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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone.

Over the past few weeks, our puppy Bradley (now 7 months) has taken an instant dislike to different people on three separate occasions. (Just people passing by)

One time, a lady, (during a day time walk) he wouldn't go near and as she was trying to say hello to him, he backed of and hid behind me.

Tonight, we took Brad on his night time walk, and we met a nice couple with their father just returning from a evening out. As soon as Bradley saw them he barked and got very scared, and again hid behind me. They kept trying to approach him, but he wouldn't go anywhere near them, and warned them of with a bark every time they came anywhere near. I reassured him, all the while, and told him 'no' but he was still really scared. :shock:

What should i do in this situation?

Has anyone had this with their lab before?

The couple and their father were dressed in black, and it was of course dark outside...

It's very strange as Bradley loves people, and will do anything for a bit of fuss normally, but 3 times in 3 weeks...??

The only other thing he is scared of, is his reflection, but usually he is happy about anything really.

Thanks for listening,

Julie
 

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Hi Bradleysmum
First thing - at 7 months Bradley is probably entering his teenage adolescent period. This is a time when we often say to ourselves 'where did I go wrong' :? and they can go through another fear period, where things they were fine with suddenly become really scary, so don't worry - it does happen. :)
It's difficult to know why, it could be someone in a hat, with a beard etc, and also if they're not used to going out in the dark it can seem more scary.
Some of the working labs can be a little sensitive (I have one). It is however, important that it is handled correctly, otherwise you will be reinforcing the behaviour.
First thing - NEVER reassure him - he will think that your are telling him he was right to be afraid.
Completely ignore him and however much someone wants to say hello to him, ask them to ignore him as well, not even look at him (eye contact is quite confrontational to a dog). If he wants to hide behind you while you chat to them, fine - but don't force him to say hello. Let him come to say hello to them if he wants to but don't force the issue. If he is barking (rather than just hiding behind you) he is feeling threatened, so the more someone tries to come towards him the more he will bark. You really want to avoid this as he will learn that barking gets rid of things that frighten him and desensitisation is more involved.

The basic principles apply - ignore any unwanted behaviour (including any scared feelings) and reward good behaviour.
HTH :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Lablover,

Thank you so much for your reply.

As always, you have given some great advice. Bradley remembers the people he is scared of, (we are at a camping complex) and he tends to see the same people, so today when he sees the people he is afraid of, we will deal with his behaviour in the correct way.

We will also advise the other people, not to look at him.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again,

Julie
 
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