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When your dog is afraid of almost everything
07-04-2013, 04:50 AM,
#1
sasha32 Offline
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When your dog is afraid of almost everything
My dog Holly is afraid of almost everything. We rescued her from the pound, after she had been seized from a hoarding situation by Animal Control. Most of her life was spent outside on a two foot chain where she had to compete with three other dogs for food. There were more dogs indoors who were in worse shape. When the Animal Control officers seized the dogs, they were covered in fleas and emaciated.

When we rescued Holly, she had issues with food aggression around our other dog, but around people, she turned into a timid, scared little girl. Whenever she heard a loud noise, she cowered on the ground. Fortunately, with time and patience, she stopped cowering as often. Her food aggression is gone, probably because she knows there is always food available.

The one behavior we haven't cured is her fear of going through doorways. She is afraid of walking through a doorway if someone is standing on the other side, watching her. She crouches down with her tail between her legs and slinks through the doorway. She looks so scared when she walks through the doorway. Sometimes, we have to bribe her with treats just to get her to come in the room. Does anyone have any suggestions for curing this? I don't want her to live in fear.
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07-04-2013, 09:27 PM,
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haopee Offline
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RE: When your dog is afraid of almost everything
Bribing her with treats (as you call it) is a good start. Rather, let's call it rewarding her for passing through the doorway.

I think one of the best things you could do is to desensitize her to that situation. Just practice with the scenario on the doorway everyday for 5 minutes. It will take some time but rest assured that she such behavior will lessen as long as you do it consistently. Also, make sure to walk her. This increases your bond with Holly.

Before having a person stand there (to commence the desensitizing activity), make sure to do this activity without a person standing there. This is to give her a good feeling wherein she eventually understands that passing through the doorway is a good experience.

Later (probably after a week with everyday training), have a person stand there while you call her name to come to you. Once she passes through the doorway, reward her with a treat and give her lots of cuddles and hugs. You can also intensify the reward by playing with her using her favorite toy. Do this everyday until she no longer hesitates to pass through.
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07-05-2013, 12:30 AM, (This post was last modified: 07-05-2013, 12:31 AM by BWP.)
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RE: When your dog is afraid of almost everything
My neighbor rescued a female mongrel she calls Bear (because she's brown and has cute round eyes like a teddy bear) from the streets. She was a stray who had been living in the drains near my neighbor's office and was probably abused and abandoned a while ago.
Bear was terrified of people and would only allow my neighbor to pat and hold her. She behaves in a similar manner to your dog Holly. It took her almost a year to get used to having people around her. She gradually grew accustomed to having people around her and will now allow strangers to pat her.
Let Holly take her time. Rewarding her will be a great way to encourage her and to give her confidence.
Good Luck!
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07-05-2013, 10:23 AM,
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sasha32 Offline
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RE: When your dog is afraid of almost everything
Thanks for the responses! She really has improved overall, but I hate to see her scared. It's a sad reminder of what she has been through. I wish there was a way to tell her that she's okay and that she is loved by people who will never harm her.
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07-10-2013, 02:51 PM,
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mscuban Offline
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RE: When your dog is afraid of almost everything
It sounds like you are already on the right path because she has improved. You can tell her it's okay even though she doesn't understand what you're saying. Continue being loving and patient with her. How our pets are treated goes into their memory and they don't forget that. I wish you the best. She sounds like a great dog.
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09-07-2013, 12:22 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-07-2013, 12:23 AM by ohiotom76.)
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RE: When your dog is afraid of almost everything
Does she like to play fetch a lot? Perhaps you could start throwing her favorite toys through the doorways for her to go after, until she gets used to it and doesn't worry so much about it anymore.

What happens when you carry her through the door? Maybe doing that a few times will help ease her anxiety.

Sometimes when our dogs were stressed out or worried, we would play some CDs with calming nature sounds, and it seemed to relax them too.
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