Fear and anxiety in 4 month old puppy

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Fear and anxiety in 4 month old puppy

Post by Debbie_Fojtik » 08 Nov 2018, 03:24

Our family got a standard schnauzer from the SPCA a few days ago. She seems to have a fait amount of fear and anxiety when it comes to noises like our dryer, the outdoor part of our a/c unit, and cars even from a distance. I and having difficulty getting her to go outside to potty. She will come to me at first, but will stop 10 feet from the door, and I have to pick her up and carry her outside. As soon as she is through, she heads to the door, and waits to be let in. Her behavior has not gotten destructive or aggressive, but I would like to know what I can do to alleviate the fear and anxiety. We have no idea what might have happened to her before we got her. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Re: Fear and anxiety in 4 month old puppy

Post by Oscar 12345 » 08 Nov 2018, 11:32

Hi Debbie

Just take it slowly and at her pace. Lots of lovely treats and if you can place them ahead of you before you want her outside so she gets rewarded for getting further and further towards the door first and then away from the door. Don't force her to go beyond what she is comfortable with and repeat many times during the day. It may take a long time and she needs you to give her confidence. Every time outside needs to be a really enjoyable experience for her, speak encouragingly all the time, they do understand you. Once you have mastered going outside for a short walk you can then work on other things. If you feel you are losing patience at any time just let her go back in, take a break and then try again. Good luck
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Re: Fear and anxiety in 4 month old puppy

Post by zeta1454 » 09 Nov 2018, 17:54

Hi Debbie and welcome to the Forum :-)

Any puppy from a neglectful or abusive background will have a range of behavioural issues that will need patience and understanding from you and your family. It will be much harder work than a raising a puppy from a good background but it will give you a real sense achievement and happiness when you see your puppy overcome their fears and blossom into a wonderful family dog.

If your pup has never known household or vehicle noises in the past or has no positive experience of these novel sounds, it will be very frightening at first and you will need to gradually over time accustom her to these. You must be careful not to force her into situations which are frightening but, as said above, let her go at her own pace as you introduce her to new situations.

You can use specific "sound CDs" to accustom dogs to a range of sounds by playing these at extremely low levels initially in the background of the room where your puppy is and very gradually increasing the level so that she becomes used to background noise from vehicles, aircraft, fireworks etc. and knows not to be afraid of these. It will be a long process but can be a useful way to do this kind of training at home before you expose her to some new experiences outside.

Regarding going outside to potty, I would try to encourage her to leave the house without luring if possible, take her out on lead perhaps (or carry her as you have been) but reward her well if she does go out herself and continue to reward for staying out longer than she is at present. She may feel much safer indoors than she does outside so maybe try to spend more time outdoors with her generally playing games, set up a kibble trail for her to seek out treats scattered round the garden or yard. The more fun things that happen outside, the more she may be encouraged to feel safe and not afraid out there.

It is bound to be difficult for her and your family in these early days as you learn to understand what she loves, what she fears etc. and she learns to trust you and look to you for love and guidance. Try to engage her in games, let her snuggle with you, spend as much time as you possibly can getting to know her.

The best way of training dogs whether rescue or not is often using a clicker and reward method. The clicker can "mark" the behaviour you want from your puppy and you can then quickly reward with a tasty treat, a toy or whatever your dog really loves. This method is proven to work quickly and well with many animals not just dogs. Check out clicker training online or enrol for a training class for you and your puppy if there is one nearby where you live.

If you have real difficulty with overcoming her fears, maybe see if there is a good behaviourist locally who may be able to assess and advise you specifically for your pup.
Good luck and let us know how you get on with her :-)
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Re: Fear and anxiety in 4 month old puppy

Post by Debbie_Fojtik » 10 Nov 2018, 14:49

I've been using very small pieces of hotdogs to get her outside. When we go out during the say, we play. She is doing better with the car sounds, along with those of our cattle and my horse which also spooked her. She now walls out the door easily. I'm hoping that when the weather improves we can go for a wall down the road.

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