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Old 10-01-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Frightened of Church Bells

I live fairly close to a church and every wednesday nights and sunday morning and evening we have lots of bell ringing.

I was out with my new pup (waiting for him to do his thing) but he was obviously frightened of the noise.

He stared winning and trembled a little. he wouldnt do anything outside.

Unfortunately my daughter opened the back door and the dog darted in and promptly did the deed on the floor!

Any advice. I could try avoid being out at the time of the bell but thats just not possible I think because if he needs to go then there is no other option

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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Just stick with it kiz, ignore the church bells, show absolutely no reaction to them at all, and the pup will pick up on your body language and do likewise.

If you start acknowledging his paranoia, fear, or whatever it is, then you will surely have a problem. You have said yourself "if he needs to go then there is no other option". Just pretend the bells are not there, any acknowledgement of them will reinforce his fear.

Hope this helps, best of luck !

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:23 PM   #3
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Just stick with it kiz, ignore the church bells, show absolutely no reaction to them at all, and the pup will pick up on your body language and do likewise.

If you start acknowledging his paranoia, fear, or whatever it is, then you will surely have a problem. You have said yourself "if he needs to go then there is no other option". Just pretend the bells are not there, any acknowledgement of them will reinforce his fear.

Hope this helps, best of luck !
Thanks for your reply

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:36 PM   #4
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no probs Kiz, if that is your little guy in your Avatar, he is totally cute and adorable !

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Old 10-01-2008, 06:43 PM   #5
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An option that works well in almost all situations like this is Classical Conditioning. What you will do is make the church bells a positive instead of a negative. Instead of just ignoring them, you actually give your dog treats when they occur. Go out to potty with treats in your pockets, and make them really good treats...not just crunchy dog biscuits. I would use chicken, liver, hot dogs or something REALLY good. When the church bells start, you get jolly. Like you really like them. And give treats.

I did this with my fearful dog Laika with noises. If she heard a loud noise, I'd say in a very happy voice, "Big Noise!! How exciting!!" and I'd hand her a treat. It got so that when she heard a loud noise instead of jumping in fear with her tail tucked, she'd turn to me with a happy face looking for a treat.

I've used this with many of my students, and they've all had success.
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Old 10-02-2008, 06:31 AM   #6
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no probs Kiz, if that is your little guy in your Avatar, he is totally cute and adorable !
Yep < < < < thats George.

I've had dogs in the family but never been around puppies 24/7. Its hard work but completely wonderful and rewarding. He has now been with us for 4 days

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Old 10-02-2008, 07:21 AM   #7
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agilityk9trainer one thing I have wondered about that method is how do you walk the line between creating a positive association and rewarding fearful behavior? Don't you have to be careful to give the treat only if the dog is not showing fear?
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:41 AM   #8
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agilityk9trainer one thing I have wondered about that method is how do you walk the line between creating a positive association and rewarding fearful behavior? Don't you have to be careful to give the treat only if the dog is not showing fear?
Surely rewarding fear has its draw backs? Your rewarding fearful behavior?

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Old 10-02-2008, 09:11 AM   #9
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Jean : you don't allow the fearful behaviour to start off in the first place ! I think what Agility is saying that the very second the bells sound off, before the little guy has a chance to show fear, you distract him immediately with some positive noises and a jolly tasty treat. Hence, you are rewarding his good behaviour of ignoring the bells.

If your dog is motivated by food, and most are, then this is an excellent way of overcoming the fear.

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Old 10-02-2008, 10:14 AM   #10
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When Amber was a puppy and we had thunder, fireworks or any noise she was frightened of, we told her to "send it off " so she barked at them, and then we turned it in to a game with her toys or had a rough and tumble with her, so now all these noises mean it's playtime, I can even take her a walk and if the odd firework goes off she takes no notice of it at all.
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