Low Self Confidence?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Mr-Remington, May 23, 2013.

  1. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    I was wondering if you guys could help me. Nashville is now comfortable with my family, and most of the daycare kids, but she hates my youngest niece. When we first got Nash she would growl and cower away from my niece. My niece has never done anything to her, but she is very loud, and I know Nash (at the time) couldn't handle how loud and annoying she was. I kept her at a distance and wouldn't let my niece get within an arms length unless Nash approached her.

    Yesterday, Nash was laying on my floor and my niece walked in and as she walked towards me, quietly, Nash nipped(no bite mark or redness) her in the butt. My niece is now terrified of her and will cry and run away. Nash now will go after my niece anytime she sees her. Is Nash getting a boost of confidence from my niece being scared, or "weak"? It might sound stupid but She stands taller and more confident when she sees my niece get scared.

    My roomie was walking her the other day and told me when she got home that Nash went after a pit bull that charged her. She was walking and the pit was off leash and ran up to her the owner screamed "She's friendly" But as soon as the dog got in her face and she realized she couldn't get away she started biting. Not enough to draw blood or leave a mark, like a warning bite. The guy got all mad, and went to grab his dog, and as the dogs back was turned Nash wanted to follow and sniff the other dog.

    Another issue the roomie is having is that Nash charges the doors when people come in the room or house. If you don't correct her in time (Tell her to quiet down, or stand in front of her.) She will nip at whoever wanted in. But this only happens if she gets startled awake or startled in general.

    Nashville is not my dog. She is my roommates but I do help her take care of her, and I've told my roomie about Nash possibly being a shy dog. But she doesn't agree since if she is in her "territory" she has no problem greeting people, especially women. Is it possible she just has no confidence? I'm praying you guys can help because my roommate said if she doesn't figure out what to do she is taking her to the shelter or rehoming her. :cry: Any advice about boosting her confidence or training to try is appreciated.
    brodys_mom likes this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I am very interested in the responses to this post, as I am dealing with some of the same issues with Brody, that being a regression in behavior.
    Mr-Remington likes this.
  3. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    You have to make sure the dog knows whose side you are on. My dobie pup was ok with my little dog, but suddenly Bonnie (dobie) decided the little one was a threat to her food????? she would all out attack her. i don't want to lose either of these dogs so decided i had to let Bonnie know that no matter what she could not attack the little dog. I have never hit Bonnie with anything. but i laid a stick (i train horses, and no i don't hit them either) where i could get it fast. when she would start to stare at the little dog i would pick up the stick. sometimes a back scratcher. and i would say "hay". that soon meant 'leave her alone' . soon we only had to say "hay". and now it is all over. haven't had an incodent for a while. in my eyes, you can't allow a dog to be aggressive to something smaller or afraid . you can teach her. she sounds like a really nice dog. i suppose i am in trouble again :rolleyes:.
  4. blacknym Experienced Member

    There are different ways of letting the dogs be OK with each other. ;)

    Poor Nash does seem like a fear biter. Im sure the dog is lovely...but needs the confidence boost in a positive way. I am not a animal behaviourist so sadly i cant help. :((
  5. 648117 Honored Member

    I think you should contact a professional dog behaviourist. Especially regarding the stuff with your niece, you don't want that to get worse. Maybe train a really strong "stay" or "on your mat" so Nash has an alternate behaviour that she can be rewarded for when your niece walks in until you can get proper instruction from a behaviourist.

    The pit shouldn't have been allowed to run up to her.

    Some of Nash's behaviour is similar to Lewis'. He doesn't like other dogs rushing up to him either and he will snap and leap around if they do, then when they start to leave he will go behind them to have a sniff. I'm not 100% sure how to deal with it either but at the moment if a bouncy dog comes towards us I just pick Lewis up before anything happens (that probably isn't an option for you). Once he's curled up in my arms he relax's and is happy to stay there for as long as needed (he looks like a big baby) while Holly plays with the other dog.

    How is Nash when a calm dog approachs? I've found that if it's a calm dog (often old, preferably small) and it slowly walks up to Lewis then he is fine having a face-face meeting and will touch noses with them and then just walk away or they have a quick bum sniff. Those meetings are fine. It's usually really obvious when a dog is approaching that Lewis will be alright with.
    Another strategy that sometimes works with a moderately bouncy dog (one that's not too over the top but still too much for Lewis) is that I call Holly over to intercept them :LOL: (Holly's usually off-leash since that's where we meet off-leah dogs), the other dog often calms down then because it has been engaged by Holly and Lewis seems to be more confident after seeing Holly with the other dog and sometimes goes in for his own meeting if the other dog isn't playing with Holly.
    So maybe if you could walk Nash with a confident dog so she sees some good interactions it could help, and maybe see if you can restrict her interactions with other dogs to older/calm dogs that arn't going to feighten her so that her confidence increases. She might never want to play with strange dogs but with more confidence she might be alright with a quick meeting.

    Lewis also charges the door. Only he goes nuts when people arrive and when they leave. Although he is getting better. With complete strangers we can prevent him going up to them and barking if we put him in his crate before we let the person in, when he calms down we let him out and he is fine, he doesn't want to go up to them but he doesn't bark and growl.
    The other startagy is, again, to pick him up. Lewis seems to find being held very comforting, I think it's the added height it gives him because he is definitly calmer if I'm standing while holding him rather than sitting. He doesn't bark when he's held so we sometimes just pick him up when people arrive and that's usually what we do when people leave as well (he goes nut's when they leave otherwise). Although we have to warn people not to try to pat him, especially when he's being held or he will snap. I don't know how helpfull that is but that's what we do. You could try teaching a "stay" or "go to your mat/place" as an alternate behaviour for Nash.

    I think a lot of it is confidence. When we first got Lewis he ran around panting for about a week and growled at Holly and the cats if they got within about 1.5meters of him.
    He couldn't learn to use the dog door because he was afraid to even go into the laundry. So I started by trying to train him to jump through a hoop. He wouldn't even do that. That's when I really realized that he had no confidence, when he was too afraid to even walk through a hoola-hoop which is completely open and he could see all around it and all he had to do was walk through it. He obviously wanted the treat but he couldn't make himself walk through that hoop. It took a while but he eventually got over his fear and it seemed like it was a bit of a turning point for him and gave him a confidence boost so he could learn other things.
    So I would also encourage you to teach Nash tricks etc that will build her confidence even if they don't really relate tto her actual problems. Things like going through a hoop and tunnel and walking on uneven surfaces.

    Sorry that was a long post but hopefully something in it is helpful :)

    Good luck, I know you can help Nash.
    southerngirl likes this.

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