Scared of almost everything suddenly. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Scared of almost everything suddenly.

Hi everyone, I've had my puppy since she was 10 weeks old and she just turned 5 months.In the house with our other animals and all the people she is extremely friendly and not scared of anything indoors.

On walks she was always a little nervous of bigger dogs that are in fences, I'd keep walking and she would try to stop but as long as I kept going she'd keep walking past them. About 3 weeks ago she started refusing to walk past houses with big dogs in the back year and just tries to pull me backwards, I end up having to cave in because she's pulling so hard on her neck. She only does this when the dog is larger than her.

She used to be extremely friendly with strangers who wanted to come up and pet her, she would let them pet her for 5+ minutes and not even try to mouth or bite them like she does to her own family still. Yet shes suddenly doing the same thing with people as she is doing with larger dogs, she tries to run away from every stranger who tries to come to us. When I let her into the back yard the other morning to potty the wind suddenly blew and that gust of wind scared her, lol.

She goes to obedience training once a week, there are 4 other dogs all around her size and she ignores them perfectly fine and isn't scared at all there. Its just getting really hard to walk her since she wants to turn away and fight moving forward since there are so many dogs in my neighborhood.

Another topic on growth, shes 5 months and a bit over 40lb, not sure exactly how much since I haven't weighed her lately but I noticed that her growth and seemed to really have slowed down, is that normal at this age?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 09:21 PM
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It seems to me that your pup is going thru a fear period which is normal. It helps if you can yawn when she is scared as that is a calming signal. For the walking, if you know someone who can walk with you with their dog - a small dog that she isn't afraid of and who isn't afraid of the big dogs dogs in their fenced-in yards that may calm her down. Otherwise, try to curve - change direction and keep her by your side away from the fence side.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 09:33 PM
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Pulling hard the other way to get away from something is NOT a "fear period"
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by boomer11 View Post
Pulling hard the other way to get away from something is NOT a "fear period"
Yeah it is a fear period. This is a puppy who was always a little concerned about other dogs and now she's greatly concerned.

You need to work on building her confidence up. Ask at your training group about agility, huge confidence builder for fearful dogs.

On your walks, keep everything upbeat and happy. Don't worry oh she's going freak out over that big mutt hanging off the fence - she can pick up on your tension. Happy!

Try using music on your phone through the speaker, I'm too tired to remember the technical term for this but the music will remind her you're there, everything's good, we're just enjoying our walk.

If she shrinks away from a stranger just laugh Oh she's having a bad day and keep walking. Everything has to be happy and no big deal now. Spring's coming, go on a flower tour, HAPPY. Puppy needs to know her person will protect her but you can't coddle her - you do that by exuding confidence.

When you hear dogs barking from behind a fence, cross the street but keep going in the same direction. My dogs aren't fearful but I do this.

And yes the weight and slowing of the growth is normal for her age.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 03:42 AM
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I'm going through something of the same thing. I just took on a 5 month old.

He's fine with me, but he's very skittish around other dogs, and occasionally poeple.

At 4 days in I'm still in data gathering mode, I was going to give him a couple weeks and then put him in obedience training, and depending on how that works out trying agility.

Otherwise, dude is wining a LOT of tug-of-wars all of a sudden.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 01:12 PM
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Jake too, at 8 months gets alittle scared. Like the little dogs and heeler run out in the back barking at something, Jake, who is much bigger, hangs back by me. While the others are ferociously barking, Jake doesn't make a sound. Normally. I figure he's got the puppy brain thing and let's the grown ups handle the front line. We live in the country, quiet, not a lot of things to expose home too . I drive into town sometimes to walk him. He does well, but approaching strange things, like small signs, statues or even fire hydrants, his hackles would go up. He's getting desensitized now, but there's still a lot of scary things in town. To help him overcome his fears, I would make him confront them. Just calmly take as long as he needs to sniff or study an object. Then it's all good. Sometimes we just sit on the bench in town for a little while and let him just observe everything around him, until he's totally calm and bored, then we move on. Staying calm and patient seems to work for us, as far as helping Jake get over the little things that scare him. Don't know what to do about the wind. Confront a tornado maybe? About the dogs, maybe have her just sit for awhile until she calms down enough to move on a few more steps. ( we have the opposite problem, Jake just want to get to the other dogs). Patience and perseverance .
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 01:23 PM
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my puppy isn't that old but when he doesn't want to walk further i walk a bit ahead and turn my back on him. he isn't afraid so this may not be good advice if she's straining her neck on the leash very hard. but if you notice her stop walking as you approach a large dog you could try what I do. Just walk ahead, don't pull on the leash or talk to her. Just turn your back on her and keep facing forward (the direction you want to walk) and make sure your pose is upright and confident. I would guess that she wont like being ignored and she'll also get to see you are not afraid. my puppy used to try to wait me out for minutes before running up to join me but now as soon as he sees me turn my back he'll get his butt moving because he knows I wont give in and he hates not having my attention.

My puppy gets silly with new people, he'll run away, run back, run away, and after 2 or so repetitions he'll be the strangers bff. i don't know if you do, but don't 'introduce' your dog to strangers. it may be difficult if the whole point of them stopping to talk to you was to say hi to your dog, but instead just give your attention to them, ignore your dog, and explain that she's a little shy and warms up to people. talk to them for a few seconds or minutes if you are able and hopefully the dog can see that meeting new people is always between boring and fun. if your dog is going through some fear around new people and then there are several people reaching for and/or looking at her it may not help.if she doesn't want to be the center of attention, you be the center of attention instead when meeting new people and hopefully she just gets tired or tired of moving away from you whenever you talk to people.

I hope some of this helps

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 01:30 PM
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Don't indulge the pup by saying "it's ok" in a high voice, just ignore it, keep a loose lead and walk on confidently like Tiger said. Your pup will see how you handle the situation. It's your responsibility to protect your pup but he/she will see that if you're not nervous or afraid then he/she shouldn't be either. Don't force interaction with other dogs or people.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 01:43 PM
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You cant coddle fear its a myth. You can support your puppy if you want but odds are your puppy wont give a crap. If its a fear period and the pup is a little weird as a result dont sweat it too much. Socialize from a distance, keep the pup focused on you for treats or play.

Worst thing you can do is seal the puppy in a bubble and not expose it to stressors. Second worst thing you can do is force the puppy to directly interact with things they find terrifying.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 02:30 PM
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After reading Baillif's reply, I realized my wording may have made it sound like I force Jake to confront what scares him. I didn't mean for it to come across that way. I would never force anything scary on my boy. But I do let him approach scary objects on his own time, he does, and then he's over it, on to the next.
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