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Discussion Starter #1
Sky is 5 months old and has suddenly become easily startled and scared by noises (keys dropping on floor, door slam, etc)

She used to be rock solid around loud noise. The breeder exposed the litter to all sorts of noise, and from what she told me Sky just sat there when Police came to evaluate the litter for selection.

When she was 14 weeks old I took her to the local dragway and the noise of the cars did not phase her one bit.

I talked to the breeder and we narrowed the change of behavior down to our last night in class when she got nipped by a Dobie. That night I dropped my keys on the floor and she took off and hid behind the couch.

Last night I tested her by rattling coins and she ran upstairs and went in her crate. I had to coax her out.

I don't know if the Dobie incident is the cause, but she was fine with noise up until that.

If anyone has any suggestions or input I'd really appreciate it.

I want to work with her as best I can so noise is not an issue with her.

Thanks.
 

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Is she intact (not spayed), if yes, my guess without seeing her is that she is going to be coming in to heat soon. Hormones do really really funky things to some of these young females.
 

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Does sound like the Dobie incident could have triggered it. Did she interact with the Dobie or other dogs afterward the nipping incident? How did that go?

It is also possible she is going through a "fear period." If this a new reaction to things she previously wasn't bother with, this could also be an underlying cause.

Look at the following link of developmental stages for some guidance:
Developmental Stages and Socialization

I would start by trying to ignore her immediate reaction and not reinforce that behaviour/reaction. You could leave the keys out where she can investigate them for a moment and then start to just move them around the floor while making as little noise as you can and progressing slowly with a little more noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
She is not spayed.

She did not want to interact with any dogs at class after that.

She still does play with our Lab. Most likely because they know each other.

All the things she is reacting to right now were familiar to her.

I'm going to try the not acknowledging her approach tonight when I make some noise to see what she does.
 

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Originally Posted By: Don In DelawareShe did not want to interact with any dogs at class after that.


My comments are assuming she is not going into heat as Wisc Tiger suggested-that can and will play a big factor in her state of mind if that is the case.

If she was interacting with those dogs previously, I would make the assumption that the nipping had an impact.

And I would approach this as if there were two things going on.

I would, as you already indicated, start with the dealing with the noise issue since you can do that at home and treat as a separate issue.

And I would attempt to arrange some controlled doggie interaction with people/dogs I know and trust - doing this slowly and starting from a distance. Maybe let the Lab interact with the dog with your puppy observing first. I would not push this interaction on your puppy but approach if slowly (and with confidence on your part as the puppy will feed off your emotions). If your puppy shows any nervousness, have the owner move the other dog away. Again do not coax or try to sooth the dog through this if/when he is showing nervousness or a need to move away. Once the other dog has moved away and your puppy is showing a calm state of mind, redirect with a toy/little play or teat or a little working practice from your class. Try the exercise again.

These are just suggestions and thoughts on my part. I have done this with Kayla as one of the "other" dog a couple of times, but not from the side of the fearful dog. It worked in two cases, did not in another. In the instance it did not work, part of the issue IMO was the owner's apprehension. So if you give it a go, remember to keep attuned to your pup and keep your emotions positive. At 5 months, she (and you!) will get past this-maybe in a day maybe over 2 or 3 days. But you'll get there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I neglected to say that this was the first time she met the dobie. The other dogs she never paid much mind to

she still interacts with my neighbors husky

I'm just really trying to figure out what brought this on since she has never shown such behavior before. I bring her just about every where with me so she is always exposed to different environments, people, animals.

I just have to stay positive and help her get through this.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We made some progress this past weekend. I walked Sky out of our development and to an intersection. We did sit stays for 30 minutes as cars went back and forth. On the leash of course.

After 10 minutes she appeared less nervous.

At night as my wife and daughter are getting ready for bed I jingle keys or rattle coins and we all go about our normal activity and ignore her.

She also seemed to be less nervous. Hopefully I caught this in time and can get her back to her old self.

I also stopped at some local businesses who said it is OK for me to bring her in the stores as part of her training.
 

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Sounds like a phase. My 7 month old still has periods of "eek - what was that" startles, but not that often. Your reaction to those is very important. Don't comfort... that could lead to a phobia by telling her there is something to be startled about. I usually just laugh, and say "what?" and go about my business.
 
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