skittish

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Postby tariqhu9 » January 6th, 2010, 2:14 am

Hi.

I have a pit that's roughly a year old. His name is Kobe (yep named after THAT Kobe, lol). We got him from Fulton County Animal services.

Anyway, his confidence seems to be shot lately. He was a very confident little puppy. Now he's about 50lbs of scared. It makes it hard to walk him because he's pulling trying to get back home. He's afraid of people and really nervous about typical traffic noises, especially buses.

This is my first pit and first ever skittish dog. He's been to obedience training and did very well. There were no issues with socialization or timidness. I take him to the dog park (I know, can't do that much when he's older) and he gets along fine with every person and dog there.

This has become really frustrating. What can I do to help him relax and get his confidence back?
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Postby amazincc » January 7th, 2010, 1:03 am

Does he go on regular walks? Did anything in particular ever spook him?

I'm asking because, after I moved, my dogs had a huge yard available, and I didn't walk them on a daily basis for a while. So, between being in a totally new neighborhood w/new-everything (people, buildings, other dogs, smells... you name it) and having some sort of weird "fear-phase" ( I think that's what it was, anyway :| ) my older Pit Bull did a sort of strange recon-stealth walk and literally crept around like he was in enemy territory for a while. And he was always in a hurry to get back home and into familiar surroundings...
I kept our walks short and brought lots of treats in the beginning. I also walked him around when it was fairly quiet and when there weren't too many people outside. Walks are slowly getting better... and longer. :)
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Postby amazincc » January 7th, 2010, 1:12 am

:doh: Duh... and what I meant to ask... how do you handle the skittish behavior? Do you ignore it? Console him? Drag him in the other direction? Make him confront it?

Have you ever tried "giving him a job" on walks, like maybe letting him carry a back pack?
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Postby tariqhu9 » January 7th, 2010, 3:09 am

Thanks for responding.

I not sure exactly what changed. I'm hoping its just a phase. Since he's been with us, he's been fine. I'd say the last month or so is when he got freaked. I don't think there was a particular trigger. We do have a good size yard, but he's rarely out there except for short spurts. I take him for walks of good distance for usually an hour or so and we'll play more during the day.

He's afraid of people, buses, bus stops, trash cans, almost anything that's along the walk except other dogs. He's usually indifferent to dogs unless they get close. Then he may want to play or rough house.

When I see his nervousness, I try to ignore it. I don't pet him. Sometimes I'll try to make him sit until the bus or whatever has passed. I take treats, but not very often. When I've taken them he may not take them when he's frightened, but now that I think about it, that may be the wrong time to treat him.

Maybe I'll have to shorten the walks until. I have noticed that he seems to get more anxious when we're walking a longer distance. I sure hope this is a passing puberty thing.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 7th, 2010, 11:24 am

First of all, find a good qualified trainer and get some help...classes, individual lessons, at your house...whatever you can find. Talk to the trainer about building his confidence, making him less fearful. You don't need formal obedience, you need some help in making him a more confident dog. :) Spend the time to find a trainer that is experienced in fearful dogs...not just someone at Petsmart that trains dogs for a living. ;)

Here's a great website for shy/fearful dogs:
http://fearfuldog.com/index.html

A book I'd recommend:
Dr. Patricia McConnell's "The Cautious Canine"
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby tariqhu9 » January 16th, 2010, 1:24 pm

thanks redqueen. I'll look into these books and go from there. hopefully I can help him get beyond this.
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