Boosting confidence -- she startles too easily

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Barked: Fri Apr 19, '13 6:07pm PST 
She's a really happy go lucky dog & probably close to 2 years.

She's really good aroud people and isn't scared by anyone. She's ok with constant sounds, like the vacuum doesn't bother her when it's running, walking by the train doesn't, etc.

But when sudden noises happen she startles. She stops low to the ground and tries to back away. she doesnt raise her hackles or anything but she has a really slow recovery time.

it's beginning to be a pain in the house whenever something drops. like she was nosing through something and our swiffer fell to the floor when she passed it. she ran away and wouldn't go back toward it so I put a bunch of food around it and I had her eat htere. she was very uncomfortable but I thought I could change her view by making it associated with food?

But what can I do to raise her confidence? I don't want her getting so scared all the time from something like a cardboard box dropping.

Are there noise games we can play? Will starting agility help? I heard agility can help their confidence. But I also heard that there are some games that desensitize them to sudden noises?

She's not scared of storms or anything btw.


I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Fri Apr 19, '13 6:57pm PST 
I have a very sensitive, easily startled dog. Agility and other training really did help with her confidence, but even something as simple as basic obedience will help. Running Lupi through sits and downs when she's in a "scary" environment helps her to focus on what she CAN do, which assists her in not feeling so helpless. It also assures her that I am in control of her space and won't let anything bad happen to her.

We have new next-door neighbors, with young children who love playing outside. When I hear them screaming or otherwise making loud noises, I go outside with Lupi and a little bag of treats and practice her obedience skills with those distractions.

Something we learned in fearful-dog classes was to act all happy and silly when a startling noise occurred. Then run and grab a treat for the dog. A truly sensitive dog will always startle at new or unexpected noises, but they can learn to recover very quickly.

I do encourage Lupi to investigate things she's afraid of, but I don't force her. I really praise and reward her when she chooses to check things out. Now she will just about examine anything, even if it really spooked her at first.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Fri Apr 19, '13 8:25pm PST 
With some dogs you just have to have patience. Sophie is about 6 now and we've had her five years. If she were human she would be on daily tranks. But she has come a long way. With some dogs agility and other training builds confidence. With a dog like Sophie it's recognizing triggers-metal gates closing, a car door or trunk closing suddenly, a person walking out of the shadows at night, a certain dark parking lot...she considers me her safe person so she'll keep walking. She used to just freeze in place. She still trembles and pancakes even now sometimes but has gotten much better over the years. Callie our other dog is totally fearless, I think he helps her feel safer too.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 4:08pm PST 
Great, we will definitely give agility a try and I'll try to be happy if a loud noise occurs. Because it's only random noises I can't really do obedience at the time... or should I try to just redirect her focus and speed up recovery time by doing fun tricks or touch or something?
Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Tue Apr 23, '13 11:15am PST 
You lead and encourage pup (click/treat helps). So, swiffer falls. The human takes the lead and approaches. You touch it. The encourage pup to approach you. Click/treat an approach (you are still touching the offending object). Repeat (touch, encourage, click/treat) until you can get put to dog touch the evil object. Go slow and easy. You need to work this as team. Human half is demonstrating their support as much as lack of fear