Fear Period or Nerves? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Fear Period or Nerves?

My (about)5mo puppy got her last set of puppy shots the other day. I have been fighting the bit to get her out and about.

She has been, so far, a pretty confident pup. Not only has she not startled at anything new she has seen at my house (big compressor going off, power tools, air tools, loud crashes, helicopters, 4th of July was a breeze and we had just brought her home, any new object I have shown her, etc.).

Now that puppy shots are officially over, I celebrated by taking her on a walk the next day. I had not taken her off my property in a few weeks, almost a month. She hesitated. She promptly got over it when I called her after me and gave her some food. She took food all through the walk. Good sign? I know anxious dogs won't take food...right?

Walking her was kind of like flying a kite, so all that leash prep work went right out the window, lol. I remained patient and just let her explore. She just kind of sniffed everything. Good?

She showed some signs of anxiety. She put her ears down when we were down the block where she had never been, and slightly tucked her tail. So I slowed down and the tail came out, the ears went up.

Things she reacted great to: A parent teaching her kid how to ride a bike with him wobbly riding within 12 feet of her, kids playing at the playground screaming and being kids, cars going all over the place, people jogging, honking cars, people on bikes. In fact, one person rode their bike right up to us and asked to pet her. She walked right up to the person, tail wagging and relaxed.

Things she spooked at: A semi that sped down the main street by my tract, and a kid on a skateboard.

She was doing so good around the main street, I walked her along it (2nd walk). The semi whooshed by, and she spooked. She recovered pretty quickly, but she was unsure after that.
She did the same thing at a kid on a skateboard. She initally spooked once and got over it quickly. After that she watched, obviously curious. I was kind of bummed about it, because I have a skatoboard and showed it to her, rolled it around while she ate food off of it, and she didn't mind it at all.
She also keeps wanting to go up peoples driveways?

Judging by this post, what could I do better? Am I expecting too much?
The two times she spooked I just calmly waited for her to chill out.
Is this a normal puppy thing? A fear period? Or is it nerves? I want to give her time and space, but I don't want to space out and suddenly have a crazy dog.

I'm just hope I didn't miss that important window, you know?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 07:53 PM
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Doesn't sound like she's fearful. More likely startled by unexpected, and new stimulus.

The recovery, IMHO, is the big thing and you say that was fine.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 07:55 PM
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Sounds like your pup is doing just fine. Don't worry too much about her spooking at certain things; remember that from a puppy's perspective (heck, even from a human's) a speeding semi and a skateboard swooshing by are scary and possibly dangerous things! IMO, it's unrealistic to expect a pup to *never* experience fear... it's more about how they handle and recover from it.

The fact that she handled everything as well as she did, is encouraging. Keep socializing and maybe take her to a skateboard park so she learns those things are not dangerous (just highly annoying). The fact that she recovered quickly and was curious about the skateboard is a good sign as well.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 09:34 PM
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your pup is 5 months old and you're
just getting her out. everything is new.
you have to take her out and expose
her to new things everyday. the more
your out and about the better off the pup
is going to be.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by zyppi View Post
Doesn't sound like she's fearful. More likely startled by unexpected, and new stimulus.

The recovery, IMHO, is the big thing and you say that was fine.
Agreed. She could be a little shy but recovery is a very good sign.
IMHO
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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This makes me feel better. I think I am expecting too much, and I need to relax. I just don't want her being a nervebag

I took her on another little walk today, and we worked on her being a dog and not a kite, lol

There is one issue I am going to have to get through...she has no idea what to do about other dogs. She literally just stops and looks at them, very alert. She seems very interested, but not in an aggressive or scared way.
In fact, I wish I had my camera bc I can never get her to stand still in that regal of a pose! Ears alert (still waiting for those tips to go up), perfect stance, tail like a saber...

I can't get her to pay attention to me until the dog goes on its' way. On our earlier walk we tried working on the 'watch me' with no one around, but she acts 'stupider' outside of our house. She is just way too interested in everything else, and I can't say I blame her!
I'm back to working on it at home to make it more solid, and to jackpot when she actually does it outside of our house.

I just got back from walking her with my two boys. I figured this would boost her confidence a little, and lead by example. It worked!

However, maybe it worked a little too well. We saw a dog across the street, and this dog was pulling and carrying on to come over to us. Schatzi (my pup) leapt straight UP into the air and let out a surprisingly deep bark. Very 'woowoowoo' like. I told her quiet, gave her a little leash pop and made her sit. Then suddenly she was fine and turned around bouncing around with her brothers.

She is obsessed with smelling everything. Trotting to her seems easier than walking, and this concerns me as we walk on concrete on most of our walks.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
Sounds like your pup is doing just fine. Don't worry too much about her spooking at certain things; remember that from a puppy's perspective (heck, even from a human's) a speeding semi and a skateboard swooshing by are scary and possibly dangerous things! IMO, it's unrealistic to expect a pup to *never* experience fear... it's more about how they handle and recover from it.

The fact that she handled everything as well as she did, is encouraging. Keep socializing and maybe take her to a skateboard park so she learns those things are not dangerous (just highly annoying). The fact that she recovered quickly and was curious about the skateboard is a good sign as well.
That is a godo idea.

How can I get her to relax walking on a busy street?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by TankGrrl66 View Post

How can I get her to relax walking on a busy street?
Just keep practicing! Bring along some of her favorite treats and reward her when she's walking by your side. You can also use the treats to redirect her and get her attention. Right now everything is new and fascinating and probably a bit overwhelming; she's just a baby. Keep socializing! Are there any puppy socialization/obedience classes near you? If so, sign up! They will help tremendously.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 11:27 AM
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It's a whole new world out there for her. One of the things that I do with my dogs is that I let them spend a certain amount of the walk exploring and just being a dog and the rest I expect them to walk along nicely with me. That way we both get what we want from the walk. I let them do their exploring in the area that's the most fun for them, where they can be off leash (if trained, of course) or on a loose leash, as opposed to on a busy street or something. I do always try to make the walk fun for them and try to avoid using corrections (like leash pops) and instead use redirection (turning around, using LAT, a toy to heel or a toy to carry, etc.).

Has she had any socialization with other dogs? If not then I would find a puppy play group or some friends with well trained, friendly dogs and start ASAP with the doggie socialization. This is getting really late in her development for dog socialization but it's still possible.

I use LAT (Look at THAT!) for dog reactiveness (even when it's excitement kind of reactiveness). Works great!

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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bowowmeow, do you have any links/videos of training LAT?

I've tried it with her in one session and she didn't understand it at all; I want to find a more broken down way of teaching before I try again.

Or if you have some little steps/method that has worked for you please share! I think it would help us out.
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