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A friend received the following from a lady in Florida and I was hoping you all could add some helpful input that I can pass on to her to give to the owner. I told my friend that IMHO the owner was making excuses for the dog's behavior, that the dog needed more training than a puppy class at PetSmart, that I don't feel the owner wants to put any effort into training the dog, that the dog needs more exercise, and I also sent the website link for Tampa Bay Rescue. NOTE: I CUT OUT SOME OF THE INFORMATION TO CUT DOWN ON SPACE ... BUT ITS STILL VERY LONG.

My name is xxx owner's namexxx and I am in need of some serious help with my German Shepherd, Roxy.

She is a year and a half old and the aggression issues we have been having with her seem to getting increasingly worse. I am afraid that if she doesn’t get help, she will have to be put down. That is a heartbreak myself and my family do not want to go through. Let me give you some insight into Roxy’s behavior and her history.

I got Roxy when she was 8 weeks old. I brought her home and a week later she started having severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea. I took her to a local vet and he immediately came into the room and proceeded to do two stool samples on her without greeting Roxy or letting her sniff the instruments. After he traumatized her with the stool samples he began to examine her and once he got to her ears to look into them she panicked, flipped onto her back, urinated and began to yelp. The vet immediately freaked out and told me that she has problems, will be an aggressive dog and to keep her away from people, especially children. I got really upset when he bombarded me with that. I informed the vet that we have a young child and he looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said “that’s unfortunate.” He then gave her two injections, one was an anti-inflammatory that caused her to run in circles and whine for over an hour. She was only 9 weeks old when that happened!

We immediately enrolled Roxy into the 8 week puppy obedience classes at PetSmart. She did very well at the classes but would remain under a chair and refuse to participate. I continued to take her to the store and walk her around, take her on walks through the neighborhood and take her on visits to my parents and my in-law's house. We would also have company come over on occasions.

It has been in the past year that her behavior has become more aggressive. Prior to the traumatic vet visit I had taken her out to a few places to start socializing her she seemed a little unsure but would warm up to people rather quickly. My stepdaughter had also met Roxy and they got along great. My stepdaughter went back to her mother's house and did not come back for 5-6 weeks, during the time she was gone Roxy had the bad vet visit. After that vet visit she would see my stepdaughter running around the house and run after her growling. We would correct that behavior by using the grounding technique that we learned from the obedience class.

However, no matter how many times we ground her and try to correct her behavior, she still growls and charges after my stepdaughter when she is running around the house. She has even put her mouth on her a couple of times.

She has never bit down or left a mark on anyone but has mouthed, which concerns me a great deal. I'm afraid that she will eventually bite someone.

We cannot have my husband's family or any friends come over to visit without her barking, growling and charging after our company. We have to remove her and put her into a separate room where she will whine and bark the entire time company is over.

We have tried to put her outside to run in the back yard while company is over, but a neighbor complained about the barking.

We have tried grounding when she displays aggressive behavior, spraying her with water, making a noise with rolled up newspaper to try and shake her out of that state that she's in.

We have even put her on a leash and kept her by our side while company was over, but every time someone would get up or move she would try and go after them.

Walking her has always been a challenge since the vet visit, but it has also increasingly become difficult. Anyone out walking or walking their dog she crouches down and her hackles will stand on end. She will begin to huff and puff and growl. The other day a little boy was running up towards her and she freaked. People have asked me if she was abused because of the way she reacts while out walking.

When I brought Roxy home and she got sick I called the breeder several times and left messages and he never responded to any of them. According to her breeder Roxy's father is considered 5th cousin to her mother. I have come to the assumption that he was lying about how close in relation they are.

Roxy has not had any other training than what she received at PetSmart. She learned the basic commands of sit, stay, leave it etc. along with the grounding technique and leash training. We continued to apply what we learned at the puppy training classes with her. The training classes are a little expensive and we cannot afford them so we have not put her in additional training. Both my husband and I have researched several sites on how to try and correct certain behaviors.

Roxy has spent a lot of time with my mother, father, brother and their Pit mix. She loves them and goes nuts whenever she or they visit. And their Pit mix is an extremely friendly and loving dog. He gets along great with Roxy but will put her in her place if she oversteps her boundaries with him.
When we first got Roxy we would take her to my husband's family to visit but was very intimidated by all the people who lived in the house. She would warm up to them after a little while but their Boston Terrier is very dominate and aggressive and tried to start fights with Roxy. We stopped taking her over there after a while because of the Boston Terrier. They would come and visit on occasions with us and she would be stand-offish with them, she would eventually stop hiding and lay down.

We would also have friends come by every now and then and she would react the same as when the in-laws would visit. But once she got to be about 8-10 months old is when she started showing aggression toward visitors. We had to start putting her in a separate room, we would take her out to introduce her to the company but she would bark, growl and charge after them if they got up or moved around. We would take her to the pet stores and walk her around but she acted very frightened and would growl at people or other dogs that came too close.

She was crate trained and did very well with it until she was about 10 months old that's when she decided to literally bust out of her crate. We bought the hard plastic crate but she would pant to so much she would come out sopping wet and smelly to the point where we would have to bathe her every time she came out. We decided to get rid of the crate altogether. She behaves when we are away from the house as long as she gets treats before we leave.

My stepdaughter is 4 years old, when we got Roxy she was 3. She was spending equal amounts of time between her mother and our house which would be 4 weeks with her mom and 4 weeks with us. That is my husband's work schedule. Since this is her first year of school her we have had to change her living arrangements so that she lives with her mom Mon.-Fri. and we pick her up from school Fridays and she is with us until Monday before school. Roxy's behavior changed with my stepdaughter after she had the vet visit. We still had Roxy in training and asked the trainer what to do about it and he told us to keep grounding her when she growls at my stepdaughter. He said to also have her work with Roxy on obedience. It's a little difficult to get a 3 year old to train a dog when all she wants to do is run around the house and play, but we would have her try to get Roxy to sit and shake and give her treats a few minutes a day. Roxy would hardly take the treats from her, she would slowly come up to her take the treat and run away. My stepdaughter had never done anything to frighten Roxy or hurt her in anyway, so I'm not sure why she is so afraid and not trusting of her. She loves to greet my stepdaughter when she comes home from school and will be very excited. She also loves to wake her up in the mornings by jumping on her bed and licking her, then running away and repeating until she wakes up. It's when my stepdaughter is running around the house and acting like a child Roxy will growl.

Roxy is fed twice a day. Her food and water bowl stay where she can get to them. We had problems with eating when she was a puppy. She wouldn't eat for days and I would have to stand there beside her and hand feed her until she started to eat, then I would have to stand next to her. After about a month I was finally able to put food in her bowl and walk away and she would eat. I don't know why she had this problem, it happened after the first vet visit. She ate fine at the breeders home because he fed the puppies while I was there and she ate fine at home until she got sick. She still will not eat until she gets so hungry she throws up bile. Even though her food is available to her, she won't touch it until she throws up. This usually happens 3-4 times a week. She is not food aggressive, from the time I brought her home I would pet her while eating or put my hand down near her bowl, take her bowl away and then give it back. My stepdaughter can walk by her while she is eating and she will either look at her or walk away from her food.

She was being taken on walks/jogs 3-4 times a week for about 30-45 minutes before I got pregnant. I had some complications early in the pregnancy and was put on bed rest for a while. As I mentioned in my last e-mail, taking Roxy on walks is a challenge because of how frightened she is of everything. She will be jogging right along and then stop dead in her tracks if she sees or hears something scary and then refuse to walk again. Needless to say I cannot walk her in my condition.

Roxy will chew on things she finds on the ground. I keep her stocked with bones to chew on and toys she can play with and chew on. She does still mouth when playing and we have to constantly tell her "no bite" and stop the interaction until she settles down.

Roxy is, and has been very afraid of a lot of common objects since I got her. Grocery bags, pillows, balls bigger than a soft ball, cardboard boxes, the list can go on. She will sniff them and then run away and not come near them. The pillows she will not run away from if they are on the bed or couch, but if you pick one up it's like you have picked up a gun and trying to shoot her with it. We have tried to desensitize her with these objects but it never seems to click with her.

Sometimes I honestly feel we got a dog who's bloodline is so inbred she is mentally disabled. Yet, she is so smart and will learn tricks and commands quick.

When I went to the breeders house she was the only one out of 10 puppies who would interact with me. He claimed they were all tired and it was nap time for them. The breeder even put Roxy on her back to test her submission and clapped his hands close to her head several times to see how easily startled she would get and she barely reacted to those things. But it was when I brought her home and she visited that vet is when things started to go downhill. I know it seems like I keep blaming everything on the terrifying vet visit, but after that day is when her behavior seemed to dramatically change.

I am afraid that even if we get the money to put her through more training and go through however many weeks/months that we will not be able to get her to the point where she is comfortable enough around people that she will not try and go after them. I understand it takes a lot of work and socialization to help a dog like Roxy, but with my husband gone so much and a newborn on the way I will not have the time to consistently reinforce the additional training.

My husband has told me I should have thought about that before getting the dog, but I didn't think that she would have this kind of behavioral issues. I had two GSDs when I was younger and my last Shepherd (who died of kidney failure when she was 10) was the best dog ever. She was not socialized much but was not aggressive toward strangers or visitors at all. I know that no two dogs are alike but I have been around enough large breed dogs to know that all of them are not as crazy as Roxy.

I want to get Roxy the help that she needs, I just don't know if we are the right family to do that. I don't want to bring a baby into a home with an unstable dog. I don't want her to get jealous of the attention the baby is receiving and lash out.

We do not want to give Roxy to just anyone, we will keep her as long as we need to ensure that she is with someone who has the space, time and knows how to handle this type of behavior in this type of dog. It would be less heartbreaking for me to give her to someone who can help her and make her truly happy than to have her put down because we were unable to correct her behavior and she hurt someone. In the end I just want what's best for my family, and Roxy is a large part of that family.
 

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okay i cant even read the entire post. I'm thoroughly disgusted with these people. They're blaming the vet visit for everything. Yeah it was tramatic for her and they should have immediately changed vets and continued socialization AND training. I would consider this dog a neglect case. She NOT getting anything she needs in terms of stimulation, physical or mental. Roxy isnt mentally damaged because of her breeding but her handling. This poor dog is young and has pretty much been in **** since this 'family' brought her home. This whole situation is disgusting.

I had two GSDs when I was younger and my last Shepherd (who died of kidney failure when she was 10) was the best dog ever. She was not socialized much but was not aggressive toward strangers or visitors at all. I know that no two dogs are alike but I have been around enough large breed dogs to know that all of them are not as crazy as Roxy.

HOW YOUNG?! Seriously? I seriously doubt they were actively involved with the GSDs she had when she was younger. If she REALLY knew what she was doing, she would have known she's the one who could have corrected everything that led up to this poor dog behaving the way she is!! She also would have known that GSDs by NATURE need constant socialization!!!! Yet another example of why i cant stand most people. Poor Roxy. She didnt do anything to deserve such an ignorant owner. I'm so thoroughly disgusted i want to hit something.
 

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I am with Kzoppa on this. I mean really????? I had a dog like this but I worked my butt and hers off to correct it. Yes she was a BYB and not the greatest blood lines and we always had to watch her. But this is crazy. Now the dog may get PTS because they can not afford training? And what the heck is grounding???

My advice find a rescue and see if someone is willing to adopt her and help her out! This poor pup will end up causing a problem with the new baby and that will be her doom.
 

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I am with Kzoppa on this. I mean really????? I had a dog like this but I worked my butt and hers off to correct it. Yes she was a BYB and not the greatest blood lines and we always had to watch her. But this is crazy. Now the dog may get PTS because they can not afford training? And what the heck is grounding???

My advice find a rescue and see if someone is willing to adopt her and help her out! This poor pup will end up causing a problem with the new baby and that will be her doom.

i was wondering that myself. How do you 'ground' a dog? I mean you ground your kids by taking away the fun stuff IE no TV, no video games, only school and homework and chores but a dog? You take away the fun, you get behavioral issues. Which obviously they already have because they're stupid! These are the dogs i take in to get out of a bad situation.
 

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My advice would be to find a rescue as well. Not because of the reasons stated in the above posts, but because this dog's nerves are so weak that it has absolutely required a very experienced person from the very beginning to work with her and bring her to the point of being managed. It's not the owner's fault, and those who do not have experience with unstable dogs have nothing to say in this thread.
 

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i'm not sure anyone would even know where to start here. like, what does THIS mean...???

"She did very well at the classes but would remain under a chair and refuse to participate."

hard to think that someone would spend the time to write this if the situation wasn't legit...but really...don't know if there's even any way to help someone like this, their dog behavior skills are so lacking.

poor roxy, i hope a family who can help her with these issues is somewhere in her future.
 

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That quoted sentence makes a perfect sense to me. Because I experienced it, and my dog behavior skills are pretty good. Got much better after working with the dog like above, though.
 

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Woah this dog is a hot mess! They are blaming everything on the "the" vet visit, but I think it's just denial that she has horrible horrible nerves. I'm sure they went wrong in a bunch of places with her behavior, but crawling under a chair during puppy class and not coming out is NOT normal! Neither is being afraid of PILLOWS and BALLS.

I think they need to proceed very, very carefully with this one. She sounds like a bad accident waiting to happen.
 

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That quoted sentence makes a perfect sense to me. Because I experienced it, and my dog behavior skills are pretty good. Got much better after working with the dog like above, though.
I would agree, I learned allot I just wish I knew then what I know now. I really feel for the owner but she must realize that you can not correct this all alone. If you can not afford help then get the dog to someone who can take care of her and hopefully help her. This poor girl is a ticking time bomb!
 

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I don't know that she's a "mess." I think she may simply be a sensitive, shy GSD with an owner who doesn't understand her, who doesn't have a clue how to train her, who is making her worse on a daily basis.

That "aggression" looks like regular ole teenage reactiveness to me. Many GSD pups are shy and need encouragement, but coddling them will make them more shy. So if handled incorrectly, they get worse. I worry that "grounding" her may mean pinning her on her side (not an alpha roll, but close to it). The fact that the owner calls it a "technique" believes me to think this is the case. This "technique" is a pretty questionable technique to use on adult dogs. It's pure stupidity to use it repeatedly on a young puppy -- and yes, I understand that a trainer told them to do it. Trainers are wrong all of the time. Unfortunately, owners and their dogs pay the price for that. All the pinning technique is going to do is cause the puppy to be terrified of her owner, to learn that the world is a scary place and that she better lash out first before she gets attacked for what are perfectly normal puppy/doggy behaviors.

If, in fact, "grounding" is a time out, time outs need to be immediate and for a very short period of time (30 seconds to maybe a few minutes); otherwise the dog doesn't know WHY she's locked in her crate (or the bathroom or whatever), and learns zero. But she IS locked away from her family, and not receiving the attention, socialization and love that GSDs thrive on. Regardless of what "pining" is, they're using a lot of punishers for normal doggy behaviors, like barking, when there appears to be no actual management or training as well.

The breeder made excuses about the other pups, which concerns, but this pup seemed to be somewhat solid. But the pup was taken on a lot of "jogs' when she was young. There may have been damage done to her when she was entirely too young to go running -- if the running was done on hard surfaces. She may have pain issues that clearly haven't been investigated at all. She *developed* anxiety in her crate, which should have been a place of security, but the reasons for this weren't investigated at all. This concerns.

This owner has already said she won't do what it takes. She's offered reasons why they haven't done enough thus far, and with 1. money issues 2. her husband travelling 3. the baby coming, Roxy will NEVER get what she needs.

Worse of all, Roxy is living in a shadow:

my last Shepherd was the best dog ever.
Roxy needs to go to a home where she has a chance. This owner lost a 10 year old shepherd and expected Roxy to act like that senior dog. I assure you that GSD pup was probably a hellion like Roxy is; she wasn't "the best dog ever" until she developed an adult brain, with adult decision-making abilities. That doesn't happen, in GSDs, until about 3 years old. These folks, it appears to me, don't have that much patience (or funds for training).

These people need to let Roxy go. They have a baby coming. That baby deserves parents who aren't pulling their hair out with a puppy that frustrates them, a puppy they've labeled as "crazy." And Roxy deserves a new start with an owner who will let her be herself, not a mini version of a dead dog (however wonderful the deceased dog may have been). Does she need training? Yes. Does she need management? Absolutely. Does she need veterinary intervention? Possibly. But most of all, she needs an owner who understands her and has the time, funds and patience to let her grow: let her brain finish growing, let her body finish growing and let her grow into the dog she is supposed to be.

And yes Gayle, you should feel free to pass this along to your friend, verbatim.

I hope for all of their sakes that they are able to place her with a good rescue. Sometimes, the biggest kindness we can give is to let go...
 

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I agree that she needs to have a chance in a match home - not easy to find after people undo what is good in a dog! Bella was stuck in a situation like this - replacing the best dog ever...and she did not do well.

HOPING the grounding is from Brian Kilcommons Good Owners Great Dogs
You Are Grounded! Quick Reform for the Problem Dog http://www.greatpets.com/ You Are Grounded is a safe, simple and effective program that helps to increase the obedience and responsiveness in all dogs. Give it a try!
Want to View? Purchase this item for: $1.99
 

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He then gave her two injections, one was an anti-inflammatory that caused her to run in circles and whine for over an hour. She was only 9 weeks old when that happened! .
Well that's just bizarre. I wonder if he gave her the shot wrong, (hit a bone?) or if the dosage was too strong?

Besides that being very strange, the whole post is sad. Bad vet, owners that don't know the difference between timid and aggressive, taking a timid dog through the pet store (yay, let's flood the pup!) , spraying it with water...ugh...it makes my head hurt. I don't even want to know how they "ground" the dog.

I hope the dog is re-homed but you have to wonder if Roxy can be rehabilitated. I sure don't see her getting any better with her current owner.
 

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I don't know that she's a "mess." I think she may simply be a sensitive, shy GSD with an owner who doesn't understand her, who doesn't have a clue how to train her, who is making her worse on a daily basis.

That "aggression" looks like regular ole teenage reactiveness to me. Many GSD pups are shy and need encouragement, but coddling them will make them more shy. So if handled incorrectly, they get worse. I worry that "grounding" her may mean pinning her on her side (not an alpha roll, but close to it). The fact that the owner calls it a "technique" believes me to think this is the case. This "technique" is a pretty questionable technique to use on adult dogs. It's pure stupidity to use it repeatedly on a young puppy -- and yes, I understand that a trainer told them to do it. Trainers are wrong all of the time. Unfortunately, owners and their dogs pay the price for that. All the pinning technique is going to do is cause the puppy to be terrified of her owner, to learn that the world is a scary place and that she better lash out first before she gets attacked for what are perfectly normal puppy/doggy behaviors.

If, in fact, "grounding" is a time out, time outs need to be immediate and for a very short period of time (30 seconds to maybe a few minutes); otherwise the dog doesn't know WHY she's locked in her crate (or the bathroom or whatever), and learns zero. But she IS locked away from her family, and not receiving the attention, socialization and love that GSDs thrive on. Regardless of what "pining" is, they're using a lot of punishers for normal doggy behaviors, like barking, when there appears to be no actual management or training as well.

The breeder made excuses about the other pups, which concerns, but this pup seemed to be somewhat solid. But the pup was taken on a lot of "jogs' when she was young. There may have been damage done to her when she was entirely too young to go running -- if the running was done on hard surfaces. She may have pain issues that clearly haven't been investigated at all. She *developed* anxiety in her crate, which should have been a place of security, but the reasons for this weren't investigated at all. This concerns.

This owner has already said she won't do what it takes. She's offered reasons why they haven't done enough thus far, and with 1. money issues 2. her husband travelling 3. the baby coming, Roxy will NEVER get what she needs.

Worse of all, Roxy is living in a shadow:



Roxy needs to go to a home where she has a chance. This owner lost a 10 year old shepherd and expected Roxy to act like that senior dog. I assure you that GSD pup was probably a hellion like Roxy is; she wasn't "the best dog ever" until she developed an adult brain, with adult decision-making abilities. That doesn't happen, in GSDs, until about 3 years old. These folks, it appears to me, don't have that much patience (or funds for training).

These people need to let Roxy go. They have a baby coming. That baby deserves parents who aren't pulling their hair out with a puppy that frustrates them, a puppy they've labeled as "crazy." And Roxy deserves a new start with an owner who will let her be herself, not a mini version of a dead dog (however wonderful the deceased dog may have been). Does she need training? Yes. Does she need management? Absolutely. Does she need veterinary intervention? Possibly. But most of all, she needs an owner who understands her and has the time, funds and patience to let her grow: let her brain finish growing, let her body finish growing and let her grow into the dog she is supposed to be.

And yes Gayle, you should feel free to pass this along to your friend, verbatim.

I hope for all of their sakes that they are able to place her with a good rescue. Sometimes, the biggest kindness we can give is to let go...


well said. I have some choice words regarding the owners but i wont say them other than stupid being nicest i have.
 

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I agree that she needs to have a chance in a match home - not easy to find after people undo what is good in a dog! Bella was stuck in a situation like this - replacing the best dog ever...and she did not do well.

HOPING the grounding is from Brian Kilcommons Good Owners Great Dogs
You Are Grounded! Quick Reform for the Problem Dog http://www.greatpets.com/ You Are Grounded is a safe, simple and effective program that helps to increase the obedience and responsiveness in all dogs. Give it a try!
LOVE this protocol! and I recommend it ALL of the time... Sarah Wilson & Brian Kilcommons are such reasonable people. But I've never seen it used as a punishment for unwanted behavior; rather just a way to help ensure that you get a reasonable self-sufficient dog. I can't imagine that Wilson/Kilcommons would advise stuffing a pup in a crate for an extended period of time as a correction, even though they DO recommend crating for longish periods to help the pup build up the ability be independent and the ability to self entertain.

I've misplaced my copy, though... So I'm working off the top of my brain, (which is kind of dangerous...).
 

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A friend received the following from a lady in Florida and I was hoping you all could add some helpful input that I can pass on to her to give to the owner. I told my friend that IMHO the owner was making excuses for the dog's behavior, that the dog needed more training than a puppy class at PetSmart, that I don't feel the owner wants to put any effort into training the dog, that the dog needs more exercise, and I also sent the website link for Tampa Bay Rescue. NOTE: I CUT OUT SOME OF THE INFORMATION TO CUT DOWN ON SPACE ... BUT ITS STILL VERY LONG.


This is pretty much what I thought. Sounds like the pup might have had a high activity level and weak nerves to begin with and while that could have been easily worked with if managed properly...instead poor training, poor raising, and poor general dog skills have led to a reactive dog that doesn't know what to do with itself.

Additionally I think it sounds like excuses because she just doesn't want to deal with the dog anymore. I don't know if she's in our area at all, but if she wants to come out to our SchH club we've had other pet people just come for obedience and to work on aggression issues with dog savvy people.

Really just a sad situation. I wish people would invest more in their dogs.
 

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oksana, how can it be said that a dog does well in a class if they stay under the chair and refuse to participate. it's the refuse to participate part that just doesn't seem to jive with the does well part somehow.
 

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I stopped reading when i got to making noises to "shake" her from that state... I'm training my first dog, and she has fear issues- and I would NEVER make a scary noise at an already scared dog. Skylar was attacked by a big lab, and she is in no way scared of everything, just dogs on walks when she's on leash- and she's getting over it with positive reinforcement.
sorry, but it doesn't sound like the owner is trying very hard to help her. :confused:
 

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oksana, how can it be said that a dog does well in a class if they stay under the chair and refuse to participate. it's the refuse to participate part that just doesn't seem to jive with the does well part somehow.
With such kind of dog you start living in a different world with different points of reference. The pup did well compared to herself before. For example, if the pup was shaking uncontrollably at the sight of any person before and going into a panic attack with an eye contact from a dog or a person then staying calm under the chair and maybe taking a treat or to, and just watch is a big progress and doing well. It is participation for this kind of puppy. You move with such baby steps with fearful dogs, and you celebrate every tiny bit of improvement and build on it. You cannot skip socializing but it has to be done in a special manner.

Also, rock solid obedience is the key, and realizing that fearful doesn't necessarily mean soft and submissive is essential. Fear aggression is true aggression, and it has to be controlled by a handler because the dog with weak nerves is not capable of it. The owner needs help from professionals.
 

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"does well" needs a qualifier then, like "considering the circumstances". i hope this girl finds a home that will suit her needs better.
 
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