View Full Version : Fear stages and overcoming fears

23rd March 2005, 12:37 PM
I know it is commonly discussed thatpuppies have two fear stages. I can't remember when the second one starts (and websites are providing various ranges) but it seems to be around 5-6 months. Bailey has most definitely hit the second fear stage. He was semi-fearless before, did fabulous at agility (wasn't afraid of the obstacles), etc. He has always been a bit more timid that my wild child Sophie, but never to the extremes we have been experiencing.

In the last week or two really (Bailey will be 6 months on the 28th) Bailey has become afraid of pretty much everything. Even very common things to him. He is semi-okay in the house although any thing new terrifies him, but venturing outside is a whole different thing. He REFUSES to go potty outside by himself (even if I'm out there). The only way he will go out is if Sophie is there.

We took him to the vet the other day to get his sutures removed from his umbilical hernia surgery and boy what an ordeal. He was fine in his crate and on his leash right after we got out of the car. There was a big dog, ON A LEASH 10 FEET AWAY and he cowered between my legs and hid his face. He has been exposed to big dogs before and went through puppy kindergarten being the smallest do by far. He was never afraid to approach the bigger dogs.

We were walking up the drive to get to the front door of the vet and a car pulled past us. We weren't really close, but it sent him running off the other way to the point where he almost ran in to the building.

Then the front door.... to get in to the vet you have to go up a small step and open the door. We were right at the step when someone came out of the vet's office and the door opened. No big deal, right? WRONG! Darling Bailey again hid between my legs and was shaking. The people of course oo'd and awww'd over how cute he was, but he wouldn't let them approach him. The parents ushered the kids off after seeing he was frightened and I could barely get him to walk up the step and walk through the door to the vet.

Once inside he kept jumping at me to be picked up. Knowing this would only encourage the behavior I told him (not in a coddling voice) that he was fine and to be a big boy. Okay, I know that has no effect, but I figured even the sound of my voice would help some. Inside the waiting room he hid in the corner under a chair.

Once inside the vet's office which literally took two minutes. He SCREETCHED as she took the two very quick snips to remove the sutures.

I know that agility helps build confidence, but its a bit early to start him (I really wanted him to be close to a year with the jumps and such). I know not to coddle him. What else can we do to quickly break this fear problem?


Laurie Moon
23rd March 2005, 06:51 PM
Maggie maybe when he was nuetered...something affected him in a negative way...I really believe no one really cares for our pups when we leave them with others like we do....My best suggestion would be to make every effort to continue to socialize him around dogs and people...go to a park , go to a pet store ...friends home etc.......and when doing this offer him something he really likes...like a food treat if that does it or a favorite toy....he must also sense that you are ok ...even when hes is freaking out.....from my readings thats the best I can think of....Good Luck......... :|

23rd March 2005, 07:10 PM
Maggie, it sounds to me as though Bailey may be suffering from separation anxiety from Sophie.

My trainer has taught me to help each dog feel comfortable away from the other dogs in addition to us humans. It makes sense, since there will be times when the dogs will need to be separated from one another.

I'd suggest combining the usual socialization, with Bailey being alone with you while you do it. Take Bailey everywhere you can, and if you have extra time take Bailey to the vet's just to sit in the waiting room (without an appt) so he can visit there without having something traumatic happening to him.

Take him to a groomer's where you can hang out for a few minutes where nothing scary happens to him personally. Ask the people at these places to offer a little treat and talk to Bailey without charging right up to pet him. That way he won't feel threatened and will start to see these places as more "fun". Take him everywhere a dog is allowed, and he will eventually start to relax more on his own. These visits only need be a couple of minutes, or 5 or 10. Just enough for him to learn that he's okay.

As for pottying alone, I'm afraid you're probably going to have to re-train Bailey, for the time being, without Sophie being involved. :cry:
I know that will mean double-duty in the potty dept., but he needs to learn he can do it by himself. I think once you get him past his Sophie Dependence you will be able to combine pottying again.

Poor little guy just needs to learn he's "okay" on his own.

I hope this helps! Good luck!
Barb and lil Bentley

28th April 2005, 02:53 PM
Maggie I was just wondering how Bailey is now after being a bit fearful with certain things.?

I hope he has soon overcome this.

28th April 2005, 03:51 PM
I somehow missed this post entirely until now. :shock: How is Bailey doing, Maggie? My one thought would be if there could possibly be anything medical -- or does he only do this with unknown situations?

In my own case, I socialised Jaspar really well with being outside, meeting all types of people and animals, meeting kids and so on. But he really does not like kids and the smaller the worse it is. Both he and Leo flee this way and that if toddlers come towards them (OK maybe not a bad thing for them to do... :roll: ) and generally still are not comfortable with kids or adults reaching to pet them. Leo having been a kennel dog was really timid. After a year they will go up to people who hold out a hand for them to sniff; they still dodge away from anyone trying to pet them on the head, which they hate (including from me, if I come towards them from the front. Fine if they are on my lap or whatever). That's just by way of saying these things do creep in even if we've done other work with them.

But you sound like you are dealing with a full basket of things. Isn't Bailey the recue puppy? This may be something that is coming to the fore as part of his genetic personality too. I definitely have two semi-shy boys that are evry outgoing with people they know and love to meet and and all dogs, are not afraid of loud noises, other animals (horses and deer are no big deal!), heavy traffic, travelling by train and plane or bicycle. Like the vet. But they don't like kids or total strangers trying to touch them right awy, not like a lot of really friendlly dogs. They should be more comfortably outgoing according to the breed protocol. icon_nwunsure

6th July 2005, 04:34 PM
I've just ben taking time to read through all of the posts on the forum as I am still fairly new here.

How is Bailey now? is he overcoming some of his fears?

Maxx is almost six but he still has some funny fears. My hubby's briefcase for some reason sends him flying behind any piece of available furniture, balloons of any sort terrify the living daylights out of him so when my oldest received a helium balloon for his 18th from one of our friends, we had to put it in the bathroom!!!!

Last week he was in the garden and suddenly started barking wildly. I went out to see if he'd found a hedgehog or something (he thinks they are something to play with LOL) but no, he was barking at the kitchen windows being wide open. As soon as I closed them up a bit he was fine :roll:

I have also had to get rid of my window cleaner as Maxx was afraid of him - not really surprised though he's a very odd little man :lol:

Cathy T
6th July 2005, 07:55 PM
Last week he was in the garden and suddenly started barking wildly. I went out to see if he'd found a hedgehog or something (he thinks they are something to play with LOL) but no, he was barking at the kitchen windows being wide open. As soon as I closed them up a bit he was fine :roll:

Last night Jake's ball rolled into the spare bedroom. He went in there and came out with his tail tucked just barking up a storm. I thought OMG what's in the bedroom!!! My backpack was sitting up on the bed and scared him :? Once I laid it back down he was fine :lol: