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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18817
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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4 years ago, I adopted a 3 year old German Shepard mix. When

Customer Question

HI My name is ***** ***** 4 years ago, I adopted a 3 year old German Shepard mix. When we got her she was terrified of my husband. No one else in the house just him. It was determined she was abused by a man who must look like my hubby. I have had a dog whisperer come to my house not much help there in the past year my vet has tried different meds no change there either.when he's not home she is a happy dog. When he is home she's terrified of him barks at every move he makes and runs from him. I know deep down she knows he would NEVER hurt her. We even adopted another dog to show her it's all ok. The other dog loves loves my hubby. She even knows his ring tone on my phone and knows what time he gets home from work and starts acting scared. I want her happy but do not think after 4 years that's going to happen. I think I have done everything I could do for her. I do not want to give her up but.. I want her happy. Any advice would be appreciated
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

At this point you have determined what doesn't work. So I'll be giving you some techniques to try. I just wanted to let you know I am working on your question.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 months ago.

Dogs are scared of people for a lot of reason and if she had some unfortunate experiences from a man that smelled or sounded like your husband it might affect her dealings with him. After this amount of time she should know he won’t hurt her.

However, if there are people in the family who have attempted to reassure her and as a result gave her attention when she acted scared, she would learn to act that way to get the attention. So some of it might be learned behavior as well.

Now there are things that can be done to help her. One is a dap collar. It uses pheromones to help her anxiety level. They are available at pet stores and work real well for anxiety. The other thing is to show her what your husband expects of her. You do this through training. This will require your husband to take an active role with the dog.

The fastest way to get her over this fear is for her to start training with her. If she already knows commands that will be great but he can also teach her those commands. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

What this does is teach the dog what your husband expects when he gives a command. This helps her self confidence around your husband and leads to less fear responses. Additionally you can have him take over feeding her and if at all possible have him be the only one giving her attention.

In addition, you need to stop the behavior which is unacceptable. For instance keep a leash on her, when she fixates on him and starts barking, give a short tug to break her concentration and a firm low toned NO so she realizes that behavior is not acceptable. When she doesn’t bark at him, have a tasty hot dog treat ready to reward her. After a few reprimands and treats, she should realize that when she doesn’t react to him, she gets treats. This will also help her modify her current behavior.

I would plan on having him take over her care and start training her while you work on the behavior modification and use the dap collar on her. These should help. In most cases, my clients see improvement in just a few weeks especially if the husband will help by coming in and out of the house or room over and over again until she succeeds and can get the treat for not reacting.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 months ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.

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