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Canine Behavior/Dog started to shake


My dog is health and happy!  She travels with me to my office and is happy to get ink her travel cage in the car.  For a year she has been fine going to the office but last week she won't come out of her travel cage and when we started up the stairs to my office/building she started to shake. Once in my office she was happy and went straight to her bed in the office and we had no problem. The same thing now has happen for a week - everyday.  I thought at first she just didn't want to go to work but now it seems like she us afraid of something.  How can I help her change that behavior ? U hate to see her shake :(

OK please answer a few questions:

Can you explain, or attempt to with your best effort (don't worry if it doesn't work, a dog can acquire a conditioned fear response in five seconds) ANYTHING surrounding the FIRST time such an episode occurred?

WHAT DID, AND WHAT DO, you DO when she behaves in this manner?  Do you console her?  HOW do you behave?

Because she "won't come out of her travel cage" it appears to me that she has "chained" a fear response that MUST have occurred WHILE she was leaving the travel cage OR immediately thereafter.

This can be fixed.  THINK hard.  Tell me everything you can, even if it's little it's better than nothing.

Meanwhile:  CHANGE immediately what happens when you STOP THE CAR and OPEN the travel cage.  DO NOTHING.  Stand and WAIT (add about twenty minutes to the time allotted for you to get to work).  WAIT for her to EMERGE by herself.  If, after five to ten minutes, she does not: start the car, drive a block, turn around, try again.  At some point, the fight/flight she is experiencing will fail and she WILL come out of the travel cage.  When that happens: observe her body language.  If she's shaking, tail down, ears flat against her head: IGNORE HER.  WAIT until the body language changes and then FOOD REWARD (carry fat free cheese in a baggy).  Then do something totally different: don't go directly to the "door" or whatever your habit was.  Walk her in circles, sing her a little song, stop, ask for "sit", praise and food reward, and then go forward.  Mind you: going forward might still evoke a fear response (if it is heavily conditioned). DO NOT reward in any way (by attempting to console her), just STOP and WAIT until she is calmer.  It may take ONE counter conditioning experience, but I think it will most likely take far more than that: IT CAN BE DONE.

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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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