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Hi everyone! I have two bassets, Fred who is 8 1/2 and Sophie who is 6 months. We have had Sophie since she was 8 weeks old so I know she has never been mistreated but she acts fearful of everyone and everything. She loves Fred and us but other people and dogs terrify her even if she sees that Fred likes them. She has some dog neighbors that she plays with through the fence but they are all small breeds and they've never met without the fence in between. The breeder that we got her from said she was always hesitant to come up to the gate with the rest of her litter so is this just her personality? We have had doggy play dates with one of Fred's friends (who is a lab) and that was not a good day for Sophie. I don't know of any other basset owners that she could play with since she would probably react better to someone like herself and Fred. If anyone has any tips that would be great. Thanks so much!
 

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I am currently in the same situation with my [almost] 3 year old basset girl. She is four days into the Thundershirt (Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment) phase. I am trying to see if it works - so far, nothing great to report.

I hope your poor girl can relax (and mine too) and not be so skiddish. It's hard to think of what could be causing the issues.
 

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Maggie-- r u supposed to wear ur Thundershirt all the time? methought it was just when u r getting anxious about something...

Bella-- i think u r still young enough that you can still be exposed to lotsa stuff? Worm was afraid of balloons and even rocks, yes, rocks that don't move. in puppy class (i took him at 7 months), they said to expose him to everything... today, he walked by a noisy lawnmower and was not fazed. even i was getting uncomfortable because it was sooo loud. the silly Worm was trying to get closer to it while it was on.

also, what about letting her play with other puppies. are there puppy kindergarten or puppy playgroups? another thing that might help is to start her playing with smaller dogs (rather than a lab). they learn to be more gentle with the smaller dogs, and also less afraid of 4-legged creatures, as they are generally non-threatening.

Worm esp played well with Welsh Corgis and poodle/fluffy types.
 

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I was a'scared of my shadow when i came to live with my forever huminz.
coming outta my shell a little more each day.
maybe just takes some time.

wworm, balloons can be scary, to be sure...
 

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Maggie-- r u supposed to wear ur Thundershirt all the time? methought it was just when u r getting anxious about something...
Well, since Maggie is always anxious, I thought I'd leave it on her. I took it off yesterday morning. I have company coming this weekend (she has met them before) so I'm hoping she doesn't go banana's.
 

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MikeyT has some good articles on socialization and fear/shy dogs. Do what WWorm did and get her into a class to work with her on this.
 

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Well, since Maggie is always anxious, I thought I'd leave it on her. I took it off yesterday morning. I have company coming this weekend (she has met them before) so I'm hoping she doesn't go banana's.
What if you try short sessions w/her Thundershirt? Like just putting it on when company is over? I think that's when you're supposed to see the effect-- she should be more subdued than usual, and doing less anxious behaviors than she typically does.

I don't know, but having it always on seems like an awful long time to wear one. I thought it works by calming the dog down when anxious, and then the dog may learn how to calm self down over time. And to put it on her in situations when she is severely anxious (more than usual).

I don't think it's something where you put it on all the time for a week, for example, and then the anxiety is gone forever. I think of it more like an anxiety pill, that you would give her when she's anxious to calm down in the moment. Anyways, that's just the way I understood it, my 2 cents about it.

Are there instructions that came w/it about how to use it specifically? i tried to look online and it seems hard to find instructions about exactly how to use.
 

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Dogs that are fearful are the result more often than not of inadequit socalization. That is dogs have a short window between 3-20 weeks of age that they are open to new encounters. A fter that period, they will look upon something they have not encountered before with fear. A common fear in many dogs is Men with facial hair. This is not because men with beard go around beating dogs. Simply the puppies had limited or no contact with men with facial hair. That said Shy/timid/fearfulness has a genetic component as well. It is the one personality trait that consistently survives from puppyhood to adulthood all others do not. When picking out a puppy new owners need to be aware of this because it means that shy puppy is going to be a lot more work and a life long project to bringout of its shell.


At six month of age simply exposing the dog to new experience is not going to alieviate fear as it would in a young puppy. It is going to take a more proactive approach. However ,the worse thing you can do is force the dog to face it fears. At best what happens is the dog will shut down emotionally. In a basset that means it stops doing anything. The so called "flat basset" is a typical basset response to stress. This does not mean it is no longer afraid simply that it has learned it can do nothing so that is what it does , ie learned helplessness.

You need to allow the dog to be able to escape that which it afraid of and approach it on its own terms. In the flight or fight response kick in a dog than can flee is not going to become agressive or learn that aggressive response can keep it safe as well . so forcing a dog to face it fears can lead to making the dog approach the same fear next time aggressively. Also if you let the dog flee it eases the dogs mind knowing that it can flee so it is more willing to approach the fearful object over and over again.

There are a number of techniques to help dogs over come their fears one of the common is called counter-conditioning and desensitization you can find a lot of articles on the net about it however I would recommend Patricia Mcconnell's booklet Cautious Canine that deals exclusively eith this technique and provides more detail, which becomes important when a problem arises than any internet article.

HELP FOR YOUR SHY DOG
for a fair review of the book click here
This breezy little paperback is a gem. Deborah Wood has managed to present a very readable, optimistic, and practical guide for coping with a shy dog. Between Wood's refreshingly conversational writing style and Amy Aitken's endearing illustrations, this is a book that any owner of a shy dog would find palatable and motivating

...The primary concept around which the book is structured is that the key to helping a shy dog through life is extensive and continual training and calm leadership, "...A dog's basic personality doesn't change. However, a fearful dog can learn to compensate for her shyness. The more training she receives and the more situations she experiences, the better she compensates. Your goal with your dog will be to help with the compensation process."

If Sophie is reactive, ie aggressive, in reactions to fearful objects, animals etc then
CLICK TO CALM - HEALING THE AGGRESSIVE DOG

other resourse include
fearfulldog.com

ShyK9 Yahoo Group
 

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Mikey, you always have interesting stuff to add.. I always enjoy to seeing your posts.

Even though Hank is blind, he's afraid of watermelons. He's bumped into one on separate occasions, always ending up with him jumping back with his tail between his legs, barking. Our shih tzu is also afraid of watermelons. It's hysterical.
 

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Anytime Sophie encounters something new,like anything outside of the home, I'm always there and I let her come to me if she's scared. She does seem to atleast try and go up to the person or whatever it is that scares her but she normally will check it out and run back to me and try again and so on. Obviously no two dogs are alike, but Fred has never had any fear issues so this was a new situation.
 

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She does seem to atleast try and go up to the person or whatever it is that scares her but she normally will check it out and run back to me and try again and so on
wha you can do to equate stanger with something dog is when she first approaches hve the stranger drop food etc on the ground near them the next time hold it out for her etc. IS she touch sensitive? the tricky part is whether to have a stanger try to touch pet her or not I general recommen erring on the side of caution. Mariah how is not shy but a reactive dog learned to be wary of strangers barring gifts as they would then attempt to touch her. being touch sensitive see quickly began to look at stragers bearing gifts as a threat not that she would not take the treat but would retreat quickly growling and poised to strick if the attempted to touch her so this senerio was not the best one for her but it works for many shy dogs. The thing her is tring to change the dogs image of stangers from something unknown and scary to they give me treats, so I should look forward to them.

There are no hard and fast rules you need to use your judgement and the dogs reaction to whats going on if the they are ready for more of an encounter or not . you don't want to push the dog either and make sure the dog leaves the encounter on a good note.

I dont know what type of dog training experience you have but another game on this theme is to teach the dog first to target the hand then an object then you cn use that object to train the dog to go out and touch a stranger. they dog get rewarded for goin out touching a stranger and coming back. if set up in advance so the stange knows what is going on over time the dog is going to be more willing to approach a stranger as it gets reward for doing so. Then it becomes easer and quicker for the strqnger to then give the dog a reward for doing so as well. for dogs that are reluctnt to close the gap this gme can help. as you can see niether is a quick fix.

With mariah who was a rescue we had to spend the first two years just to retrain her to growl. that behavior was punished out of her so she did not growl but rather bit first no very safe alt least when a dog growls the human knows o back off. wjich is a much safer situation. Mariah is still not good with stranger and it can take years before someone new can touch her but she has always been good with other dogs. every dog is different based on their genetic temperment and how the environment influenced and change that ie what the dog learned.


A shy/timid dog is easier to work with and more ammendable to behavior modifaction than a fearful aggressive dog. It is not because one behavior signal the dog is more adabible, smarter etc but quite simply you can put the timid/shy dog in situations that you could never do with a fearful /aggressive dog because of moral limitation that is putting someone in harms way. that happens when training with a fearful/aggressive/ reactive dog. So that is the good news.
 
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