Top 50 Blogger

Become a Fan


  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

« Is It Normal For Dogs To Eat Grass? | Main | Do Dogs Understand Contagious Yawning? »

May 20, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I have rot/ lab mixes male that is going to be 2 in December. He cowers a lot but has never been abused. I have had since he was 3 months old or so. I just really don't understand why he cowers. My other dog is 3 and I rescued her at 6 months and she doesn't act scared of anything. If there is a reason my rot cowers I would love to know what I could do to help my dog be more confident. Thank you.

Ronda Andersen

We got our dog Loki 2 years ago. She is a basenji/shepherd mix and was 6 months old when we got her from an animal shelter. She had a broken pelvis and was malnurished which we were told was from living on the streets...she might have been hit by a car. We took her home and she thrived. She does have extreme separation anxiety and because of this, we had to put her in doggie daycare while we work. She absolutely loves the place and I know she isn't being abused there. My husband and I have never abused her and she has been a joy for us until just recently. Within the past 6 months or so, there has been a change that is driving us crazy because we don't know what is going on. She cowers from us and she cowers right before eating like she's afraid to eat. Sometimes she starts shaking so bad that her teeth chatter. This just started out of nowhere...we try not to say 'it's okay' or 'good girl' or anything like that because we know that could make things worse. We just try and pretend that nothing is wrong and walk away or whatever. Some days she runs to her bowl and gobbles it up, others, she acts like she's scared to death. It's not just the food. We'll go outside with her to play and she used to run all over the place like crazy..we used to have a blast. Now, she'll cower and slink towards us when we call her. We are really frustrated and confused. I'm sure she can feel our frustration at some level, but I know that our neighbors probably think we beat her or something and I assure you, that is not the case. We love her and would never hurt her. The lady at the daycare thinks it's just her basenji personality, but I don't know that I agree..not with the things I've read on basenji's. They're very independent animals and very smart. Loki is quite intelligent and has always been very gentle and a very good dog. I've actually had to do very little training with her because she just naturally seems to know what to do. From the day we got her, she never left the yard. She stays within eyesight of us all the time. Always has! Could you please help me out here? We are at a loss as to what to do with this cowering problem. Thank you!!

Holly Green

Our rescued dog had separation issues for about a month after coming home with us. So much as step out the front door to check the mail and he would pee!! It didn't take him long to figure out his life was stable, we weren't giving him away, and that we would be home to let him out soon no matter where we went. I firmly believe that positive reinforcement and routines can teach them anything. Bailey RUNS for his crate when I put my shoes on because he knows that he goes in the crate when I go to work and crate time is treat time. He also loves to "go to bed" because that's a time he gets major amounts of affection. He knows that after I shower, it's time for breakfast and this is when he drags himself from the bed. He knows (and this is my favorite) that when the garage door opens at night, it's his momma coming home to him and he is ALWAYS waiting by the door for me, mouth hanging open and wagging his tail so hard that his whole body shakes. He isn't afraid anymore of a hand being raised to him because instead of aggression, this means "I have something for you if you sit nice," even if it's just a scratch behind the ears for exhibiting good behavior when prompted. They follow us... They can be taught to react how we need them to, no matter what happened in the past. I like to think that the four and a half years he has been mine have wiped away anything sad or frightening that happened in what I call his "previous life" with his first three owners (in three years!). He's my world and I'm his. Everything that is good or bad in his world is up to me... I try my best to rain love and praise and structure on my best friend.


I GOT THIS LITTLE Dinmont Terrier from the shelter. I wondered for a long time why a pretty and rare dogn would be at a shelter. Well now i know, he began to stink, and it about overwhelmed. So i talk with a person that experience in this type of thing, he has a skin yeast infection. So i purchase the natural food, the yogurt, the expensive shampoo, and other things. Now the problem is at this time, my house begin to smell like urine, he sited out different spots to pee. That it he going back to the pound.

cheap pet insurance

yeah, even though its true not all dog are victim of abuse but i can sasy most dogs that express fearful behaviour like whimpering and shaking in the presence of people, 80% of them are victim of abuse.

Eva Hawthorne

we came across a female chihuahua mix about 3 weeks ago, have yet to locate an owner, she is a sweet little dog, but is insanely clingy to my daughter and myself. She wont even go outside to go potty by herself, even with our other chihuahua going with her. I can not even stand up from the couch to place a book on the table 3 feet away without her standing up with me. What can I do to help her?


There are some dogs that are just skittish from birth, which doesn't mean that they were abused.

Susan Kuchinskas

I know our rescue dog was not abused, but I just nod when people say that. It's better than, "He's really screwy."


Dear Karen

Do not you think that men smell could be also intimidating for dogs ?

The comments to this entry are closed.

FREE Report, 10 Secrets of Dog Body Language

Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals