Dog ate chocolate?

ask a vet

How to socialize fearful dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: sheltie
Age: 1-2 years
how do you socialize a fearful dog? this dog I have will not go by anyone, if I walk her and someone comes to talk to me like a neighbor, she will run away or bark and run away. she will not approach people and no one can pet her. she will bark at people too on walks. I don't know what to do with this dog. I want to keep her but I want a more social dog


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is a tough question to answer as this kind of problem can be difficult to deal with. Often Shelties are very timid dogs. However, I have seen some dogs who can be rehabilitated and can learn to deal with their fears.

Here are a few suggestions for you:

1. Never reprimand her. This dog needs to build up her confidence level. If she is reprimanded at all then this can really affect her confidence level and also can build upon her fear level.

2. We need to do lots of things to build up her confidence level. Find things that she loves and spend lots of time doing these things. For example, if she loves playing ball, then play ball for 1-2 hours a day (if you have the time.) Then, bring the ball to a public place and play with her. All the time, only speak positive and give her lots of rewards.

3. See if you can get a friend to help you learn to socialize her. You need to set up a plan where you very gradually get her used to seeing you talk to other people. First, start with no people around. Teach her a command such as "sit". When she sits, she gets a treat. Then, have your friend stand around the corner. Tell Lily to sit, and give her a treat. Do it a few times. Then, on say, the fourth time, have your friend walk into the room. Tell Lily to sit and give her a treat and then have your friend leave. Do this several times until she is totally comfortable with this. Then, have your friend come a little closer to you the next time. Each time she seems like she is comfortable, push it a bit further until eventually your friend is talking to you and Lily will still sit and receive a treat. This may take several days to do. If she's fearful at any point then go back to the previous level.

Once you've mastered #3, try the same thing again with a different friend. Then, work up to trying this in a public place.

Something else that will really help is to enroll her in obedience classes. This will help her get used to public places with lots of people. But be sure you find a class that uses only positive reinforcement, not negative training.

If she is REALLY fearful, you can talk to your vet about having her on an anti-anxiety medication such as Clomicalm for a few months while she is in training.

Ultimately, the best thing I could recommend would be to ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary behavioralist.

I hope these tips help!

Dr. Marie.



Check out our dog age calculator and cat age calculator.

Want to receive pet coupons, vet advice and info on new pet products in your inbox?

* indicates required

We'll only send you great stuff, never spam. Unsubscribe any time.

Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Search for similar questions:

ask a vet

Popular questions...

Meibomian gland adenoma questions. Hello Dr. Marie, What is the typical procedure to removal meibomian gland... (15379 views)

Vomiting and not eating. My shepherd mix, Beanie, is 8 years old, weighs about 44 pounds, and has always been... (7331 views)

Lump between toes. I have noticed an irregular-shaped, red in colour, bumpy lump on the webbing in... (13154 views)

Swollen ankle in my dog. My Labrador has the right back leg ankle joint bigger than his left one. 15 days ago... (8607 views)

My dog is bleeding. I adopted my dog from a local shelter as a puppy of 12 weeks. they said that due to... (11014 views)

How much exercise for a puppy? Hi Dr Marie, I'm pleased to report Max is doing well.. changing from Iams to p/d... (7963 views)

Vomiting and runny eyes. Hello Doc! My cat Princess started throwing up this morning. First two times was... (41569 views)

Puppy ich on skin. why does my puppy have white ich on his skin?Is there any cure to it?Is there any... (14067 views)

Bulldog losing hair. hello, I have a 3 year old english bulldog that has had skin issues since he was... (19370 views)

Dental cleaning extend dog's life? My Pug Chocko has a tooth that feels loose. I think it's his lower central incisor... (6035 views)

See all questions...

Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.