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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Question Fearful of Strangers!

Albert has been doing great overall! Potty training is coming along, feeding routine is getting more consistent, and he has mastered "sit" in just the first week with us! We live in an apartment in an urban area so he sees people every time we go downstairs to pee, either outside or on the stairs. It's unavoidable. When a stranger walks by he always perks up and is curious and interested. He does best when they ignore him. But when anyone makes eye contact or talks to him, he growls and hides under my feet. A few times people have reached out to try to touch him and he has snapped at them. No bueno. I understand that he is way out of his comfort zone with this and until we are able to increase his confidence in a controlled safe environment, it is my job to protect him from potentially negative experiences with other people.

I am hoping to get a friend to come into the apartment to do some desensitizing and counter-conditioning with him, but in the meantime how do I best protect him when he has to go out to potty - up to 10 times a day? I generally tell people that he is very shy, but they can't help but look at him. I'd like to make outside time a positive experience, even with all the people out and about. I don't want to continually reinforce a scary time with strangers.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is it common in Havanese? At what point do I consider consulting a behaviorist? He's only been with us for less than a week, am I being a neurotic first time puppy parent? Could it potentially resolve itself?

Are there any specific fearful puppy protocols that you have used successfully with your Havanese?

Karta and Albert, 10 weeks old! Been with us for one week.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 02:22 PM
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im guessing by the use of your terminology "desensitization and counter conditioning" that you have talked with a trainer before. That's what I would recommend at this early stage just to be safe. Any breed puppy can be afraid of people at this early age but like I mentioned in the other thread, sometimes you can try too hard to socialize.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 02:33 PM
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You can also try distracting him with treats. I also live in an urban area. My boy developed a habit of barking at strangers in front of our house. And there are quite often people in front of my house! If you walk down his sidewalk, Grrrr! What I found that worked at the suggestion of people on here is to ALWAYS have a bag of dog treats. I carry a noisy one - and when I see someone coming I shake it and say "wanna a doggie treat?!!" and it usually diverts him. I dont ask him to sit, but he offers behaviors when he thinks he is getting food, so between the sit time and the time to get the treat out of the bag, I can usually get his attention.

I think if you keep training him he will learn to think and make choices and that usually gives them more confidence. It seems odd to be shoving food in your dog's mouth all of the time, but hey, it works!!!!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 02:50 PM
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At dog shows our dogs have to endure lots of strangers who want to pet them. Including the judge! Most dogs do not like being patted on the top of the head. I always hand the stranger a treat to offer my pup and then tell them to scratch them under the chin. If the pup won't accept the treat then no petting. Sometimes they just need some space. Respect that and try not to label him at this young age.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 03:02 PM
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At dog shows our dogs have to endure lots of strangers who want to pet them. Including the judge! Most dogs do not like being patted on the top of the head. I always hand the stranger a treat to offer my pup and then tell them to scratch them under the chin. If the pup won't accept the treat then no petting. Sometimes they just need some space. Respect that and try not to label him at this young age.
right on Karen .. for now S P A C E

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 05:43 PM
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You may want to attach a Big Yellow Bow to his leash or get a "In Training" leash.

It isn't quite common yet but it has gone through Facebook. If you see a dog with a yellow bow, you aren't supposed to approach them. It could mean that they are fearful, bad with kids, afraid of beards, in training, whatever... Just give them their space. http://theilovedogssite.com/do-you-k...-collar-means/

Then there are leashes that are printed with stuff but I think it is early for that.



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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Pam! I hope the yellow ribbon catches on. That would be great.

Karta and Albert, 10 weeks old! Been with us for one week.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by morriscsps View Post
You may want to attach a Big Yellow Bow to his leash or get a "In Training" leash.

It isn't quite common yet but it has gone through Facebook. If you see a dog with a yellow bow, you aren't supposed to approach them. It could mean that they are fearful, bad with kids, afraid of beards, in training, whatever... Just give them their space. http://theilovedogssite.com/do-you-k...-collar-means/

Then there are leashes that are printed with stuff but I think it is early for that. Amazon.com : "NERVOUS" Yellow Color Coded 4 Foot Dog Leash (Maybe Unpredictable) PREVENTS Accidents By Warning Others of Your Dog in Advance! : Pet Leashes : Pet Supplies
just an interesting perspective on this yellow dog ribbon idea http://www.seespotrunkennel.com/blog...w-dog-project/

trainers view it differently

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

Last edited by davetgabby; 05-16-2014 at 07:58 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 08:24 AM
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right on Karen .. for now S P A C E
Dave, is this an attempt at a bit of humor? What? We don't always agree?


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 08:34 AM
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Just a suggestion ~ if you want to see the experts in action, go to a local dog show (they're free) And spend the day watching the judges and how they approach the dogs. It'll teach you volumes. All dogs in shows are not seasoned veterans perfectly trained. In fact, its just the opposite. Most are young puppies scared to death with sensory overload.
But notice how the judge has good calm energy, doesn't usually speak above a whisper and does not linger on the dog. Pet owners and dog lovers generally do the reverse. They are loud and boisterous and want to get in the dogs face and stay there.


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