10 things my fearful dog isn’t afraid of

When you live with a fearful dog, I’ve found that it’s easy to get weighed down by all of their issues. The fears are often the only things you can think about when you consider your dog and watch them interact with the outside world.

Pyrrha by the back stoop
The first day we had her; this is where she hid from us for a few hours.

Pyrrha is our fearful dog, and she will always have fear issues. I’m coming to terms with this reality, but I also want to take the time to consider the ways in which she’s made progress and the things she’s overcome since coming to live with us in May 2012.

This probably seems like a silly list to someone who has a confident, stable dog — and trust me, if I had to list the things Eden wasn’t afraid of, we’d be here a while — but these things represent milestones in Pyrrha’s gradual development.

So, here are:

10 Things My Fearful Dog Isn’t Afraid of

  1. Me! (Now, she treats me like I hung the moon and the stars, but for the first few weeks in our home, she didn’t want anything to do with me. Our relationship has clearly transformed since then.)
  2. House guests. (She’s even not afraid of male house guests anymore, which is a big accomplishment for her.)
  3. Squirrels, birds, and any other small vermin. (Her wavelength: Mmm, mobile snacks!)
  4. Other dogs, when the dogs are in an off-leash context. (Despite her reactivity to other dogs on walks, she actually adores other dogs and loves playing with them.)
  5. The guitar. (Used to hide in her crate when Guion played the guitar; now sees it as a normal part of life.)
  6. Riding in the car. (She loves car rides and has always traveled like a champ.)
  7. Fireworks.
  8. Thunderstorms.
  9. The elderly.
  10. Skateboards or bicycles or other similar moving objects on the street.
The queen
Pyrrha today; a much changed dog.

If you have a fearful dog, how have you seen her or him progress? What are some things your fearful dog isn’t afraid of?

11 thoughts on “10 things my fearful dog isn’t afraid of

  1. Wow! Very impressive accomplishments! Not afraid of fireworks,thunderstorms, etc. That is huge!
    What a great job you have done with her. You should be very proud. Having a fearful dog keeps you on edge all the time- I have had them in the past and my current GSD has slight reactive issues to runners, bikers, and other faster moving objects, however, just in our neighborhood and just while on a leash. It does keep you on your toes!

  2. I would love to get Kasper to the stage where he isn’t afraid of male guests…we can just about get there if we go for a walk with them first, but it’s slow going 😦

    Kasper isn’t afraid of…
    1) Thunderstorms
    2) Fireworks
    3) Lorries / motorbikes / tractors driving past
    4) Other dogs
    5) Getting Frontline applied to him
    6) Bicycles / scooters going past

    Zoey isn’t afraid of…
    1) Thunderstorms
    2) Fireworks
    3) Shouting
    4) Strangers of either sex
    5) Bicycles / scooters going past
    6) Noisy children

    Congratulations on your progress, and thanks for the reminder to remember how far we’ve come 🙂

  3. After seven months our rescue dog is no longer afraid of the washing machine but she is still afraid of the hoover – maybe that’s to do with her being exposed to the first more often than the second! Oddly enough, for a jumpy dog, she has never shown any fear of thunderstorms. It is great when you realise how far they’ve come. Keep on moving in the right direction.

  4. It’s important to celebrate the little milestones! I’m fortunate that my dogs are both pretty “stable” – Tucker isn’t afraid of much at all, and Phoebe is only really afraid of thunder/lightning, but I have friends and family with fearful dogs, and I know how difficult it can be. Good for Pyrrha for overcoming some of her fears.

  5. Yes! It’s so important to celebrate the successes! Generally speaking, Rufus is pretty darn fearless. He isn’t shaken easily at all by noises or weird objects. It’s just those darn people things…

  6. I’d say my mums dog is the most fearful dog I know, and she too has reached some milestones. One of her main achievements is overcoming her issues with one of my mums sisters. Since day one she has been very wary and fearful of her, either running up and down the stairs and/or barking at her when she’d visit. She would never approach her. It has taken literally a few years for her to become confident around my Aunty, but Jess will now accept attention and treats from her with the help from a little toast in the mornings (My mum and Aunty have breakfast together a few times a week). It’s such a relief that she is so much less stressed in her presence.
    I’m just about to write a post about how Sam was such a confident boy at two dog shows this weekend, yay!

  7. It’s so odd that a lot of fearful dogs are not afraid of typical things like thunder and fireworks. Norman has some oddball fears at home like a box being moved across the floor, a broom over his head and the garage door but he has no concerns with huge loud moving things or carts at home depot or anything out in public.

  8. Faolan has made great progress, but he still is fearful of bicycles (unfortunate because we have some amazing city and rural paths near us that are also popular with cyclists), lawnmowers, leaf blowers, weed eaters, four wheelers, tractors, and golf carts.

    The funniest thing he is still afraid of-Italian Greyhounds. Seriously. He has met four of them, and was scared of all of them.

  9. Way to go Pyrrha!
    Reggie is afraid of bigger dogs. I just wrote a post about this on Friday as a matter of fact. How do you know when it’s okay to encourage your dog to try the thing he is afraid of and when is it okay to let him stay in his comfort zone?

  10. Wow! She escaped fireworks and thunderstorms. That’s pretty amazing. Rodrigo is our fearful dog and he’s starting to get over a lot of his fears, because I’ve stopped making them a big deal. He’s still afraid of the compressor. But the washer and dryer don’t bother him at all.

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