Nervous Dog

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by hannahb_patch_faith, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. hannahb_patch_faith Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    My JRT Mia is 3 years old, she is very nervous of other people and other dogs which she doesnt know. Once she gets to know them she is okay. Out on lead walks she focuses on me and is clicker trained for attention.

    How can i help her be more confident? She is a clicker savy dog and loves food.

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Hannah and Mia
    MaryK likes this.

  2. jackienmutts Honored Member

    What is her behavior like when she sees other dogs or people, and so far, what have you been doing? And has that helped? Or not? And has she always been this way, or did something - an incident - cause her nervous behavior? A bit more info would be helpful in order to think about how to best help her.
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  3. hannahb_patch_faith Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your reply.
    When she sees other dogs or people she does her best to avoid them and is very skittish with her tail between her legs she goes all tight. With her being small and cute as a puppy everyone wanted to come and say hello to her which is great but i think that freaked her out, big scary people that she didnt know coming towards her. So as i am involved with dog sports i got the poeple in my club to help and i taught her to target peoples legs for treats which worked wonders for her confidence when she is around them as she has leant to trust them. But on walks when its people she doesnt know she backs of and gets skitish, so ive been teaching her to target my leg for treats and just asking them to ignore her or throw her a treat. When it comes to dogs she can work around them and if they ignore her then she is fine and happy. Its when they come up to her and are in her space which she doesnt like, i think this is becase she has been chased whilst off lead, so again i have just been getting her to watch me and focus on me. I am just wondering if there is anything else that i can do to help her be more confident?

    Many Thanks

    Hannah and Mia
    MaryK likes this.
  4. MaryK Honored Member

    From what I've read, it sounds as if you're doing all the right things. It is, I feel, just a matter of time and patience. Keep on getting her to target and focus on yourself and talk to her all the time. I've the opposite, over reaction from being attacked when out walking, so I use the same thing, focus and click/treat and talk to my boy, letting him know I've got his back, that type of thing. He's coming round really well but still has the odd lapse.

    I also, at first after the attack, just took my boy out at times when I knew there would be very few other dogs out walking. Fortunately where I am the dog walkers are pretty regular with their times. If possible I would do that with her too. Walk at times when she's least likely to come up against strange dogs.

    Somewhere on this forum there is a thread about some new leads/collars which may help, as they have 'warnings' on them. I believe there is one coming out which says 'dog in training'. This will warn other people to give your girl her 'space' .
  5. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Hi Hannah

    Sounds like you're doing great work with your little one. One thing I'd add is to check out Grisha Stewart's "Behavioral Adjustment Training" (BAT). It's basically a kind of counterconditioning that involves rewarding the dog for more relaxed behaviors by giving her distance from a stressor. There is a book/e-book, a DVD series (Organic BAT) and a yahoo group list if you're interested. It's definitely something I think that shy dogs can benefit from and I'd check it out if I were in your spot.

    I will say here, because it came up with a friend of mine this past weekend, that your dog may still never end up being the kind of dog that likes crowds, or noise, etc. I know that seems obvious to some, but when we're in the position of loving/adoring our own dog, we want to think that we can help them conquer the world ... really, though, our job is to make them as comfortable as possible with everyday life, and accept that they may not want to be social butterflies no matter what. I myself am a person who can't take crowds, or lots of different loud conversations around me, or loud ambient noise, so when my late dog was the same way, it was no big deal. But my friend, this past weekend, felt like a failure when her dog obviously didn't enjoy the Halloween pet parade--she had a hard time accepting that, despite all of their hard work, her dog wasn't ok in that situation.

    So I'm just saying! But I do think BAT would help Mia, please do check it out.
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  6. Deovann07 Active Member

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  7. threenorns Well-Known Member

    THANK you!!!!

    i'm in the opposite position - i'm in the position of getting my dog to behave "properly" so he'll pass his CGN.

    thing is, i honestly don't *care* if a dog charges up to me and shoves his nose up my butt -that's what dogs do. it's a dog thing. i get it.

    turns out other ppl have different ideas. who knew.

    but i don't want those "robot dogs" i see on the TV shows - even cesar's dog, daddy, love that dog, but if i had a dog that quiet and mellow in my house, it'd be a neurotic, nervous wreck in a week. either that, or i would.

    if i were a dog, i'd be called "reactive". my kid is "reactive". my hubbie's "reactive". we're a "reactive" family. we would probably trigger off geiger counters within a 5mi radius. some days i'm surprised the roof is still attached to the walls, what with him blasting his indian movies in the bedroom while yelling on the phone at his ex-wife, my daughter bouncing on the trampoline in the livingroom singing the spongebob squarepants song at the top of her lungs, and me rocking out to F-777 in the basement while splitting firewood.

    my dog can be a nuisance with the pogo-sticking and the "oo! oo! lookat that! lookat that!!!" but i like a dog with a bit of "zing!" to his nature.
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