A fearful dog...
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Thread: A fearful dog...

  1. #1
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultA fearful dog...

    Okay...we have Mr. Tripper here...who is about 4 months old and all pup. Before we got him from the animal shelter to bring in to our rescue program, he temperment tested well. Since we've had him; however, it seems like he is ultra sensitive or was really badly manhandled with his previous owners.

    If you go to snag him because he doesn't want to come inside, he starts screaming and nips at your hand. If he get's startled, stepped on, or nipped on his butt by the other dogs, he starts screaming and gets pretty rough in response to that.

    I think someone did him wrong.

    He plays well otherwise. He's a chewer...and it's obvious that he's never been crated before. He only barks when you are home and he isn't tired. At night...he's usually ready for bed and doesn't make a peep.

    Now. My question is...will he always be that sensitive or will he grow out of it? I've never had a pup this way before. And two...would you all advise me to not place him with a family with kids that would grab, pull, or even possibly trip over?

    Thanks in Advance.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
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    imported_Belles mom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    How long have you had him?
    Karen and<br />UAG1 SHR UCDX GRCH Tracker Belle of Bedford RAE JH CDX TT WCX WC CGC (Belle)<br /><br />UCD SHR GRCH BIMBS BBI Belle&#39;s Kodiak Dreamweaver JH UD RAE TT WC CGC (Kodi)<br /><br />SHR UCH BBI Ponderosa&#39;s Big Blond Guy JH RE TT WC CGC (Hoss)

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    luke from georgia is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    My question is...will he always be that sensitive or will he grow out of it?
    without training, i'd bet he would be the same or get worse.
    i'd say no to family with kids, that is unless he can be retrained.
    he needs training sooner than later.
    maybe he has mostly negative associations with being touched, so his fears make him overreact to any amont of physical force, even accidental ones or ones made only in play.

    "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford

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    Trickster's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    without training, i'd bet he would be the same or get worse.
    Given your description of the dog, thats what I also think. As puppies they are very impressionable and their experiences now shape them up for life. Good, positive training would really help this dog as long as it is done sooner rather then later.

    As he is only 4 months (I assume you are fostering him??) I bet you can make vast improvements on his fearful behavior. I can imagine it would be much harder to do the same with an adult dog. If he were mine, I would give him a week or so to get his head around his new environment and slowly start handling him. If he has been mistreated in the past it could take a while before he is comfortable with people touching him. I think attending a puppy class and lots of positive people contact (he has to learn that hands/touching/petting = good things) could build a fearful dogs confidence

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    Dani's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    Karen, we've only had him 5 days...for just about everything, he's settled in. He has the routine down, has only had one accident in the house, and really likes to play and cuddle.

    He tires fast...and when the others don't want to rough house with him, he's just as content laying in the grass and chewing on a bone or toy.

    It's really when you touch his back end when he's not expecting it. Now, if he comes up to you and you're petting him and then give his rump a scritch...no problem, the minute you put pressure on his haunches back there, he starts screaming. If you bop his nose while telling him no...he starts screaming. It's crazy on how sesitive he is.

    It's worrisome too.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
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    WigWag Guest

    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    Now. My question is...will he always be that sensitive or will he grow out of it? I've never had a pup this way before. And two...would you all advise me to not place him with a family with kids that would grab, pull, or even possibly trip over?
    He will always be hypersensitive to a point but he can get a lot better with the right approach. I personally do not think he should go to a home with children under 10 years old because of the possible scenarios you stated already. He needs someone to first of all show him how to calm himself down and also push him just a little so that he knows that people will not back down and he is not in charge. I would handle him a LOT ie brushing, nails trimmed, teeth examined, etc and make him stay calm and submissive throughout the whole thing - don't let him get away with anything yet don't let his behavior escalate to sheer panic. Holding him down on his side forcefully and doing what you need to do and then letting him up would be best. Also some basic obedience will help a lot - give him confidence as well as make him understand he is a follower and must listen even if a little afraid.

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    luke from georgia is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    from what i've read, and i can't remember which source, either Bones would Rain from the Sky or Other End of the Leash or both, a shy, fearful dog will react badly when their butt area is touched, particularly when the touch is unexpected.

    as far as abuse, who knows, right?* maybe the hand-shyness was learned, maybe the pup is simply overly sensitive and did not have proper desensitation training growing up.

    personally, and this is just MY opinion, but i agree with positive based training approach, as trickster suggested.

    you can wait for the pup to make mistakes or set him up for failure so that you can "correct" him or you can set him up to succeed so that you can "reward" him.

    obedience training would be awesome for him as it will allow him to experience new things and do thing RIGHT, which builds confidence.

    this is one of my favorite articles on the web:
    http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2001/macho.htm

    "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford

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    mitziandjudysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    He sounds a lot like my Duke who I got when he was 8 months old. I even thought that something wrong with his back because he was so sensitive, would cringe when a hand reached toward him, rolls on his back and pees if I try to clean ears or clip nails, screams if I try to groom him. He likes to play rough with Judy, but is content to lie under the forsythia bush outside, and sleep in bed all day in the house. He doesn't respond to normal training, basic commands or positive reinforcement. I can't even get him to sit. He puts head down, spins around submissively, sits then flops on his back. I tried everything to get him over his phobia about coming in the house through the door.(food reward, praise, etc) The best results were after watching Caesar Milan's DVDs and I stopped reinforcing his fear with positive rewards. He has come a long way in the last two years and I thank Mitzi and Judy for that. He seems to learn correct behavior by going along with them.
    Is it possible to place Mr Tripper in a home with some well adjusted adult dogs already there?

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    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A fearful dog...

    I'm not qualified to give advice re: placement, but I would be doing a ton of recall and hide-and-seek exercises with this pup, like so:

    You hide. Call "Tripper!!!" Tripper comes; big party ensues, but as you deliver the treat (make it a good one), touch the collar. What you want to do is distract him by touching him in the sensitive area while he's focused on something else, and pair it with something he highly desires. If you charge him with the clicker, this will go faster. Start by just touching the collar, and you can work up to really manhandling him (make it a game and be light, happy, and goofy about it). You can do the same thing with other parts of the body.

    If there is sensitivity around the butt, teach him to down, and while you deliver the treat, reach around and touch his heinie. You can work up to pulling on his tail. A targeting stick can also be used.

    Whether the compulsory restraint exercise Sharon describes will work depends, I think, on how sensitive he is. If he's extremely reactive it may be very traumatic for him, and you may end up just suppressing the behavior. If you do use it, be sure to pair it with counter-conditioning.

    Edited to add: It would be great if several different people could pratice these exercises with him. You might be able to get him to trust YOU, but you want to teach him that he needs to be calm and accepting around everyone.

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