Fear - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
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Fear

Perry (as I've mentioned previously) is terrified of everyone and everything new. He generally cowers/ runs away, but also 'reacts' (barking at this point) as what I would consider the intermediate stage (not so afraid that he needs to flee, but still afraid enough to let us all know that he doesn't like this person being there!)

This was reinforced even more yesterday when one of Perry's vets (the one who deals with the travel paperwork for us, he has another vet for regular/ day-to-day stuff), came over to the house to do his health certificate for our trip on Friday. When the vet entered the yard he got barked at (though to be fair, Perry could have been barking at the night guard who he doesn't like/ is still afraid of), and then he ran away. 'Come' and other commands that he does pretty well don't work so well (at all) when he's majorly distracted or afraid, like this (and they're hard to work on since he's not often in this situation). When we went in the house he refused to come anywhere near the vet or even come to me when I was sitting on the couch (the vet was at the other end of the couch and Perry could have come to me without going near the vet but even that was too close) - even with the incentive of what I refer to as 'puppy crack' (his absolute favorite treat). You could tell he wanted the treat, he was doing that sort of rocking step thing they do where they take a step toward you and then back pedal. When I picked him up (no comforting, no nonsense picking up) and brought him onto the couch with me (between me and the vet, but still far enough away from the vet), he was terrified - leaning into me (again, no comforting), panting heavily, staring intensely at the vet (not taking his eyes off him) - and the vet even said that his eyes were dilated the whole time (and when he took his temp, it was even elevated from the fear/ stress). Even when I turned him so that the vet could examine him (checking lymph nodes because of potential tick fever, taking his temperature) he had his head turned and was staring a hole through the vet. He's not reactive, didn't growl (even too afraid to growl!) and no snapping or trying to bite, but I know that if fear isn't dealt with those things may/ will come.

The problem has been that here in Kampala, there are no training classes (there are trainers, but they do one-on-one work) or opportunities to socialize/ expose him to different people, dogs, etc. I'd asked a trainer that I was introduced to and one of Perry's vets. So, it's not been something that's easy to deal with. For the people who do come around often, there might be an initial reaction like this (though not often as bad as this) and afterwards he may bark at them and not want to go to them, but he'll be curious about them and circle around, etc. so it does get better with repeat exposure.

Luckily this isn't just about the negative. There are two (hopefully) positive steps. (1)we've made an appointment with a behaviorist in the US while we're there. We probably won't be able to do more than 2 visits with her, and I anticipate that she's going to tell me things like we need more controlled exposure/ socialization, etc, but I'm hoping that there may also be some things she can tell us to do, given our circumstances, that will help. (2)In talking to the vet yesterday, he's said that there is actually a dog/ puppy play group here in Kampala once a week where people bring their dogs together to play, socialize, etc. So, when we're back in June, we're going to check that out and hopefully will be able to attend that and start working on his fears in those groups. (3)My husband is currently in the US (has been for the last couple of months because he has to maintain his residency for his green card). Before he left, even after months of exposure, Perry was still afraid of him - cowering, running away, growling when Dawit entered the room. Made Dawit feel like an ogre and made him want nothing to do with him. He's been referring to Perry as psycho and has said that he would totally ignore him, not deal with him, etc. Well, earlier this week he was visiting one of our in-laws in DC who has a small (I'm thinking bichon, but might be havanese) dog. Dawit was really surprised at how friendly the dog was, even with strangers, loved the attention, would come to get the attention, etc. So when we were talking yesterday he said that he realized that there must have been something that happened to Perry (probably pre-rescue) that traumatized him to the level that he is at (i.e. not because he's inherently psycho) and seems a lot more ready now to work with him/ work on it together, and not take it so personally. So, hopefully progress on that side too - and hopefully he'll also listen to the behaviorist (even if she tells him exactly what I've told him) on what we need to do to get the two of them comfortable together.

Wow, that was a long post but fingers crossed that these things together will move things forward.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 06:55 AM
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Fingers and paws crossed for you and Perry!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 07:58 AM
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I am no Havanese or dog expert by any means. Lily - 5 mo is our first puppy in 12 yrs. and I researched this breed for 2 yrs before I decided on one bc I fell in love w the breed and their personalities and I was shocked when I got her 8 weeks and brought her pand she was so scared of Everyone and every noise. She was from a breeder w 2 siblings and no trauma or abuse, but one puppy was sick and had multiple deformatiea and ended up dying. the father and the dad didn't hang around them all much. But the little girl and mom were very loving. And she played well w here sisters when I went to pick her up. She still likes to hide under things now for fun. She would not let any stranger or my husband get close to her. She would run away a in true fear. She wouldn't always bark, just at my husband. Never growled. After 5 mo now she has really warmed up to him and lets him let her more and wants to play w him. He cannot pick her up unless I hand him to her and she's fine but that's a huge step than where she was. He's big, has a thick beard and deep voice so ?? And she's very protective of me bc I'm home all day w her working. we started training at 4 mo. First class they did interactive play w puppies , and she would just hide under my chair . It scared her worse and then pass the puppy around at the end. She was shaking awful and wouldn't let the men hold her. But In btn the training she did fine w me and would let me train her 1:1. We went there 3x and she started to warm up but not w pass interactive stuff. So I started 1:1 training. And this started to help a lot and her guidance. She told me to have strangers give her treats w them not facing her and put treat behind their back and let her come to them. It started to work. And then she started to get braver and if she wouldn't let them approach her I would do the treat behind the back or than just let them hold a treat and let her come up to them. Every time someone comes over I just have them give her treats and let them approach her and it gets her warmed up to them pretty quickly I never hold her and let someone pet her and force them her up on them like I did at the beginning. Because then when I would do that put her down she would run off skiddishly. So I would reward her w click and treat just " touch" someone new, like their hand. My trainer said she is just spacially challenged and just takes a while to warm up and she has seen it with all types of dog breeds. In training class, she is always aware of what is going in areound her w the noises and who is Watching so kind of makes it hard for her to relax at first. She has made huge improvements in just 2 months. I always have them pet her under her chin not on top of her head because that scares her worse. She even earned her novice trick certificate and we're working on her Canine good citizen cert. I just wanted her to be able to go up and let a stranger pet her so she has accomplished way more than that now and more than I ever expected. My wonderful trainer has also told me about tellington touch, I've looked up some ideas. I am now in an advance puppy class at a different place that is smaller and not as overwhelming for her. She is a little more stand offish to men and Sometimes if wearing a hat. And she WILL not let me mess with her hair on too for a topknot and does not like to take the harness off around her neck at all!! She gets very nervous. She loves to play outside w the kids and whines when she sees them from The window. She adores my 6 yo daughter and 12 yo son. And I'm just glad I picker her out and someone that may not have taken the time to give her what she needed. ( sorry so long and rambly) it's funny bc most of us in the family have our sensory quirks and I'm not a big touchy-feely person so I think she was meant to be ours. ?
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 12:14 PM
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yeah work with the trainer one on one if you can. You're exceeding his safe distance to the point he is reacting . This takes time. Don't overwhelm him with group walks just yet . He has to improve meeting single persons and dogs one at a time. You've got the right idea though.

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