August 11th, 2005, 10:13 PM
I so appreciate your advice and wisdom. It's great to hear the experiences of other dog lovers...what a great forum we have!
I'm still on socialising Max, and someone told me that it would be a good idea to have friends take him for a day. I believe this advice was given because it was noted that he is more confident around people when I am not around, even though he is initally scared and uncomfortable.
That got me thinking that instead of enlisting friends, maybe I could approach professional dog trainers to take Max for a day. Would this be a good thing to get him around strangers and would it increase his confidence? OR do you think it could set him back and make him more nervous? I'm into anything that will help him break through and be at ease around people, so am considering this, but it seems unorthodox.
August 11th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Though this won't make him any worse, it won't help you any. The best would be for the two of you to take classes together. Dogs often read signals from their owners. If you are nervous when he meets people/ dogs with you or you try to comfort him in situations when he becomes nervous, it makes him think that he has a good reason to be fearful by the way you are acting. Your body language will tell him a lot about the situation. He may show more confidence with others because they don't show uncertain body language to him. Think of how you approach someone you know vs someone you don't. Is there any difference? Also go out with a friend that has made this comment to you. Have him/her walk your dog and you watch to see if they are doing anything different from you. I have noticed this quite often with many students. The owners would come to me worried about how their dog was reacting to situations. When I took the same dog out, the fearful behaviour was gone. Just by teaching them to change their behaviour improved the behaviour of the dog. Most had no idea that they were doing anything wrong. They would try to comfort the dog by speaking in a different tone, petting. They learnt that even when the dog reacted fearful they needed to stay confident with their voice and body language. If you act differently than normal, they automatically think there is something wrong.
August 12th, 2005, 12:13 PM
I agree that it is usually the owner's anxiety that a dog will pick up on and act differently...I mean if they sense your apprehension they think "OMG, something is definately wrong here" and they get nervous.
If you are expecting Max to act uncomfortable around people then he probably will!
How old is Max and is he only afraid of people? How bad is it? Would he be better if food was his reward for acting nicely (confidently) with a stranger?
I'm sorry if you have already explained about Max - I may just have missed it!
I do believe that teaching your dog new things and putting them in new environments does wonders for their confidence. But you need to be alongside to as the leader.
If you find that you are not the one giving off subtle signals that make your dog anxious, then try getting him into an activity or give him a job - that helps build confidence too!
August 12th, 2005, 10:27 PM
Expose the dog to as many different social situations that you can that are controlled (no chance of evil that will cause a doggy meltdown)
You HAVE to act like everything is a non-event. Forewarn your friends not to faun over your dog.
I would suggest not giving your dog to others because you can't know that they will do it right.
You can be sure that nobody cares more about the dog than you.
Socialization is a lot more than learning people contact. Read up, there is lots out there.
August 13th, 2005, 10:18 AM
I know someone who did this with a pup, almost ruined the dog!!!
August 13th, 2005, 11:55 AM
A dog has to be very confident to be handed over to someone else, and watch his owner walk away.
In a dog that already lacks confidence, he would feel abandoned and may panic. This could create separation anxiety or other behavior problems.
And I certainly wouldn't hand over any dog to a trainer I didn't know, not even for a day.
Your dog needs to learn to completely trust you first, and leaving him with strangers certainly won't accomplish that.
August 13th, 2005, 01:17 PM
I agree totally with Lucky. I've left my doggies at my dad's or with a friend for an hour or so once each and they panicked. They cried, and paced and didn't do well at all.
I feel that the way to boost a doggy's confidence is to show him that you are the forever person. That no matter what, he ends up with you. My doggies are very confident now, but I'm almost certain that I can undo that by leaving them somewhere with somebody else for more than just a bit. I mean, Jemma has been through 4 owners before us, and Boo was (we think) abandoned while taking a dump- so they're pretty insecure about being left behind. I think you have to acknowledge their history, and react accordingly. Like you would to a person with the same history. You don't tip-toe around but you avoid hurting them. :)
August 13th, 2005, 08:48 PM
Tucker is a very confident dog, I have exposed him to as much as I have been able to. One thing I have never tried is to hand him to someone and walk away, I don't know how he would react to it? Knowing him he would want to stay with them and I get upset. My last dog was alot more nervice, in new situations and this is why I have done this with Tucker. He will do almost anything I ask him too. My next step is to get him on a TTC bus. I let you know how that goes when I do it.