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Katie shepherd 04-14-2014 02:58 PM

Help overcoming fears
We have had our Katie since she was 8 weeks old. In may she will celebrate her 5th birthday. She has always been the best german shepherd anyone could ask for and was very easy to train. However there are two things that make her cower into a corner with fear. One is anything large blowing in the wind like the tarp I keep up to work on cars under. She is terrified just at the site of it. I think its because it ripples when the wind blows through it. The 2nd thing she is terrified of is the buffing pad I buff cars with. If she see's it she turns around and goes the other way. What would be the best way to help her conquer her fears of these things? Would it be best to confront her with them and show her they will not harm her or just let it go and hope she gets used to them in time? She has been scared of them for about 2 years now. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

David Taggart 04-14-2014 03:26 PM

This sort of nervousness is not inherited but learned, because she is scared of a particular type of object. Quite often such fears are connected to the early puppyhood, something similar must have frightened her while she still was very young, or even her mother could have demonstrated examples of such behaviour and she copied it.
She can get over her fears if she encounters these objects not so often. That is the frequency of irritation that causes it, you don't let her to forget about it. Try to keep her away from these objects for a month or so, don't let her see or smell them. Then start slowly, leave the object somewhere in the distance and feed her (she should be hungry) somewhere close by. Make the distance shorter in a week time. Then even shorter and feed just tasty treats, and bring her really close to it when you see that she looks at your hand with treats, not at the object. And after that - start to place treats on the object itself. If the visual image associates with pleasure (treats), normally dogs remain cautious, but lose their fear.

Gretchen 04-14-2014 03:35 PM

I wish I could offer something constructive, but I am at a loss. We had a dog that was fearful of trains and metallic sounds or walking over metal - it never diminished. What David wrote makes sense and hope it works.

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