Suddenly scared dog

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spooky
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Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:15 am

Hello.

Few days ago I went with my dog on a walk at familiar place. Place where we go now and then (it is not our daily routine). As soon as we got there he was excited and wanted to run and play because he knew that in this place is always fun... Then suddenly he stoped and underline tail between his legs. He was not himself, he did not hear me nor see me. I saw that he was quite scared... He is very happy dog, socialized and trained. He never act like this so we left that place and went home. I tought that something scared him there that I did not see or hear. Yesterday same thing happend on familiar place. We went on a walk where we go every day. His tail was down (that is not normal for him) and he was on the alert all the way. He did not sniff around like usual, every dog that we comke across he did not greet like usual. On the way home we had to go around some place (that is just across our house - also familiar) because he did not want to move at all... I take him to the vet to see if there is some mediacal issue. He is fine, healthy in every way. After vet I went to that place to se if there is something that scared him - nothing. When we are inside he looks at the door now and then and reacts on every sound that occures outside - this is also new, he never did that either. I never punish him or yell... He was never hit by me or anyone. He is good, 18 months old labrador-beagle mix boy, in every way :)

What is wrong? How can I help him if this is some sort of stage in his life?
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

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Nettle
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by Nettle » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:27 am

You are a lovely owner for being so caring. :)

You may never find out what scared him. If we have a frightening experience, we are extra alert for a while, and it is the same with dogs. Carry on as you have been doing, taking him out to different places, being calm, and let him recover from his fright at his own speed.

18 months - a teenager - is a difficult age - part puppy part adult dog - and they change day by day as they grow up. As long as you are his best friend and protector, and he trusts you to keep him safe, he will get over his fright, but it may take time.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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spooky
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Location: Croatia

Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:56 pm

Thanks for your reply.

Few minutes ago we went out like usual. We did not get futher then front door. I don't know what will be tomorrow if he will go outside at all...? He was just staring across the street where "that scary place is" and react on every sound that appears, like baby crying, people closing windows... So that was our 1h walk. I shouldn't pet him so that I don't encourage this fear and I shouldn't drag and force him, so we were just standing. In one point he starts to pull inside and whine... And we are back inside after 20min.

Is there anything I can do even if we go outside just to the toilet?
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

ckranz
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by ckranz » Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:12 pm

Just a quick question spooky...does someone patting/hugging or otherwise comforting you when you a frightened or scared increase or decrease your fear? If you are like me I think you will find that providing comfort does not reinforce being afraid. What will reinforce fear is if you show your own fear over the situation.

It may take time as stated and by that I mean weeks or even months, don't rush it. Your dog needs to feel confident in you. Keep up the good work and post progress.

JudyN
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by JudyN » Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:13 am

As ckranz suggests, you can't reinforce fear by rewarding it - that belief has now been dispelled. So by all means reassure your dog - with my dog when he finds something scary, an ear rub works well. I tend not to say much, as if you're upset about your dog's behaviour it might show up in your voice. Then I just wait while he thinks it through and let him decide if he wants to walk on, stay where he is while he ponders, or go the other way.

It's a bit like giving me the freedom to decide how to respond if I see a big spider on the far side of the room. If I know I'm in control, the spider becomes less scary.

Whatever happened must have been very scary in your dog's mind, even if it was something like standing on a sharp stone, or seeing someone in an unusual hat. Try to relax (not easy when your dog is distressed) and let him gain his confidence at his own pace. You could also try taking him out as far as is in his comfort zone, giving him a really good treat, and going back in again. Once he thinks that going 2' outside the door is a good thing, you can probably advance it to 3' by holding the treat just one step ahead of him, and so on.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

ckranz
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by ckranz » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:18 am

One other thing to consider. What is the temperature in your area? I know where I live we have had days were the outside temps have reached the mid 90's to triple digits. That means the temp of the ground is extremely hot...hot enough to burn dog pads and injure feet. Before going out, fell the ground where your dog will be walking. If you cannot hold your hand there for a few seconds due to the heat....its too hot to walk your dog.

spooky
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:03 am

last few days was very hot in my area. I know for the rule of "five seconds" - it wasn't that hot. Beside that, we were going on walks early in the morning and late afternoon. I've consider that this fear might be because of heat... I will do my best to help him get over his fears... Yesterday we went on a walk like usual. I have noticed that fear appears random, when he hears some unknown sound even that sound is far away. Yesterday we walked for an hour. When he get scared he pulls on a leash and doesn't hear me. Should I let him pull on a leash since his trained not to pull? Will letting him pull now unmake what he learned so far? When fear comes, his not "there" with me. Non of the cues work...
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

ckranz
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by ckranz » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:08 am

Dogs are also sensitive to pressure changes, have then been storms in your area? I know sometimes one of my guys seems to hide for no reason which seems to be related to heat lightning and really distant thunder claps.

spooky
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:16 am

ckranz wrote:Dogs are also sensitive to pressure changes, have then been storms in your area? I know sometimes one of my guys seems to hide for no reason which seems to be related to heat lightning and really distant thunder claps.
For last 2 weeks there hasn't been storms or bad weather. And fears came on friday (6 day ago). Yesterday was kind a storm, but not realy. He's not sensitive to lightnings and bad weather.
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

spooky
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Location: Croatia

Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:54 am

Hy!


I think that's it. :D Kali is still a little scared when he smells something "dangerous" but does not react on sounds anymore. I'm so glad and relieved that this fear did not take long to go away. Me and my wife (and dog) are going on vacation at the end of the month and everything will be harder if we have fearfull dog with us. Feeling happy right now :)
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

spooky
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:17 am

So, fear is back and it is worst than earlier. We are on vacation at this moment. Its been 7 days since we are away from home and everything was fine until 2 days ago. He is now scared of everything and every other day things is getting worse. We are coming back home on Tuesday... There is no specific place, thing or object that scared him, it is global. I'm really frustrated since there is no good information... I tought swimming and being on the beach will relax him, fuel his batteries and make him happy with so much experience like no other dog that i konw is getting. Is there someone that can give me some helpful information?
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

JudyN
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by JudyN » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:04 am

spooky wrote:I tought swimming and being on the beach will relax him, fuel his batteries and make him happy with so much experience like no other dog that i konw is getting.
That could be a bit like taking someone who had recently been involved in an air crash to an amusement park with 'fun rides' to help them chill. Probably what he needs now is lots and lots and lots of stability, of experiences that he has had many times before and proved safe, of quiet and rest, and predictable structure. Every new experience is a potentially scary, dangerous one.

This is just my gut feeling - I'm by no means an expert and we can't really know what's happening in his mind, of course.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Ari_RR
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by Ari_RR » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:05 am

Just to keep in mind, he is 17 m.o. lab mix...
Here is a link to where you can find info on different stages of fear that puppies go through.
https://positively.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1981
He is not out of that period yet. This should give you some hope :wink:

spooky
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by spooky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:35 am

Thanks for your replies.

After your words JudyaN i started to think harder to find root of the problem. Fear came one week after my wife was out of work (at home) after surgery. Routine that we had was broken. Since we've brought him home he learned to be alone for 8 hours when my wife i me was at work. Long before this problem occur I've noticed that he can't sleep (well) when we are at home. Like he thinks that he shouldn't be sleeping... So he slept at night and 8 hours when we were at work (not whole 8 hours i think but mostly). Things at home became better when my wife started to go back to work like usually. Few days after fear was gone... I thought that problem is solved and whatever scared him is gone. I never thought that it may be because of lack of sleep. I am now 100% sure that this is a problem why he acts fearfull. Few days on vacation was fine (like few days at home when my wife was at home).

So because of change of the routine he can't sleep well. Since routine will change from time to time, how can I train my dog so he can sleep when we are at home, going from room to room, bathroom and so on? How to relax him so that he can sleep with new noises or any noises? Right now he is laying next to me constantly riseing his head and I see that he is tired....
Don't blame dog! - he/she is just reflection of owner

JudyN
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Re: Suddenly scared dog

Post by JudyN » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:55 pm

spooky wrote:I am now 100% sure that this is a problem why he acts fearfull.
I'd be wary of assuming you've found the cause. Humans are very good at spotting patterns, like seeing shapes in clouds. You may well be correct of course, but I'd keep an open mind for now.

I would hang on until you get back home, then try to make everything stable for him. It will take a while for him to settle again though. Do you have any reliable positive behaviourists in your area? It could be very helpful for someone to see the interactions in your household, if as you say your dog is anxious when you're around. If this is the case it could help if he had his own 'private' room in your house so he can feel that he doesn't have to worry about you all the time. But why he is worried when you're there (if that's the case) is still a puzzle a behaviourist might be able to shed light on.

Again, I'm not an expert, just thinking out loud really.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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