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Thread: Scared of umbrellas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Yorkshire
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    132
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    Unhappy Scared of umbrellas

    I was out walking Scarlett the other evening and it had began to rain.A lady stepped out of her terraced house with an umbrella up and ready to leave with her friend.Scarlett and I were walking by at this moment and Scarlett just froze, flattened to the ground and wouldn't budge.I didn't comfort her, I just allowed the lead to trail from her to me and stood in front of her calling her happily holding out a piece of cheese from my dog walking satchel.It took some time for her to move and ran around me and off the curb to avoid the brolly (the street is a dead end and I live in a very rural area).

    I think I know how this happened and I feel terribly guilty - like I caused her to be afraid What happened was, when she was first with us, I had to dash out quickly without her.It was raining and we seem to have a collection of "poorly" brollies that need binning:- crushed arms, dodgy buttons etc -so I had to test one before leaving.

    Scarlett was pottering about in the kitchen and I'd not seen her as my back was to the kitchen door, so I went ahead and tested the brolly (I'm not superstitious ) yup you guessed it, one woosh! and Scarlett scampered into the living room.I didn't say or do anything and Jon knows not to mollycoddle her either.

    But my question is, what do I do? And seen as we get more rain that anything else these days and with April coming up....

    Scarlett has never been with me when I've used a brolly as I don't use them dog walking....any advice is much appreciated as I'm not sure how to mend the situation without scaring her further

    Many thanks

    Rouge

    xxx

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Lochearnhead
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    If it was me in this situation, I'd get someone else to leave an open brolly on the floor of the sitting room while you and Scarlett were out walking. That way it will be present when she returns rather than making a sudden appearance; although she may be a little scared of it at first it will be at ground level, in her comfort zone and she can investigate it if and when she's ready to. Don't force the issue, just leave it there, so she gets used to it.

    Eventually you should be able to lift it, move it around, open and shut it without her worrying about it.

    That's what I did with a large picture hat for a dog who used to be terrified of anyone wearing one! No he wasn't a little dog .... he was an Irish Wolfhound! But eventually I and other members of the family were able to put it on our heads and walk about with it on, then on outsiders.
    Briar, Jack, Berry and coeliac cocker Bracken foster cockers Rowan and puppy Simba

    "Spaniels In Need"
    (a 'not for profit' rescue organisation)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Tennessee
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    732
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    If she is as motivated by food as my Daisy is, never underestimate the power of a little treat! I agree with the above poster and I would maybe try to get your dog to associate the umbrella with good things. Maybe eventually leave a little treat near it occasionally. Of course, don't rush it, but I think it might help to "sweeten the pot" a little bit. Eventually, once the open umbrella is desensitized, maybe you could open one up (slowly) and give a treat, and do this repeatedly until the opening of the umbrella becomes associated with good things happening.

    We were at a Labor Day campout with my husband's family this past Fall and some of the guys started skeet shooting. Daisy had never seen or heard a gun. The first few shots startled her and set her to barking. I noticed it and got some treats. Every time a shot rang out, I gave her a treat. It literally took about 3 shots of doing that until she didn't notice them at all. Her conditioning went from shot -- fear to shot -- food. I would then only give her the treat occasionally, not every time. Eventually she ignored them altogether.

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