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Discussion Starter #1
clover has some fear issues when it comes to people that he doesn't know and we've been working on counter conditioning pretty much since the day i got him. i have so far made the mistake of being lax with the counter conditioning bc he had improved to a point where he seemed comfortable to me, and then learned that he was not actually comfortable and had to start over :eyeroll: i move too fast sometimes! anyway, since i learned my lesson from that i have been very careful not to repeat the mistake and i now make myself go over board with the treats even if clover seems comfortable. we have had a lot of success so far, we can now approach almost any stranger outside of the house and instead of ducking away, clover walks up to people wagging his tail and happily waiting for a cookie:) he got a bit spooked by someone carrying a big tripod w a camera on it, but he didn't freak out, just went around him to say hello to others in the group.
in the house is a different story but we have seen improvement here as well. yesterday he was in the house w my roommate, alone, and accepted treats from her for the first time (up until this point he would wait for her to be out of sight to eat them)
because i have a tendency to push too hard, what would you all say is the threshold for a dog like this? :ponder:forgive me if i am wording this funny but what i mean is i don't want to push too hard so when would you say the dog is telling me he has had enough?
last night we had a friend visit from out of town, who is male (clover's problems w people are almost exclusively w men) clover just loved him, he even asked for really intense massage/petting and responded to commands for sit, down, shake etc. more people came over, clover had met this friend and his girlfriend a few times already and again really responded well, showing all signs that he wanted pets. as the evening progressed a few more people came over. of course we were having some beer and everyone was excited bc we hadn't seen one another in a bit, but clover did really well, though at this point he was no longer interested in petting and i didn't allow the new visitors to get too friendly w him (it is next to impossible to convince people that the dog doesn't want you to pet him, but my friends respected my request even though i could tell they thought i was crazy:eyeroll:) clover accepted treats from each of the visitors when i told him to "go say hi" then came back to me. i put him in a "down stay" next to me on the floor and gave him a steady supply of treats and praise while everyone was hanging out. he did well for a while though i could tell he was still a bit anxious.
then some of the guys got excited about some story they were sharing and started yelling and giving high 5s and that was the deal breaker for clover, his head popped up and he started growling, nothing intense just a warning that he didn't like what they were doing but i didn't want to push too much so i called it quits then and there. clover actually seem reluctant to leave the group....
anyway, sorry about going on and on but was that too soon or too late? should i have called it sooner when he was getting anxious or should i let clover let me know as i did in this situation?



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First refresh me a bit...how long you had him now? How old do you think he is? Iam sorry, I have horrible memory...

I think allowing him to let you know is fine, provided hes not cornered, theres no kids (for now), and can retreat if he wants too. As long as he doesn't feel cornered, he shouldn't do much more than make noise.

Also as long as he knows he CAN retreat...as stupid as this sounds, som' dogs don't realize that walking away is an option, and they don't think to do it, so they stand there and bark/ wig out/ cower...when they can simply leave the room.

I don't think your moving to fast...in fact I think it may be time to up the ante a bit... now hes used to calm friendly people, and getting used to slightly wierder people (like the tripod guy) now its time for him to learn that the loud bizzare stuff is awesome too...

I'll use Tippy as an example, since its easier for me to explain that way... she has massive fear issues as well...we did the basic counterconditioning stuff (like your doing strangers=treats etc etc) but she never really got past a certain point...then we started on the "mean" stuff....

I'd run into the room screaming like a lunatic and then throw a handful of food at her...I'd run at her very fast stomping my feet...click/treat.. I'd pretend I was going to hit her and then click/treat...I'd throw stuffed animals at her click/treat, grab her collar roughly..click/treat...make the stupid "ppssssttt!" (ceaser sound) and poke her..click/treat... etc etc etc.


Now I can run into the room stomping my feet screaming acting like Iam going to hit her and she is happy as all git out...

Of course you build up to this stuff...maybe start the pretend hit with a raised hand c/t and then a strike in slow mo click/treat...

Click the same time you make the motion or yell. There will be a "Ah ha!" moment when the fear switch clicks off...they will get excited instead of jumping. They call that a conditioned emotional responce.

Then off course you have friends who will think you are crazy...do it for you. lol

If I have time tonight I'll post a Tippy vid with examples...

at least thats my .02 lol :) :)



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okay, so i've had him since 5/3 about 4 mos. he is somewhere around 1yo give or take a couple of months.
there usually aren't kids in the groups i hang out with except the neighbor's 4 yo. i am very careful around kids, but clover responds to them almost the same way he does to dogs, he really wants to be around them. he is generally gentle around them too, doesn't knock them over to get to a toy and that sort of thing. the other day the neighbor kid came over and clover went to the door and whined when he left......

i'd already been doing the pretending to hit him game. one day i threw something to him over-hand instead of underhand and he hit the ground so fast and crawled away from me to hide...i couldn't take that happening again so i started pretending to hit him and giving him treats instead....he hasn't cringed in a long time.

i have a few people in mind to help with the yelling and running around crazy "mean" business i'll start doing more aggressive desensitizing. i haven't had a dog that has been so fearful before, it is a lot of work! luckily most of the people i associate with are really understanding and they want the dog to like them so bad they are willing to help out with this sort of stuff.

thanks for the info :)



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i have a few people in mind to help with the yelling and running around crazy "mean" business i'll start doing more aggressive desensitizing. i haven't had a dog that has been so fearful before, it is a lot of work! luckily most of the people i associate with are really understanding and they want the dog to like them so bad they are willing to help out with this sort of stuff.

thanks for the info :)

glad you have friends willing to help. All my friends aren't animal people and think Iam insane when I hand them jerky and point at a dog to give it to.

It is a lot of work...but it will get easier...figure about 6 months solid work for him to be bulletproof. Theres just so many things in the world to desensitize them to.

Also part of it might be age...dogs go through fear periods periodically as they mature, that combines with being sorta newish can make him worse.

I think tho, once you've had him a year, your going to have a solid dog that trusts you 100% around everything. :) :)



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glad you have friends willing to help. All my friends aren't animal people and think Iam insane when I hand them jerky and point at a dog to give it to.

It is a lot of work...but it will get easier...figure about 6 months solid work for him to be bulletproof. Theres just so many things in the world to desensitize them to.

Also part of it might be age...dogs go through fear periods periodically as they mature, that combines with being sorta newish can make him worse.

I think tho, once you've had him a year, your going to have a solid dog that trusts you 100% around everything. :) :)
wow, that makes me really happy:D i actually hadn't been banking on that at all.....i've been telling myself (and clover)everytime we reach a milestone or have an ah ha type moment "i'm happy with you just the way you are so even if i have to do this for the rest of your life, i still love you" just to sort of remind myself that there are limits and to keep my expectation level from making me get frustrated. its good to have longterm hope too, thanks



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That sounds like your doing sooo well!!! He's got just such a sweet face, I can't imagine the poor guy being scared :( Give him a big smooch from me :)

I've never heard of the pretending to hit game? Can you explain? Mikey has a bit of anxiety (he's coming around) and cowers when I'm smacking moths with my book (I have to do it when he's not around). In fact if you even use an angry voice he cowers so anything to make him less anxious sounds good to me!!
 

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That sounds like your doing sooo well!!! He's got just such a sweet face, I can't imagine the poor guy being scared :( Give him a big smooch from me :)

I've never heard of the pretending to hit game? Can you explain? Mikey has a bit of anxiety (he's coming around) and cowers when I'm smacking moths with my book (I have to do it when he's not around). In fact if you even use an angry voice he cowers so anything to make him less anxious sounds good to me!!
thank you thank you thank you! it seems like it has been so long, but really i've only had him for about 5 mos now! this has been the biggest obstacle with our relationship....lots of work:)

so, with the pretending to hit i do 2 things. first i give him some cookies and raise my hand and bring it down slowly increasing how fast i move my arm until it actually mimmicks a real "hit" i started by doing this as i was feeding. after we got to a good point with this i started adding in the sounds (a ssss sort of sound) and more aggressive body language. now, he will stand in front of me and wag his tail and smile and i can pretend to beat him(i'm not really beating him or anything...i promise;))....omg i just realized that i've probably done this a bunch of times with the blinds open....:eek::eek::eek::eek:....i wonder what my neighbors think!!!!???
so the second thing i've been doing with the pretending to hit game is i actually hit him when we are playing or petting. clover is definately one of those dogs who likes to be pet and he likes ruff petting he gets really into it and moans and pushes into you when you do it so i give hime some solid smack/pats all over, and make sure he can see what i'm doing. not a lot of dogs tend to be like this so i don't really recommend it. but since i've had clover the more i do this the more he gets happy...i don't do this on or around his head.....



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i forgot in my last post....we just started to deal with "kicking" right now i am having him lie down and having people step over him...stomp at him jump around him. we've only had 2 short sessions of this and already he is dramatically improved. he even allowed his greatest enemy, my roommate's boyfriend (just joking, he is just really afraid of him for some reason) do it with very little agitation. once we get really comfy with this we are going to keep upping whatever makes him nervous of people...banging in the front door etc.....
ps most of this was on advice from criosphynx....really really helped me get through this w clover :)



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omg i just realized that i've probably done this a bunch of times with the blinds open....:eek::eek::eek::eek:....i wonder what my neighbors think!!!!???
LOL All pet owners need a laminated card-that they can pull out when people are giving us 'the look' That says "I own pets. No explanation necessary" Think of how many situations that would be useful in :p

Thanks for sharing all that-it sounds wonderful!! And I can see how you can extend the same sort of thing to other phobias/anxious situations!! That sounds soo good-I'm going to try it and you keep us posted on how brave Clover is being :)
 

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you should see the looks i get when i take my cat for a walk....it was bad enough when i still had my bunny! sometimes when we have outdoor parties i trolley clover in one tree and my cat...fawkes in another...people just can't believe it, sometimes they thing i'm being mean to the cat, but if i don't take him out regularly he tries to take himself out....



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That sounds great. How often do you do sessions like these? I'd have to like get over feeling weird doing things like that X3 This forum is so interesting LOL
 

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i do it whenever i have an opportunity....i have a fair amount of traffic in and out of my house so usually there is someone there to help out with it. with each "new" experience, i've been starting out small and then building up to more intense stuff. i did learn though not to do it when clover isn't able to handle it. dog's can have bad/off days too so if he had a big experience yesterday, say we went to a party or something and were out late, today may be a good day to keep it sorta calm...i sorta play it as it comes up though. i'm getting better and better at being able to read him and figure this out. i think you'll be good with strider too...you are already doing pretty well.



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:: smiles :: thank you for the compliment, it means a lot. Your story is also inspiring. btw, you take your dog to parties? or this is the party that you described in your house?
 

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hahahah...I hit my dogs with a foam frisbee and they love love love it...I need to make a new video.

Glad your making progress...I bet your seeing him understand the game is a game much faster now than in the begining... It will only get easier. :)



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:: smiles :: thank you for the compliment, it means a lot. Your story is also inspiring. btw, you take your dog to parties? or this is the party that you described in your house?
i'll take him with me if i know it is cool, ie i know that the people will be understanding and are ok with everything...i also take him to out door concerts and things that are dog friendly....he is really really good in these situations. i always make sure i can leave very easily if i have to and that i have some ability to control what happens to him at these things first....:)



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That's nice. I find that Long Island isn't very dog friendly. Black people run on sight many times (Even dogs as small as Princess which surprised me), and the nearest dog park is 3 towns away. Or else I'd use the field directly behind my house but for whatever reason it's now illegal to have your dog in there and it's a pretty much unused huge space (complete rare occurrence of unused territory here lol). Use to like to see people and their dogs greet Sam from behind the fence and he was always eager to play in there.
The city though is where it's at for dogs surprisingly with dog parks in almost every Manhattan park. Along with dog breeders everywhere. My ex roomie would play GUESS THAT BREED! and would find some very rare ones. I'd be like, just tell me XD

Sounds like you are a good judge of situations as well. No wonder your dog trusts you :3
 

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That's nice. I find that Long Island isn't very dog friendly. Black people run on sight many times (Even dogs as small as Princess which surprised me), and the nearest dog park is 3 towns away. Or else I'd use the field directly behind my house but for whatever reason it's now illegal to have your dog in there and it's a pretty much unused huge space (complete rare occurrence of unused territory here lol). Use to like to see people and their dogs greet Sam from behind the fence and he was always eager to play in there.
The city though is where it's at for dogs surprisingly with dog parks in almost every Manhattan park. Along with dog breeders everywhere. My ex roomie would play GUESS THAT BREED! and would find some very rare ones. I'd be like, just tell me XD

Sounds like you are a good judge of situations as well. No wonder your dog trusts you :3
thanks stormy!:) one other thing i do with clover is i take him to safeway with me and use the wireless internet there. they have some outside tables and we just sit there. it works out well for me because i get work on his socialization while i'm just messing around on the internet. most of the time we just get to watch people (we are starting to play "look at that" there too). i bring treats with us though cuz inevitably someone will want to pet him.....



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good work hun and like i said on the first few post you put up /high five for a loving him so much to take the time to work with him. i think you letting you know when he has had enough is the way to go i think that will also build trust as you work up to more things.
 

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good work hun and like i said on the first few post you put up /high five for a loving him so much to take the time to work with him. i think you letting you know when he has had enough is the way to go i think that will also build trust as you work up to more things.
aww, thanks BHM...i'm blushing:eek::eek::eek:



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