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Hey Everybody,

It has been a while and Dora is now 8 months and she is big and beautiful. She is still blonde/golden but now has silver down her back and her ears are a brown/rusty color! I have a question about her tempermant that has been going on for a while. Dora is scared of everything. I thought it would pass but it is really getting crazy. Anything different scares her to the point of her not going out. Like we got a grill and put it on our deck and when we would walk out it would rattle she would almost kill me trying to either get inside or down the steps away from "it". She has never been near it when it was hot. It is just the sounds. If the water guy leaves the 5 gallon jugs on the deck she won't go outside. If someone (even a little kid) knocks on the door she hides in her crate. She is terrified of bad weather, sounds and anything. I left her "poop" shovel next to the tree and she wouldn't go near it. I had to take her inside, move it, and then bring her back out. I have tried to comfort her, ignore her, show her, and nothing works. It is driving me crazy to have a dog that is scared of everything!! Is there anything else I can do, or is this going to be part of her tempermant?
Also any tips on getting her to stop pulling us up and down the stairs of the deck would be great too. She pulled my son down on his elbows and now he won't take her outside anymore.
Beth and Dora
 
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Hi Beth!
I don't have too much experience with a 'scared puppy'as Bella does not seem to be afraid of much (except the vacuum). I have read that you should NOT comfort them, because they will interpret that as confirmation that the thing they are scared of IS scary. Also placing treats on the 'scary object' or getting the strangers to give her treats could help.
I solved the 'diving down the steps' problem by making Bella sit at the top of the steps EVERY time. So although she may drag me across the slippery deck, at least I am not 'surfing the steps'! It has helped immensely!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Linda and Kelly. I am really going to work with her on the steps thing. It is dangerous for both of us if we fall. Last thing I need with 3 kids is a broke ankle or leg!!
That website was really interesting. I looked through a lot of the different stages. The only thing I can think of is when we got Dora she was about 10 weeks and she was really sick and came from some bad conditions. We spent a lot of time and vet visits getting her back healthy. I was told by the pet store that all the pups that came from that particular breeder were all really sick and withdrawn. But that was so many months ago. I have tried really hard to keep the kids from being rough with her. And I haven't had to spank her in forever. She got it with the newspaper for getting into the trash. Even then it wasn't a big deal she had a bananna peel and a hot dog on her bed!! She was so busy going back and forth and putting it on her bed, she never got to eat anything!!
I will keep working with her. I just want her to be comfortable and have a good time. Not to be scared of things that can't hurt her. Thanks again for your help!
 

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Hi Beth, some of the things you mention doing in your last post could be part of the problem...I am not judging you in any way, simply pointing to the fact that you appear to be using the "old-school" method of training...spanking and using a newspaper are no longer encouraged when training a puppy. You might just make him afraid of you and dogs don't understand what you are saying or why you are upset.
Another thing that struck me is that you got your pup from a pet store and they said that this breeder always produces sick puppies! Yikes! I could really get into a discussion about this store, but it won't help you at this point...so, what I will tell you told in order to help you understand your dog's behavior, and for no other reason...
When pups are sold in pet stores, they often come from puppy mills...and your pup's behavior seems consistent with this...they are not socialized, they are not nurtured, and they are not exposed to anything except the inside of a kennel with lots of other dogs and puppies...and often they are abused in many ways. This can't help but impact the puppy's fear responses. Some pups become aggressive, some become fearful...
Also, puppy mills don't care what dogs they use to breed...and often end up creating puppies from parents with lots of temperament problems...
So, you have an uphill battle here...but for your sake and for Dora's, I do hope that you will get some help in training her and gaining her trust...it is going to be a really hard thing to overcome.
Here is an article about this...please read to the end, because it does have some suggestions that might help.
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Conten ... C=0&A=2200
 

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Thank you for the link to the article. I don't have any problems with Dora being defensive at all. She is very sweet and loving. Even if she has something that she is not suppose to, I can say drop it and she will give it to me with out any fight or aggression. I have a gate that keeps the dog and the kids seperate from each other unless I let the gate down and supervise everyone. She loves my 3 year old as his job is giving treats and filling up her food bowl. She has never been aggressive or mean to anyone or even another dog. She is just very timid and shy and startled easy. I was just looking for some hints to help her understand that certain objects can not hurt her. I have NEVER spanked Dora for any house training mistakes and she was completely house broken at 3.5 months even over night. I have spanked her not with my hand but with the paper (that sounded worse than it felt) for the trash incident which was at least 2 months ago, and she has never messed with it again. I just don't want people to think that I would hurt Dora in anyway. I love her and she is part of my family. That is why I don't want her to be scared of the shovel!! I care about how she feels.
 
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Hi again Beth!
I know from reading your many posts how much you love and care for Dora. I understand what Jac is saying because I was very nervous about Bella being a rescued dog and possibly being aggressive. I searched the internet for help and took a million books out of the library :lol: The puppy preschool trainer reassured me that she is a great dog, and I learned alot from the classes. Most of all the socialization opportunity for Bella with other people and puppies in a SAFE environment was great. If you have a puppy preschool available to you, I would definitely encourage you to take the class with Dora. Fear in a dog is never a good thing and should be avoided at all times. That is why the newspaper correction is not a great way to let a puppy know it did something wrong. Typically, it will just result in the puppy being afraid of the newspaper :lol:
Here is an excellent article. The author states that not all fearful dogs will become aggressive, but the risk is there, so we need to remove the fear:
Fear in a dog (or person for that matter) produces some very strong instinctive responses. This "fight or flight" instinct is simply a coping mechanism to the fear-producing stimulus. If the dog sees a way out, flight is often the best manner in coping with its fear (not risking injury). This results in the dog running away, hiding behind its owner, or cowering in order to make itself look small. However, if the dog feels trapped, like there's no way out, then it becomes the proverbial "dog backed into a corner" and feels it must fight its way out in order to survive. Feeling trapped does not mean that the dog is necessarily in a real physical corner. The trapped circumstance may be imagined but is nonetheless real for the dog. After one or two successful attempts at warding off the fear-producing stranger (most strangers go away when a dog rushes them), it becomes a habit and the dog learns that this coping mechanism is perfectly safe and effective.
The key to breaking this habit is twofold. The first is to prevent the dog from becoming as fearful as it would naturally, on its own. The second is to prevent the dog from receiving positive rewards when it utilizes this approach. Let's look at them separately....
http://www.bcrescue.org/fearaggression.html
Sorry this is so long, but I think this thread could help a lot of puppy owners.
Although Dora is not fear agressive, your goal would be to make sure she stays that way by removing her fear. Desensitize and socialize often seem to be the advice of the author.
Dora is adorable, so her name fits! :lol:
 
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