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Sunnshyne
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PostSubject: Hi   Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:31 pm

Hi my name is Sunnshyne. I have a Bluetick Coonhound / Collie mix from Clarksville, TN named Duke. He is a very sweet, VERY smart and very happy dog. He loves to play, loves to snuggle, and loves to be by me all the time. He is my "Velcro Dog" I have never had a problem with him being around people or other dogs. He has been socialized his whole life. He is now 3.5 years old. He has always been a little afraid of storms and fireworks and likes to hide in the bathroom, however lately, he has stopped coming up on the couch to snuggle, he doesn't like to sit by the patio door and watch people going by, he has been sleeping mostly on the floor and not on the bed like he has since he was 6 weeks old. He spends all his time hiding in the bathroom. He doesn't like things to be too loud and he has always been that way, but lately it has been worse. There is nothing wrong with him health-wise. A lot of new people have moved into my condo complex and some of them are VERY loud and there are a LOT more kids who scream, yell, ride their bikes by, and bounce their basketballs on the ground when they walk by my condo and the people next door have those battery operated toy cars that their kids drive by my patio and so he spends all his time hiding. I am really not sure what to do. I try really hard to be reassuring when he is nervous and to praise him when I can get him to stay by me instead of hiding. When he is outside to do his business if somebody walks by or he hears a loud noise he wants to run back home. If people are walking their dogs he wants to play with them, I don't have a problem with that, but his being constantly frightened gets a little old after a while and I am getting bruised and hurt when he pulls his leash so hard to get away. Please advise what I can do. Desensitizing him to scary noises with a loud TV doesn't work for him, he gets upset by loud music or television and will go burrow himself under the covers and pillows in the bedroom. I took him camping last year and it rained for three days straight and he was fine in the tent with me after the first night. I am puzzled and perplexed as to why he is getting worse and what I can do to help him. He is a sweet and sensitive dog and so I don't yell or get aggressive with him because I know that won't work, but I am not sure what WILL work. Does anybody have any suggestions. I cannot allow him to hide from the world. Thanks!
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Betterdog4u
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PostSubject: Re: Hi   Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:24 pm

First, allow me to welcome you and Duke to K9A!!! We're glad to have you join us!!!

Fear is one of the hardest things for a dog to work thru and requires the most patience on our part. Each issue needs to be addressed by it's self and it can take A LONG TIME to get past each one of them.

When I got Neka, (my German Shepherd) she was afraid of storms and fireworks too. I worked at it a bit each time a storm roled in. I would sit on the floor and play with her when i knew one was coming. Every time the thunder hit, Id make goofy/happy noises and say "Wow, that was a big one" in a lite and happy tone and then give her a treat for staying ingauged with the play session. When she had "enough" and wanted to leave I would let her go to her "safe zone". I did the same with firework. (We have a stadium about a 1/2 mile away that displays fireworks after every home game). FYI, it has taken almost three years, but she will know sleep thru an average thunderstorm. The BIG BOOMS still send her to her safe place in the basement.

With the toy cars, maybe try having one of the kids bring a toy over and let the Duke hang out with it when it's turned off. This will serve two purposes.
1. It will allow you to see what reaction (if any) Duke gives to the toy itself.
2. It will show Duke that the toy is nothing to be afraid of.

Then allow the car to sit idling 20-30 feet away ... and so on. If Duke reacts, move Duke or the car futher apart until Duke is calm.

Then do the same with the car moving. Maybe go to a playground so you can get more distance between Duke and the car.

It's really a matter of keeping the dog calm while moving closer and closer to the target. I have an article on the "Betterdog4u" site dealing with fearful dogs, you can adapt and adjust your stratagies to fit your situation, but the principles are the same.


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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Re: Hi   Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:18 pm

Hey there Sunnshyne! We're very glad to have you here on the board!

Sorry to hear that your pooch is going through some tough changes. Have you taken your pooch to your vet? You know, sudden changes in behavior such as the one you mention usually have some sort of illness related to them. Things like blindness, going deaf, or hormonal imbalances will usually elicit strange and sudden fearful behaviors. So that would be the first thing on my list.

Also as Michael said, desensitization can help you in the long run. It does however take some time. Here's something I also wrote about fearful dogs, there are some links on this page that might contain some good tips for you. I'd suggest you take a few minutes to read through it http://k9domain.org/fearful.aspx

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