We have all had dogs with different issues, either shy right off the bat, or been spooked at a show or someplace, that seems to "ruin" them. I had one bitch years ago in sweeps and just as the judge came up to her, someone was filling the tray of ice in the corner of the ring by dumping a large container over the fencing. It took me at least a year to work her past this, where a stranger could touch her without her crouching. We lived close to an elementary school, and I would walk her around it. And as kids would come up, I'd ask them to be nicely pet her, reassuring her the whole time.
My one bully that I got a CD on, she was a very shy girl. We ruined many scores on the long sit or down, because of some loud noise or something. If it was anything "different or scary", she was so spooked. But, I tried not to enable her fears, and used positive reinforcement on exposing her to things. An example: I left the house to take her for a walk. The neighbor had a visitor with a big motorcycle parked by the sidewalk. Oooohhhh my goodness, that was something new, big and strange. No way did she want to walk by it. But, rather than go around, I stood next to it, patting the seat, the wheels, etc, all the time saying "it's ok" and gently pulling on her lead. Soon she came up enough to sniff it, while I was telling her she was a good girl. When done, we were able to walk by it.
And one more recent example. I just got an 18 month old male I bred back. He really had not been out or socialized. We took him on our recent 4 days of shows where he got a lot of walking, petting by strangers, and even took him to sit next to the ring watching. HOWEVER, when we took him to the groups, with all the yelling, clapping and whooping and hollering, he panicked, and we quickly took him back to the RV. I wrote my long time obedience mentor friend in LV. Her advice was that the next time I was at a show, tape record the sounds at group. Then play them at home, softly......and slowly raise the volume to where he isn't bothered by it.
So Harrold, my advice would be to take it slowly with her, not immediately try to show her while she is so soft and might be spooked beyone "repair". Rather, take her out to parks and such where there would be strangers, stopping at times to stack/stand her, and asking strangers if they would pet her, all the time praising her. I would take her on some dog show trips, so she can also get the exposure there, with noise, strangers, etc. Always have some treats with you, that you can hand to a stranger and ask that they give it to her, so she realizes a stranger talking or petting her is ok.
Hope some of my ideas and experience help you. Good luck
This message has been edited by merktj from IP address 18.104.22.168 on Dec 8, 2010 8:38 AM
Posted on Dec 8, 2010, 7:46 AM from IP address 22.214.171.124