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Scared puppy

November 10th, 2005, 12:43 PM
My puppy just isn't getting any better around cars and people. How am I going to deal with this? When I sit with him say outside a store on a busy road he becomes frantic! He cries and pulls in every direction to get away. I've tried and tried and still the same response. He will take food from people but very very cautiously. His hair will stand right up on end when, for example, a neighbour shows up in the back yard. He is also really barky in the yard.

Am I just building in fear by taking him out to busy places? He just doesn't seem to get used to it no matter how many times...should I keep trying? He was fine at puppy school because he loves dogs...that is the only time he likes strangers...when they have a doggie. Please help!

November 10th, 2005, 01:04 PM
Puppies go through fear stages too, so be carefull. why do you take your pup to a busy road? (sorry, but I think I'd act the same way) start small, and build up... work your way up to large crowds and whizzing traffic.

don't coddle your pup either, don't be all "it's ok sweetie, awww, it's ok"... just be "whatever" about it. no big deal. so a car went by - who cares. reward him for dealing calmly with new situations. but don't force it either.

November 10th, 2005, 01:11 PM
Does he have access to a window in your house where he can look outside? This can lead to fear/agression issues in dogs if they are allowed to look out the window at people/things. The dog sees the person walking by, barks at them, they keep walking away. The dog learns that him barking at people makes them go away, then he starts having issues with people. Same thing with cars and animals outside the window.

November 10th, 2005, 04:07 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.

We have been buiding up slowly for 2 1/2 months. We take long walks everyday on side streets and sometimes venture closer to a busier streets without going there. Yet he is still afraid of busier streets (not a major road here either). I feel at some point he has to get used to a busier street than a side street. I know there is a fear stage at around 4 months but tried to avoid frightening things for the last few weeks.

He doesn't have access to see out a window but I was thinking of putting something by the window so he could see out....won't be doing that now. Thanks for the tip.

I don't coddle him and always praise when he is brave. I also handout treats to people to give to him. His mom was quite I'm guessing this is a genetic thing. Any other suggestions?

November 10th, 2005, 04:35 PM
I fostered a dog like that, she was absolutely terrified of strangers, she was even frightened in the house, especially if it was quiet and dark, she would bark at anything. I always thought that she was just so worried that I wouldn't be able to protect her, and that she didn't feel she could protect us on her own
I worked really hard with her, I would get her to "Come to my side" when she would start getting upset, then we would carry on our walk as usual (not making noise any real big deal). Dogs are pack animals, and you being at the front of the pack lets them know who's doing the protecting. It made for a really slow walk, but she started to trust in me, and she realized that I wouldn't let anything happen to her or myself.
When she moved to her forever home, she had a neutered male that she shared her parent with, and she has been fine ever since, odder still, when she moved to her new home, she became the dominant dog, go figure.

November 10th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Genetics can play a big role in this reaction, but you still have to help him get over it. The advice given has been good, but I would add that when you take him to a place to be desensitized plan on being there for a long time. If you leave and he is still nervous than thats what he will remember. But if you leave when he is comfortable then thats what he will remember.
Also giving him jobs to do when you are in new environments helps him to look to you for support and guidance. It also takes his mind off his worries and gets him to start releasing calming chemicals in his brain which will help him relax.
Massaging him (especially his ears and tail) during these times also helps him to relax.