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Scared dog

Posted by toomuchglass (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 10, 10 at 23:43

I got my dog at the Humane society when she was about 6 months old. They found her as a stray in Kentucky & sent her up here to Wisconsin because there was a bigger chance at adoption. I saw her --- that little poop machine captured my heart ..... I've never had a dog like this. They said she's a cocker spaniel mix. I believe that's correct because only the "cocker hair" grows.

BUT --- She seems to only want to associate with humans
( even though she does the nervous pee thing once in a while when she meets a new person ) she's afraid of other dogs and "freaks out " if another dog is around.

My son has a sweet , shy young dog - we put the dog in our yard and let my dog, Poppy , out . Poppy RAN around and around the yard - and actually "screamed " -- like she was being skinned alive ( never went near the other dog while she was screaming ) ... I could tell she was terrified & the whole neighborhood heard her.

Is it possible that dogs can associate with humans more than they can with their own species ?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Scared dog

If Poppy was orphaned or displaced early in her life, it is absolutely possible for her to be scared of other dogs and not humans. If she was a stray for any length of time, other strays may have chased her and she learned other dogs were scary.

Working with a scared dog is, in my opinion and experience with one very scared dog, about the most difficult training you can tackle.

First, you need to minimize scary events. Then carefully monitor your own actions, as feeling sorry for her will just re-enforce the fear.

For example, we brought Molly home from the shelter(had to carry her as she would not attempt to lead). Put her on the dining room floor---where she stayed for two days(excepting when I carried her outside0, where she did her business as she lay paralyzed.

No emotion during the carry/bath/back to the dining room floor for two days.

Max(our guard dog), who selected her from the lineup(another story) even ignored her.

Day three, she began slinking around the dining room, progressed to the living room and hallway(which scared her with the full length mirror at the far end).

As she began moving and exploring, we began praising her, just a little.

What you might do is find a place where Poppy feels safe(kennel), on a lap, or where ever she is calm. Then bring in the sons dog on a leash, just so Poppy can see the dog.. Have the other dog just sit and be calm until Poppy calms down. Once Poppy is calm, praise/pet her---that re-enforces the desired behavior---calm and not fearful.

Keep that up until Poppy accepts the presence of the other dog and bring the dog closer, following the same process. This could take a long time---days and even weeks, it will probably not be a short process.

It has taken two years to get Molly almost completely rehabilitated---she went on a trip to PetSmart with Max and I last month and only locked up briefly once(cowered on the floor).

Six months ago, it took me ten minutes to get her out of the store once she locked up. She is still timid, but those times are less frequent, and are probably now more a part of her character than the former fears.

Just be inventive in developing methods to work with Poppy, and never feel sorry or praise until she is calm. Doing that is actually the best you can do, since it counteracts her fears and overcomes them, allowing her to be more normal and happy.


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RE: Scared dog

good advice from handymac. take it slow and easy with her and use lots of praise and treats.

my second great dane girl was fearful of everything. when she shut down, she simply planted her butt on the ground and refused to budge. there was no way i was gonna pick her up and i never had a forklift at my disposal so it did take a LOT of patience with her. the first few times, i sat on the ground next to her, with my back to her a few feet away and eventually, she couldn't stand it...would get up and move toward me. it took a couple of months for her to realize people weren't out to get her.

good luck, you have your work cut out for you but it will be so rewarding once you start making progress.


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RE: Scared dog

I have had two rescues from the HS for a year now. The first little guy was terrified of everyone and everything. It just takes a lot of patience and reinforcing to him that he is safe and ok. Now, when my family comes over, they always remark what a long way he has come. He is still a little hesitant but soon greets everyone and demands some pets. My other rescue was just thrilled to be home and out of the shelter. She had been in there for such a long time and was on their urgent list. Both dogs were well trained and mannered and we just love them to pieces. They love us too, very loyal dogs. Just remember we have no idea what they have been thru and they just need time to adjust. Good luck and bless you for adopting! They are the best!


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RE: Scared dog

My shelter doggie was so terrified when I was out of his sight, he chewed himself until blood ran. I had to buy a crate so I could bring him up with me to the greenhouses when I worked and he had to have me within eyesight every minute or the blood ran.

It took a lot of patience, but not that much time to make him understand I was coming back to him. It took a few more months before we were able to be away from home and leave him and not have him panic. He does really well now and it was soooooo worth it.


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RE: Scared dog

If your sons dog basically ignored her while in the backyard during the incident you describe, invite that dog over as much as possible. Ignore the behavior and be sure not to add any added high levels of emotion...just do what handymacs dog did and ignore her...Ignoring her behavior and staying calm while she is in a panic will help her understand that she has nothign to be afraid of. If she tries to hide behind or near you - move away. Praise her only when she moves towards the other dog...Apply lots of patience and you might want to inform your nightbors your dog is not being skinned alive - she is just learning to act normal...Good luck


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RE: Scared dog

I agree with most of what was posted above. Thank you, Mazer, Handymac, calli, soin, and nina.

If you treated shy/scared dog like they are fragile they will often act shy and fragile. I went through this with my Ginger, who was human-shy, not dog-shy.

I use to use the "high hand" technique. I'm not even sure if that is a true name for it or just something I made up. She was so human shy, that I would raise my hand high and bring it down rapidly on her, and then do a gentle loving scratch on her ears. That got her use to not flinching when I would pet her. She came to understand that hands don't have to hurt.

Your dog has a long way to go. But if she at least tolerates the other dog, as Mazer implied, keep doing it.

Pet her and praise her when she does NOT FREAK, and ignore her when she's being "silly".

Try treating the other dog and her as well. In fact, get her USE TO being treated by you - loving being treated by you with a snack.... and then introduce treating the other dog first. She just might respond to coming around to that idea. If she really wants the treat, then she has to give something in return.


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