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Over the past few months, my three year old girl has become super scared of things that open up. Not like room doors or the fridge doors. It's more like anything with a door that opens up or down. It can so bad sometimes that she will literally shake. We have the canopy to a 75 gallon tank on the floor. Hubby went to open the top and she tensed up, curled her tail towards her and tried to get up to leave. Will put her on a stay and she remained put even though she obviously didn't want to.

When we go to Lowes or Home Depot to look at dishwashers, the salesperson opens them up and explains their features and she tries to run as far away as possible. If I don't let her extend all 6' of the leash, she'll find a corner and try to get in as small of a ball as possible. If I try to pull her back to me, she will become a shaky mound dead weight with huge eyes. She won't even look at the thing that scares her.

Sometimes she will come near the table to get a reward sometimes she won't. It's strange. I really don't like her being like this. Anyone have any advice to help me help her?

I wish I could post a video to show exactly how she acts, but I don't have anything that records video.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Mods feel free to move this to any behavior forum as I didn't even see them when looking for a good spot to post this. I'm a little spacey right now due to some new medicine.
 

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Hi Will and Jamie. Does your dog have this problem with very large things that open up and down , or just home appliances .
Let's recreate the situation to see what the problem is. If you were to take her back to the home depot and you positioned her beside the dishwasher being demonstrated would she have this same panic flight . Behind the object? Or is it an issue with the void when the door is open .
When you open your water tank is she facing it .
Maybe place her near the water tank at the rear looking away from. Open it a bit. Close, Stay, relax. Okay go away but don't make a fuss about going away.
Do it again at rear looking toward , open a bit . close, stay, open a bit more , stay, close, stay, relax, okay , no fuss. Keep her calm . Keep yourself calm. Have her face her fear and conquer it bit by bit till you are able to have her approach the front of the tank with the canopy fully open without avoidance .
Same with the appliance you can stage the same thing. Increments of gaining confidence. Avoid inadvertently rewarding the flight -- be totally neutral on that .
Stand beside the appliance dog on far side , have someone open and close the front , and you do clockwise turns (heel position) dog focused on YOU not on the xxx door , so that she is facing and turning from and touching it , and take a step forward till you are at the front and can open and close the door. If she is food motivated you can put a liver treat on the door offered only if she is in a calm state.
And then BUY the appliance !!!!

Strange that this would appear at 3 years of age .
 

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I mentioned earlier on this forum that my 17 month old, who is generally rock solid, freaked out when he saw me with a tooth brush in my mouth.

What I did was play ball with him - using a squeaker ball (his favorite) - and during the game placed the toothbrush in my mouth. He freaked for a moment, then re-focused on the ball. I didn't react to him when he freaked. I pretended it didn't happen and continued playing the same as I did before.

Once he was cool with this, I sat on the floor and groomed him. First with out the tooth brush, then in the middle of the session I popped the toothbrush back in. He shifted his weight away, but didn't attempt to leave. At the end of the session he was relaxed and enjoying it.

My point (what worked for my male) was I focused on things I know he loves and then brought in the one thing he reacted adversely to. I didn't coddle him, or try to calm him, I just acted like all things were exactly the same. I think he was able to work it out on his own that the toothbrush wasn't something that deserved any reaction at all.

He now ignores it totally. Which works for me, I didn't enjoy walking around with a tooth brush hanging out of my mouth!
 
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