GO!

Walking along just fine, and then...

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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Olive

Lab/Rottie/Chow/- Shepherd Mix!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 4:33am PST 
A trash compactor comes along picking up dumpsters and emptying them, or a stranger out in the distance is approaching -- and Olive totally loses it. My happy confident dog shuts down - ears back, tail tucked, pulling as hard as she can in the other direction.

Sometimes it's hard to expect a reaction because these things catch me off-guard, too -- I didn't know when we turned the corner a trash collector was going to be there or a stranger was going to be getting out/into his car.

In my head I find myself getting mad at OTHER PEOPLE because MY dog can't handle these people going about their normal business, which is totally irrational.

What can I do when situations like this happen? It's never clear to me if I should let the dog pull away and go in the opposite direction, make her stay and watch from a safe distance, or keep going?

I have treats - but she is totally non-responsive to me in her panicked state. She won't listen to me, look at me, accept treats, or follow any commands.

Please help, this is so hard and discouraging. We've been to several confidence training classes which has helped her approach non-moving scary objects ("check it out" and "touch it") but didn't address scary things that move. Some days I just don't know what to do anymore.
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Celeste

Living life to- the fullest!!!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 5:43am PST 
I was about to say that treats might help but then I read that you've already tried it.
You also mentioned that she wont respond to any commands etc when she's in that panick state.
So, I only see one solution.Make her face her fears.When you turn the corner for example, and there's a man walking out of his car, do keep on walking and behave as you would do if Olive was behaving normal too. Don't pay any attention to her, just pull gently the leash to make her follow you and maybe call her name once. After doing this for a couple of times, you could also stand for a while near the moving objects she's afraid of, so she will understand that there is no reason to be afraid of them. But make sure that you let her take her time...Don't start with huge, noisy cars for example.Try walking her at quiet small streets at first.Also, I believe that it is crucial to show a strong and fearfull face to her. If you panick too as soon as you see a moving object only because you know that SHE will panick at this sight, then you are not helping her much.You have to show her that she shouldn't be afraid. Dogs can easily feel our emotions. wink
I've had quite the same problem with my dog Rosa, a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix(not pictured on Dogster). We worked in the way I described and she's now a happy curius dog that enjoys her walks! Good luck with Olive she's very beautiful dog
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Lily

Woof!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 8:40am PST 
Have you read "Scaredy Dog"? If not I recommend it. If she is panicked you are too close and will need to back up will she is calm, and that is how close you can get to start with and where she will be able to accept treats. This is the distance where you can play the look at the game. Encourage her to look at the scary thing and reward her for just looking at the scary thing.
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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 9:02am PST 
I would call that a "Get out of Dodge" situation. Your dog has already reacted. Whatever chemical cocktail that releases into her brain (epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucocorticoids etc) are already in her system, which will make her even more hypersensitive. Just turn and leave, quietly, calmly, and save the work for another time.
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Olive

Lab/Rottie/Chow/- Shepherd Mix!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 9:37am PST 
See - three different answers.

*sigh* Not that they're not helpful. I just don't know which is best.

I have read numerous books and resources on shy dogs -- most books address shyness with other dogs, but my dog is afraid of PEOPLE. We've also been through a confidence training class. I have not ready "Scaredy Dog" yet, so I will pick that up.


My dog absolutely cannot be made to face her fears -- she is completely incontrollable when she's panicked like that (she tries to flee in all directions and I'm afraid she might bite someday if pushed too far - she's NOT a fear-biter, but she COULD be and I don't want to get her to that point because that's hard to come back from).

When we encounter scary moving things, I've been pulling her away, making her sit (at a safe distance, tried the "look at it" game), and she tries to bolt. Even yards-and-yards away is too close for her. So we eventually wait until the scary thing passes, or turn around and leave (more like me being PULLED to leave)...

I don't want her to get the sense that she NEEDS to run away from things that scare her (when they aren't dangerous), but we clearly DO need to get out of the situation.... I just wish it could be calmer instead of looking like we're running away to save our lives. :/

Edited by author Wed Sep 12, '12 9:45am PST

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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 9:50am PST 
Olive, I work for Ali Brown. lily's advice is good advice. It is training advice. Work below your dog's threshold limit and a good way to judge is by how willing she is to accept food, but I would be even a bit further back. In reactive classes, our students learn to recognize when the dogs are approaching threshold, and we often here the handlers say things like "His mouth was a little hard" or "She looks a little worried" and even the observers (other students who are not working their dogs at that moment) will note "I saw a couple of stress licks on that rep" or something similar. We know that is the time to pull back.

What you are describing is a real world scenario. A surprise to both Olive AND to you. It's what we train for, but often we (and our dogs) do not yet have the training time under our belts to handle such a situation. If things have already escalated, get outta there.

You don't try to learn calculus during the test. You learn the calculus in a safe, quiet time, practice it till it becomes rote, THEN you take the test. Training is learning and the situation you describe is the test. If you take the test before you have learned the material, you will fail.
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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 10:34am PST 
Olive, my dog is also afraid of people, but she has a completely opposite reaction to Olive's. Instead of shutting down, she tries to scare the "scary monsters" away by barking and lunging.

Lily's and Asher's advice is right on the money.
Is there any chance that there is a reactive class in your area? These classes are not just for dog reactive dogs. They can be for painfully shy dogs, people reactive dogs, dogs that need to learn more self control around other dogs etc.

Would Olive be able to handle sitting in the car with you in a parking lot, watching people come and go and being rewarded for it? You could start off way in the back corner where absolutely no one is near you guys.
As she gains confidence, you could try to leave the car, look at people walking about, putting shopping carts away etc, and then retreat back to the car/safe zone before she has had enough.
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Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 10:44am PST 
When I first got Jewel she was scared of stuff, it was a mild fear though. I followed some advise from Asher and Jewel's better now. I could be biased due to that but when it comes to scared dogs I follow Asher's advise.
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Lily

Woof!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 10:49am PST 
Lily is afraid of people, she used to be a dog where the sight of a person would send her into a panic. For months she was too stressed out for any real training so for months scary thing = walk away. I also heavily rewarded any calming signals that she offered. Eventually we started to figure out how close was too close for Lily. We started way under her threshold and that's when we started playing the look at the game. Now she can be within a few feet of people but she still gets scared if they look at her or talk to her so we've still got quite a ways to go with her.
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Darcy

All I need is- Love......
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 11:59am PST 
Darcy is a shut-down dog. She's terrified of people and things. When she reaches her shut down mode. We go backwards, to where she was last comfortable. She will not, ever, treat outside of the home. Be patient. Breathe and go backwards to where Olive was last comfortable, then take it one baby step at a time. Asher is right, when it comes to reactive/shutdown dogs you go further than normal. Never force her forward, that is when things have a tendancy to go bad. I've been working with Darcy for 3 years and we can only walk to the same cemetary, once in a while we can walk 50 feet further to the swimming hole. On the way back she won't calm down until we reach her comfort zone of the cemetary. Be very patient. I understand getting angry at everyone and everything around them, but this is where the patience comes in. Breathe, outloud. Yawn if you must. Yawning is a calming signal for Olive. When cars/trucks drive by she tucks her tail and shakes. After 2 years of being here she still tucks her tail and shakes but now she stands behind me (I'm off the side of the road) because she trusts me to keep her safe. way to go
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