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Fearful of Certain Rooms and Dishes

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Fearful of Certain Rooms and Dishes


(Monday, September 17th, 2018)

I’m looking for volunteers to test a theory I have as to what is causing this issue with at least some of the dogs. It may provide a potential and relatively simple and inexpensive treatment. (Or it may be a dead end.)

– John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade

Embracing Science and Common Sense

Dear John,

I saw a post on your website about dogs being fearful of water and food.  It was a relief to see that Negev is not the only *peculiar* dog out there…

I’ve attached a video of Negev. He is a ten year old Canaan dog. He’s super loving and friendly. He has lived with my boyfriend for nearly ten years and they are best friends. Negev (the dog) was found in the wild and taken in when he was a few months old. He’s lived with my boyfriend in several different apartments over the years; they’ve been in their current apartment for about 7 months. Negev has always been fearful about going in to certain rooms and also about food/water bowls. It has gotten more noticeable in the last few months.

Negev is never really comfortable. It’s not a big apartment but has plenty of room for him to walk around. He avoids certain areas of the living room and will only go in to one bedroom. His food and water dishes are in the living room and he avoids them at all costs. We’ve tried moving the dishes to other places in the apartment and we’ve swapped out the dishes with ones made from different materials and different colours. Nothing has helped his behavior.

I see that the discussion forum on this topic is from a while back. Do you have any thoughts on what causes this kind of behavior?


Sarah – Tel Aviv

Hi Sarah

In your dog’s case the cause of his fearful behaviour is likely different from the other dogs in the thread you mentioned, with this issue. I think this is probably tied into the dog’s history between 3 and 12 weeks of age which is a critical imprint period. What dogs are exposed to during this time line imprints in a positive or negative manner for life. Things they have not been exposed to are viewed with suspicion and/or fear. There may be a couple of reasons for the behaviour(s) becoming more noticeable in the last few months. One is that I’ve noticed that as dog’s grow older anxiety behaviours like you have and others cued by things like separation, thunder etc. become magnified. Medication designed for anxiety on rare occasions might help. The other possibility is that in an apartment, the sounds created by the neighbours vary as they come and go and something new in his environment over the last few months may be the cause.


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