Lola happy walking in a riverFrom the start, Lola’s lovely people have been soaking up information on the positive way to bring up a puppy. They knew how important it was that she should be introduced to all sorts of people, dogs, traffic, machinery and places in the first few weeks they had her – before the fear period kicked in. They really couldn’t have done more.

They are taking their role of ‘dog parents’ very seriously. The lady has taught her a lot of things – all through reward-based methods and encouragement.[divider type=”white”]

Fearful puppy

So I find it really sad now because, due to a build up of circumstances and unforeseen happenings at just the wrong time in her development, she is becoming a fearful puppy.

About four weeks ago she went to a different doggy daycare for a week. It is possible (this is guesswork) that she may have been intimidated in an over-stimulating environment with uncontrolled play, because this is when the change in her began. The next week the couple took her away for a week in a hotel by the sea and she was growling at people as they came into the room – very unlike the seemingly confident and friendly puppy they had had only a week or so previously.

Then, back home, a bus pulled up right beside them, air brakes hissing. Lola was terrified.

The last straw was the other day. She was quietly asleep in the back room when family with children arrived. One child ran straight through and rattled the crate while she slept. Lola barked frantically. All the time these visitors were there little Lola was pacing, anxious, and appealing for reassurance.

Early experiences are so important. Bad things can have a much more lasting impact than good things. Now, before walks when the lead comes out Lola backs away or rolls onto her back. When out, she is terrifed of any fast or large traffic.

She has also started barking at people who enter her house – especially it they appear suddenly. She is a sensitive pup and needs to feel secure in her own people to look after her and to associate people walking into her home with calm and with good things.

It is fortunate that they live down a quiet road – but with a very busy road at the end. They can work on getting her happy to go out and desensiting her to traffic and buses from a distance where she feels safe. It needs working on before the problem gets any worse.

It seems unfair. We all know dogs where the owners have put in very little effort and somehow everything goes fine.