Question about fearful walks

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Question about fearful walks

Post by CSpiker86 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:13 pm

So when i take my sweet Alucard out for walks. He's very good for the most part but seems to be very frightful of other people passing by or wanting to come up an pet him :?: UNLESS they have a dog :roll: then he happily approaches anyone. Anyway the hair on his neck and back and even by his tail will stand on end and he'll start pulling ahead on the leash to get away from them faster. He has never been hurt by any person, so Im not sure as to why he is so fearful :? Any ideas to help my baby not be so scared would be greatly appriciated.
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by HiTenshi16 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:41 pm

This kind of sounds like my Ulric, only now rather than when he was a puppy. I will be working with Ulric on this same situation for the next few months (or longer if he needs it). Start off slow, have someone walk by and toss a treat to his feet while they ignore him. Keep doing this for a while and eventually have another new person do the same.
Once he feels comfortable with them passing by, have some one walk up and toss a treat to his feet, as he eats it they can kneel down (not so close that they can touch him yet) have them with their side facing him and looking away, they toss a treat to him again in this position. After a while he may decide to check them out on his own, don't let the person touch him but offer a treat to take from their hand while they still look away from him.
By doing this, they are showing that they are not a threat, but good things come from them.

I hope this helps and I'm sure others will have better advice, just remember to go at his pace.
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by arianwenarie » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:44 pm

From what you've described, it seems as if Alucard is showing the hair pattern consistent with unstable fur - that hair pattern tells you that he's fighting the decision whether to take on the issue (the stranger) or run away. He knows he can't run away because he's on leash, but he's not comfortable enough to take on the issue by himself.

One question: when walking past people, is it usually him closer to the stranger or are you between him and the stranger? If it's the former, then I'd suggest first trying to keep him by your side and put yourself between him and the stranger -- i.e. if stranger is on your right, have Alucard walk on your left side close to you; opposite if stranger is on your left. If you can keep the leash with little tension (just a little bounce in it), then that may also help since tension on the leash may make him see that you are nervous about the situation.

I'd also try practicing the "touch"/"go say hello" command that I talked about in another thread here. Since it's a people-only issue, then I'd suggest taking an outing to your local petstore (Petsmart, Petco if in the US) and just stand by the door while people walk past. For the first week, no one needs to touch your dog - it's just an exercise to have him understand humans are not a threat to him. Remain calm and relaxed and he should relax as well and feed off of your confidence. If anyone approaches and asks to pet your dog (politely or not), then politely stop them at arm's length away and tell them Alucard is in training. Most people will not continue approaching. If people do try to keep approaching you after you've asked them not to pet your dog, then put Alucard behind you on a short slack and lock your forearm behind your back and insist that he cannot be petted at the moment - make up a neutral excuse at this point (i.e. he gets extremely excited and I want him to remain calm). :P

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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by TerriHolt » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:39 pm

sam was fearful of people when he first started going out at 12 weeks but he soon grew out of it... i just made sure i was between him and the offending human and while we walked past, kept my mood neutral and firmly but gentilly coaxed him to continue walking while having a treat in hand without making a song and dance about a human been there... if anyone came towards him (which many, many did) i told them he doesn't like people, esp towering over him and we are training for that... if they still didn't get it just told them to imagine them self sam's size been faced with someone their size and not knowing if this giant thing was going to do something bad or not.. most got the idea but sometimes i had to be a little bit rude which bothered me a little but a choice of hurting someones feelings who wasn't listening to me in the first place and my dog, my dog won everytime :D

sam let me know when he was ready to greet people then we had to work on been calm (still working :lol: )

different things will work for different dogs, maybe puppy classes? (i wish i had one near me i could have gone to, would have helped heaps ).

hope you work things out :)
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by SarahG » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:00 pm

CSpiker86 wrote:So when i take my sweet Alucard out for walks. He's very good for the most part but seems to be very frightful of other people passing by or wanting to come up an pet him :?: UNLESS they have a dog :roll: then he happily approaches anyone. Anyway the hair on his neck and back and even by his tail will stand on end and he'll start pulling ahead on the leash to get away from them faster. He has never been hurt by any person, so Im not sure as to why he is so fearful :? Any ideas to help my baby not be so scared would be greatly appriciated.

Another thing you could do is associate people with really good things. So when you are out on a walk have some super yummy treats with you (like ground turnkey or chicken breast--something that is super tasty but can be given in small portions) then when you see a person do an "open bar" Just put tons of yummies in your hand and walk him passed while feeding him treats. Then stop once the person is gone.

After a little while of this your pup will start to associate people with treats! Coupled with some of the other suggestions I think your boy will blossom in no time.

Now...how old is he? I think he's a puppy since you mention "baby" but he could also be older :). Pups go through a fear period at 11-16 weeks so socializing him with AWESOME experiences during this time is crucial. Take the yummies and make good use of them when he sees people and if he starts to get really excited when he sees some sans dog, well then you deserve a big yummy yourself for all your hard work. ;)

Sarah

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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by CSpiker86 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:33 pm

SarahG wrote:
CSpiker86 wrote:So when i take my sweet Alucard out for walks. He's very good for the most part but seems to be very frightful of other people passing by or wanting to come up an pet him :?: UNLESS they have a dog :roll: then he happily approaches anyone. Anyway the hair on his neck and back and even by his tail will stand on end and he'll start pulling ahead on the leash to get away from them faster. He has never been hurt by any person, so Im not sure as to why he is so fearful :? Any ideas to help my baby not be so scared would be greatly appriciated.

Another thing you could do is associate people with really good things. So when you are out on a walk have some super yummy treats with you (like ground turnkey or chicken breast--something that is super tasty but can be given in small portions) then when you see a person do an "open bar" Just put tons of yummies in your hand and walk him passed while feeding him treats. Then stop once the person is gone.

After a little while of this your pup will start to associate people with treats! Coupled with some of the other suggestions I think your boy will blossom in no time.

Now...how old is he? I think he's a puppy since you mention "baby" but he could also be older :). Pups go through a fear period at 11-16 weeks so socializing him with AWESOME experiences during this time is crucial. Take the yummies and make good use of them when he sees people and if he starts to get really excited when he sees some sans dog, well then you deserve a big yummy yourself for all your hard work. ;)

Sarah

My puppy is just now 4 months old. I will definetly have to try that the treats technique. Sounds like it would work because my pup loves food :P
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by CSpiker86 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:37 pm

arianwenarie wrote:From what you've described, it seems as if Alucard is showing the hair pattern consistent with unstable fur - that hair pattern tells you that he's fighting the decision whether to take on the issue (the stranger) or run away. He knows he can't run away because he's on leash, but he's not comfortable enough to take on the issue by himself.

One question: when walking past people, is it usually him closer to the stranger or are you between him and the stranger? If it's the former, then I'd suggest first trying to keep him by your side and put yourself between him and the stranger -- i.e. if stranger is on your right, have Alucard walk on your left side close to you; opposite if stranger is on your left. If you can keep the leash with little tension (just a little bounce in it), then that may also help since tension on the leash may make him see that you are nervous about the situation.

I'd also try practicing the "touch"/"go say hello" command that I talked about in another thread here. Since it's a people-only issue, then I'd suggest taking an outing to your local petstore (Petsmart, Petco if in the US) and just stand by the door while people walk past. For the first week, no one needs to touch your dog - it's just an exercise to have him understand humans are not a threat to him. Remain calm and relaxed and he should relax as well and feed off of your confidence. If anyone approaches and asks to pet your dog (politely or not), then politely stop them at arm's length away and tell them Alucard is in training. Most people will not continue approaching. If people do try to keep approaching you after you've asked them not to pet your dog, then put Alucard behind you on a short slack and lock your forearm behind your back and insist that he cannot be petted at the moment - make up a neutral excuse at this point (i.e. he gets extremely excited and I want him to remain calm). :P

Thank you soo much for the tips :P Well when were walking he usually will walk out in front of me. When he spots the person, then he'll start to head toward left or right of me, whatever direction is furthest from them. I usually will pull him back beside me and have me between the other person. Alucard will just walk all tense, constantly looking back at the person as we pass by.
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by arianwenarie » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:51 am

CSpiker86 wrote:
arianwenarie wrote:From what you've described, it seems as if Alucard is showing the hair pattern consistent with unstable fur - that hair pattern tells you that he's fighting the decision whether to take on the issue (the stranger) or run away. He knows he can't run away because he's on leash, but he's not comfortable enough to take on the issue by himself.

One question: when walking past people, is it usually him closer to the stranger or are you between him and the stranger? If it's the former, then I'd suggest first trying to keep him by your side and put yourself between him and the stranger -- i.e. if stranger is on your right, have Alucard walk on your left side close to you; opposite if stranger is on your left. If you can keep the leash with little tension (just a little bounce in it), then that may also help since tension on the leash may make him see that you are nervous about the situation.

I'd also try practicing the "touch"/"go say hello" command that I talked about in another thread here. Since it's a people-only issue, then I'd suggest taking an outing to your local petstore (Petsmart, Petco if in the US) and just stand by the door while people walk past. For the first week, no one needs to touch your dog - it's just an exercise to have him understand humans are not a threat to him. Remain calm and relaxed and he should relax as well and feed off of your confidence. If anyone approaches and asks to pet your dog (politely or not), then politely stop them at arm's length away and tell them Alucard is in training. Most people will not continue approaching. If people do try to keep approaching you after you've asked them not to pet your dog, then put Alucard behind you on a short slack and lock your forearm behind your back and insist that he cannot be petted at the moment - make up a neutral excuse at this point (i.e. he gets extremely excited and I want him to remain calm). :P
Thank you soo much for the tips :P Well when were walking he usually will walk out in front of me. When he spots the person, then he'll start to head toward left or right of me, whatever direction is furthest from them. I usually will pull him back beside me and have me between the other person. Alucard will just walk all tense, constantly looking back at the person as we pass by.
If possible, I'd suggest trying to get him to walk next to you instead of in front of you. ;) Position is very important in the dog world; as many people say: whoever's in front is the leader. This is true for walks as well - since he's walking in front of you, then he feels he has the job to take on whatever's coming his and your way and he's just not driven to do that -- many dogs aren't. ;) Best thing to do is try to keep him on either your right or left with a short slack (just enough to have a little bounce in the leash), if he's trying to pull ahead, make a sharp 90 degree turn into his neck/shoulder area and u-turn in the other direction: if he's paying attention to you, then he'll weave and duck out of your way, else he'll just get bumped by your left. You're literally going to pivot with your leg (right leg to go right, left leg to go left). Since he's still a puppy, you'll actually have to shuffle your pivot leg close to the floor so that you don't accidentally trip over him. ;) (I've tripped over small dogs before when teaching leash walking in obedience classes while doing left/right turns... :oops: )

The above method should teach him loose leash walking without the use of treats...not sure if you're also practicing door control with him (i.e. sitting and waiting at doorways before entering and/or exiting) - practicing door control may also help him start working for you before the walk even begins. At 4 months old, he should have an attention span of about....2 seconds. XD The reason why I suggest keeping a short slack is also because it'll be easier for you to put Alucard behind you and face the problem (stranger) if the stranger is ever persistent enough to try to pet him. :P At this stage, I'm also not sure if it'd be detrimental to him if you keep re-approaching whatever's bothering him - most adult fear case dogs that I've seen in training sessions realize after a few passes that even if they're (dog) not comfortable with the situation, their human is in control of the situation so there's no need for them to be uncomfortable. Example: My dog was afraid of men with hats, sunglasses and/or bandannas...I had a friend wear all of these accessories and asked him to help out with training in a real life situation (walking past on the sidewalk). My dog usually growled and gave a hard stare, occasionally lunged aggressively... :oops: I kept re-approaching the problem (my friend) until she realized she has to pay attention to me on a walk lest she receive a correction from her chain martingale for not focusing. After 6 passes, she just sat behind me quietly showing classic avoidance. We kept practicing this every week and now, my dog is perfectly fine on walks with men wearing hats, glasses and bandannas. :D Took quite a bit of work, but it was worth it. :3

Oh, if you plan on trying the method of leash walking I described above, then it's best if it's done on a regular 6ft leash with Alucard on a Easy Walk harness. I wouldn't recommend walking a puppy less than 6 months old on a collar because their neck muscles aren't developed enough yet...at least, that's the policy of the trainer I work with. She always says "Be happy if your puppy is walking on a leash at less than 6 months old." lol.

Sorreh for long post and going somewhat off-topic.../slinks away

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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by JulieSmith » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:36 am

I would also add do not fuss or 'comfort' him when he is unsure that will tell him that there is something to be worried about. You could also try finding a cafe and sitting outside so he can watch people go past, start with a quiet place building up to a busy area, distract him with treats to start with, put yourself between the dog and people passing by.

The loose lead is important if it is tense you are telling him you are unsure which will not help his confidence.

Good luck

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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by Blustag » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:35 pm

Julies advice is very sound as to pick up pup or fuss him certainly adds to the
problem for sure. Cafe's are a great place to sit and watch the world go by and you can relax yourself too. Pavement Cafe's that is ;) I do this a lot with my dogs. You can guarantee someone will come and say hi to you and your dog. I have a pavement cafe by me that actually brings out a bowl of water and a plate...yes a plate.... of biscuits for the dogs :lol:

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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by CSpiker86 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:47 am

Awesome advice everyone. Thank you so much :D I know just that cafe here at home called Panera bread that I can take my pup too. its somewhat quite but at the same time many people pass by all the time
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by Tiantai » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:37 pm

Not to get off topic but is your Alucard named after Dracula's half-human son from Castlevania?
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by CSpiker86 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:36 am

fangjingtuanlucas wrote:Not to get off topic but is your Alucard named after Dracula's half-human son from Castlevania?

:lol: actually I got his name from an anime that I watch called Hellsing. I never really noticed that his name backwards spelled Dracula, so i definetly had no idea that dracula had a half-human son :lol: learn something new everyday
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by Tiantai » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:29 am

CSpiker86 wrote:
:lol: actually I got his name from an anime that I watch called Hellsing. I never really noticed that his name backwards spelled Dracula, so i definetly had no idea that dracula had a half-human son :lol: learn something new everyday
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I can just imagine your vamp-dog running around a palace disarming a group of grotesque entombs and revenants and saving the world! :lol:
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by CSpiker86 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:51 am

fangjingtuanlucas wrote:
CSpiker86 wrote:
:lol: actually I got his name from an anime that I watch called Hellsing. I never really noticed that his name backwards spelled Dracula, so i definetly had no idea that dracula had a half-human son :lol: learn something new everyday
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I can just imagine your vamp-dog running around a palace disarming a group of grotesque entombs and revenants and saving the world! :lol:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by Hawthorne » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:31 pm

CSpiker86 wrote:Awesome advice everyone. Thank you so much :D I know just that cafe here at home called Panera bread that I can take my pup too. its somewhat quite but at the same time many people pass by all the time
Ah, Panera. I love that place :D Good luck with your pup--just be patient with him. How old is he now?
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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by AZDehlin » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:46 am

Hawthorne wrote:
CSpiker86 wrote:Awesome advice everyone. Thank you so much :D I know just that cafe here at home called Panera bread that I can take my pup too. its somewhat quite but at the same time many people pass by all the time
Ah, Panera. I love that place :D Good luck with your pup--just be patient with him. How old is he now?
Alucard is one of Zephyr's litter mates so he will be 6 months old this Saturday :)

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Re: Question about fearful walks

Post by Booma » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:19 am

Happy half birthday to them :)
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