View Full Version : Fear stages

14th October 2007, 01:09 PM
Trying to get to the bottom of what's going on with Gus. He seems to be in a fear stage, but yet everything I've read says the latest one is typically 14 months...he's 18 months. Not too far off, so maybe this really is what's happening; curious if anyone else has dealt with it. As Abbey was very undersocialized and afraid of everything when we got her, we took Gus everywhere and introduced him to everything to make sure he was well adjusted. Plus, we entertain a lot, our house is just where people always seem to end up...and we like it that way, means we don't have to leave the dogs, so he was always used to various people holding him, playing with him, etc. However, late this summer he started hiding when people would come over. We noticed it when were out on the patio, he would lay in between the hostas and fall asleep. We associated it with him being tired or maybe hot. Now that we're in the house more, we've noticed that he hides when people come over---ears back, tail tucked tight and off into another room. These are people he's known since we brought him home, and they all love him and play with him, etc. We'll go check on him and offer him a treat to let him know he's alright and he's safe, and eventually he does come back out, which at that point we offer him another treat.
Has anyone dealt with this at this age?? I feel really bad for him.:(

14th October 2007, 05:14 PM
Aah, poor little guy. Only once experienced this with my young Lab, and again, like your situation she was used to people and children coming to the house. However, I did find out that one of the children tried to pick her up and put his hands under her armpits while attempting this, and as you probably know, this is a totally wrong way to pick up a dog. He obviously hurt her, and since that time, she trusted no visitors and kept well away from them. You never know if some well meaning guest simply did something which hurt without even knowing they had done so,and this would explain things.

14th October 2007, 08:16 PM
Poor little Gus. Just a thought but maybe when u go and check on him and offer him a treat u r reinforcing his fear. As i would imagine that when u go look for him offer him the treat he must think that he was right in been afraid as why would u otherwise do this. I would think the best thing u could do is just act normal in front of him to show him there is nothing to fear.

14th October 2007, 08:43 PM
That is a really good point and would certainly go a long way towards helping the little dog, especially as it may well be now that he isn't afraid anymore, but simply making the most of the reaction he is getting. Still be good to check out if anyone of the guests, especially children may just at some point behaved unintentionally in a way which may have brought about this fear, although to be more realistic, it is unlikely that anyone would own up to this, fearing rebuke and embarrassment.

14th October 2007, 08:48 PM
I agree with u that maybe something did happen but the more u react to the situation the more Gus is going to think that he is right to be afraid.

15th October 2007, 06:16 AM
Poor Gus. I'd be thinking that some of the visitors (particularly children) may have been over zealous in playing with him. Even if they are not rough, if they are petting the dogs for too long it must be extremely annoying.

I know I am probably a real super bitch, but when people bring children to our place, I will not allow them to invate the space of my dogs. They are allowed a brief supervised play time & then I ask them to leave the dogs alone & I enforce it. I am sure many a parent has though I am mean, but my dogs are not toys or a form of entertainment.

Maybe to help Gus get over this period, you could ask all of your guests to ignore him & get their children to ignore him, unless he comes up to them for some attention. Perhaps once he realises that everybody will leave him alone, he may start to feel more relaxed around them.

Cathy Moon
15th October 2007, 11:19 AM
I'm wondering if someone might have accidentally stepped on him or bumped him. Something like that could make him feel like he needs to keep out of the way.

15th October 2007, 03:40 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. We don't have kids, and neither do any of our friends...so it's actually been a real challenge for us to socialize him with kids--but it's worked, he loves it when we go visit our nieces and nephews.
I don't think anyone has stepped on him, as he's just never been one to get under foot, unlike his sister, Abbey.
We were really thinking about it this weekend, and I'm wondering if he's doing this because he's overly tired or overly stimulated. He gets pretty particular when he's tired, so this could be it. I'm going to pay closer attention next time it happens. I'm also going to ignore him when he goes off to another room, and then only treat him when he comes back out to join everyone...that makes more sense than what I had been doing.