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Maginlex
02-23-2010, 10:43 AM
I have a 5 month Pyr that I got at 8 weeks that is very easy to get spooked. She is very sociable around other dogs and people but the slightest noise will send her to the nearest object to hide behind. We have been in puppy obedience class for the last 6 weeks and was doing ok until the trainer dropped some hoops. That was it for her, she shut down for the rest of the class. Last week she reacted the same in class - not taking treats or paying any attention to me or the trainer. Taking her for a walk is an adventure. She gets spooked and wants to head back to the house.
Any suggestions to help me help her get over this?

TexasKat
02-23-2010, 12:08 PM
My male is the same way. Abrupt (particularly mechanical) noises spook him. We've been working on it for awhile and passing cars no longer bother him (he's learned that they will be gone in a matter of seconds) and 'home" noises like the coffee grinder and vacuum no longer make him nervous.

Familiarity with noises in the area and a reassuring "It's okay, just a noise" along with calmly continuing on, and praising him if he successfully ignores the spooky noise ("Brave, Scout!!! Good boy!!!:) has been effective for us. His usual MO was to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and look for an exit to get away. We'd sit there until he felt comfortable moving on with me. He's learned (over time) that continuing on (even toward the noise) works as well as going the opposite direction.

He still spooks around garbage trucks, though.

One thing you shouldn't do. Never yell at her or try dragging her in the direction the noise is coming from. Let her sit in one spot (if she will) while she gathers her courage or determines that it's not going to eat her.

Davey Benson
02-23-2010, 03:37 PM
A five month old is still pretty young. That's about the age of mine. Due to their age, I'm not alarmed by that behavior.

I had a border collie cross that was that way when she was younger. She would ride out to the pasture with me, but if I let her out of the pickup unleashed, she would take off like a rocket sled back up to the house to hide behind the back deck.


All I can say is it takes time. You have to keep them with you, so they learn to feel "safe" with you. Don't scold them for being scared, but rather ignore that behavior, they learn quickly that being afraid doesn't get them the reward of your attention. I think dogs with fragel egos, or skidish tendicies respond much better to rewards than corrections. If it were me I would ignore that being scared behavior, but praise them (reward) when they display desired behavior.

With my collie, I got her for the job of livestock herding. She's fantabulous now, but at the begining she was scared to death of the cattle. I conditioned her by exposing her to them.

First I spend about a month of just taking her out with me to feed them. (She stayed in the tractor cab, while I fed the cattle round bales.) Then the second month I starting pulling her out of the cab, and putting her on top of the bale while I unwrapped it.

She got used to that, and that was ok, because I was always just an arms reach away from her.

Then I started doing that, but when I was done pulling the twine off the bale she was on, I would walk off, to unwrap another bale, and the cattle would close in and surround her with her on top of the bale. What happend after that, she learned that the cattle would back away from her very fast if she snapped at them. After that, she wasn't afraid of the cattle, because she learned there was great power in her teeth. :D

5 months old, is pretty young. I'm glad to hear you are doing the classes. Just keep on being persistant. Puppies really do a good job training their owners on learning patients. :cool: