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  • Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 15:56:16
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 1361
  • Osy: I got him at 9 weeks and he started meeting people on almost a daily basis at that point. My parents, neighbors, friends, random people outside. He also started meeting other dogs around 10 weeks in controlled environments. I haven't noticed a connection, sometimes its workers working on a neighbors house; sometimes is a jogger running through the neighborhood; sometimes the mailman; and today the couple on the bench and the three people on the curb. I don't think I skipped any time socializing him. Even when I'm at my busiest we still take our daily walks and meet people. We've gone to friends houses and had friends come over. We go to the dog run in my neighborhood a few times a week. We used to go the dog park regularly, but that's slowed down due to Lucy's surgery (5 weeks ago). I don't think that's an issue since the behavior isn't localized to the dog park. He seems to be more suspicious of people when they aren't with dogs. He has never done this to someone he knows well, he usually tugs like crazy to go greet them. He does not seem to be picky about his environment, he'll do it anywhere.
  • Dave I really think it is quite possibly he has entered another fear period. The high pitched bark gives it away in terms of fear. Does Joey know a touch command? Sometimes that works in getting a dog to nose touch an object/person of fear. Another thing might be to just "flood" him. When he gets stimulated use the watch me command and then stop and wait as the activity goes on around him and keep redirecting. Sit down on the spot and just watch with Joey instead of moving away. You can also click and treat between barks when he is quite, if he is not over the top flipped out. Do you have any folks who are training for canine good citizen cert. I think some of those training/proofing exercises would help. A lot of dogs have problems with people from a distance and or folks moving in or you and joey moving in on the object, so it is not uncommon what you describe. Just keep plugging at it.

  • Joey doesn't know touch, but I'm going to start teaching that tomorrow. I haven't tried the flood exactly since I usually try to put myself between him and whatever he is barking at. I think I'll give that a try too. Thanks for the suggestions Patrice, I'm glad you stopped by tonight. :-)
  • RomiRomi
    Posts: 2722
    Hey Dave - that is kind of interesting. Ninja does that bark whenever he see's people near our house or coming into our house. It is ridiculous. It's like a Bark and Howl mixed together. Perhaps Joey is stepping up to the plate because Lucy is in a weak state right now? He also may just be confused with everything thats going on with lucy. Your schedule has changed a bit since lucy's surgery right? You don't do the usual things together like walking, going out to the dog park, dog run, etc. He may be feeling a little insecure without having her there and just reacting towards things differently. Did you notice these things with him before Lucy had her surgery?
  • Brad: Yeah, crouches with a flat back, not play bow. Joey almost never play bows (I think I saw him do it for the first time yesterday). He usually just body checks other dogs when he wants to invite play. You make an interesting point about confusion. The fact that he was sitting and barking at the couple on the bench does fit to some degree with it being confusion over fear. Or, it could just be that I've conditioned him to sit when he's in that state of mind. This is the first time I've seen him do this behavior off leash. Thanks for the examples too, that helps give me some context. And THANKS for the vote of confidence!


    Romi: Also great points! Our schedule has been totally hectic since surgery. At first they were completely separate. I've been slowly reintegrating them over the past few weeks with various activities, but they still do a lot of things separately. Now they are together more, but they still can't play and be crazy together. And I've cut back slightly on Joey's exercise this past week so he and Lucy can do more together. Throw in the fact that my roomate left the country a few weeks ago and his routine hasn't been stable for more than a month. And now that you mention it, this behavior has started to become more common in that time period.


    Damn I love this forum. Thanks a lot guys!
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 1361
    Well it sounds like you're doing everything right Dave [ not that I ever doubted you ;p ]

    As the others have mentioned, it's probably a stage he's going through. [ isn't the 6~8month period considered the rebellious teenage years for dogs? lol ]

    I'm sure as long as you keep redirecting him the way you've been, eventually he'll grow out of it. [ as much as a Shiba will grow out of things anyways ;D ]~
    Post edited by Sangmort at 2008-09-04 02:41:19
  • hondruhondru
    Posts: 529
  • Dave I think you did well also. I kind of wonder if it is fear or possibly Joey letting you know that something is different, and not as it should be. The fact that you got him up to those people on the bench and he took treats within minutes makes it seem like a minor fear if anything. Really fearful dogs take much, much longer.

    Also at his age he could be going through a phase where he barks at things that are strange. You seem to be dealing with it properly. It is ok that you didn't take him to work on a second learning experience in a row.
  • sujewelsujewel
    Posts: 2541
    I think you're doing a terrific job socializing Joey. You were right to walk away from a training exercise with the little girl. You weren't in the right state of mind and it would've affected the exercise completely.

    My first thought was the same as Brad's. Were they wearing something that triggered the behavior? A hat, cargo pants, etc. Or, perhaps, they were holding something or positioned in a consistent manner? Of course, it could also be a particular scent that Joey's not familiar with and doesn't like. At any rate, I'm not so certain it is fear bark - maybe a warning bark.
  • sujewelsujewel
    Posts: 2541
    Sorry, Brandon. Seems we had the same thought. I thought I added my comments, but must've closed my computer before it could send.
  • Hmm, weird. Toby kind does a little fear bark around certain kids at the dog park. Mostly because all the children are always so lured in by his cuteness that they usually chase him, or try to pet him or something like that. It gets really ... annoying.

    I kinda wish parents would teach their kids how to greet a dog correctly. Instead of screaming "COME HERE DOGGIE!" and chasing after it and scaring the crap out of dogs.

    Although, Toby's warning growl sounds like he's sneezing/coughing and doing the rurruuurruuu thing at the same time.
    Post edited by tobyshiba at 2008-09-04 11:40:29
  • Brad: That is EXACTLY what he is like. Same body language, movement from place to place, and everything. Only it usually lasts quite a bit longer before I can redirect him.


    Thanks all for the reassurance. It really caught me off guard.

    I'm fairly convinced now that he's going through a bit of a fear stage. On our walk this morning we walked past this statue that we have walked past probably close to 100 times, although not in the last few weeks. Joey let out a muffled bark as we went by, so I stopped and took him closer. Same body language as we approached. Finally, Lucy walked by him and went to sniff it at which point he got the confidence to do the same. So it seems like its a combination of a lot of things.

    And, I'm starting to realize more and more that Lucy actually is the dominant one of the two. When it comes to play or introductions, I had interpreted Joey as being in charge. But recently, I've noticed that Joey wont begin eating until Lucy has, he licks her face a lot, and he generally seems less confident without her.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for the suggestions and reassurance!
  • All I can really add is that you are awesome for realizing this is a fear stage and its potential long term problems and to be consistent, as you will be, in redirecting Joey (which he does seem to respond to now, so you are on the ball my friend).

    When we saw the behaviorist for Kitsune, he explained these fear stages of development, especially in neutered males, and that if the signs are not seen and the behaviors not addressed, a negative sequence of habits might be instilled in the dog. With Kitsu, we have this stance and freak barking a great deal whenever someone walks by the house or he a low crouch and mumble when he sees people in the distance while on the leash or he'll freak bark if someone approaches him and we have not put him into a sit-stay. He has a major hesitance to even leave the house or doorway for walks - he is that fearful. We constantly have to redirect him, and we constantly have to be consistent because this was never dealt with when it should have been during his first year of development.
    So what do we do now?
    We have "watch me" and "sit, stay" for redirection, and we've been working on "say hi" at the dog park for resolution. If he has a hesitance or issue with a particular person at the dog park, we put him into sit-stay and say "say hi", he'll stand up while the person holds out a hand (palm up) to him, he'll sniff it, sometimes let them pet him, but mostly just a sniff and he's gone. We also found that agility (or obedience, etc) boosts his confidence. Having my husband or Tsuki around boosts his confidence too. Confidence plays a major role here too I think.
  • HarlowHarlow
    Posts: 579
    Dave: Bravo, you seemed to have done all the right things with Joey in that situation including the part at the end, where you realized that you weren't in the correct frame of mind to do any more training.
    Training only when you are in a positive mood is a must!
    Hang in there, you're doing great.
  • I read in one of the book on shibas that you have two fear stages, the first one between 9 to 12 weeks and then one around 7-9 months if I remember correctly. I can check that out later.

    It might certainly be that then. It does not seem that you did not socialized him enough. My oldest shiba of 23 months old is fearful in certain specific situation: big shopping center, shops for animals, big closed space with a lot of people (i.e. dog show are not possible, he is freaking out) although he is really fine going with us to the restaurant, to the city center, family meeting and others. He does not like big unknown objects as well. So when we introduce e.g. a new furniture or a bike, he has never seen before, he is barking and is shaking with the low tail. It takes 5 minutes to reassure him. He improved and is better now with this kind of situation but still... Although we did socialize him from his 9 weeks, took him to lots of different places etc. He was like that from day one so genetic? something happened with the breeder? His step brother is the opposite so no conclusion can be taken. What's the odds? We will never know. In the meantime, I try to redirect him when it happens and for the rest he is a great dog.

    Sorry I did disgress...

    Congrat on how you handled it. It is not always easy to have the contenance and patience to do it and not that obvious to meet people that have the patience to participate in a odedience/training session with a dog they do not know.
    Post edited by lykoris at 2008-09-05 07:07:50
  • A bit of an update on Joey's fear behavior....

    Despite my best efforts, Joey seemed to be getting worse. I have figured out that waist to chest height objects (like garbage cans, tall boxes, newspaper dispensers, strollers, children, etc.) seem to be what set him off. To handle this, I have taken two approaches. The first is redirection. I have used this primarily when the object in question is approaching us. If I catch it in time (i.e. if a stroller doesn't round the corner right in front of us) I have been putting Joey in a sit and doing some basic obedience with him, but focusing on "watch me". This worked reasonably well for a while, but in the last week or so he has been ignoring me and focusing on his fear trigger. The second approach is flooding. If we approach an object he is afraid of, I will allow him to approach it at his own pace treating him whenever he offers a movement in its direction. Again, I had some good progress with that until the end of last week. It got to the point where he was starting to shut down. Rather than move toward or away from the object in question, he would freeze completely and become unaware of his surroundings.

    At that point I decided that his fear stage might be a bit more than I was capable of handling on my own, so I called a behaviorist. I got a great referral from Brad (THANKS BRAD!!!), and after speaking with her on the phone for 30 minutes, I scheduled an appointment. She came this morning and it went really well. Joey seemed to respond to her very well (although I think the hot dogs had something to do with it :-)).

    The visit went as follows. I had filled out a pretty detailed questionnaire about Joey's behavior in various situations, response to commands, reactions to events, etc. before she came. We spent the first hour discussing my responses and my approach to training him when he was in his "aroused" state (fearful or his leash excitement). The main finding of this discussion is that he is not an axious or fearful dog, he struggles with arousal in certain situations. That was very refreshing to hear, although not totally surprising. She explained how even though most dogs grow out of their fear stage, it is best not to just leave them to their devices as it can imprint fear and lead to "fear chaining". She actually used Maui as an example of how dogs chain their fears. She explained how Maui started off afraid of thunderstorms, then associated the click of the power conditioner on the computer with the thunderstorms, then transferred that to the TV because it made a similar sound, and finally to the remote control since that was an indicator that a click was about to come from the TV. Fascinating!

    Anyway, I digress a bit. She explained how often times with primitive breeds like Shibas, they don't see typical fear responses and reaction to training that they expect with Labs or Goldens. Where those breeds tend to fight or flight and respond well to flooding as a result, primitive breeds tend to shut down and freeze much like Joey was. As a result, even though I could lead him close to an object using a treat as lure, he was not benefiting from approaching the object and, in fact, I was actually adding to his stress. This was probably a contributing factor to why he escalated a bit recently. In order for him to benefit from flooding, he would have to actually take interest in the object after getting close to it, rather than take the reward and retreat immediately which is what he was doing.

    The approach to training him to overcome his fears is basically to train him to ignore the object, rather than training him to become comfortable with it. There are two components. The first is to lower his "arousal threshold" or the distance from the object at which he becomes aroused. Since there are many situations where this just isn't possible (like having to walk by a garbage can without stepping out into traffic), the second component is to teach him to "hide" behind me while moving past objects that scare him. To train the hide behavior, we'll start in the house and build up to getting him to stand just behind and beside me on command. Then we'll transfer this behavior outside and begin asking him to stay in that position as I move forward a step at a time. Then we'll practice doing this when we are approaching an object he doesn't like. I'll be using a clicker to work on this.

    To lower his threshold, we will practice with objects that scare him to determine the distance at which he enters his fear state and then begin working just beyond that. It was actually very interesting. To demonstrate Joey's fear, I took a big, chest height, cardboard box out of the garage while she was holding his leash. Joey's response was basically what I expected. His body lowered, tail went down, and he barked; however, when he backed away, she followed (which I had not been doing). Once he got to a distance he was comfortable with, he just sat down and looked at her. She said, "Wow, that was easy. I think we know what his threshold distance is." Like I had been doing earlier, we will practice basic obedience and other focus games so he learns to focus on me and to ignore the object. The theory is that over time, he will associate objects he fears with focusing on me and performing other basic obedience commands. As a result, he will no longer focus on the objects he fears and therefore be able to approach them without becoming aroused. She felt we could achieve this in a couple of months. :-)

    Lastly, his leash excitement. She didn't seem to share my level of concern with it, but did understand why I am concerned. To address this, we will be doing similar threshold work. The best exercise for this is the "approach and retreat" where we approach something that gets him excited like a friend or a doggy buddy and when he becomes excited we turn around and walk the other way. Here's the thing, I had been practicing this with him, but it wasn't working. Here's why. When we retreated, Joey would walk away with me, but he would look back and continue to focus on the object of his arousal. So, to complete the exercise, I will be using a gentle leader in conjunction with his regular collar. I'll use the regular collar primarily, but I will have a second leash attached to the gentle leader so I can redirect his head, and therefore gaze, away from his trigger.

    On the whole, I am REALLY glad I decided to get some assistance with this. She reinforced a lot of the things I had already been doing, but pointed out a few important things I was doing incorrectly. At some point in our discussion, I told her that I've learned enough about dog behavior to know that I don't know anything. She laughed, and said you and me both, but praised me for acknowledging my limitations. So, add me to list of people who now strongly believe a qualified behaviorist who uses positive training techniques can make all the difference (assuming things work out of course :-)).
  • Seems like you're getting valuable help. I'm happy for you guys!
    Before you know it, he'll be OK with the things he fears now. The fear stage might be enhancing his fears right now too.
  • RomiRomi
    Posts: 2722
    YAY!!! Im glad things went well!!! Im sure you learned a ton! I swear, after every session with a behaviorist, I feel soooo tired and worn out by the time they leave! I think you are doing the right thing, just keep it up and im sure you'll see results. Im so happy for you and joey! YAY!!!
  • Dave i am glad Brad was able to point you in the right direction. It is tough to find the right individuals that can appropriately evaluate a situation and also also offer sound advice.

    I am glad it worked out with a minimum of fuss. I know I have said it before, it is so hard to suggest ideas on a forum without seeing the dog's reactions first hand. I hope all the past advice did not set him back too much. It sounds like you have been handling joey really well.

    Keep up the efforts and patience, it will pay off. Each dog is different so you have to go with what works for your situation. Over the course of a lifetime dogs change (as people do) so it is a balance to remain flexible and open to new solutions as the Shibas pull out new topics for your consideration (LOL).

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2008-09-23 01:27:03
  • Snf, I don't think any of the advice set him back much if at all. In fact, in the long run it probably helped him since it may have triggered the behavior that caused me to call a behaviorist. :-)
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 1361
    SO happy for you Dave! Hopefully everything will work out with the little man :D! All you need now is time & patience ;) [ & a great behaviorist helps too :) ]~
  • DabishDabish
    Posts: 203
    Bumping this topic. Chuji's about 11/12 weeks now and she was displaying some bizzare behavior that I noticed just now. I live in a gated condo full of college students, a lot of which have dogs. There's a little dog park area between three sets of buildings where a lot of us take our dogs. Ever since I got Chuji a few weeks ago, I've been bringing her with me everywhere and having people come over to see her too, including people with dogs. She's met a lot of the dogs that live around us, met a ton of the people who live around this, all of my close friends, and then last weekend I brought her to a tailgate where there were about four other dogs, and a plethora of people I didn't even know, all of which were obsessed with her. So I haven't been concerned about her socialization.

    However, today when I took her out to this dog area to go potty, there was a man at the condo on the other side of the dog area that we hadn't seen before. She just got finished going potty when she spotted him, and started pacing around nervously with her tail down. I told her to come and she did, but she wouldn't sit when I asked but continued pacing. The behavior continued when we got back into the apartment, and just ended about now. Is this fear behavior or something else??
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • DabishDabish
    Posts: 203
    I'm positive about the tailgate. I never let her out of my sight an was always at least a foot away from her in case she started to get overwhelmed, which she never did.

    I wouldn't pin point the guy as looking particularly suspicious or shifty...he was male and so far Chuji does seem more wary of men than women, especially men she hasn't met multiple times. He kept looking at us nervously though, even though she wasn't barking, just pacing at looking at him nervously. Who knows o.0 But his presence really seemed to put her off. She stopped a few minutes after we came inside. Her tail went back up and toys and treats got her attention. Couldn't have been some kind of seizure could it?
  • Was it at night? And was he a bit away from you? Could have just been suspicious and unsure. I'm no vet but I highly doubt it was a seizure.
  • DabishDabish
    Posts: 203
    It was like late evening from us and he was a bit away. He was on the other side of the dog area, closer to where chuji was going to the bathroom but then she ran over toward me
  • I think its the combination of it being a stranger being close to her area, it was late and a male which she is not has comfortable with.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    I agree with @CrystalWolf that the guy's behavior probably spooked Chuji. My dog will go on alert if strange men stare at him/us (and I don't mean just passing by on the sidewalk, but standing still staring at us or having sudden angry phone outbursts, or otherwise behaving abnormally), especially in low light. He'll usually give out a low bark and watch intently until he's out of sight. Redirection with treats works sometimes, but if the guy is really creepy the barking will escalate. Once we are a safe distance, we do some training commands and I reward him for calming down.

    I never bring Kouda closer to see that the guy is nothing to worry about (because creepers are creepy!). But that is a scenario you could set up with friends Chuji has met, and then some she has not (but not all at once). If she learns that situation is not always scary, it might help her confidence.

    Once when there were 2 of us walking Kouda at night, I crouched down in the middle of the sidewalk and waited while the 2 of them went ahead. I was in a dark spot and when they turned back, Kouda barked when he saw me. I talked to him and he recognized me and he gave me lots of kisses when they reached me. We tried to do this a few more times on later occasions, but he never did it again.

    One time when Kouda was really little I took him to work and he was exploring the hallway, and he saw a coworker at the end of the long hall so he ran to meet him. My coworker thought it would be funny to bark at him! Kouda stopped in his tracks and ran back behind me. I instructed my friend to knock it off and I walked to meet him. As we talked, Kouda approached him eventually and sniffed his hands and was quickly back to normal. He also got a handful of treats. And I told my friend how disappointed I was and to never do that again!
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
  • Banjo got scared yesterday night TWICE on a walk and once on this morning's walk.

    There is a restaurant along the river that has valet parking. Its a pretty good place to socialize him to new people and he is normally just fine (occasionally jumps on female humans because he likes them more than males. I tell people it'll happen and that I'll correct it. Good training exercise and people really don't mind when they know it's coming.)

    Yesterday I stopped to talk to the valets (who he has met 100x) and he was scared (I don't know why). Later in the walk, he went near a bush to pee and got super scared. No rhyme or reason (its still cold here so the animals aren't out. There was no animal or anything (that I could see)). But I have never seen him afraid of anything so I was a little afraid something was wrong. I checked him and petted him everywhere to check for injury and there was nothing. (i.e. he let me touch him everywhere with no pushback or reaction).

    This morning there was a "new object" on the ground on the boardwalk. A few weeks ago, someone put a parking cone up to mark off a pothole. At first banjo was cautious but he went up, smelled it, and got comfortable. The cone is still there, but now he ignores it.

    Today's object was a giant silver ball (like something you'd win at a fair). It was about 20 yards away from the cone and he froze in his tracks. Wouldn't go near it. He was super scared. I tried to console him, etc and he wasn't having it. He sat down and wouldn't budge. I picked him up and brought him near it and he wasn't ok. We left it alone and walked away, but every few steps he'd turn around and look at it.

    I came home and googled and voila, there is a fear stage! Could his newfound lack of confidence be a result of fixing? He is 6-6.5 months old, was fixed 2 weeks ago, and is now back at "full bore".

    My new strategy when this happens is to console him verbally. I dont' want to give him a treat as it seems that may be interpreted as "its ok to be afraid"?

    I tried for about 15 minutes to get him to approach the ball. He went into a sit and simply wouldn't budge.

    All advice (including, "dude you are overreacting") is welcome.

    Post edited by BanjoTheBetaDog at 2014-03-14 10:14:29
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
  • and I thought I really screwed something up!!

    So back on the fear stage... How long does this last?

    Banjo had to go to the vet the other day (second trip since being fixed). He LOVES the vet's office since it always means treats followed by a trip to off leash play (and the girls at the vets office love him so he knows he's gonna get extra petting and love). Usually, I hand the vet tech his leash and he goes merrily along without even looking back at me. This time he looked frightened so I brought him back there myself and stood with him while they checked his incision again. We left and he was fine (cleared for everything, including baths. He looked like he was having fun at bath time, until he pee'd on me. I didn't find that funny. He looked pleased with himself).

    The links I have been reading say avoid socialization during the fear stage. Part of me agrees, part of me doesn't. What are your thoughts? also, while he is in his "what is that, I am scared" stage, I probably shouldn't bring him to doggy day care, right? (sunday would be his first trip. I want to play golf and the options are doggy day care or crate him and have the trainer do a walk).
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
  • I bring him to the vet at least twice a week simply to desensitize him (treats, play, cuddles, long walks... basically anything he enjoys comes right after the vet). For a while, the only time I heard a shiba scream was when we went past the vet and didn't stop. I hope its just a passing phase =/

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