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New Irrational Fears--what to do?
  • Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:37:42
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
  • brandon_wbrandon_w
    Posts: 3433
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
  • KimbaKimba
    Posts: 46
    My 1yo Shiba Rocco doesn't seem to have 'irrational fears', per se, but my behaviourist did mention something about a fearful/impact stage between 6 and 8 months, when a young dog (of any breed) can be especially susceptible to being heavily/lastingly impacted by frightening events.

    Rocco has PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from the moment a Harley Davidson motorcycle drove by near the show grounds we were on, where we were about to enter the show ring, when he was 6 months old. He completely freaked and bolted to the end of his lead and thrashed, terrorised. He has never been the same since. Thankfully, he does not appear to be at all affected anytime outside of showgrounds. He's always been a very happy, confident, sensible, relaxed dog...relatively speaking...and he still is. But he has been a nervous wreck the entire time he is at a dog show ever since that Harley moment. He just constantly looks over his shoulder for the giant, hideous, furious "Harley Demon Dog Monster" who lurks about the showgrounds and is clearly stalking Rocco, ready to attack him again at every show; and Rocco completely panics in terror at the site or sound of any dog coming up behind him or toward him when at a show, convinced that "that could be The Monster!" (it probably doesn't help that Shibas are in Group 6 Utility with many giant breeds and mastiffs). He shows no fear of any dogs at home or anywhere but at shows.

    I was intending to retire him from the show ring because of this issue when I tried Adaptil, a synthetic replica of DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) in a spray that my vet gave me. It is the natural pheromone that lactating bitches releases from their mammary glands whenever their pups suckle, to induce a state of relaxed calm in their babies. It has worked wonders for Rocco so far, though we haven't used it for very long, as I've only shown him very rarely since he turned 9 months old. Evidently, Adaptil is found to be 70% effective for treating anxiety in dogs, best when used in conjunction with other treatments/remedies.

    I just thought maybe Adaptil (also available in a collar and a diffuser) would be something that could help @jholland or @BradA1878 or others with Shibas who had fear/anxiety issues, just as it has really helped us. Also, I would really love to hear if anyone else has had any experience with, or knowledge of, Adaptil or DAP they could share.
    Post edited by Kimba at 2012-04-20 22:31:20
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I don't know if this will help you, since your dog seems extremely fearful but maybe if there are moments when she hasn't worked hersef up to that stage you can try.
    Juni was frightened by an overweight man when she was at my boyfriend's work place about a year ago and developed a fear of people coming to our flat (first just overweight men but gradually it was everybody she didn't know). She would bark and obsessively focus on people's feet as soon as they moved. She never nipped but I felt that could be the next step. I managed to calm down the barking to a lesser level, I could send her to a place where she would stay until she calmed down, make her sit and focus on me too but as soon as a guest would move she'd start all over and I didn't see any improvement from time to time. It alsoe meant I would get really stressed every time someone came over which of course didn't help the situation at all.

    Then a trainer suggested I should use the clicker and click as soon as she focused on someone's feet and throw a treat opposite direction.
    It was a miracle, I could see a change immediately, strangers' feet stopped being an unhealthy obsession and turned into a fun game.
    She's still a bit too excited when people come over but I see a big change in her as she's also anticipating the visit will mean games and lots of treats. From the beginning I rewarded all the attention she gave people's feet but now I'm gradually only rewarding some and I can break the game after a while and she will accept it and go and lie down.

    My trainer said she did the same thing successfully with her own dog's fear of buses. But I think the key then is to find a moment or a distance when the dog notices the scary thing but is not too fearful and quickly reward that the dog has noticed the object.
  • littlebearlittlebear
    Posts: 144
    Kuma and I are new to the forum. He is 61/2 months old and was alittle reserved when we got him at 8 weeks. I have been socializing him from the day we got him, including going to work with us each day. He has also been to puppy class and is half way through beginner obedience. We have 2 new problems that are starting to concern me. Our office is near some train tracks and Kuma is becoming more afraid of the train's loud whistle to the point he is staying more in the back offices instead of upfront with me. He seems to be more comfortable where it is more quiet and people aren't coming and going. From the day we got him he was always up front and would see everyone, but never would run to greet, took his time. There is also a 1 yr old Chihuahua mix at the office, who is the alpha and she has started barking at everyone that comes to the office (this was after Kuma's arrival) and I was wondering if that was affecting Kuma and his concern of people.
    Also Kuma and I would normally take a mile walk through our neighborhood and he seemed to really enjoy it, but was uneasy around loud children and their trikes and bikes. I would give him treats and he seemed to be adjusting and not as concerned...until one evening we were walking and some older boys were on skateboards and one came up behind us and made a very loud screeching turn. Kuma came unglued and I had a hard time getting him to settle down just to get him home. I was able to get him to walk again within a day or two, but within the same week we turned a corner and came face to face with the trash truck. Now he doesn't want to go for a walk. I have been gradually coaxing him out and he will go a few houses both directions away from our house, but then he wants to turn around and come back home. So, basically he seems to becoming less social and more afraid of loud noises....any suggestions? Would appreciate any advice. I want to do everything I can to make him comfortable. Otherwise he seems to be a happy puppy, very excited to see people he knows well and there are no signs of aggression with his fears.
    Posts: 1507
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Oh yeah that is the english translation, i didn't remember. In swedish it's called 'gossip training'. Same same ;-) It really is effective though.
  • littlebearlittlebear
    Posts: 144
    Thanks for the info. I will check it out and look for a good place to walk.

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