View Full Version : Dog hiding face

10-17-2000, 04:19 PM
Can anyone give me any suggestions as to what I can do--if anything, to get my husky-mix to stop hiding her face? She spends the majority of time buried under her dog bed, the sofa, or throw rugs. I've had her for four years, and although most of her idiosyncrasies have lessened, this is one I can't seem to help her with.

10-18-2000, 03:57 PM
Can you give us some idea of her other peculiar habits when you first got her?
My best guess at the moment would be that if she can't see the world then the world can't see her! This could be a confidence or security issue but without more information it's hard to be sure.

10-18-2000, 04:32 PM
I got her at a shelter 4 years ago. She wouldn't respond to anyone and looked miserable. It took me 4 hours at the shelter to get her to trust me--the guy had to literally drag her out of her kennel. She was extremely underweight, and they thought she had been abused by her previous owners. She is still afraid of men, children, and to a lesser degree, women, but I've managed to get her to stop trying to run away every time she sees someone. She's also terrified of storms and any kind of flashing lights. She had major separation anxiety when I first got her but we worked through that. I already had one dog when I got her but she's the alpha dog of the two.

10-18-2000, 05:41 PM
Hi Cherie,
I think you are right - the way your dog has behaved screams abuse at me, and of the worst kind. As you obviously know already you have an exceptional dog there. Put in the same situations many dogs would say enough is enough and defend themselves.
My own dog was pretty similar in background. Breaks your heart doesn't it?
Does she have her own bed away from things she can hide under?
Your aim has to be that although nothing bad happens to her while she is "invisible" she is just as safe while out in the open. You have to convince her that life is as good for her when she faces it.
If her bed has blankets or things she hides under remove them. A piece of thick foam covered in an envelope of sheet is ideal. Work on the command, gently and never as a punishment,"On your bed." Practice as many times a day as possible. In this case, maintain eye contact with her as she lies on her bed and after two seconds go to her and praise as if posessed! Encourage her to get up and play with you as part of the praise. Go mad!
Leave her to her own devices for five minutes, call her name in a happy tone and as soon as you have her attention say, "On your bed" as though it was the best idea you ever had! You may have to be sneaky and use food or anythng to get her attention but don't touch her and always sound like you are having a good time. Two second eye contact and praise again. Repeat this at five minute intervals until you see she is at ease with it. Repeat again, two second eye contact, two seconds looking away, go to her and praise madly. Always make your approach to her calm, only go mad once you have touched her.
Repeat again, two seconds eye contact and five seconds looking away and praise.
When she is happy stretch the non eye contact to seven, nine, eleven and thirteen seconds. When you have reached this pinnacle of achievement you can stretch the non eye contact times to up to a minute but as soon as she has achieved a long time without hiding go back to a two or three second test as a reward. This is a fun game for her and she won't realise she is being trained to not hide. As you build this up it is fine if she hides when you are not playing the game as long as you totally ignore her. When you want to go for a walk, someone rings on the doorbell, you are going out without her, you come home from work - anything that means people leaving or coming into the house - tell her,"On your bed." Don't leave, answer the door, put on her lead etc until she is on her bed. When you come in don't pet her until she is on her bed lying down - as soon as this happens go MAD!!
All that is happening is that your dog is learning not hiding is fun, nobody is anxious or upset if I do hide and I only get the attention and reassurance I need if I do things in a certain way, not hiding!

10-19-2000, 04:59 PM
She truly is a very special dog. She's very sweet and gentle even though her previous owner obviously was very cruel to her. She does have her own bed, but she only sleeps under it. She has her own kennel, too. I thought she might feel more comfortable in there at first, but she wouldn't go in it until I decided to remove the door. I had a feeling that she might have been locked up in a kennel for long periods of time before, or may have associated it with punishment. It took a lot of praise and a lot of treats to get her to feel comfortable enough to stay in there on her own, but she still prefers to be under her bed. I have tried removing things for her to hide under, but she's very innovative! I will try your suggestions. Thanks so much for your help!

11-15-2000, 01:42 AM
If you'll pardon me, I don't think she was abused in the "beating" kind of way. I suspect she was kenneled a great deal and ignored for long periods of time. You do not mention if you have tried obedience classes with her. Sometimes this allows the dog to gain confidence because they learn the "rules" and become much better companions. It also allows you to spend special time with her and yet assert your "Alpha" status in a positive manner. Perhaps more activities that keep her out from under the bed will help. She sounds very shy to me and has no clue that the world is a fun place. Does she play at all? Does she like toys? Does she take toys with her under the bed? Do you have children that might unintentionally spook her? They're quick moving little people and not very predictable, so she may fear negative reactions (like kennelling). Does she growl when you get her out from under the bed or go limp? I'd work with her very softly in an obedience setting and then use it in the house, i.e., calling her to heel with lots of praise afterward everytime she disappears under the bed, blankets, whatever. Keep us posted and good luck.
P.S. I had another thought, have you ever had her eyes checked for lashes growing wrong, glaucoma or cataracts? It may be painful for her to keep her eyes open.

[This message has been edited by ktreva52 (edited November 16, 2000).]