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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18943
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My dog is terrified of my boyfriend all of the sudden? We

Customer Question

Hi, my dog is terrified of my boyfriend all of the sudden? We have been dating for over a year, and at first she loved him and the attention he gave her. But in May, I went out of town and he watched her and while I was gone, she freaked out. He reported that everytime he tried to pick her up, she would yelp or cry, would shake around him, or hide under the bed, not eat. To make matters even worst, his dog started getting freaked out and became afraid of him too. When I came home, after a week, things went back to normal for the most part, but periodically, she will start this up again for a time. It is starting to get really frustrating, especially since there seems to be no reason for the behavior and she never use to do it. Plus it causes strain in my relationship with my boyfriend, and his relationship with his own dog. Any feedback?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi Sir or Madam,
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.
It is likely that she actually had a cause when this first happened. If he picked her up like many people do under the arm, then he may have allowed her weight to just hang and put stress on the discs in her back. This can cause a dog to feel discomfort and even pain.
The best way to pick a dog up is to put one hand on the chest and scoop the rear legs up in the other one lifting straight up so the spine is supported.
That will stop any additional incidents of her experiencing pain when being picked up. This will hopefully show her that he won't hurt her.
The other thing that happens is that dog's learn that when they act a certain way, you respond in a certain way. If you have been trying to reassure her and showing her soothing attention when she acts that way, it actually encourages her to continue to act that way to get the attention from you and treats from him.
So my recommendation is to not pick her up at all unless it is absolutely necessary which it really shouldn't be. If you need to pick her up to control her, start obedience training. 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.
http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html
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.
http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html
When you have to pick her up, do so like I suggested. The obedience training will also help her learn to trust him again as well since she will know exactly what he wants when he gives a command. It helps a dog gain self confidence.
I think you will be pleased at how fast things improve. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi Beth,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Ellie. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler