Fear of Other Dogs in the Elivator

I am down here in Pompano Beach for the winter from my farm in upstate New York.  We are renting a great condo in a high rise on the beach.  The problem is that my dog is scared to go in the elevator whenever there is another dog there.  This is a “very pet friendly” building.  I am not walking up and down twenty flights of stairs every time I need to take him out.  What can I do?



Let me tell you one thing for sure.  You don't want to force your dog into a situation where he is placed in a fight or flight mode in a confined environment (like an elevator). 

You don't want to let the other dog in the elevator and do something like move to the corner and hold him on a very tight leash or pick him up and firmly hold him.  When you are doing these things, you are placing your dog in an unsafe situation.

As the person who is responsible for your dog’s wellbeing, you never want to put him in a situation where he feels unsafe and feels that you don’t have the ability to provide him security.  You are now "telling" your dog that you are a bad leader and don't have the ability to keep him safe.  This means that he will step up to be the leader and will take a more aggressive stance in the elevator (bad!).

We must understand that as the protector (i.e. parent), it is our biggest responsibility to keep our dog safe.  Sometimes, the best way to maintain safety is to avoid unsafe situations.  This is not "running away", it is simply good management.  With this in mind, here are my suggestions for the elevator situation.
  • If you are about to enter the elevator and you see that there is another dog in the elevator, do not enter.  Mention that your is a little fearful of dogs in the elevator and you want to wait for the next one.  This, again will show that you are a responsible dog owner to your neighbors and that you are a good leader and care giver to your dog.
  • If you are in the elevator and someone with a dog starts to enter, politely mention that your dog is a little fearful of other dogs when in the elevator.  Since you don't want an incident in such a closed space, could they please wait for the next elevator.  If they agree, thank them.  If they still step into the elevator, excuse yourself and get out of the elevator.  If there are other people in the elevator, they will see that you are a responsible dog owner, no matter which outcome occurred.  You will also show Wolfie that you are keeping him safe.

Yes, I know that it might take you a few more minutes to go up and down the elevator, but the extra few minutes will do wonders in building your relationship with your dog and your neighbors.  If you have questions or need additional information, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

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