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Canine Behavior/My dog is scared of everything!


QUESTION: I have a neutered 4 year old pure bred Shiba Inu that I have had since he was 4 months old. I bought him with my ex-fiancee and have since moved two times. I am currently living in an apartment with him and my 5 year old cat. My problem is he is scared of everything and especially people. If someone approaches him in my house he runs and hides and will not come out from his corner or from under the bed. He is especially scared of men, it took him almost a year to be comfortable around my father and we were living with him. He is fine around other dogs and spent almost 4 years living with 2 other dogs when I lived with my parents. Now that we moved into an apartment he is always under the bed or hiding somewhere else. He is comfortable with my best friend who has know him since a puppy, but that is it. I take him for 2 walks daily and take him to the pet store and dog park to try and get him used to people but nothing seems to be working. He is also afraid of thunderstorms, music bass, and my neighbors upstairs walking around. I am just wondering what I can do to ease his anxiety and what the cause might be. I am willing to do anything to make him more comfortable so he doesn't have to be under my bed all the time.

ANSWER: How long has he been living with you in this new environment?

How was his general behavior when you lived with your parents?

Are they willing to take him back?

Can you afford a behaviorist to come to your home, evaluate the dog, and work with you to help this transition?

Can you afford veterinary attention that may require medication?

Please use followup to answer.

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QUESTION: We have been living there for just over 10 months. He was still generally skittish when we were living at my parents. Still did not like people and would jump at any loud noise. Unfortunately they moved out of state and can not have another dog beyond the 2 they have. Plus I don't think I could part with him. I don't know if I can afford a behaviorist but I could afford veterinary attention that may include medication.

Let's start with a veterinary behaviorist.  Find one from one of these sites or by calling the veterinary college in your geographical area:

Report back.  Know that medications have side effects in humans we can report, the dog can't.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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