dog with intense fear, need help - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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dog with intense fear, need help

I am trying to socialize my dog as best I can. Its becoming very difficult at this point. He is a 5 month old 70lb pup. I got him from a shelter at approxiately 8 weeks old, I have always had GSD and I thought he was closer to about 6 weeks, if that, when i got him. I walk him every evening, and he is not afraid of other people, he hides behind me, but when they reach out to touch him, he licks them and allows them to pet him without issue. He knows basic commands and obeys very very well. But today that all changed. Well... Today there was a kid on a skateboard that was outside on the street, I took my dog out to let him see what it was, since he was in the window watching. This went from bad to worse very quickly. He pulled me harder than I have ever been pulled, to date, with him. Trying to get back home, I held my ground and didnt budge, which didnt help at all. He was so scared from the moment I stepped of my porch that he was clawing the pavement to get back home. This kid is the same kid that pets him everytime he sees him without issue. He would eventually #*$% on the sidewalk out of fear. I have never had a GSD do this, or even be this afraid. When I came back in after a min of talking to that kid, my dog was in the bathroom hiding behind the door.
What gives? I need some help here BAD
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 08:57 PM
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a shot in the dark here...there are all kinds of awful, scary, loud noises in a shelter...he also may have been less than the 8 weeks the shelter said/thought he was. something about the skateboard, i would suspect the noise or the speed, frightened him badly. he is actually still very young, there's even a second fear period (not sure, anybody else???), you may be dealing with. other people will chime in no doubt with more opinions on the behavior you are experiencing, but my suggestion is to not force him to do things which frighten him so much, reassure him, back up and regroup. and think about what he might have experienced in the shelter. and about what a baby he actually still is at 5 months. i have a dear little rescue girl who is scared #!*t-less of hoses...well, they clean shelter runs with pressure water sprayers, and that's why. i am always respectful of what happened to her when she was young, and never force any of my dogs to do anything. please respect your dog's fear.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 10:50 PM
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Do a search on here for LAT. You would do well to get to a trainer if one isn't already involved. You do NOT want this escalating into fear-biting later and you need to know where your dog's threshold is so you don't cross it. I have never allowed any dog or pup to hide behind me when I have them out. I pick up the slack on the leash and make them stand or sit beside me. I also never, ever give verbal reassurance. This, actually, is telling your pup that there is something to be afraid of. Also, make sure your fear of the dog having a reaction is not in your head. They do VERY well at picking up on our feelings, and this will travel right down the leash and make your dog nervous....wondering what the threat is. Yes, there is a second 'fear period', but only you will know if your pup has always been this way or if this is a new behavior. It's possible that the dog was exhibiting fear before going outside, but felt safe enough inside. A trainer can help you pick up on these 'signals' so they aren't overlooked and avoid the stress overload. In the future, if your dog is afraid be aware that there are two choices... flight or fight. You don't want the pup in the position where it feels that 'fight' is the only option.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 12:01 AM
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i'm uncertain whether this puppy needs a trainer or a behaviorist. anyone else have an opinion about this?

my dogs all look to me for protection and reassurance. i am the pack(s) leader and the boss, lolol.

mom to the cashman
the rescues...jeni-take-a-ride, and the c-monster
shangri la's seraphina blue (RIP 8/1/15)
hearthside's cinderfella (RIP 4/20/09)
shep von bellefontaine (RIP 6/9/10)
cricket (african grey RIP 7/13)
voodoo lily (dsh RIP 8/15)
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 07:32 AM
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My five month old female GSD, Sabra, had a very strong reaction to a child on a skateboard last week too. We were at training class and the instructor's grandson had a skateboard. He was lying on his stomach and just going back and forth slowly on the skateboard. Sabra was terrified. I asked the child to get off of the skateboard and we used this as an opportunity for the other dogs in the class. Each dog was permitted to meet Drew (the child) and the skateboard while he was just standing quietly, holding the skateboard. Next, Drew stood on the skateboard and the dogs were allowed to approach him. Next, Drew moved slowly back and forth on the skateboard in the upright postion. No dogs reacted at all once this was done.

As a further testimony, I am on vacation now and Sabra is with me. On our walk yesterday, two teenagers went by us on skateboards. Sabra ignored them!! I was so pleased.

If you can, please take a step back and help your dog over his fear by introducing him to a skateboard in a manner that is less frightening than the initial one. It worked for me and for all of the other dogs in my basic obedience training class.


Sabra - female GSD - born April 30, 2012
Sargeant - rescued senior GSD male/foster failure - approximately ten years old (August 2013)
Max - rescued GSD - Dec 22, 2010 to March 7, 2012 - at the bridge
Sable - rescued GSD - at the bridge
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 08:11 PM
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My 4 month old was startled by two boys on skate boards last night as well. I kept reassuring her, and when we were a little bit away, she wanted to still see them. On the way back home she was nervous, but did seem a little calmer..
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