an idea, we can try and ride the elevator for a floor or two and just practice doing that for a period of time.

We are working on the balcony right now, he has no fear of it, but he is confused, which is understandable.

Thank you so much for all of these suggestions!
 

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I dont think that we can shut down the elevator, but that does give me an idea, we can try and ride the elevator for a floor or two and just practice doing that for a period of time.

We are working on the balcony right now, he has no fear of it, but he is confused, which is understandable.

Thank you so much for all of these suggestions!
That's a good idea - I would take it even slower and just get in and out of the elevator without going anywhere - you can generally stop the doors closing, obviously easier if there are two of you!
 
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