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How Do I Correct Fear of Some People?? (long)

June 1st, 2005, 01:12 PM
Zoe for some reason has started barking at people and will run and hide behind me. She's been fine up until the last two weeks. There is an old timer who comes around our shop who is quite round, not really tall and has a high pitch tone of voice for a man. Zoe has met him many times before and all of a sudden one day she wouldn't go near him! He started bring her cookies(and Copper too!) and now she has warmed up to him again. He can't bend down to pet her either as he has bad hips. So no big deal, they made amends.

But now, she has started doing this to other people she sees on a fairly regular basis. She even did it to me today!! I was walking back from the fry stand carrying our lunch(Sort of holding it up at shoulder level) and as I was approaching the shop she started to bark and tucked h er tail between her legs! I started talking to her right away, and then she clued in it was mommy and she was ll happy to see me.

Two days ago, a guy that works beside us was int he parking lot and she started barking at him as he was walking up to us. He bent over to pet her and she started jumping on him and peed!

I'm puzzled as to what is going on here! And now Copper will bark at people as well but not a bark of fear or warning just a bark :confused: . ANd he never barks!!! Except at a guy who came in last week - the guy was super tall (like 6'5!!!) and his belly was huge as well. He even told me, Copper is probably barking at him because of his size.

So I'm not really sure how I should be handling these situations. I usually say no and bring them in the office or make them sit-stay(i have to hold onto Zoe as she doesn't know stay).

Any suggestions/advice??

June 1st, 2005, 01:26 PM
The first thing that comes to mind is her eyesight might be troubling her. You said she cowered from you until you spoke. Your voice told her who you were. I would bring her to the vet for a checkup and have her eyes looked at.

June 1st, 2005, 01:41 PM
That's exactly what I thought - her eye sight! I said that to my fiance, that maybe she needs her eyes checked. I will definitely see my vet to make sure.

She also runs and hides when she hears other dogs bark loudly or any odd noises she might hear. Last night, before bed, I took her out to do her duties and there was a bug hitting the outside of the house or in the tree, but you could hear it buzzing and she was freaked by it.

Oh dear God, now i'm worried! :(

June 1st, 2005, 01:45 PM
I wouldn't be too freaked out. Let's say, for argument's sake, that something IS wrong with her eyes. It's not life threatening. It just means that all members of the house have to be just a bit more careful. Don't rearrange the furniture. Say something when you enter a room so you don't startle the dog. Basic stuff.

It could be as simple as a cold in her eyes that's causing her eyesight to be a bit blurry. It may very well go away with drops.

Take a deep breath, and go pat the dog. :love:

June 1st, 2005, 02:00 PM
My sweet little girl is snoozing :angel: . Would you see any signs in her eye of something wrong? Oh dear, maybe I let this go to long, but once in a while she does have a clear discharge out of the corner of one eye. I wipe it, and it's fine. It's not all day long, maybe once or twice a day. Nothing I was really concerned about. If something was wrong with her eye, wouldn't the vet have caught it when she was in a couple of weeks ago?

Ok, IF it isn't her sight that's the problem, any other suggestions on this behaviour? ( I think I'll call my vet now!)

Lucky Rescue
June 1st, 2005, 02:06 PM
How old is she? Puppies go through a "fear period" when they are 4 - 6 months old often, just like human babies go through shy periods.

Just act upbeat and ignore fear. NEVER comfort or soothe her. Just have a "Oh you silly girl" attitude, and praise and even treat her for not showing fear.

Never force her to face anything she finds fearful, if it's something like a bug or some other object. Try saying in a high happy voice, "Oh what IS it??" Your calmness and confidence will help her fear.

He started bring her cookies(and Copper too!) and now she has warmed up to him again.

That's the way to do it! If she is fearful you can ask someone to just drop cookies or something else really good on the ground without looking at her or approaching her.

This phase should pass!:)

June 1st, 2005, 02:12 PM
Aussiemedogs used the cookies for one of her dogs who was terrified of strangers. She would take him out for walks and hand out cookies to people politely explaining that the dog needed help with his social skills. He is now no longer afraid of strangers to the extent of barking and fleeing. He was around the same age as your dog is at the time... 15 weeks.

Lucky Rescue
June 1st, 2005, 02:13 PM
Oh 15 weeks. Yup, usual fear period thing....

June 1st, 2005, 02:21 PM
Oh well, I didn't know she was 15 weeks old. Bad on me. I assumed she was much older. Bad on me.

Yes, yes, yes. Most likely a fear stage!! Please don't take anything I've said to heart, please! Take a deep breath, shake your fist in my general direction, and mumble under your breath. Then go hug your dog again.

June 1st, 2005, 02:44 PM
She's about 23-25 weeks(I think!). I got her in April at 15 weeks. I talked to my vet and she definitely thinks it is a behavioural/training type thing. As she mentioned, she didn't notice anything wrong with her eyes when we were there two weeks ago!

I thought they had fear imprint stage at like 12 weeks of age or younger! I kind of wondered if this might be a phase.

No, I don't comfort her when she acts this way!! I usually make her do a sit or try to distract her with something else.

Oh Trinitie, you got me worried for a little bit!! But I did wonder about her sight as well!

In a way this is all new to me because Copper was such an easy pup to deal with. Copper and Zoe are totally different in their puppyhood! She's absolutely crazy and Copper was calm and quiet!

Thanks for the reassurance LR, BMD, and you too Trinitie!

Lucky Rescue
June 1st, 2005, 02:48 PM
I would not ask vets about behavioral or training problems. Medical doctors are not trained in this field, anymore than trainers can diagnose or treat medical problems.

June 1st, 2005, 02:55 PM
Oh I know LR!! I absolutely trust my vet, and I know if it were serious behaviour problems I would definitely resort to a trainer/behaviourist! She has always offered other referrals to me, if I feel I really need more help! :pawprint:

June 1st, 2005, 03:01 PM
lol sorry, I got 15 weeks from your profile. :o

June 1st, 2005, 03:05 PM
I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to freak you out. Not at all! :sorry:

Dogs go through 2 fear stages, sometimes 3. The first one is when they're fairly young - around that 15 week stage. The second fear stage seems to happen anywhere from 4-6 months. So, that being said, yeah, your pup could be going through another fear stage. I've seen dogs get scared of leaves, birds, garbage bags, and various other things they normally wouldn't be scared of. It can be kind of unsettling.

June 1st, 2005, 03:10 PM
updated my profile BMD!!!

Glad to hear it's a phase - I just wish she'd be afraid of the cats and give them (and me) a break!!!