Alright, Baron (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) is doing great, he's four and a half months old now.
Problem is that he's got some odd phobias now.
1) He is scared of cardboard boxes, and I mean terrified. If I even bring one near him, he lays flat on the ground or runs away. If I try to coax him past one, he sometimes gets so scared, he'll pee a little. I have no idea how this phobia got started, and have no idea how to help him past it. I mean it's to the point where if you put his food in his cage, and then put a small box at the entrance, he'd rather not eat than try to get past it to his bowl, and this is a puppy that LOVES to eat.
2) Vacume Cleaner. This one is pretty normal, but he has the same reaction as he does with the boxes. Usually, he'll just slink to his crate and sit in the corner till I'm done. If we're walking down the hall in my apt and one of the cleaning guys is using one, he'll either try to go as far around it as possible, or try to bolt past it.
3) Garbage bags. Another one I'm puzzled about and have no idea as to the origins. He basically avoids them the way he avoids vacs, tries to run wide of them, or run really fast past them. Usually he's fine with the smaller grocery bags, but those big black bags, he doesn't like at all.
Right now, I can understand that he's still young and figuring things out, but I do not want him to think it's okay to be afraid of these things as it will stunt him later in life, I believe. Anyone got any help with these type of behavior issues?
Well he's not scared of being caged, he likes his crate. He's just scared of the cardboard boxes. I don't know that he's scared of the color black... I mean he's got basically black fur, so that might not work out too well for him if he is. :)
I would say, don't try to force anything upon him if he's terrified. My puppy is afraid of vaccuum cleaners like no other too. When we start vaccuuming, she would actually hide on the stack of to-be-recycled newspapers we have in a corner. The loud noise is just new to puppies, they've only been around for a few months! Now, when we vaccuum, I take her outside on the deck with me and have the door open so she can still hear the noise. Other than relying on her to slowly adjust, I'm at a loss too!
Another example is that when our Brandi first came, she was absolutely terrified of cars. She's an Oklahoma girl and lived in very rural areas, so she wasn't used to our suburban clutter. Everytime a car passes, she would actually have to completely STOP walking and look back and make sure the car passed her... then she'd walk. Now, she's fine -- in fact, I have to make sure to keep her from chasing the cars! Silly puppy!
I wish you luck, and really my only suggestion is to maybe if you have a small cardboard box, to just put it in some unobtrusive corner with a toy and with time he'll be curious and go to it? Sorry I'm not much help!
I actually was in the middle of something that you suggested. I have a small box that I just kept by his cage. The past two days he would refuse to walk past it. If it was in front of his cage he'd either stay in the cage or stay away from the cage, depending on where he was initially, but today it seems like he's making progress. He still would rather avoid it, but he doesn't seem to think it's going to jump up and eat him as much anymore.
Ah, that's one to try. I'm not sure how to get him used to the vaccume though... he doesn't have a problem when it's off, only when it's on, but obviously I can't just run it 24/7 for him to get used to the sound. Maybe I'll try the gradually introducing him closer to the sound technique and see what that does.
I just don't want to do anything that will make matters worse, but at the same time, I don't want him to think it's okay to be scared of these things or that his fears are validated, so I don't soothe him when he's in situations like that, I just sort of act like I don't even notice the fact that he's scared