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Since April when I got Sophie, she's being enjoying going outside for walks for poop and pee breaks.

Last week some juvenile lit a loud rocketing firecracker (fireworks in any form is illegal in my city btw) and Sophie turned a complete 360 and started sprinting back home. Once home, she hid under a desk, shivering in fear.

Now these couple of days, she just barely goes across the street and wants to go back home to her warm and soft human bed...:smilie_tischkante:
She zips so fast indoors but when she's outside, she's a 4-legged stone...:angry:

I tried tricking and enticing her to walk further with some very alluring treats but she's either too smart or she doesn't have that great sense of smell...

How can I re-kindle that spark of outside fun and adventure in her? I don't want her to become a 30lb obese Maltese. Nor do I want carry that lazy 4-legged bum.
 

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She's not spoiled and lazy, she is terrified! You have to take what has become a horrifying experience for her and turn it into something fun again.

Start by taking her to the door and giving her LOTS of praise and some treats. That's all the farther you go. If she gets scared from the harness and lease, start there. Then the door. Then after a few days try going a step or two outside. Again, lots of praise and treats. Keep doing this until she winds up willingly going out again to walk or play.

You might also try Tranquility Blend, a thunder shirt, or something similar about 20 minutes before going out. She has had a terrifying experience and it will take patience and work to overcome it.
 

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Poor baby, yes she's terrified, a few years ago Matilda was left in our RV while we went shopping, the fire alarm battery went off, when we got back she was shaking and terrified, it devastated us, not knowing how long she had been left:w00t:
everytime she hears any kind of load sounding noise she runs and shakes, and that's been years ago:blush:

I hope your Sophie doesn't have to be frightened the rest of her life.
Just keep being patient and love love love on her so she feels safe.
 

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desensitizing-conditioning-exposure therapy

How can I re-kindle that spark of outside fun and adventure in her?
Whenever I've seen Cesar Millan deal with these types of problems I've seen him 'desensitize' the dogs with sound related fear issues, he does this with 'conditioning' . He puts them on a treadmill with a big movie screen in front of it showing a video of whatever it is that makes the sound the dog is afraid of so the dog can see and hear it.

If I remember correctly Cesar gives the dog a lot of positive affirmations during this time while the dog is listening to the sounds & seeing the sights on the screen {while the dog is walking on the treadmill the whole time so it feels like it is walking toward its fear}. I think I remember Cesar picking up the dogs tail from between it's legs and placing it pointing up in a 'confident position' while it is walking on the treadmill {of course this would be more difficult to do with a Maltese due to the curly tail lol}. Cesar usually does this with larger breed dogs, so a big treadmill would be dangerous to a tiny Maltese.

Maybe you could do a 'modified' version of this type of exposure therapy? Perhaps use the TV with a video of fireworks or gun shot or something along those lines? Maybe just walk the dog on a leash back and forth past the TV? Someone else's suggestion in a previous post about using 'treats' sounds like a good idea too, although I don't recall Cesar using them in this case, but I could be wrong.

I think Cesar said that doing this over time will eventually free the dog of its fear because it will get used to the sound and realize that nothing bad is happening from it. Maybe if you nip it in the bud right away so your dog doesn't have a chance to get very deeply entrenched in it's fear over time. Maybe you could look for an episode where Cesar deals with this issue? Just some ideas in my attempt to help :w00t:!
--take 'em or leave 'em:rolleyes:
:exploding:
 

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Whenever I've seen Cesar Millan deal with these types of problems I've seen him 'desensitize' the dogs with sound related fear issues, he does this with 'conditioning' . He puts them on a treadmill with a big movie screen in front of it showing a video of whatever it is that makes the sound the dog is afraid of so the dog can see and hear it.

If I remember correctly Cesar gives the dog a lot of positive affirmations during this time while the dog is listening to the sounds & seeing the sights on the screen {while the dog is walking on the treadmill the whole time so it feels like it is walking toward its fear}. I think I remember Cesar picking up the dogs tail from between it's legs and placing it pointing up in a 'confident position' while it is walking on the treadmill {of course this would be more difficult to do with a Maltese due to the curly tail lol}. Cesar usually does this with larger breed dogs, so a big treadmill would be dangerous to a tiny Maltese.

Maybe you could do a 'modified' version of this type of exposure therapy? Perhaps use the TV with a video of fireworks or gun shot or something along those lines? Maybe just walk the dog on a leash back and forth past the TV? Someone else's suggestion in a previous post about using 'treats' sounds like a good idea too, although I don't recall Cesar using them in this case, but I could be wrong.

I think Cesar said that doing this over time will eventually free the dog of its fear because it will get used to the sound and realize that nothing bad is happening from it. Maybe if you nip it in the bud right away so your dog doesn't have a chance to get very deeply entrenched in it's fear over time. Maybe you could look for an episode where Cesar deals with this issue? Just some ideas in my attempt to help :w00t:!
--take 'em or leave 'em:rolleyes:
:exploding:
Cesar Milans methods have been proven wrong and in many cases harmful by animal behaviorists. Please do not follow his methods as this is likely to further traumatized her. All of the best animal behaviorist so, including those that train police and military dogs will now tell you that positive reinforcement with praise and treats is the only way to change behavior.

Links debunking Cesar:

The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal Article

Dog Training Using Positive Techniques - Whole Dog Journal Article
 

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Awwww poor girl. She's not being spoiled and lazy....... she's terrified. She is associating the firecracker with being outdoors. Like Maggie suggested you will need to try getting her to associate going outside with yummy treats and fun stuff.
 

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I highly second the recommendation of trying out a thunder shirt. They set off fireworks day and night for a few weeks around the 4th of July, and I find the thunder shirt to be a huge help for my firework fearful Lily. Of course, I limit it to when she is indoors (with the air conditioning, because it can make her warm) and with me (I am apprehensive to have it on her when I am not right there) -- so still run the problem of her being exposed to fireworks when I am not at home with her.

My dog immediately lays down and goes to sleep when I put it on her, or lays down and calmly looks at me or others. It is really weird behavior. I read somewhere that it may mimic their innate behavior of submission when being dominated by another dog (another dog on top of them in aggression), which doesn't make me too happy about it but seems to ring true to how she behaves when she has it on. She will not play fetch or offer to curl on my lap or any of her normal behavior when she has it on, but I still use it with fireworks because I think it is a better trade off to not have her shaking in fear.

I understand it does nothing at all for other dogs. You could buy one at Petsmart of Petco and return it if it does not work, I imagine. If you order directly from the manufacturer you can get it in different colors and with their name embroidered on it (for the same price as at the chain stores when I purchased it).

Linda
 

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Oh, apologize for the second post but wanted to mention another possible way to help:

If you have a fenced in yard and your dog normally goes in that area but now refuses, what has worked for me with my dog in that situation is to get a yummy treat (chicken strip or bit of steak) and when she is at the top of the steps and refusing to go down I just calmly pick her up and walk her into the middle of the yard and talk to her in a calm and very praising voice and give her the yummy treat as soon as I set her down. When she finishes doing her business in the yard (if she is calm enough to do so) I give her another bit of the same special treat. Helps rebuild the idea of a positive association with going into the yard. As soon as she wants to go in I walk in with her, I don't try to coax her to stay out there if she does not want to. If she won't do her "business," in about 15 minutes I repeat the pattern, and never have had to make two attempts in this fashion (fortunately).

I found it better than trying to coax her down the steps when she was in a fearful state.

I had to go through this with Memorial Day this year because of neighborhood kids shooting fireworks during the day, but after a couple days she got over the fear of going into the yard.
 

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Just trying to help. Some like Cesar some don't.

Cesar Milans methods have been proven wrong and in many cases harmful by animal behaviorists. Please do not follow his methods as this is likely to further traumatized her. All of the best animal behaviorist so, including those that train police and military dogs will now tell you that positive reinforcement with praise and treats is the only way to change behavior.

Links debunking Cesar:

The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal Article

Dog Training Using Positive Techniques - Whole Dog Journal Article
Just trying to help. Some like Cesar's methods and some don't.
I've used a few of Cesars methods, for instance for getting my dog over his fear of walking past the dog park. Ceasar said to hold yourself in a calm assertive posture, keep a calm assertive mindset and walk past the other dogs with a your dog on a loose leash. I did those things and was able to easily walk my dog past a dog park that my boy used to drag on the ground not wanting to walk past. This was all due to my body language that my dog had picked up on. Maybe Cesar isn't right 'all' of the time {but who is?}, but in my opinion a lot of things aren't Black or white --I believe there is usually a lot of 'gray' area in between.

I saw the thing with the treadmill work on a couple of dogs Cesar worked with. Anyone can take it or leave it. There's more that one path to take when it comes to dog training. Dogs are different, people are different and what works for one might not work for the other.
 

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I agree the dog is FAR from spoiled and lazy. The dog is terrified. I love the first suggestion . It's gentle and positive. Start with just walking to the door and giving the treat etc etc. You must help her turn it back into something positive. Good luck on July 4th. Be thinking now how you can help her to get through that holiday. Thunder shirt investment, and nice relaxing music in your home that she likes, etc etc to help distract her from what is happening outside. Her world with have fireworks for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Okay, I she's finally beginning to snap out of it and is more adventurous again. Today, waking up really early at 4am, we went out for a 2 mile sprint and she feels relaxed...But at night, she knows that's when the loud sounds reappears...:smilie_tischkante:
I do praise her when she walks further but she thinks she knows better than I do...
I've watched that episode of Cesar Milan desensitizing the dog and I don't want to stress her out using his methods...She doesn't need to have her heart racing for sound desensitizing training...
I might just watch TV with the volume louder than usual with her by my side. (To her, I'm her human shield)

Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. Hopefully, I can make Sophie a brave and stronger dog that she used to be.

Btw,I don't think wearing a thunder shirt or anything similar will work...when she's in her fish costume, it doesn't make her feel more brave. If anything, she feels lazy and just wants to sleep. :faint:
 

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I just bought the thunder shirt yesterday for Maddie, we have been having storms, she's so scared:blush: the thunder shirt didn't work:huh: I'm going to keep it and try again, if it continues not to work I'm taking it back to Petco
 

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Just trying to help. Some like Cesar's methods and some don't.
I've used a few of Cesars methods, for instance for getting my dog over his fear of walking past the dog park. Ceasar said to hold yourself in a calm assertive posture, keep a calm assertive mindset and walk past the other dogs with a your dog on a loose leash. I did those things and was able to easily walk my dog past a dog park that my boy used to drag on the ground not wanting to walk past. This was all due to my body language that my dog had picked up on. Maybe Cesar isn't right 'all' of the time {but who is?}, but in my opinion a lot of things aren't Black or white --I believe there is usually a lot of 'gray' area in between.

I saw the thing with the treadmill work on a couple of dogs Cesar worked with. Anyone can take it or leave it. There's more that one path to take when it comes to dog training. Dogs are different, people are different and what works for one might not work for the other.
I can appreciate anyone offering help and I do not want anyone to feel they cannot offer assistance on this forum. However, I also value the ability to discuss important views that affect our dogs and so I do want to agree with Maggie. Caesar Milan's methods are thoroughly unscientific (he brags about how he is self-taught) and it is only because he is on TV that he has any credibility at all.

There are many ways of dog training it is true, but some can and do harm our dogs.

From a desensitization point of view there is some science behind repeated exposure making us less likely to utterly freak out in the face of danger; however, it is not always the best approach and consider yourself. I don't know what your greatest phobia is, but mine is snakes. If someone kept presenting me with pictures of snakes it might make me more comfortable looking at the picture over time, but it would NEVER make me more comfortable actually being in the vicinity of a snake. If you put me in a room with an actual snake over and over, I would become more and more of a whimpering mass of fear and rage.

I think the thing you have done with changing your body posture walking near the dog park is an example of a good training strategy that many experts would also endorse, but in general the majority of the advice Caesar gives has been disputed by those with actual education in the area of animal behavior. These experts do have resounding agreement that most of Caesar's methods while sometimes temporarily effective can actually produce more harm than good.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman - Professor and Head, Section of Animal Behavior
Director of Behavior Clinic, Tufts University - Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
“Cesar Millan's methods are based on flooding and punishment. The results, though immediate, will be only transitory. His methods are misguided, outmoded, in some cases dangerous, and often inhumane. You would not want to be a dog under his sphere of influence. The sad thing is that the public does not recognize the error of his ways. My college thinks it is a travesty. We’ve written to National Geographic Channel and told them they have put dog training back 20 years.”


Jean Donaldson, The San Francisco SPCA-Director of The Academy for Dog Trainers
“Practices such as physically confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars for fearful dogs are outrageous by even the most diluted dog training standards. A profession that has been making steady gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and humane standards has been greatly set back. I have long been deeply troubled by the popularity of Mr. Millan as so many will emulate him. To co-opt a word like ‘whispering’ for arcane, violent and technically unsound practice is unconscionable.”


I could keep adding quotes by Sophia Yin, Pat Miller, Ian Dunbar and nearly ever other top professional in canine behavior. Each of these people have gained their expertise through academic study based on the science of animal behavior and learning.
 

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I can appreciate anyone offering help and I do not want anyone to feel they cannot offer assistance on this forum.
I didn't expect Cesars methods to be so controversial on this forum who knew? :blink:. Silly me I actually thought he'd be dare I say it? 'popular':HistericalSmiley:. It is unlikely I would ever bring him up again now that I know how people feel about him, what would be the point? Just to be clear about how I feel about Cesar Millans methods, there are certain things I like that Cesar does, and other things he does that I would never, never ever do. For instance I don't believe in making a dog afraid of my hands so I would never ever use my hands {or a foot tap} to show dominance or to correct a dog with like Cesar does. I don't believe in making my dog afraid of me at all as a matter of fact. I find that doing things with love {& sometimes treats} not force get the best results for me with my dog.

I pick & choose among the methods I've seen Cesar use. Personally I didn't think Cesar's style of desensitization was a bad idea or necessarily cruel, although I realize others of you think so.
I did some desensitizing of my own when my Baby was a puppy he was absolutely terrified of going in the car, he would scream & cry in it when he was a puppy. But I did not stop putting him in it {for his own good, I wanted him to be able to be together with our family}. I put him in the car with treats & love and eventually he became desensitized by doing it over & over & over again and now he LOVES the car & goes crazy at the mere mention of it.

Baby goes everywhere with us now & loves meeting people & being out with us. We almost never leave home without him, super markets and doctors appointments are about the only places he doesn't go. He wouldn't have been able to share in that time out with us and he would be sitting home all alone by himself if I had felt sorry for him, given up & sheltered him. That would have hurt him not helped him.

I had thought what Cesar was doing was 'similar' to what I did which is why I suggested it {especially since what he did actually involved loud noises}. I hate the term 'beat a dead horse' but that's what I feel I'm doing here at this point lol, so I think I've said more than enough at this point about This subject so I'm probably done with it now unless someone else addresses me directly again about this subject.
La Fin.B)
 

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Okay, I she's finally beginning to snap out of it and is more adventurous again. Today, waking up really early at 4am, we went out for a 2 mile sprint and she feels relaxed...But at night, she knows that's when the loud sounds reappears...:smilie_tischkante:
I do praise her when she walks further but she thinks she knows better than I do...
I've watched that episode of Cesar Milan desensitizing the dog and I don't want to stress her out using his methods...She doesn't need to have her heart racing for sound desensitizing training...
I might just watch TV with the volume louder than usual with her by my side. (To her, I'm her human shield)

Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. Hopefully, I can make Sophie a brave and stronger dog that she used to be.

Btw,I don't think wearing a thunder shirt or anything similar will work...when she's in her fish costume, it doesn't make her feel more brave. If anything, she feels lazy and just wants to sleep. :faint:
Poor Sophie...I hate when they are scared of something.

I totally agree with the others about the positive reinforcement.

Is there a treat that she does not get often, that she is absolutely crazy nuts about?
If so, maybe take it outside at night and treat her and praise, praise, praise, each time increasing the amount of time out before treating. Only giving this treat when she is outside so that she will associate this yummy treat and outside as a great combination.

I absolutely love her fish costume...but regular outfits and costumes are not the same as the thunder shirt.
The thundershirt is designed to fit snug and applies a constant pressure similar to swaddling an infant...Some say that it works for them others no...but, it is not the same as the fish.
But...again...so cute!
 

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We have this rawhid that she absolutely loves...but I prefer not to feed her when its potty time. Plus, she'll just grab it and start sprinting back home with it.
I got her worked up and very excited this morning, then we went outside for a normal jog. She's slowly getting her grove back. :chili:
I think I may wait until July passes then try going out at night. For the whole month of July, moronic juveniles play with their explosive ordinances without the thought of others...:angry:
Her tiny fish costume fits very snug. She's grown out of it. That's why I thought it would be a good Thunder Shirt substitute :HistericalSmiley:.
She's also cute when she's naked.:wub:

Poor Sophie...I hate when they are scared of something.

I totally agree with the others about the positive reinforcement.

Is there a treat that she does not get often, that she is absolutely crazy nuts about?
If so, maybe take it outside at night and treat her and praise, praise, praise, each time increasing the amount of time out before treating. Only giving this treat when she is outside so that she will associate this yummy treat and outside as a great combination.

I absolutely love her fish costume...but regular outfits and costumes are not the same as the thunder shirt.
The thundershirt is designed to fit snug and applies a constant pressure similar to swaddling an infant...Some say that it works for them others no...but, it is not the same as the fish.
But...again...so cute!
 
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