5 month fear stage?....of a ....dock?? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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5 month fear stage?....of a ....dock??

Hi there! Fear question.....We went for a walk today at a local park. There is a playground and a nature walk that leads down to the river. This was a new place for Jedi and there were TONS of people and dogs out today. We had no issues walking through the playground or on our walk meeting people and other dogs, all went well....until we got to the dock. We took 2 steps on to the dock and Jedi freaked out and started walking backwards - he was NOT going on that dock. period.

a dock, really? Why? I mean, of all things to be scared of, something he won't regularly encounter on a daily basis is a good thing, but it seemed so odd to me! He also got mad at me for trying to take him on the dock and stayed at leash end for the rest of the time we were there. I had pot roast on me for treats and he didn't even want that - he was NOT HAPPY. Is this something I should just blow off since we won't encounter anything like this regularly and is easily avoided if we go there again or should I do something? His reaction to me afterward was weird too - apparently I didn't handle the situation like he thought I should have. We moved away from the dock and waited for my husband and kids to get back. I sat down with him and gave him some love, but maybe that was wrong? I know people have said not to use the "baby voice" because it can cause the dog to think this was good behavior, so I didn't do that, just told him we didn't have to go to the dock and gave him a hug. Thoughts?

(also, just as an aside since I know there are tons of fear threads...I did try and read through some other threads, but I didn't find anything that quite fit this - not that it isn't somewhere, but it wasn't in the first 10 threads I found...)
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 06:54 PM
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Some dogs have issues with bridges, and a dock is sort of the same thing. You might try going back in a couple of months and see what happens, he may just walk right across like it was never an issue.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 07:02 PM
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How old is he? (Always a good idea to include that info. ) Anything new can be scary for a puppy - could be slight movement, could be because it's a new surface he's never encountered before, could be because it's over water, could be because there are some cracks in the wood that he could see through..... Could be anything!

I wouldn't worry about it too much. When my dogs were young and balked at something I'd usually do the "jolly routine", talking silly to them in a happy tone of voice, and encourage them to investigate by dropping a trail of treats leading up to it.

Keep it light, take it slow, and don't force him. Rather than trying to get him to walk on the dock you could just approach it and stop a few feet away. Tell him how brave he is and give him a couple of treats, and then retreat. Next time, go a step or two closer than last time, rinse/repeat.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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he's 5 months (it's in the title of the thread)

I like the slow approach with treats - I'll try that next time!

Was his reaction to me afterward normal? It really seemed like I was the worst person on earth after that! He's been fine since we got home, but as far as he was concerned, he did not know the crazy lady holding the other end of his leash
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 08:25 PM
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some dogs have a problem with depth perception -- just like a person who needs glasses for visual acuity .
Or the dog may not fear the dock but the expanse of "nothing" ---- the water . Not the water as water but the looking out to a far off horizon. ??

have his eyes checked .
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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interesting! I hadn't thought about it like that. He had a vet apt 2 weeks ago and she said he was perfectly healthy - but I have no idea if they checked his eyes, I'll have to call and find out. This may be a silly question, but what does a vet do if a dog has poor eye sight?

I'll try taking him to the beach, see if he has the same reaction, then maybe I'll have a better idea if it was the water or the dock itself. Thanks!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 08:50 PM
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my dog at some point wouldn't cross or walk
on this bridge that was built in the 1800's.
i took it slow. we would near the bridge. then
stepped on the bridge. then we would walk on the bridge
(maybe 2 feet on the bridge). slowly on each visit we would
go a little farhter on the bridge. once we reached the middle of the bridge
i would give my dog commands (sit, stay, down, come, stop etc.).
after a little training (slowly) my dog was able to cross the bridge with
no problems.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2011, 09:16 PM
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a dog with depth perception problems could walk off a curb or stoop without realizing it was there and then surprise themselves with the sudden drop . They could misjudge and be walking into things . just google "canine depth perception and you'll get lots of results.
This is a topic of interest for agility competitors - see this
http://www.awesomepaws.us/?page_id=416 and
Canine Vision

Depth perception - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia --- why a wide open expanse of water with no shading to give clues as to distance may concern the young dog , until he has experience

http://www.wadsworth.com/psychology_...s/ps/ps05.html

some interesting stuff
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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awesome, ty!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 06:53 AM
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Carmen fascinating article. My old male, Grim has some minor problems with this stuff. He balked his first time on the dock but got over it quickly when he realized that is how you got on the boat.

He is the only dog I have had who has run straight into trees enough that I adjusted my back yard and how I throw balls to accomodate and don't do throws in the woods. He has run into me as well to the tune of bone spurs on both of my shins.

Hates white shiny floors (is that related....actually Lisa Higgins told me that could be a vision issue) does not mind colored shiny floors. It seems to be unrelated to other nerve issues to me. But to overcome that I just continued on without pressure completely ignoring him and he followed and it took a few minutes to relax and adjust his motion. He blew it off when I threw a ball but that was a bad idea (sliding into lockers was probably not a good experience nor would be falling off a dock)

Would foot placement excercises help the puppy with some confidence? Walking through a ladder on the ground? Or is it strictly visual.

Nancy



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Last edited by NancyJ; 11-13-2011 at 06:56 AM.
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