Main > Spooky/shy (13 replies)
by clee27 on 16 July 2012 - 14:24
|I tried to ask a question in the thread "hard dog", but for some reason it would not post, so I am going to try and ask it this way. Brynjulf explained "nerve" and "hard" in terms that were easier to understand, but now I'm confused about spooky/shy. Maybe someone can explain spooky/shy? I would have guessed that a dog that behaves in a spooky manner was unbalanced in their drives and nerve base, but I guess that's incorrect, and maybe I don't know what spooky refers to. Thanks in advance|
by beetree on 16 July 2012 - 15:05
|I'll take a guess and say, shy= lack of confidence & spooky= fearful reaction to the unknown. So they would seem to overlap a bit in some areas.|
I would imagine one could build up confidence in a shy dog, but they will be the followers by nature. I don't think a shy dog has to be spooky, but a spooky dog is probably always a shy dog, too.
Now let's see who will set me straight! LOL
by Nans gsd on 16 July 2012 - 18:01
|Well here is my experience: To me they do go hand-in-hand; however, I do feel if that tendency is there, in my past experiences they were born with the spooky/shy tendency. Unless they have had some terrible experience in their lives to make them that way. Now say they did have some kind of trauma in their life, usually you can train that and socialize that out of them. If they were born like that I have had a hell of a time training that temperament of be a confident dog. That is in most of my spooky/shy dogs I have owned. BOL Nan|
PS: That said, I am currently working with a bitch that is a confident bitch, however is a freak; thunder, some extra loud noises; but she is not a shy bitch, so go figure. Maybe I just contradicted myself. At any rate, I HATE working with that temperament also; I find it to be very unreliable. Nan
by tedebear12 on 16 July 2012 - 18:33
|I would say that there can be an overlap but not always. For example, it is possible to be shy (in terms of around people or dogs) but not be generally fearful. It is also possible to be fearful but still be social. It just depends. For example, I do have an exceptionally shy German Shepherd. He is very, very shy with any new people (adults, not so much children) and with new dogs. He is curious and will want to sniff at some point, but he will not be pet. There has been much training done, but this is his general nature. He has been shy since very little. He is not spooky or fearful, which normally surprises people. He isn't afraid of noises, things, etc. and will climb up/over just about anything. |
Now, you can have a very shy dog like him that will become fearful of that person/dog if pushed too far. My dog will almost have a panic attack if someone attempts to pet him or he feels trapped and that will happen (even if it's not going to).
Fearful dogs are fear based reactions to lots of things. They can just lack confidence and build that up or they can be just a fearful sort of dog. This can be varied depending on the dog.
It can be very difficult to train and work with a shy or fearful dog at a higher level. My dog I described above hasn't been able to work on any kind of performance stuff yet because we've spent 2 years just working on being more confident in public with people around. The success level of the training depends on the severity of the issue with the dog, they type of training you want to do, and how much the dog trusts and bonds with you.
by EuroShepherd on 16 July 2012 - 22:22
I consider my chihuahua mix to be shy. She is afraid of strangers touching her or picking her up. (It's ok with me or people she knows well) She has never, ever once hinted any kind of aggression towards people (as in, fear biting.) She has no problem standing near strangers or accepting food from strangers, but because she gets scared when strangers try to touch her I consider her to be shy. She is also a preemptive shrieker when she meets a strange big dog, but once she is satisfied that they don't mean her any harm then she is very playful and comfortable with them. Otherwise she is a bouncy, happy dog who loves to explore new things and enjoys rough n'tumble romps with her buddies.
One of my dad's dogs I consider to be spooky, he flinches and startles very easily. He is very social with other animals and with people, he very much enjoys attention and lots of petting from people. But he also has a little tendacy towards fearful defensiveness if anything seems odd to him (such as a flag whipping in the wind, he may raise his hackles and bark at it whilst all the other dogs couldn't care less.) He is a mature adult dog, but I think he is emotionally immature. He has very good obedience, very good agility, very strong ball/toy drive, excellent manners...but his self-confidence leaves something to be desired.
Both of these dogs are unsure of children and they both will avoid children. Not a trait that I like at all. All of the other dogs in our household love children.
edited to include the following:
I forgot to add that these two dogs are also the dogs who have recently gone through a period of fear from thunder-storms. Both are nearly fully recovered now. Again, only two dogs in our household (out of 8 dogs) who showed any kind of fear behavior. It's fairly mild fear behavior, but still fear behavior.
by Nans gsd on 17 July 2012 - 02:45
|Well and let me add that sometimes, and I say only sometimes this noise/fear of noises, can be from dogs that have some sort of disability, you may not know this disability but it could be a louder than normal hearing fetish; possibly it could be from them not seeing as well as they should; and possiblibly can be if they don't feel as well as they should. All of the above can cause a dog to be fearful as they do not necessarily know what is happening either. JMO. Nan|
by clee27 on 17 July 2012 - 11:10
|I appreciate everyone's input, I guess my confusion over shy/spooky and nerves comes from reading articles and posts on the internet that allude, or directly say ,that those are weak nerve traits. I was trying to understand what was meant by the statement that was given on the other thread, about a spooky dog can have good nerve. Sometimes it's the tiny extra details that help someone understand more completely. Thanks again|
by Nans gsd on 18 July 2012 - 15:42
|Well I do not know who made the statement about a spooky dog can have good nerves; however I do know that you cannot put into force everything you read on this forum. YES, we do have some excellent trainers but it is always hard to understand what they write, sometimes to me not making much sense. JMHO, that is why I try to give examples so people do have a comparison to read about; somtimes helps to understand the statements fully.|
I have just learned from past dogs about temperament and spooky/shy/fearful dogs are very difficult to train. YET, they can be very sensitive however usually do not excel in any particular area as their disability gets in the way. BOL Nan
by brynjulf on 18 July 2012 - 19:47
|That was me who said a spook can have good nerve. I have had a few dogs in that could handle pressure on the sleeve, strangers no fear of gun fire or thunder.( good nerve) You could drop pans on the concrete etc. No issues BUT move a plant in the yard an holy mackeral the sky was falling. They would bark and growl, circle that offending plant as if it were going to attack, day after day. They could not recover. That is a spook. |
Nans, it's funny I find the polar opposite. Spooky shy fearful dogs are super easy to train. They have to be proofed more due to their general fears but overall they seem to thrive in training. Half of the goldens I get in for basic are peeing and bolting and frantically chewing their leads when they arrive, and they go home happy and confident. It's funny how everyones experiences are so different. Tis what makes dog training interesting!
BUT the most important thing for all of us to remember is not to get hung up on "words" learn to assess a dog with your "EYES". Observation is a zillion times more important than getting the "word" correct. Its all just symantics. The best trainers dont actually say alot, frankly they barely move their bodies but the dogs understand it.
by Nans gsd on 19 July 2012 - 02:15
|That can be true brynjulf but we are trying to explain how to train that. Not everyone has that gift to train dogs by body language, so where to go from here??|
by clee27 on 19 July 2012 - 10:20
|Thank you, sometimes you read something and you know you are not able to fully understand what someone meant. I'm not trying to apply the information to any dog, although I would not have a clue how to work with a dog who had these issues. When I asked our trainer, she said that sometimes it's hard to interpret what someone else means because everyone has different experiences and that words can have different meanings, depending on who you're talking to|
by brynjulf on 19 July 2012 - 13:41
|Nan can you explain this a bit better? I'm not sure what you mean? Sometimes the written word doesnt translate well. this is the sentence I don't understand "That can be true brynjulf but we are trying to explain how to train that. " Explain the word spook? or Explain how to train a spook. Its only 6 am and that monster lab has kept me awake for almost a week now so things are a bit fuzzy.|
by Sunsilver on 19 July 2012 - 15:58
|I have experience with a shy, fearful dog, which I have now rehomed.|
The fearfulness developed quite suddenly when she about 6 or 7 months old. I was living in N. Ontario at the time, and there were very few opportunities for socialization during the winter. We did attend a few kid's road hockey games, and I did have guest over to the house during the winter, and though a bit hesitant to approach them, she was okay. With the road hockey games, she wanted to CHASE THAT BALL, and let the kids pet her.
Then, spring arrived, and people came out of hibernation. Suddenly, she was terrified of EVERYTHING! Whem my best friend and her kids came walking towards me along the main street, she freaked out, and tried to run away. When that didn't work, she hid behind me.
We spent a lot of time over the next few months sitting at a sidewalk cafe on the main street. I would not let people pet her, because she would immediately dive underneath the table if they approached. We worked a lot on basic on-leash obedience too, but often her fears were so great that she'd be too distracted to listen to me. She was definitely too terrified to take treats from anyone other than me.
At the end of May, I moved south, and was able to enroll her in classes. She was so terrified that I couldn't do much of anything with her for the first few classes. We practised heeling, and the reinforcement was LOTS of praise and petting for doing things correctly. Gradually, she got used to it enough to take treats, but ONLY in her 'safe zone': when I was sitting in a chair on the sidelines, with her plastered against my shins!
I spent HUNDREDS of dollars on classes. We did basic OB, intermediate OB, rally, fungility, dogs sports, attention and focus, and maybe a few more I can't remember. She was a quick learner, and especially loved fungility, but the fear did not go away. She would shy away from strangers, and when I had company over, she'd hide from them. She was particularily afraid of men and children, as she'd never been exposed to them very much.
Eventually, I accepted that she was never going to be the calm, confident dog I'd hoped for, and rehomed her to a pet home. The new owner is a single lady who lives a quiet life, and has a female lab to keep my dog company while she is away at work.
The difference between a confident dog and a shy dog is the confident dog overcomes fears of something new very quickly, after only a couple of (positive) exposures to it. A shy dog takes much more time and exposure, and even then, the fear does not completely go away.
I have never really thought that a spooky dog could have good nerves. That's news to me, and until I read the post about it here, would have said shy and spooky were one and the same thing.
by Nans gsd on 19 July 2012 - 19:44
|Yes Sun I have to agree with you that shy and spooky go hand in hand. My girl that I most recently (past 10 years) am referring to was shy/spooky/fearful from day one. I bred the litter, I also kept her sister who was very confident and loved everyone and everything in life and I now have her litter brother (12 years old today in fact) a finished champion that also loves everyone and everything (even tried to revive a dead lizzard) and goes on his walks just to TRY to find someone to just pet him. A very sweet, intact male. The most confident dog you would ever want to meet, no fear at all with this litter sister of his "Cookie" that was afraid or fearful of her own shadow. Thought by keeping the two litter sisters together that some of the confidence would rub off on Cookie, but NO; absolutely NOT. So I placed litter sister (ended up having bad hips) and acquired back the litter brother at 5 years old, both became best friends, thought that some of brothers confidence and love for people/other dogs might rub off on Cookie; NO, absolutely not and their mother was the most confident bitch after 1 year old; not a very confident puppy but a very, very friendly fun loving smart bitch. Now Cookie was definitely smart but did not want to exhibit her intelligence to anyone but myself or her daddy (person) and some friends of ours that she knew from birth. GO FIGURE. Cookie died at 8 l/2 with mammary cancer but to this day that bitch still has me scratching my head for answers as to why she was so fearful/spooky/shy. She was all of those in one. YEP, my training nightmare. Food for thought. N|
Brynjulf; just am trying to figure out what the best approach is to shy/spooky/fearful training and also your statement about using your body language and the dogs just seem to understand without saying a word. ?? That is what I meant how to learn that body language?? Thx Nan