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Hello I'm new and I'm hoping to get some advice. I have a 3 1/2 old basset names Abe. He is the most complex basset in the world. We love him dearly and would never dream of giving him up but he is very high-strung and has lots of anxiety. We give him proper exercise, attention, grooming and all that; we take care of our boy. He is afraid of everything, trucks, airplanes, vacuuming, storms, anything that we move around the house (dog gate, dropping something, sweeping). It may be noise sensitivity but even things that don't make any noise scare him. He hides under the bed or in our shower and shaking/panting uncontrollably. We got him at 9 weeks from a very caring breeder and nothing that I know of could have caused him to be like this. We have a daughter and he is very good with her, but before her and now he is extremely clingy. Everywhere I go I can literally feel his breath on my ankles! We have tried training (puppy classes and bark busters). I did not agree with bark busters methods as they treated him as being an aggressive dog rather than a passive/afraid dog. We have tried herbal collars for relaxing, amitriptylline for anxiety, velcro coat for applying pressure to his torso...I guess it helps to calm dogs...and nothing works. I guess my question is-what more can we do to help calm him down? Would it help if we got him another dog or would he bring the anxiety issues to the new dog? He LOVES other dogs, and is desperate for a friend. We let him play with other dogs as much as possible but it's still not very often. He likes to wrestle pretty hard and is relentless so owners/certain dogs don't like him. He doesn't hurt them; he just likes to play...like a dog is supposed to. Any suggestions? Thanks!-Katie
 

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Shyness is the one trait that is proven to survive form puppihood to adulthood because it is a self rewarding behavior. everytime the dog survise an encounter by being fearful it reinforces the behavior. So Whit I trying to say is there is no total cure. What there is a life long process than can enable him to cope better.

see as your best resource
HELP FOR YOUR SHY DOG

and a fair review of the book


Depending on how trong his anxieties are he may also benifit from antianxiety medication see Seperation Anxiety for a post I wrote on a different board with links to various antianxiety medication. All require a perscription and a decision to use them should not be made lightly. The drugs themselves are not effective without behavior modification as well so I provide the follwing link to behaviorist that can also prescribe because they are vets

Find a Diplomat

One of the biggest mytrh you will hear when working with a shy/fearful dog is don't comfort the dog when it is fearful because you are reinforcing the fear. This is some of the worst advice possible made by those that do not understand the importance of emotional state plays in learning. You can't reinforce fear by conforting the dogs.

Can Fear be Rewarded?
There seems to be a persistent belief that it is possible to reward fearful behaviors without rewarding the emotion of fear. This may be true in people. We all know individuals with a "martyr" mentality who will act fearful and helpless just to get attention and have others take care of them. This doesn't seem to be true for animals. They don't pretend. If they don't feel afraid, they don't act afraid.
When their emotional state changes, so do their behaviors.
The following web sites can be helpful as well

Fearful Dogs:
Help For You & Your Dog


some other resources that may be helpful
CLICK TO CALM - HEALING THE AGGRESSIVE DOG
The approach hear is more for the "reactive dog" that is a dog that manifest its fear though aggressive acts. Not what you describe abe as being but considering bark buster approach I thought there might be some of that as well.

CONTROL UNLEASHED: CREATING A FOCUSED AND CONFIDENT DOG
More geared to the performance dog and stresses, anxiety and distractions that occur however much can be applied to shy dogs as well even without a performance bent.

CAUTIOUS CANINE - HOW TO HELP DOGS CONQUER THEIR FEARS, 2ND EDITION
A good treates on desentiziation and counter-conditioning just one of many techinques in dealing with why behavior. It is by no means comprehensive in its approach other than laying the basic groundwork on how to use desenitization and countercondition in a step by step approach.


Would it help if we got him another dog or would he bring the anxiety issues to the new dog?
It depend entirely on the "other dog" IMHO a puppy or younger dog would be more impressionable and more likely to adopt the behaviors of an adult dog than a stable adult dog. Young dogs learn behaviors from observing other dogs. But, I also had an adult dog only show signs of thunderstorm phobia late in life after the dog he was living with stress became more acute. Were the two related is anyones guess but it is a valid concern.


Sorry I don't have some mavalious cure but all there is involves a lot a work and at best the make the situation better not perfect and require a life time of practicing because you stop the behavior will once again become worse overtime. Shyness is the one temperment in a puppy I would cation all potential owners to avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Mikey for taking all that time in finding out this research for me to look into. I'll check out all the links and will hopefully find some useful info.. When we went to go pick up our puppy, all the pups came down with kennel cough and were all being treated for it at the time. So they were all very tired and lazy. We drove 3 hrs. to get our puppy so we had to choose one when they were sick. When he got better, he still seemed pretty normal and not scared. We started noticed him being fearful when he was about 5 months old. He can be a very happy dog with his tail held high, then he will purposefully listen to whats going on outside and then his tail will go under his legs and under the bed he goes. It's like he wants to be fearful. Anyway, I will look through all the info. you gave me and will keep this thread going. Thanks again for all your help, we are desperate to make him happy and relaxed.-Katie
 

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Thanks Mikey for taking all that time in finding out this research for me to look into.
Unfortunately I have done the research much earlier having to deal with two reactive dogs, dog that act out of fear but rather than run and hide the fight part of the flight or fight response took presidence. One I eventual had to put down as it became increasingly clear that there was a nuerological cause for the behavior as it became more erratic and unmanageble.
 

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My Banjo is 4 months 4 day's old and he's afraid it the shape SQUARE, anything shaped like a box, or anything that makes noise he is afraid of and shy's away from. I am slowly breaking him of this, and it's not that hard, I simply hold him in the area he's afraid or I take him to it if he's already left, and I calmly sit with him petting him and telling him he's a good boy and everything is going to be OK.

He's lightened up a lot on the boxes, but is still afraid of the dish washer which is next to his food and water so he's actually getting better at that also.

He's not a biter or snipper or growler, he's not learned to be aggressive towards anything or anyone and I don't think he ever will, I believe that to be a taught thing and my pup will never be taught to be that way.

I really hope your dog starts accepting that some things he hears will not hurt him and he is able to calm down a little. These dogs are the most awesome dogs ever next to a 180 lb St. Bernard :) :)
 

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Welcome to the forum Katie...I'm not that informed about dogs but can't help but wonder if your idea of another dog might work. Our humane society will let us foster dogs....they could help you finding a stable, age, size, energy level dog companion for Abe. If the other dog is not afraid of things, Abe might realize that he has nothing to fear.....at any rate, they may wear each other out enough that he's too tired to be worried. Would love to see some pictures....
 

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My Banjo is 4 months 4 day's old
dealing with a puppy with fear issuse and an adult are two diffrent matters entirely. THe one thing i would caution aout is forceing the puppy to cronfront his issue rather let the pup inquire on the scare object at his owm pace, might be what you are actual doing and I am misintrepreing what is writtem. there are episodes in which a nis called "fear period" in which the dog/puppy is more timid etc this is noirmal develomental stage and provide tha in the end recovers ienough to investigate on its own not a big concrn but you need to provide that opurtunity it is never a bad idea for rewarding such curiosity with food, play etc,

I calmly sit with him petting him and telling him he's a good boy and everything is going to be OK.[p/quote]

there are people that will claim that by doing this you are rewarding fear which is utter nonsences by remaining calm you are demonstrating to the dog that he need no fear.

see reinforcing fear - WHy the debate?

Myth of Reinforcing Fear

You Can’t Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms
The fact is, it is almost impossible to “reinforce fear.” Fear is highly aversive, and if anything, it works in reverse. I suppose, if you did it often enough, you could create an association between thunder and petting that would make your dog afraid of petting, but it is extremely unlikely to go the other way around.
It is true that you can make your dog more afraid than he already is, by doing something yourself that scares him, by forcing him into situations that scare him already or by being afraid yourself. Emotions are contagious, so if you want your dog to be afraid of thunder, then be afraid yourself! But you’re not going to make him more afraid of storms if you stroke his head and tell him it’s going to be okay.
The bad news is that petting won’t help (him or her) much either, so I’ll write next time about how to help a dog who is thunder phobic, but you might also find some ideas in The Cautious Canine, a booklet I wrote about helping dogs conquer their fears in humane and effective ways. I also wrote about why it’s okay to pet your dog when he’s scared in Bark Magazine in October of 2008, and more recently Pia Silvani wrote a GREAT article about it in this month’s APDT Chronicle.
Reinforcing Fear II, Thunder Phobia III

As I said previously, fear is designed to be aversive, and dogs who are terrified of thunder aren’t going to get worse because you stroked their belly.
Indeed, there is research that some interpret to mean that our petting has little effect at all: As I mentioned in a 2008 Bark column (and an alert reader posted), Dreschel & Granger (Applied Animal Beh Science, 2005) found that cortisol levels, a measure of stress, did not decrease when owners pet their dogs during storms. (The most important factor in decreasing cortisol was the presence of other dogs.) However, note that a study by Odendaa & Meintjes (2003, Veterinary Journal) found that cortisol in dogs doesn’t decrease when we are petting them at other times, (although it does in us when we pet them!). However, it is important to remember that cortisol is not the be-all and end-all of indicators of emotion. The authors found that other indicators of internal affect, such as feel-good hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, increased when the dogs were petted, which suggests that stroking did indeed have a positive effect. And hey, if a dog’s behavior changes such that he is no longer pacing and panting while I rub his belly, I’m going to rub his belly!
 

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My Banjo is 4 months 4 day's old
Dealing with a puppy with fear issuse versus an adult are two commpleate different methoidologies because a puppy enve onbe outside the tardition 3-20 week socializtionperiod are more open to new experience than an adult dog. The one thing I would caution about is forcing the puppy to cronfront his issue, rather than letting the pup inquire on the scary object at his own pace. Miight be what you are actual doing and I am misintrepreing what is written. there are episodes in which a mislabledled "fear period" in which the dog/puppy is more timid etc this is noimal develomental stage provided that in the end recovers enough to investigate on its own not a big concrn but you need to provide that oppurtunity . It is never a bad idea for rewarding such curiosity with food, play etc,

I calmly sit with him petting him and telling him he's a good boy and everything is going to be OK.[p/quote]

There are people that will claim that by doing this you are rewarding fear which is utter nonsence by remaining calm you are demonstrating to the dog that he need not fear.

see reinforcing fear - WHy the debate?

Myth of Reinforcing Fear

You Can’t Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms
The fact is, it is almost impossible to “reinforce fear.” Fear is highly aversive, and if anything, it works in reverse. I suppose, if you did it often enough, you could create an association between thunder and petting that would make your dog afraid of petting, but it is extremely unlikely to go the other way around.
It is true that you can make your dog more afraid than he already is, by doing something yourself that scares him, by forcing him into situations that scare him already or by being afraid yourself. Emotions are contagious, so if you want your dog to be afraid of thunder, then be afraid yourself! But you’re not going to make him more afraid of storms if you stroke his head and tell him it’s going to be okay.
The bad news is that petting won’t help (him or her) much either, so I’ll write next time about how to help a dog who is thunder phobic, but you might also find some ideas in The Cautious Canine, a booklet I wrote about helping dogs conquer their fears in humane and effective ways. I also wrote about why it’s okay to pet your dog when he’s scared in Bark Magazine in October of 2008, and more recently Pia Silvani wrote a GREAT article about it in this month’s APDT Chronicle.
Reinforcing Fear II, Thunder Phobia III

As I said previously, fear is designed to be aversive, and dogs who are terrified of thunder aren’t going to get worse because you stroked their belly.
Indeed, there is research that some interpret to mean that our petting has little effect at all: As I mentioned in a 2008 Bark column (and an alert reader posted), Dreschel & Granger (Applied Animal Beh Science, 2005) found that cortisol levels, a measure of stress, did not decrease when owners pet their dogs during storms. (The most important factor in decreasing cortisol was the presence of other dogs.) However, note that a study by Odendaa & Meintjes (2003, Veterinary Journal) found that cortisol in dogs doesn’t decrease when we are petting them at other times, (although it does in us when we pet them!). However, it is important to remember that cortisol is not the be-all and end-all of indicators of emotion. The authors found that other indicators of internal affect, such as feel-good hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, increased when the dogs were petted, which suggests that stroking did indeed have a positive effect. And hey, if a dog’s behavior changes such that he is no longer pacing and panting while I rub his belly, I’m going to rub his belly!
 

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Sorry, I have nothing helpful to add, but wanted to welcome you to the forum.

My bassets, especially Jake, are fearful of all sorts of things, from thunder to watermelons wobbling on the kitchen floor (he is a bit Odd) but no acting out behavior. Our biggest issue is he wants to crawl inside us (lap is not enough) with any loud noises (thunder, fire works, low flying planes, etc) My Abby, completely oblivious.
 

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Hi Katie, I have the exact same dog-there's no reason for her to be so fearful but she is. We adopted her sister 5 mths after her and that's really been good for her, but she's still afraid of all people. Like Abe, she loves all dogs. I wish you luck and patience, I know it's hard.
 

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Maddie is fearful too, and we have no idea why. Nothing bad has ever happened to her, but she shows fear at anything new that's brought into the house, like cardboard boxes, she's developed fears of things that never used to bother her, and she's gotten 'over' some fears because I deliberately exposed her to them until she stopped reacting with fear. [trash cans, the wooden gate, the sound of the ice cream truck].
 

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I have the exact same dog-there's no reason for her to be so fearful but she is
There are alway reasons. We may not understand what they are but there are always reasons coommon ones include:

1. one or multiple traumatic experience

2. genetics, exactlly what part of temperment is inheireted but there is a strong genetic componenent.

3. Socialization, habituation, imprinting or lack there of

4 the interaction between 1-3, a dog with a weeker more fearful temperment genetical is going to react different to a less than optimal socialization than one with a solid genetic temperment., Same goes for traumic event what is traumatic to a dog that is genetical shy.fearful is going to be different than one that is not.


that said as it is clear n0o one has complete reposibility or control how a dog turn out. there is a bit of a crap shoot but at the same time we know certin thing improve the odds. It is also not necesssary to know the cause of the problem to fix it. Actual it really does not help.
 

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You could also look at things this way- at least your dog is not afraid of you!! Our beagle, Austin, we think was abused at some point in his past, and so has fear-biting issues when he's in trouble.
 

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There are alway reasons. We may not understand what they are but there are always reasons coommon ones include:

1. one or multiple traumatic experience

2. genetics, exactlly what part of temperment is inheireted but there is a strong genetic componenent.

3. Socialization, habituation, imprinting or lack there of

4 the interaction between 1-3, a dog with a weeker more fearful temperment genetical is going to react different to a less than optimal socialization than one with a solid genetic temperment., Same goes for traumic event what is traumatic to a dog that is genetical shy.fearful is going to be different than one that is not.


that said as it is clear n0o one has complete reposibility or control how a dog turn out. there is a bit of a crap shoot but at the same time we know certin thing improve the odds. It is also not necesssary to know the cause of the problem to fix it. Actual it really does not help.

I guess I fall into the #3 category, I took her at 5 months from the breeder and she wasn't socialized. You're right, it doesn't matter at this point. It sure isn't #2, because her sister is the opposite, an unbelievable extrovert.

We figure God was doling out traits out of a bucket when they were born and Emily's siblings were a bit greedy and there was no courage left in the trait bucket when it was her turn
 

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Hi Katie my Bassett Hendrix hates the noise of the Hoover ,he runs away and if I am sweeping the floor he barks at the brush . Have no idea why but he has got character ! Have no advice really I just Hoover and let Hendrix do his thing as long as he is not stressed , enjoy the forum !!
 

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I remember the exact moment Lightning became a fearful dog--a very loud friend of mine burst into my living room, yelling at the top of his lungs. Lightning went from being a fairly happy-go-lucky puppy to being afraid of anything that makes noise (and some things that didn't). I tried various things to make him more confident, but nothing worked. He also developed terrible separation anxiety, so I finally got a second dog. That worked wonders, although in hindsight I would have made sure the second dog was much easier going than Stomps turned out to be. But overall, having a buddy helped Lightning immensely. Now that Stomps is gone :(, Lightning leans on the cat, but it's not quite the same. Good luck with Abe (I love that names!).
 

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Cooper (1 year 4 months) has had what I'd consider normal fears (trash truck, vacuum), which seem to have eased a bit as he sees they won't harm him.

In preparation for the arrival of his new little sister, Lyla (16 weeks), we got him a new bigger stainless food bowl. I don't when I first noticed it, but he would eat most of his food, then sit back staring at the bowl, then whining or barking. I think he saw his reflection when he got near the bottom and scared himself. Now it is with any of the bowls (all stainless). I have to dump the last bites of food on the ground for him to finish eating. The funny thing is that today I saw Lyla barking at the bowl (with food inside). Not one of the things I want her to learn from her big bro!

Good luck with your pup. It doesn't sound like a quick, easy fix.
 

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Hendrix hates the noise of the Hoover ,he runs away and if I am sweeping the floor he barks at the brush . Have no idea why but he has got character ! Have no advice really I just Hoover and let Hendrix do his thing as long as he is not stressed
Totally off topic, but I couldn't help but giggle while reading this. Olive's dog daddy's name is Hoover! It's a fitting name for him ;)
 

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Looks like you are getting lots of goodvadvice, welcome to the forum. I dont have anything to add to this one since Cannoli is not afraid of anything, she will join Dingus in attacking the vaccum cleaner though. Dingus hates the vaccum and the weed eater, almost took his head off one day as he attacked it whipe it was running!!
 
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