At the time of adoption, Roxy's fear encompassed a variety of things, as described in my previous post. And although she is still a bit skittish when unexpected things happen, she does recover from those events much faster now than she did a year ago. And I can see a definite comfort in her even when scary things happen or things change quickly, but her fear of people and reactivity towards other dogs and people on walks has gotten worse.
For example, Rob's Mom had come over and Roxy seemed okay with her, but then his Mom stopped by during the day to drop something off for us (we weren't home), and Roxy growled at her, and ran to hide in the basement. Another friend, George, had come by a few times and Roxy would take treats from him and overall she did okay with him. We were out of town for a night, and we asked him to stop by once to let her out. He called us an hour after he was supposed to be there, to let us know that Roxy went outside okay, but that she refused to come back in the house. He wound up creating a line of treats from the backyard up the walkway onto the deck and in the door and walk away for her to come back inside... and she took her sweet time careful observing the treat pathway, just in case he was nearby. She had gone out into the yard okay, and did her business, but wouldn't come back inside -- and she had never done that before, so the issue was definitely him, not the house. After both incidents, it took months to get Roxy comfortable with these two people. Even now, Roxy isn't so sure about George. We have been having people give her treats, but only if they actually listen to us and not try to pet her, and it's helping, but there is some definite discomfort there.
Another of Rob's friends, Mike, was over the house and he kept insisting that he wanted Roxy to know that he wasn't going to hurt her. He is an animal lover and just kept repeating that he didn't understand why she was afraid, and that he wanted to show her that he was just going to be nice to her. Despite my objections, he followed her into one of the rooms where she had gone to avoid him and his petting attempts, and I found her laying on a dog bed with him sitting there petting her. Although she stayed for the petting, she was obviously uncomfortable. After that, she pretty much avoided him at all costs, and he became more willing to listen when I said to ignore her. She moved on from purposely avoiding him to just ignoring him completely, but it did take some time. In fact, there was a time, that she was vacuuming the kitchen floor while a handful of us ate some BBQ, and she was behaving normally and sniffing each person that was in the crumb pathway. She actually sniffed everyone in the kitchen, then the floor around them, and kept moving -- until she got to him. She sniffed him and literally booked it in the other direction away from him. The behavior was such an obvious avoidance, and although we laughed at the time, it was still a bit unnerving to see her so uncomfortable by one specific person.
So even with all of this information, Roxy's behavior has plateaued. People ignore her, and then eventually some are able to feed her treats. She got better with some people, but worse with others. I've been reading a lot of information at the Fearful Dogs website and their associated yahoo group, and although I feel like I have a good handle on the information, I'm not quite sure how to put it into practice. So now, here I am, with a fearful, reactive dog on my hands and I think it might be time to ask for help.