Noise shy dog?
I have a one year old German Wirehaired pointer. She is a great dog but has been developing a noise shyness over the past few months. Starting in Aug she would shy from any loud noises, at first it was the tone of our voices or raised voices and she would not come to us. I am not talking about yelling at her, just when you are in a hurry trying to leave the house and raise your voice to call her she would shy away with her tail between her legs then we would have to sit down and cox her to us. Very strange since we have done very little disciplining and never yelled at her. Then she started to run when the vehicles would be started if she was outside. Now she crawls under my wifes legs when they are started even when she is inside the house. Took her hunting throughout teh month of Sep and she started out fine with gunshots then started running off when they would go off. My wife and I have no idea what brought this on or if there is anything we can do to help her. Any ideas?
Many years ago i was given a lab that was about a year old she was scared of her own shadow. I had a book called the water dog and what it said to do was make loud noises bang two boards etcetera every time you feed it or give it a treat. It worked for the most part. She finally did good with the shot gun but still was scared of the chain saw ice auger or even 4 wheeler. In the boat she just trembled. Hard thing to fix Chef
Thanks chef viktor I will give that a try. At this piont it can't hurt anything. I just don't understand what triggered this.
Maybe it's a medical thing? Infection?... Is there head shaking going on?
We had a gun shy bluetick coonhound when I was a kid , My dad bought a starter pistol and had me shoot just before I fed the dogs each day. It took several months but it worked. You don't want to do it close to the dog and have it tied up so it can't run away.
Chef hit it on the head.. There's a series of three books that are absolutely awesome and cover every imagineable situation with sporting type dogs. They are "Water Dog", "Gun Dog" and "Home Dog". All are authored by the same people who are super knowledgable dog experts/trainers/professionals/etc...
Also, your dog could be one of those types (you probably don't want to hear this) that just doesn't like and will never like certain noises. Unfortunately, "sometimes" that does happen.
My .02... Good luck...
For the love of God don't buy into the Richard Wolters stuff....there are so many better books out there.
From your description, I think that there are one of two things going on here.
1) YOU may not doing bad things that the dog associates wtih loud noises, but what are your neighbors doing while you are at work?
2) This could be a genetic thing. True genetic gunshyness is truly never curable, only through lots of patience can you make it less noticable. Try www.uplandbirddog.com for some pros who can help.
Thanks for all the help. I did some research on the net and from what I have seen on here, trying the reward with a loud noise sounds like a good option.
I live in military housing and am on my second set of neighbors since I got the dog. Both have been quiet and she is in the house when we are not at home. Suprisingly the walls are pretty soundproof.
My wife had her at the vet last month for an infection on her ear and the vet did not see anything at that time so I don't think its an ear infection. She doesn't shake her head like dogs that I have seen with ear infections. But she does rub her head and body on the couch. Beggining to think she has some sort of allergy. The vet put her on steriods and antibiotics, my wife mentioned while on those she stopped scratching on the couch. Now that she is off the meds she is back to scratching on the couch. Don't think that allergies are the cause because my wife said she was still noise shy when on the meds.
I started her out like all the books and online experts say. Gradual exposure to noises, interactions with other dogs and strangers, going on car rides, etc. She did great with all of that, very outgoing and never shy of anything. Then she started shying away from men when they would come by the house or when one would try to pet her when we would be out. After that the noise shyness started and had just kept getting worse and worse. She just has me baffled.
The only other thing I have been able to come up with is seperation anxiety. being in the military I was home a lot last winter and spring after getting her. Then starting in June I started being gone a lot prepping for this deloyment to Iraq.
Whatever you do, when she shy's away from you, dont acknowledge it. Ignore her, same with any company that comes over. When she starts that dont give her treats or anything of the sort to get her to 'come around'...what will end up happening is her thinking that this behavior is exceptable. In the mean time I would get her to some training classes where a trainer can help you work through this. If its genetic its harder to work with but can be worked around, There are alot of dog training places. If your in Anchorage I can suggest some very good trainers. Nip it in the butt quickly other wise it will become habit.
Books are fine and dandy but it sounds as though you need more than just yourself to get her over this fear stage. Dogs have a fear/flight stage from 4-8 months and the second fear imprint is 6-14 months. If she hasnt had any problems until now, I would be suspect to the second fear imprint.
Here are some hints...
Avoid extremes in your response (no anger or forcing or over comforting)
Be patient and understanding.
Be aware of surrounding and potential triggers.
Work on desensitizing her with gradual introductions with rewards.
Avoid too much reassurance or coddling (which is a reward for this behavior)
Don’t over react or correct the fearfulness – just make light of it and encourage her to deal with her fear (work through the fear).
Praise with grand rewards for her attempts.
Your dog will take her clues from you, if you act frightened or concerned she will too.
One other thing, I know its hard to do, but have treats ready at all times, walk around with them in your pocket and anytime she does something that you like reward her. Give her an excited "YES!" as you give her the treat. Anytime she shys away, ignore the behavior and put her mind on something else. like Playing ball? redirect the energy that shes putting into the fear, into something she enjoys.
Hope this helps
The Dog Whisperer. . .
Go to BlockBuster and rent (ask them to get it if they don't stock it) The Dog Whisperer. . . the most amazing thing I've ever seen.
Check his methods and try to apply them to your situation.