Fear aggression?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Fear aggression?

Post by Cecil15 on Mon Oct 19 2015, 20:13

So I am hoping some of you might be able to help me with helping Cecil gain more confidence. I know this post might seem long but I am trying to give you a little glimpse on how he acts at home and in public.
I think this poor guy went through some really bad experiences more than I thought he did when we got him at 10 weeks old.

It took him a very long time to warm up to us or show any signs of trust. I have been taking him to puppy school and doing lots of training with him. He has become such a sweet loving puppy and finally comes to us when we call him at home! I know it does not sound like a big deal but there were moments when I really thought something was wrong with him and that he couldn’t hear or something. For about a month he really did not show much interest in us. The kids he loved right from the beginning but not us adults.

I have noticed that once we leave home he becomes a different dog. He does not trust the outside world and would rather stay home. When I get his harness he gets a very sad and tries to hide under the table Sad it has gotten better but still very scared of the harness. When we walk all dogs together he develops separation anxiety. He can’t stand it when one of the dogs is out of his sight so now we walk them separately.

At puppy school he will play with the dogs but most of the time he will just lay next to me and seems disinterested in what every is going on. Last week was the first time he actually walked through the store with me without showing any signs of fear! He usually freezes and it takes us 20 min to leave the store. So I guess he is doing much better in that department!
I did make the mistake and took him to the other pet store where we had fostered him from. I just wanted to get him weighed and did not think it would be a big deal. Well it turned out they had a huge foster/ adopt event going on and there where people and dogs everywhere. I felt overwhelmed and so did Cecil. We decided to leave till his old foster mommy saw him and came right up! We talked for a moment and then I could see how Cecil was trying to hide behind whatever he could find. One female I believe a staffy mix came up and wanted to sniff him and he actually lunged and barked at her and the other dog behind her he showed his teeth. I decided to say my goodbyes and we left.

In the car I gave Cecil a treat and just sat there for a moment. I started thinking. I have no clue what happened to him other than that he and his brother at 6 weeks old where dumped in a box before they had been found and placed in 2 foster homes before we decided to adopt him.
He has always seemed so sanative and sad because he probable still feels abandoned in some way? I feel like I failed him and I feel horrible in taking him to the place that he probably wants to forget? I am probably putting too much thought into this but I want him to be happy and show him that the world is not all that scary!

He has showed his teeth once at the dog park to a husky before they became friends and played. He usually raises his hackles a little, till he gets use to the new dog. But this was the first time that he actually barked and lunged for the dog.
I guess this is where I would like to get some help from you guys. Is this something I need to be worried about that he is actually showing signs of fear aggression or maybe just totally overwhelmed and this mommy needs to really do some more socialization with him?

Is there something I can do to boost his self-esteem and build more confidence? I feel like I should be doing more but have no clue what to do or what not to do. I just don’t want to make it worse for him.
Any advice is much appreciated since I never had any of these issues with the other two dogs and Cecil shows no fear at home only with strange dogs.
avatar
Cecil15
Loyal Staffy-bull-terrier Member
Loyal Staffy-bull-terrier Member

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
USA
Relationship Status : Married
Dogs Name(s) : Cecil
Dog(s) Ages : 11 Weeks
Dog Gender(s) : Male
Join date : 2015-08-10
Support total : 9
Posts : 75

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by Mia05 on Mon Oct 19 2015, 21:15

hi from your post it sounds like in the early days cecil wasn't introduced to a lot of people or things in general the key is doing this slowly and surely with a lot of patience and get him soocialised with older calmer dogs as much as possible as in his adult years this make him a lot calmer well balanced you may say . i cant stress enough how much socialisation is key to a dogs well being .. And its important in situations that youthink may arise to be calm as cecil will sense the tension through the ead and will think theres something to worry about. heres some links that may be of help to you.

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t29840-how-to-stop-your-dog-from-being-scared-of-people

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t36274-meeting-an-unfamiliar-dog

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t40763-is-my-dog-aggressive

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t15126-socializing-your-staffordshire-bull-terrier

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t14672-dogs-body-language

Mia05
Staffy-Bull-Terrier VIP Member
Staffy-Bull-Terrier VIP Member

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
Age : 36
Location : Scotland
Scotland
Relationship Status : Single
Dogs Name(s) : Mia
Dog(s) Ages : 2005-2016 rip mia
Dog Gender(s) : Female
Join date : 2014-07-20
Support total : 1298
Posts : 24302

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by Cecil15 on Mon Oct 19 2015, 22:06

thank you mia05! This was very helpful. We meet lots of different people on our daily walks and sofar he has been very welcoming when he sees them. Bikes and cars seem to be ok too and he has met someone in a wheelchair the other day. He loves people just not new environments and other strange dogs combined.

The links you have provided me with will help out alot. His body language is very different from what I am use to so I guess I will have to study him more and keep taking him to new places. I think the store was just to much for him.
avatar
Cecil15
Loyal Staffy-bull-terrier Member
Loyal Staffy-bull-terrier Member

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
USA
Relationship Status : Married
Dogs Name(s) : Cecil
Dog(s) Ages : 11 Weeks
Dog Gender(s) : Male
Join date : 2015-08-10
Support total : 9
Posts : 75

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by Mia05 on Tue Oct 20 2015, 08:16

can be overwhelming in a new shop its just important you take cecil to as many places as you can manage. let me know how he's getting on and if you have any more questions just ask Smile

Mia05
Staffy-Bull-Terrier VIP Member
Staffy-Bull-Terrier VIP Member

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
Age : 36
Location : Scotland
Scotland
Relationship Status : Single
Dogs Name(s) : Mia
Dog(s) Ages : 2005-2016 rip mia
Dog Gender(s) : Female
Join date : 2014-07-20
Support total : 1298
Posts : 24302

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by LizP on Tue Oct 20 2015, 08:43

A year ago I would have said it was certainly going to be due to past experiences. Since getting Millie, who will have a meltdown over a book or someone coming in through the wrong door, I'm not so sure. (Millie was signed over to the rescue centre where I volunteer at the age of 6 days, so I know her history and she's not had an abusive past).

There's a great book called 'For the love of a dog' by Patricia McConnell (really worth reading), and in it she talks about what she calls shy dogs, dogs that are genetically shy. That's Millie's problem. Her mum is nervous and one of her brothers is the spit of her and even cowers at the same things.

So for Cecil, it might well be genetic as well as experience. Given the depth of his reaction, I'd suspect it's that as most puppies bounce back very quickly from all sorts of things. In which case, welcome to our world of shy dogs! They're not easy but equally they're not impossible.

For me, the keys are in not asking more than they can cope with but at the same time not avoiding things entirely. I should say at this point that I used to be a remedial horse trainer, dealing with breaking down fear on a daily basis, so a lot of this is from that experience and training.

There are 3 important areas when you're dealing with fear - 1 is that the thing is so far away or whatever that it doesn't concern you at all, 3 is when it is where it scares the heebies out of you, and 2 is the 'edge of the comfort zone', what I call the 'uh oh' moment, which is where you're aware of the scary thing and feel you might have to act but haven't quite hit that point. You obviously move along the scale from the extremes of 1 to 3 with varying levels in between.

If you stick at 1 you learn nothing. Life is safe but you never learn you can go beyond. If you go to 3, your adrenaline will have taken over and you'll be running on the instinct of flight or fight, so the only think you'll learn is that it was truly awful. What you need to do is keep seeking 2, the 'uh oh' point, which is where you are assessing the situation and working out what to do about it. If you can work with Cecil at that level and set him up to see that it's fine, you can teach him confidence and the ability to start to generalise as well.

With horses, we work a lot with 'pressure and release', where the pressure is either physical or psychological but not in a forceful/painful way. It does have to be a bit unpleasant to get into the edge of the comfort zone, but no more than that. The animal is looking for the release from the pressure, so as a trainer (which is what you are to Cecil and all of your dogs) your job is to make sure that the release comes for doing what you want, for what will teach him the right thing.

At the moment, Cecil is getting his release by hiding behind your legs (Millie did that too). What you really want him to do is simply stand still. So, what I'd do is move your legs so he can't hide, wait till he stand still without being behind you, then walk off. You don't need to go very far, just far enough that the pressure isn't so great.

What would be ideal would be to find some people who will work with you on this, with dogs that are friendly but that Cecil is worried by. Ask them to stand still while you approach, then work as above for a few minutes going back and forwards, with Cecil (hopefully!) starting to see that the other dogs aren't a threat, and that he can cope. You should see that he gets better and better each time you approach. Don't then go for broke, just let him know he's fab and leave it at that.

Once you've got the idea of pressure and release you can use it in all sorts of situations. So at the store, for example, you can go there but maybe not in, just to the point that you get the 'uh oh' look, then back off. I can show you a horse video if that helps? Horses are different, and this pony was a very nervous semi feral lad, but you can see the edge of the comfort zone and the 'uh oh' reaction



(it's long, but the first minutes will give you the idea!).

The other thing I'd do with Cecil is clicker training. There's a thread here in puppy chat about it. Clicker is brilliant for building confidence and if you use the target they really get to know and trust it. If the target says it's ok, then it's ok! You could take your target on walks with you, to the store, anywhere.

I'm so pleased you've got this guy. In the wrong hands he could have a very uncertain future but with you on his side I'm sure he'll make progress in leaps and bounds.



Staffy-Bull-Terrier Online Community
Meet the forum staff - Who's Who
Please read the forum rules - Click Here.

avatar
LizP
Staffy-Bull-Terrier Admin
Staffy-Bull-Terrier Admin

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
Location : Essex
Luxembourg
Relationship Status : Married
Dogs Name(s) : Chaos, Nola and Millie
Dog(s) Ages : 4, 10, and 3
Dog Gender(s) : one boy, two girls
Join date : 2014-11-02
Support total : 1121
Posts : 5497

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by Mia05 on Tue Oct 20 2015, 08:46

Smile

Mia05
Staffy-Bull-Terrier VIP Member
Staffy-Bull-Terrier VIP Member

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
Age : 36
Location : Scotland
Scotland
Relationship Status : Single
Dogs Name(s) : Mia
Dog(s) Ages : 2005-2016 rip mia
Dog Gender(s) : Female
Join date : 2014-07-20
Support total : 1298
Posts : 24302

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by Cecil15 on Tue Oct 20 2015, 19:12

Thank you! You guys are truly the best!

LizP thank you for taking the time in providing me with all this wonderful information and I will most defiantly have to do some research on ‘pressure and release’. I feel like all I have been doing the past couple of days is trying to figure out ways in helping him cope with everything better. For instance last night before I had a chance to read the replies we took him to the dog park but this time we wanted to do it differently.

When we got there we stopped so he could sniff a little. Then we decided to walk around the park so he could get use to the sound of barking, running dogs that come up to the fence and of course the smells! Cecil went to the fence, sniffed and was wagging his tail. He seemed interested in going in so we slowly walked back and decided to give it a try.

Cecil walked in and was greeted by a dog that approached him way to fast and way to dominant for his liking and just made lots of noise that created panic in Cecil!
Cecil had his hackles raised; tail tucked in and started to snip at all the dogs that tried to sniff him. Of course everyone is giving us the look and my other half basically told them that he would have had a better reaction if their dogs had not jump on him the way they did and to please call their dogs so Cecil could have a chance for a better experience. Boy did they get moving haha

What I never understood was why everyone always has to stand right in front of where the dogs enter and exit? Of course dogs will be excited to see new friends but I think it would maybe be less intense if their parents would actually sit on the nice benches that are provided and not create this big cluster of people surrounding the entrance or water section! Maybe that’s just me because I dislike tight spaces haha

When we finally were able to get to the back of the park he felt better and started to play with pups his age. He still did not like dogs that approached him but he started to warm up faster each time.

I might take him for a walk to the ice cream shop later since he has never been on that route with me before and it would be a great excuse to grab some ice cream too Smile
avatar
Cecil15
Loyal Staffy-bull-terrier Member
Loyal Staffy-bull-terrier Member

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
USA
Relationship Status : Married
Dogs Name(s) : Cecil
Dog(s) Ages : 11 Weeks
Dog Gender(s) : Male
Join date : 2015-08-10
Support total : 9
Posts : 75

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by -Ian- on Tue Oct 20 2015, 19:21

Liz has given great advice and there's really not a lot I can add except my own experiences.

My Flo isn't scared of much at all which is a surprise given that she's deaf but we know she doesn't like wooded areas in the dark (mind you who does) and has a phobia about Collies/sheep dogs. I would just say little and often so as to show there is nothing to be afraid of and hopefully little by little Cecil should relax.


Staffy-Bull-Terrier Online Community
Meet the forum staff - Who's Who
Please read the forum rules - Click Here.

avatar
-Ian-
Staffy-Bull-Terrier Admin
Staffy-Bull-Terrier Admin

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Male
Age : 50
Location : Surrey
United Kingdom.
Dogs Name(s) : Anything, she's Deaf !
Dog(s) Ages : About 11 maybe
Dog Gender(s) : Girl
Join date : 2014-01-31
Support total : 2751
Posts : 21873

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by LizP on Wed Oct 21 2015, 08:35

Sounds like you're on the way already! Being outside with the fence between him and the other dogs is clearly within the upper edge of his comfort zone, but going in is too far at the moment. See how you can break down the steps needed for full integration in a way that you can contol how far it goes and that you can control the level of pressure.

I'd be thinking of taking him to have a sniff and a wag at least 3 times in a row (3 is a magic number in training), which will get into his mind that he can do it and that these dogs are ok. I'd then be trying to suss out other dogs and owners to see there is someone I could start talking to, with the aim of asking them to pop their dog on lead and let them meet outside. Maybe see if there is any dog that Cecil seems happiest with, and an owner who seems sensible.

Don't hesitate to explain his past to others there. Once they know that it is fear and not aggression (point out the tucked tail), and once they hear his sad story, they will hopefully be more patient with you both.

When you feel he's more settled with going to the park in general and has hopefully met a couple of dogs, see if you can find a time that's quieter, maybe getting up early on a Sunday morning or something, so that you can take him in there in the easiest way possible. If at any point things start to get to much, retreat to base camp, i.e. to somewhere he knows what's what and that he's confident with. At the moment, that'd be just round the edge, maybe not too close. Ask him to watch and settle, then leave. Always look for a good moment before you leave - it's usually the last thing that happens that they remember most, and it's really good for confidence to follow a 'can't cope' event with something that reminds them they can.

I have to say, though, that I think it's looking really positive. It sounds like he wants to be friends, he just doesn't quite know how.


Staffy-Bull-Terrier Online Community
Meet the forum staff - Who's Who
Please read the forum rules - Click Here.

avatar
LizP
Staffy-Bull-Terrier Admin
Staffy-Bull-Terrier Admin

Status Status :
Online
Offline

Female
Location : Essex
Luxembourg
Relationship Status : Married
Dogs Name(s) : Chaos, Nola and Millie
Dog(s) Ages : 4, 10, and 3
Dog Gender(s) : one boy, two girls
Join date : 2014-11-02
Support total : 1121
Posts : 5497

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fear aggression?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum