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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18950
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Is 7 months old. He goes to doggy daycare almost every week

Customer Question

Andy is 7 months old. He goes to doggy daycare almost every week day. He has started becoming very skiddish and afraid to do anything (including his toilet) without me with him. If hears a noise, any noise, he is under the bed. Why?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year 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.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

When he first started acting this way, did you reassure him, tell him everything is ok and pet him?

How does he do at daycare?

Does he display any of that behavior there or only around y ou?

How old is he?

What have you tried?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When he first started acting this way, did you reassure him, tell him everything is ok and pet him? Absolutely. I took him to see the source of the noise and petted and reassured him.How does he do at daycare? Great. The staff says he gets on well with most all the other 'guests'.Does he display any of that behavior there or only around you? He plays well with me, in the house. He'll retrieve a ball and play tug-o-war, etc.How old is he? 7 monthsWhat have you tried? He won't go outside (enclosed backyard) unless I pick him up and carry him out. Once he's out there, he's fine util a car goes by and then he hides under my chair. He has started not coming when I call him. I don't yell at him or hit him. When I am displeased with him, I call him Andrew in a lower tone of voice. Punishment is being relegated to the kitchen.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

JaCustomer,

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. Dogs are opportunistic. When a dog displays a behavior and you give them attention, petting him and telling him that everything is ok in a soothing voice, it is deemed positve reinforcement. That means that the dog likes the behavior you display and thus it actually encourages him to display the behavior which in this case was "fear". It is a common issue and many owners do this instinctively much as we would reassure our child. While we love our dogs almost as much as our children, they still are not humans and don't react the same way as we would.

Now that can be fixed and it really isn't that difficult to do as he is young. You have a few techniques and I suggest doing as many as you can together. One is start ignoring the fear behavior completely. Don't look at him, talk to him, pet him, etc when he displays the behavior. When he doesnt' display the behavior and you think he would have, go ahead and give him some calm praise and petting. Thus he gets the positive reinforcement for the desired behavior not the undesired behavior.

The other thing you should do is tape noises that bother her and play them back at a much lower volume and reward her "NON reaction" with praise and hot dog slivers or liver pieces. Don't use boring treats or it will go much slower. Gradually increase the volume over time until the noise doesn't bother him anymore. In many cases, he'll hear the noise and come running to get a treat since he'll associate the noise with good things then and not fear.

You can purchase a DAP collar which uses a pheromone similar to a mom with nursing pups's which helps calm dogs. Most pet stroes carry them now and they can be found online as well. He is young and you should be able to tackle this pretty quickly.

The other issue that you need to address with him is his obedience. He needs obedience training badly. It has to be a formal type training done every day though it doesn't have to be a formal class. 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

This will get him back on track with you. He'll see you are the boss and will obey you. If he isn't neutered, you might consider that as well. You need to be the boss. The boss says what the pack does. He is the pack. If the boss (you) says go out or come, he should obey. Initially he'll be obeying to get the tasty treats you give for obedience (hot dog slivers) but each time he obeys, he becomes a little more submissive to you which is one reason you practice twice a day every day to get him submissive quicker.

Many dogs don't come when called because they have learned that the only time they are called is when fun time is over. People call their dogs to them to make them come inside or to stop chasing prey (cats) or to be put on leash (end of free running time) or even crated or reprimanded. The only association they have with the come command is negative.

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Additionally, dogs find chase to be a highly amusing game and have learned that if they get close to a human, the human might chase them. They love a good game. So what you need to do is make coming to you more pleasurable.

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The easiest way is to reward your dog with small tiny treats and praise whenever your dog comes to you when you give the command. Do this even when the dog wants to come to you. After a few treats, the dog will associate coming to you with getting treats and praise. Outside, you will want to use a long lead. Do not drag your dog to you, but say the command and if the dog doesn't come, give the leash a short tug. Start with short distances and gradually extend the distance as your dog becomes more familiar with the command. Over time, you will reduce the treats and increase the praise until praise is the only reward. Another thing to remember is to never call a dog to you to discipline it, go to the dog. During training I don't call a dog to me unless it is going to be pleasant for the dog. I usually don't have much of a problem since the dogs quickly learn that I have thinly sliced hot dog treats just waiting for them to obey me. If you need to reprimand them, give a low toned "NO" and maybe a short tug on a leash to get their attention if it is necessary. You can practice this at various time by just calling your dog to you for no reason and rewarding him for it.

These techniques should help with the problems you are having.

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.

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Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler