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The Fearful Dog Thread

48713 Views 903 Replies 55 Participants Last post by  KBLover
Would love to hear your prior success stories and current works-in-progress with dogs that have behavior problems which are fear-based. What fears did they have and what did you do/are you doing to get them through it? How long did it take to see drastic improvement?

I'll be back with mine tomorrow...
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My little female GSD, Artemis, was added to our family on Feb.1st. She was a stray that was seen running around a Winter Texan RV park for a few weeks. The poor thing was too terrified of everyone to let anyone help her. She was finally caught and I got a call to see if I would take her. Of course, being the GSD sucker that I am, I brought her home. :p This poor girl was afraid of even a leaf falling from a tree. Any sound or movement would cause her to urinate and run. She never stood up straight, was always crouched down low to the ground ready to flee. When I put her in the car she immediately began vomiting, not from car sickness but, from absolute fear. For a few weeks there I wondered if I had taken on more than I could handle with her. Now though, I am so amazed with her progress. What did I do with her? Well, first of all having the rest of the pack that are all confident dogs was a tremendous help. It took nearly a week for her to stop urinating on herself every time she saw my husband walk towards her. I would watch her watch him play with the others and being the young girl she is she really wanted to play too. Eventually her desire to play overrode her fear of men. She was initially terrified of the leash as well. When ever I tried to put her on a leash she would fall to the ground belly-up. I used a coupler to hook her up between 2 others and would take the 3 (being hooked between 2 others kept her on her feet). She was able to observe how excited they were to go and she soon realized the leash was a good thing. It meant she got to go explore new places. Same with the car. OMG, she was soooo terrified of the car I didn't think she would ever get over that. After only 2 trips though she now runs and jumps in if the door is opened. :D There again, she was able to watch the other dogs and how excited they got when they knew we were going for a ride. Ditto with any grooming tools. She would drop and go belly-up when ever I walked towards her with anything in my hand. Now I can tell her to "stand" and she does just that and lets me brush her down.
It just took a little time, patience, exposure to different things, and the companionship of other already confident dogs to help Artie. She still has a little ways to go. She will still run and hide if I raise my voice around her but at least now she'll come back right away if I call her name. Before I would have to go find her and coax her out of whatever dark corner she hid in. I have no doubt that eventually with more experiences and socialization Artie will be a very happy and confident GSD.
Bottome line; The key is socialization, socialization, socialization! Dogs need to get out and experience different places, people and things to become familiar with, and relaxed around, them. The more a dog is exposed to the fewer fears (s)he will have. Hopefully. :rolleyes:

and the pound puppy crew.
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