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This is mainly just a vent because I was so appalled with this lady today at work. She has been bringing this puppy into the clinic since it was 1.4 pounds (now 18). They found the pup and we all thought it was wonderful that they decided to keep her and nurse her.

She is now 13 weeks and appallingly un-socialized. The dog not only cowered at the site of me entering the room she tried to bite me when I took her temperature! At 13 weeks! Every time the dog winced in fear she pet her and told her it was okay and that she was a good girl. The owner left the room when we gave vaccines because she couldn't watch (which is fine) and the puppy went nuts! She peed everywhere, tried to snap, cowered in the corner when the vet and I put her on the ground. I've seen puppies be scared before, but I have never seen such a young puppy act like this. And we were nothing but slow and careful with her.

I would give ANYTHING to have had Bridgette that young just so I could socialize her properly and much more easily. The doc tried to give her advice on socialization, but she didn't really seem to see a problem. It was pretty heartbreaking because it's easy to see this poor baby turning into a nasty dog down the road.
 

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Everytime she pets the dog for being afraid, she's just reinforcing it. =(
A vicious cycle...
 

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Everytime she pets the dog for being afraid, she's just reinforcing it. =(
A vicious cycle...
Yeah and you could actually see her getting worse as she continued to be reinforced for it. The doc was so frustrated. Apparently her previous dog was a nightmare too. I just wish people could read just one book before having a dog. Although I suppose someone who didn't care to take our advice isn't going to take the time to research...

I just feel really bad for the poor pup.
 

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Yeah and you could actually see her getting worse as she continued to be reinforced for it. The doc was so frustrated. Apparently her previous dog was a nightmare too. I just wish people could read just one book before having a dog. Although I suppose someone who didn't care to take our advice isn't going to take the time to research...

I just feel really bad for the poor pup.

well if that doesn't speak volumes. Glad the puppy has someone that loves it but sad that it will be so limited in it's life because of ignorance.
 

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13 weeks? I thought puppies were still in the "I love all people" phase when they're that young? That's sad... my in-laws don't understand the concept of socialization either (probably because THEY have no friends and never go anywhere themselves)... the first time I met their beautiful 5-year-old dog, he was skittish and jumpy and cowered from me and took literally months to warm up to me. Very sad when a puppy is brought up in that environment.
 

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13 weeks? I thought puppies were still in the "I love all people" phase when they're that young?
They should be! She's such an adorable puppy too and it was like watching an older skittish dog in a puppy's body. It is sad.
 

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My boyfriend's dog is unsocialized and I totally agree with you, CrazyBrit. It's not her fault. He just didn't know any better when he got her.

It's hard to take her on walks, because she gets terrified at things that she doesn't understand. Like if leaves are blowing around or if there's a storm drain, she panics like the world is coming to an end.

And other dogs? She snaps at other dogs if they get too close to her. I don't think he realized how important socialization was until he came home with me and met the family dog, who loves other dogs and is just fine on walks, and who is child-safe (which his dog certainly is not child safe).

He was really surprised when I told him all of the things we did as the fam. dog was little and growing up to get him used to new things and people and places.

He said that he feels bad, and wished he had known more about dogs when he adopted his dog when she was 6 months old.

Now his dog is 6 years, and though we are making small progress with her, it is a very very slow process.

Socialization from a young age is very underrated.
 

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Everytime she pets the dog for being afraid, she's just reinforcing it.

That is actually a myth.

Fear is an emotional state-a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behavior.

If I then give a bank customer on the floor a compliment, 20 bucks, or chocolates, is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It is stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog's fearful behavior is somehow directed at us.
 

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Hrm...that's interesting.

Pepper, how would you suggest getting a dog like that to be less fearful? Going to the vet and being around other people is very important for a dog's own safety.

From what I've read, reinforcing a bad behavior only causes it to grow worse.
 

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Well a lot of dogs are afraid of the vet, someone looking in your ears, in your eyes, etc.. can be very frightening, and intimidating.

The person would need to have one friend at a time come over and sit on the floor and drop treats on the ground without saying anything or making any sudden movements.

They shouldn't try and pet the dog, and the owner shouldn't try and force the dog to get close to anyone it doesn't want too.

If your kid was afraid of dogs you wouldn't throw them in a room with 10 dogs, or push them towards dogs they see on the street. They would start with gentle introductions from across the room, and show the child nothing bad will happen when they are in the same room as a dog. They would gradually move a little closer, and if the kid got scared, back up.

It could take days or weeks, but you don't want to push fear.
 

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Poor puppy! :( How old was it when they found it? The fact that it didn't have littermates through such an important formative age on top of owners that are apparently making bad judgement calls - I wonder if it will ever get better, even if the owners DID change the way they are doing things. And on top of that it is already 18 lb. at 13 weeks? Even worse. What a sad situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Poor puppy! :( How old was it when they found it? The fact that it didn't have littermates through such an important formative age on top of owners that are apparently making bad judgement calls - I wonder if it will ever get better, even if the owners DID change the way they are doing things. And on top of that it is already 18 lb. at 13 weeks? Even worse. What a sad situation.
Yeah I guess it was 4-5 weeks old which is (IMO) far too young to be away from it's mom/littermates. I'm sure that doesn't help the situation. But I highly doubt the owners will do anything to help her feel more comfortable around people.

We have a lot of scared dogs at the clinic (which is normal) but most people want to do anything they can to get them more comfortable with coming. I told this lady who owns a shepherd mix to just bring him in and sit in the waiting room whenever she wants. She started doing that and coming 20 minutes early to just get the dog comfortable with being there. This dog would snarl and growl at you when you came near it at the vet and now I can clip her nails with no muzzle or anything. She's still nervous, but if you go slow with her she is a very sweet dog.

I also sat in the room with a very terrified pit bull girl one time. I think I sat in there for 25 minutes or so because we weren't too busy. She was hiding in the corner and growling warningly when she got there, but at the end she actually climbed into my lap! We just try to give them time. I think rushing it only scares them in an already scary situation.
 

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It's awesome that you guys try to take time with nervous animals like that when you can! I know it's not always doable, but it's really great that you do when you have the time!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's awesome that you guys try to take time with nervous animals like that when you can! I know it's not always doable, but it's really great that you do when you have the time!!
Yeah we really do try to make time. We have two doctors and they are quite the opposite. One doesn't take such a friendly approach, but our favorite doc is awesome.

I don't think I've ever seen him go into a room and not sit immediately on the floor to meet the dog before starting the exam or anything. People absolutely love him. Even if I decide to leave the clinic I will continue to bring my pets to him.
 
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