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It was a very good day. He didn't run from my car in the driveway either. Winniec, How are you working with Poca on the thunderstorms? My future in-laws have a lab mix who has to be drugged for most storms. I'm looking for ways to help the poor girl.
 

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Ilya and Lola both hate storms. They crowd under the bathroom vanity way before he hear the thunder. Lola is much braver than Ilya and quite friendly. Ilya likes his personal space he seems to get nervous depending on the emotional energy at the house. With teenagers, it seems to have drama at times.

What works the best for Ilya is being calm and confident. Whenever he is nervous, I give him a nice relaxing massage behind his ears and tell him it's okay.
 

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The power keeps going out today and it's not freaking Wally out.

He looks at me (for my reaction I'm guessing?) and when I just act like nothing happened - he goes back to doing whatever it was. No shaking or panting - it's so wonderful.

Some loud BOOM happened while we were walking this evening. He looked around trying to figure out where it came from, but he wasn't scared.

Maybe he's growing up! :D
 

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Yay Wally!!

JustTess, I know they try the massage thing with their dog, but she is hard to get ahold of. She runs around yelping and crying like someone is hurting her.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
What works the best for Ilya is being calm and confident. Whenever he is nervous, I give him a nice relaxing massage behind his ears and tell him it's okay.
It's true. The sentiment among dog-people used to be that comforting the dog would reinforce the fear, but after reading the accounts of several fearful dog owners I've learned that simple classical conditioning is making somewhat of a comeback. I honestly still have trouble with the concept of giving my dog treats/affection when she's scared in order to change the association, but I do know that other people have had success with it. All depends on who you ask and I've tried it to some degree during thunderstorms.
 

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You and your dogs speak different languages. Humane, interactive training gives dogs greater freedom and a better understanding of our world. Untrained dogs are often punished for their “improper” behavior. Be the one to train your dog—you are the one who will need to know how to communicate with him or her—but get help from a humane dog trainer if you run into problems. Compassion, clarity, and consistency are the most important elements of dog training. Training should not include any activity or device that endangers animals (e.g., electric shock collars) or puts undue stress on them. Good books on the subject include Click Here for a Well-Trained Dog by Deborah A. Jones, Ph.D.; The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller; and, for solving dog behavioral problems, If Only They Could Speak, Dogs Behaving Badly, and The Dog Who Loved Too Much, all by Nicholas Dodman. Animals get depressed if deprived of adequate social interaction, so let them “chat” and play with other dogs on walks and at parks. A happy dog’s life is not one long series of commands: Let them live a little, make choices, and take their time. Animals are very sensitive and can become easily frightened, so speak softly to dogs. Don’t fight or shout in their presence, and give them their own hiding places to dash into when they want to be alone.
 

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It was a very good day. He didn't run from my car in the driveway either. Winniec, How are you working with Poca on the thunderstorms? My future in-laws have a lab mix who has to be drugged for most storms. I'm looking for ways to help the poor girl.
Actually we haven't been doing anything about storms because yesterday was the first one Poca has experienced. So I'm not sure what would work. We just acted like nothing was going on yesterday and it seemed to work for the mild storm we had.

I have a book by Nicole Wilde ("Help for Your Fearful Dog") that has a chapter on thunderstorms. I think if Poca does develop a fear of storms when the bigger ones start hitting, I may try some of the suggestions there, including talking to my vet about giving her melatonin and using sound desensitization.
 

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You and your dogs speak different languages. Humane, interactive training gives dogs greater freedom and a better understanding of our world. Untrained dogs are often punished for their “improper” behavior. Be the one to train your dog.......... Don’t fight or shout in their presence, and give them their own hiding places to dash into when they want to be alone.
Why thank you for your copied-and pasted advice that has nothing to do with the thread, which is to share stories about fearful dogs. :rolleyes:

Anyway.. Gosh, what a difference from last year. We went to the beach yesterday, and the boardwalk was packed. Marge would have probably freaked out last year, with all of the bikes, people, etc. Or at least would have been totally on-guard watching everyone. Cool as a cucumber this time.. temperament-wise, anyway. She would have enjoyed it more if she wasn't so hot (and would actually go in the water) but at least I was able to see how much progress she's made. :)
 

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I'm so encouraged by Marge's progress. I've been reading about the CGC and think I might try training Poca to take the test if I can figure out how to get her enough interaction with strangers to get her over this last hurdle she has.
 

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I'm so encouraged by Marge's progress. I've been reading about the CGC and think I might try training Poca to take the test if I can figure out how to get her enough interaction with strangers to get her over this last hurdle she has.
Winnie - operant conditioning really worked for me. Teaching her to stand in place despite having someone come over meant a treat - or a jackpot of treats. You do it slowly - first the person only walks 5 ft from the dog, then 3 ft, then right next to, then a hand on the head. Having people dole out treats to her for no reason at all worked well too.

Your hurdle was ours (and still is ours) - and finding people to help out with it was really the worst part. Most people don't want to be bothered, and approaching a stranger and saying "can you pet my dog?" is just kind of weird. Depending on how fearful she is, if you have a PetSmart or something like that nearby, you might want to try going at one of the really quiet times, like when the store first opens on a Monday or something like that. My dog is usually too engrossed in all the sights and smells of yummy things to be too worried. :p

If it was a different evaluator, Marge might not have passed. Mine wasn't terribly lenient, but gave Marge plenty of wiggle room for the examine paws part. The way I saw it was that some dogs had some of that "happy" forward movement when the evaluator came over and got dangerously close to jumping on her, while Marge had just a touch of that apprehensive feeling that really paled in comparison to some of the other dogs who passed. I think Marge deserved the CGC she got, but I could see a terribly strict evaluator failing her for shyness.
 

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Sadie was terrified of kids, my fault. There are very few in our neighborhood, and I avoid them. Until she was about 9 months, she had no exposure to them. So when I started taking her to my store every day, she would often bark and run away when kids approached her - due to their erratic movements and noises she was unable to get near them because of the fear. The big problem here is that kids don't ask if they can pet, and they rush up screaming, or they wave their hands and then run away yelling. Kids are weird.

So I started taking her in and letting her sit in the corner and watch them. If she looked at a kid, I'd c&t. She would then start staring at them then back at me, waiting to see if she was doing it right. So we'd move closer, and c&t over and over. After a few weeks, we were able to find several calm kids who'd let her walk up to them and sniff them, me c&t the whole time.

Over the past months I've continued this, if there is an extremely erratic kid and she is calm, I reward like crazy. I randomly reward calmness around all kids, and also men or just weird acting people. :) Now, most of the time when she sees a kid, she calmly walks to them, sniffs, rubs her head against them and then stares at me as they pet her. She may not actually enjoy it like some dogs might, but she tolerates it and she is able to work with me at my job.

When she would bark and run away, I would ask the kid to stop trying to pet her, and I'd remove her. Then we'd slowly walk back close as long as she was calm. I only ever c&t for good behavior. If the ears are back or she's panting, etc, I just watch her until she shows calm interest.

We're doing the same thing with big dogs, but it's a bit harder.
 

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MM -- we've had strangers doling out treats to her and that has been helping. I'm also training her to accept a hand reaching towards her head. I can see I need to get more systematic about it as you've described, though.

It is strange asking people to pet your dog, I agree, esp. since I feel I need to tell them that she's not crazy about strangers. Frankly, I would hesitate to pet a dog I didn't know and hadn't had the chance to observe before approaching. Plus there's the worry that the person will just barge in with a full frontal approach, arms flapping, loud voice exclaiming "Ooooohhhh! WHAT A PRETTY DOGGIE!!!!!" Poca would recoil for sure. So I have to find the right people who know how to approach a dog and don't ignore or aren't offended or scared off by my coaching. Once she's ok with them, she'll be ready for the more unpredictable types. Baby steps :).

Unfortunately, Poca had a few bad experiences in Pet Smart when she was young and I couldn't even get her in the door without forcing her. So we're avoiding it for now. Once she's better with people, I'll go back and work with her on that.

Jesirose - that sounds like a great plan for Sadie. I wish we had kids around I could work with but all the "kids" I know are in high school and college now! Poca doesn't mind kids as long as they don't run up to her. She doesn't love them, but she's not real afraid of them.
 

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Go to a pet store, during the day. Moms bring their kids in all the time, and it's fairly quiet. More kids, less dogs. If you stand by the front, people will ask. And you can practice around running kids.

Also, instead of me asking them to pet her, I would watch for people who were watching her, and say "You can pet her if you want". Usually they want to and just don't want to ask. If they don't want to, they won't.
 

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Also, instead of me asking them to pet her, I would watch for people who were watching her, and say "You can pet her if you want". Usually they want to and just don't want to ask. If they don't want to, they won't.
Definitely. And if you don't think she'll take kindly to petting at this point, something else I've done is ask the child if they want to give her a treat, as long as a parent is present. So far, kids haven't turned that opportunity down. Most times they just stare and smile and are too shy to ask, so I do the asking for them. :)
 

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MM, I'm glad to hear Marge did good on the board walk. :) I'm finding getting Tiberius used to other people is the hardest for him.

Winniec, hopefully she doesn't get too bad with the storms. I know with Sadie Mae, the in laws dog, it horrible to be there when there is a storm.

Jesirose, I'm gonna try some of what you suggested with Tiberius. See if maybe I can get him over his people shyness. Although he is doing much better.


I took Tiberius out for his walk this afternoon, and he walked calmly though the front door and screen door instead of panicing and bolting through the door. :D He also didn't run from the one neighbor guy he is afriad of. He let the gentleman scratch behind his ears then sat calmly next to me.
 

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So, question for those of you who have alot more experience with fearful dogs than I do...

Now that Brenna is to the point of being totally comfortable around me, follows me around the house and such, should I start taking her to places with people more often? In the two months we've had her she's been to the vet's office twice, a hiking trail with a fair amount of people walking past twice, and met a couple other people outside our church once. We've also had a couple people over for dinner 3 times. I've really been hesitant about taking her to PetSmart or the local feed store that allows pets inside because of the higher volume of people present. But I don't want to hinder her progress, either.

BTW, Brenna is not the aggressive sort of fearful dog, rather the type that shuts down or tries to hide when she is afraid. And she has never yet taken treats from me when we are in new places, so that doesn't seem to be a good source of positive reinforcement for her.
 

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If Brenna will follow you around, I would start taking her out and letting her explore the world with you. She may not take the treats, probably because she's checking out the new place, trying to learn it, get the smells, check for trouble, etc.

Over time she'll probably get more comfortable and then you'll be able to treat her. Otherwise, a nice "good girl" can be just as comforting. I know if I say "good boy" to Wally while he's checking something out, even if apprehensive about it, he'll keep sniffing it, or he'll back away and then sniff again.

Also, try introducing her to people, but if she's a hider, you might want to take her somewhere she's comfortable, but can watch people go by. Praise/treat her as long as she's interested, but not in a fearful state (alert is fine). If she's fearful, increase the distance until she's calmer again, then start again. If she can't hold it together, go ahead and stop and let her do something she finds comfortable - it was just too much at the moment.
 

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So, question for those of you who have alot more experience with fearful dogs than I do...

Now that Brenna is to the point of being totally comfortable around me, follows me around the house and such, should I start taking her to places with people more often? In the two months we've had her she's been to the vet's office twice, a hiking trail with a fair amount of people walking past twice, and met a couple other people outside our church once. We've also had a couple people over for dinner 3 times. I've really been hesitant about taking her to PetSmart or the local feed store that allows pets inside because of the higher volume of people present. But I don't want to hinder her progress, either.

BTW, Brenna is not the aggressive sort of fearful dog, rather the type that shuts down or tries to hide when she is afraid. And she has never yet taken treats from me when we are in new places, so that doesn't seem to be a good source of positive reinforcement for her.

I guess if it were me, I would be working obedience with Brenna at home to help that bond even more and allow her to understand what I expect of her. 2 months is a very short time to have had a dog to know with any certainty how she will react around others. Once she is preforming obedience exercises proficiently at home, I might take her to a less crowded area to do the same. Once she is doing the exercises there, then it is time to move to a more crowded area. Remember to keep a close eye on her body language and if she starts to shut down again, back off and continue to work those exercises. Simple ones like "sit" If she is truly frightened I wouldn't ask for a "down" in public.
I prefer to take a slow approach to rehab, rather then taking steps backward when I don't have to. Just a thought.
 

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It depends on how fearful Brenna is right now and exactly what she is afraid of.

If she's normally food motivated, not taking treats is an excellent way to gage your dogs' level of discomfort. At this point, I'd say Petsmart is probably a no-go - even on a quiet day, there are still sliding doors, high shelves of items, scary checkout counters, etc. Since you haven't had her long, you're right, I wouldn't risk the relationship that you've worked this long to build.

I agree with everything Inga said but in a new environment I might not ask for obedience commands at all. I used to do that with Marge and it ultimately resulted in a dog that wasn't paying attention to me and instead was looking around her environment, making sure she was safe. Instead, you might want to try doling out treats WITHOUT asking for a command. This is classical conditioning - pairing one thing with another to change or form a feeling about something. I go for a walk on a street where there's lots of people, I get treats. I go stand outside Petsmart, I get a bunch of treats. Stuff like that. That way, if it happens enough, the dog looks forward to it.

Right now, I'd be doing a lot of walking, SLOWLY working your way from quiet walks (say in the early morning, for example) to times and places where it is busier. Even now, if the sidewalk is busy enough, Marge will give me some signs that she is afraid. Parks, however, are not stressful at all, no matter how many people are around. It's all about finding where your dog is most comfortable and building on it.
 

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I hope this isn't the start of a set back.

Out walking tonight so he could go potty before bed.

Someone let's their dog out, probably to do the same. Except his dog couldn't care less what he's saying.

So I start to walk Wally away. But that was probably a bad idea as it gets the other dog even more attracted (chase instinct probably).

So eventually, I have him turn and sit and I sit next to him. We're going to hold a position. This seemed to make Wally less nervous. I have my arm around him and using my eyes to keep the other dog back away from us. He tries to close in I lean forward to occupy the space. Wally also growled a little. I didn't correct him since growling is just communication to "stay back". I'd rather hear the growling than have him think I don't want him to and he just snaps/bites.

I see he (the dog) is using calming signals (sniffing the ground), so I stick my hand out into neutral space. It occupies him, and he sniffs my hand. I was hoping to help the other owner calm him down and get him more subdued.

Worked - until the owner started chasing the dog. *sigh*. So the dog gets the game on and runs away from him. We take the chance to go home - at least after a poop (the excitement must have made him need to go)
 
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