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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It may sound like a stupid question but how do I build confidence in indie? I always praise with my voice positive interactions but She's become wary of dogs, especially when there is more than 1 and stands to attention before going forward. She's very good with dogs she knows, loves playing etc but new dogs are a bit nerve wracking I think for her. She also doesn't like dogs coming near me and will shepherd them away, or tell them off which I disagree with and need to do something about...?

So any advice as to how to build her confidence?
 

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It may sound like a stupid question but how do I build confidence in indie? I always praise with my voice positive interactions but She's become wary of dogs, especially when there is more than 1 and stands to attention before going forward. She's very good with dogs she knows, loves playing etc but new dogs are a bit nerve wracking I think for her. She also doesn't like dogs coming near me and will shepherd them away, or tell them off which I disagree with and need to do something about...?

So any advice as to how to build her confidence?
How old is she? If its happened suddenly dogs can go through a second fear period anytime between 6/14 months breeds and individuals differ, and something I was reading awhile ago said that gun dog breeds seem to go through it a bit later then others. When they enter a fear period it can be sudden, and they can become unconfident wary of situations and sights and sounds and sometimes really fearful even to things they have encountered and seemed fine with before. If it is that then best way is to give them the time and patience to see their fears are unfounded, avoid frightening situations as much as possible and make good positive experiences with calm non reactive friendly dogs to build her confidence. If there is any friends and families dogs that fit the bill that might be a good way. Keeping calm and encouraging her can help too, when you see other dogs, talking to her in an encouraging way, things like whos this, going to say hello making your voice calm and interesting.

You may find too its the way other dogs approach her, if they run up head on full of themselves with no manners or as you say are in number that too will likely not help in unerving her.

You could speak to a few trainers and see what they can suggest in the way of classes they may have that would be good with a dog who needs to build confidence. Obviously over subscribed noisy mad houses should be avoided at all costs. Welcome to APDT - Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK is one organisation where you should find a trainer and classes in your area, they only use kind fair reward based training too.
 

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Just another thought is she at an age where she could be approaching a sit out season, some bitches can act a bit out of character with other dogs then too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thank you for taking the time to write all of that. Really interesting. she's 13 months now- not had a season (but then she's had this wariness for a few months so its not a 'new' thing). I was hoping she was going through that fear period before but as its continued I want to help her through it.

ETA- Saying that- she's been very unsettled the past few days in the mornings and be probably more wary recently so perhaps she is coming into season finally, on top of being a little wary already.

Oh definitely agree about 'how dogs approach'- only today a dog came charig up and almost knocked her over (and me twice) which was exactly what he didn't need. Will be avoiding her in future. Anyway, I'll employ this wen coursing techniques and try and keep her calm- I found today by distracting we with a game of 'find the treat' (in some cover) she relaxed a bit as a dog barked over the other side of some open space. She kept looking up to see what was happening and to watch as it moved- but I kept encouraging her to ins the great and she went back to her little job. I don't know I that's avoiding the issue or just distracting and helping her feel more comfortable?
 

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Hows her recall? If shes off lead, then you could call he back as soon as you see body language and signs shes getting wary and unsure so that she orientates back to you avoiding problems that might spook her further or give her bad experiences at the moment. If she can still be a little hit and miss at times with recall then working on it more might help.

If shes on lead and wary of dogs approaching, which they often are even more as they feel disadvantaged, you can teach the watch me reliably at home, so that you can get her focus and attention of you and keep it with treats, it should also help make good associations with dogs approaching too.
Plus if she glances at the dog and shows no signs of uncertainty you can then praise and reward for that too.
 

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Forgot to add the game you played today is a good idea too, as it should teach her to ignore other dogs that may be a problem, and the distraction of it should overcome any anxiety in situations. Its also good for keeping them interested in you as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Her recall on the whistle is pretty much perfect so i could definitely call her back to me and treat as dogs pass. She's never far from me, but if I stopped and called her back to me rather than carrying on walking and encouraging her she might relax better.

And yes on-lead is an issue and I have been trying to do watch- she's good without distractions but as soon as there's a dog she wants to watch it rather than me- I guess higher value treats and a more stable watch is needed?

It's so hard because some of the time she'll be absolutely fine meeting a dog for the first time- he other day she played beautifully with a 5 month old ridgie- and then the next day or even on the same walk, she's just not that friendly. I understand that not all dogs will like all dogs but ts a little more than that I think. She is a good judge of character of other dogs, but I think she's overcompensating. I don't know, but I shall employ all of those things and see how we get on.
 

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Her recall on the whistle is pretty much perfect so i could definitely call her back to me and treat as dogs pass. She's never far from me, but if I stopped and called her back to me rather than carrying on walking and encouraging her she might relax better.

And yes on-lead is an issue and I have been trying to do watch- she's good without distractions but as soon as there's a dog she wants to watch it rather than me- I guess higher value treats and a more stable watch is needed?

It's so hard because some of the time she'll be absolutely fine meeting a dog for the first time- he other day she played beautifully with a 5 month old ridgie- and then the next day or even on the same walk, she's just not that friendly. I understand that not all dogs will like all dogs but ts a little more than that I think. She is a good judge of character of other dogs, but I think she's overcompensating. I don't know, but I shall employ all of those things and see how we get on.
With the watch me you sometimes have to build up the distractions first by starting at a distance from dogs that she is still comfortable with and not reactive and practise it outside, then as she gets better and you know that you can get and keep her focus, then you can decrease the distances as you go step by step whist still training it, until you can even have dogs passing at close range and still keep her attention and focus.
Timing is important too that you do it before she starts to fixate on the dogs or get uncertain about them. Again if she does glance at the dogs and doesnt seem bothered then back to you treat for that too. Only though if she isnt axious and just shows an interested or relaxed glance at them.

Cheese chicken sausages, hotdogs, anything liver based is good, whats usually good too is the cheese spread in tubes that you can get with bits of ham and allsorts in, most dogs once you have squeezed out a bit and they have got a taste seem to get engrossed trying to lick and get more out the tube. Sometimes toys too or balls can get and keep focus better rewarding with an interact game instead. These were used a lot at training as they have squeakers in them and because they are stuffing free are easy to carry about
Skinneeez Stuffing Free Crazy Critters Dog Toys

With Nanuq its tennis balls she cant resist them and it gains her immediate interest.
 
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