Dogs do go through fear periods and 4-6 months is one of them. Please read below:
The Critical Fear Periods in Puppies
By: Nancy Frensley, CPDT, CAP1
Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Training Manager
The Critical Fear Periods in Puppies:
Seven to Nine Weeks
Four to Six Months
Approximately Eight to Nine Months
Approximately Twelve Months
Approximately Fourteen to Eighteen Months
During these periods, puppies may show fear of items, situations or people with whom they formerly felt safe. They may start barking at people entering a house or become fearful and startle at benign items like trash cans, drainpipes or even yard gnomes. They may crouch, shake and try to run away, submissively urinate or tell the scary thing/person to go away by showing an aggressive display (which could include piloerection, snarling, lunging or other unruly behavior.
You must be patient during these periods and keep to the familiar. These are not good times to introduce your puppy to new situations or people. Be very careful to avoid doling out punishment or reprimands. It’s vitally important that you understand that your dog is afraid and that you add to the fear when you reprimand or punish. This, in turn, can set the dog up for future aggression problems.
During these periods, introduce your puppy slowly to the situation, with good tasting treats, so that he or she does not experience fear. Control situations so that you can prevent a fearful response and show your puppy that you enjoy the situation. Use food treats and happy talk to lure your puppy up to scary objects. Teach the targeting exercise (touch your hand with his nose) and work on getting your puppy to “touch the goblin”.
When people visit your home during these periods, put your puppy in another room until visitors are settled in, then bring your puppy out on leash and praise for any show of confidence. Even have visitors toss good treats toward your puppy without approaching him or her.
I would add to this that while you should not punish her behavior you want to be sure not to reinforce it by trying to sooth her. Re-direct or ignore when possible. Also - I do have some issue with the notion of not introducing her to new people during this period - you don't want to isolate her. Socialization really matters - just make sure that all of it is going to be very positive - with humans and other dogs.
Last edited by BigBrownDog; 02-28-2010 at 06:54 PM.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.