Shyness and fearfulness in new shelter dog

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Sofia- Spumoni

Has issues but- don't we all?
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 8:08am PST 
We have had Sofie for one month now. She was adopted from the local shelter and she has issues with shyness and fearfulness. Sofie loves other dogs, long walks, and is very athletic. She is fearful of strangers, loud noises, and small objects (cameras, stuffed animalsshrug). She is signed up for obedience starting in a few weeks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Your Never Too- Big To Be A Lap- Dog
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 8:23am PST 
Time, patience and lot's of love smile

Cookie was extremely shy and fearful when we first got her. She still is in new places but has really came a long ways and is very comfortable at home now.

Sweet as- chocolate
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 8:23am PST 
My advice is go on walks in the morning and afternoon. This is suppose to be a pack bonding time. That means if you have another dog with you they should go to, and anyone in the house. Then you should let strangers in but have them ignore your dog not even talk to her. Obedience is good to.

Good luck.way to goway to gowisheswishes

Beast SmH,- KoR1, RFTS

Kiss me, I'm- German!
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 9:19am PST 
Agility is a great confidence-building activity for dogs, as long as it is introduced slowly and carefully, with positive reinforcement.

Also, clicker training is great for building confidence. The book Click to Calm by Emma Parsons is fantastic. www.clicktocalm.com or www.clickertraining.com

You might also try an anxiety wrap (basically a snug jacket wrapped around the body). www.anxietywrap.com

Tellington-touch works for some dogs. It's a type of theraputic touch developed by an animal behaviorist. I highly recommend the book Getting in T-Touch With Your Dog, by Linda Tellington-Jones. http://tteam-ttouch.com/

Some of my students have told me they had success with a DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheremone) spray. The spray is supposed to duplicate calming pheremons given off by a nursing canine mother. I have also heard people say that it didn't make any difference in their dog, but it might be worth a try. Google "Dog Appeasing Pheremone" for sources.

Best of luck Sofie! Lots of dogs come home shy and apprehensive - especially if she's only been home for one month, this isn't abnormal. Just remember to be patient! big grin

Better than I- was
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 9:32am PST 
I was very very very shy when i first came home, New things/places still freak me out. When my She first got me, we would be out on a walk and I would freeze because of the sound of the rope hitting the flagpole, or chimes, or loud anything. Now I just get anxious around loud truck sounds. Love patience tolerance, smile and repeat!

Such a Happy- Girl

Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 2:29pm PST 
Ditto what Cookie said: time, patience, and love! wave

Something that I do with shy or timid fosters is take them through a couple of simple agility obstacles -- for confidence and body awareness. I usually start out with the tunnel, it's the easiest. Then we progress to chutes an' ladders!

Training also helps immensely and is a great confidence booster. I bet she'll improve once those classes start! way to go

When she spooks at the small objects, it's important to ignore her reaction as if you never even noticed. Hold the object in a non-threatening way, too, close to your body if possible. You can put things on the floor & walk away to give her some room, and praise her in your silly-happy voice when she investigates them.

One thing I did with Jasmine was I taught her how to touch things with her nose and her paws. So when something would scare her, like a vaccuum hose (even with the vaccuum off) or a cardboard box, it was much easier to have her investigate things. She realized that poking and prodding these things made them move and make noise, but she got treats and praise and attention for it, and they weren't so scarey after all! big grin

Good luck and have fun! And thanks for opening your home an' heart to a shelter dog!
♣Sawye- r-Katrina- Survivor

Fight BSL B4- they come for- YOUR Breed!
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 2:39pm PST 
Everyone will tell you that the keys are time and patience, and NOT rewarding negative behaviors with extra attention. We're still working on lots of those things here. Good luck.

where's the- couch?
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 3:02pm PST 
I agree with everything everyone else said. Axel was sooooo timid I didn't think he would ever come around. (if you read his profile you will see how bad it was). It took about 3 months for him to walk through a doorway with out being baited through. He is now a very happy, healthy, well adjusted dog (despite some jealousy when Piper or the cats get petted, he's gotta get right in there).

My advice is the same as the rest. Time, patience and love.

and congrats on the new addition!

Love- unconditionally.

Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 3:43pm PST 
There is a good book titled Help for Your Shy Dog that I think you might want to look into for, well, a whole book full of advice. ^_^ It was useful for me when I used to be afraid of men. Now I'm just not friendly with other dogs... but we're pretty sure that's less fear and more me thinking I'm the queen of the world. wink
Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
Barked: Sun Feb 18, '07 5:54pm PST 
Hey Zoey-- my mom thought I was weird for being afraid of the sounds of the rope hitting a flagpole, it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

When I was first rescued I was very shy/scared of anything unusual including strangers, strange noises, new places, and moving objects like automatic doors. My mom started taking me for long walks that went to areas with businesses and places like that to get me comfortable with all the sights and sounds, to parks, and also taking me everywhere possible in the car to get me used to different things. This combined with taking a lot of obedience classes and then agility classes once I knew obedience all helped me a LOT to get over my fears and shyness! It took some time but I learned that I didn't have to be afraid of things or people, and I got over all my fears... Now I LOVE strangers and I love going to festivals and other crowded places, I don't get scared of weird noises or moving things anymore or anything... I am even a therapy dog now! It took time but it really helped to go everywhere possible with mom.
What we also did was once I had some obedience training, if we were somewhere and I was scared of something we would go a little ways away from it and work on easy obedience behaviors like sit, down, heel and that way I would get rewards for responding to mom's cues for obedience, and I would be focusing on that instead of on the "scary" thing, and I learned that I got good treats by responding to mom around the "scary" stuff and it made the stuff less scary...
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