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Old 05-20-2013, 10:14 AM
straw straw is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 539
Default Sudden and Severe Fear Issue

My dog Venice (1.5 year old spayed female mutt) has had a crappy few days.

Background info - I adopted her in January, and while she won't pull to say hello to everyone in the street, she happily accepts attention from strangers when we are outdoors, and goes gaga for them when we are in the house. I lived with two roommates until the end of April, we're all college-aged and had friends over frequently. There was never a problem. Venice would curl up on strangers' laps, and a group of loud drunks stumbling home at 1am? That was cause for lots of tail wagging.

Until Wednesday. She saw a rollerblader and literally thought she was going to die. She's never encountered a rollerblader with me, so I don't know (and frankly don't care since it's not relevant either way) if had a bad experience before I got her, or if the movement just freaked her out.

We were in a tunnel and unable to gain any distance, even though I asked the person to stop and let us leave the tunnel. As the rollerblader went by Venice flattened herself to the ground and crapped all over herself.

Thursday one zipped by us again - I was able to get some distance but not enough to get her under threshold. She wasn't barking or reacting, but had full piloerection and was pulling as hard as she could to create some distance. For the rest of the walk she was leery of people, giving them a wide berth and keeping a close eye on them as we passed.

She went to daycare on Friday and the trainer who was supervising that morning told me Venice was quite shy when her husband came to visit and wouldn't approach him unless his back was turned, and then only to sniff at him briefly. That afternoon when she was hanging out by the big front windows, another rollerblader apparently went by and spooked her.

This weekend we had a lot of family over (all essentially strangers to the dog, some of them she had only met once or twice so I don't count them) and she was extremely nervous. If someone other than myself or my parents entered the room she was alarm barking/growling, pacing, and trying to find an exit. She spent most of the time in a quiet room by herself because she was clearly so stressed, and we left early.

She is also barking and growling at the sound of cars in our driveway, steps on the deck, the door opening, and becomes visibly nervous when she hears them. These same sounds used to get her happy and excited.

I've never seen this dog so fearful, and it all started literally overnight after having the scary rollerblader encounter. I can't imagine how such a sweet friendly dog must be feeling inside to act out like this. Everything about her just screams 'I need space right now' but she is still her wiggly self with those of us who are really close to her. For her to just lie down and lose control of her bowels on Wednesday she must have been totally horrified.

Sorry this was so long and rambly... I just wanted to share. Has anyone else had a dog develop such a sudden fear and become the total opposite of the dog they used to be? I'd love some support or any similar stories you have. I just want to help this nervous wreck of a dog get back to the Venice I knew for four months.
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