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Beautiful Bailey 05-22-2014 11:12 PM

My 12 week old German Shepherd is anxious/scared around strangers in public. Advice?
 
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Hey everyone! I'm looking for some advice/tips on getting my 12 week old puppy Bailey to be more comfortable in public settings. I take her for a walk on a daily basis as long as the weather permits but I have noticed when we pass by people or dogs she becomes anxious or fearful. She doesn't become aggressive by any means but she tries to get away, hide or she continuously looks back. Today during our walk we walked past a children's tricycle and she was terrified but she does just fine when we go past a bicyclist. How do I make her more comfortable or confident during our walks or when she is around strangers. Like when we are in public if people walk by she tries to hide. During our walks we have only had a few people want to pet her so I don't know how to get her use to strangers coming up to give her some positive attention.
After she is completely vaccinated I hope to take her to dog parks and into pet stores but I don't want her to be freaked out. What should I do or have you done in this situation? Will she grow out of it in time or is it something I should be really worried about since I know during the puppy stages is when she needs to be socialized. Please any advice would be great. Thank you for your time!

Bailey and Brittney

petite 05-23-2014 10:07 AM

What a beautiful pup! I'm no trainer but my girl has some issues on walks as well we're working through. How are you reacting when she becomes fearful? My puppy can be anxious with dogs behind fences. I simply walk past like nothing is wrong at all. I do switch her to the opposite side of what's scaring her but I keep on walking like nothing is wrong. She tends to react at first but then follow me and get over it.

You can also try finding what distance she's comfortable with away from what she's reacting to and reward her for being calm. That's not always feasible on walks but if she's a sensitive pup she may need more than distraction like mine. She may need space and positive reinforcement until she's comfortable.

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lyssa62 05-23-2014 10:11 AM

I really REALLY want to meet this lady ... my trainer uses a LOT of Suzannes techniques ...

Calming the Fearful Dog - YouTube


http://youtu.be/VLriCeTYxLM ( this one is about thresholds) <--I really like this one

Cara Fusinato 05-23-2014 11:41 AM

And you all are fine with walking an unvaccinated pup around the neighborhood? In central California where I live you WILL get parvo. I have known people who have done this and lost their dogs to it. The stuff stays on a property for years, how do you know 3 years ago what happened? How do you know a fox didn't come by? My mom has a fox that sleeps on her back porch (she doesn't LIKE this but they are "protected"). I wouldn't take a puppy there because of this. You are SO risking your dog walking around the neighborhood.

Beautiful Bailey 05-23-2014 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by petite (Post 5556185)
What a beautiful pup! I'm no trainer but my girl has some issues on walks as well we're working through. How are you reacting when she becomes fearful? My puppy can be anxious with dogs behind fences. I simply walk past like nothing is wrong at all. I do switch her to the opposite side of what's scaring her but I keep on walking like nothing is wrong. She tends to react at first but then follow me and get over it.

You can also try finding what distance she's comfortable with away from what she's reacting to and reward her for being calm. That's not always feasible on walks but if she's a sensitive pup she may need more than distraction like mine. She may need space and positive reinforcement until she's comfortable.

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Thank you for the advice! She does great walking past fenced dogs but my neighborhood for some reason is full of people who don't believe in fenced yards or leashes dogs so it's like their are loose dogs in peoples yards all the time. Yesterday we had a pit bull come running towards us and my first reaction was to pick her up because I didn't want a fight. Maybe not the best move to make but the dog coming at us off leash is frightening even for me. I will have to try being more confident on our walks and see if that will help her. I praise her through out the walk to let her know she is doing good so should I stop doing that and focus more on praising her when she gets through a fearful situation?

Brittney and Bailey

Gretchen 05-23-2014 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beautiful Bailey (Post 5557074)
Thank you for the advice! She does great walking past fenced dogs but my neighborhood for some reason is full of people who don't believe in fenced yards or leashes dogs so it's like their are loose dogs in peoples yards all the time. Yesterday we had a pit bull come running towards us and my first reaction was to pick her up because I didn't want a fight. Maybe not the best move to make but the dog coming at us off leash is frightening even for me. I will have to try being more confident on our walks and see if that will help her. I praise her through out the walk to let her know she is doing good so should I stop doing that and focus more on praising her when she gets through a fearful situation?

Brittney and Bailey

After reading about the loose dogs in your neighborhood, I would take Cara's advice and keep your pup home. There are some good articles online, socialization vs parvo, that have safe ideas where to take your pup. I would be frightened if an off-leash pitbull came running up to us. We are fortunately in my neighborhood that most people have to obey leash laws, we all have condos-no backyards, so unless you want your dog to get hit by a car, most dogs on leashes.

Cara Fusinato 05-24-2014 01:23 AM

Quote:

my neighborhood for some reason is full of people who don't believe in fenced yards or leashes dogs
Willing to bet there is a lack of vaccinations too!

Yikes. Take the baby home and work on exposing to anything and everything in your own house and yard. You can set up obstacle courses and walk past in the yard, you can have people come in and walk around or bike or skateboard around the pup, you can have different surfaces, mini agility where the baby walks on a board or over a tiny little A-frame or through a tube/tunnel, you can expose to instruments, music, drums, dropping things, swinging things like a towel around. SO many things to do to build confidence on and off leash in a safe controlled environment before hitting the pavement. I wouldn't walk a dog in a neighborhood with loose dogs. I would NOT take a fearful dog to a dog park because the other dogs will just pick on your dog and make it worse.

So far, you have exposed your dog to who knows what (parvo, distemper, kennel cough), scared your dog with other dogs, and scared your dog with people, bicycles, etc.

I have a fearful dog. Trust me. Stay home and stay put until vaccinated, create lots of successful activites to build confidence at home, have kind people come visit, have a fully vaccinated healthy and friendly dog come play, after vaccinations, get into obedience class and maybe a very light agility 1 class. Do all these things very calmly and controlled. Then make small quiet outtings. Up the exposure only after the level of stress has gone down from the previous things exposed to. Like ripples in a pond, start small and expose slowly and carefully to more and more as the dog can handle it. If you keep doing what you are doing, I am willing to bet you will have a dog reactive on leash to people and animals, cowering at noises, and really hard to do anything with. That is, IF you manage to avoid all the germs.

You can turn this around NOW or keep making things worse. I have one. I didn't do it right. I have since learned. My dog is a homebody. I had to get another dog to go do things with and leave my boy home and happy in his controlled safe world.

Beautiful Bailey 05-24-2014 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cara Fusinato (Post 5559506)
Willing to bet there is a lack of vaccinations too!

Yikes. Take the baby home and work on exposing to anything and everything in your own house and yard. You can set up obstacle courses and walk past in the yard, you can have people come in and walk around or bike or skateboard around the pup, you can have different surfaces, mini agility where the baby walks on a board or over a tiny little A-frame or through a tube/tunnel, you can expose to instruments, music, drums, dropping things, swinging things like a towel around. SO many things to do to build confidence on and off leash in a safe controlled environment before hitting the pavement. I wouldn't walk a dog in a neighborhood with loose dogs. I would NOT take a fearful dog to a dog park because the other dogs will just pick on your dog and make it worse.

So far, you have exposed your dog to who knows what (parvo, distemper, kennel cough), scared your dog with other dogs, and scared your dog with people, bicycles, etc.

I have a fearful dog. Trust me. Stay home and stay put until vaccinated, create lots of successful activites to build confidence at home, have kind people come visit, have a fully vaccinated healthy and friendly dog come play, after vaccinations, get into obedience class and maybe a very light agility 1 class. Do all these things very calmly and controlled. Then make small quiet outtings. Up the exposure only after the level of stress has gone down from the previous things exposed to. Like ripples in a pond, start small and expose slowly and carefully to more and more as the dog can handle it. If you keep doing what you are doing, I am willing to bet you will have a dog reactive on leash to people and animals, cowering at noises, and really hard to do anything with. That is, IF you manage to avoid all the germs.

You can turn this around NOW or keep making things worse. I have one. I didn't do it right. I have since learned. My dog is a homebody. I had to get another dog to go do things with and leave my boy home and happy in his controlled safe world.

Thanks for the tips. I haven't taken Bailey out for a walk since your first response. We now stay in the yard and work on training. Her last set of vaccines is next month so I am going to just keep her home and work with her until then. I do not plan on taking Bailey to any dog parks until she is able to walk on leash and be confident I knew already that would be a disaster if I took her when she is fearful. Hopefully during the time we wait to go on walks again she will become more confident with new people and new surroundings so she can enjoy the world. We live on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon which is one of the top cities in the U.S to own a dog and I hope Bailey will over come her fears and get the chance to see why.

Chip18 05-24-2014 02:55 PM

You can't screw around with Parvo especially if it's in the area! But Parvo like organic matter asphalt and concrete aren't great host.

Business parks on the weekends and there parking lots are usually pretty dog free environments. :) Or as you say keep her in the yard for a few more weeks.

Your basically doing what you need to do, but it sounds like a few to many people and a few to many dogs are around. So you need a lot fewer of both.

Post 8 has some useful links:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...allenging.html

"Who Pets my Puppy or Dog" is what I did with my guy and his "people issues." :)


Loose dogs see here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...e-leash-5.html

Picking the dog up is "not" the best way to handle it! Your dog is still the target! My guy goes behind me and "I" face the oncoming dog, it changes the focus of the charging dog they are looking for you dog not you!

Cara Fusinato 05-24-2014 05:15 PM

I'm glad -- now I can sleep at night.

Just take it slow and positive with her and you will be fine. It's all about success and slow exposures not crazy exposure all at once.


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