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Marley Girl

Fearful BC Pup Barking at the World

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I seem to be doing things wrong and, of course, that is not my intention. There's absolutely nothing that has happened to her that could have set in a level of fear that needs to be tip-toed around, so I'm probably best off to get some professional help to determine the basis for her fear and help her overcome it. Thank you all for your help.

 

I think this is a great idea. It's obvious that you love your girl very much and want the best for her. I wouldn't, for an instant, think of consulting a professional as a defeat. You are doing the best you can, but it does sound like you could use some help. The fact that she's only showing this behavior while on leash (i.e. she's "leash reactive") means that one of the most important aspects to her recovery will be your handling skills. The right trainer should be able to help you improve and tailor your handling skills to Marley's needs. I wish you the very best going forward!

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I appreciate all the good advice and well wishes. I know one of these days I will be able to take my Marley girl to a dog-friendly outdoor eatery with the family and have a good time (and be able to eat :)

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My dog found the strangest things terrifying when he was young, and as something became less scary he would add a new one to the list, if you meet him today or see him at an agility trial you would think he was a confident dog, but he and I know the truth and you will often find him siting behind my legs in public just to be sure that everything is safe, but we go every where and do anything, he is now confident that I am there for protection.

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I seem to be doing things wrong and, of course, that is not my intention. There's absolutely nothing that has happened to her that could have set in a level of fear that needs to be tip-toed around, so I'm probably best off to get some professional help to determine the basis for her fear and help her overcome it. Thank you all for your help.

 

 

As someone else said, don't beat yourself up! The thing with border collies is that nothing needs to happen to trigger some odd behavior. Trust me, I know!

 

Six months is very much an age where they go through a fear period. At that age, my Gael abruptly decided she was mortally terrified of the crinkly plastic grocery bags that we brought home from the store. I know perfectly well she had never been attacked by a pack of savage grocery bags - she just decided the noise was godawful and freaked out. She eventually got over it. B)

 

Later on, she decided she was terrified of strangers - all strangers. There was no reason for it. Nobody had scared her or traumatized her. But one day she decided she could not stand having anyone look at or approach her. And nobody had done anything wrong! It was just Gael's weird brain. :rolleyes: All I could do was wait and be patient and continue doing normal things. With her brother along for courage, she finally outgrew that and today, at age 4, she pretty much loves everybody.

 

Though if you make any sudden sharp movement or raise your voice, she'll still vanish into the other room.

 

It's just how their minds are wired. It just takes time and patience. Wait. Let her grow up. She'll come into her own.

 

The one thing I would say is that, whoever you take her to, make sure they know border collies. Do not take her to someone who is not familiar with the breed, as they cannot be handled like your average skittish Golden Retriever or shy spaniel.

 

Most of all, relax and know that it's okay. She'll be fine. It's merely a phase in her development and this too shall pass. :)

 

~ Gloria

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Marley Girl,

 

I don't know a lot about training as my border collie, Roscoe, is the first dog I have actually trained myself. But, based on my observations with him, I think you have a lot of reason to be hopeful. I got Roscoe from a farm in Eastern South Dakota when he was 6 months old. He had never been away from the farm. The town I live near, Custer, SD, is not a very big town, but he was afraid of so many things in town for the first few months. Plastic bags, fire hydrants, construction barrels, rolling trash cans, lots of things. Pretty much if it wasn't a part of the natural environment, he would tuck his tail between his legs and shy away from it. He didn't bark, but he was definitely afraid. We just backed off from going all the way into town for a few months. We walked off-leash a lot in the woods near my home, taught him to like fetch and Frisbee, etc... Occasionally, I would walk toward town until he showed signs of acting skittish, then we turned around and walked back.

 

Once he developed a strong play drive, I started training him to be a Search and Rescue dog as I am a member of the local Search and Rescue team. Boy, has his confidence grown through the months. I used his love of playing ball to also help him adjust to new environments. He can pretty much block out everything and focus on the ball and have a fun time. He is now 13-months-old and is progressing well in his search skills, social skills, and confidence. Yesterday, I had him at a Trade Show held at our local high school for about 4 hours. He did great! He wasn't crazy about walking on the tile floor to start with, but I used a little bit of tossing him the ball to help him get over it. I was just so amazed and so pleased with how confidently he handled everything. He loved people coming by to say, "Hi." He didn't freak out when the bells occasionally rang. (Actually, I jumped more than he did.) He went outside and played fetch for a little while with several of the Civil Air Patrol kids (under my supervision). They just loved him.

 

If you would have asked me when he was 8-months-old if I ever saw a day when Roscoe could deal with that kind of commotion, I would have said no. But, backing off a little, giving him a chance to get beyond some of those fearful stages, being involved in activities (searching and skijoring) where he felt successful and gained confidence, and just growing in our bond seems to have worked wonders.

 

I have read topics on these boards for months without ever posting. But, I felt I just needed to share about my limited experience, hoping maybe it could encourage you that Marley can grow from a fearful dog to a confident one. Best wishes in your journey. Just take your cues from Marley and try to be a calm, confident owner. :)

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. The town I live near, Custer, SD,

...

 

I have read topics on these boards for months without ever posting. But, I felt I just needed to share about my limited experience, hoping maybe it could encourage you that Marley can grow from a fearful dog to a confident one. Best wishes in your journey. Just take your cues from Marley and try to be a calm, confident owner. :)

Welcome justlearning. It sounds like you have done a fabulous job with your dog.

 

Just wanted to say that I loved Custer. Very cool little town. I did the tourist thing about 4 years ago on a one week driving vacation in SD. Custer State Park ROCKS!

 

Sorry to go off topic.

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Yes, Custer is a great town to call home, and Custer State Park is pretty awesome. It's great that they allow dogs to be off-leash in the park during the off-season. (I think it's October through March.) Of course, we don't do that in the areas where we're likely to run into buffalo. It's still weird to me when I go for a hike and come across buffalo.

 

Thanks for the welcome.

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