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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

Scout is now 6 months old and for some reason she has started to get very nervous of loud noises and large objects (ie motorcycles, vans etc), when we are out on our walks.

She never used to be this bad - I would say the usual nervousness for a young pup but as I said, she seems to be getting worse with it.

For example with large objects, if we pass a van, she will sidle up close to me and then as we pass it pull hard on the lead as if to get away from it.

With noises, if something is banged hard eg a door/drawer closing, she will really jump.

I'm hoping it's just purely being a puppy still.

Has anyone else had this problem?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Best wishes

Liz
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Liz, it's likely a phase, but your best bet is to act perfectly normal around the things that frighten her. No coddling or "that's okay, baby" reactions, since that will reinforce for her that there's something to be scared about! You can also desensitize her by letting a drawer bang shut and quickly giving her a treat. Do this often and not only won't she startle, she'll think it's normal and not a bad thing. You can use the same technique with vans, etc. When I got Finn, he'd never even set foot on grass, so you can imagine what he hadn't been exposed to. We'd sit on the front lawn waiting for the terrifying garbage truck, get a treat the closer it got and then the mother lode of treats when it was in front of our house. Took two weeks, but he culdn't care less about large, noisy vehicles:)
 

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Finn's Fan suggested a great way to get her comfortable around things that typically scare her. The trick is to expose her just enough to the negative stimulus to make her nervous, but not enough for her to have a full on freakout of pulling, shaking, barking, etc. If you feed her a favorite treat or two when she's in that nervous but not fully freaked out state, you can get her acclimated. If she's too nervous to take food, she's too freaked out, so back off the stimulus.

I agree on starting with the drawer. Sounds like she's noise-shy in general, so starting with something fairly mellow that you have a high degree of control over is smart. Finn's Fan is also right on with the suggestion not to coddle. High-pitched voices in particular can make a dog think there's something really worth being afraid of. Just shut the door, give a cookie, and say "good girl," like she's just gotten a trick right.

Once she's cool with the drawers and doors, you can take her back out near some noisy cars and play the same game.
 

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Mom to Fyodor & Gibson
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Gibson (almost 7 months) just went through this a few weeks ago. I believe it's a fear period. He suddenly got scared one night when we were playing fetch and the ball hit the oven and made a sound. He had never minded it before. All of a sudden, he was weary (not downright frightened or shaking, but very suspicious and a bit nervous) of walls, the bathroom, toilet... I didn't make a big deal, didn't coddle, and just started throwing tiny bits of steak into the bathroom while sitting nearby and once he saw Fyodor (cat) running in to eat the treats, Gibson tentatively followed in to go get the treats. We did this for just a minute or two and did it every night and he was fine. The first time, he only stretched out his neck by the toilet to quickly grab the treats so he wouldn't have to go all in. It was really funny. But within a few days, he was better. I heard that most of the times, they'll just grow out of the fear period on their own, but I just didn't want any chance of him developing some weird irrational fear of bathrooms or walls or toilets, so I did those sessions of throwing food in casually and making sure not to force anything on him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just wanted to say thanks to all those who answered my post. You have all been most helpful, so thanks very much indeed.

I find this site so useful and reassuring as sometimes you wonder if it's just your dog acting strangely or not well etc., etc. but it turns out it's all quite normal with our Golden Retrievers.

Thanks again.

Best wishes

Liz and of course Scout
xx
 
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