Fear at 6 months of age - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Fear at 6 months of age

Cassie turned 6 months on Sept 1 and appears to be in the throes of a "fear stage". I took great care to socialize her with dogs and people from the time that we brought her home at 9 weeks. She was always happy and playful with both dogs and all people she met.

However, she now exhibits fear of "strangers" and/or "strange appearances". For example, my 15 year old son walked into the room wearing a leather jacket with athletic shorts and she went ballistic (barking) because she didn't recognize him (it was the jacket). He had to leave the room to remove it & she was happy as a lark when he returned a few seconds later.

She'll bark the same "type" of bark when she's not sure of who is entering the house (even if it's a family member). Once she recognizes who it is she's fine.

People on bicycles? Forget it! Family member wearing a hat? Bark, bark in fear. My husband was wheeling his pressure washer in the driveway & she barked at the pressure washer. I know it is a stage & it is at times comical but I just want to make sure we're handling it correctly. My husband wanted my son to approach her (with the jacket) and pet her. I played it safe and asked him to go away & remove it.

Also, for strangers that we meet on walks...I've read some authors who say "have strangers give your dog treats" but I'm not comfortable approaching perfect strangers with a barking puppy (who is obviously barking at them!). I feel bad having her "bark, bark" at other people while they're walking by, minding their business.

We still attend training class once a week & she loves going there-- comfortable with all the humans and dogs there. We've been going for about 14 weeks now & although the people and dogs have transitioned in and out the location & trainer has remained the same.

I have a 7 year old adult chihuahua/terrier mix and I don't remember him going through anything like this! Has anyone else experienced this type of behavior and if so, what is the best way to handle it?

Michele (and Cassie)
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 03:16 AM
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Charlie has been going through this as well. If I think his barking is because he's a bit confused or surprised by something that he should be ok with then I completely ignore the fact that he is barking and carry on as normal. However if he seems fearful then I go back to the socialisation basics and just back off a distance until he calms down. However I try not to completely avoid something that he's likely to come across again because I think this could just exacerbate his fear. This seems to be working OK for us but every walk is interesting because I never know whether something or someone "normal" is going to start him barking.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 08:29 AM
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I would PM Dave Gabby. Ask him of he can refer a positive dog trainer in your area. Since she is still young you can probably nip it in the bud. If you don't, it might escalate as she gets older. Good luck!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 10:06 AM
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Vino (5 mo) is starting to show sign of this too. He's done it once or twice. Canela (1.5 yr) still does this every so often..I usually try to have treats. Luckily for me Vino LOVES food and Canela is very picky eater, so I have to use her special treats (dehydrated chicken). I use the treats as a distraction especially during walks, if I see she's about to start barking I give her a treat. She eventually forgets about other people with dogs and will only focus on me with the treats and keeps walking. IF I don't have treats, someone once told me, that her reacting to noises is because she's doing her job and wants to protect me. Ignore the fears and praise the confidence. You can teach her that she doesn't need to go on barking once you're notified. We say "thank you" or "good boy/girl" or to reassure them with "it's okay" when they alerts us to outside noises she's not familiar with. Show her that you're in control of the situation but acknowledge that she's done her job.
Vino and Canela were scared of the vacuum cleaner so I left it in the living room, so they could get use to size/height of it and I eventually turn it on so they could get use to the noise too. Which they did get use to it, Canela still bark so I put her in her crate for a few minutes, vacuum a little and then took her out and the barking stop. She learned quick not to bark. Just remember they are still young and need to get use to their new surroundings.

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Betty AKA Canela, Jack and Vino's Mom

In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog..
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