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So, poodle/dog fears are common and I thought it would nice to have a general thread to talk/share about the fears our poodles/dogs have, how it’s dealt with, etc. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Joey seems to be a touch on the fearful side. There are the fear periods puppies and young dogs experience and I know his fears are worse during these times. He has no problem with most things/situations as a whole and I think he’s a mostly fairly confident dog, especially once he’s introduced to things. He adores people of all ages. He might be a bit cautious with an initial introduction sometimes but after that it’s all super good. He’s learning to navigate other dogs on our walks, basically ignore and look at me. The dogs he has spent time with, not as many as I had hoped for, he does very well with. We even had a huge severe storm last night and he wasn’t spooked at all. His fears are almost always things…big trash cans or bird feeders that have been moved, front loading washers at Home Depot, blowing grill covers, fans, etc. It’s more about new stuff for him. He’s so observant too. Nothing gets by him.

We went to Home Depot for a walk and nothing spooked him, stuff or people until we were almost done and he noticed the big black circle on a front loading washer. I pretty much know how to deal with this and most of the time a light hearted, happy introduction works well and if not I just have him focus on something else. Ignoring things works sometimes too, depending upon the situation. Joey was quite alarmed when he first heard thunder last fall. I just ignored it, no big deal and he’s really good with storms.

Anyway, all of this just got me thinking about dog fear. I would really like to hear about others’ experiences and how the fear is handled. I know some dogs show great fear and others hardly any and while we do have some fear issues I am trying to manage Joey’s fears well so his fears don’t escalate. Does your poodle have fears? How do you handle it?

I think this subject could be a helpful one for all.😊
 

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Annie was pretty bomb proof as a puppy.

The two things I remember her showing fear to were underground parking garages/underpasses, and flapping tarps.

There was an underpass for a trail (no cars, just foot traffic) and she spooked, so we did a ton of happy play nearby, and tricks, tossed a ball and she chased it in, etc, and I encouraged her to sniff around (it smelled vile to a human nose!). We did a couple of trips under it at a run. She loves it if I run, it's a huge treat for her, and it meant she didn't have time to worry about the overpass and overpass began to mean fun! I took her to an underpass with vehicles (loud, echoey), and we did some heeling and tricks and just relaxed walking. I try to show that I am not afraid, and watch my body language to project confidence (I hate echoey spaces too). She is still a touch wary in underground parking garages but nothing major, just alert. Underpasses she seems fine with now. I wish I could have worked on this more but we moved to a rural town so targetting this is a 45 min drive and it's not a big deal, really.

Flapping tarps were harder. There was a tarp at a construction zone near our house she spooked at. A few flags, banners, etc. I encouraged her to investigate, rewarded heavily, laughed a bit and hung out just on the edge of her comfort zone and did fun stuff. And we went on many camping trips, where I encouraged her to investigate my steps and tent. We worked on this one more regularly and I can confirm this isn't an issue these days. The other day I was hanging out a tarp to dry in a brisk wind. She was lying in the grass attached to her tie out stake about 2 ft from the clothesline, and don't bother to move even though it would REALLY have been easier to hang it up without her there and the tarp hit her a few times.

With Trixie, the queen of irrational fears, time (years!) And not forcing her into situations has been key. She gets comfortable at her own pace, and every year is becoming more of a 'real dog'. Counter conditioning helps a bit, but she isn't as resilient as Annie, so time and respecting boundaries is key.
 

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Jeffrey and Ethel HATE windshield wipers. Thomas is oblivious to everything except for very loud noises that are close to him. For example the smoke alarm or Jeffrey dropping a bone on the hardwood floor. A train clattering a few blocks over or the tornado sirens outside don't faze him.
 

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Loki is afraid of yard decorations and large items left at the curb. I can usually use treats to distract him from his initial fear. Except for the house with the stone angel. During the day we have to be on the other side of the street and walk quickly passed with lots of treats. After dark, it is no go. He will stop and bark and won't even walk on the other side of the street.
He used to be afraid of his own shadow, but in his defense, it was 4 feet tall and barked at him several times. It was really the dogs on the other side of the fence barking. It took him months to go to the fence to meet them.
 

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As we approach her third birthday, Peggy’s only persistent fears are elevators and driving across one particularly long bridge with loud metal grates that rumble and resonate through our vehicle. Everything else has been conquerable. And similarly “scary” things like floating docks and standing atop a loud ferry engine in open water didn’t even faze her.

We’ll be taking an extended vacation soon in a building with an elevator. I plan to work on this fear, but I’m not sure yet how we’ll do it.

Puppy fears were generally managed by demonstrating, like you did @Spottytoes, that the trigger was not scary to humans. This was especially effective if my husband was the demonstrator.
 

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Since Zoe started out as a show dog, she was exposed to a wide variety of surfaces and objects. She is rarely afraid of anything except Siberian huskies (because a pair of them attacked her) or any large dog that gives her the "you look like a rabbit so I'm going to eat you" look. She is quite willing to ride in elevators and even to walk up "see-through" stairs.
 

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Walmart covers and Trash covers. At 3 months of age, he try to steal food from a Walmart cover, and his leg stuck in the cover handles. from that day, he is scared to death when we are around trash covers or grocery covers.
 

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Galen has a deep distrust of wheelie bins, although he is much better about them lately. Partly I think the reason is that I played with them on walks. Part of the reason is that because Ritter is completely unfazed by them. The Things We Do for Our Dogs. and The Wheelie Bins Again!
I think it's very important not to cement the fear by forcing a nervous dog to interact with something. When I was beating up on wheelie bins I made sure to keep myself between the bin and Galen. He knew I would stop the bin from getting to him. I never dragged him over to a bin. He only approached the bin under his own power, and he had plenty of slack on the leash to retreat when he didn't feel safe.
 

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Phoebe doesn’t like being away from me (me leaving the house without her) but she’s not afraid. She is terrified of fireworks and does not like thunder much. Heading into our thunderstorm season I’m trying to desensitize her. Recently we had a terrible storm right on top of us and she was so scared. I’m going to talk with my trainer friend about it and see if she has any good suggestions. The city firework show is right behind our house. Great for watching fireworks. Terrible for the dog.
 

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Penny is pretty dang brave these days. She’s totally chill with leafblowers, lawnmowers, trash trucks, even the big riding lawnmowers that the neighborhood landscapers use. In day-to-day life she’s doing amazing and she seems way calmer and braver than her teenage months.
But onto the fears…
Car rides. This fear was compounded by her having no clue how to balance on the seat, being afraid of the Deep Chasm between the front and back seats, not knowing when the car is going to brake or turn (I wish I could tell her somehow), and a particular 4 hour drive to a nice cabin, which she liked playing at but hated driving to. Sigh. We’ll work on this someday.

The vet. This fear was probably influenced by the fact that our first vet was a 30 min car ride (see car fear above). And also that the vets/vet techs would force contact before Penny was ready. This was during the time they didn’t let owners in because covid so a vet tech would come put a slip lead on or even carry Penny, and both totally freaked her out. I’m thinking of switching vets to a much closer one but I want to make sure they provide good care.

The lake. Penny thinks it’s just too. big. And sloshy. And it won’t stop sloshing for her to sniff it safely.
She used to wade in and splash around, but she’s forgotten that apparently and now the lake must be re-conquered.
 

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Normie quivered and shook in the vet's exam room. Since the office was new to us, I wonder if he was responding to a scent from the previous occupant or just medicinal smells in general.
 

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Great topic. Oona is afraid of lawn ornaments especially if they are zoomorphic or anthropomorphic. She is sometimes spooked by people and things she has never seen before or does not expect. For example yesterday she was very suspicious about someone who was laying down near the playground where she did not expect a person to be laying down. She has also growled at dogs who are a shape and size she has never seen before, like her first old English sheepdog. If she is able to explore or meet the thing, she usually chills out about it.
 

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Asta is afraid of HV dryers; children; whenever me or DH leaves the house. This last strikes me the most. One person leaves, the other is in the house. He stays by the door and will whimper. He will not go to the person in the house for comfort. He will come when called, but leaves as quickly to go back to the door.
 

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Kirby was afraid of (and is still nervous in) the car, which has been mostly remedied by crating him during long drives and practicing short(er) ones with lots of treats. he's suspicious of halloween decorations and not generally keen on fireworks.

the few things that he hilariously is still afraid of are: stairs (which means i carry him up and down the stairs of my apartment despite him being able to use other staircases at home) and the dark (???), which means at night we have to leave the lights on because he gets spooked by shadows. for him, dark = sleep time only, which shows what a sheltered creature he really is. he dislikes large sewer grates and will not stand on them, though none of my small dogs have liked either, and will not go in the garage or basement on his own.
 

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Great topic. Oona is afraid of lawn ornaments especially if they are zoomorphic or anthropomorphic. She is sometimes spooked by people and things she has never seen before or does not expect. For example yesterday she was very suspicious about someone who was laying down near the playground where she did not expect a person to be laying down. She has also growled at dogs who are a shape and size she has never seen before, like her first old English sheepdog. If she is able to explore or meet the thing, she usually chills out about it.
Galen and Ritter have both expressed similar concerns about statuary. They are getting less reactive with age and maturity, however.

The thing that's funny to me is that, unlike Pogo and Snarky, their radar for weird people is poorly calibrated. They are very suspicious of people with altered gaits or unusual body motion: limping due to stroke, stiffness from injury, poor posture due to osteoporosis, etc. In contrast, they were trying to drag me over to meet the neighbor that got banned from the library for surfing porn. Neither Pogo nor Snarky had much use for him.
 

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Galen and Ritter have both expressed similar concerns about statuary. They are getting less reactive with age and maturity, however.

The thing that's funny to me is that, unlike Pogo and Snarky, their radar for weird people is poorly calibrated. They are very suspicious of people with altered gaits or unusual body motion: limping due to stroke, stiffness from injury, poor posture due to osteoporosis, etc. In contrast, they were trying to drag me over to meet the neighbor that got banned from the library for surfing porn. Neither Pogo nor Snarky had much use for him.
I wonder if they are more suspicious of superficial things like gait because they are relatively less socialized bc of the pandemic? Even if she sees a lot of people in the world, she definitely has fewer actual interactions with humans outside her household. I imagine calibrating justified suspicion is a more advanced skill.
 

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I wonder if they are more suspicious of superficial things like gait because they are relatively less socialized bc of the pandemic? Even if she sees a lot of people in the world, she definitely has fewer actual interactions with humans outside her household. I imagine calibrating justified suspicion is a more advanced skill.
I don't know that Galen and Ritter got socialized less because of the pandemic, but they certainly got socialized differently. Pogo and Snarky spent long hours at the barn; as a result they got a lot of social guidance from the senior barn dogs. Galen and Ritter haven't had as much consistent canine mentorship. Galen only had Pogo for six months, and Ritter has only had Galen. I think the examples of wise elder dogs shaped a lot of Pogo and Snarky's opinions. However, because I've been working from home, Galen and Ritter have been exposed to a wider variety of my neighbors than Pogo and Snarky were. There are a lot more people of all ages out walking, and people are more interested in stopping for conversation. I think this exposure has made Galen and Ritter more comfortable with children than Pogo and Snarky ever were.
 

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I can't pinpoint anything in particular that Beau is afraid of, except to some extent strangers and crowds. I blame myself for not taking him around enough people (in Dec 2020...). We do the "go say hi" game and he loves to go and nose bump and sniff people, he just doesn't want to be petted and sometimes if there is too much of a crowd or they are too close to us he will want to be in my lap or hide behind me. We live in a somewhat rural section of town and while I've tried to take him downtown to get him used to all the people and hustle bustle of the city, he is never completely relaxed there. I spend only a few hours with him there 2-3 times a month so maybe it will just take more time.

Things, sounds, dogs, blowing tarps, tractors, mowers, loud motorcycles, he's ok with all that. Just like us humans, I guess we all have our quirks or challenges with our poodles due to how they've grown up. :cool:
 
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