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Little Discouraged with Progress...(long)

July 16th, 2005, 12:01 PM
I'm somewhat discouraged today, and probably am just needing to let it out, so that I can release it and move on. So pardon me as I gripe a bit... Max is my now 5 month old Boerboel (now 70 pounds). He came to me being quite shy and scared of lots of things. Mostly, he was scared of strange dogs, strangers and noises -I've had problems with walks - he spooks at small things like car door's slamming, or the wind gusts, or crows crowing.

I have spent a great deal of time socializing him since day one. I've taken him to parks where there are kids swimming, games playing, and playgrounds. People parks, where there are plenty of people, bikes, runners, rollerbladers. I've taken him to a couple of street festivals where there were people on people, and lots of strange things like folks on stilts and chinese dragons. I've taken him on walks in neighbourhoods. I've taken him to doggie daycare to get used to other dogs. I did a period of people-socializing where my goal was for him to meet 30 people each day for 30 days. So I visited the big box stores or wherever there were lots of people, and had people give him treats and greet him. He's been to puppy school and is signed up for puppy agility and further obedience school.

The good news is that he DOES go to dog parks now and approach other dogs and has fun! That is a big hurdle. On the other hand, he is still really shy with strangers and always backs away from them. Overall, I was starting to see, what I thought was progress in his overall confidence...he was calm on outings and gave me lots of "check-ins" with his eyes. I was feeling quite proud of him. But the last few days, it's like it all awash. We go for a walk, and he's a total scatterbrain...looking everywhere but at me, at all the things that he thinks are scary. Today, I tripped on my feet as he was scooting around me...scared about something trivial. I ended up sprawled on the sidewalk. I guess it's just hitting me how much more work there is to do, and especially since he keeps getting stronger and stronger. I really want to make sure that I help him out all I can, and that he is social and can be out in the world.

So that's my little gripe session. I'll keep working at it and won't give up, of course. But if there are any ideas out there, please share, as I appreciate all the advice out there!

July 20th, 2005, 04:02 PM

You are doing a great job and you have seen great progress. Just because he is having a bad few days does not mean that all is lost. Keep up the fight. Maybe at some level because he was getting good you might have slacked off a bit and he's not ready for that. Or he simply had some bad moments and needs to get over it.

You have really busted your butt to help him - he is worth it and you have learned so much along the way. Just because you two got a bad grade on this test doesn't mean you can't still get an A in the class.

*Note - you might want to have his thyroid checked - Hypothyroid can cause behavioral issues like this.

July 20th, 2005, 04:17 PM
A couple of things may be happening. First he is hitting the age that adolescence begins( sexual and behavioural maturity). Many unwanted behaviours begin during this time and the ones that had yet to be dealt with seem to be worse. Your puppy will also learn in cycles. He will seem to do great for a few weeks and then the fourth week he just sucks.
How do you react when he greets things that he is scared of. Do you comfort him or act as if there is nothing wrong. Do the last. Also, if he is greeting a person and gets scared does the person eventually get to say hello or do you/ or they give up. He is getting used to the dogs in the park because the other dogs don't worry about his fears, they just go in for the greet. People tend to back off which means that he has fewer successful greetings with them.

July 21st, 2005, 07:47 AM
Pennynikkel, I have no advice but just wanted to say that you are doing a wonderful job and don't let a minor setback discourage you!