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help getting Jo over her fear of people

lezzpezz
February 19th, 2005, 12:15 PM
Hi there. I would like some advice on how to get my neighbour's dog, (sometimes my dog :p ) over her fear of some people. She is somewhat timid and will actually cower and slink away from people. She is very socialized with many dogs, people, cats etc. but there are some folks that she just will not go near and in fact, will try to get away from. A few of these people, she sees on a fairly regular basis, but she will not warm up to. These folks pose no threat and have never raised a hand or showed ill will in any capacity to Jo or any other person or animal that I am aware of.

Is there a way to reintroduce her to these people? Is there a way to get her to stop being so timid with strangers? Sometimes she will greet strangers with vigor and other times, she shrinks down and tries to hide. Does she sense something that I do not?

Aniluver
February 19th, 2005, 02:15 PM
Hi there. I would like some advice on how to get my neighbour's dog, (sometimes my dog :p ) over her fear of some people. She is somewhat timid and will actually cower and slink away from people. She is very socialized with many dogs, people, cats etc. but there are some folks that she just will not go near and in fact, will try to get away from. A few of these people, she sees on a fairly regular basis, but she will not warm up to. These folks pose no threat and have never raised a hand or showed ill will in any capacity to Jo or any other person or animal that I am aware of.

Is there a way to reintroduce her to these people? Is there a way to get her to stop being so timid with strangers? Sometimes she will greet strangers with vigor and other times, she shrinks down and tries to hide. Does she sense something that I do not?

Not sure if this would help any but, possibly the people she fears are not true dog lovers? Or, maybe she senses they have a fear of dogs? My dog (this was over 5 years ago) but, I'll never forget when I brought her around my family she got very nervous because (again I feel) she sensed they didn't like her. She was extremely extroverted and loving but, around family - nope. Does she get shy with the same people then change to being extroverted? Or, is it the same people she tends to shy away from? If the latter, then I'd guess it's what she is sensing from them............? Hope that helps some. good luck.... :)

lezzpezz
February 19th, 2005, 02:21 PM
Hi there. She seems to shy away from one neighbour in particular, who is a dog lover, but has stated that she is not fond of Jo because of this shyness. I guess she could be sensing a dislike here. But the owner says that she is just generally shy and steers clear of new people. She, of course, absolutely adores me!! :D , but shys away from my tennant, also an animal lover, but he is a pretty quiet guy and not overly involved in the dogs. Maybe she knows this and just steers clear of him too.

I guess I'm looking for a way to get her past this fear stage, if it is a stage, and make her more assured in her every day greeting of people. I do think you're right when you say she is sensing the "dislike" from those she already knows. Who could dislike a beauty like her!?! She's just gorgeous :)

lezzpezz
February 25th, 2005, 10:18 AM
Last night, a regular visitor went to Jo's house and the hairs on her neck and back were fully bristled up! She crouched low to the ground and had her ears flat to her head. This is a person that is very familiar to Jo and treats her very well and likes her alot. The owner is absolutely baffled by her behaviour. I did give him a book to read that has a section on dog fears, but it does not really offer any solutions. The book is "Dogs behaving badly : an A-to-Z guide to understanding and curing behavioral problems in dogs / Nicholas H. Dodman."
According to what I quickly read in this book, this behaviour was set when she was a puppy. I believe it, as the owner has never had a dog and we have had a lot of discussions on how he should raise her and if he should even keep her.
I am wanting to address the issue now before it becomes a worse problem, and teach Jo to not be fearful. Does anyone know how to acclimatize Jo so she is not so timid whenever someone comes near her. Perhaps Tenderfoot is out there? You have been very helpful in the past! :thumbs up

Luvmypit
February 25th, 2005, 10:32 AM
why not equip these same people with some treats to give her when they come over. I don't know I could be very wrong. Just a suggestion.

lezzpezz
February 25th, 2005, 10:41 AM
I like that idea. That would make their arrival a good experience for her. I think we need to build her confidence too, and that is what I need to work on, as not everyone will be carrying cookies like you and I do! Ever notice on laundry day, you really have to clean your pockets? Makes me smile!

mastifflover
February 25th, 2005, 11:02 AM
I agree arming guest with treats will make it a good experience. I had this problem with Buddy but his fears were understandable he was physically and verbally abused. I found when I meet someone on the street he used to try and run and cower behind me once I had his trust if we met someone on the street I would tell them to let Bud smell there hand he would usually back away but if I showed him by touching the person that they were okay he would usually allow them to pat him. Now he is getting more and more confident all the time and not as leary of strangers but there is a few that he will not go near so I trust they are not good people or not dog lovers so we don't bother with them. I trust a dogs intuition about people my mom always said if your dog doesn't like someone show them the door. Has always been good advice

GsdDiamond
February 25th, 2005, 11:02 AM
I know someone with a dog so scared it hides all the time and won't come out except when it's time to eat or go outside.

We found that ignoring the dog completely and moving very slowly around her, is the only way to go. Be aware of the dog, but let her come around on her own. Sit outside, keep your hands low, and no sudden movements have worked for Shelby (a mutt) and now she'll come out and give your hands kisses and be patted a little bit. It's taken years, but slow, loving moves towards her worked wonders.

I agree....Tenderfoot is the one to ask about this one.

Poor thing....has she seen a vet to rule out physical problems??

maddoxies
February 25th, 2005, 11:27 AM
Maybe I missed it, but what breed is Jo? This may help to assess the personality. Neutered? At what age?

Can you find a common physical denomiator among the people Jo does not like? Male, female, tall, etc. Although if Jo reacted badly to someone already known?????

lezzpezz
February 25th, 2005, 11:30 AM
I did pm Tenderfoot. She has been very helpful in the past. I also just found a fabulous book and it has a wonderful chapter on shyness and fear. It is: "The Mentally Sound Dog; how to shape, train and change canine behavior" by Gail I. Clark PhD and William Boyer PhD.

I have determined from this book, that Jo falls into the category of "shy" dog (moves away if uncertain), as opposed to "reserved" (non reactive), or "fearful" (potential to bite). The description of a shy dog most accurately describes my scenario.

It mentions the use of treats given by the "stranger" and how to slowly and correctly expose the dog to repeated frightening situations, in our case, people, and how to prevent reinforcing the fears. It illustrates how to teach your dog that people are safe and pleasant to be around.

The book also mentions that at Jo's age, it could be part of a hormonal change, and as she matures, she will grow out of her fear, with the right guidance. She has a clean bill of health from a recent visit to the vet.

So, I will take all of your advice, and that found in this book, and begin working with the owner to make Jo's life happier. Hopefully, with a little love and training geared toward fear, we can lick this problem!! I thank all of you :p

GsdDiamond
February 25th, 2005, 11:37 AM
She's so lucky to have you in her life. You're an :angel: !

lezzpezz
February 25th, 2005, 11:52 AM
Goldengirl, Jo is a 9mos. old female spayed (at 6 mos.) German Shepherd, who was given to the owner for free by a girl who works with families that are in dire straits and have to give up everything, including puppies. She has brought 2 to our street and both dogs have been adopted by neighbours. Jo was about 9 weeks old when she arrived, and quite sickly. The owner has been difficult to "train", but I have been fighting tooth and nail for this dog! We even argued about the need to take her to the vet, 'cause this would cost the owner $$! She is my little honey. I imagine that part of her problem stems from the ignorance of the owner, who, at one point, "just wanted a dog, not a problem". Jo has been predisposed to a guy that was initially not big on training, spaying, or spending time with a dog. I have really worked this guy over and he now comes to me with issues that Jo has. He loves her and is realizing that, hey, she has a brain and a personality and he wants her to be happy and well. We have had some knock-down-drag'em-out yelling matches over how to raise her, and so far, I've won every single one :D . I would like to nip this fear problem in the bud before the owner makes wrong moves and Jo suffers.