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Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I'm new here. I hope to come often and partake in many discussions about our basset babies.

I have an almost three year old female basset. I am having issues getting her to socialize with other dogs. She loves my other dog (male senior cocker spaniel) and my dad's dogs (female beagle/basset and male mini schnauzer) but absolutely will not socialize with other animals. She is also terrified of other people and noises.

I take her to a local dog park often (maybe not often enough?) but it doesn't seem to help. Also, I am looking for any help breaking her of her paranoia of strangers and noises. I don't know what to do. If someone comes up and wants to pet her, she runs away (or tries to wriggle out of her collar/leash). If she hears a noise while we're inside she barks and howls and hides somewhere near me.

I am looking for any advice I can get! I don't want my baby girl to be terrified forever.
 

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Welcome Laura and MaggieMae!

My little girl, Annie, who is 6 yrs old, also has some shyness. She prefers to hide under me when we go to the park to see other dogs. But the longer I stay there with her, the more she ventures out to play.

When it comes to people approaching to pet her, don't be afraid to ask the person to stop and let Maggie approach them if/when she is ready.
 

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In my area, there are dog trainers and kennel owners who run dog socialization parties. Dogs and their owners get together and just hang out. Maybe look into something like that in your area. You could ask your vet or check in at a local pet store and see if they've heard of something like that. I took mine to puppy parties at the vet and just letting them meet other dogs in a controlled environment and at their own pace helped them with their socialization. I'd imagine something like that would help older dogs too. Just a thought. Good luck and welcome to the family!
 

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Welcome to the forums! I hope you do take part in the discussions, and please don't be afraid to ask questions. And post lots of pictures. We LOVE pictures of all the bassets here! Maggie is very pretty, too.
 

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How do you react when she gets in one of these tizzys.Do you just wait to see what she does.Do you pet her franticly saying,"It's ok nobody wants to hurt you." I have directed those with my puppies to get people around them as often as possible,when something seems to scare them do not react.If you react they think there really is something scarry happening. If they do not see you react they will learn they do not need to react either. For an older dog it may be more complicated you may need a training class to help.
 

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Here's the thing for, socialization training to work just by presenting an oppurtunity the window is very sort beginning about 3 weeks of age and closing at 16-20 some say even sooner. So it is imparative to socialize and habituate a dog to those thing early when they are not going to percieve things they have not encounter as a threat wich only occurs during this early socialization period.

As coupled with the fact that dogs are great discriminator and poor generalizer it takes 100's to thousands of sightly disimilar encounters before a dog will even begin to generalize a behavior. Take the typical dog who is afraid of men with facial hair. This does not occur because some guy with a beard beat the dog even though that may appear to be the case. It is because the dog did not encounter men with beards, mustaches etc during the socialization period. the dog after time may learn to trust a particular man with a beard say a member of the family but will still distrust/fear all other men with beard. Dog are good a discrimination ie this guy is ok but not the rest. and very poor a generalizing this guy with a beard is good so all guy with beard are good.

So the problem you have occured very early in the dogs formative life and is very difficult to impossible to fix. That is a shy timid dog is not going to become out-going, but you can make it less shy and fearful. There are no quick fixes it is a continious lifelong process. I can give some excellent reference materials but the type of forum does not lend itself to deceminating the info you need in a more personal way

HELP FOR YOUR SHY DOG

and 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 author gives useful, practical advice that embellishes upon only a few central themes. 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."
There are a couple guiding behavior modification techniques to helping a dog over come a fear the first is called Counter-conditioning and Desenitization. The idea here is to use classical conditioning to change the dogs emotional response to what the dog fears. Classical conditioning is best explained as what pavlov iused to train dogs to salivate by ringing a bell., Bell rings, food/meal delivered. So over time the dog links the bell with meal time and begins to anticpate the meal. Not how the dog react has no bearing on whether it gets a reward the condition that cause the reward is the bell ring or in the case of a fearful dog what cause the fear. Dogs also learn on an "operant level" ie it behavior is what cause the reward. So to avoid confuing the dog it is best to begin classical conditioning at a point were the dog deos not act adversly or is stress by what it fears. to do this you need to be able to read doggy body lanquage I would suggest On talking Terms with Dogs - Calming Signals there is also a companion DVD to the book which may be helpful/

Calming Signal - the art of Surviving

Calming Signals: Canine Life Insurance

for more detail on conterconditioning and desenatization I suggest

CAUTIOUS CANINE - HOW TO HELP DOGS CONQUER THEIR FEARS
It gives a step by step approach in dealing with fear of strangers but the same technique can be used with other fears as well


Counter-conditioning and desensitization


if you like a more operant approach CLICK TO CALM - HEALING THE AGGRESSIVE DOG the techniques can stim be used on a shy/fearful dog that manifest that by runing and hiding vs acting out aggressivly the same bsic emotional state of the dog the only difference is how they chose to direct there behavior,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks so much for all the welcomes! I'm looking forward to being part of this forum! :)

How do you react when she gets in one of these tizzys.Do you just wait to see what she does.Do you pet her franticly saying,"It's ok nobody wants to hurt you." I have directed those with my puppies to get people around them as often as possible,when something seems to scare them do not react.If you react they think there really is something scarry happening. If they do not see you react they will learn they do not need to react either. For an older dog it may be more complicated you may need a training class to help.
I do react by saying things like "it's ok" or something similar. I just hate to see her scared and/or nervous. I have thought about taking Maggie to a training class, but she's so scared that she would just sit there and shake. If she could find a hole in the wall to climb into, she probably would.

As far as I know, she has no reason to be scared of people. I've had her since she was 11 weeks old. The people who had her did not abuse her and she's never been abused in my care (or my family/friends).

So the problem you have occured very early in the dogs formative life and is very difficult to impossible to fix. That is a shy timid dog is not going to become out-going, but you can make it less shy and fearful. There are no quick fixes it is a continious lifelong process. I can give some excellent reference materials but the type of forum does not lend itself to deceminating the info you need in a more personal way
Thanks for the info, Mikey T. I'll look into those books and see if they offer anything that might be of assistance.
 

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Hi Maggie May and Welcome!

You are a pretty basset and we esp like your sleeping picture.

For fear with noises, I might suggest looking into Thundershirts Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment

it sounds cooky and weird, but there actually is a lot of research in this concept. And not only in dogs, but also in cows, in children, etc. i posted more about this in previous threads, you can probably just search for "Thundershirt."

I also think there are dogs of all sorts out there. Yours sounds like it is comfortable around people and dogs she knows. That is good.

Worm happens to be very social, but that is also because i didn't get him until he was 16 wks old. and up to then, he was with other pups, litters, and mama dogs (~12-16 of them) 24 hours/day. when i brought him home, i felt it would be a disservice to him to NOT have him around other dogs, since he had been around them so much. So he is quite social, but i also think it's because of his particular situation.

we have a neighbor in our hallway that loves dogs and loves Worm. but it is sad because her Irish setter is aggressive towards other dogs, and has snipped and bitten other dogs. just very unpredictable. so we see each other all the time but have to keep the dogs apart. that being said, the Irish setter is wonderful with children and can be trusted with them, as well as with other people.

another neighbor in our hallway has a dog that thinks it's a person and has no use for socializing with other dogs. sad because Worm wants to socialize with him so much. but this dog Max always prefers the company of the people, rubbing next to he people, getting pats from them. he has no use for other dogs!!

also my wiener dog before Worm was great with adult people, but not with children or the elderly, so I had to watch him closely in those situations. i am thankful Worm isn't like that, and is great with all people, young and old, large and small. but again, i don't think it's necessarily anything i did, per se. they are just different dogs, who grew up differently and had different temperaments.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Maggie May and Welcome!

You are a pretty basset and we esp like your sleeping picture.

For fear with noises, I might suggest looking into Thundershirts Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment
Hi Worm! Thank you so much for the welcome and compliment. :)

I have heard of the Thundershirts before but never looked into them to see exactly what they are. It's an investment for sure, but at this point I'm willing to try almost anything to calm her down. I have asked for a few more opinions on it from other dog lover friends of mine to see what they say. One is a dog foster and helps with special needs animals so she probably has heard of it!

Thanks again!

Maggie Mae & Laura
 

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I do react by saying things like "it's ok" or something similar. I just hate to see her scared and/or nervous
there are some that say coddling the dog will increase fears I do not nor do most experts believe that is the case

Myth of Reinforcing Fear

from the Fearfuldogs.com website you may find this resource very helpful I can not comment on the products they sell as I have not read or used them

You Can’t Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms
this seems like a good time to talk about one of the oft-repeated, and ever-so-inaccurate pieces of advice handed out to dog owners: “You mustn’t pet your dog if he runs to you because he is afraid of thunder.”
That’s just wrong. Totally and completely and utterly wrong, but it has gathered gravitas, as things often do, because it has been repeated over and over again.
There are several reasons why that advice is wrong, here’s one of them: Fear is designed to be aversive, that’s why it is an effective way of affecting behavior and keeping animals out of trouble when they encounter something that might hurt them. Fear is aversive enough that no amount of petting or sweet talk is going to make your dog more likely to shiver and shake when she hears thunder rolling as the clouds billow and the rains begin.
Here’s the example for you of how hard it is to “reinforce” fear. What if someone tried break into your home in the middle of the night? Let’s say they did, and after the intruder left, a friend or loved one sat down with you on the couch, brought you tea and gave you a hug. Would the tea and sympathy make you more likely to be afraid if it happened again the next night? Of course not

...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
Reinforcing fear II

forcing a dog to face it fears makes thing worse. Keep in mind whe in a fearful flight or flight state the dog is reacting purely on emotion no cognitive function is going on the dog is basical incabable of learning from the experience, Art best if nothing bad happens is the dog learns that its fearful response is appropriate because it stopped anything bad from happining,

The overstimulated hyper dog
Emotional reactions originate in the limbic part of the brain, which allows for fast-acting response to events based on quick impressions. Survival depends on quickness of response — allowing you to notice and duck when you catch a glimpse of a fast-moving object about to fall on your head.
Limbic over-rides cognitive. When an animal is in a state of adrenalin arousal from fear, defense, excitement or just plain sensory overload, he not only doesn't listen, he can't hear you. It does no good to repeat "sit sit sit" to a dog who is on emotional overload. He isn't thinking, he is simply reacting to the stimuli around him. He must tune-in and re-connect with you before he will be able to hear what you have to say. You must be able to get his attention first, before you tell him what you would like him to do.
This is why desensitization need to take place far enough from the feared object that the dog is not reacting to it. wonce the dog start reacting fearfully it ability to learn is curtailed. You would be far peeter off when the dog act frearful retreat with the dog to a safe distance


For some dog and situation where it is impossible to avoid the feared object the only alternative is the use of antianxiety medication to lower the anxiety to a lever that you can work with. There are some non-perscrption medication that may help in this regard but self perscribibe for your dog at your own risk
They are not cure they need to be use in conjuction with behavior modification to be succesful

MELATONIN
Success is still running about 80%. Most useful for noise phobias, including thunderstorms, fireworks, gun shot, planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, show site noises, bird song, truck and other road noises. It also seems to help some cases of lick granuloma and separation anxiety.
...I use a dose of 3mg for a 35-100 lb dog. Smaller dogs get 1.5 mg, and larger dogs may get 6mg. The dose is given either at first evidence of thunderstorm - dog becomes agitated, distant rumbling of thunder, etc. or prophylactically before the owner leaves the house when thunderstorms are predicted. Dose may be repeated up to 3 times daily. The latter may be used as a dose for animals with more generalized stress related disorders."
Thundershirts boast a 85% success rate base on customer survey's and offer a 100% satisfaction money back gurantee to the rick of purchasing one is small
 

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As far as I know, she has no reason to be scared of people. I've had her since she was 11 weeks old. The people who had her did not abuse her and she's never been abused in my care (or my family/friends).
Fear is not about abuse but rather lack of socialization and familiarity there have been numerous studies on this

Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 1) Why is it Necessary?

The degree of deprivation a dog suffers in respect of socialisation and habituation will be reflected proportionately in the extent of maladjustment. Accordingly, a dog that has had no experience of a specific stimulus at the completion of the sensitive period will always be fearful of it; a dog that has had some exposure, but not sufficient, will be better adjusted, although not entirely sound; and a dog that has had adequate experience of the stimulus in the sensitive period will grow up to be "bomb proof". Dogs that grow up to be fearful because they have been subjected to stimulus deprivation can be improved by counter conditioning programmes, but the maxim prevention is better than cure was never more applicable than the first few weeks of a domestic animal's life.

...In 1961 Freedman, King and Elliot identified the age of three weeks as the start of a puppy’s critical period, in terms of social/environmental interaction and the commencement of their capacity to develop social relationships. Significantly, this is the point in time when the puppy becomes truly mobile and can hear and coincides with increased electrical activity in the brain (Fox 1971a).
Michael Fox (1971a), a behavioural researcher, found that three week old Chihuahua puppies fostered individually in litters of four week old kittens would, at twelve weeks, prefer the company of cats over the company of their litter mates that had not been fostered. Additionally, the foster mother’s kittens were found to be able to relate to dogs whereas kittens from other litters who had not had a canine companion thrust upon them avoided contact with dogs.
...
Perhaps the most significant tests of all are those carried out in 1961 by Freedman, King and Elliot, which found that if puppies are kept in isolation from man and introduced at different ages their response to man deteriorates with age of first exposure. The results show that if puppies are introduced to humans for the first time between three to five weeks they will approach confidently, but those that are introduced between five and seven weeks of age will show increasing amounts of apprehension. Those puppies whose first experience of man is at nine weeks old or later will be totally fearful. In 1968 Scott concluded from his research into puppies kept in isolation from man until fourteen weeks “by fourteen weeks fear and escape responses have become so strong that any puppy raised in these surroundings acts like a wild animal”. Freedman, King and Elliot also found that puppies exposed to human company at fourteen weeks for the first time never developed a positive approach.
Also keep in mind that all behavior is not purely environmental there is a strong genetic component. The environment can over come most genetic based predisposition but not shyness. Years of record keeping of puppy aptidude and behavior testing it is clear the only trait that reliable tranferred from puppyhood to adulthood is shyness/timidnesss/fear. It is though this is true because such behaviors are powerfully self-ewarding. Whenever nothing bad happens the dog is reward for the behavior.

What typically happens is a puppy that is genetically predisposed to be shy/timid/fearful because of that predisposition gets less socialization to new thing in the environment makeing then enven more likely to be fearful as adult.


Becasue of this self reward factior it is always a battle it is not like one day the dog willbe cure but by working with the dog setting up training session etc you can improve the situation considerably.
 

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I love your sweet Maggie's face! I have a Maggie May too!
For what it is worth I have noticed that the energy of the person holding the leash, whether me or my husband or one of my kids, is directly transferred to Maggie. So we try to remain calm and in-control at all times. It has really helped her leash manners with my 8 year old since he learned to walk her calmly and not be all...well...8 year old boy, lol!
 

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For what it is worth I have noticed that the energy of the person holding the leash, whether me or my husband or one of my kids, is directly transferred to Maggie. So we try to remain calm and in-control at all times. It has really helped her leash manners with my 8 year old since he learned to walk her calmly and not be all...well...8 year old boy, lol!
it ius well know that the fears and reactions can cause a dog tho be "leash aggressive " that is perfectly fine when not on leash,

a case history with Harry T
 

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Ok, this is where Mikey and I do not agree on certain things.Showing dogs I have always been told if I am nervous it goes right through the lead to the dog.I believe this to be true and can't imagine why it would not work that way outside the ring as well. You know the saying "A rose,is a rose,is a rose." I do not in any way believe this applies to dogs.Like "A dog,is a dog ,is a dog." We have always known different breeds can and do have quirks.Bassets in that respect are no different. The people doing the "testing" on those dogs do not live with those dogs and see them in every ,so to generalize all dogs(every breed) as reacting to a stimulus in one way is unreasonable to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I love your sweet Maggie's face! I have a Maggie May too!
For what it is worth I have noticed that the energy of the person holding the leash, whether me or my husband or one of my kids, is directly transferred to Maggie. So we try to remain calm and in-control at all times. It has really helped her leash manners with my 8 year old since he learned to walk her calmly and not be all...well...8 year old boy, lol!
I have always been told if I am nervous it goes right through the lead to the dog.
You know, the more I think about this, the more I agree with it. I am a little high-strung (by my own admission) sometimes. I can understand how Maggie might be, also. I will work on my energy when I'm outside with her.

Thanks for all the advice!!!
 

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Mikey and I do not agree on certain things.Showing dogs I have always been told if I am nervous it goes right through the lead to the dog.I believe this to be true and can't imagine why it would not work that way outside the ring as well
don't disagree at all. I agree hold hardily if you are fearful in a situation the dog will be well . I Think bubdad is misinterpreting my "you can reinforce fear". but if you read the quote on that subject especial what I highlighed in bold
which I post again here "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!'"

Then if you read the case history I posted it is quite clear how the emotions of the dog and human feed off each other causing the problem to esculate and not diffuse. I don't not know how I could have been any clear on this aspected.


I will work on my energy when I'm outside with her.
Humans are very bad a pretending especial to dog. It is not a matter of simply acting you need to be less antious not simply act less anxious. Vitually impossible to do with out change how you approach the situation and do so in small incrimental step so you and the dog build confidence together. Again the reason for start off in such senarios at the point befor the dog reacts. If you know the dog is not going to react you not going to be anxious. Oonce you get experience at a particular distance you can move up slightly closer to a slightly familar dog and reward ect. By doing so incrimentally while changing the dogs emotional state you are change your as well because you know the dog can handle it and you have no anxiety. To find out if it is truly all about you and not the dog, have some one else take her out on leash. Does she still act scare around strange dogs etc? Is she marginal better? It will give you a clearer picture to what extent itt is just the dogs fears and/or your anxiety as it relates to the dogs behavior is effecting the dogs behavior.. Make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mikey T - thanks for the info. Maybe I need to channel my "relaxed self" and see if it helps the situation(s).
 

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If you can do it. it certainly would not hurt, but It is rare for humans to be able to control their emotions to that extent.


As much as I am espousing the desenitization approach. ie never putting the dog in a situation were it is not comfortable but at the same time ramping up athe number of encounter the dogs has and providing some sort of reward not necessarily but it can be food for each encounter. It is the real world after all and while ideal it is highly unlikely that it is something that is actually achievable. So you also need a plan to use when the dog does become reactive/fearful toward a human/ dog /noise etc. First do not force an encounter, If the dog shys a way from one let it Make sure the dog is not restrained/Constrained, that is besure the dog can move as farway as it wants to. Move with the dog as well until it feels comfoarable again. By allow the dog to escape what it fears it is more willing to approach it again. Think of the curious but scared cat approaching something. It will move slowly forward but retreat at the sightest movement. However, if the object does not move forward or threaten, the cat will approach again IF you force encounters this will not happen the will continue to resist new encounters. By given the dog a means of release its stress/anxiety it is going to be more likely to approach the object/person/animal object again. We do this all the time on aggility training. by allowing the dog to escape on it own it is willing to come back an attempt again because it nose it still has the oppurtunity to flee if it feels the need to. A dog that nows it can flee with tollerate more stress than one that is not sure.


Every dog is different so I will never claim I know what you nare going through but I have had fearful dog in the past and currently. I have not had a a timid dog that is one I would discribe as backing away form the feared object, I have dealt with dogs that act out aggressive the PC term is a "reactive" dog to that wich they fear. but each behavior while distinctly different is born from the same emotional base and can be treated and allieveated to a degree with the same methods. I would never say cure because there is to much of a continuium on that likne is a shy fear ful dog cured when it nolnger backs away from an encounger but is still clearly not 100% comfortable. what if it is comforable but does not seek out encouters etc. at what point is the dog cured? What you can do is make living with the dog a more pleasant experience for yourself and hopefully a life that is more pleasant and rewarding for the dog as well.
 

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Also, when you introduce him to other dogs, make sure you are calm and relaxed, or at least faking it really well. Don't have him on a leash--he needs to feel he can get away if he needs to. And keep the number of dogs down to one at a time. Dogs at dog parks are usually way too excited to help with socialization skills. But it's a good place to meet other dog owners who might be willing to help you one-on-one with their dog.
 

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Don't have him on a leash--he needs to feel he can get away if he needs to.
however keeping the other dog on leash can be helpful in creating seperation if need be. Again you would not want to take the hands off approach with a reactive/aggressive dog but that does not appear to be the case here.,
 
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