Fearful of being outside - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Fearful of being outside

I need some advice on my girls behavior. Inside our house she has great confidence, except when the air conditioner turns on, but when we go outside it's a completely different story. She completely shuts down and wont take treats. If she is not on leash I can get her to play and have fun but the first chance she gets to go inside she will take it. We just started working with a trainer who is using the flooding technique right now but that doesn't seem to be working very well. We have another session with him this Saturday and we will see what he says. Everything I have read says to desensitize and counter condition, but how to you do that when just stepping into your backyard puts her over threshold? She does better if she is off leash, my thought being that she doesn't feel restrained and trapped. I know she is scared of people bc I can take her out to a deserted park and let her explore and she LOVES it, but once she hears, smells or sees someone she's very uncomfortable. I would appreciate any help y'all can give!

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 07:23 AM
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No flooding needed. I would find another trainer.

Shy dogs/fearful dogs links and resources click here, then click on links.

How long have you had your dog? Do you have any other dogs? What is her background/where/how did you get her?

I have a scaredy dog and we did obedience classes for about 3 years just to get her out and do something. They were pretty low intensity, and knowing what I know now, would have found even quieter, more positive classes because she really was just being compliant and was shutting down some of the times we were there (she is excessively obedient). She did like when we would sit and observe class before participating - and now I would look for max class size of 5, quieter groups. What was really important to her was that I was confident and not unclear about directions and what we needed to do. As soon as I was confused, she was like let's get out of here. But three years, and now, she prefers to stay home, but when out, you would never know what she was like back then - she was really a mess - no one could touch her, etc. She's 12 now.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 08:58 AM
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Do you have any friends with a confident and well behaved dog? If so, try setting up a few walks with them. Just a couple outings may help her over come her fears and then you can take it from there.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by CoraGirl View Post
I need some advice on my girls behavior. Inside our house she has great confidence, except when the air conditioner turns on, but when we go outside it's a completely different story. She completely shuts down and wont take treats. If she is not on leash I can get her to play and have fun but the first chance she gets to go inside she will take it. We just started working with a trainer who is using the flooding technique right now but that doesn't seem to be working very well. We have another session with him this Saturday and we will see what he says. Everything I have read says to desensitize and counter condition, but how to you do that when just stepping into your backyard puts her over threshold? She does better if she is off leash, my thought being that she doesn't feel restrained and trapped. I know she is scared of people bc I can take her out to a deserted park and let her explore and she LOVES it, but once she hears, smells or sees someone she's very uncomfortable. I would appreciate any help y'all can give!
You may want to try bringing her outside with you without any structured play or games planned. If you need to go out and trim the grass or clean up leaves that could be a great opportunity for her to just be outside on her own. My 1 year old Ajax had similar issues when he was younger. We would go outside everyday and I would let him do his own thing. At first he would stand by the door and whine but very quickly his adventurous spirit took control. Of course I kept a close eye on him because one bad experience will only push everything in the opposite direction, but over time he came to realize that he didn't need to be afraid of everything. We also did quite a bit of exploring. At least once a week we would go hiking in the forest (usually off lead) or I would take him into the city to explore. He had a paralyzing fear of cars for a long time but I stayed consistent with exposing him to them and it disappeared with time. Just like with everything else the key is to never baby her. If she is whining or afraid try to divert her attention to something else. GSD's love to have jobs, even if that job is simply listening to you tell her you're tired of moles tearing up your garden. haha! I would start taking her outside a few times a day for short periods and just let her do her thing. The more she is exposed to, the more she will realize she doesn't need to be fearful of. If she isn't a puppy and this is a totally new thing, there is a good chance something happened to her in your yard that made her afraid. Perhaps something involving a stranger which would explain her people fear. Luckily the cure for that is just re-exposure as well (in most cases). If you don't see any improvement in about a month to 1.5 months then you may want to seek professional help. Though from what you have described I think the issue can certainly be resolved without that. Good luck!!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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You may want to try bringing her outside with you without any structured play or games planned. If you need to go out and trim the grass or clean up leaves that could be a great opportunity for her to just be outside on her own... At first he would stand by the door and whine but very quickly his adventurous spirit took control... At least once a week we would go hiking in the forest (usually off lead) or I would take him into the city to explore... Just like with everything else the key is to never baby her... GSD's love to have jobs, even if that job is simply listening to you tell her you're tired of moles tearing up your garden. haha! I would start taking her outside a few times a day for short periods and just let her do her thing. The more she is exposed to, the more she will realize she doesn't need to be fearful of.
I'll have to start doing that. We usually go outside to potty and play. But i can always use a good tan! lol She does almost the samething, she'll sit by the door waiting to go in, but after awhile she'll start exploring the yard. She loves exploring the woods! I'll just have to get some tick repellent for both her and I!

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Do you have any friends with a confident and well behaved dog? If so, try setting up a few walks with them. Just a couple outings may help her over come her fears and then you can take it from there.
I don't I wish I did. I'm a little new to the area and don't know a lot of people. Our neighborhood does have a FB page that I might be able to find someone with a confident dog to do walks with.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 01:53 PM
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I just realised your not dealing with a young pup, does she interact with other dogs ok?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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She does. She's even good with rude dogs, but she doesn't like them. She met my brothers GSD, who is about a 100 lb male my girl is about 50 lbs, and he was rude. He was all up in her business being pushy, and she just avoided him. She would snap towards him, never making contact, trying to tell him to give her space.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 02:13 PM
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How old is your puppy? Are there any shy dog classes? Or trainers that work with shy dogs. There's a book you can buy immediately on amazon for around $10. Its called Help for your Fearful dog by Nicole Wilde. Your dog seems to be shy, but with lots of work and training it can help. He or she may never be a confident dog but at least you may be able to get him or her out and about with you in the world and learn to ignore things going around it. I have no idea what flooding training is but it doesn't sound good for shy dogs. Try to find a trainer that works with desensitizing or BAT training in your area. My dog was shy when he was a puppy, he would back up from people who wore glasses and hats. He's doing much better because of this book.

Dexter Bartolomeo -GSD (approx 3 1/2 years)
Fluffy Cornelius - Maltipoo rescue (approx 8yrs)
Squeezette Antoinette- Shih Tzu (17 yrs)
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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She is 1 yrs old. We just started working with our trainer and he doesn't believe in one specific training method, which I like, he does what works best for that specific dog. So we are trying/tried this one and will evaluate when we have our next session this Saturday.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CoraGirl View Post
She is 1 yrs old. We just started working with our trainer and he doesn't believe in one specific training method, which I like, he does what works best for that specific dog. So we are trying/tried this one and will evaluate when we have our next session this Saturday.
Maybe I misunderstood what you were asking. I thought you were asking for advice. As far as behavior your dog sounds like a shy fearful dog behavior. She's still young enough to work with so that's good news.

Dexter Bartolomeo -GSD (approx 3 1/2 years)
Fluffy Cornelius - Maltipoo rescue (approx 8yrs)
Squeezette Antoinette- Shih Tzu (17 yrs)
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