training for the Timid - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Red face training for the Timid

Ok we are late in training. We adopted Rosie at 8 wks. boxer/shepard mix. looks more like GS. she has naturally taken submissive role- we have 2 other JRT's when we brought her home. She will sit, but is so nervous on the leash, shes hard to train. shes looking around with ears down looking to escape. I have taken her for some car rides. she tolerates it , but shakes. shes now 14 mos old. she will not come into kitchen to eat, unless the others are done. consequently we have had to feed her after they were done or others would eat all her food. we tried to seperate her in anothe rroom- she didnt like that either. she will only eat if me or husband stand in the kitched with her, or no one at all is in there. she rolls over for bellie rubs, and plays, doesnt seem scared until we try to teach her something or on a leash. shes also afraid on anything different in her path- like dryer door open, or trash bag on floor- shes afraid to go past it. I dont understand why she is so timid, as we have not had to scold her hardly at all, much less anything rougher than that. Vet said it may just be her temprament. It makes it difficult to train basic commands though. Im looking at ordering some different treat- the cherry tart ones, and make some peanut butter ones at home maybe make it more inticing.. any other suggestions?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 05:25 PM
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As far as the food goes, you need to be a better pack leader. It sounds like the JRs don't know to stay away from the others dog's bowl. It sounds like she is intimidated by them. Each dog needs to be taught to stay at its bowl and to leave the others alone.

For treats. I find homemade treats and treats from "human" food the cheapest and most motivating. For training I use a mixture of cut up hotdogs (beef, turkey, or chicken) and string cheese cut up. Very good motivators.

Has she be socialized at all? it sounds like she doesn't have much confidence right now. Also remember not to coddle her when she seems afraid, shhe will come to realize thats its okay to be afraid of the paper that fell on the ground, or the blow dryer, or any random sounds, sights, smells.

When she sees something that spooks her, go over to it and call her over. Have a treat ready and praise her when she approaches it. Let her see that the mean old trash bag, or the dryer door, is nothing big. You want to reward her good behavior. Some of it might be her nerves, but it doesn't sound like anything that can't be worked on.


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Dakota "Koda" GSD 02/20/2008
Chloe Calico 9/21/2007

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Last edited by GSDSunshine; 03-23-2010 at 05:28 PM. Reason: had to add something
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 05:56 PM
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Great site with info to help timid dogs is

Fearful Scared Anxious Nervous and Timid Dogs

Good luck!


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"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 06:26 PM
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i would spend alot of time just having fun with her..get her to play with toys etc...............i think for alot of fearful timid dogs if you can redirect them to something fun thats half the battle...............always take some REALLY REALLY yummie treats where ever you go......she may be to nervous to take them in some situations but eventually she will if you are persistant..........i think the main thing is to do things in small doses........little steps at a as not to overwhelm her.........

How is she with people other than the family? i would most definitely get some professional advice from a quilified trainer/behaviorist to help you work through things properly.........counter conditioning can really make a difference, and the right quidence......

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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yes the JRTs are very stubborn, and we do stand in there to correct them to stick to their own bowl, but Rosie wont even set foot in the kitchen when they are there. shes good with other people, doesnt bark when a stranger comes in, is friendly to them. Ive taken her around a little to get used to people she doesnt know. not so much other dogs though, other than our own. I always have hotdogs, so thats great one. Yes I tried special treat, like in the truck ride, but she was so nervous she wouldnt take it at all. Ill keep at it, & ty for link on the book! I will order it. Ive never had such a fearful dog before! she loves to play, seems to be objects and new places really scare her most. she seems to trust me & my husband though. does anyone know what causes it? just in the genes maybe?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 09:59 PM
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JRT's can be VERY dominant - being terriers who don't realize that they don't weigh about 100 lbs each. So no wonder your pup is a little scared of them. It would take a very confident dog to put the little fellas in their place.

But you should be able to increase her confidence with the good tips offered above.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 10:15 PM
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She could be a little car sick as well as being afraid of the car. My pup gets car sick. He does best when in the kennel in the bed of the truck, but even then, he'll yack up a bit. He won't touch a treat after the ride as he still has foul mouth and upset tummy. I've got a peppermint stick that I keep in with me, and after a ride I'll give him a lick or two. I don't give it to him, or let him chew it. I just give him a lick or two. He loves it, and I've seen a big difference in his 'recovery' time. Also, he waits in his kennel for it and doesn't attempt to to a swan dive out of the bed of the truck when I open his kennel. This was a tip from my vet, who stated that it would help the foul taste in his mouth and let him get motivated to take treats quicker (like going to training class). For long trips I have medication for him.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 10:16 PM
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Sounds like she needs lots of soft talking and praise and love to increase her confidence. Don't let the JRTs bully her, even raising your voice to the JRTs can make her nervous so voice levels should be mild.

Heidi, human mom to
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Bella, 3 yr GSD
Bo, 2 yr GSD
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yes Codmaster they definitly are, the Jrts I mean. We have not had any other than JRT's till Rosie. the male is 8 yrs old and very small female is about 10 now. The male is pretty well trained, but is still stubborn, if he can get away with it he will. the female is timid around anyone but us, doesnt give any other dogs any mind really. I think Jr. ( the male JRT) may just have a dominating attitude even though we cant see it. they play well together though which is a good thing! I have a whole different set of training issues to work on with Jr. LOL he does think he can conquer the world! Rosie is as laid back as they come, and such a sweet personality ! I will try all of the susggestions, and thanks to all! Its hard to see such a sweet girl so scared. I will try not to coddle her! hard not to, but that training link says thats not right thing to do!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 10:15 AM
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Start small...find one thing she's great at, be it a simple sit or a down or whatever. Build off that and always go back to that one trick when she seems confused or like she's getting beyond her comfort thresh hold.

It may not hurt to leave the leash on her in the house (only while you're there to supervise so she doesnt' get hung on anything) to help her overcome her leash fear.

Dogs get scared of stupid things. For some reason Anna became terrified of an outside garbage can lid (we had it in the house, we used the big can to put our Xmas tree in). I put it in the floor, sat next to it and began putting her treats near it, around it and finally on it. Once she realized it wouldnt hurt her, it was game on and she ran off with it.

Just take it slow with fearful dogs, don't give them more than they can handle and try to keep everything fun and upbeat. Reward for the littlest accomplishments!

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