Author Topic: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior  (Read 5277 times)

Offline Newly Newfed

  • Top Doggie Dog
  • ***
  • Posts: 760
  • Sierra
    • View Profile
Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« on: October 05, 2007, 07:13:28 pm »
The main thing I wanted to do with Sierra when she was a cute fuzzy 10 week old puppy was to use her as a therapy dog.  She has displayed such a wonderful personality and sweet temperment, I am sure she would make a wonderful therapy dog.

Recently though she has begun showing fearfulness towards some people.  I've only seen it with men so far.  She will start to bark, her hair will stand up and most of the time, she will whine and run with her tail between her legs.  Today she almost went through a plate glass door trying to get away from Jeff's brother, who we recently spent a weekend with, with no negative reaction from Sierra.  She had a great time that weekend with his dogs.  I thought maybe it's because Jeff's brother is a pretty big guy, but she acts the same way towards his other brother and my step-son's friend who are not big guys.  None of them have shown any sign of aggression, fear or negative responses to her.  She used to love both of Jeff's brothers.

I just don't get it.  A month and a half ago she was fine.  Now suddenly this fear.  And only certain people.

Any ideas what could be going on?  I was so happy because the obedience is finally starting to sink in, but this behavior does not look good for my dreams of owning a therapy dog...I can tell her actions are based on fear, not aggression or dominance.  I just don't know why it has suddenly developed.
Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole - Roger Caras

Sierra-Newfoundland
Cody-Papillon
Oscar, Gina- Cats
Roxy-Ferret
Peaches, Sean, Thunderbolt, Chablis, Lucky, Miracle, Ivy, Riley-Whitetail Deer

Offline People Whisperer

  • Supreme Drooler
  • ****
  • Posts: 1975
    • View Profile
Re: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2007, 11:00:54 pm »
A lot of dogs go through fear periods. It is very normal. Just give her some time and don't reinforce fear behavior. Just ignore it and try not to take her to any new places or introduce to any new people. It usually goes away withing a couple of weeks.
Keep us posted  :-*
"To once own a Great Pyrenees is to love and want one always."
Mary W. Crane

I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it :)


Offline Moni

  • Majestic Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 934
    • View Profile
Re: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2007, 08:03:14 pm »
Is she around 8 months old?
BPO does not have my permission to use my photos.

Offline navarre1316

  • BPO Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 1059
    • View Profile
Re: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2007, 02:48:36 am »
I think I read somewhere that the first "fear" stage is around 6-9mths.  And to just keep socializing them to new and different things as you have been doing.  If it's people, especially ones that come in your house, have them initially ignore the dog and when the dog approaches them to have a treat handy.  If she's too scared have them walk and drop treats as they go!!  I did this with Daphne when I first brought her home!  I wish I could remember where I read it, I did a bit of reading when I decided to get a new dog.  As has been said already though, don't reinforce it by trying to calm her, just ignore it (I know that's hard!).  Good luck and chances are this too shall pass!! :D
God placed me on this earth to accomplish certain tasks...I'm so far behind I'll never die!!

Navarre: GSD 9/13/99-5/14/06 patiently waiting
Issabeaux: GSD 1/27/07
Daphne: Boxer
Stone: Siamese mix

Offline Newly Newfed

  • Top Doggie Dog
  • ***
  • Posts: 760
  • Sierra
    • View Profile
Re: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2007, 06:07:15 pm »
Is she around 8 months old?

Yes, she is just over 8 months...  It's been years and yearsr since I've had a puppy and I don't remember any of these developmental stages.  I've had dogs my whole life, but I didn't realize I haven't had a PUPPY since I was beginning high school.
Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole - Roger Caras

Sierra-Newfoundland
Cody-Papillon
Oscar, Gina- Cats
Roxy-Ferret
Peaches, Sean, Thunderbolt, Chablis, Lucky, Miracle, Ivy, Riley-Whitetail Deer

Offline mountaindogmom

  • Full Fledged Chewer
  • *
  • Posts: 91
    • View Profile
    • Jack & Greta's Pics
Re: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2007, 03:50:45 pm »
Here's a link to the developmental stages chart for dogs and it does mention that the second fear period is at about her age and gives some suggestions.

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/DevelopmentalStages.html

As another poster said, just be sure not to give any attention when she shows fear or you'll accidentally reinforce the undesired behavior.  Make sure to give lots of praise whenever she acts normally around other people to reinforce the desired behavior.
Greta - Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (DOB 5-20-06)
Jack - Great Pyrenees (DOB 12-26-06)
& Three Kitties - Zoie, Bella & Nessie!

Offline My Kahlua-Bear! :-]

  • Ankle Biter
  • *
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: Hmmm...Puzzling behavior
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2008, 02:29:15 pm »
A lot of dogs go through fear periods. It is very normal. Just give her some time and don't reinforce fear behavior. Just ignore it and try not to take her to any new places or introduce to any new people. It usually goes away withing a couple of weeks.
Keep us posted  :-*

People Whisperer is right alot of dogs go through fear periods. Especially large and giant breed dogs. Its connected somehow to their huge growth spurts. One day at obedience class, Lu just froze up and wouldn't do anything. She was shaking. This was the 4th week so i knew it wasn't fear of a new environment. The trainers sprayed a bandanna with a pheramone (sp?) that mimicks a nursing bitch's scent and it calmed her down immediately. The spray is expensive but you might want to consider it. They sell it in plug in form too, kind of like plug in air fresheners. It helps anything from aggression, to fear. Try it. And good luck with Sierra.