My coonhound rescue, Doc, recently decided that he was afraid to walk on the smooth floors of my house.
I was in the kitchen and heard him whimper. He stood in the entryway between the living and dining rooms.
I called him, but he wouldn't budge. I had to bribe him with a cookie from his cookie jar, and with that, he launched himself and scrambled, clattering across the tile floor until reaching the safety of his dog bed.
This behavior was odd and seemed to come out of the blue. He'd never been scared to walk on the bare floors before.
I'm sure I'm not the first dog owner confronted with this mystery.
Suddenly, your dog is terrified to walk on smooth floors in your home.
What's up with that?
Since your dog can't tell you why he suddenly has a smooth-floor phobia, listed below are possible explanations. One or more just might be the culprit.
Reasons dogs become fearful of walking on smooth floors
Your dog's pads provide traction. When hair grows around and over them, it interferes with their gripping ability, making smooth surfaces highly slippery.
Take a peek at your dog's pads. Is there hair everywhere?
I took a picture of Doc's paw, and the hair around his pads could use a trim.
Dogs dig in with their toenails when walking on rough or uneven terrain. Too long nails change the angle of the paw, interfering with balance and the traction the pads provide.
If your dog steps on a smooth surface like tile and becomes scared, trying to grab onto it with long nails won't help steady him and only intensifies his fear.
Your dog may have physical problems making him reluctant to walk on smooth floors. Failing eyesight, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, or an injury to his paw or pads can suddenly cause a dog to be wary of certain surfaces.
During a previous life (as in rescue dogs with unknown history), your dog may have had a bad experience on a smooth floor, such as a slip or fall. Or maybe he was never exposed to tile or hardwood surfaces when he was younger. Now, later in life, he may be suspicious.
How you can help your dog feel more secure walking on smooth floors
Floors that suddenly terrorize your dog make for a strange and stressful problem.
No owner wants to watch her beloved dog flailing on a slippery floor!
Fortunately, unless it stems from a severe physical or behavioral issue, you can resolve your dog's sudden fear of smooth floors without too much hassle.
Let's talk if you enjoyed this post and would love to share content like this on your animal health, veterinary or pet blog! Feel free to email or call me at 508-277-4949.
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter