My dog doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence - German Shepherd Dog Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 25
My dog doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence

Or maybe that's how I perceive it.

We got her about five months ago. She turned two this month. She was not trained at all and sometimes I wonder if she had been almost abused. I don't think anything really bad happened, but I don't think she was treated great.

After five months, if I go to pet her head, or her neck area (which she seems to really like) she initially jerks her head away, like she's expecting to be hit.

She always walks with her head down. She doesn't seem to be a proud confident gsd. On a couple of occasions she's been confronted by very small dogs, and she seems scared of them. Her fur is up then she runs away, head down.

If she is getting attention from us and our three year old male submissive Siberian husky wants attention, she immediately leaves.

We are not the most educated owners (working on it though!).

What do you make of these behaviors? If it is lack of confidence, how do we help her? She gets nothing but love from us, we are working on some basic training with her.
Ponder85 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 07:19 PM
Elite Member
 
OriginalWacky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Eastern South Dakota
Posts: 1,045
Well, it's hard to tell if she was abused or not, it could be genetic, it could be learned, it is probably some combination of the two. You're going to want to be very calm and non-threatening to the dog (I'm assuming you already do that), and take it slow. The first thing of course, is to gain her trust.

Some things that would probably help are:
  • Getting down onto her level, by either sitting, or laying on the floor near her. Roll around on the floor, crawl back and forth, etc. Hopefully, that will make her more curious to approach you.
  • Don't attempt to look her in the face, that can be construed as aggressive in dogs. Keep your gaze averted slightly off to the side.
  • Don't coddle or comfort your dog every time she shows fear, as you can be encouraging her to be more fearful. That doesn't mean punish her, or not to protect her from actual threats. Reward her with a tasty treat when she shows a non-fearful response to things.
  • Use a low, calm voice at all times rather than an excited one. And avoid corrections or stern tones, those won't help a fearful dog.
  • Plenty of exercise will help tire her out so she doesn't have as much time to worry.
  • Crate training where her crate is her safe-zone is often helpful for shy or fearful dogs. Put her crate somewhere quiet, and make it a very pleasant place to stay. Or if you don't want to crate, give her a space that's hers and hers alone where nobody will bother her.
  • Yawning is often a calming signal for dogs, so try yawning when you think she's getting tense, and show her that you're comfortable.
  • Training often helps, as a dog learns how to do the "right thing", she may gain confidence from that. A class of calm dogs might help her learn not to be fearful of other dogs, but make sure you talk to the trainer beforehand about her issues.

I like the book The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell for working with shy dogs. I've also heard great things about On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas and Help for Your Shy Dog by Deborah Wood, though I haven't read them yet.

My Dog: Krissie ~ Beagle Mix Extraordinaire 09/09
OriginalWacky is offline  
post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 25
Wacky,
Thanks for the response. I think the main thing is to be more diligent with her training. She likes training because she loves treats.

She doesn't really get tense, its she just doesn't seem confident. She literally carries her head below her shoulders. Shes not shy of strangers. She scared the crap out of some guy at the pet store last night by eagerly walking his direction. She just wanted to say hi.

Thanks for mentioning the stern tone on corrections. That's something I'll fix immediately.

I do sit on the floor and pet her some, but I'll do it more. She's absolutely not scared of me, except when I reach towards her head/face area. It's like she doesn't know to expect to be pet or hit. Once she realizes it's for petting she is fine. Thinking back to the first month we got her, she was nipping me frequently, and my approach was not the best; she's learning and I am too.

I'm also going to make it a point to take her with me places, just to spend time together. I think this will help our bond, and maybe her temperament.

She is crate trained and likes it. When we put the husky in his, she eagerly runs to hers to get her snack.

She just doesn't come off as a confident dog when you think of a GSD. We are not out to win any shows, but I want her to be happy and comfortable.

Knowing she is not shy, are the books you mentioned still of use, or would efforts be better spent elsewhere?

Any tips and advice that can be offered are very greatly appreciated.
Ponder85 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 09:22 PM
Crowned Member
 
Emoore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,134
I would also read The Other end of the Leash. It's a great book bout translating canine and human language and can be a huge help in learning to read her body language and "speak" in ways that build her up.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- 6 years

At the Bridge:
Cash Adopted 2007 - 7/28/2010
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Rocky 4/19/2002 - 1/16/2015 to DM
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Emoore is offline  
post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 10:09 PM
Crowned Member
 
Stosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: tyler texas
Posts: 9,615
Love that book
Stosh is offline  
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 01:46 PM
Senior Member
 
Bismarck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Diego
Posts: 400
this may sound a little silly, but don't pet her on her head.
pet her on her chest or back, as those aren't signs of dominance.

is your husky fine? confident?
how do they do when you walk them together?

my foster dog was a train wreck when i got him. very submissive dog.
i would ignore any signs of submission, and only praise it when he would look at me.

work on "look" command. get her to look you in the eye. if she makes a quick glance, have a freakin party !!!! work on getting her to look at you longer.
shy dogs do awesome with positive training techniques. carry some treats with you at all times, and ask her to look you in the eye while going through the day.
she'll eventually see that looking you in the eye is what you want, and she'll be happy doing so, which will lead to her becoming more secure.
Bismarck is offline  
post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 02:27 PM
Knighted Member
 
Twyla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,028
Send a message via Yahoo to Twyla
Play tug!! Let her win .... a lot to begin with.

Part of the homework our trainer gave Woolf was just that... playing tug and him winning a lot to begin with.

The first few times the look was like 'what do i do now' then it began changing over to strutting his stuff. And yep, it was always a party when he won.
Twyla is offline  
post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 25
My husky is great. Very confident dog. He is submissive to most dogs, but will play with any, and isn't scared of hardly anything. He sleeps on his back almost every night, which ive read that means hes an extremely confident dog. He seems nearly carefree. If my gsd takes away the rawhide he's chewing on, he happily walks away, tail wagging, to do something else. Nothing bothers him. I also frequently read to never let a husky off lead or they will run. We do it nearly every day. For a husky, he has very good recall. He is a rescue that came in as a stray. I'll never understand why that dog was given up. What do you mean specifically when you ask how they do on walks?

I didn't realize petting her head was a sign of dominance. I'll stop doing it.

She doesn't have a problem looking me in the eye. I do plan to teach her the focus command eventually.

Tug is a very good idea! I thought tug as more as a way to play than to boost her confidence, but I love the idea! Problem is that I can't get her to do it. We have once or twice, but stupid me had to beat her. I know I can get her to again though.

I think I've done a poor job of articulating my concerns.

Imagine a dog that lived in poor conditions and was abused. It's mannerisms and the way it carries itself would be much different than one who lived in a happy, loving him. The latter would behave like most of your dogs probably do, or my husky does. Full of life, wanting to play, head up, not fearful, etc.

I'm not saying she behaves like an abused dog, but there are some similarities. She literally carries her head low. It's like she has no pride or self confidence. She is happy, I think. If I approach her tail starts wagging. Then if I'm petting her and the husky comes to us she leaves. It just seems like an odd behavior to me, as do other little things. I don't understand why she would be enjoying attention then leave just because the husky showed up. Its like she feels inadequate, or like hes part of the family, and she isnt. Maybe I read too much into it, but there's a contrast between how she behaves, and how lots of other dogs do. My husky being the complete opposite of her magnifies the behavior.

In time I know this behavior will go away as she gets more comfortable with her new family. Five months is not a long time either. She's showed improvements from when we got her and she will keep progressing, but the more I can help her and the faster it goes, the better.

Thanks again for all the great responses and ideas. We're gonna keep working, and I'm gonna pick up any of those books I can find when I get to the library next.
Ponder85 is offline  
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 11:09 PM
Elite Member
 
OriginalWacky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Eastern South Dakota
Posts: 1,045
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponder85 View Post
She doesn't have a problem looking me in the eye. I do plan to teach her the focus command eventually.
That's already a good thing, so yeah, you've got a nice start.

Quote:
Tug is a very good idea! I thought tug as more as a way to play than to boost her confidence, but I love the idea! Problem is that I can't get her to do it. We have once or twice, but stupid me had to beat her. I know I can get her to again though.
Or you can try any other games that make her happy, it might take some experimenting. Something you can do is look up videos on YouTube about "Building Drive" - this can help you learn to get her a little more excited about things, which will in turn build confidence as she succeeds.

Quote:
Five months is not a long time either. She's showed improvements from when we got her and she will keep progressing, but the more I can help her and the faster it goes, the better.

Thanks again for all the great responses and ideas. We're gonna keep working, and I'm gonna pick up any of those books I can find when I get to the library next.
Sounds like you already have a pretty good handle on it anyway, so best of luck!

My Dog: Krissie ~ Beagle Mix Extraordinaire 09/09
OriginalWacky is offline  
post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 11:39 PM
Senior Member
 
Bismarck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Diego
Posts: 400
yup, take some time, get to know her, and vice versa.

one other thing, when i'm petting or doing whatever with one of my dogs, and the other comes over for attention, they get told to wait.
they'll have their turn, when i feel it's their turn. a pack leader won't give attention just because one asks.
my foster dog will come up to me on the computer, and nudge my arm, trying to get me to pet him. he gets ignored when he does this. i'll wait about 5 mins, then go give him attention.

and the only reason i asked about your husky, is dogs will pick up on another dogs behavior. when i first got my foster, he was very scared, insecure dog. would shy away from anyone trying to pet him.
my dog, became a life preserver for my foster. he'd see how well my dog was managing things like people wanting to pet him, and eventually he wanted attention also.
yes, this took time. also, ask people to give attention to your husky first, and only if your other dog is interested, to let them pet her. give her time, and patience, along with all the other great advice people have given you.
Bismarck is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome