Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

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...
41 - 60 of 904 Posts
It's weird, because I felt like we might have had a little bit of a setback tonight too. Not because of any incident in particular, but just because the warm weather means the streets are busier. Marge looked a bit uncomfortable on our walk, so I'm hoping it was just a one time thing.

Definitely agree with you on the growling - its taking some convincing to make other people believe that growling is a good thing, though. My mom still gets crazy when Marge growls, albeit not as bad as she used to.
It's weird, because I felt like we might have had a little bit of a setback tonight too. Not because of any incident in particular, but just because the warm weather means the streets are busier. Marge looked a bit uncomfortable on our walk, so I'm hoping it was just a one time thing.
I know that feeling too. More kids out. More dogs out. More people out talking. More activity (yard work, home improvements)

I've been stepping up the look at that games and my own "big deal" demeanor. So far both have been working. He let three young girls stroke him for a good 15 minutes. The oldest one (probably like 9 or 10) even asked me if she could have Wally. :eek: Forward little girl :D Kept looking at me too while stroking him - almost a little creepy now that I think about it :)

It was funny, though. One of the little ones (probably a 4 year old) picked up something off the ground and Wally almost licked her hair! I mean, I know he'll lick MY hair, but someone elses? What the heck?
After a couple rough days with Ti, we had another breakthrough today. We were walking and one of my neighbors was walking on the other side of the road, and she commented on how pretty Tiberius was...so we went over and said hi. He approached her and let her pet him without shying away!! Now we are back to him being afraid of my parked car though...*sigh*
Thanks for the advice on taking Brenna out more. I know I need to work more on obedience with her at home, so that is a good next step, I guess. When she first came to us, she was too fearful and nervous for me to really work with. She would grudgingly sit for me, but it was more out of submission and fear than anything. We have, however, figured out what makes her "tick"--hot dogs! She LOVES them and will even follow hubby around the house if she thinks he has one in his hand! So, that is great! Yesterday I got her to sit and then lie down, all for one piece of hot dog! I was so happy.

She is also getting more relaxed during our walks around the neighborhood, which she has always loved, but has had some rotten experiences as well. We live on a country road with no sidewalks, so we just have to scoot off to the edge when a car or truck goes by...Also, one house along our route used to have a couple of nasty dogs that would randomly be outside roaming free without supervision, and one day, one of them threatened us. That really set Brenna back, but I wrote the people a polite, but very serious letter informing them that if this happened again, I was going to call Animal Control. I haven't seen the dogs again!

Anyway, I'm enjoying reading about all your dog's good days and not so good. It's nice to have some people that understand where I'm coming from!
See less See more
Great work on finding what gets her going. That's really what it's all about with a fearful dog, as it makes things like counterconditioning that much easier. Food in general is Marge's "thing," but I'm also starting to try to revv her up with light tug games, but I know it'll never work as well.

Do you have any parks in your area where you could take Brenna? For Marge, having people be around was fine in the park, because they seldom paid any mind to her. In the beginning, you could just start by sitting at a quiet corner of the park and doling out treats.

Keep this thread going - I too, love all of your stories.

Which reminds me.. BRAGTIME!

MARGE WENT THROUGH THE SHORT AGILITY TUNNEL WITH BARELY ANY HESITATION! And did the dog walk and tire hoop too! I can definitely see how agility is a confidence builder for the shy guys, and I can also tell that she's really loving it.
I brought Cheyenne with me to training with the rest of the dogs Sunday. He just hung out at base camp with the rest of the dogs waiting for their turns tethered to a tree as the others are. As I went for a turn into the swamp I can hear him whine for me. It was the first time since he has been here that he actually seemed dependent on me for my presence. It was a feel good moment. When i got back to camp..I took this picture.

First full body wag. :)

He met the other dogs wonderfully. He sat with the rest of the team duing our end of the day pow wow and everyone got to pet and cuddle with him. Some even got on the ground and he allowed them to give him tummy rubs. It was a great day.

We get back home and he reverted a bit. But I think it will eventually be ok. The biggest task was getting him in the truck for the hour ride. And he did great with that too.. :)
See less See more
I love to hear all the good stories of all the braver fraidy dogs. :D
Digits mama I love Cheyenne. I'm surprised because I've seen lots of pics of Dozer and your Cairns but it appears you hid this beauty from Dog Forum. :p

Looking forward to reading more of your progress with him.. I love these stories too!
:DHaha.. Yea..I decided to keep him under wraps due to the fact that he was going to be rehomed after making sure he didnt have a family out looking for him..

But now. well.. He is technically still a foster...forever i think.:D
This is a bump and a brag.

I took Tiberius out on a two mile walk tonight with one of my neighbors. He did great. He didn't panic when cars went by. He even sat for me when three motorcyles sped by. He approached a man building a fenced area for his wife's dogs (Johnny and June...they are soo cute). Tiberius let a teenage boy approach him and even wagged his tail a bit. Then the little Maltese boy, Johnny, came out to visit. Him and Tiberius pounced around and played on the sidewalk and the front yard. :D It was a great walk.
Awesome Dunixi!! Sounds like Tiberius is making progress.

Too bad all of you live so far away.. we could have a fearful dog convention.. LOL

I'm currently debating whether to enroll Marge in Rally class alongside of Agility.. she LOVES agility, but I kind of want to do both..
hehe. A Fearful dog convention would be rock, MM! I don't know about anyone else, but for me driving 3 to 6 hours isn't out of the ordinary...we have nothing up here.
hehe. A Fearful dog convention would be rock, MM! I don't know about anyone else, but for me driving 3 to 6 hours isn't out of the ordinary...we have nothing up here.
Count me in! Just drove to FL & back. Road trips are fun!!

...Ok, the hotel part is not fun for Poca.
...And the gas station part with the disgusting bathrooms - that's not so much fun.
...And all the dog poop left in the rest stops -- that's not fun either, at least not for the humans ("leaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveitleaveit...and...oops, another pile...leaveit").

But seeing and smelling so many new things and getting to eat McDonalds and meet new dogs? That rocks Poca's world. And by extension, mine!
The farthest I've traveled with Tiberius is to the next town...its about a 10 minute drive. lol. It would be my first road trip with a dog...but I bet it'd be fun Tiberius loves McNuggets..but they have to be cold...he won't eat them warm..he is odd

Here is a pic of Tiberius and Johnny...they were nose to nose before the camera clicked.
See less See more
Donatello is slowly continuing to climb out of his shell... (However, he's so smart, and bright, that I know he still clearly remembers everything that was done to him.) Meaning that if I did one thing to scare him he'd be back in his shell.

Every night, he knows when it's bed time... I don't know how, and I don't know how. lol! I take him out one last time, put him back on the sofa gather my things for bed then walk over and grab his old leash... He's off the sofa down the hallway and waiting... (I take his old leash to bed with me, because in the mornings he used to make a mad-dash from my room down the hallway and leap onto his spot on the sofa. Well at 7:30 in the morning, and even though he's a tiny dog, that's still a lot of commotion.) So every morning I put the leash on him and walk him next to me... I've been doing that for over a month now... I should start weening him off...

ANYWAY... He's gotten so smart that now all I have to do is walk in the direction of the bin that I keep his leashes in and he's off the sofa and down the hallway... BUT ONLY when it's bed time. I could go to that bin every hour on the hour all day long and pull out any leash and he's ready to go outside... But by-golly if he doesn't know when it's bedtime!

Oh, and when I take too long to follow him back, he'll come out of my room and look down the hallway- If he sees me he'll wag his tail and look at me as if to say "Well c'mon slow poke!"

It used to be an every night hassle to get him to come to bed with me in my room. He got so used to sleeping out in the living room on the sofa with me, that I would have to fight tooth and nail for him to come with me... I'd have to put his old leash on him to follow me to my room, coaxing him with words would freak him out and he'd pee if I'd reach down to pick him up...

My family marvels every night when he does this... : ) I love it!
See less See more
My dog who I rescued from a shelter Samantha used to live in a rabbit cage with three other dogs and the only human contact she had was when they trew in some food. Now every time you look at her or touch her or even talk to loud she pees. We still are working on it but it's getting better. Just needs lots of love.:)
Hmm...Wally's still a bit put-off by kids, especially little ones. I'm starting to think it's their voices (high-pitched) that's doing it. Trying to think of ways that I might can help this aside from just happening to be out with kids around.

Thought about making a high pitched sound and then c/t when he looks at it and not being afraid (almost turn the high-pitch voices almost like clicks), but then it will be hard to simulate a high-pitched kid's voice and I know a dog's hearing can't be fooled.

Whenever there's the chance, the "Look at That" game is always in effect - just wish I could get more opportunities. Like the last few days, it's been hard because of the constant rain so the kids aren't out.

He didn't freak out with all the yard work and such going on. Groundskeepers and their large, loud lawnmowers - other guys with leaf blowers and weed whackers. He even went potty about 10 feet from a worker with his leaf blower nearby. He looked at him (and the tool) but kept peeing and staying under control.

Now it's thundering - going to be another test for him since he'll be needing to go out soon so no way to "wait it out" unless the storm happens to pass.
See less See more
Huge test coming for Marge. Today (Sunday) we're having at least 7 or 8 people over for company. Hope it goes well.
Good luck to Marge!! Hopefully all goes well MM.
Huge test coming for Marge. Today (Sunday) we're having at least 7 or 8 people over for company. Hope it goes well.
I hope it went well - post and let us know! We had people over, too, but the ratio of people she loves vs. ones she's not sure of was 2 to 1, so it worked out well. She did bark at my nephews a bit and scattered if they got up to move around. They're near/over 6 ft, late teens with loud voices so she's taking some time to warm up to them.

I made her a little hamburger of her own and cut it up for them to give to her. Within an hour she was licking my one nephew's elbow and ankle, trying to scam some more hamburger from him. And she ate all of her dinner - kibble and canned - with a house full of people here! Normally she won't touch her food when people are here. Yay!

And a new puppy moved in with the family next door. They have five children aged 2 to 11. The puppy is going to be our ace for getting Poca more used to children. I have all summer....;)
41 - 60 of 904 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.