Fearful boxer 5 months old

Posted by knb
Aug 9, 2010
Hello! I have an adorable boxer male who is afraid for almost everything outside the house. He seems to be handler-weak, cheerful in the family and plays a lot with our 9 year old boxer male who is doing a great job setting boundries for the pup. We try to stay calm and assertive when the young one is showing fear. When he is in the backyard and a dog passes by, he charges against the fence and shows agression but you can tell from his barking that its all about anxiety and fear. When he does these attacs, we immediately sit him down, hold a firm grip with one hand over his "snout" and say "NO" with calm and assertive stature. He calms down very fast with this treatment.
On walks, he is walking quite nice but in a very nervous state, looking around and listens to cars, dogs barking in the neighbourhood, birds chirping and he is really anxious all the time. We have taken him to training fields for dogs where he could watch other dogs but he will not go near them. Not even the most placid dogs. When we are walking both our dogs he is in another, confident state and he tries to take the lead all the time. I dont want him to rely only on the security and the precense of an alpha-dog so we walk them separately. When he is walking nice, we praise him but we dont pay any attention of his fearfulness. If we meet people, we try to make them say hello to him and we give them treats to offer him to make meeting with strangers a pleasant experience. In those occasions, he is very cautious but he accepts the treats offered by the "strangers". We always try to pat him under his chin - never from above on the head. This is my 6th boxer male and I have NEVER before seen this behaviour in my other dogs. He has been like this since we got him at 8 weeks. Is he beyond saving?
He is fairly quick to learn otherwise. (Sorry for my bad english...)
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 9, 2010
Hi knb.

I understand you have had him for 3 mos and you have been trying to socialize him. In fact, I think you have been doing everything correct. It just takes longer time for some dogs than others.

How does he react things inside the house? Is he afraid of the vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, how about when you drop a pan in the kitchen? Is he OK with thunders or fireworks? How about when you and someone argue in a loud voice? Does he get nervous or fearful?

I would list up the things he gets scared of and desensitize him with each one of them while you boost up his confidence by taking obedience trainings. More he gets exposed to new people (not all at one time though) more he gets relaxed being around people. Keep up with your good job

Forgive my poor English too
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 10, 2010
Hey there,

I really can't do anything but echo MaxHollyNoah. Some does do just take longer, and from what I read, you're already doing everything I'd advise you to try. I say keep up with it, and just expose him to more and more things, repeatedly, so that he builds up a bank of what he knows in life. In time, he won't react. Great job on ignoring his fearful behaviour, that's the best thing you can do, and the rewarding confidence.

Patience and repetition! Good luck!! I"m sure he'll come around with time.
Posted by knb
Aug 10, 2010
Thank You MaxHollyNoah and KOPcaroline! I am happy that you seem to think we are on the right track. The young one is not reacting with fear to anything inside. He is not reacting to sudden noise indoors. We watch TV with full surround and subwoofer. Being retirees, we dont abuse the subwoofer - just enough volume to give a little more bottom to the sound..
The surround noise does not bother either one of the dogs. They like to be in the TV-room with us...
The other night there was a storm with thunder and lightning for several hours. Both dogs slept most of the time. We think this is thanks to the psyche of the 9 year old who is a big fan of New Years eveĀ“s fireworks. He goes downstairs, alone, and sit and watch the firework all evening. Hopefully this is setting a good example to the little one and I think that is one reason he is not afraid indoors.
I was a little worried though, that he would get a false sense of confidence if he always could rely on the older companion to take care of real or concieved "threats" on walks, so we walk the dogs separately until we think that he has built some genuine confidence. Hopefully this helps him develop in the right direction.