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Thread: scared bully

  1. #1
    Newbie harleyshay1's Avatar
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    Default scared bully

    I have an english bulldog that is slightly over 2 years old, Sadie. Sadie is very skittish towards almost everything. Some examples: trash bags/can, boxes, the blinds on our sliding glass door, etc. We have had her since she was 6 months old and her skittishness has only slightly gotten better. My boyfriend and I bought her from a breeder that was getting out of the breeding business. The man lived out in the country and when we went to see Sadie for the first time she was in a small pen, maybe 4 feet by 4 feet size. All she had was a dog house and food/water bowls and a dirt ground. The top of the pen was covered so she could barely see out into the rest of the yard, and the man said that the only time he really came in contact with her was when he fed her in the mornings. I am sure that is why she is the way she is, but my question to you guys is " is there anything that my boyfriend and I can do to try and help her get over her many fears?"

    Sadie is even scared of her own harness. She absolutely hates putting it on, but after it is on her she is okay. We hate that she is so scared because we would never let anything hurt her, we just wish she would understand.

    Any Ideas?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Gracie has a lot of fears. Loud noises, wind, anything out of the ordinary. She still after almost two years won't go into our livingroom or kitchen unless we coax her in. We got her at the age of 3 1/2 as a retired breeder. We were told she lived in the home of the breeder's mother in a room she had for the dogs. She had very good "manners" but was very very timid about everything when she first came.

    It took us almost a year to get her to come in the kitchen when we were in there. She now eats her meals in the kitchen but it took a long time.

    All I can suggest is lots of love and cuddles. Gracie craves her cuddle time in the mornings and evenings with me. And at various times during the day with Bruce. She very much likes to do everything in a certain routine, and doesn't like it when we vary from that routine.

    I also read that if it's something like storms that they are scared of that you shouldn't feed the fear. Don't make a big deal out of coddling them when they are afraid. Try to act as normal and calm as possible and that is what they will pick up on instead of feeding the fear.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Words of wisdom from @LariP. I think you will be successful with lots of love and patience. She has to learn how to be loved since she didn't get that as a young pup. I think all Bully's are afraid of a lot of "normal" things...my Jake is terrified of the broom! And I know for a fact NOTHING bad has ever been inflicted upon him by my poor broom!! Hang in there!

  4. #4
    BullyWood Movie Star Fontanafox's Avatar
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    Default

    I've had Wilson since he was 10 weeks old. He's always been afraid of "any" sudden moves, babygates that wiggle, trash bags when I pull them out of the trash can, the ceiling fan even though it's been off for 3 years. He's just really shy and all he gets is love so I think I just respect his feelings but I don't coddle him if he chooses to run and hide under the table. I "do" make a fuss if he does something brave or just for being confident jumping into the car or walking up the ramp to the dog tub. Best Wishes!


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    Wilson & BabyGirl

  5. #5
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Well our bully is pretty much not afraid of anything! When he was a pup though he was scared of some things. He was scared when he went for his first walk in the outside world and he was scared by a passing express train which unfortunately passed right overhead when we were walking under it. With the train I approached his fear this way. First I took him about fifty yards away and then sat down with him and gave him lots of encouragement when a low speed passenger train went by. Then over time I took him nearer, giving him encouragement. Since he was around one year old he loves it when trains pass, and most times wants to give them chase!

    With eg the lawnmower, I turned it off and sat next to it and allowed him to have a sniff. Then I kept him some distance away when I started it etc.

    While our boy has always been rather confident he is really now hardly scared of anything including fireworks and thunderstorms, and I think it is mainly because I have gently desensitised him to items he might have been worried about.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: scared bully

    @Harleyshay1

    You've rec'd great information, especially from @LariP ... do not feed into the fear, it tells them the behavior is correct and you agree with how they are responding. Banks has been with us since she was 11 weeks old... never a bad/scary thing to happen to her however, she is terrified of a laundry list of stuff:

    trash bags, purses, brief cases, baby gates, vacuum cleaners, brooms, mops, any sudden loud noise, shaking the clothes when they come out of the dryer...etc, etc. Her big fear is being in the car and we still have no understanding of why - she was fine as a puppy, but at around age two she became terrified of being in a car.
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  7. #7
    Dog Park Attendant Sarah's Avatar
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Both of mine have weird fears too. Brooklyn's big ones are any plastic bag, the vacuum, and sudden movements above her. She is also terrified of her own dog food bag. I could leave it open and out on the floor and she would not even go near it. Frankie is now scared every time we use the oven because he thinks the smoke alarm is going to go off, after it happening twice while making chicken wings.
    Last edited by Sarah; 02-05-2012 at 11:56 AM.

  8. #8
    Drool Catcher Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Quote Originally Posted by harleyshay1 View Post
    I have an english bulldog that is slightly over 2 years old, Sadie. Sadie is very skittish towards almost everything. Some examples: trash bags/can, boxes, the blinds on our sliding glass door, etc. We have had her since she was 6 months old and her skittishness has only slightly gotten better. My boyfriend and I bought her from a breeder that was getting out of the breeding business. The man lived out in the country and when we went to see Sadie for the first time she was in a small pen, maybe 4 feet by 4 feet size. All she had was a dog house and food/water bowls and a dirt ground. The top of the pen was covered so she could barely see out into the rest of the yard, and the man said that the only time he really came in contact with her was when he fed her in the mornings. I am sure that is why she is the way she is, but my question to you guys is " is there anything that my boyfriend and I can do to try and help her get over her many fears?"

    Sadie is even scared of her own harness. She absolutely hates putting it on, but after it is on her she is okay. We hate that she is so scared because we would never let anything hurt her, we just wish she would understand.

    Any Ideas?
    Hi there! You've received some great suggestions.. here is what we did with our two bullies as part of a 10 week training class we took part in.

    My dog Bunk is just like Sadie, he will jump or do the 'road runner' skid to almost anything. Stay calm and don't pet her while she is afraid, but instead confidently get on with what you were doing.

    Get a hold of a hands free leash. In Canada we use a "Jac Trac hands free leash", but any ol' 6 ft leash wrapped around your waist will do. Now that she is attached to you, get into a routine of having her with you an hour a day around the house. Here's an example schedule:

    Week 1
    -Grab the mail
    -Watch tv
    -Read a book
    -Fix a snack
    -Dust the house
    -Any other chores that don't involve carrying anything big or scary or sudden movements
    -Practice taking the harness on and off. Over and over again, and sweeten the deal with treats when she remains calm (remember to remain calm yourself!)

    This is the beginning of bonding as well as confidence building. Eventually she will learn to trust you and believe that you will keep her safe. Of course she loves you but does not yet feel confident enough. This is why it's important not to drag her into situations that scare her right away, also known as "flooding". So don't take out the trash or carry boxes with her just yet.

    Week 2
    -Around the house - have her do a sit-stay while you fold laundry
    -Do some light gardening
    -Take her to a neighbourhood that is new to her and go for a walk
    -Walk around urban areas with traffic noise and different pavements, bring small treats to give her while you wait for lights and stop signs (this really helped for Bunk because he would get so scared of the cars, the treats bring his focus back and he would snap back to being happy go lucky)

    Week 3
    -While she is attached - carry SMALL boxes like a shoebox and see how she does. I would put treats and toys in the box, walk around the house with it, then put it on the floor for her to sniff and give her a treat for not freaking out.
    -Empty small trash cans like the ones in your bathroom. There may never be a day when she isn't afraid of trash bags, it's common for a lot of dogs. But the hope is eventually instead of panicking she will just walk to another room.
    -Ask her to sit-stay while you slowly open and close the blinds - giving her a small treat or affection every time she remains calm. If she's not ready then don't be discouraged, keep building her confidence in you and one day she will just give you a bored look like "mom, why do you keep messing with the blinds?"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: scared bully

    I read that your bully is only 2 so this could be totally off but...Bre (who is 7) doesn't have the best vision and she gets freaked out really easily by little things. If we touch her without a good warning she makes a loud crying sound like we are killing her...or if something touches her that she wasn't prepared for (other dog, or if her crate door bumps her). I wouldn't think a 2 year old would have vision problems but I was just tossing it out there? Good luck with your bully!

  10. #10
    Newbie harleyshay1's Avatar
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Well, I guess it sort of seems like its normal for her to be sort of timid. When she gets scared she doesnt run and hide, she starts barking at whatever it is and backs away from it. The trash bag coming out of the trash can for example, whenever we go to take the bag out of the can she goes ballistic and starts barking constantly but wont come near the bag. She doesnt seem scared enough to run and hide, she just goes crazy barking. She doesnt know what "stay" means either, so that would be a whole different task. (She only knows how to sit, the minute we move or she sees something, she moves.) I understand why she is nervous because of where she came from, it just makes me sad that she is so scared of things because she is so babied. Sadie is like our child, and she is spoiled rotten.

    Thanks for all of your comments though; I will definately try some of you guys suggestions.

  11. #11
    Potty Trainer Polly's Avatar
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    Default Re: scared bully

    Lily is afraid of a lot of things too. She is 3 yrs old and we have had her for 7 months. She is afraid of plastic bags, the scraping noise when you move a chair on the floor, any loud sudden noises, anything that is in the kitchen that wasn't there before, example... grocery bags,backpacks. Once a butterfly landed on her back and she was sooooo...scared. She is even afraid of balls. We don't know much about her previous home but there was at least 3 in just 2 months. She has gotten better. I can move a chair now without her running away but I made sure to move the chair alot while I or my daughter was patting her and talking to her and I think that has worked. We just try to show her that she's safe and we won't let anything hurt her.
    POLLY<3

  12. #12
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    Default Re: scared bully

    These crazy bullies look like they would rip your arm off with the big teeth sticking out, broad muscular stance, etc. but in reality they are the biggest cuddle bug, smooosh faced babies there ever was. I don't think it is uncommon for them to be a bit timid. I think it is a part of their natural loving way. We need to train them to NOT be timid in many cases.

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