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lab mix, scared of EVERYTHING...suggestions?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 3rd 03, 01:04 AM
Dave Austin
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Default lab mix, scared of EVERYTHING...suggestions?

I'd be interested in some dog experts opinions about what I think may
be a behavioral/emotional problem with a good friend's lab...dog is a
male, lab mix, about 2.5 years old. Has NEVER been abused in any way,
shape, or form. I've known this friend for 15 years and she
absolutely loves and dotes on her dogs. She has 2 other dogs in the
same household, both of which are exceedingly friendly and appear
normal. But the lab mix is scared of his own shadow...literally. He
will not come up to strangers or even approach them...he runs and
hides under the bed. Even if the stranger gets down on all fours,
with a puppy treat, this dog won't approach. I, being a friend of the
family, know this dog well, and have known him since he was born, and
he will even "forget" who I am if I don't come to the house for a
while. He'll act very skittish for several minutes, hide behind
furniture, and eventually he'll remember who I am and warm up, but I
just find it bizarre...the dog appears to get along fine with the
other dogs in the house. Playful, etc. The dog also appears totally
at ease with my friend, the dog's owner...the dog is not scared of her
at all, comes when called, and so on.

But I observed the following behavior...the dog was resting
comfortably on the living room floor and some wind rustled a newspaper
off the coffee table. The dog was off like a shot, and hid under the
bed. Couldn't even bribe him to come out. I've seen him do the same
thing is I drop something, or if I get up out of a chair too suddenly
for his tastes...I took him for a walk in a nearby park the other day,
and observed that the dog will make a wide berth for any strangers
that approach. At one point, we walked towards some people that were
standing around, and there wasn't an easy way for the dog to avoid the
situation, so he planted his haunches, firmly, about 15 feet from the
people, and simply would not move. For anything. I had to actually
turn around, and coax him for a few minutes to walk in the other
direction.

The dog is very loved, well fed, and well treated, and if this
behavior is simply something that must be lived with, that's fine, but
anyone out there have any ideas what might be going on this poor lab's
noggin to cause him to be so scared and skittish of just about
everything and everyone? Thanks,

Dave A.
  #2  
Old July 3rd 03, 04:57 AM
Rene
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Posts: n/a
Default

Has he always been this way? Or is it a new behavior?

--
Kindest Regards,
René


"Dave Austin" wrote in message
om...
I'd be interested in some dog experts opinions about what I think may
be a behavioral/emotional problem with a good friend's lab...dog is a
male, lab mix, about 2.5 years old. Has NEVER been abused in any way,
shape, or form. I've known this friend for 15 years and she
absolutely loves and dotes on her dogs. She has 2 other dogs in the
same household, both of which are exceedingly friendly and appear
normal. But the lab mix is scared of his own shadow...literally. He
will not come up to strangers or even approach them...he runs and
hides under the bed. Even if the stranger gets down on all fours,
with a puppy treat, this dog won't approach. I, being a friend of the
family, know this dog well, and have known him since he was born, and
he will even "forget" who I am if I don't come to the house for a
while. He'll act very skittish for several minutes, hide behind
furniture, and eventually he'll remember who I am and warm up, but I
just find it bizarre...the dog appears to get along fine with the
other dogs in the house. Playful, etc. The dog also appears totally
at ease with my friend, the dog's owner...the dog is not scared of her
at all, comes when called, and so on.

But I observed the following behavior...the dog was resting
comfortably on the living room floor and some wind rustled a newspaper
off the coffee table. The dog was off like a shot, and hid under the
bed. Couldn't even bribe him to come out. I've seen him do the same
thing is I drop something, or if I get up out of a chair too suddenly
for his tastes...I took him for a walk in a nearby park the other day,
and observed that the dog will make a wide berth for any strangers
that approach. At one point, we walked towards some people that were
standing around, and there wasn't an easy way for the dog to avoid the
situation, so he planted his haunches, firmly, about 15 feet from the
people, and simply would not move. For anything. I had to actually
turn around, and coax him for a few minutes to walk in the other
direction.

The dog is very loved, well fed, and well treated, and if this
behavior is simply something that must be lived with, that's fine, but
anyone out there have any ideas what might be going on this poor lab's
noggin to cause him to be so scared and skittish of just about
everything and everyone? Thanks,

Dave A.



  #3  
Old July 3rd 03, 12:34 PM
Pennie
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Default

(Dave Austin) said:

I'd be interested in some dog experts opinions about what I think may
be a behavioral/emotional problem with a good friend's lab...dog is a
male, lab mix, about 2.5 years old. Has NEVER been abused in any way,
shape, or form. I've known this friend for 15 years and she
absolutely loves and dotes on her dogs. She has 2 other dogs in the
same household, both of which are exceedingly friendly and appear
normal. But the lab mix is scared of his own shadow...literally. He
will not come up to strangers or even approach them...he runs and
hides under the bed. Even if the stranger gets down on all fours,
with a puppy treat, this dog won't approach.


Hi Dave,
I'm no behavior expert, but I too have a 2.5 year old male chocolate
Lab who sounds just like your friends Lab mix. I rescued Finnegan
from a breeder when he was 8 months old, the breeder decided he didn't
have "the look" he wanted from a stud. Finnegan was kept in a run out
back and never really socialized. After getting Finnegan I realized
it wasn't "the look" the breeder was worried about, but the
disposition. He was scared to death of everybody (even my husband) but
my daughter and I.

Finnegan was originally flown over from Finland, so when I got his
paper's I began searching online to see if I could find his breeder,
or anything about where he came from. Bingo, I found a sister from
his litter online, plus his original breeder. I emailed the owner of
the sister about the disposition of her dog and she had the same
problems...so I'm thinking it's part genetic. Finnegan is neutered,
as I don't want this trait passed on, nor do I want him bred to a
bitch with any type of aggression as then you'll end up with fear
biters.

Anyway, back to the problem. Finster is a very mellow boy and very
easy to train, but what I did to help this problem was to take him to
obedience class (more for the socialization). He was scared to death
and wouldn't get out of the car the first day...had huge "moon pie"
eyes and drooled all over himself that first day. At the end of each
class (and for Finnegan's benefit) we played "pass the puppy".
Someone else would take Finnegan's lead and I would go visit with
other dogs while other class members visited with him...it was to show
him strangers were okay, and mom was still around.

He still won't go up to strangers, and when we get company he sticks
to my side like glue..but he's much calmer and doesn't drool all over
himself. He now interacts with my husband and will play with him, but
it's still not the relationship I have with him. We can also walk him
much easier now than before. I don't know if he'll ever willingly go
up to company, but we'll keep working on it.

Hope that helps some.

Pennie

Let Food Be Our Medicine.
-Hippocrates
  #4  
Old July 4th 03, 02:16 AM
Dave Austin
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Posts: n/a
Default

Pennie wrote in message . ..

Anyway, back to the problem. Finster is a very mellow boy and very
easy to train, but what I did to help this problem was to take him to
obedience class (more for the socialization). He was scared to death
and wouldn't get out of the car the first day...had huge "moon pie"
eyes and drooled all over himself that first day. At the end of each
class (and for Finnegan's benefit) we played "pass the puppy".
Someone else would take Finnegan's lead and I would go visit with
other dogs while other class members visited with him...it was to show
him strangers were okay, and mom was still around.

He still won't go up to strangers, and when we get company he sticks
to my side like glue..but he's much calmer and doesn't drool all over
himself. He now interacts with my husband and will play with him, but
it's still not the relationship I have with him. We can also walk him
much easier now than before. I don't know if he'll ever willingly go
up to company, but we'll keep working on it.


Pennie,

When you mentioned the "moonpie" eyes and drooling, I almost fell out
of my chair, because that's EXACTLY how I'd describe Bo...if there is
ANYTHING even remotely different around him, whether it be a person,
another dog, a walk in a different park, a ride in a different car,
his eyes get big as saucers and its a drool-a-rama for a good long
while. This dog drools more than any three dogs I know put together.
Bo is the sweetest, friendliest dog to those of us who have been able
to spend lots of time around him, coaxing him, petting him, and so on,
but he just freaks out if he encounters anything that he doesn't
immediately recognize.

I took him today, in fact, to a different park on the other side of
town. It's a jog/bike trail, with lots of other people, dogs, bikes,
runners, walkers, etc. I was trying to pay particular attention to
what it was that was scaring him - people? Other dogs? Well, the
answer was EVERYTHING scares him. First problem arose as we attempted
to walk across a wooden foot bridge. We started out ok, but a jogger
came up behind us, and as soon as he heard the clunking of the feet
behind him on the wooden planks, he FREAKED. Tried to wriggle out of
his collar, and if he'd been able to, I'm quite sure he would have
jumped over the side of the bridge and into the water. It took us
several tries just to get across that bridge, as there was almost
constant foot or bike traffic every time we took a step. I had to
stop, pet him, hug him, tell him it was ok, that nobody would hurt
him, and so on. 15 minutes to cross a 25 foot long bridge. Amazing.
As we continued the walk, I noticed something else...he stopped any
and all interest in both treats and water. Is that normal? I would
stop to rest him, give him the command to sit, which he usually does,
then offer him a treat, and he wouldn't even take the treat! Clamped
his jaws tight, and wouldn't even sniff it. These are his favorite
treats, by the way. And, even though he was obviously getting hot and
panting from the walk, I tried three different times to give him
water...no dice. Wouldn't even look at it. Just slobbered and
panted. When we got home, he went straight to his water dish and
drank like he hadn't had a drink in a year. When I offered him the
same treat at home that he'd refused on the walk, he was all over it,
like he normally is. Does any of this behavior sound like my friend
should be worried about Bo?

The friend may be going overseas soon, and I may be dog-sitting Bo for
an extended period of time...I would like to work on these problems
(issues?), but not sure where to begin. Like, for example, is there a
"best practice" for when a dog is on leash, then plants his haunches,
refuses to budge, and tries to wriggle out of his collar? What about
refusing treats and water? I just want to make sure I'm not making Bo
any worse...I love this dawg! Thanks,

Dave
  #5  
Old July 5th 03, 03:36 AM
Edgar S.
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Default

First of all... I want to say the dog seems to love it's home and
family. In most ways a perfectly suitable pet.

As to what's wrong with him- he has an excessively high startle
response. Everybody has a startle response to unexpected stimulus. In
most dogs, when they are comfortably at home, they can be startled,
but this response will pass, being replaced by either boredom or
interest, depending.

With this dog however, rather than the senation passing normally, it
gets "stuck" in the "on" position, and the dog has a cascading
reaction of fear. He gets scared and instead of passing in an instant,
the release of adrenaline stays on, making the dog more and more
scared.

Personally, I would not be interested in keeping a dog like this, as I
depend on my dogs for guarding duties. However, if this owner has
other dogs that guard well, and likes the dog... his skitterish
nature is not a big deal. As this appears to be a completely genetic
behavior, don't breed the dog.


(Dave Austin) wrote in message . com...
I'd be interested in some dog experts opinions about what I think may
be a behavioral/emotional problem with a good friend's lab...dog is a
male, lab mix, about 2.5 years old. Has NEVER been abused in any way,
shape, or form. I've known this friend for 15 years and she
absolutely loves and dotes on her dogs. She has 2 other dogs in the
same household, both of which are exceedingly friendly and appear
normal. But the lab mix is scared of his own shadow...literally. He
will not come up to strangers or even approach them...he runs and
hides under the bed. Even if the stranger gets down on all fours,
with a puppy treat, this dog won't approach. I, being a friend of the
family, know this dog well, and have known him since he was born, and
he will even "forget" who I am if I don't come to the house for a
while. He'll act very skittish for several minutes, hide behind
furniture, and eventually he'll remember who I am and warm up, but I
just find it bizarre...the dog appears to get along fine with the
other dogs in the house. Playful, etc. The dog also appears totally
at ease with my friend, the dog's owner...the dog is not scared of her
at all, comes when called, and so on.

But I observed the following behavior...the dog was resting
comfortably on the living room floor and some wind rustled a newspaper
off the coffee table. The dog was off like a shot, and hid under the
bed. Couldn't even bribe him to come out. I've seen him do the same
thing is I drop something, or if I get up out of a chair too suddenly
for his tastes...I took him for a walk in a nearby park the other day,
and observed that the dog will make a wide berth for any strangers
that approach. At one point, we walked towards some people that were
standing around, and there wasn't an easy way for the dog to avoid the
situation, so he planted his haunches, firmly, about 15 feet from the
people, and simply would not move. For anything. I had to actually
turn around, and coax him for a few minutes to walk in the other
direction.

The dog is very loved, well fed, and well treated, and if this
behavior is simply something that must be lived with, that's fine, but
anyone out there have any ideas what might be going on this poor lab's
noggin to cause him to be so scared and skittish of just about
everything and everyone? Thanks,

Dave A.

 




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