Skittish, Backing Away, Seems Fearful

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DobyZOE's picture
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Zoe has started showing signs of being skittish during interaction, training, playing, etc. with me and my husband.  This has been going on for the last week or so. We are completely perplexed as to why she would act this way.  We show her love and cuddle her and praise her.  We verbally scold sometimes when she does something we don't like, but we never raise our voices.

She just turned 5 months last week and about a week ago she had some poopy problems maybe caused by a stomach bug or reaction to the Bordetella vaccine.  Could these traumatic events be related?

I was also trying to train her with waiting for a treat while I put it on her nose and she shyed away and then ran away from me.  It's really upsetting us both and we're not sure what could be causing her fearful behaviors.

I sure could use some help!

Kim

Kim
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Hi Kim -

I'm sure others will chime in, but here's what I think, for what it's worth. Dobes are a lot like some of the horses I've had. Really smart, but when you equate that with emotional capabilities, you can ask too much of them, and they kinda fry nerves-wise. I would back off a bit from asking her to learn too much too fast, and make sure she is calm and confident of each thing before you move on to something else. Maybe the "treat on the nose" trick is asking a bit much of her - she's still such a baby, especially when you consider that Dobies aren't really an adult until 2.

Can you back up on things a bit, and do the things that are fun for her, without any expectations? I'm not saying let her misbehave - but to let her be a pup for a while longer?

Hope that helps, and as always, if you feel it doesn't apply, feel free to pitch!  

DobyZOE's picture
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Hi Kim,

I feel like I can always count on your for some really great advice!

It is possible that we may be moving too fast with the training, she's just so darn responsive.  But, I will back up a little and see if that helps any, I'm sure it will.  I want Zoe to be happy and not afraid of us.  I hope fried-nerves are an easy fix and that we can slowly move forward with her development.

Thanks so much,

Kim

Kim
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Good morning, Kim -

(Geez, I still get a kick out of that - lol!)

I was thinking while I was out walking Gabe - just a couple more thoughts. Keep the training sessions short - at this point 5 minutes may be too much for her. Watch her for signs of being upset. You're much better off doing several very short sessions with her throughout the day. Don't keep asking her until she "gets it." You can keep asking throughout the short sessions. And always, always, end on a good note! Go back to something she knows really well, ask her for it, and then make a HUGE fuss over her. 

She knows when you are disappointed in her because she didn't do what you are asking. So, fluff it off, and act like it's no big deal. She'll get it. Monty Roberts said when you are training a horse to do something, if you act like you've got all day, it'll take 5 minutes. If you act like you've got 5 minutes, it'll take all day.  (Very smart man!)