We have had Fences for a month now and for the most part, everything is going really well.
When we first got her she was so terrified of everything. We couldn't touch her neck, pet her on her lower back, or get her to eat without us leaving the room.
Luckily, we can put a collar on her without her flipping out and she can munch out with her heart's content without worrying about us being right there beside her. She'll let us pet her but you can tell she is still a little wary.
Sometimes though, she will just become so frightened by us that she trembles and runs away to hide.
All it will take is us moving our hand just a little to quickly. I feel so horrible for her and I don't know what I can do to help her trust us and realize that we love her and only want her to be happy.
I've never had a dog act like this with me and it breaks my heart knowing that a part of her fears me. I think I have helped her progress but I don't know if she will ever be as confident and carefree as Tomahawk. She barks and yelps at every new noise she hears and acts as if someone is beating her.
This past week I have gotten her to walk on a leash and I have taken her on a few walks down the street with Tomahawk hoping to get her used to everyday noises around the neighborhood. She still goes crazy when she sees something new, but I think having Tomahawk there being his cool and collective self is helping her deal with her fear. I don't want to take her out past my street (even that scares me) because parvo and distemper is pretty rampant where I live thanks to the countless unvaccinated dogs that live here.
I am hoping that some of you may be able to give me some more pointers as to what to do to help Fences be a tough little corgi without going to high dog traffic areas until she is fully vaccinated. I know she will never be like Tom, but I would like her to at least trust my boyfriend and I.
Unfortunately it sounds like she missed out on the early socializing that a good breeder will do. I had a somewhat fearful corgi and it really does help if your other one is confident. I do think Cesar is correct that you have to be really careful not to praise the fearful actions. Try to pet her when she is calm and not being nervous. A good positive obedience class will help a lot and an easy going agility class when she gets older works wonders. Agility (just for fun not to compete) really helped mine become less fearful. Just remain patient with her and try to end all training sessions in a positive manner even if it is just a Sit.
I definitely want to get her in obedience once she is fully vetted! It worked wonders on Tom and I'm sure it will help her get along as well. I want to get Tomahawk in agility hopefully within the beginning of the new year so maybe letting Fences go along and watch will her help a little until she is big enough to get into it too.
It's a good thing that treats always make her happy, and hearing the treat bag shake will cause her to run to it even if she at the other end of the house. Haha, not even Tomahawk put two and two together that quickly when it came to treats and the treat bag.
It sounds like she has made tremendous progress in just one month, so there is no reason to believe she will not make more. You are right that having the other dog around who is cool with everything is a big help, as she will look to his reactions for some of the feedback. Our Corgi was afraid of every movement when we got him, any strange object, anything held in someone's hand. They learn to trust you when you love them, remain calm and are consistent, which means you are predictable in a good way. Mowgli is great now in all kinds of circumstances and with all kinds of people, but it was a process that took many months of just letting him realize no harm would come to him, which he had to conclude on his own timetable.
He is still sometimes leery of some object and, when that happens, I put it on the floor and crouch down next to it and encourage him to come close and check it out and reward with a treat. His every success builds confidence for next time.
Also, don't walk on eggs around the dog, act calm and confident yourself. As for the outdoor walks, what you are doing is enough for now.
The blog post by Nancy Bauer this morning "Time and Love change everything!!!" tells it better than I can. Keep up the good work!
You didn't indicate if touch was still an issue but I used this touch desensitization method for two dogs and a cat:
Put a treat on the floor next to her, then calmly touch an area that isn't a concern for her. Don't make it a big deal, just a one-time thing every now and then throughout the day. Gradually move your hand closer to the areas that make her nervous, increasing the petting time. This will take a bit of time (weeks, sometime months), but it usually works.
Good luck. Sounds like you are doing fine. A month isn't a lot of time. Pat yourself on the back and be sure to document how far you have come. If you don't seem to be making progress, try less stimulating situations. It's hard to imagine how scary simple things can be to a dog that has never been well socialized. I remember being in awe of how scared dogs who have never been inside were of the floor. Then would cower and hug the floor when the flooring changed patterns!
That's actually how we got her to let us put a collar on her and allow us to feel around her neck and chest area. She has an issue with her bottom half so we are slowly trying to get her to not feel so freaked. She is getting better though, she won't yelp anymore but will be constantly lick her lips. It just hurts me knowing that she is so young and has all these fears. I don't think Tomahawk was ever afraid of anything. When I had him in puppy obedience, they had a pony on the property that they used to get the dogs comfortable with bigger animals. Tomahawk tried to lick it through the fence and barked like crazy anytime it wasn't paying any attention to him.
When I taught on the Navajo reservation, it used to try and train the semi feral dog pack on the compound. Talk about food motivated. Patience was the key, and baby steps. It took over a month to be able to touch one of them. Fences isn't at that stage, but patience and small steps will still be the key.
Becca was 8 months when I got her. She was well socialized with people and dogs. She had many fears with walks and new situations. The antique store down the street changes the outdoor display daily. It was weeks before she could walk by without stopping. The touch command really helped. When she became fearful, I would stop and ask her to touch my hand. It would refocus her attention back to me.
Classes also really helped us to bond. She absolutely loves agility now.
You have gotten a lot of great replies, so I'll just add my agreement to them. I had a terrier who cowered whenever we came home because her first owners would punish her for the mischief she got into while they were gone. It took 4 years before she didn't act afraid. Be patient. Fences is a puppy, she will learn much more quickly than my 1 year old terrier did!
Have you tried some basic commands/tricks with Fences ?(e.g. sit stay wait roll over)....it can help with bonding and establishing your leadership
Oh yeah. We try to do at least 15 min spread out throughout the day. So far she has learned, sit, rest, up, and combat. Plus, basic leash training since she had an issue having anything pulling or fussing with her neck. She is doing really well. She wouldn't do anything the first few weeks, even deciding that not getting a treat was alright with her lol.
When we got Camber as a rescue, she would shake all the time. My friends thought we made a big mistake taking her as our pet. 4-5 years later and she is pretty friendly now. Things will turn for the better if you follow the advice here and just hang in there.
I am going to give it my all to make sure she is happy. Today she actually came when told to come and had the biggest fool's grin on her face. I can see that the progress is happening, and I can't expect it to be instantaneous.