Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Put a baby gate at the third step from the bottom of the stairs. Hide upstairs and call the dog to you. He will be able to go up the three stairs because he does not feel he will fall.
This is a guide about training a dog to be less afraid of people. Previous treatment and life experiences can leave a dog with a fear of humans.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
We have construction going on in front of our house. My puppy wasn't afraid of it until one morning she woke and jumped in bed with me and has been scared to death since. She won't go outside and she would always go outside no problem! She paces back and forth. I try to comfort her. It only works for a minute. What to do? Help please!
Try a thunder shirt. They are made for animals who are afraid in storms. They are very effective. You can find them online mostly
The worst thing you can do is try to comfort the dog. Things like petting her and cooing "Now, now, it's okay" are only going to reinforce her fear response. Why? Because she thinks you are praising it. You can help her get used to loud noise by ignoring it or pretending to ignore it. Simply go about your business. Ignore any unwanted behavior from the dog. It may be too late, but try it anyway.
Lately he will not go outside, I have to drag him out with a leash. When outside he runs around the house to all of the doors ripping the molding off, chewing the door knobs, and jumping up and scratching the doors destroying them. He has torn all of the rubber molding off, so there are holes in the bottom of the doors. I am so afraid he is going to break the sliding glass window. I have tried blocking the doors with things, but he just destroys the stuff. His ultimate goal is to get back in the house. Even when I am outside with him he just walks at my feet tripping me.
While inside he just paces back and forth causing him to breathe heavily so he throws up all over. He has started peeing and pooping in the house because he hates going out. At night he sleeps on the floor in my room (on his $150 memory foam bed). All night he keeps me up running around the room panting and acting as if something is spooking him. If I lock him out of the room he destroys the door to get back in.
I have had him since a puppy. He has never been abused. I do have a crate that I keep him in when I leave. Lately it is the only place he can be because he is making me mental. I don't want to constantly leave him in there what should I do?
Take him to the vet immediately. He's telling you something is very wrong.
It may be a kind of dementia since your doggie is so old. I recently took our 14-year-old Lab mix to the vet with the same issues, and the vet gave us some Valium for Max when he demonstrates his anxiety. The vet said that the issues could well be due to Max's age and mental status.
Melinda, I would definitely say don't give up - it may take years for the dog to become trusting. My poodle had been abused when I adopted her, and she was terrified of everything, too. It took a long time to get her to trust people, but once she got past her "past", she became quite the dog! Definitely look into getting a crate and putting it in a quiet area where the dog feels secure while you are making noise. If she knows she has a quiet and safe spot she can go to, it should help a lot. I would also talk to a vet about anti-anxiety medications you could give her during storms, or if you have people over.
I would definitely discuss the situation with your vet. They do sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety meds for dogs, and this would probably help. You also probably have some dog "behaviorists" in Houston, and they deal more with psychological issues. (doggy shrinks)
I give one of my dogs a product from Drs.Foster and Smith catalog (also have a website) called "Ultra Calm Biscuits". It is an herbal blend, shaped like a dog treat. It really takes "the edge off." But my dog is old and just recently suffers from anxiety. Since your dog is so young, you should probably try to treat the source of the behavior first, rather than just medicating the symptoms. Good luck! I am sure it can be helped.
I took on a friend's female Bishon who is 2 years old. They bred dogs and she was one of their breeding dogs, but they had not bred her yet. They were getting older and need to get rid of the animals.
She had very little human contact so they were not able to sell her. They were going to take her to the pound so I asked if I could have her. The first week was a nightmare. She wouldn't come near me and hid in the bushes, rain, shine, or cold. Little by little I got her to come in the house. It has been about six months and she stays in the house most of the time. She won't let me touch her except when she is in her bed and I can pet her. She will run up to me, but never closer than arms length. When she is outside she runs around in circles. She will stand in the living room growling for no reason at all. I was able to pick her up when some friends were here (I had to get her in the bedroom in her bed before I could pick her up).
I took her into where they were and was going to show my friend how she was licking her self raw on her bottom. Well she did everything she could to get down and she pooped she was so scared and I let her down because she was way too strong for me. To get her to come into the house or a room I have to step away and then close the door after her. She will run around for hours.
We took her out with my friend's other dogs to run in the pasture and she stayed up by the fence and ran up and down it and never came to be with the other dogs. In the car she is terrified. I had her clipped and they said she was scared, but other than that she was OK. My friend took her for a walk with her other dogs, all on a leash, and at first Daisy was fine and then out of the blue she went wild. She wasn't sure what to do, but try and calm her down and Daisy bit her. So she just kept walking and she felt the lead getting strange and looked and she was dragging Daisy so she picked her up and carried her the rest of the way.
My friend keeps saying she is mentally damaged. I have been giving her magnesium, but it only makes her sleepy in the day and freaky at night. Can anyone tell me if they have ever heard of this before and is there hope for my Daisy?
By Karen MC
Hate to say this but it sounds like your friend was running a puppy mill. I don't understand how this Bishon had no human contact. Your friend may have been hitting and punishing this poor dog. Bishons are extremely friendly and excellent family dogs so things are not adding up.
Please give this poor dog time to start trusting humans again. It sounds like you are making progress but do not expect it to happen over night. It sounds like they may have hit her if she is afraid of your hands. Show her the back of your hands not your fingers. This helps to reassure a dog you are not going to hurt her. Her bed is her safe zone. She is licking herself raw because she is extremely stress out. Give her time to come to you.
If we were being abused, we would have a hard time trusting again. Trust has to come on the dog's time not ours.
You will need a lot of time and patience but once this poor dog starts to trust you, you will see her/him blossom.
Did the groomer clean the dogs anal glands? If not, then please take the dog to vet to see if that's the problem with the licking. If you live in a hot weather area she can also be having some hot spots and the vet can give her a shot to help with the itching. She can also be reacting to something on your carpeting.
She should be spayed asap. If she was crated by the breeders then try bringing a crate into the house (take off the door), try adding one of your shirts or a nightgown with your scent on it for her to sleep on.
Don't hold her, that is against her will and she might be scared of being abused. Be very careful about giving her supplements since you don't know if you might be causing damage to her liver or kidneys.
Most of all, be patient, don't force yourself on her. Be calm around her, keep kids away. Try Petsmart or Petco and ask them about their all natural tranquilizers.
I have a 3 yr old mini Dachshund with 2 problems. She is my first non-rescue dog and I don't know what to do for her "reverse sneezes" and her fearfulness. The only thing she is not afraid of is people. If I wipe her feet of sand, she will shy away for days, etc. I have never seen a non abused dog as fearful as she is. Any ideas?
Cheryl from Palomino Valley, NV
We have a dachshund that gets the reverse sneezes when he gets too excited. At my dog's social manners class when my doxie had them, the trainer covered both his nostrils for just a few seconds and the sneezes disappeared.
As far as the other behavior, just love and lots of postive reinforcement, but remember that Doxies need gentle discipline - they are very smart and can become very spoiled very easily.
As a dog trainer, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is not to coddle the dog when she is acting fearful. Ignore the fearful behaviour, and only touch, look, and/or talk to her when she is acting confident. The biggest mistake people do is to try to soothe the dog with their voice and touch. The dog is actually getting rewarded for fearful behaviour and such behaviour will continue and escalate. And everyone in contact with her should follow this rule. Don't look at her, touch her, or talk to her unless she is being confident and calm. Let her come to you, don't back her into a corner unless you really need to get her for something (i.e. to keep her safe from something).
Ignore the behaviour and begin slowly desensitizing her to the things she fears. Try to expose her to these fearful things in small doses. Start with far distance and when she can remain calm and confident, expose her to them for more time. Only when she has adjusted to this distance and time should you decrease the distance. When you decrease the distance, start with a short time and then extend the time. I hope this makes sense.
Also be aware of your own emotional state. Dogs can smell our chemical changes in our bodies when we are stressed, afraid, nervous, etc. She will look to her leader for guidance. If the leader is calm and confident, then there must be nothing to worry about.
About this covering the nostrils to stop the sneezing. I've never heard of this technique, and I can't imagine why you would worry about stopping it. Sneezing is often either a sign that the dog is in an excited state or a sign that there is something wrong with her nasal passages (i.e. infection, obstruction, irritation). Get it checked out by the vet just in case. You don't want to ignore a health issue. If it's not health related, then I'd leave it alone. Anything that can help you "read" your dog's emotional state is a good thing. You can then work to trying to teach her to calm herself.
Good luck and I my last piece of advice is to read reputable books by trainers. Since you appear to have a shy, fearful dog, I'd recommend "The Loved Dog" by Tamar Geller (c.2007) and "The Dog Whisperer: a compassionate, nonviolent approach to dog training" by Paul Owens (2007, c.1999). This is not to be confused with books by Cesar Milan the Dog Whisperer on television.
Here is an example of how to desensitize a dog to an object.
Suppose your dog is fearful of the vacuum cleaner. Leave it out in an area of the house that is as far away from her and her normal area as possible. Usually the vacuum is making a lot of noise and is moving back and forth in a motion that in dog language can mean aggression. By leaving it out when it is not in use, it won't seem as threatening.
When she is able to see it (from a distance) without reacting in fear (i.e. she steps toward it, she doesn't run away, she looks at it and there are no signs that she is afraid), then you can bring it closer to her normal area of the house, such as the kitchen or the living room. Leave in an area that is out of the way, but visible. It's important that you don't make a big deal about it. Let her see you approach it as you pass by doing something else, totally ignoring it and not drawing attention to it at all. You can try using treats, too. Leave some little bits of treats several feet away from the vacuum cleaner. Start with a distance that is as close as she will come to the vacuum cleaner. Don't make a big deal about the treats. In fact, you don't even have to let her see you put them there and you shouldn't say anything when she finds them and eats them. If she thinks the vacuum cleaner is making these treats magically appear, then that can work in your favour. Once you know that she is taking the treats, place the next treats a bit closer to the vacuum (i.e. 6 inches). In order for her to get the treats, she has to approach the vacuum cleaner on her own. When she gets the treat, she is being rewarded for her bravery and her mind is being "rewired" to think of the vacuum as a positive thing. Work slowly and eventually you'll be placing the treats directly beside the vacuum, on the vacuum, behind the vacuum. Once she is confident enough, you can try mixing things up (i.e. moving the vacuum to another location, placing the vacuum in another position, even slowly moving it back and forth without turning it on.) Work slowly and if she regresses, begin again to an earlier stage -- the point where she had her last success, and build on it. Use repetition and reward to boost her confidence but progress more slowly this time.
I hope this example helps. The principles can be applied to other things she fears.
My American Bulldog is 5 months old and he terrified of everything. He is scared of boxes, bags, my hands. I try to play with him and he run away with his tail between his legs. I don't know what's wrong but I am worried about him. If I try and ignore him he starts panting and crying. I don't know what to do. Will he grow out of this?
I'd suggest getting your dog in a training class right away. You need a class that has puppy play and socialization, as well as formal obedience. This guy sounds like he needs confidence boosting, so a class using positive reinforcement is a MUST. You don't say how long you have had the dog, but you need to try and make up some ground QUICKLY!! Start slowly and start doing things that are not too overwelming. Teach the pup to sit on your lap and jump slowly pet and massage him while talking softly. Use small food treats to make the experience a positive one. Small sessions several times a day are best and never force him to do anything. You want his experiences to be positive and confidence boosting, not scary and overwhelming which will make the problem worse. Does he walk happily on a leash? If not work on getting him to walk on the leash using the food treats as a reward. Avoid any harsh words or stearn tones and instead use a happy upbeat praising voice. Once you get into the class you might be suprised at his improvements! I'm sure the trainer can offer helpful suggestions to help him. I would also contact the breeder and ask some questions. Are other pups having this problem? The breeder needs to know to better understand their breeding program. Goodluck!
You really need to socialize your dog. Fear can turn into bad aggression if left unchecked. The dog might be fine with you in you home as it is now; but if heaven forbid there's a change 3 years from now and you need to find a terrified dog a home...you'll be horribly out of luck. It's also no way for your dog to live. Training and socialization are the key. If the cost of classes are prohibitive; you can take the dog out to populated places and go through training exercises on your own.
Exercise is also paramount. A lot of what you see as fear can be an overabundance of untapped energy. You might think a fenced yard will provide enough exercise but it doesn't. You may enjoy a very leisurely stroll with the dog but if you aren't breaking a sweat; your dog isn't getting the exercise it needs.
Some shelters offer beginner classes at a reduced rate. Check around. If certain things really scare your dog; you need to introduce them slowly. Do NOT avoid them. This takes a lot of patience and more time than you probably think is necessary. Your dog needs to learn that they can ignore the things that are now scaring them.
Don't try giving praise and treats to get a dog over fears. All that does is reinforce the behavior you don't want to see. YOU need to be calm and remain so; no matter what the dog does. If you start getting anxious because you know the dog will cower or whine; you are actually silently telling the dog to start cowering and whining.
DON'T get another dog until you have done the work this dog needs. Unless the other dog is 110% trained and well behaved/emotionally adjusted; you risk having two out of control dogs.
Set yourself a schedule of the things that scare your dog. Start with the least scary things and go through routine walks and exposure to those things. When the dog start acting up; order the dog to sit or lay down and stay there until the dog calms down on their own. DON'T rush the dog away and who cares about your embarrassment.
It may seem to take a long time and could easily take a few minutes for him to calm down with each new exposure but it will get easier if you are calm, consistent and patient.
Only give praise and affection when you are away from the training situation. Praise at the wrong time reinforces bad behavior. You have to be the leader and a leader is calm and almost indifferent to new situations. If you get all anxious and try to prepare your dog; you're telling them they really need to be scared.
Plan on daily reinforcement (or better yet twice a day) and Good Luck!
P.S. Forget about all the nonsense people will tell you about socializing at different ages. Dogs change depending on their surroundings and the actions of their leader. Any dog can be trained. Any dog can be helped to become calm and content. It takes a LOT of patience and consistency but you can do it!
Should a Pit Bull puppy fear his owner? Should he be yelping out as if his owner is seriously hurting him? Should he be shaking in his owner's presence and hold his head low?
This dog has been abused. Extra care and attention will be needed to bring him back. We have adopted many dogs and have seen this in 1 or 2. He will come around if loved hard, but may become a 1 person dog if you aren't careful. Pitbulls are not really bad agressive dogs, the owners create this trait. The sweetest dog I have ever owned was a Pit, I just put her down last year at 17 years old and still really miss her.
I don't think this is normal. This dog fears his owner.
How to break a dog from being scared of everything!
By MShearron from Nashville
First thing to do is learn a new pet vocabulary that doesn't include the word 'break'. Believe it or not, using words like 'break' in relation to training a pet can set up a mindset that uses fear to train, and since you are hoping to help your dog adjust to things that frighten him, fear is probably going to be counter-productive.
Right then, on to helping your little guy...
Is he a pure-bred dog, and if yes, where did you get him? It's possible that he is the result of poor breeding practices and either has some neurological problems that cause him to 'startle' easily, or he suffered abuse before becoming part of your family.
Is he a rescue? Even more likely he suffered some abuse.
Have him examined by a good canine vet to be sure he doesn't have physiological problems that can be alleviated with medication, improperly healed fractures or other injuries from past abuse. A canine vet is one who specialises in canine care and should be able to perform an exam that will answer those questions, and will also be able to advise on ways to help your little guy overcome his fears.
One especially successful assist to the process is to provide your dog with a 'safe place' he knows is his alone and is somewhere he can go to take a time out from the upsetting stimuli. Wire crates work well if you place it somewhere there is no household traffic, like a bedroom or study used by his favourite person. Drape a blanket over the crate to create a dark, warm, private spot-he'll instinctively see this as a 'den' and will retreat to it when ever he is needing some physical and emotional space.
By now you surely have a feel for the things that frighten him-doorbells, loud voices, too many people at one time, pots and pans clanking, etc. Know what upsets him, and remove him to the crate if you are going to be unable to control those stimuli.
Put him in the crate but don't latch the crate, close the door to the room the crate is in-this will give him a sense of control (he can get out of the crate if he wants to) and also help him to trust you that you will protect him from the things that frighten him without 'punishing' him for being afraid by locking him up.
Gradually bring the crate closer to the areas where the frightening events occur. Speak calmly and matter of factly whenever the frightening events occur as you move him to the crate so that he understands you are in control and can protect him from the scary stuff.
It will take a lot of time and patience on your part, and the part of any household members. But the effort is well worth it. Back in the mid-seventies I rescued a young dog (about four months old at the time) who had been badly abused; it took nearly a year to help her but that hard work on our part (and her's, imagine how hard it is for a dog to confront and overcome fear must be!) paid off.
She lived another 15 years and was a very important member of our family, teaching both my children to walk by patiently permitting them to clutch onto her thick fur and then slowly walking them around the house. She was also bar none the best watch dog we ever had, preventing two burglaries over the 15 years she was with us.
Check your library and the Internet for books on helping a dog overcome debilitating fear, and remember, the word 'break' is no longer a part of your animal companionship vocabulary:)
You will have the most loyal, loving friend. This can be so very rewarding. Calm, loving, noise free, warmth, not shut outside, talked to, held, played with, his/her own toy, buddies, no abandonment. no hurt, good food (no corn wheat or soy) treats, no vaccines ( can be cause of this whole thing) homeopath has inexpensive remedies, check toenails, ears and teeth, most of all, patience and love. It is so gratifying to see something such a mess grow into a loving friend. They may never trust anyone but you and that's OK. That is their comfort zone and you let them become much more wholesome. Truer love you will never have probably because they knew evil before.
I have a Pug that's almost 4 years old. All of a sudden when she was standing in front of the TV, something flashed on the screen when it changed scenes and she ran behind the couch and now she won't come in the room when the TV is on. She has always accompanied us in the evening and sat beside us until bedtime. We can't coax her to come sit by us at all now. Any suggestions? She's never been abused and is a very spoiled dog. Thanks.
By Larry H. from Yuba City, CA
You need to associate the TV on with rewarding experiences for your pup. First, get some really good treat - something that your dog gets ONLY while doing this exercise. I suggest you use Natural Balance dog meat rolls or Pet Botanics (only at PetsMart) meat rolls. I'm a dog trainer and use these meat rolls for my training rewards. Cut a portion of the roll into small pea-size treats, a small bag full, be sure to refrigerate the roll and the pieces.
Carry your dog into the room (no treats yet), sit on the floor with her while you hold a treat in front of her nose, turn on the TV at the same time you give her the treat. Leave the TV on while you give her three more treats (1 treat every couple of seconds) and then turn off the TV. Repeat this step five times and then leave the room the last time you turn off the TV.
Repeat this exercise at least 2x/day with at least 2 hours between each exercise repetition, for at least 2 days OR until your dog shows NO fear when you reach to turn on the TV. The purpose of this is to teach your dog that turning on the TV results in her getting very special treats.
Once your dog is calm when you turn on the TV, you will repeat this exercise but this time give her one minute of treats. Not 60 treats, but at least 10, so that she learns the longer the TV is on, the more treats she gets. Every time you feed her a treat say, "Let's watch TV!" Repeat this exercise several times each day for three days.
Note: Be sure to make the treats a portion of her daily food allotment so You don't worry about her gaining weight and give her too few rewards. There is no reason for a dog to gain weight from meat roll treats; just make them a part of her overall food plan for the day.
Step 3 is to say to your dog, "Let's watch TV" and she should come running to the area you've been practicing. When she gets to you, give her a reward, turn on the TV and give her random rewards until the next commercial comes on. Then stop the rewards, let the TV run, and walk out of the room until the commercials are done. Then return to the room saying "let's watch TV", and repeat the random rewards until the next commercial.
Step 4 is to say "let's watch TV", go to your chair or sofa, give her random rewards the entire time the show is on. As the days go by, you'll be able to space out the amount of time between these rewards until you can simply give her a stuffed Kong or special bone when you start watching TV and that will be the end of the issue.
Words to the wise - do NOT rush this process or you'll only end up shooting yourself in the foot. Do NOT progress to the next step until she shows no fear at the current step. Never put her on a leash, wrap her in a blanket or hold her in your arms because she'll feel trapped and that only intensify her fear. Use a very special treat that she gets only for this exercise - do not use for other training purposes until she has successfully overcome this fear issue. And dry biscuits or her dry food won't cut it; use the meat roll or special cheese or whatever she thinks is the best reward in the world. This food reward is meant to please her, not to please you. Have fun while doing this exercise; laugh, play, keep it light. She needs to know that you think this a fun exercise not a pain for you to do to help her. Dogs are expert body language interpreters and if you sigh, grimace, or show frustration your dog will know it and you will be intensifying her fear.
Finally - Be sure that she doesn't have any peripheral eye issues or hearing issues that may have contributed to her fear of whatever happened on the screen.
Good luck! You and your sweet Pug can soon become good friends with the TV again!
Rather than try to coax her to choose to come in to be with you during TV time perhaps you could make sure a quiet, peaceful show/movie is on the screen, wrap her in her favorite blanket or towel, take her in the room with you and place her in your lap. Talking sweetly and gently stroking her will be soothing to her and help her relax. Perhaps you could even give her one of her favorite treats while she's sitting in your lap as a reward for being with you after a few minutes too. It may takes a few efforts but she will eventually be less afraid because you're reassuring her that the TV is not a bad and scary thing.
I adopted a Pom mix dog from a former co-worker about 7 months ago. My former co-worker doesn't run me as the abusive type, she speaks very gently and has a new born baby in her home, but I can't speak for everyone around her.
I adopted Olive to be my 2 year old Pom-Chi's companion since my husband and I weren't home for 5 hours a day. Daisy, my 2 year old dog, right off the bat loved Olive, but Olive from the moment she was put into my arms seemed a bit off. She's extremely timid and hard to potty train. She is very loving and all that, but if you raise your voice by laughing she pees on herself and hides. I need help since I am so in love with her I can't let her go because of this. I want to help her in any way I can. Please help!
Thank you and love always Olive's mom.
This dog is extremely anxious. She has been mistreated. I doubt your soft-spoken maternal coworker is the culprit. Perhaps it was the baby daddy. Or perhaps your coworker rescued the dog from someone else.
It doesn't really matter who it was. I just recommended to someone else that when you're dealing with a timid rescue that clicker training is a valuable tool, and I think you would benefit from it as well. Clicker training is a positive, rewards-only training that relies on a conditioned response. Dogs actually like it. Here is one of the most popular clicker training courses: http://www.clic … com/dog-training
If this looks good to you, get some training stuff and get started.