Fearful Chow

Training and behavior topics, guidelines, and tips for Chow Chows.

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ChowServant
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Fearful Chow

Postby ChowServant » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:13 am

We're thinking of adopting another Chow. She was found as a stray and has been living with an elderly couple. She is reportedly afraid of people, especially men, but is good with other dogs. It's sickening to think what the poor girl must have gone through to get in this state. Our current Chow, BooBoo is a supremely confident dog so although we've done a lot of training with him we don't have experience in helping a dog get over this type of fear.
Anyone out in ChowLand have suggestions about getting her to accept and develop trust in her new home and family?
Thanks in advance

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Pinoy51
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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby Pinoy51 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:20 am

to reverse fear in dogs requires patience and dedication. you need to find out what triggers the fear and show your four legged friend that being afraid is unnecessary. But as always, dogs are slow learners, so it wil require many attempts before change happens. It is best if you can combine the feared situation with pleasant experiences.

For example: fear of explosive noises, fire crackers, shooting etc.
expose the dog gradually to similar noises and praise him if he remains calm and give treats. increase the distraction gradually and decrease treats and praise until being exposed to explosive noises doesn't trigger any panic reaction anymore.
Sounds simple but as mentioned requires many attempts and patience.
trust in her new home is much easier to establish, just provide to her needs. be a calm, assertive leader and she will be a perfect companion within no time, but her fears will show for a much longer period.
Good luck with the rehab.
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Pinoy51

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JammyJoy
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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby JammyJoy » Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:41 pm

Maybe she lacks socialization with men. Or there's also a possibility that a man has abused her before.

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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby Doppler » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:57 pm

Since you already know the reason, I think there is a chance to reverse this behavior. You might need to consult first with a behaviorist or trainer to plan how she should be trained. Update us when you are decided to get her.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. "
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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby ChowServant » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:48 am

As is often the case, all was not what it seemed in a rescue situation. Turns out the girl is a chow mix, although she looks very much like a Chow in the posted photos. She's also older than was indicated in the rescue posting. Her muzzle is longer than a Chow's, her eye sockets don't have the distinctive Chow shape, her coat is shorter/shaggier, especially in the tail and the biggest difference is that she doesn't have the Chow personality - way too submissive. No intent to mislead anyone on the part of the people who posted the rescue ad, I just don't think they have seen a purebreed Chow before and really thought she probably was full Chow. The rescue ad was posted by the adult children of the people who were keeping her so plenty of room for miscommunication.
I am pretty sure she has NOT been abused, the shyness is less fear than it is just lack of socialization. The couple who had her are both in their 90s and had more or less let her run free in their fenced back yard for years without much human interaction. They're both too frail to take care of her any more. We suspect the statement that she was better with women than men probably stems from the wife being the person who paid the most attention to her.
We've had her for several days now and she's still nervous after being relocated from the yard where she had lived for 5 years to a new one full of the scents of our other two dogs, new sounds and smells, etc. We've been spending a lot of time just sitting with her, brushing and petting her whenever she allows it. We're starting to work on "come" and on proper leashed walking manners, although either she is so nervous she's not interested in food or she's not very food motivated so it's going to be a slow process. She is equally friendly/nervous with both my wife and myself.
We'll be taking her and out other dogs to our favorite dog-friendly campground, Four Paws Kingdom in Rutherfordton, NC in a few weeks and will book a couple sessions with a professional trainer there.

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Pinoy51
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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby Pinoy51 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:37 pm

I'm happy that the girl finally get's into a home that takes care of her.
Good luck with the socialization, I always found it very rewarding to support dogs in need.
Best regards
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Ursa's daddy
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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby Ursa's daddy » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:53 pm

I would like to hear an up date. Teaming the new dog with your more confident dog should help. I am currently fostering a chow mix brought in as a stray by animal control. My guess is that he was kept tied out with no training. The good news is that he is motivated to fit in my pack, and is highly food motivated. Grooming and petting are good ways to establish bonding, which would be key into getting her to trust you. Establishing that trust should help with her socialization.

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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby ChowServant » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:45 am

Well, it's been about 6 weeks and some progress has been made, still some problems. She has bonded with my wife and me, dances and wiggles when she sees us coming after we've been away for an hour or two. She's a really sweet dog and turning into an attention hound. We've made progress with training for sit, down, stay and come by using fried chicken as a treat when she's outdoors and happy. She and our male Chow mostly ignore each other. Biggest remaining problem is that she would like to remain an outdoor dog and we want her to sleep indoors in a crate. She still won't come into the house willingly. We let her roam outside all day but at night she barks at critters in the woods behind our house in the wee hours, making our neighbors irate. We can get her into the crate but she panics, barks and pants. If we can get her settled down she will usually go to sleep and remain asleep for 4-5 hours, then wake up and start barking again. The problem is exacerbated by her not being very food-motivated - at the best of times she's only mildly interested in treats and in the crate she refuses every kind of treat we've thought to offer, both food and toys. This is really going to come to a head this weekend when we go camping for a week at our favorite dog-themed campground, 4 Paws Kingdom in Rutherfordton, NC. We're worried that we'll get kicked out of the campground if she barks throughout the night. We've tried a thundershirt, ignoring her barking, both "calming" chew treats and prescription tranquilizers (administered half an hour before we bring her inside). None of this helps and ignoring her barking only resulted in her destroying the plastic tray on the bottom of the crate and an absolutely panicked dog. Our next attempt is going to be to try to get her exhausted with long trail walks & playing in the dog parks at the campground, but I suspect her stamina will exceed ours. Trying to leave her in the house but out of the crate is the same story but with damage to doors, door frames, etc.

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Pinoy51
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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby Pinoy51 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:41 pm

sounds like a major problem. Sally my last rescue had a milder version of anxiety, being and outdoor dog and barking at perceived dangers. In our case my two other chows immediately adopted her and became role model. So she lost most of her anxiety in a couple of weeks and just followed them around during the days and nights. So nothing much you can copy, except you can take over the role model function.
I stayed with Simba for nearly 12 months in the same room overnight. Meaning he wasn't in our bedroom but I moved into his sleeping area. Why? A) bonding, it forms a strong bond if you share the sleeping place with a dog, in a dog manner. I assumed the aplha role claiming my space and allowed him to be around. In this way I could also control his barking, I extended a few more months when Nala joined and didn't had to do it with Sally as Simba and Nala took over for me to educate Sally.
So long story, short message, move in with your dog make her aquainted with the crate, the place until she becomes comfortable. you should bring in your other Chow as well, so gradually you can remove yourself and the two will give each other company.
Best regards
Pinoy51

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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby missjulie » Mon May 12, 2014 4:10 pm

It's great of you to adopt her. I adopted my Bunny about 4 years ago and she was previously found pregnant and roaming the streets. She had lots of anxiety, especially around men. We took her to two training courses where she was in a protected environment with a few dogs. We walked her in the nearby park daily where she passes by people all the time and got treats whenever she reacted positively to passer bys or sniffed them. It may sound simple, but I found repeating the "sit and say hi" trick with her where she got a treat whenever she was able to do this with strangers at the pet store, really helped lessen the fear of strangers. We used clicker training.

We repeated the beginner class twice, the first time around she WAS very fearful and not responsive to the trainging. She acted disinterested in treats, but that wasn't the real her. It was the fear talking. Now I can see that almost all dogs respond to treats, but when they are too scared or too stressed out, they don't respond. Once you have a steady stable environment in place, they are less fearful. And over time, Bunny started loving the treats. She is very trainable, most cooperative before meal time. She can chase her tail, give hand, and jump through a hoop. took a lot of repitition. And the more positive training and reinforcement she gets, the less anxiety we see in her :) good luck! It took us a few years to get this far, but totally worth it!

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Re: Fearful Chow

Postby ChowServant » Wed May 28, 2014 4:52 am

Two Flower continues to progress. We've followed Pinoy51's advice and for the last few months either my wife or I start the night sleeping on the couch beside Two Flower - we're letting her sleep on the floor since she is frightened by the crate. At first we had to spend the whole night there, now we're up to just staying there long enough for her to get settled in, usually 5-15 minutes, then we can go back to our bedroom next door. Two Flower and our male chow, BooBoo, have pretty much worked out the dominance relationship and now spend a good bit of time together. She's figured out that she's younger/faster than him and can easily get away from him when he tries to exert dominance. Both dogs get unhappy if they go too long without seeing the other. She is still reluctant to come into the house, we have to put a leash on her and lead her in (even when it's pouring rain and thundering) but once she's inside she's happy to stay for a while before asking to be let back out. She has become very friendly with my wife and me, wiggles and runs in circles whenever one of us returns home after being away for a few hours and likes lots of petting, brushing and attention. Quite a bit happier than when we first brought her home.


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