Anyone else have a dog that's easily spooked?

posted 2 weeks ago in Pets
Post # 2
1007 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Could he maybe have an eyesight problem? Some dogs are just weird.. my dog gets scared of random scents in the air. Like sniff sniff.. run, try and break into the house, I am going to die, terrified.

As far as the leash training my parents live on acerage so their dog is rarely on leash and as such as an older dog isn’t leash trained. My mom took him on vacation with her using the PetSafe Easy Walk and said you couldn’t even tell he’d never been leash trained. It was like he had been walking on a leash his whole life, which is saying something cause he’s a semi weirdo that can be terrified of random things.

Post # 5
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013


View original reply
@sbl99:  Yes! I have a 6 month old puppy that is so easily spooked! We live in a SE Asia city where there is no such thing as quiet. Leash training has been a STRUGGLE! Just like your dog, not treat motivated when we are outside. We have been working with a trainer who is familiar with the struggles of the city along with the nature of rescue animals here. He has basically said, “your dog is never going to be the most confident outgoing, social pup”. We are working towards indifference instead and accepting the dog we have instead of the dog that looks good on paper. We work on management more than exposure. If I see something new or can hear something loud approaching I change directions and walk the other way. No sense in deliberately scaring her because I hope that exposure will lessen the fear. Obviously that doesn’t always work, we both got spooked by a huge street sweeper coming around the corner. Guess who is now always afraid of that corner? Guess who now rarely walks by that corner? We have found that she really loves being around other dogs, we have been lucky that we had her in doggy day care from almost the beginning and now we are hoping to arrange some walks with other dogs and see if that helps calm her anxiety. 

Hearing about your pup makes me feel so much better about mine, I often feel that I am a failure dog mama because of what a fraidy-cat she is and I just figured a lot of it was due to the fact that she was a rescue and we live in such a loud, noisy city, but hearing about your purebred puppy in a quieter environment reassures me that dogs, just like humans, have their own unique personality traits and quirks. As long as your dog is not agressive or possessive, I think it’s fine!

Also pic, because I can! 

Post # 6
60 posts
Worker bee

We have a 7 year old spaniel that is and has been spooked by loud noises and trucks since he was a puppy.  He has a generally nervous disposition and will always run back to us if he is unsure or finds himself in a situation where he feels out of control.  He prefers to be alone with us and only plays with our oher dog “his sister” when she initiates it.  He doesn’t like to play with others and even if a truck goes past the house, he runs back inside.

He spooks at cars of we walk him along the roads (so we try to avoid that) and things like buckets (if I put a bucket down when feeding the horses and it clatters for example).

But he is super brave and forward in other aspects.  It’s just his personality.

Post # 7
2121 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

View original reply
@sbl99:  we had a retriever growing up and that photo of him covered in mud is so reminiscent of our retriever ❤️

We’ve had our dog since she was a pup, socialised her and she’s a pretty outgoing pup but she still gets scared of random things. We’ve recordated our bedroom and changed the light shade, I picked it up (didn’t drop it or anything else that could alarm) and she freaked out. The way we deal with it is that we introduce her to it, with treats as she goes near it. Which is a bit hard if your dog isn’t treat driven. However, we aren’t just using treats. So it’s about tone, a tone that says it’s fine and you’re being a wimp but is also encouraging. With the lampshade, we put it on the floor and let her investigate it. Then DH had a bit of a game with it with her. To get her excited about a toy, we will throw it between ourselves for a bit and then get her involved. So if someone had looked through the window they’d have seen me sat on the floor with a dog and a lampshade and then DH throwing the lampshade along the floor and the dog cautiously investigating 🤦‍♀️ For a food driven dog, she is also scared of her food container because we dropped it on the floor. She knows her food comes from there but even now there is a distrust when we poick the container up to pour her food out!

Try using praise as a driver for when he cautiously approaches something. If he likes toys, you can give him a special toy when he approaches something. If it’s a household item and you build up his comfort over time, start small. When he approaches the object, give him his toy, then have a break. Next time, he needs to get closer, then have him touch the object. When outside, it might be worth disrupting you run in the short term to help him investigate the suspicious park bench.

As for the lead walking, he’s only 20 months even without the shoulder injury he’s in his teenage rebellion phase. Ours walks beautifully on lead now (she’s 3) but she didn’t when she was 20 months, she was in full regression then and all training fell out of her head. 

ETA: ours is a registered therapy dog and we did a lot of work dropping things loudly in the house and letting her investigate. Then dropping things on walks and letting her investigate. Then moving to something being dropped and her not really bothering with it, as she needed to be unbothered by loud noises to pass her assessment. A metal food bowl works well because it makes a clang.

Post # 8
402 posts
Helper bee

My in-laws have a very quirky dog that sounds similar to your dog.  I think a lot of his issue is due to anxiety. Do you think that might be part of your dog’s issue?  If so, maybe talk to the vet about trying anxiety medication?  

Post # 9
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

One of our dogs gets scared pretty easily. He has spooked himself when eating due to his metal tag hitting the dog bowl! All we do is comfort him when he gets upset, and try to build his confidence so he may feel more secure in his surroundings. But he will never be that brave! Some dogs just come with that personality lol.

Post # 10
122 posts
Blushing bee

Oh yea ! I feel you. I have 2 pugs 😀 the boy is super nice and friendly and funny but the second one is a female, since I adopted her as a baby, she got scared of anything even when I want to pet her on her head or kiss her. she spooked, or when she plays with one of her toys and other toys touchs her she spooked. 

I think it is just her nature being like that. I never gave her any anxiety pills or anything, I just try to introduce her with i.e. new toy slowly before give it to her like I normally just give it to the male one. 


Post # 11
7885 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I saw this graphic recently which I think illustrates the issue well. 
You say he isnt food motivated outside, is he inside? Can you walk him before feeding so he’s hungry? Does he listen/follow other commands outside like sit/down? 

Post # 12
1471 posts
Bumble bee

I have two dogs who suffer from anxiety. One of my dogs is a rescue who come from a severe neglect/abandonment background and is not food motivated at all.  I have tried many different training methods to alleviate what triggers their anxiety but nothing worked.  

My dogs in particular get anxious (with one experiencing panic attacks when it gets bad) from long car rides, vet visits, grooming appointments, loud noises, noise from children and groups of people, etc.  After a particularly bad panic attack episode for one of my dogs, my vet recommended these chews for their anxiety and it’s been a godsend.


You can get it on Amazon.  I found it to be cheaper than buying it at the pet store.  My dogs became PERFECT once they had this support and life has been amazing the last few years.  

But now that my dogs are seniors with one having arthritis and the other heart disease, I’ve stopped the chews and give them CBD oil for pain management and reduction in anxiety.  It works fantastic.  My vet highly recommends CBD oil for pain, mobility issues, anxiety, nausea, and if your pet has a reduced appetite from sickness or meds.  I live in the South where marijuana is illegal but CBD is not.

I just took my dog for a much needed grooming appointment today and I gave him some CBD oil to calm him so he won’t get a panic attack. (He will start shaking and panting hard just from the drive)  He had a great appointment and the grommer told me I had the most perfect well-behaved dog. The best part, my dog was relaxed and happy after his appointment.  Usually he is so stressed that it takes him the rest of the day to recover from the appointment, and sometimes he won’t even eat. Not anymore.  Today he ate his lunch like normal and has been super playful and social.

Honestly I will never again make any of my dogs (and future pets) suffer needlessly from fear and anxiety now that I know about the Composure chews and CBD oil.  Nothing else has ever worked for me.


Post # 13
1708 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
@jellybellynelly:  I love this chart! My youngest dog is almost three and is unshakeable in social situations. From the time she was fully vaccinated, I took her to every outdoor restaurant in town, to sporting events, breweries, farmers markets, exposed her to loud music, walking next to busy roads, through crowds of people… and kept it up. We did small training sessions in each place and I was constantly a treat dispenser. She’s less food motivated, so I used dehydrated hot dogs and she would go for that. 

OP, I think the shoulder surgery and mandated rest set your pup back in his socialization. He spent a long while in puppyhood (large breeds don’t fully mature until at least two years of age) on doggy bed rest. Does he have repeated triggers? If so, slow desensitization works best, rather than acting like everything is okay and doing complete exposure. Instead of jogging new routes, do the same each day and praise for running past the scary bench with no reaction. Get him comfortable in his small bubble, then expand. 

Post # 15
348 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2020

I’m very nervous that this will happen with my pup. We are picking her up this saturday but she is a whippet x lab and whippets are notoriously anxious dogs… let me know if you find a miracle cure 😂 jk, but that socialisation pie chart is great, I’m definitly planning on plenty of socialisation (although I’m a bit concerned with how to handle socialisation with parvo since she won’t be fully vaccinated yet)

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors