Scaredy Cat Freya
I posted in the intro section a few days ago, and figured I would follow up here. My 10 month old Freya is a complete spook. Anything and everything scares her. I got her this past Wednesday. First night was terrible. She paced constantly, indoors and out. She never potty'ed. I crated her overnight and she pooped and peed EVERYWHERE in it...ugh! She would not leave my side, even for a second, and still, there was constant pacing. She apparently was taught some basic commands, but we are starting fresh, and it is like teaching a pup that has never learned before.
It is difficult trying to find the balance of her gaining some independence and providing the affection and love that she wants. If she had it her way, we would melt together on the couch and never part, lol. I also know that this can spell disaster down the road and lead to severe separation anxiety.
I tried walking her a bit in front of our house a couple days ago...NOPE! She would belly crawl, weave between my legs and just stay there, flattening herself against the pavement...I couldn't imagine what the neighbors were thinking! LOL.
So far, there has been tremendous progress. She only paces when I have left her field of vision, and has not had an accident in 4 days. She had never walked into a crate before, hated in initially and now that is the food provider, so she is very happy. I do not tolerate even a whimper, so she quiets down very quickly. When out of the crate, she still has to be with me. My fiance has been away from home a lot more than I have, so I am her fave, and she is still fearful at times with him. My other dogs have been a great help to her. She was phobic of doorways, but they taught her that they are, in fact, not torturous tools. Training has helped boost her confidence. She even played tug of war a bit with me yesterday..and playing period was not on her mind until yesterday.
I am hoping to try her again on walks in a day or two. We will start just in front of the house, then branch out.
My fiance is a little saddened by the fact that she is still spooky with him. I am a "no fluff" type person and told him it is because he is trying too hard to win her over. Sometimes, it seems, when people try to bribe a fearful dog over, the dogs response will never change. They are, in their own way, enjoying that type of attention. He would crouch down calling her, opening his arms, getting a little closer, while she circled just out of reach. I told him to stop doing that, and start walking away. She will follow, THEN pet her and drop her a treat. It is working slowly but surely. He still tries a little too hard, I think.
I have caught her, on one occasion, mouthing one of my cats, jaws gently around neck. The cat was enjoying the attention, but it makes me nervous. I scolded her, but again, that is one little cat without a chance if Freya treated her as a toy.
I am hoping my experience will help some others. I am also actively seeking guidance as well. One thing I have a question about:
When I begin walking her again, should I let her do whatever she wants to at first (i.e. dart about, pull, lay between my legs), until she gets used to the area, or begin loose leash training immediately? I feel part of her problem is that she was too harshly correctly by the former owner. I got a training martingale for her, and the first time I attempted walking her and would do the quick jerk, she flattened herself as if I did something terrible. I am wondering if it would be better to get her accustomed to the area at first, but also feel it would be unfair to her to suddenly change the rules up later.
Thanks to all for listening!
Slow down. You describe a stressed submissive dog who is signaling she is afraid on walks and needs time to sort things out and grow confident, not a dog who needs leash jerks and more exposure to wide open strange places. Get her accustomed to walking on a leash in your house and then your yard first. Small steps. Don't push her over her threshold. She's only known you for 5 days. Hang out with her in your front yard for a few days on a long lead. Use positive training. She obviously likes you and is improving.
When I brought home Jack at 11 months, he was super fearful of everything and anything. He would just lie down and become dead weight...sounds like yours.
When I first brought home Lillian at ~3 years, she circled around the center wall of my then-loft apartment eyeing me warily from the opposite room for a couple of weeks, at least.
With both of these dogs, I had to say ad nauseum to friends, the BF, the son, etc., please don't look at the dog. Please don't touch the dog. Good grief, will everyone please just let the new dog alone!
Give the dog two or three weeks to just observe you and learn your routine and how you operate, etc., before you start making demands on her.
There's a two-week shutdown procedure that both of mine would have benefitted greatly from, had I been aware of it at the time...easily searched on the internet.
They will come around with patience, and then you will have established the trust necessary to get the best results out of her training sessions.
I apologize if I made it sound as if I am pushing her and being a meanie. Far from it. If I were, I would not be seeing the progress I have. I took her into the street in front of my home (when no people were around), simply to see what I am dealing with, and to what extent her fear is. She walks beautifully on leash in yard which I have done a few times now, and I branched out to the street for 10 minutes, once. I am not jerking her around on her leash on her leash either. You are not supposed to jerk around a dog, just a quick maneuver that rattles the chain enough to make a noise. I am simply asking what route to take once I go to the street. I am not going to have her on a training lead in the road...not safe.
You don't sounds like a meanie at all. I think I was really writing what you already explained you had told your fiance, and was not much help to you on topic at all.
Hopefully some of the experienced trainers will chime in and help with your specific question about how to approach the street.
If it were me, I'd probably just stand around at the edge of the street with her, watching the world go by, for a while. That way, even if some people do come around or something else unexpected happens, she's getting gradually desensitized to being outside her comfort zone? Getting her used to being in the situation without having to worry about over correcting.
Yeah, the pup I was describing in the first post, was the first few days. It was like a breakthrough day 3, which was when I got her into the front yard. She did very well at it, did again in pm, then expanded to the street, which was when she went into fear mode. I tried her outside again a little while ago and just let her do her thing. She was great, so I think she definitely just needed a couple more days of shut in. I was impressed at the difference and thought it would be a slow process to get her used to the road. She was leery of venturing any further past 2 houses either direction, so we stuck with her comfort area. No darting or anything. Yay!!! I think she will come around quick. When I first got her, I was thinking this will be a very long rehab, but, although I know it will take time, it shouldn't take months/years like it seemed initially. It IS hard keeping others from paying too much attention. What you view as cuddling and being friendly can be very scary to a skittish pup. I need to fashion a "Don't Touch Me" sign and put it on her. I am hoping her wolfy look will keep people from approaching her. For now, I will absolutely keep to walks midday when kids are in school. Hopefully by summer, she will be able to handle it.
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