I need HELP!!! (Fearfull pitty)

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MissMosaic
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I need HELP!!! (Fearfull pitty)

Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:23 pm

My Pitbull Daisy is very affraid of new people, children, and bikes!!! I am having trouble introducing her to children especially young ones. (we have a baby on the way) so we have to help her gain more confidence.

In the past Daisy has in fact lunged at a very small child, she ran towards him aggressivly barking.. If it wern't for me standing right there and grabbing her, I dont know what she would have done!!.. I am very concerned for her.
I dont know what she would do if a child cornered her and tryed to pet her... I am affraid she may lunge again. I NEVER want that to happen.

I am not sure of how to handle this.. I have given older kids treats to hand to her, but Daisy wont take them. Her tail goes right between her legs, she bows her head and trys to run away as soon as a child comes within ten feet of her!!.. She approaches some older kids with caution, and once they put out their hand, she will sniff it, but she rarely allows anyone she doesn't know to pet her.

I have taken her on several occasions to the store, downtown, petstores, and local parks to try to socialize her, without success.

A bit about her history:

I only met Daisy for the first time a little over a year ago (same time as a met my boyfriend), and She was VERY affraid of me. After about three weeks of being VERY patient, holding my hand out, offering pets and treats, she FINALLY warmed up to me.

She wasn't spayed, and had NEVER been socialized with strangers or strange dogs. I have been told that she left her mother at around 4 weeks old :sad:. (she is spayed now, and hear fearfullness has gotten ALOT better then it used to be)

She was given to my boyfriend and his ex girlfriend at about 6 weeks by a friend, she was always very skiddish since he has had her.. I am pretty sure she was left in an outside pen with her mother/siblings with little to no human contact for the first four weeks of her life.. :(

Once my boyfriend broke up with the Ex she kept Daisy. A few months after being away from Daisy my boyfriend got a call saying Daisy was in very bad shape, never given any attention, and locked up for hours in a crate.. He found out that his Ex had been keeping Daisy locked up in a kennel for about 12 a day while she was working and partying.. Daisy was also hardly ever walked in that time. :po:

The Ex had no problem giving Daisy up since she had little to no time to care for her.

I have been working with daisy EVER&YDAY since she warmed up to me.. I have even introduced her to several new dogs, and a ton of people... I just need advise on what eles I can do to help her.. I Have spoken to a few vets about it, and I havent been able to find any good trainers around my area..

I was just wondering if anyone has went through a simlar situation with their pitty? And how they delt with it.. We really love Daisy.

(Sorry this post is so long)

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MissMosaic
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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:28 pm

here is a picture of Daisy...

Image

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adoptanapbt
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Postby adoptanapbt » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:39 pm

Without meeting the dog, and from what you describe, IMHO that dog should never be in a home with children. Please have a behaviorist evaluate her, but you have to consider she would potentially never be comfortable in her own home if there were children there, and the children may not be safe.

I have a fearful/shy dog, but not nearly to the extreme you are describing, but I am never having children, and she is out of the way on the extremely rare occasion there is a child at the house.

The Red Queen

Postby The Red Queen » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:39 pm

I have dealt with this in my female Aussie...she has fear aggression issues. "I'm scared, therefore I will bark/lunge/growl until the scary thing has gone away!"

After long hours and lots of treats, she now rarely barks at new people, and will go up to say hi to most.

I have to go get dinner ready, so I can't write out much...so here are some articles that are basically what I'd say in a nutshell! But simply put, getting her to take treats from anyone is probably beyond her right now. You need to get into the habit of treating heavily when anyone "scary" is in the area. Get her to look at you, and reward for it. It might take moving out of the area at first, then gaining attention, whatever works. But Inara was terrified of people...so when someone started approaching on a walk, I'd get her attention (however briefly) and click/treat. When the person would go by, if Inara could keep her attention on me, she'd get lots of treats (really high value stuff). If she ignored me, no treats.

After a long while, she's now able to keep her attention on me, and treats happen when people are around only (on walks), and no treats happen when there are no people. So she's starting to figure that people are GOOD! Especially kids! ;)

I'd back off from the kids (literally), and work on being comfortable in the *area* first, then working on being closer.

http://www.clickersolutions.com/article ... ession.htm

http://www.clickersolutions.com/article ... ession.htm

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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:48 pm

IMHO that dog should never be in a home with children.

Well that just isnt an option for us, we are having this baby like it or not.. So we need to figure somthing out.. I have thought about contacting a behaviorist, and I have looked EVERYWHERE for one.. There isn't any in my area :(. The closest one is a 4 hour drive away!!.

I'd back off from the kids (literally), and work on being comfortable in the *area* first, then working on being closer.


The baby is due in three months, and we have been working with Daisy for over a year.. So cutting kids out of the picture would be an ok idea, if I had any time whatsoever to do so.. Can you order clickers online anywhere? I have looked for them in petstores, and I heard they are a great method, I just havent had any luck finding one.

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Postby elegy » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:59 pm

you might just need to make that four hour drive to the behaviorist. and do it pronto, because this kind of thing takes a long LONG time to work through, and may never really go away.

i find it surprising that you can't find a clicker at a petstore, but you can buy them lots of places online. just google.

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MissMosaic
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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:04 pm

Yeah I know, I dont know why they dont sell them here.. I looked at Wallmart they didnt have one either.. I remember I got one from the Vancouver petexpo years ago.. But I have no idea where it went..

morrisettawinnymom

Postby morrisettawinnymom » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:05 pm

you really need to try hard to find a good behaviorist. i have a fearful boy, but he tends to shut down instead of lashing out.

desensitization takes long hours, daily work and constant dedication.
it is hard but a dog like that you should be doing desensitization work daily a few times a day. obedience is also a huge help--because it builds trust and a dog doing obedience work is incompatable with being in a fearful state of mind for the dog.

the one bright side i can think of is that if she is anything like my dog she is not afraid of kids per se, but new stimuli in general. perhaps when your baby arrives after she becomes acclimated she will not be afraid of the the baby. but i would take EVERY precaution.


these are really good books/dvd that can help you...

HELP FOR YOUR FEARFUL DOG: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO HELPING YOUR DOG CONQUER HIS FEARS by Nicole Wilde
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB878

CAUTIOUS CANINE by Patricia McConnell
http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB586

SCAREDY DOG! SEMINAR DVD by Ali Brown
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB855
I liked this DVD because it has examples of desensitization exercises and clicker examples

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Postby Allie » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:11 pm

IMO it sounds like Daisy doesn't feel safe. What training have you done with her prior to taking her out and trying to socialize her?

In your situation I would first work on strenghtening your bond with her and building her confidence (in herself and in you as her protector) before flooding her with new environments, dogs, and people. Start in the front yard, move to the backyard, then to the driveway, etc. This method worked WONDERS with our girl who had no human contact in the frst 5 months of her life. The hardest thing for me was to remember NO CODDLING.

Build her confidence in the fact that you are going to protect her in "scary" situations, before beginning to take her out slowly. It will take time. Lots of time and lots of effort. I started with Sidney about a year and a half ago and she still regresses. She is often anxious and fearful, not a fear aggressive dog, though.

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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:15 pm

[quote="Allie"]IMO it sounds like Daisy doesn't feel safe. What training have you done with her prior to taking her out and trying to socialize her? [quote] Prior to taking her out, I have just done basic obedience, sit, laydown, shake a paw, come, stay, sit pretty, and other tricks..

[quote]The hardest thing for me was to remember NO CODDLING. [quote] I think that is our biggest problem!! My boyfriend Totally coddled her through her whole puppyhood, always holding her, never letting her play with the bigger dogs because he was affraid she might get hurt.. Anytime she was affraid of anyone, she would jump up on his lap and hide, or run away and hide.. He never reinforced her to meet new people. He totally coddled her :frown: .. Thats the perfect word. And the sucky thing is, he thought he was helping her at the time. But really it had the totally opposite effect...

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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:18 pm

morrisettawinnymom wrote:

these are really good books/dvd that can help you...

HELP FOR YOUR FEARFUL DOG: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO HELPING YOUR DOG CONQUER HIS FEARS by Nicole Wilde
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB878

CAUTIOUS CANINE by Patricia McConnell
http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB586

SCAREDY DOG! SEMINAR DVD by Ali Brown
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB855
I liked this DVD because it has examples of desensitization exercises and clicker examples


Thanks so much for those links!! I am going to seriously consider ordering Cautious Canine.. That one looks like it is really pinpointed at the problem that I am facing right now.

morrisettawinnymom

Postby morrisettawinnymom » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:20 pm

Allie wrote:IMO it sounds like Daisy doesn't feel safe. What training have you done with her prior to taking her out and trying to socialize her?

In your situation I would first work on strenghtening your bond with her and building her confidence (in herself and in you as her protector) before flooding her with new environments, dogs, and people. Start in the front yard, move to the backyard, then to the driveway, etc. This method worked WONDERS with our girl who had no human contact in the frst 5 months of her life. The hardest thing for me was to remember NO CODDLING.

Build her confidence in the fact that you are going to protect her in "scary" situations, before beginning to take her out slowly. It will take time. Lots of time and lots of effort. I started with Sidney about a year and a half ago and she still regresses. She is often anxious and fearful, not a fear aggressive dog, though.

good point. you need to take things very slow. i used to have winston on a long lead and i would sit on the porch and wait for him to come outside on his own because he was too afraid to go outside or walk on leash. then he just got comfortable being the front yard etc. now he loves going for walks.

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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:25 pm

morrisettawinnymom wrote:good point. you need to take things very slow. i used to have winston on a long lead and i would sit on the porch and wait for him to come outside on his own because he was too afraid to go outside or walk on leash. then he just got comfortable being the front yard etc. now he loves going for walks.


I had to do the same exact thing with Daisy! When we moved into our old house, she had never been on a deck before.. The only way to get into the backyard was to cross the sundeck first..

She was soo terrified, I would have to sit outside on the deck with her on the leash and slowly get her comfortable that way.. Lotsa soft talk, and praise.. Seeing the other dogs do it, I think that helped alot too.

The poor thing was petrified!!! I never would have thought a dog wold be affraid of a sundeck before.. It took about a week to get her used to it.. Finally she walked outside, and across the deck on her own.

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Postby Allie » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:27 pm

I understand. It is hard. I'm a softy, and when I had to be tough and not coddle her, my bf felt like he needed to step in and coddle. It's a bear, though because by coddling, you are not letting the dog know you are the strong and confident one in the house.

Another REALLY difficult part for me was that because I knew she was fearful, I would get anxious when I had her in new situations. She easily picked up my nervousness and reacted to it. I didn't even realize that I was doing this until it was pointed out to me in our first training camp session. All the other owners picked up on it.
Once I realized that I needed to be a strong confident leader, she responded almost immediately and became more relaxed. Mind you, this was a safe training environment where we could BOTH practice our confidence building. Once she sensed that I was in charge, the pressure was taken off of her, it seemed.

I suggest finding what motivates her (for Sidda it was food, then praise) and use it for some training exercises. Start just by loose leash-walking and giving her treats when she focuses on you. Have her stop and sit, these kinds of things. But remember to stand straight and let her know you are a strong, protective leader, not a softy coddler. ;) GET THE BF ON BOARD TOO. Realize the sooner you make a difference with the way you treat her, the sooner she will be able to get better. Coddling got us nowhere.

This takes TIME, and with the baby coming in three months, it really would be a good idea to get an experienced trainer or behaviorist out to help you and evaluate your girl.

* you guys type so fast! I notice there have been a couple of posts since the one I'm responding to :oops:

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Postby MissMosaic » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:35 pm

Allie wrote:I understand. It is hard. I'm a softy, and when I had to be tough and not coddle her, my bf felt like he needed to step in and coddle. It's a bear, though because by coddling, you are not letting the dog know you are the strong and confident one in the house.

Another REALLY difficult part for me was that because I knew she was fearful, I would get anxious when I had her in new situations. She easily picked up my nervousness and reacted to it. I didn't even realize that I was doing this until it was pointed out to me in our first training camp session. All the other owners picked up on it.
Once I realized that I needed to be a strong confident leader, she responded almost immediately and became more relaxed. Mind you, this was a safe training environment where we could BOTH practice our confidence building. Once she sensed that I was in charge, the pressure was taken off of her, it seemed.

I suggest finding what motivates her (for Sidda it was food, then praise) and use it for some training exercises. Start just by loose leash-walking and giving her treats when she focuses on you. Have her stop and sit, these kinds of things. But remember to stand straight and let her know you are a strong, protective leader, not a softy coddler. ;) GET THE BF ON BOARD TOO. Realize the sooner you make a difference with the way you treat her, the sooner she will be able to get better. Coddling got us nowhere.

This takes TIME, and with the baby coming in three months, it really would be a good idea to get an experienced trainer or behaviorist out to help you and evaluate your girl.

* you guys type so fast! I notice there have been a couple of posts since the one I'm responding to :oops:


Thanks alot for those words.. I have been trying so hard to find a good trainer in my area. There is one trainer I know of in my area, but I dont agree with her methods AT ALL. My parents went through her with one of their Cocker Spaniels, with bad results.

So I am stuck.. Anyone know of any good trainers in British Cloumbia Canada??

I will call around a couple local dog groomers, maybe I might get lucky..
I want to goto a training camp, sounds like alot of fun..
I have watched a couple seasons of "The dog whisperer", I wish he were located in Canada. :tongue:

Sounds like you and your dog have come a long way, and I think we have too.. but we still have quite the road ahead of us.. I hate having a limit of three months, because I know (even if we found an awesome trainer) her problems wouldn't be fixed intime for the baby.


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