Any advice for a wimpy dog?

bex1984

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My little dog (4 yr old JRTx) is such a wimp. He used to be quite a brave little chap but he's scared of so many things now and I don't really know why.

He's scared of other dogs and has been for some time - so he reacts by barking and seeming aggressive which is a shame because we have to avoid other dogs which means we're restricted in where we can walk him etc.

Sometimes men scare him, anything that might fall on him scares him (he's just refused to sleep on my bed for 2 weeks because the washing basket was close to where he would sleep and he thought it would fall), he's scared of shadows on the ceiling at night, he's scared of the hoover, he's scared when we do DIY.

I work from home and he barks quite a lot during the day which is a bit tricky if I'm on the phone(!!) - and I'm certain it's all warning barking because he has heard a noise outside.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can help him learn to be a bit braver? I thought he wasn't getting enough walks so I massively increased this over the past few weeks and he's no different. Vet checked him last week and he's in great health.
 

Bryndu

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Hi,
I had a wry smile to myself at this as it SO resembles my wuss:)
I have a working border collie who is scared of everything....if a newspaper falls of the settee...he dashes from the room with his nose wrapped around his tail.....he is scared of squeaky toys, scared of other dogs etc...etc...
However....someone suggested I take him to a dog show......and I have to say...it was the making of him..he just didn't know who to tbe the most scared of.....and actually ended up enjoying himself and making a couple of new friends...He even went on to win the most obedient dog class with 20 in it!
He is still a wuss.....but SO much better and more relaxed about life...and at every opportunity I take him with me places as he loves being with people.

Best of luck.
Bryndu
 

Morag4

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One of my dogs is scared of other dogs ( has been attacked a couple of times) but he is getting better, I don't avoid other dogs but make sure I only allow calm respectful dogs to interact or try to interact with him, my other dogs have been a great help as they distract other dogs, so not so much pressure is put on mr scaredy pants and its helping. But it takes time a lot of it and for every step you take forward there is usally an accompanying slip back!

You could also get a behaviourist in to see if they can help!
 

Alec Swan

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I can only hope now that my words will be accepted, as they leave me. Our dogs are what we make them, all so often, and when we have animals who "Go all girly" on us, then mostly, we only have ourselves to blame. Perhaps 'blame' isn't the right word, but our ups and downs and our highs and our lows...... well they are all picked up by our dogs.

Let me explain; When I go to my kennels in the mornings, I can see exactly how my dogs are. If I've had words with the dragon, then the dogs are on their beds, and they mind their Ps&Qs. If I'm in a rush and ready for a day's shooting, then they'll leave the kennels at 90mph.

Not always, but often, we make our dogs what they are.

Alec.
 

Morag4

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Lost, in ever decreasing circles!
I can only hope now that my words will be accepted, as they leave me. Our dogs are what we make them, all so often, and when we have animals who "Go all girly" on us, then mostly, we only have ourselves to blame. Perhaps 'blame' isn't the right word, but our ups and downs and our highs and our lows...... well they are all picked up by our dogs.

Let me explain; When I go to my kennels in the mornings, I can see exactly how my dogs are. If I've had words with the dragon, then the dogs are on their beds, and they mind their Ps&Qs. If I'm in a rush and ready for a day's shooting, then they'll leave the kennels at 90mph.

Not always, but often, we make our dogs what they are.

Alec.
Definately agree with this!
 

bex1984

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I do understand Alec. I'm sure I'm not a complete nervous wreck though ;) I'm trying really hard not to even think about other dogs as we pass them on walks etc but I'm probably still tensing up and he's picking up on it.

He goes to stay at his breeder and is absolutely fine with her pack of dogs - he is usually OK with dogs he has come to kno.
 

bex1984

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Go and join a training class, check a few out first and find one that you are comfortable with, it will do wonders for your dogs confidence.
We have tried agility... He got too stressed by the other dogs :( I know this sounds awful but I'm struggling for time to take him to a class (especially if he's just going to be unhappy there!)
 

Saneta

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OP could try being assertive and seeing if that improves things. Otherwise, walk with someone else who has friendly dog(s) and perhaps throw a ball to divert any worries. Socializing is the key to a happy confident dog. OP could seek help from a behaviour ist who might be able to identify any problem, and gradually reintroduce him to other dogs in a positive way
 

Lunchbox legend

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It sounds like you might need to get a behaviourist to have a look over the issues, if he's ok at the breeders, in case it's something you might be doing without knowing you're doing it. Also, do you always go on the same route when out walking? If so, has something happened along it that stresses him out and he's now faced with it daily? His stress could be manifesting itself in all these other ways you mention.

Have there been any significant changes in your life in the last few weeks? Not that you need to detail it here on the forum but just mull over for yourself what's been happening in your life. Just a thought - I have heard of dogs behaving oddly when the owner had an illness that they themselves didn't yet know about...

While you're still doing the 'investigating', how about you go somewhere, where you can sit on a park bench (I know it's not ideal weather for that but that's what layers of clothes were made for :p ) and have a tuggy toy or something like that you can play with. When other people/dogs come past, just carry on as though nothing is happening so your dog has a distraction and pleasant experience.

If you were going to look up advice on the internet/in books, I'd like to voice my negative opinion on people like Cesar Milan or on tactics used in things like 'Dog Borstal'. I much prefer the approach of people like Roger Mumford or Victoria Stillwell.

It all sounds really unpleasant for your poor dog and for you - I hope your solution comes pretty quickly :).
 

bex1984

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If you know the breeder....what are his sire and dam like? Observe them yourself if you can rather than asking the breeder. Are they noisy? What is their reaction to loud noises etc?
I met his dad when he was a pup but he sadly died about 6 months later. We see his mum, grandma and half brothers and sisters all the time - they are all typical noisy terriers but even his breeder says that his bark is louder than all the rest and he does more 'alert' type barking than the others.

I'm tempted by the idea of sitting in a park and keeping him busy whole other dogs pass by. He is very distracted by a ball but becomes completely obsessed with it and it seems to make him more antisocial.

Maybe I am stressed. Today I am stressed - smashed my car windscreen yesterday when a pigeon flew into it when I was going at 55mph, and I've just had a phone call to say my little girl is poorly and I'm at least an hour and a half away. I think my oh can walk him tonight!
 
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