Sudden fear of children - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Sudden fear of children

Bella turned 10 months old yesterday. She loves children and even perks up when she hears a child's voice on TV. Today I took her for her usual walk and we happend upon a little boy about 8 yrs. old who asked if he could pet her (I was impressed that he asked!). He was gentle and slow as he approached her.

For the first time ever, Bella became shy and cowered. She's never been scared by a child. I know at 9 months the dog can become frightened by things easily and I was wondering if this is normal at 10 months? What sorts of changes take place in the Havanese at 10 months?

I want to be very careful to not instill fears in her. Thanks for any information.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 03:29 PM
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Nancy - I'm not an expert but know that all dogs go through a second fear period. The most important thing to do is not say "it's okay" when she gets shy because you are actually reinforcing her behavior. While no dog should be forced if they are very fearful, a happy voice and "say hi" command will help reinforce the behavior you want. Perhaps carry some treats with you and if she becomes shy you can give the person the treat to offer. If at all possible, get as many positive outcomes as soon as you can so the shy behavior doesn't get reinforced.

You should have seen me asking all the delivery people and strangers walking by my house if they would please pet my dog so that she'd get use to different types of people. I even snuck her into an office building and had her ride the elevator!

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 03:41 PM
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Ditto. Gryff went through it also with our son and with other dogs. Just continue exposing her to children without pressuring her to interact. She'll adjust.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 08:43 PM
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It might have been just that one child did something, or smelled like, he was not trustworthy. Just carry on like nothing happened but don't let children or adults reach down for him for a while. If you worry about it he will worry about it.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. As I was thinking about it again, I remembered that the boy had a back pack and I don't think she's ever seen one before (we don't have children around).

I knew they went through that second fear period but I thought that ended after 9 months--I guess Bella can't read the calendar yet. I've been very careful to not put her in situations where she'll develop fears.

We're trying to get her comfortable with our inground swimming pool. I took her out on the floating chair with me and then put her back on the decking. She couldn't understand not being able to come to me but she doesn't like the water. We don't want to push her and think that if she gets used to seeing us in the pool, she'll get comfortable with the water. (We ALWAYS take her out so there's no chance she'll jump in the pool.)
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 10:23 AM
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Sophie can be that way with men and kids at first. I found out having treats in my pocket to let them give to her works great. Also, having the person get down to her level and letting her sniff first works. I ask them not to bend over and pet her on the head but crouch down and scratch under her chin.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 07:16 PM
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My guys love kids but when kids come to them with their hands reaching over the dog's head, they both back away. I always tell kids to put out their hands so my guys can first smell them and then feel ok to allow them to pet them.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 07:30 PM
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I agree that it could have been the backpack. We had some tree workers in our yard last week, and Brady was afraid of the man in his hard hat. He backed away from him and ran around him in circles barking at him. Brady loves everyone, but the hat seemed to spook him.

**Karen, Mom to Brady, Dugan, and Devon
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2008, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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These are great observations and ideas! Havanese owners are the best!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2008, 07:52 AM
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I think some children don't know how to approach dogs too . . . we had an older boy here one time that scared Jackson. The boy made a lot of crazy gestures that spooked him and we had to teach him how to sit still and let Jackson come to him, sniff, and get acquainted. Very young kids can freak them out as well because they probably look like big dogs to them!

Kathy and Jackson Jackson
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