Six month old has become fearful of people.
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Thread: Six month old has become fearful of people.

  1. #1
    lesliej is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultSix month old has become fearful of people.

    Our yellow Lab Lucy B has all the sudden become fearful of people. She has never been a barker but last week when our neighbors came to the gate she went crazy barking and the hair raised up on her back. Today my husbands trainer came in the house (he comes every Saturday) and today she barked and wouldn't go near him and even piddled a little bit. On our walk a couple passed us and she barked and the hair raised on her back. Her tail is wagging though. Until a week ago she would run right up to anyone who came to the house and loved meeting new people on our walks. What has happened to her? How do I nip this in the bud? Our last Lab was so fearful and we didn't do much about it. She ended up having separation anxiety and I don't want this to happen with Lucy B.
    She is going to a great Doggie Daycare twice a week and is fine with all the other dogs and the trainers. She loves it and it is really helping burn off some of her energy.
    I am having an Oscar Party next week and not looking forward to her reaction when 12 people come into the house
    Help!

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  3. #2
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    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.

  4. #3
    Tanwen's Avatar
    Tanwen is offline Senior Member
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    Our puppy has only ever taken a dislike to two people (one my son considers a GOOD call... ) Was your puppy on a leash at the time? (I have read they feel under threat. A dog on a leash meeting another not on a leash is a 'target') Don't tell him/her off, just accept that humans don't like everyone and dogs are the same...and remember a Labrador is led by its stomach...keep PLENTY of treats on hand...

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/its-me-or-the-dog

    *I love Victoria as much as Caesar...different approaches but the dog is the main thing*
    Last edited by Tanwen; 03-03-2010 at 06:11 PM.

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  6. #4
    Brady is offline Junior Member
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    Mine has done this exact same thing also. It is the most friendly dog just barks more now when someone enters my apt or is walking outside. hair stands up too.

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