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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had something happen today that has never happened before. My female Copper is 15, all most 16 weeks old. I have a friend Beth that has been to my house previously and has met and played with Copper. Today Beth came over and Copper was scared to death of her. Copper immediately went and hid under my bed and would not come out for about an hour. She eventually came out, and slowly walked towards Beth, smelled her and gave her a couple kisses on the hand. This in the past has not been normal behavior. Is it just the age? Is there anything that can be done to work through it? It's not like we never have people at our house. Copper spends a lot of time outside with us and has had no problems with the neighbors or neighborhood kids.
 

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How did you react to her freaking out? Did you coo and coddle her, baby talk to her, and try to coax her out of hiding?

If she DOES react that way again, completely ignore the behavior and wait til she calms down to give her praise and attention. Coddling over her when she's acting afraid will reinforce the fearful response and make it stronger and thus harder to get rid of and deal with.

I'm not sure what may have caused it (and she may be going through a "fear period" but I'm not sure if the ages match up, someone else on the forum will likely be able to help you with that), but just make sure she continues to get more and more socialization and that each experience with a new person is positive (no yelling, no physical corrections, just lots of verbal praise, playtime, and treats!). You wouldn't want one bad event ruining her well mannered and confident personality. Get her out into the world. People coming into your yard and house aren't going to get her enough socialization. She needs to visit stores, busy streets, see traffic and playgrounds and parks and the inside of different buildings and pet stores, bring her to friend's houses if you can, and get her to meet as many dog-friendly dogs, well mannered children, and adults as possible. Get her to meet people of different races, who where different clothes and hats, people with beards, mustaches, who are overweight, carry umbreallas, are really tall, etc. A lot of socialization will make her much more confident as an adult.

I would have Beth come over more often if possible, and have your pup meet her a few more times and introduce them slowly. Like I said - ignore the fear response and wait to pay attention to her until she's being calm. And make sure you yourself aren't behaving nervously, dogs can pick up on your nervousness or anxiety and that will make them think there really IS something to be afraid of! It can really make a difference if you act calm, confident, at ease, and in control.
 

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In my Beyond Basic Obedience book I remember there was a part when she goes over that puppies have fear imprint ages...where if they get scared during that time like it says it can stick with them...
She quotes from a book Training your dog, the step by step manual by Joachin Volhard and Gail Tamases Fisher that the critical periods are

"Birth to Seven weeks (0-49 days)
Socialization Period (7-12 weeks)
Fear Imprint Period (8-11 weeks)
Seniority Classification Period (12-16 weeks)
Flight Instinct period (4-8 months)
second fear Imprint period (6-14 months)
Maturity (1-4 years)"

She may be still in her flight instinct stage and right smack in the middle of her second fear imprint stage...which I think means during this time...although you want to socialize make sure you don't scare her....do everything slowly...like pippinslove said make sure she meets all different people...but since she is in this stage...make sure its done slowly...at a distance...and gradually make progress...take her to the park...or somewhere she can still have fun and not be so fixated on new stuff until she is ready :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the information. And just so everyone knows...I did not react at all with her under the bed. I saw her and walked away. Really not sure what happened. She has been multiple places including the parks and stores and has never had any problems. Just have to wait and see if it happens again. My parents are coming over on Monday night so we will see how she reacts then.
 
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