Fear phase - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Fear phase

Luna is almost 3 months old. She is skittish around the vacuum, cars and dog barks. I know puppies go thru a fear phase but what's the best way to get her thru this so when she gets older she doesn't have continuing issues with those things. We have a golden retriever that is a very timid, skittish and unconfident dog is she rubbing off on Luna?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 11:50 AM
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I think that if you have a genetically stable and strong puppy, having a skittish dog at home won't change the puppy into a fearful dog. As long as you got Luna from a good breeder that has solid dogs, I wouldn't be too worried.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 12:05 PM
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Has the dog always showed signs of fear like this ? Or is it new ?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Has the dog always showed signs of fear like this ? Or is it new ?
This is relatively new, when we go for walks her nose is attached to the ground I love it, but if she hears a dog bark she will want to bolt same with a car, the car issue is hit or miss. It is classic fear phase behavior. When she rides in the car with me she is GREAT, when i take her out in a parking lot she is great as well. Do i keep doing things as usually and act like nothing is wrong? We had a rain storm yesterday and she doesn't like the rain and will not go to the bathroom so me and my wife where out there with chicken treats doing some basic training and she could care less about the rain. I want her to be indifferent when it comes to cars, dog barks and storms. I know for a BH title she needs to have a traffic test (being ok with cars and traffic) so i want to not have issue for that.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 12:26 PM
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My puppy was raised in an outdoor kennel, so at 12 wks old when I brought her home, she'd almost certainly never seen or heard a vacuum before! The first time she did, she didn't want to have anything to do with it and maintained plenty of distance while she watched it. Over time she's become much more relaxed about it, and I didn't do anything special to "help" her get over her initial fear. But my puppy has no problem with loud noises in general, and has never shown any fear of cars or fireworks or gunfire etc. so the situation with your puppy could be different. One suggestion that I've heard is to make a recording of the noise(s) that bother the puppy and then play it on lower volume while interacting with the puppy in a positive way, playing or training with lots of praise and treats. Over time, slowly increase the volume, making sure the puppy isn't anxious about it or overwhelmed by it. The goal being to desensitize the puppy over a long period of time. The AKC website has tons of articles on this and other puppy-related stuff...


If your other dog and your puppy spend lots of time together I would be a little concerned that the older dog's reactions to things could and probably would impact your puppy - older dog shows fear of something, puppy thinks it must be something scary too and act accordingly. But I've heard of it going both ways there as well, confident puppy helps older dog be more confident. It really comes down to a case by case thing, and requires careful observation on your part. If the puppy is uncharacteristically showing fear of things your older dog is afraid of, it would probably be helpful to expose the puppy to a variety of things without the older dog being present.

Here are some links:

Diamonds in the Ruff


https://www.akc.org/?s=Loud+noises

Good Luck, enjoy your pup!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Tim
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 12:40 PM
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Do i keep doing things as usually and act like nothing is wrong? We had a rain storm yesterday and she doesn't like the rain and will not go to the bathroom so me and my wife where out there with chicken treats doing some basic training and she could care less about the rain.
Yes keep acting calm and nonchalant, then do what your wife did. Do a little training while the the scary thing is happening until she starts to forget the scary thing is all that important.

For cars, stand further back from the road, then make her sit and focus on you. When she can do that well, let her look at the car as it goes by and have her focus back on you. You want her to be able to look at the scary car going by, but then be able to disengage and look back at you. Gradually move her closer. Do that and she'll eventually learn that cars stay glued to roads and aren't going to run her over every time one goes by. That's ultimately why she's scared: cars are giant, fast-moving, and loud. They must look like horrific eldritch beasts coming to eat her.

Dog barks are a little harder because you can't predict them. I think I'd try to make her sit every time a dog barks, or some other command that forces her to think for a second.

The vacuum. Jack hated and feared the vacuum, too. We first put the vacuum in the middle of the living room and let him smell it, bite it, climb all over it while rewarding him for exploring the giant weird thing. Then we'd quickly turn it on and off so it'd make a sound, then walk away from it so he had time to investigate the vacuum again. He got rewarded for returning to investigate the vacuum, even if it was very cautiously.

When we had to do real cleaning, we just put him upstairs in our bedroom while once of us vacuumed and the other played with him. It allowed him to get used to the sound on a sustained level. Once he was around 5-6 months, we let him watch the vacuum moving around from a distance. And on and on and on until he stopped barking and running away in terror from the thing. He still hates it because it's loud, and remains suspicious of it anytime it approaches him. But he doesn't cower or anything. He just moves out of the way while glaring at it.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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My puppy was raised in an outdoor kennel, so at 12 wks old when I brought her home, she'd almost certainly never seen or heard a vacuum before! The first time she did, she didn't want to have anything to do with it and maintained plenty of distance while she watched it. Over time she's become much more relaxed about it, and I didn't do anything special to "help" her get over her initial fear. But my puppy has no problem with loud noises in general, and has never shown any fear of cars or fireworks or gunfire etc. so the situation with your puppy could be different. One suggestion that I've heard is to make a recording of the noise(s) that bother the puppy and then play it on lower volume while interacting with the puppy in a positive way, playing or training with lots of praise and treats. Over time, slowly increase the volume, making sure the puppy isn't anxious about it or overwhelmed by it. The goal being to desensitize the puppy over a long period of time. The AKC website has tons of articles on this and other puppy-related stuff...


If your other dog and your puppy spend lots of time together I would be a little concerned that the older dog's reactions to things could and probably would impact your puppy - older dog shows fear of something, puppy thinks it must be something scary too and act accordingly. But I've heard of it going both ways there as well, confident puppy helps older dog be more confident. It really comes down to a case by case thing, and requires careful observation on your part. If the puppy is uncharacteristically showing fear of things your older dog is afraid of, it would probably be helpful to expose the puppy to a variety of things without the older dog being present.

Here are some links:

Diamonds in the Ruff


https://www.akc.org/?s=Loud+noises

Good Luck, enjoy your pup!
that is what we are doing, they play in the house and only a few times outside. Luna walks alone, Angel will not walk alone but with Luna she will however they rather play will walking so we walk luna and not angel. I have told my wife i do not want luna picking up on angel fears which is alot. we started to walk with treat so when a car or dog bark happens we give her a treat. a good example is luna at first could care less about the umbrella but angel is scare of it now luna is showing some slight fear towards it. not enough to freak me out.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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So today we have a nice rainstorm siting over us for most of the day. me and my wife where out there and doing some luring and other training in the middle of the rain, Luna did not show any fear of the rain, she didnt like the wetness tho lol. A car came by and she did not even pay attention to it, so the fear of cars is hit or miss.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 09:23 PM
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My preference has always been to leave the treats at home. When I am walking the dog, when or if something distracting happens I've found it best to just remain calm and continue as if nothing happened. It doesn't happen overnight, but if you keep calm and act like nothing of significance happened, chances are so will the puppy. If you stuff treats in her mouth every time a loud noise happens...well, I'm not sure what I would take away from that experience, Lord knows how the dog will interpret that. Are you rewarding only when there is no reaction?

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 11:42 PM
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Since Luna is so skittish and Angel so young, I would double up on trying to keep as many things as possible that scare Luna to an absolute minimum while the two are together. Imo it's best for hers and her bond to you and your wife to be walked and trained alone. Once Angel is older and steadfast then perhaps she can be the example that will help Luna.

If you can walk against the traffic rather than with it, that may help also. Less chance of startling her if she can see what she is hearing. Choose a lightly traveled road for those walks.

I found that when my boy was a pup, if a noise coming from behind him startled him, I would just turn us around so he could see and watch/investigate it. Like Tim, I didn't make a big deal of it and dont remember using treats. The occasional 18 wheeler coming through was an interesting experience at the beginning.

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