fearful socialization problems... - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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fearful socialization problems...

Ninja has a problem with strangers where he barks uncontrollably. Not just strangers either but relatives. Whenever my uncle visits with his wife, he barks and barks like crazy but wags his tail but will not go near him. This is not the first time he has seen them but it still takes him a while to get comfortable. Anyone that he has met when he was younger he is fine with but when people come into the house he goes insane. He is very fearful but wags his tail like he wants to say hello but is hesitant. I'm going to look into a trainer but does anyone know what I should do for now when he barks?

Some other information....Ninja was given to me as a gift from my brother when he was 12 weeks old. He did NOT come from a reptuable place and I was so upset when we learned this but I love him so much and want to do anything I can to make him less afraid.

As for what I did to socialize him, I didn't walk him until he was 4 months old. I did not know how important it was for socialization to be done early and my vet told me not to take him out until he completed his shots. We did carry him some places and as soon as I was able to take him out, I took him to the park a few times and walked him all the time.

Any advice will be really appreciated!?

Thank
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 05:39 PM
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Hi, I am having the same problems with my 8 month Havanese, but mine is a lot more fearful. My mom came over yesterday and just walked past her and she growled, but no tail wagging. I have found a book by Debbie Jacobs, A Guide To Living With & Training A Fearful Dog, very helpful. Check out fearfuldogs.com
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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 05:45 PM
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Is he food motivated? If so, I would have strangers break high value treat (really yummy stuff) up into small pieces. Have them get on the floor and dish out treat after treat to him. Just a suggestion. Also, puppy classes may be good for socialization.


**Karen, Mom to Brady, Dugan, and Devon
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the book recommendation I will look into it ASAP and the site.

He is about to turn 1 is that too late for puppy classes?

I tried the treat once and he became afraid by my uncles wifes hand when she moved. Like he wants them to just sit still and smell them at first and they don't make things easier by trying to pet him. I tell them to leave him alone he will come to accept them and eventually he does but I am wondering if he will ever just be comfortable with them.

Recently we had two furniture deliveries and he went insane at both men. He barked and barked the entire time and did not want to get near them at all. He was so scared but his fright comes and goes with each person. Could he be getting a bad vibe from certain people?
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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 06:15 PM
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My dogs will bark and growl at people in our family. Usually when they are surprised by someone coming down the hall or if we carry something they don't recognize. But their tails are wagging and then they growl and play with each other. ? My two were taken everywhere with us. They even went camping when they had only been with us for a week. They didn't bark at anything or anyone including other dogs but now it's another story. They like to go to the groomer and they enjoy their vet visits. I can't figure it out.

Trudy, mom to Einstein,Watson and Griffin too!
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 06:51 PM
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I don't really have any advice for you as Lizzie loves people. She is afraid of other dogs. Ninety percent of the dogs in our neighborhood are large ones. The reason I answered is that my vet said the same thing about taking the dog places to socialize her. I read a few other threads on here where people said the same thing. I am wondering why vets say this when early socialization is so important. I know we missed alot of opportunities for Lizzie as I was practically yelled at by the vet tech one day when I told her that we had taken her somewhere (don't remember where now). Good luck with Ninja.

Lynne-Lizzie's mom
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 07:03 PM
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I have come to realize it takes a lot of time and patience working with a fearful/shy dog, mine is also a fearful biter

I dont believe he is too old for puppy class but depending on how shy/fearful he is you may have to take that class more than once before ever moving on. Also you may want to see if you can bring your dog to one class without signing up just to see how he reacts. Young socialization is great but for an older unsocialized dog you want to be careful, you dont want to cause flooding.

Flooding: By forcing a dog to deal with something that scares it, you are using ‘flooding’ as a technique to try to get them to get over their fears. The problem with this is that it often doesn’t work the way you want it to. A dog may get over their fear of something, but they can instead become sensitized to the thing they fear or merely habituated to it. Even worse in my mind is that the dog looses trust in you. The best way to train a scared dog is to help it learn how to control its world without behaving in a fearful or aggressive way. Flooding teaches many scared dogs that their only way out of a bad situation is to shut down. http://fearfuldogs.com/key-concepts-...-fearful-dogs/

Every dog is different, what works for one may not work for another. I alway thought tail wagging was happy but from my research that is a common misconception

http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage.htm

These are just some of the sites I have gone to in order to have a better understanding of my dogs behavior. Hope it helps.
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 08:07 PM
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I got my two havs when they were almost two years old. Even though the breeder said they were socialized - they were very fearful of every thing except each other! It took close to a year of working with them, but they have adjusted nicely. I did train them for company to keep them from barking so much when someone comes to the door. They are trained when I say "company" to back away from the door and be quite. If it is someone I don't know, or sales people, I don't give the command and they just bark away Even my grandkids have learned to come in saying "company" in order to calm them down
Good luck with the training. I don't think it is ever too late, just have to find the right motivation and be consistent!
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninja View Post
Thank you for the book recommendation I will look into it ASAP and the site.

He is about to turn 1 is that too late for puppy classes?

I tried the treat once and he became afraid by my uncles wifes hand when she moved. Like he wants them to just sit still and smell them at first and they don't make things easier by trying to pet him. I tell them to leave him alone he will come to accept them and eventually he does but I am wondering if he will ever just be comfortable with them.

Recently we had two furniture deliveries and he went insane at both men. He barked and barked the entire time and did not want to get near them at all. He was so scared but his fright comes and goes with each person. Could he be getting a bad vibe from certain people?
You are telling you relatives EXACTLY the right thing. While I'm not a big Cesar fan, I do think he's absolutely right about first meeting dogs you don't know... "No touch, no talk, no eye contact" until the dog has relaxed, calmed down and approached them.

As far as a puppy class is concerned, yes, Ninja is probably too old. But many training places have "companion dog" classes for older dogs who need basic obedience training and socialization.


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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by hutsonshouse View Post
I did train them for company to keep them from barking so much when someone comes to the door. They are trained when I say "company" to back away from the door and be quite. If it is someone I don't know, or sales people, I don't give the command and they just bark away Even my grandkids have learned to come in saying "company" in order to calm them down
Good luck with the training. I don't think it is ever too late, just have to find the right motivation and be consistent!
What a great idea! I don't mind the barking when it's a stranger at the door but don't want her to do it to family/friends. I never considered that as a way to fix it.

Julie, Piper and Riley

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton
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