HI, I have read in a couple of places that there is a "fearful period" that puppies sometimes go through. Is this true? and if so, what age does it usually start at? and is it temporary? I ask because my 5 month old Westie puppy seems to be getting a little jumpy and acting fearful around some things that she used to be ok with before, such as the vaccuum, sometimes car rides, and odd little noises here and there. I do what the trainer at puppy school suggested, which is to give her treats in the presence of things that might scare her, without babying her, just to make her associate the "thing" with something good. Here's the other side of this story: two days ago, while clipping her nails, I did what I shouldn't have... i cut the quick of one nail, and she bled quite a bit! the poor thing! she let out a big yelp and ran off. i felt AWFUL about it, and almost wanted to pass out myself, but i kept calm, picked her up and tried to clean her paw at the sink, which was a struggle. Later I gave her lots of treats so she would let me get close to the paw to see how bad it was. It took a while, but eventually she did let me, and I let her play with the nail trimmer so she woulnd't think it was "scary". Since that day, I have made a point of touching her paws, but she gets very agitated, especially when I touch the ONE paw. I also tried to clip some of the hair off her face yesterday, but she became very fidgety. I put her up on the kitchen counter and she just panicked! She was so nervous, she couldn't even take a treat from me, although she wanted it, but she was shaking! I think maybe it reminded her of being at the vet? I just don't know if I've caused some trauma here! she has always been ok with the paw touching, handling, etc. I guess my question is: should I just back off and not do these things for a few days? or is it better to persist NOW, and keep doing some handling until she accepts it again? What is the correct thing to do? I just don't want her to be fearful of the vet, or the groomer when they have to handle her. Last time we were at the vet's office a month ago she was already very difficult to handle, unlike other times. I feel awful when she gets like that because she looks nervous, stressed, she pants, drools, etc., and I hate to think that she'll think I'm hurting her on purpose! I try not to baby her, but I do give her treats to try to appease her, and I speak calmly (although inside I'm freaking out). What else should I do?
In my experience, the best place to look at most things on a dog is on the couch. They sometimes can be quite scared of the height of the counter, and the slippery surface. I know it feels horrible to cut a nail too short, but most dogs don't like it, even if you don't cut too short. Mine think I'm killing them.Don't worry, I don't think you've done a lot of damage. What does she do all day? Are you home with her, or is she at home, or at a another place? The other thing you might try is a dremel, although it will be a bit of a fight at first if she's never seen one. You can't cut too short, and the tool makes a much nicer job. Good luck with her.
Yes, I've heard of the Dremmel. Maybe I'll try that. I was successful in cutting another little tiny bit off one nail yesterday. I did it when she was more calm, although she did start to get fidgety again, so I stopped after one. I think I did that just to make sure we could both handle it! Gave her lots and lots of treats for it (I was so nervous, I needed a drink after it! lol!). During the day she's home by herself because I work, and it's just the two of us. I leave her in the washroom with a baby gate and her crate in case she wants to nap in there. I leave her toys with her, and a kong stuffed with treats, which is always empty when I come home, as well as a beef tendon chewy- she loves those. Whenever I can, I go home for lunch. In the evenings we go for walks to the park and around the neighbourhood, and we spend time together- we play, we do some training on commands, she lies at my feet and chews on whatever toy she loves that day, etc.