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Discussion Starter #1
Kbar is our rescue and he was obviously abused. We have had him over a year now and he is finally comfortable around my husband. It took a YEAR. He still hides when the doorbell rings or neighbor kids come in the house but he is so much better.

As of 2 days ago he seems to have reverted back to when we first brought him home, almost. He will not come out of my bathroom. Granted, that is his favorite room in the house, but he can always be called to come out and he usually wants to be around the family. He seems SO nervous. He is constantly scanning for danger and looking up at the ceiling. If I make him join us by closing the door to my room, he tries to hide behind me on the couch.

I asked my kids and our babysitter (mature family friend who loves our dogs, not a random teenager or anything) if anything happened while I was at work. Together all we could come up with is two things: They were playing with balloons and one did pop loudly. Also, this week we have had a pool repair man around the house who has been going from the back yard to the front yard, ringing the doorbell, etc.

The frequent looking at the ceiling reminds me of about a month ago when a balloon on a string from my daughter's birthday got caught in our ceiling fan. It sounded like we were being attacked with automatic weapons! We all jumped, and both dogs ran and hid in my closet. K-Bar was scared that night but he was fine the next day.

I guess the actual reason does not matter at this point, I'm just curious. But I feel so incredibly sad for K-Bar. He does not deserve to feel scared in his own home. My 8 year old daughter is his favorite person and she is upset because he won't come when she calls him. We have worked SO HARD as a family to help our big bear, and seeing a setback like this is upsetting. He's such a special part of our lives and I just want to make him understand that we will keep him safe always.

Would love advice and opinions from all of you great people.

Thanks!

Here he is in his favorite room :)

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I've never dealt with anything like this, but what a beautiful boy. It sure sounds like he found the perfect family. Hoping he realizes soon how safe he is...
 

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Thank you so much! He is handsome, isn't he? He was left outside in a kennel and bred for 3 years before we got him. He was cryptorchid and definitely should have NEVER been used for breeding. We had him neutered right away and he adjusted so quickly to living indoors.
 

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He is very handsome! :)

I don't know if my idea will help. I know some trainers say that flooding is a bad idea, but in my case I didn't have a choice. My DH's dog was always petrified of thunder and I didn't want my puppy to adopt this behavior so whenever there was a thunderstorm we went out and played in it. But he was well over 6 months old before he heard his first thunderclap, being born in the fall.

Well one day my idiot neighbor decided firing off a bunch of fireworks would be a great idea. DH's dog was having a fit. My puppy wasn't sure what to do. I ran outside and was yelling, "Bang! Bang! WHEEE!" and made it see like the noise was the greatest thing ever. I'm sure my neighbor thought I was crazy, lol. My DH sure did. But my puppy came outside with me and didn't pay attention to the noise. Ever since then, DH's dog had been much better with storms - in fact now, a year later, she doesn't even seem to pay attention to them at all.

Maybe it was the popping balloons that scared Kbar, and maybe if you popped some from a distance with Addie, and made it seem like a great game, it might help? IDK, but this approach sure helped with DH's dog's fears. Good luck!
 

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I'm afraid flooding would be too much for him. I've been involved with rescue organizations for quite a while and NEVER seen a dog as fearful as he was when we first brought him home. He trusts us at this point and I'm worried that doing something so scary would break that trust. We have lived a year of my husband not raising his voice at K-bar ever (which was hard for him at first because his instinct was always to yell if a dog was doing something "bad" as it is for a lot of people). We have worked to ONLY give K-Bar positive experiences and to create an environment where he could feel secure. If I started popping balloons where he could see I don't know if he'd trust me again.
 

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I would absolutely NOT use flooding for a dog who is this scared. I would look into getting some Bach Flower Essences and maybe an herbal supplement for anxiety and fear.

Something like this happened with Gio, one of my cats, about 2 months ago. He was from a feral colony but has really come out of his shell in the last year and a half. He had a setback and it took a good 6 weeks but he's now back to where he was. I hope your gorgeous boy comes out of the bathroom soon!
 

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I guess we will just be patient with him like we always have and wait it out. Right now he's laying at my bedroom door, begging me with his eyes to please let him in there.
 

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I will look in to the flower essences. When we took him for his first vet visit I talked to her about an anxiety medication and she suggested a wait and see approach and I'm glad she did. We had to be patient but it definitely paid off.
 

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I would think that using human psychology is not going to work. Don't feel sad for a fearful dog because that is like acceptance for the condition.

It is also projecting weakness to the dog. You need to take a more of a 'get over it' attitude.

They were playing with balloons and one did pop loudly. Also, this week we have had a pool repair man around the house who has been going from the back yard to the front yard, ringing the doorbell, etc.

The frequent looking at the ceiling reminds me of about a month ago when a balloon on a string from my daughter's birthday got caught in our ceiling fan. It sounded like we were being attacked with automatic weapons! We all jumped, and both dogs ran and hid in my closet. K-Bar was scared that night but he was fine the next day.
I think the dogs fear was triggered by all the above and nobody was there to re assure the dog that there is no danger.

You need to use these items to recondition the dog to the noises and objects, ie door bell, fan, and the balloon. Subtly is the key. You must create a relaxing environment for the dog to come out of it's shell. Check cesar millan episodes to see how to recondition a dog when it is fearful.

I would ask the children to be very patient with the dog and to let the dog come out when he is ready. The way the children are interacting with the dog could be a cause of this anxiousness. If they all ignored him he may feel more comfortable. A fearful dog doesn't like expectation. It prefers to be left alone to relax.

I agree that flooding won't work here as it was flooding which caused the problem. Two many unexpected occurrences and excitement triggered the dog to revert to being anxious and fearful.

The dog looks great though. I would think he would benefit from have plenty of exercise. Do you bring him cycling or jogging. The dog begins to watch the world go by and not fear it.

Also teach it to retrieve, tug, swim, obedience, tracking etcetc. Guarantee if you get proactive and learn to train the dog, it will respond better.
 

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He is sooo handsome! I'm sorry to hear about this setback. What a shame. Maybe just start over by removing all the expectations, as if you had first brought him home. A crate in a safe place (sounds like the bathroom), and let him come out and reconnect when he's ready? No big deal when he joins in, just a quiet treat and carry on about your business...
 

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Your dog is so pretty. Have you thought about having a dog psychologist examine him to maybe figure out how to calm him down or what could trigger this all of a sudden? I would definitely give him space, while still letting him know that its okay to come out. I hope he recovers from this setback soon.
 

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If I started popping balloons where he could see I don't know if he'd trust me again.
Yes, I agree with you about that - for sure! I was thinking more along the lines of him being in the bathroom with the window open and hearing the popping from the sidewalk, or however your house is set up. Definitely not you popping them in his face, lol. But if you were with him while the noise was going on, saying how much you loved the pops, and saying it was ok if you guys missed out on the fun...most GSD would disagree: it's NOT ok to miss out on anything, lol.
 

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only advice i have is dont coddle or pet him when he's scared. when theres a loud noise or anything i just ignore it and act like nothing is wrong. being scared doesnt get him any love. other than that, very handsome dog! other than him being a wuss, i could see why he was bred.
 

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only advice i have is dont coddle or pet him when he's scared. when theres a loud noise or anything i just ignore it and act like nothing is wrong. being scared doesnt get him any love. .
Agreed had a very anxious scared pup that I got from the shelter. Realized that if I touched or cuddled him when he was anxious it made him more so. If I ignored and pretended nothing was wrong he gained more confidence.
 

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Actually, the research is now showing the opposite is true. You should NOT ignore your dog when they're frightened. A gentle touch of reassurance goes a long way towards helping them feel more secure. Don't overdo it but don't ignore them. I have rehabbed 2 fearful dogs and fostered or cared for a couple of others and currently have 2 fearful cats. They have all come to me when frightened and I have gently and quietly comforted them, usually with just a simple touch (T-touch massage is something I'd recommend checking out for K-Bar). It has worked very well.
 

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lol please dont take that advice. petting them or reassuring them when scared just makes them learn that they SHOULD be afraid of that stimuli. you dont want them to come running to you because they are scared. you want them to ultimately figure out that the stimuli isnt scary and there is nothing to be scared of. a scared dog running to you is no different than a scared dog running into the bathroom.
 

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lol please dont take that advice. petting them or reassuring them when scared just makes them learn that they SHOULD be afraid of that stimuli. you dont want them to come running to you because they are scared. you want them to ultimately figure out that the stimuli isnt scary and there is nothing to be scared of. a scared dog running to you is no different than a scared dog running into the bathroom.
You're right, why would someone consider listening to me? :rolleyes: All I have is experience.

But you might consider listening to the advice of someone who has a PhD in animal behavior AND many years of experience working as an animal behaviorist and running a highly respected dog training school. She also has authored many books on dog behavior and training and used to have a nationally syndicated call-in radio show on animal behavior. Reducing Fear in Your Dog | The Bark
 
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