Fearful Poodle

This is a discussion thread · 4 replies
Joy:
Help! I have a 2 year old standard poodle and he is very afraid of unfamiliar people. To the point where his barking and occasional snapping have gotten him "kicked out" of our favorite doggy daycare/ boarding. Everything I read says,socialize, socialize, socialize and we do this as much as possible, but as many of you know, dogs are not welcome in most places. I am desperately looking for any suggestions to help our family with this. He is a very sweet dog with people he knows!
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Gwen Watson:
[nq:1]Help! I have a 2 year old standard poodle and he is very afraid of unfamiliar people. To the point ... looking for any suggestions to help our family with this. He is a very sweet dog with people he knows![/nq]
Have you taken him to formal Basic Obedience training?

Also trips to PetsMart or Petco may help with this problem. Especially if you bring lots of treats along and give it to strangers to fee him.

Gwen
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Tara O.:
[nq:1]Help! I have a 2 year old standard poodle and he is very afraid of unfamiliar people. To the point ... looking for any suggestions to help our family with this. He is a very sweet dog with people he knows![/nq]
Sometimes forced-socialization is the exact opposite of what you should do but it all depends on the dog. Has he always been this way or is this a more recent development? How long have you been trying to socialize him and how frequently do you make the attempts? What have you tried so far in terms of socialization? By "unfamiliar" do you mean total strangers or does he also react to people he's met before but whom he hasn't seen often?

-- Tara
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Leah:
[nq:1] Help! I have a 2 year old standard poodle and he is very afraid of unfamiliar people. To the ... looking for any suggestions to help our family with this. He is a very sweet dog with people he knows![/nq]
Did you have him before he was 5 months old? If so, that was the time to socialize him. You really have to catch that 10 weeks to 5 months window to familiarize a dog with strangers, or he can become fearful or aggressive as he matures.

You can still work with him to get him less reactive, but it's a lot harder.

1. Discover where his physical boundaries are. At what distance from a stranger does he become fearful?

2. Start further away than that boundary. Go somewhere there will be a lot of people and sit with a baggie of treats at a safe (for him) distance. Whenever he notices a person and doesn't show fear, praise him and stuff him full of treats until they are out of sight. If at any time he shows fear or aggression, stop feeding him and ignore him. You are trying to associate strangers with good things, at a distance he will be comfortable.

3. When he is perfectly relaxed at that distance, move a bit closer and start again. If he reacts, move further away again. Go at his pace.

4. Rinse, lather, repeat.

PetsMart Pet Trainer My Kids, My Students, My Life: http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Last updated June 27 at 10:00 a.m.
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Joy:
Leah,

Thanks for this technique. It sounds like a great way to ease him in at his own comfortable pace. We actually started doing this today while we were walking and his barking definitely has already subsided. The combo of the praise and the treat are always great behavior modifiers.

Joy
[nq:2] Help! I have a 2 year old standard poodle ... He is a very sweet dog with people he knows![/nq]
[nq:1]Did you have him before he was 5 months old? If so, that was the time to socialize him. You ... Rinse, lather, repeat. PetsMart Pet Trainer My Kids, My Students, My Life: http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Last updated June 27 at 10:00 a.m.[/nq]
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.