A little Fearful - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Quebec, Canada
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A little Fearful

I've started obedience training with Hawkeye, but he's very shy (afraid), the reason I started the training is the last time I took him for he's vaccinations, he growled at a few dogs in the vets office and he did a very low growl when the vet tried to feel his front paws, the rest of him he was fine. So because of his reaction I decided to go to obedience training with him so he would be around other dogs and other people. But even at training, if someone gets a little too close to him his growls, not an aggressive growl just a "I'm here growl". Even the trainer said he's not aggressive (YET) of course if it continues it could become aggressive, any suggestions from the pros here on things I can do to help him overcome his fears. I know I should probably be taking him out more somewhere that there's more people (we live out in the country - very secluded). But everytime I take him in the vehicle he's sick.

Hawkeye (GSD):March 5/10
Chelsea (Boxer):April 21/08
Austin (ShihTzu):August 2/02
At Bridge: Callie(Bichon),Jackson(Boxer),Mickey(Spaniel),Keis ha(GSD),Stryker(Boxer),Fay(Terrier)
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 07:58 AM
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Location: Farmington Hills, Michigan
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Socialization can be a challenge when you live in a rural area, but that is the answer. When I bring a puppy home, socialization is the singel most important thing we work on. Almost every day the pup gets in the vehicle and we go somewhere.

The most important thing is to ensure he does not have a bad experience. That is your number one job as his protector.

Try to avoid feeding before a trip in the vehicle for obvious reasons. Start socializing in a pedestrian area where there are some people/dogs, and walk him through, such that he sees all the other activity, but it isn't crowding his space. After a period (several visits) where he becomes accustom to this, then position yourself such that while walking, folks have to pass a bit closer, and maybe even crowd his space a bit....again, after several visits with this tpye of nearness....then get to the point where maybe you can ask a person to pet your dog. Place him in a sit, and ask if they will simply approach at first. If he appears uncomfortable, then leave it at an approach and conversation with the person.....again, repeat this with as many volunteers you can capture. Eventually, as he becomes comfortable with this, you may eventually get to where someone can reach over and pat his head.

Frequent visits to public areas, with incremental increases in exposure/pressure over time (this is not accomplished in one visit) as the dog demonstrates he can take it and remain comfortable...all the while, you are making sure he has no bad experiences, as this would set him back and do harm.

When I have a pup, I examine them all the time, nothing in life is free, so if my pup wants a treat, they have to endure me running my fingers through their toes, or examining ears, or opening the mouth as if to administer a pill. On the frequent vehicle trips, we'll swing by the Vets office, take a weight check on the scale (both of us!), have a high value treat, and just socialize with the staff that have white coats on....all fun, no bad experience.....no negative association with the visit. Do this often enough and you'll have a dog that is excited to go to the Doc's office.

Small, slow, measured & controlled steps, and you'll cultivate the nerve of your dog.

Dealing with dog aggression is another issue, and you may need some professional assistance.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 08:44 AM
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Location: South Texas
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I feel your pain. We live in a rural area, and Hondo gets car sick as well. We put him in a crate when we take him with us. I have to put a rug in the crate, and carry an extra one for the ride home. I also keep a towel with me to dry off the super drool once we get to our destination.

I try to remember before entering the store to allow Hondo to get his 'land legs' back. I'll walk him around a bit and let him settle.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 153
It's very strange because if people come over to the house, he's as happy as can be. And lately we have a lot of strangers coming over we have truck for sale so most evenings someone stops in to look at the truck. And Hawkeye has no problems with them at all. It seems to be more when we're away from home.
It's funny I have two boxers also, brother & sister, 3 years apart, the male will not go near another person to save his soul, he stands with his feet FIRMLY planted and no would even attempt to touch him, the female - well she's everyone's friend - a little to friendly sometimes. Stryker went to obedience class - he was socialized - I took him into town on a regular basis, still this is the way he is. Chelsea never went to class, the only time she goes anyplace is to the vet's office (which she loves) and she's the friendly one .

Hawkeye (GSD):March 5/10
Chelsea (Boxer):April 21/08
Austin (ShihTzu):August 2/02
At Bridge: Callie(Bichon),Jackson(Boxer),Mickey(Spaniel),Keis ha(GSD),Stryker(Boxer),Fay(Terrier)
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