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HI,

Over the last month or so, Brad has developed a few fears. We think it is his age, and his 'teenage' phase, i think he must have loads of hormones going around his little body at the moment.

Anyway, on walks he will suddenly stop and look all around him and not move for about 5 minutes. This can happen in the middle of a field or as we are about to cross a road. (We always make him 'sit' before crossing a road, so now he sits and will not cross the road until he decides it's ok)

We have noticed he is alot more clingy, in the past it has taken alot of training for us to get him to walk by our sides (which he now does) but now it is the opposite, he is glued to our legs! When it gets dark outside, he does not like walking at all, and he can't wait to be back indoors once again.

I suppose with Bradley, almost every walk is to a new place as we are travelling at the moment, so there is always so much to explore as it is.

I'm sure this phase will past, but i'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced this with their lab?


Would be interested to hear from anyone else,

Brad is now 9 months old.

Many Thanks

Julie
 

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Hi Julie. Poor Bradley - that doesn't sound like much fun.

I've read that fear stages are generally around 8 weeks old and again at 4 months old but that some dogs can go through it again at anywhere from 6 to 18 months.

We didn't really notice anything with Edie but we definitely saw it with Emma right around 4 months. And now at 8 months were seeing it again. Mainly getting into the car and when it's windy she'll get freaked out by blowing leaves or rustling branches.

The way we dealt with it the first time was just ignoring the fearful behaviour and praising her when she acted "bold" (walking past a leaf - how bold eh? :lol:). It passed within a couple weeks so that's what were doing again.

With the car, she gets one chance to get in on her own, if she balks I lift her in without saying a word ( glad I drive a mini! :lol:) and then praise her like crazy for being in the car. If she freaks out when we're walking I just keep going, then when she's enjoying her walk again I'll praise her. She's planted her bottom a couple of times and wouldn't budge so I've just walked to the end of the lead and stood with my back to her until she's ready to move on (fine as long as we're not in a hurry to get anywhere! :lol:)

It's REALLY hard ignoring our sweet baby girl when she's scared but I'm just so concerned that if I try to coax her or reassure her, or speak to her in any way really, I'll inadvertently reinforce the fearful behaviour. I really hope it passes as quickly as it did the first time.

I hope you guys get through it soon too!
 

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Hi Dana,

Thank you very much for your reply, its good to know it's not just Bradley that is experiencing this at the moment.

Excellent advice also thank you - We are helping him along with it, and each time he does get scared of something (I know what you mean about leaves blowing in the wind, on a windy day it can turn into a very long walk indeed! 8O ) we are ignoring it, and walk on a little way, stop and then wait for him to catch up. I think it will take a little time but we we will get through it with him, i'm sure.

He's very much a 'mummys boy' at the moment, and tends to be glued to my side, indoors or outside (bless). I've been trying to imagine what things must look like from their point of view, everything being so much bigger and noisier.

I hope Emma gets better with her fear too, she sounds like a right little sweetie. I'll keep you posted on how Brad goes.

Take Care

Julie
 

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Hi there

Smudge has also been changing a little in this respect. When we first took him out for walks, which was often at dusk or night, nothing phased him at all. Car lights were nothing to this bold little boy!

However, this has changed over the last few weeks and he is a little more apprehensive. He is also quite clingy and every time we sit down he jumps onto our knee(s) and just wants a cuddle!

I always think of puppies a bit like children. Have you ever noticed how most children are not scared of anything until they start getting a bit older? That's probably why you see so many kids having great fun on scary theme park rides whilst us adults look terrified!

Dana's advice is excellent and we used this in respect of fireworks. The first night we had Smudge was very close to bonfire night and so there were lots of fireworks going off around but we just ignored them and found that Smudge did too.

Sending love to all our little labs - at least they have their lovely mums and dads to come to for a big cuddle!

All the best,
Nicola.
 
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