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Old 12-29-2012, 01:55 AM
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Bentley fear period??

I've been reading on the forum and it sounds to me like Bentley is going through a fear period. I'm not sure though because from what I've read it sounds like it happens around 7 months and he's 5 1/2 months.

He's always been one to check out new things and really doesn't show fear of items or sounds for the most part. Large dogs and loud trucks he's not fond of and will hide behind Ky but the last couple of days he seems to be skittish around new things.

I bought a new clothes basket and he acted pretty scared of it. There's been several everyday items like that he seems to be afraid of all of a sudden. Could this be a fear period at his age? And if it is, is there something I need to do..or not do? I don't want him to develop fears for life but the info I'm reading seems to be quite mixed.

I don't notice anything different other than being skittish, unless you count the fact that he's growing so big I wonder if his mom 'met' a horse
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:01 AM
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It could very well be a fear stage. I think there are two fear stages. Molly's in the second one right now. She gets scared of inanimate objects to the point where she will bark and maybe growl. But she doesn't shy away, she wants to go check it out. Her fear for a certain object really doesn't last more than 10 seconds. Her fears in the past include: plastic bag with paw prints, lawn chair, bison, easel, sled, mailbox, some kind of really tall flower/plant and some others. It's pretty funny actually... But I just continue walking like nothing's going on. She gets over it very quickly.


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Old 12-29-2012, 02:05 AM
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That sounds like him. The baby next door left a pink ball in her back yard and when Bentley went outside he was barking at the ball, walking toward it slowly, backing away, barking. Several silly items like that.

So, I should just ignore it altogether? Thanks
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:16 AM
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I would probably redirect his attention. It usually happens on walks with us so I just ignore it and continue walking. One time she did bark out the window at apparently nothing and I tried to remove her but she kept going back so I figured if that's what she wants to do then so be it. She got over it and it hasn't happened again.


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Old 12-29-2012, 03:18 AM
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After I read your post, my wife and I talked about whether we have ever seen Max exhibit fear. Neither of us can remember him being afraid of anything--a noise such as a loud truck, another dog or a strange object.

We think there are a couple of reasons for his calm temperament. First, his initial upbringing and breeding. Max's breeder raised the puppies in their home with several other Goldens. It was a calm, loving environment. He was well socialized with the other puppies, the other adult dogs and the humans.

Second, from the very beginning, we exposed Max to the world. The first week we had him, at 11 weeks, we took him to Pismo Beach where we stayed in our 5th wheel. The RV park was busy, with a lot of noisy diesel trucks. We walked him around the park--he met a lot of people and experienced many new sights and sounds. Plus there was the 250 mile drive to get there, as well as walks in and around Pismo.

In the 2+ years since then, we have taken Max many places--shopping malls, stores, more trips to Pismo and elsewhere. He has visited an assisted living facility, where none of the residents, or the apparatus they used, bothered him. He goes to dog park. Nothing seems to faze him.

In comparison, our previous Golden, Chewy, was afraid of her own shadow. For example, on trash day, when the big diesel trash trucks came, Chewy was a nervous wreck. We think her skittishness was due to her being a pet store/puppy mill dog. She was difficult to take anywhere, because so many things frightened her.

So, I think the best thing to do for Bentley is to expose him to as many stimuli as possible. Get him out in the world so he can learn that all those new sights and sounds will not hurt him.
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:52 AM
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While I agree that socialization is important and a life long process, the fear period itself is not due to lack of socialization. It is more apparent in some dogs than others but it doesn't make one dog more socialized than the other. Molly has been exposed to loud noises since she was 8 weeks old. We live off a very busy street and the first thing we did was sit outside and let her watch the traffic. There is a ton of honking because there is a merge and a lot of bad drivers who don't know how to merge properly). I took her everywhere, as socialization is my number one priority. She even went on a 3,000 mile road trip when she was 5 months old (this is how she "met" the bison). I would not say Molly is a fearful dog at all or under socialized. She is very confident -- she will check out the item that scared her and will move on. The fear period is completely normal, but how you handle it is VERY important.

My breeder sent all her puppy parents a packet on puppy raising that mentioned the fear period so I knew what to expect. Her puppy K trainer also touched on it.

Here is a link to the developmental stages in puppies:

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/Dev...talStages.html

Don't worry, this is just a phase, and Bentley will grow up to be a confident, stable dog (provided you don't screw up during this fear period.. Jk!! ).


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Old 12-29-2012, 06:30 AM
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Coop hit a fear stage about that age too, and for him it was a biggie. He woke up one morning and was afraid to go outside (through the doggie door) to the yard. Don't know to this day why. Was it the darkness, the quiet street? Dont know but we had to walk with him outside before he would do his business. This lasted for a couple of months, everything else he would approach even if it bothered him, but going outside without someone was something he just one day refussed to do.

I also believe making any deal of it is wrong. I think I fostered the idea cause I would talk to him in a baby voice as I tried to reassure him. Think now, I would have just stepped outside quietly with him and not babied him. I made it worse.

Know it is a fear stage and yes Coop hit it early too, but he had another when he was about 7 mo where he became a bit afraid of shopping bags, anything new in the den. We did nothing and he forgot about it. Kye never went through any fear stage I can remember. Just don't baby Bentley, make it nothing, show him the object and go on. Don't do as I did.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:51 AM
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Thanks everyone. I read that link and it says.."Continue positive socialization exposure, but be careful to avoid overwhelming situations."

Almost every morning Bentley goes to the nursing home with me to visit my MIL. He loves it there and he's always on his best behavior because he gets spoiled rotten. Nothing bothers him and if something is different he usually approaches to check it out.

This AM in the hall on the way to her room a man walked by us with a rather squeaky walker, normally Bentley wouldn't even pay attention to something like that but today he was visibly afraid, pulling on the leash and trying to run the other way. I put him in a sit/stay until the man turned the corner then we continued on but he was walking with his tail and head down, looking around like the boogey man was hiding somewhere.

So should I avoid taking him there for awhile? It says continue socialization but be careful to avoid overwhelming situations so is this overwhelming for him? It never has been in the past. When we pull into the parking lot he gets super excited because he loves all the attention but I don't want to overwhelm him if it's a fear period.

MIL has a roomie that has a breathing machine, he has never paid it any attention but today he seems a bit spooked by the noise it makes. I would hate to have to stop these visits because everyone there looks forward to spending the morning with him but at the same time I don't want to create a fearful dog.

It's strange because we always joke that Ky is raising Bentley to be an Akita, he's very brave normally and she taught him to "walk the perimeter" to check for danger which he loves doing, they take turns doing it but now he's spending more time hugged up tight to Ky when they go outside.

Raising babies was a whole lot easier than figuring out what's going on inside this little munchkins head
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentleysmom View Post
Thanks everyone. I read that link and it says.."Continue positive socialization exposure, but be careful to avoid overwhelming situations."

Almost every morning Bentley goes to the nursing home with me to visit my MIL. He loves it there and he's always on his best behavior because he gets spoiled rotten. Nothing bothers him and if something is different he usually approaches to check it out.

This AM in the hall on the way to her room a man walked by us with a rather squeaky walker, normally Bentley wouldn't even pay attention to something like that but today he was visibly afraid, pulling on the leash and trying to run the other way. I put him in a sit/stay until the man turned the corner then we continued on but he was walking with his tail and head down, looking around like the boogey man was hiding somewhere.

So should I avoid taking him there for awhile? It says continue socialization but be careful to avoid overwhelming situations so is this overwhelming for him? It never has been in the past. When we pull into the parking lot he gets super excited because he loves all the attention but I don't want to overwhelm him if it's a fear period.

MIL has a roomie that has a breathing machine, he has never paid it any attention but today he seems a bit spooked by the noise it makes. I would hate to have to stop these visits because everyone there looks forward to spending the morning with him but at the same time I don't want to create a fearful dog.

It's strange because we always joke that Ky is raising Bentley to be an Akita, he's very brave normally and she taught him to "walk the perimeter" to check for danger which he loves doing, they take turns doing it but now he's spending more time hugged up tight to Ky when they go outside.

Raising babies was a whole lot easier than figuring out what's going on inside this little munchkins head
Poor Bentley. And poor you too!!!! I'm not sure what I would do in this instance! I do remember Maggie going through a fear period and we continued our normal routines, but were careful about new situations. Hopefully someone "in the know" will chime in as I am most interested to hear their opinions.

We have already talked about how we would handle one with Sage, seeing as how she will probably go through one soon. I think I read between 8-10 weeks. Right now she just rolls with the flow. She is cautious with some things, such as the shovel...but I just stood outside with her on a leash while DH shoveled and let her watch. Didn't say a word when she came and sat on my feet. By the time we were done, she was sniffing the shovel and licking the snow off of it. I think we got over that one. Although things we think she would be afraid of, she isn't...she already snuck down the basement steps and is trying to go back for more. Had to put up a baby gate.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:51 PM
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How about working something like the "Look at that" game? That way you are rewarding him for looking at what is scaring him, making the "scary" things associated with reinforcement and thus positive. The key to the game I've found is beginning far enough away and moving closer slowly. So say a wheelchair at the hospital is scaring him. Go a ways away from it and put him in a sit. Every time he looks at the chair say "yes"/click/whatever your marker is and give a treat. Once he is doing really well, move a little closer and do it all over again. I've found that forcing dogs to ignore something scary and look only at you can make them even more worried about what is out there. So if you reward them for looking at the scary thing and then turning back to you for a treat, you are turning the scary thing into an opportunity to get treats. I've seen this work especially on dog reactive dogs to make them calmer around other dogs in class.
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