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View Full Version : Advice on extremely frightened barn puppy?



Cammie
Jul. 16, 2010, 08:49 PM
Sorry this is so long. Hoping to get some advice or ideas on how to desensitize a new terrier/spaniel puppy. She's roughly 12 weeks old, and we've had her for the past 2 weeks. She has been figuring out the walking on a leash business fairly well, but has had a serious setback and is now extremely frightened about leaving the security of "home" to go outside. She stays in the barn office in a crate when we're at the barn, and she's quite happy to nap in there between periodic play sessions and potty breaks. Last week she was being walked, and my sister lost her grip on the leash and it fell behind her, spooking her. Unfortunately she was using one of those retractable leashes, so the plastic handle dragged behind her and scared her to death- she ran screaming like a bullet back to the office. The leash got wrapped around her hind leg, but thankfully didn't do any damage- she was physically fine but very, very scared. Luckily she was on the right side of the property and didn't cross any roads and even better she knew exactly how to get back.

Now though, she doesn't want to go out at all- doesn't matter if you take her out a different way than the "scary" walk, or if you're taking her out at home. With or without the other barn dogs along doesn't make a difference. Every walk now is met with extreme reluctance, and she almost seems like she has a panic attack- panting hard, crying the entire time and trying desperately to turn herself inside out to get back to the door and inside. Even to take a 1 minute potty break involves a meltdown. If I pick her up and carry her 40 or 50 feet from the door, she will walk a bit better, but she's still crying to herself and trying to decide whether to try and turn back. Once we get somewhere fun, like the horse trails or the park, then she forgets about her trauma and is happy to play for a bit. But the minute we turn back to go home, instant nervousness, and she wants to sprint back the entire way, getting more and more panicked the closer she gets to home or office. If we have to stop along the way to wait for a light, she completely melts down. :no:

Other than feeling horrible, and certain that I am going straight to hell for letting her get scared so badly, is there anything I can do to get her over this? She is going to her first puppy class next week, so I'm hoping that will be a fun experience and help her learn that leaving home can be nice. She's submissive to meeting other dogs, but not frightened, and is tentative with new people, but usually secure enough if you're with her to say hello. She's met a few of the friendly horses, and isn't frightened of them, although she's not allowed near the aisle when a horse is present.

Any ideas would be appreciated! (And yes, that awful leash has been thrown out).

MelantheLLC
Jul. 16, 2010, 08:56 PM
Did you switch to a regular leash?

I think the retractables are not good for puppies, because they don't "get" where the leash will become taut, and can take off running only to hit the end.

She sounds like a very sensitive dog who might require a trainer to help you with a program to give her confidence, since she becomes overwhelmed so easily.

Bluey
Jul. 16, 2010, 08:58 PM
Puppies go thru fear periods and your puppy may be in one now, that she will hopefully outgrow soon.
That may be contributing to her over the top reaction to what happened and that she is keeping that up.

Hard to say what to do without seeing the puppy and how you respond to what it does.
The puppy classes will help and the trainer there should be able to help you with that problem.:yes:

Until you get on the spot help, keep training your puppy where it is not freaking out, so it is learning to communicate and so, when the scary moments and places happen, you will have a way to reassure it that it will be familiar with.

If your puppy has a stable temperament, it should get over that as it grows and becomes more secure with the world around it.

Don't beat yourself, something can happen here and there any time, to anyone, that is life.
That you are working to remedy this bump on the road to a good solid, trained citizen dog is what matters now.:)

Any pictures?;)

Cammie
Jul. 16, 2010, 09:05 PM
Yes, she has a regular leash that we use with her. I don't like the retractable ones either, and especially this one- since its for small dogs, the handle is tiny and you can only get a couple of fingers through it. I'm sure that's why it was dropped- you can't get a decent grip on it.

She wears a harness, rather than a collar.

She is a really sweet puppy, and was doing pretty well with learning how to walk until this. I know it was a stupid mistake to even let her be walked on that leash in the first place.

And of course, I should have added photos. Better sit down before you look though- I don't want anyone fainting from cuteness overload. :)
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u71/Cammiespike/Peaches/Peaches.jpg

http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u71/Cammiespike/Peaches/Peaches1.jpg

kdow
Jul. 16, 2010, 09:21 PM
Get rid of retractable leash. I've only ever seen them teach dogs to pull, anyway, and even a relatively sane adult dog can freak out if they get loose and the plastic thing is clattering along behind them.

My approach would be:

Get a decently long training leash (or heck, just use a lunge line if you have one around the barn) and attach one end to puppy. Giving her plenty of slack, move yourself just slightly into the 'scary area' while leaving her where she feels comfortable. Proceed to ignore her. (Or at least, you know, pretend to. You don't want to ACTUALLY be totally unaware of what she's up to, but fussing will just serve to reinforce that there's something to be scared of.) If you have something with you that she finds super-interesting, like smelly tasty treats or her favorite toy, even better. Let her know you have it, but don't try to actually tempt her with it. If she comes out even part way, reward her. Repeat, moving out of her comfort area a little bit each time, until she has realized the scary area is not scary. (If you wanted to use a retractable leash on her at some point in the future, once she was nice and secure I'd probably do something similar with the leash - first put the handle out where she can sniff it. Then have someone move it a little and let her check it out. Then move it more. Etc.)

Anyway, the key is to be calm and act completely oblivious to the fact that she's so worked up, so that the message you're giving her is "there's nothing to be scared about, what are you so worked up over?" while chopping the scary thing down into smaller pieces so you're not asking her to have to have TOO much courage in any one session.

At least, that's what we did for Pirate when he'd develop anxiety when Foxy play growled, or when my dad was gardening. (He's pretty bonded to me so I didn't have to have any treats or toys to tempt him with, because being close to me was enough, but if he hadn't been that kind of dog I would've probably used either the Most Beloved Toy - with restricted access to it other times - or a smelly tasty treat like small pieces of chicken or something else really high value.) He's still not entirely certain about larger guys with garden tools, but he doesn't freak out about it now - he's just not quite as friendly and exuberant as he normally is. (Which is still pretty friendly.)

Anyway, if nothing else, I'd make sure not to fuss over her when she is getting all wound up. I wouldn't punish her, either - but I wouldn't baby talk/give lots of cuddles/etc. Just pick her up in a matter-of-fact way and transport her over the scary area as if there's nothing exciting about it, and let her calm herself down before giving her attention. (I mean, if you normally pat her on the head when you take her into the barn, then do that, but don't do anything specifically because she's upset.) Fussing over a nervous/scared dog tends to just reinforce that they're doing the right thing in being nervous and scared. (At the same time, punishing a nervous or scared dog... gives them something else to be nervous or scared about! So you don't want to do that, either. :) )

ETA: AWW. What a cutie. :) (I bet she's HEARTBREAKING when she's upset.)

MelantheLLC
Jul. 16, 2010, 09:23 PM
No, no, don't start blaming yourself. Dogs are individuals, just like all of us. Some are timid, some are bold. I only dislike the retractables as a training issue--they don't set a clear boundary for a puppy. It seems to encourage pulling.

For an older dog who walks well on a leash, they are fine.

She may not have been out and about much as a younger puppy, and like Bluey said, her brain is going through the phase of developing a fear reaction. That's why dogs can be domesticated and wolves generally can't--wolf pups brains develop the ability to fear much earlier than dogs. If she was kept indoors all the time, she didn't get exposure to the Big Wide World when she didn't know what fear was.

It IS fairly important to get her out and about now, before she gets much older. Weeks do count at this age, because her brain is developing. That's not bad news--it means she still can develop easily in a more confident direction.

The puppy class, and taking her anywhere you can, keeping her close to you so she feels more secure, perhaps? And doing some (very very easy) training with treats in the areas outside the house where she IS more relaxed too.

There are many more resources now than there used to be for dogs, so don't get worried. You worrying won't make her more confident! ;)

kdow
Jul. 16, 2010, 09:44 PM
No, no, don't start blaming yourself. Dogs are individuals, just like all of us. Some are timid, some are bold.

It IS fairly important to get her out and about now, before she gets much older. Weeks do count at this age, because her brain is developing. That's not bad news--it means she still can develop easily in a more confident direction.

There are many more resources now than there used to be for dogs, so don't get worried. You worrying won't make her more confident! ;)

I agree with all of this, but particularly about not blaming yourself. When Foxy was a puppy she jumped out of my arms with no warning, landed on the floor, and made such a fuss you'd've thought she was dying. (She was not injured at ALL.) I felt awful, because I wasn't really watching for that because she was settled in quite calmly and then - bip!

We've had her for almost eight years now, and while she's still a drama queen (snag a snarl in her hair combing out burrs - omg, she's DYING!) she has no problems at all being held or picked up and is quite cooperative about it. If you're calm and confident, dogs get over things. :)

Cammie
Jul. 16, 2010, 10:13 PM
Thank you for the advice and support- lord knows I can't afford a miniature couch and doggy psychologist sessions for her, so I hope I haven't traumatized her for life.


I bet she's HEARTBREAKING when she's upset.

You better believe it. :( Not only is everyone within a 100 foot radius wondering who in the world is murdering a puppy, but the absolute panic meltdowns she has are SO hard to watch. Before she was mildly worried about leaving home on walks, but just crying softly to herself and some reluctance. Then the great leash terror happened, and now its full on hysteria.

I have been ignoring her hysterics, and just keep walking forward. If she flings herself to the ground, I don't drag her along but wait until she decides to panic sprint towards me a few feet and start to move on again. I've been trying not to let her go backward towards safety. I have also been picking her up and carrying her further away from the door- it seems if you get far enough away she isn't quite as adamant about getting back. She tries, but isn't as physical about it. I do talk to her, but in a regular conversational tone- not excited or pleading. Just "come on, let's go". I was really hoping bringing one of the adult barn dogs along on walks would help as a lead by example, but she doesn't care at all and isn't reassured.

Not really sure on the early history- she was left in a box at the vet's office. :mad: She spent 2 weeks at a foster with another puppy, but I don't know what type of set-up they had there and how much she got out and about.

The immediately scary areas are right outside wherever "home" is at that moment- the office, my apartment, the dogsitter's house. Which sucks, because when its late at night and you just want to do a last minute potty break, she completely flips her lid. Should I carry her 50 feet down the street with her to get away from the door, or just let her throw a fit for 5 minutes trying to teleportate herself through the door before she gives up and pees?

And then coming home from an outing is hard to deal with too- she gets more and more stressed the closer she gets, and I feel like I'm reconfirming that fear by allowing her to ramp up the anxiety. But I don't know how else to get back home though- I can stop and try to wait for her to calm down, change directions and go back the other way for a bit......but eventually I do have to get back to the office or home. It feels like its rewarding the behavior- freak out, yet you're still rewarded by reaching safety, you know?

MelanieC
Jul. 16, 2010, 10:26 PM
I'd try some basic counterconditioning. Is she food motivated, or are there toys she REALLY likes? It sounds like you can identify the "danger zone" where she begins to react. You need to sort of rewind and figure out where she starts freaking out, and reward her for moving toward the danger zone BEFORE she gets to the point where she is over threshold. For example, if you open the door and she orients toward the door, reward that. Do it over and over and over again (short sessions, but lots of them). The start upping the ante slowly, rewarding for walking out the door, five feet past the door, ten feet past the door, etc. Baby steps. Don't put any pressure on her to go farther than she can without being frightened and avoid the trigger situation if you can -- go out a different way, carry her every time if you have to while you are working on this, otherwise, she may backslide.

It may progress faster if you start clicker training her and use the clicker to mark the good behavior (i.e., orienting toward the door, going out the door, walking down the scary path, etc.) before you reward it with food/toy.

Here is an example of how counterconditioning worked for me and my anxious dog. I have a dog, now 11 years old, whom I adopted at 16 months. I am his fifth or sixth owner. At the time I got him he was petrified of strangers, and it was a problem because he would sometimes growl and lunge at them, and I lived in the middle of Philadelphia, so it was impossible to avoid walking past strangers. I determined about how close a person had to be for Solo to be worried (it was about one block). I carried treats on every walk and would start feeding him every time I saw someone about a block away, before he started being worried. I stopped feeding him the second the person passed us and was going in the other direction. After some time (most dogs will go faster but Solo was VERY weird when I got him) Solo began to associate the approach of strangers not with danger but with "oooh, yummy treats!" The same sort of technique works when dogs are afraid of things, or places.

Two good books to take a look at for fearful dogs are "The Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell (more of a pamphlet) and "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. Both contain desensitization and counterconditioning exercises that are invaluable for anxious dogs.

MelantheLLC
Jul. 16, 2010, 10:28 PM
LOL, Cammie, I feel your pain. My Great Pyrenees puppy would not let me out of his sight. Oh he cried and screamed when I left the room where he was penned. And of course I "knew" I should not come back until he stopped crying for at least 30 seconds, or I'd be reinforcing it, right?

So I'd go to the bathroom, and then get trapped in the bedroom, staring at my watch. He could make it exactly 10 seconds between screams. I never EVER got a full 30 seconds out of him. I mean, one has to go on with one's life.

And I think, in the end, that's it. You have to just go on with your life. This is a puppy. He's not going to Harvard. The things that you do over and over, he will adjust to doing eventually. So coming in and out of your own home will become routine. That day WILL come.

I can recall my sister's worries about potty training my oldest nephew. It began to become quite an ordeal, and I finally said, "Look, eventually he'll get it. How many high-school students aren't potty trained?"

Did my pyr turn out to be a brave, well-adjusted dog who never blinks at anything (like my previous pyr?). No, at 2 years old he is still an oddball who will suddenly look up at the ceiling fan that's been in my husband's study all along and decide it is a vampire hanging there in disguise. He will refuse to walk under it, and bark at it, and look up apprehensively.

One night a few days after he developed this interesting theory, my husband had gone to bed. (I was out of town.) The dog was barking in some other part of the house--not uncommon for a pyr. But it went on and on. Finally my DH got up, and found our dog trapped in the far end of his study, afraid to go under the ceiling fan to reach the door. DH opened the outside door, and the dog rushed out, terrified.

But hey, I can leave and go the bathroom now and he could care less. ;)

Dogs! The only thing worse is horses. :winkgrin:

ETA: totally agree with Melanie, too. You can counter-condition to make it quicker. Just have faith that eventually it will all work out.

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jul. 16, 2010, 10:36 PM
It'll be okay.:)

I'm glad you got rid of the retractable leash. doG only knows who thought up that idea. Someone who hated dogs and the people who walk them, I reckon.

She was probably just in one of those unfortunate fear periods when this happened. If you'll walk her on a regular flat leash, with a flat collar, make things fun for her, and most importantly: don't reward drama on her part - she'll get over it.:yes:

My poor DH managed to step on Faith Border Collie's foot when she was about the age of your one. OMG. Much screaming and drama and limping followed. Poor DH was sure he had maimed the puppy for life. She got over it. And so did DH.

I hope for a similarly happy ending in your case.

threedogpack
Jul. 16, 2010, 10:39 PM
the McConnell books are excellent (J. Donaldson might be overload).

I would do the counter conditioning in the house, AND I would sit just outside the door and allow her into your lap. Traditionally, ignoring is what has been suggested but this is a baby puppy and I would reassure her. Your lap should be a safe place to veiw the world. I would not croon or do much other than sit and hold her, I'd be as normal as I could be and still be her safe spot.

I adopted a tremendously fearful dog once, we went to the park and a couple of parking lots where he hid under a chair or bench and we watched the world go by. If he stuck his nose out, I offered a treat. There were days he could eat and days he could not, I simply offered it. After a week or so he could creep out and let his head rest on my foot, then gradually over a month or so he began to come further and further and could take treats more often.

He became a really good demo dog for people with fearful pets. Eventually, he became a demo dog for my classes. Once he was able to come out where I could touch him I would stroke his head and talk softly to him....it seemed to help.

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 16, 2010, 10:40 PM
Dogs move in packs, so multiple people and multiple dogs will help tremendously. "pony" her with a dog that walks well. any response remotely correct should be grossly rewarded, any resistance or fear SHOULD BE IGNORED. If you coddle this you will make it 10x worse.

Cammie
Jul. 16, 2010, 11:00 PM
Many, many thanks again to everyone for the advice. We will stop at the store in the morning on the way to the barn to try and find an appropriate smelly treat. Hopefully one yummy enough to make bravery seem worthwhile! :)

kdow
Jul. 16, 2010, 11:17 PM
the McConnell books are excellent (J. Donaldson might be overload).

I would do the counter conditioning in the house, AND I would sit just outside the door and allow her into your lap. Traditionally, ignoring is what has been suggested but this is a baby puppy and I would reassure her. Your lap should be a safe place to veiw the world. I would not croon or do much other than sit and hold her, I'd be as normal as I could be and still be her safe spot.

I third the McConnell recommendation - I haven't read that particular book, but all of what I have read of hers has been excellent.

And what's described here would fall under what I would consider 'ignoring' for the purposes of training her - in that case, being able to sit in your lap in a safe place is the reward. I just wouldn't make a big deal about trying to GET her there - sit yourself right on the edge of her comfort area, watch her out of the corner of your eye, and when she climbs in your lap, pet her as you normally would in a non-scary place. Maybe after a bit she'll decide she feels up to exploring a bit around you, so long as she can come back to you - that's fine too. Then next time you repeat it, you go a tiny bit further than the last successful attempt, and repeat.

Basically you're saying "I'm here and I'm safe, but you have to take one step to get to me." And then two steps. And so on. More than likely eventually she'll have a lightbulb moment and you won't need to take her step by step ALL the way.

I didn't mean ignore her like just let her weep and wail and carry on while you drag her along - I think that would probably be reinforcing the whole thing by adding another upsetting situation to something where she's already clearly in way over her head and not thinking at all - you really have to give her the opportunity to 'solve' the problem for herself by breaking it down into bits she can manage.

This kind of training should also help develop her relationship with you while at the same time rewarding her for having self-confidence. And particularly with dogs who are prone to anxiety in general I think those two things - a good trust in people and some degree of self-confidence - are KEY to avoiding a dog who develops things like fear aggression issues. You want the dog to feel like it has the 'tools' to say 'I'm freaked out, I'm going to Mom' and at the same time have the confidence that if he or she gets to Mom, Mom will take care of it, so he or she doesn't have to.

Does that make sense?

Tom King
Jul. 16, 2010, 11:19 PM
You have to feel no anxiety or sympathy when you handle her. Pretending won't work. She'll pick up on it and it will make things worse for her. She needs for you to be strong and just go on about what business needs to be taken care of. She'll eventually get over it, mostly, if you don't dwell on her being soft. Don't talk to her with baby talk but talk as you would to another person. Don't reach down for her, but lower you hand and come in level below her chin for a while.

Pcostx
Jul. 16, 2010, 11:44 PM
Where did you get your puppy and how long have you had her? What is her background?

Deirdre Marr
Dallas, TX

Gray Horse H/J
Jul. 16, 2010, 11:51 PM
No advice to give, but I just wanted to say how absolutely freaking adorable your puppy is! :)

Equino
Jul. 16, 2010, 11:56 PM
Another thing to consider-check her thyroid. Seems to go hand in hand with fearful episodes.

shea'smom
Jul. 17, 2010, 12:06 AM
OH, Bless her heart! She is so cute!
I will say, I have a dog who was tied up and kicked. She is 8 and been with me 7 years and has never gotten over being on a leash. I think you are smart to try to help the little cutie get over her fear.
Good luck.

Cammie
Jul. 17, 2010, 12:13 AM
She is really adorable, although I am somewhat biased! We think she's a Jack Russell/King Charles Spaniel mix, but who knows. She was on Craigslist- someone had dumped her at a vet's office and they fostered her out.

Hopefully we can get past the scary outdoors!

HealingHeart
Jul. 17, 2010, 12:26 AM
It kinda like that leash, in her young mind, was catching her. She maybe associating going back out to being catch by that bad leash. Can another dog act out her fear, by perhaps having the older dog drag the leash behind him i.,e left on their collar for her to observe and get a good feeling of it.

Just an idea., continue to be patience, build trust, as you grows and gets more confident, this should resolve.

xxx fingers crossed xxxx

PS: very cute and sweet baby

mg
Jul. 17, 2010, 12:41 AM
I always hate to be the rude/paranoid one, but your puppy really should not be in places like public puppy classes or public places like parks where other dogs go until they get all their shots (which is usually 16 weeks, not 12). There is just far too much risk they will pick something up :no: I found this to be difficult with my pup since I wanted to socialize him as much as possible during that time, but it really is not recommended.

Other than that, great advice given so far about positive reward training and advising not to coddle like a baby when the puppy becomes fearful. I spent a lot of time training my puppy commands and tricks, which helped him gain a lot of trust in me, which I think really helped us (Zak George has a bunch of awesome and really helpful videos on YouTube which I LOVE!). He also had his lightweight flat leash connected to him almost all the time when home so he was easier to keep an eye on all the time, and I think that got him used to the leash.

kdow
Jul. 17, 2010, 12:57 AM
I spent a lot of time training my puppy commands and tricks, which helped him gain a lot of trust in me, which I think really helped us (Zak George has a bunch of awesome and really helpful videos on YouTube which I LOVE!).

Actually, that reminds me of another technique that can help 'de-rail' a dog that's getting kind of worked up about something. When Pirate starts getting anxious about a situation, something that can really help to sort of build up his confidence and get his brain back functioning before it gets too out of control is asking him to do a trick or something that he knows very very well and is highly reliable at. In his case, it's just a simple 'sit'. He knows how to do it, and he knows that he knows how to do it, so asking for a sit brings his attention back to me while at the same time almost giving him a sense of accomplishment - he knows when he's sat properly as asked and it seems to boost his confidence quite considerably.

The puppy is probably too young to have any kind of trick like that you can use, but if she is a bit of a nervous type, it may be useful later. (And like I said, it doesn't have to be a complicated trick at all. Pirate's sit is rock solid and it's an easy thing to ask for no matter where we are, so that's what I use.)

Foxtrot's
Jul. 17, 2010, 02:39 AM
I think she will mostly get over it given time and consistent handling. Stuff happens.
We have had greyhounds who have had a lot of different "abuses' and come to us so timid and it is remarkable how they come around with time. Not all greyhounds are abused, but some are treated roughly for their sensitive natures - didn't mean to bash greyhound people.

gardenofsimple22
Jul. 17, 2010, 11:01 AM
I personally would leave her with a light weight leash on all the time. we did this with my fearful walker and in not time he was a pro. just snap it on, don't coddle her and only 'help' her if she gets tangled... don't coax her to move around the house leashed just let her figure that part out.

i 2nd the yummies on walks. Perhaps try some clicker training?

gloriginger
Jul. 17, 2010, 03:29 PM
What Bluey said--puppies go through fear phases and she most likely was in one. I hate retractable leashes, they teach dogs to pull, they are a pain in the neck, and I almost lost a finger from one and got really deep cuts on the back of my knees from one.

I have to use one now with my dog who had surgery when we walk on the beach, but other than very special situations I think they are really dangerous. Never for a puppy! Teach the dog to walk nicely on a 6 ft. lead and to yield to pressure!

As far as the fear of leaving the office, so be it- probably a fear week, play where she is comfy- give her lots of toys build her confidence and she will get over it.

IfWishesWereHorses
Jul. 19, 2010, 07:14 AM
Cripes, this could have been me writing about my puppy a year ago!!!! I had the exact same issues!

My pup is now a very sociable, happy girl. How did I do it? She spent two days a week, for about 3 months (!!) going to puppy daycare. Basically she got socialised with LOTS of dogs and people at this place, thrown in at the deep end so to speak. Now instead of hiding in the house and having to be dragged out by her lead, she is a normal social dog and confident out in the open.

She is still a little wary of strangers, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I used to have to drag her or pick her up or she'd never go anywhere!

She was scared of her own shadow before, but now she's just the best dog ever! We also recently aquired a SUPER friendly sociable confident well mannered labrador. Should have done this a long time ago too, as its made her even MORE confident.
Good luck!

wendy
Jul. 19, 2010, 08:55 AM
I always hate to be the rude/paranoid one, but your puppy really should not be in places like public puppy classes or public places like parks where other dogs go until they get all their shots (which is usually 16 weeks, not 12). There is just far too much risk they will pick something up

no no this really BAD old-fashioned advice. You should take your puppy out as much as possible during the early weeks of life. The "window of socialization" starts to CLOSE permanently around 16 weeks of age.
You have a risk/benefit balance: yes, there is a slight risk of the pup catching something nasty if you go out and about before age 16 weeks; but if you do not go out and about there is a 100% certainty your dog will be permanently impaired, behavior-wise. 100% certainty. You can't "catch up" later with socialization, you have to do it before age 16 weeks. Since this pup was probably not socialized while very young with whomever bred the litter, you have a lot of work to do and not much time remaining.

Your pup's probably just in a "fear period". Unfortunately things that should only be mildly upsetting that happen during fear periods can cause permanent fears. Just keep plugging along and hope for the best.

SonnysMom
Jul. 19, 2010, 09:58 AM
I always hate to be the rude/paranoid one, but your puppy really should not be in places like public puppy classes or public places like parks where other dogs go until they get all their shots (which is usually 16 weeks, not 12). There is just far too much risk they will pick something up :no: I found this to be difficult with my pup since I wanted to socialize him as much as possible during that time, but it really is not recommended.



I sort of disagree with this. You need to be smart where you take them until they have all their shots. Do not take them to public places where you do not know the shot history of the dogs that are there.
However you can take them to friends houses who have healty dogs.
We took our puppy to a puppy training class at a large training facility. Every dog that came into the facility had to show their shot records before they got accepted into the class.
The puppy class we were in the oldest age at the time the class started was 16 weeks. Therefore they were all at the same point of their immune system.

Would I bring a puppy without their full set of shots to Petsmart? No.
Would I bring them to the dog park? No
Would I bring them to the local park where everybody else brings their dog for walks and I have no idea if these dogs have ever had their shots? No
Would I bring puppy to the dog groomers? Probably not
Did I put him down on the floor at th vet's while I was in the waiting room to get the shots? No. I stayed well away from any other dogs too. Who knows why they are there and who was there before me.

Did I let my friend bring over her 2 dogs? yes, I know they are healthy and up to date on shots
Did I bring him to my boarding barn? Yes. Dog is healthy and UTD
Did I bring him to my trainers barn? Yes. Dogs are healthy and UTD

No reason to stay in an isolation ward with puppy but be smart where your take puppy and puppy will be fine.

OP- sorry I can't help you with your question since the only puppies that I have had are lab puppies. The breeders both did a good job prior to me getting them and their personalities are both pretty self confident anyway. I never saw signs of a fear period with either of them.

Good luck with your puppy.

mg
Jul. 19, 2010, 10:18 AM
I sort of disagree with this. You need to be smart where you take them until they have all their shots. Do not take them to public places where you do not know the shot history of the dogs that are there.
However you can take them to friends houses who have healty dogs.

That's what I was getting at. I was warning against places where you don't know the history of other dogs who have been there.


no no this really BAD old-fashioned advice. You should take your puppy out as much as possible during the early weeks of life. The "window of socialization" starts to CLOSE permanently around 16 weeks of age.
You have a risk/benefit balance: yes, there is a slight risk of the pup catching something nasty if you go out and about before age 16 weeks; but if you do not go out and about there is a 100% certainty your dog will be permanently impaired, behavior-wise. 100% certainty. You can't "catch up" later with socialization, you have to do it before age 16 weeks. Since this pup was probably not socialized while very young with whomever bred the litter, you have a lot of work to do and not much time remaining.

Definitely not "old fashioned," and definitely not "bad." I'm sorry, but taking your puppy to places where they have been unfamiliar dogs whose histories you don't know is BAD dog ownership. It's not worth the risk of infection. Like SonnysMom said, socializing with dogs who you know or puppy classes where dogs are required to show shot records are fine. But bringing puppies to places like Petco and the dog park is a terrible idea before they have all their shots.

I guess my dog is in that 0% who turned out absolutely wonderful from this approach. He is one of the friendliest, kindest, and most well-socialized dogs I've ever met and I never took him to public places like that before he had all this shots.

IdahoRider
Jul. 19, 2010, 10:30 AM
Although there are a ton of places where it wouldn't be smart to take a puppy until it has been fully vaccinated, such as a dog park or local public park, there are also a lot of places where it is safe to have a puppy. A puppy class would require that all puppies be UTD on vaccinations, so that would be one of the more safe activities for a youngster.

As others have noted, it is important to remember to not coddle or baby your puppy when she is reacting fearfully. Approach EVERYTHING and EVERYONE you come across in a positive, upbeat manner. Talk, talk, talk in your happy voice as you're walking along.

If she gets stuck and starts to buck and pull back, bend down a little and call her to you in a happy voice. If she takes even a half step forward, praise her like crazy for being the brave, smart puppy she is. Give her a huge praise party for every single step forward she takes.

Get her out as much as possible. I like to socialize in front of the local grocery store. I sit on the bench with the puppy and when people stop to say hello, I offer to let them hand feed a tasty treat. I bake my own liver treats and this works really well, even for the un-food motivated German Shepherd Dog I have!
Sheilah

sadlmakr
Jul. 19, 2010, 10:41 AM
Twelve weeks is young to be taking this one out.
That is still very Puppy. Is there an old dog that is tolerant of the Puppy? That can Buddy with him?
My Mother cat took over my puppy when he was tiny. She decided I was not doing the job right. I had to get a bigger box because she got in it with him and licked his face and "mothered" him until he got to sleep. She trained him in many ways and even brought in a live mouse for him. He looked at me and looked at the mouse and she said something in Cat to him and he grabbed it and shook it like Terriers do. He was so proud of his Kill. I know she said "Kill it, stupid" in Cat.
To this day even though she has passed away, he is a great Mouser.
The Buddy System works with dogs as it does with cats and horses. I put a weanling colt in with my Welsh /Thoroughbred mare and she took care of hiim and comforted him until he got over his move away from Mom.
Take time and give the Puppy plenty of time to grow up and get through these times. It is a normal part of growing up. Then too he was abandoned and that has an affect on them also.
I agree with the ladies who posted before. Get some good books on training and get him into a puppy training school.
This time next year will be a whole different story.
JMHO.
sadlmakr

kdow
Jul. 19, 2010, 02:10 PM
Get her out as much as possible. I like to socialize in front of the local grocery store. I sit on the bench with the puppy and when people stop to say hello, I offer to let them hand feed a tasty treat. I bake my own liver treats and this works really well, even for the un-food motivated German Shepherd Dog I have!


You can't talk about homemade dog treats without offering to share the recipe! :)

Anyway, I wanted to second the importance of safe socialization. I say 'safe' because even without the vaccination issues, I would be leery of introducing a very young puppy to a situation like a dog park where you know nothing at all about the other dogs - while good experiences make for a great dog, bad experiences can make for big problems later on. So I would stick primarily with dogs you know will be okay with her while she's still figuring out this social interaction stuff.

Also socialize her with lots of people - Foxy as a puppy even before she was weaned was kept with her litter mates in a low pen in the kitchen of the breeder's house - her mom and her aunt had free access to the pen, plus anyone who came through the kitchen was of course obliged to say hello. (Because who can resist a cute puppy, even if it's just a drive-by pet? :) ) As a result, while she's never been a 'just cuddle me and HOLD me' dog, she's extremely well-adjusted and socially aware.

IdahoRider
Jul. 19, 2010, 03:17 PM
You can't talk about homemade dog treats without offering to share the recipe! :)

LOL, they are so easy, too! Boil chicken livers for about 5 minutes. Pat dry and cut up into treat sized pieces (for my dogs I make them about the the size of a pencil eraser). Spread the pieces on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes. I train on an on-going basis with my dogs, and I'll make up a huge batch and freeze what I don't need.

I have also done beef liver and beef heart the same way and had good results. One of my dogs has food allergies and the beef organ seems to cause less of a stomach upset for him, as opposed to the chicken.

A dog trainer friend of mine uses a basic oatmeal cookie recipe, minus the sugar, adding cut up liver pieces to the dough before baking.
Sheilah

MelanieC
Jul. 19, 2010, 03:33 PM
When I make bacon I save the grease, mix enough flour into it to make it into a cookie dough type texture, throw in an egg and maybe some parsley (mostly because it looks prettier), cut cookie shapes out of it and bake until they are a little brown on top. If you cut the dough into tiny shapes they would work well for dry-ish training treats.

When I need to pull out the big guns I chop up chicken gizzards, saute them in a little bit of olive oil with a tiny bit of garlic salt (not too much -- lots of garlic is not good for dogs) and dry them with paper towels. I have also made liver brownies in the past but be warned it wil stink up your entire house. Also, the blender you use to blend the livers will never again be safe for making anything humans would eat.

The classic training treat is over-nuked hot dogs -- chop into coins and microwave them until they become kind of petrified and puffed but not burned. Chicken hot dogs work well for this, any other kind is too greasy.

Other stuff that works in a pinch include string cheese and crappy soft dog food like Little Cesar that comes in the peel-off packs. You can just peel the top off and let the pup lick a little bit out of the package as a reward.

A packaged treat that works really well for me is this kind of soft dog food called Ziwi Peak that is all natural and is cut into tiny little squares. I haven't met a dog yet who didn't love it, and it's a complete diet so it isn't "junk food" and you can use a lot of it. It's way too expensive to feed as a regular diet (for my dogs anyway) but a great bargain if you use it as training treats.

Bluey
Jul. 19, 2010, 04:25 PM
You need to warn about the nuked hot dogs, the house smells terrible.:dead: