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nervous dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by blle05, Aug 17, 2009.


  1. blle05

    blle05 PetForums Newbie

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    i have a three year old border collie bitch who is very nervous about going out, she also does not like it when people come into our home the olny exception is my mum and dad who she has known (and lived with) since we got her three years ago. she shows alot of nervous behaviour like licking her lips, panting and pulling on a lead when she is out. she is that bad when she is out that we have been asked if she was a rescue dog and if she has been beaten, neither of these things have ever happened to her. we have two other dogs who are the complete opposite and we have not treated them any differently. i'm just wondering if anybody knows how to help her because she is a very loving dog to people she knows and i dont know how to help her.
     
  2. kelseye

    kelseye Banned

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    hi i would say that you could take you dog on walks in places that are not full of people dogs children so she can build a bit of confidence up also Do not comfort her or reprimand her if he shows fear at any time. Instead you should talk to her in a perfectly normal voice anything to let her know that you are not in the slightest bothered by strangers and that therefore there is no reason for her to be worried.
    also warn other people when or if they aproach her to keep away...

    even if this meens getting up extra early so there is less people out when you walk to start off with

    hope this helps ;)
     
  3. blle05

    blle05 PetForums Newbie

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    thanks, we're going to start doing that with her. shes ok off the lead and 9 times out of 10 isnt bothered by anything dogs/ children and other people but only if shes off the lead, if shes on a lead she really stresses out.
     
  4. Natik

    Natik PetForums VIP

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    On lead the dog is in a situation where it cant escape thats where then anxiety will be higher.

    Do u take her out on her own for walks or together with ur other dogs?

    I would sit down with her in a park trying let her watch people, dogs and children and like the other person said dont comfort her when she is anxious as this will only make it worse encouraging the anxiety.

    When she is settled i would ask some ppl to come up slowly to her and give her a treat so she can slowly build up trust to strangers and see them as something positive instead of fearing them
     
  5. Bobbie

    Bobbie PetForums VIP

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    Maybe if you go out with the other dogs it may give her a bit more confidence. I know collies can be a bit skittish at times when my boy sees something that worries him I just walk pass it and say your fine this seems to do the trick.
     
  6. xpalaboyx

    xpalaboyx PetForums VIP

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    gradually introduce your dog to other dogs and people around and im sure he will adjust to it eventually...
     
  7. lemmsy

    lemmsy PetForums VIP

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    Definately buy a copy of the following book (booklet).
    It is called

    The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell

    and teaches you how to help you dog get over it's fears.

    You can buy it on zooplus I believe.


    First thing I think you need to do is identify exactly what objects/people/ situations she is fearful. Then you can begin desensitizing and counterconditioning her to these things. You want to change her emotional reaction and perception of these things. So that rather than he thinking "Oh no here comes a big scary person" it's more of a :
    "Yay he comes a person- I always get hotdogs when I see people- aren't they fun things to be around".

    As she is a collie and very bright I think clicker training her would be a fabulous idea.

    The other point to bear in mind is that you need to make sure that you are feeling confident even in the presense of something you know will spook her. The reason is, if not your tension will go straight down the lead to her. If muzzling her temporarily when you are out makes you feel more confident, do it because it will consequently help the confidence of your dog and help her get over her nervousness. I think, stupid as it sounds, singing to the dog in a light hearted positive manner is great when you see something you know they are scared of. Patricia McConnell advises singing "Happy Birthday"- it's hard for you to be nervous when doing so and the dog should hopefully pick up the positivity in your voice and relax a little.
    On your walks make sure you bring stuff that she LOVES and I mean loves. Really high value food and her favourite toys. I don't mean ordinary boring kibble if she's not motivated by it- I mean hot dog sausages, cooked sausages, chicken, homemade dog treats, fishy treats, tennis balls, squeaky toys, tuggy toys. All the things she loves. You want her to associate these amazing things coming only when the "scary" things are about. That way she should start to see them as more of a positive thing. "Yippee here comes another person- hotdogs coming up!!!"
    With visitors to the house- if she is toy motivated, I would have a special toy left by the door taht she only has when visitors come round. Have a few friends call round, knock on the door, open the door and lob the toy towards her before closing it again and disappearing. Praise her profusely for playing with her toy rather than reacting to the scarey visitors. You want to work on this alone loads before you even think about letting the visitors in to stay for a short period... You need to do everything gradually in stages, not moving on to thje next stage until she is 100% happy with the first.

    A few other questions:
    How much execise does she get?
    What is she fed on?
    How does she get on with your other dogs?
    When did the nervous/fearful behaviour start?

    My main advise to you would be to make everything in her life, especially involving scarey things extremely positive. Defo. don't go down the aversive treatment road. Everything has to be positive, positive, positive if you want to help her rather than treating only the symptoms and making it worse.


    Hope this helps :)
     
    #7 lemmsy, Aug 18, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
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