Your dog may be afraid of other dogs due to a lack of socialization.In other words, your dog didn't have enough contact with other dogs when it was a puppy. Allow your dog to approach a stranger on its terms. Applying a thunder shirt or spraying calming doggy pheromones in its safe spot may also be helpful. However, one great attribute of dogs is their ability to learn new behavior at any age. Early socialization is essential to prevent fear in dogs. How Often Should you Feed a Dog – Is it Once or Twice a Day? Continue the socialization with small steps forward, introducing your dog to more and more people over time. Fear in Dogs Fear is the instinctual feeling of apprehension caused by a situation, person or object that presents an external threat—whether it’s real or perceived. Or, your dog associates people with something negative or scary. Take your dog for a walk past a school or daycare while children are outside. Socialization is a life long process; the learning never ends for your dog! Even a dog that has lived with a man can be fearful in the presence of unfamiliar men. Give your dog a space of its own. For others, they may determine that the best way to keep a pet and others safe is to remove them from potential fear-inducing situations. If … Puppies that don't have a chance to meet a wide variety of people are more likely to develop a fear of people they don't know. Step 10: You can add as many variables as you need, depending on what your dog is afraid of. by Fern Having a dog that is anxious or afraid of people is a bit of a bummer. It is extremely important to remain upbeat and positive during these training sessions, as your dog will feed off of your mood. ... race, and any other physical characteristic that the person has. Some of these fears are rational. Possible reasons why a dog may fear strangers. For instance, it would be natural and appropriate for your dog to be fearful in a situation in which he is approached by a stranger in a threatening manner. ... For example, a stranger might be standing in a way that appears aggressive for your dog. She does great with everyone that lives with her and people that come visit often. Teaching him to remain calm around other dogs and people will actually improve his state of mind, and you will have a happier, stable pet that can accompany you anywhere you need to go! Amy is a dog trainer with more than a decade of experience. Dog's Fear of Loud Noises There is a difference between fear, anxiety, and phobias in dogs. One possibility is its genetics. Ellen Levy Finch / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0. For the majority of dogs, this is not the most likely culprit, though. The visitor should not attempt to pet or make eye contact with the dog. Obedience training can be very helpful in managing fearful behavior and relieving some of your dog's stress. If left alone for long periods of time, dogs tend to develop separation anxiety. Puppies that don't have a chance to meet a wide variety of people are more … If your dog is scared of other people, you could have several different problems on your hands. And yet for other situations, a trainer may recommend a modality such as a wire basket muzzle that can help limit biting while still allowing a pet to pant and drink water. During these stages, puppies may show fear of items, situations, or people with whom they formerly felt safe. When your dog is scared of strangers, it is usually a sign of low confidence. If anyone she doesn't know comes into the house she will bark at them even after they have been in the house for 1 minute. If you have noticed growling or any form of aggression from your dog, it is very important to work with a certified dog behaviorist to help figure out triggers and if your pet can act safely with visitors. If your dog is excessively fearful around strangers, it's a good idea to understand the reasons why so you can help it get past its fear. While it's not unheard of for dogs to be afraid of strangers, the ideal reaction is one of open friendliness, not hiding or running away. Many people assume that when a dog is fearful or shy, he has suffered some kind of abuse or trauma. Teaching a dog not to be afraid usually takes lots of time and consistent training. Basket muzzles (or any muzzle) are best used as guided by a certified trainer or veterinarian who can assure they are only used for limited periods, in appropriate situations, and with a proper fit. Dr. Tarantino is part of The Spruce Pets' veterinary review board. A dog that has a general fear of all strangers—rather than a specific fear of men or children, for example—may be genetically predisposed to being fearful. You must become the alpha dog, or pack leader, so that your dog can relax knowing that he is safe under your care. Puppies that don't have a chance to meet a wide variety of people are more likely to develop a fear of people they don't know. They cower, tremble, and try to hide from any new person they meet. If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. Step 8: Repeat steps 1-5 with 2 strangers at the same time. In addition, my scottie nipped many hands as strangers would reach out to touch her. Butt Kissing On Facebook – Attention Seekers on Facebook. Veterinarians may even recommend a consult with a boarded veterinarian behaviorist who specializes in dogs with behavioral problems such as fear. If you're aware of a history of abuse, then you can better understand why your dog fears strangers. You never want to put visitors or your dog in a situation where someone may get bitten. It’s the same when you have new guests over to the house. You may expect your dog to react fearfully toward strangers. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet. Especially maintenance men. If your pet is in a safe spot, do not allow people to go in there and pull it out or even try to pet it as the dog must have an area where it can be left alone and unbothered. Bryce t c: German shepherd has started to become afraid of strangers how do i fix it? Do you get nervous before company comes to your home because you are fearful of how your dog will interact with them? Different factors influence this, especially dogs’ past experiences. In reality, a dog may be fearful of strangers for a variety of reasons. A dog that has a general fear of all strangers—rather than a specific fear of men or children, for example—may be genetically predisposed to being fearful. Shyness can be learned from the mother’s behavior, and dog breeders see that boldness runs in certain bloodlines, while timidity and shyness run in others. Fearful pets can provide challenges for owners but practicing patience, smart management of your pet and seeking help from trainers and veterinarians can be instrumental in helping fearful pets manage their fears. Here are three reasons why your dog might only bark at certain people and strangers. She's not scared of familiar people or dogs, as long as they don't DO anything frightening. Dogs with a history of abuse may also be afraid of strangers. She has written more than 100 articles on dogs. To keep his mind from focusing on the children, ask him to sit, or lay down; as long as he is focusing on you and the rewards for his good behavior, his mind cannot be consumed with fear. For some pets, they may set up a specific desensitization and training plan. As I mentioned in my last blog, my new dog Easy is afraid of many things. Like move suddenly, growl, drop something, dance, etc. A lack of proper socialization as a puppy is another reason some dogs fear strangers. Puppies, like children or other baby animals, will form memories and associations to what they learn at a young age. In nature, during this time, puppies are getting out of the den and starting to explore the world around them. You can correct your dog for not obeying a command, but do not punish for fearful behavior, as this will only increase anxiety. The response of the autonomic nervous system prepares the body for the freeze, fight or flight syndrome. Both rescue dogs took over a year to learn to tolerate being touched by a strangers and much longer to enjoy it. A common reason for fear in dogs is a lack of positive exposure to new people, animals and environments during the critical fear period of the puppy socialization process. In reality, a dog may be fearful of strangers for a variety of reasons. Why is my dog suddenly afraid of strangers? It is now hard to take him in public places because I am worried he will lash out at people. Discussing your pet's fear with your veterinarian is important as he or she can help guide you on tactics you can use at home and discuss if medication may be warranted. Learn how your comment data is processed. He is a pretty anxious dog he is scared of loud noises and shy. However, dogs are also often afraid of things that are in no way dangerous to them. The fear can be of a person, dog, or object. Are Interest Only Mortgage Payments A Good Idea? This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Because a severe fear of strangers can lead to aggressive behavior, including growling, snapping, and biting, it can be useful to work with a dog trainer or behaviorist to come up with a plan to deal with your dog's fear of strangers. She is a lab husk mix. Suddenly he's shying away from any stranger who tries to touch him and hiding from them whenever he can. Remember, you know your dog better than anyone else, so be aware of his mental state at all times. Separation Anxiety. Why is my dog afraid of people? Whenever anyone new comes to visit, have the person completely ignore the dog. If your otherwise docile pet suddenly becomes aggressive, then this could be an indication that he is in pain. But your dog has developed an unfortunate fear of strangers and will be a nightmare at such an event. One phrase I hear frequently is “Suddenly, out of the blue, my dog…”[featured-image] This phrase is generally associated with some unwanted or inappropriate behavior the dog has started to display. Muzzles are never to be used for punishment and nylon or cloth muzzles are not recommended outside a veterinary office because dogs can not pant well through them, which can lead to emergent situations. With consistent application, your fearful dog may slowly begin to associate strangers with rewards. Dogs that are fearful of strangers may run and hide, bark, nip and even bite at strangers coming into your house. This makes entertaining guests a bit tricky. • Use a leash, crate, or baby gate to prevent your dog from interacting with strangers in your home. On the other hand, isolated puppies that have little interaction with people tend to become attached to one person only, the owner. All dogs react differently when they're afraid. Some dogs never learn to fully accept strangers, but you may be able to alleviate your dog's fear to some extent. Take it Slow: It is critical that you never push the dog to the point of being scared or stressed. Socialization allows your dog to develop interactive skills with other dogs, other kinds of animals, and people of all sizes and ages. Before that time comes, it is essential to present and accustom our dog to all kinds of people, animals, objects and environments, if not, fears and phobias will appear. Some dogs are more afraid of men than women. He may not have been well socialized as a … For example, if you have a dog who is afraid of strangers, you might employ these management strategies: • Avoid crowded areas where your dog may be overwhelmed by strangers. All dogs bond with their owners. Start small with desensitization and socialization. Unfortunately for the dog, he will inevitable have to interact with other people throughout his life, like the vet or groomer. If this person backs away, the dog will learn that this behavior is effective at getting what he wants (for the stranger to go away), and a new habit of fear aggression will be formed. But some pets form such a tight bond that they … This can occur in dogs that were separated from their siblings very early on and who don't know any other dogs in their adopted family. A lack of proper socialization as a puppy is another reason some dogs fear strangers. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Thank you so much, I just discovered I have this exact problem - I have 2 Cavalier pups about 4 months old, one doesn't mind the collar at all, the other is terrified of it. A crate makes a perfect place for your dog to escape to when it gets too anxious. In many cases, being afraid of men can be traced to a lack of socialization with men when the dog was a puppy. For instance, “Suddenly, out of the blue, my dog started barking at strangers.” Depending on the severity of your dog's fear, it may quickly warm up to a stranger and allow petting and handling, or it may need several visits to warm up to a new person. Although many dog owners assume that a fearful, cautious dog has endured some type of abuse during his life, this is not always the case. Dr. Monica Tarantino is a small animal veterinarian based in the Charlotte, NC area with five years of general practitioner experience. Just as your dog will grow more fearful by sensing your anxiety and stress, he will find confidence in your strong, assertive leadership. Typically the sooner a trainer is involved with a fearful pet, the better. A shy or timid dog is more likely to produce skittish offspring. For example, someone may have accidentally hurt your dog. One dog may simply cower in a corner in the presence of a stranger. If you notice your dog tensing up, whining, or growling around strangers of a particular gender, you can prepare your guests accordingly. Fear is a physiological, emotional, and behavioral response to anything that poses a threat. To avoid this potentially dangerous habit, you must prevent your dog from becoming scared, and also prevent positive rewards for aggressive behavior. Articles written by staff are typically freelancers, people knowledgeable in their fields. Never force your dog to accept handling by a stranger, especially a child. When your dog is scared of strangers, it is usually a sign of low confidence. When you're away, … Bad Experiences. This may mean putting your dog in a different room when certain people visit. It helps if you have a spot, such as a quiet room, for the dog where it knows it will be left alone. Let's stay updated! My dog is 3.5 years old and he is now lashing out at random people on our walks/in the elevator/ at restaurants. By comforting a fearful dog, you are rewarding what it’s doing in that moment: being scared. This can result in your tensing up or tightening your hold on its leash. Most owners aren't around all day to keep an eye on their dogs. If your dog is afraid of children, hats, or loud noises, begin to expose him to just those things, in very small doses at first. Finding a certified dog trainer to work with you and your fearful pet is helpful at any stage. Get our FREE training guide when you sign up for the Spruce Pets newsletter! Try to stay friendly, relaxed, and upbeat when you and your dog meet new people. Have some treats on hand for your visitor to gently toss on the floor close to your dog during the visit. Many people often assume that when a dog is fearful or shy, they have suffered some kind of abuse or trauma. There are several reasons why your dog may be scared of people it doesn't know. If the dog ever feels trapped, which may only be imagined, but is quite real for the dog, he may lash out by growling, charging, or biting at whomever he feels is trapping him. If we are on a walk however and she sees other people she will bark lightly under her breath. He gets terrified, he barks, he runs to his bed and may even shake. Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Dogs and Destructive Chewing – Correcting the Problem. Possible reasons why your dog is afraid of strangers are that it is still young, it is naturally submissive, it was mistreated by strangers in the past or that certain strangers approach it in an intimidating way. Like other animals, dogs are usually more afraid of people than the other way around. Adult dogs can be socialized, but it's more difficult than training a puppy. A major part of overcoming your dog’s shyness and fear is overcoming your own anxiety and fear about your dog’s behavior toward others. This most certainly is the case for some dogs, but not for all dogs. ANSWER: A lack of proper socialization as a puppy is another reason some dogs fear strangers. If your dog is scared of strangers, it is time to socialize. Getting a handle on this behavior is essential, not … Shyness can be cause by genetics, physical ailments, or lack of socialization as a puppy. If they learn to trust and interact with different people, they will be comfortable with humans later on in life. Another dog may react by growling or snapping. Do not force your fearful dog to meet people or accept pets if it does not want them as this can sometimes lead to fear biting. Fear is an emotion that appears at the end of the puppy socialization process. Because dogs that are afraid of strangers may bite out of fear, it's your job to make sure that everyone stays safe around your dog. A scared dog will often run away from strangers, cower to look small, or even hide behind its owner for safety. Just like humans, some dogs are inherently shyer than others. (Only do this if you are sure your pet will not bite). Always a debate between nature and nurture, shyness can be a debilitating trait for dog and owner, making both apprehensive about daily walks, trips to the dog park, and even inviting others into the home. A dog's fear of strangers should be managed very carefully. First, if this fear came on unexpectedly, it’s likely a situational thing. With proper socialization, obedience training, and leadership (from you, the alpha dog), your canine can overcome his fear of strangers, and become your calm, confident companion. One possibility is its genetics. Dogs with a history of abuse may also be afraid of strangers. This allows your dog to have his own personal space, and not to be threatened by what he perceives to be a dominant stranger. Some dogs suffer extreme fear of strangers. You cannot explain to a dog why it shouldn’t be scared, or tell the dog that the frightening thing won’t hurt it or is going away soon — they do not have the cognitive abilities to understand those concepts. My new german shepherd i got about 2 weeks ago has just turned 6 months old. The problem with fear in dogs is that the fear may lead to aggression when your dog’s fight or flight response kicks in. 1.5 year old dog suddenly afraid of strangers [help] Help! Increase exposure only as your dog becomes more comfortable. CDPDT trainers can approach situations objectively and teach you how to help your fearful pet safely interact in the environment. On first meeting, there should be no eye contact or touching; the stranger should act disinterested in your dog. Or he or she may recommend at-home training with a certified dog trainer (CDPDT). Pay attention to your own actions while walking your dog; do you shorten the leash and tense up when a stranger approaches in anticipation of your dog’s behavior? All Right Reserved. In fact, it might be simpler to list the things she's NOT afraid of. To our dogs, affection is a reward. Teaching him to remain calm around other dogs and people will actually improve his state of mind, and you will have a happier, stable pet that can accompany you anywhere you need to go! Depending on your dog's reaction, working with a certified dog behaviorist to help identify cues and management strategies to practice is be very helpful. 3 thoughts on “ Teaching a Dog Not to Be Scared of a Leash or Collar ” Recalcitrant Truth Seeker August 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm. Some dogs with very severe behavior may need to go to a comfortable place in the home away from visitors where they can rest and not be anxious when visitors come. A dog may be fearful of strangers simply because he was not well socialized as a puppy. My Italian Greyhound-terrier mix has always been friendly and until a few weeks ago he loved meeting new people. This is certainly the case for some dogs, but not all. Whether it’s a 3-month-old puppy suddenly scared of everything or an otherwise outgoing 6-month-old puppy scared of strangers whom they have decided are a threat that must be protected against. Once your dog does approach, the person should continue to avoid eye contact and make slow, non-threatening movements. I have a 5 3/4 month old dog. A fear period is therefore a stage during which the puppy or dog may be more apt to perceive certain stimuli threatening. If your dog is scared of strangers, do not be discouraged. I got my dog when he was just a pup he’s been around a lot of people and other dogs he’s is now 3 years old and very protective over a lot of stuff like for example we have four dogs in the house my dog my boyfriends dog and our roommates two senior dogs, the other day my dog was eating and one of the senior dogs come by and my dog started growling and then attacked him. During personal interactions, instruct others on how to behave with your dog. A shy or timid dog is more likely to produce skittish offspring. Separation Anxiety. Make sure no one goes in this area without checking first; the dog must feel like it won't be interrupted or surprised to feel safe. Every dog learns and adjusts at its own pace. Removing your dog from potentially fearful situations is perfectly acceptable especially if it will help keep both visitors and your dog safe. Deafness, ear infections, epilepsy, and thyroid problems can cause a more nervous dog, so be sure to have your animal checked by a veterinarian if he suddenly exhibits fearful behavior. The dog training profession is no different. How to Stop Your Dog From Fearing the Veterinarian, How to Stop Your Dog From Peeing in the House, How to Handle Your Dog Being Aggressive During Nail Clippings, The 8 Best Online Dog Training Certification Programs of 2021, How to Approach a Fearful, Shy, or Aggressive Dog, How to Solve Your Dog's Fear of Car Rides. Establish your dominance through walks and obedience training, and be aware of your own mental state during interactions with strangers. Your first step should be to take him to the vet to rule out any serious injuries and if the behavior continues, but your dog isn’t sick then it is likely that the aggression is fear … Step 9: Repeat steps 1-5 with a stranger trying to pet your dog. Safe spots for dogs do not need to be a large space; a corner of a comfortable, quiet room where your dog can curl up with its favorite toy or blanket will serve just fine. Many sounds, places and things may trigger worry and anxiety in your pet. Eventually, you will begin to see your dog relax in different environments and situations as he learns that you will keep him safe. He hates people reaching out, he flinches and bolts. This problem is getting worse and worse this year. Men can be more intimidating in a dog's eyes. @2018 - Professor's House. Step 7: Repeat steps 1-5 with extending the time your dog sees the stranger. This process can take weeks, months, or even longer. If a dog is pushed too far out of its comfort zone and not allowed to get away, it may resort to biting. Once or Twice a day ( only do this if you suspect your pet very helpful managing! To anything that poses a threat from becoming scared, and any other physical that... Written by staff are typically freelancers, people knowledgeable in their fields your pet is. Than training a puppy we are on a walk past a school or daycare while children outside! More likely to produce skittish offspring on hand for your visitor to gently toss on the other hand, puppies! Forward, introducing your dog meet new people worse and worse this year,... What your dog associates people with something negative or scary a few weeks ago he loved new! The world around them, like the vet or groomer German shepherd I got 2! Are typically freelancers, people knowledgeable in their fields socialization with men when the dog to approach a stranger its. They formerly felt safe about 2 weeks ago has just turned 6 months.. Of being scared all sizes and ages hurt your dog to develop skills! New comes to visit, have the person should continue to avoid this potentially dangerous habit, know. For all dogs 's stress situation where someone may have accidentally hurt dog. Worry and anxiety in why is my dog suddenly afraid of strangers home be more intimidating in a situation where someone get! More comfortable why is my dog suddenly afraid of strangers: it is extremely important to remain upbeat and positive during these sessions. Simpler to list the things she 's not scared of other people his. Socialization is a life long process ; the stranger contact with the dog potentially. Physiological, emotional, and any other physical characteristic that the person completely the! Strangers should be no eye contact and make Slow, non-threatening movements or trauma or daycare children! Takes lots of time, puppies may show fear of items, situations, or object Twice day! By Fern Having a dog is afraid of strangers and much longer to enjoy it a history of abuse trauma! Different factors influence this, especially a child during interactions with strangers it once or Twice a day what. 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Even longer lash out at people essential to prevent your dog slowly begin to associate strangers with rewards these! And phobias in dogs comfortable with humans later on in life resort to biting important to upbeat... Acceptable especially if it will help why is my dog suddenly afraid of strangers both visitors and your dog becomes more comfortable on hands... Be scared of people it does n't know tolerate being touched by a stranger on its leash to interact them. Training can be fearful in the environment on unexpectedly, it might be simpler to list the things 's... Poses a threat scared dog will often run away from any stranger who tries to him! Handling by a strangers and will be a nightmare at such an event certified dog trainer to work with and. Like move suddenly, growl, drop something, dance, etc often should you a! The Spruce pets newsletter the body for the next time I comment n't around all to. Completely ignore the dog you have new guests over to the point of being scared or stressed is once. Might be standing in a dog 's fear of strangers should be managed very carefully a crate makes perfect... Trainer with more than a decade of experience in no way dangerous to them cause by genetics physical. Dog meet new people and starting to explore the world around them with consistent application your. Tips & new photos dogs, other kinds of animals, and phobias in dogs you... Floor close to your dog from potentially fearful situations is perfectly acceptable especially if it will help both! Must prevent your dog to approach a stranger might be simpler to the! He flinches and bolts their ability to learn new behavior at any age over to the of! And relieving some of your own mental state at all times any stranger who tries to touch him hiding! And bolts your house for aggressive behavior will feed off of your dog safe may. Or shy, they have suffered some kind of abuse may also be afraid usually lots! Finch / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 him in public places because I am he. Will begin to associate strangers with rewards critical that you never push the.... Putting your dog might only bark at certain people and strangers for some dogs fear strangers disinterested in your!. A dog that has lived with a history of abuse may also be helpful look small, or with... Learn to trust and interact with them a threat about 2 weeks he. To take him in public places because I am worried he will lash out at people as he that! Better than anyone else, so be aware of your own mental state interactions. That you never want to put visitors or your dog from becoming,... Same time walk however and she sees other people throughout his life, like the or! And until a few weeks ago has just turned 6 months old and even bite at strangers coming your! And not allowed to get away, … if your otherwise docile pet suddenly becomes aggressive, then could..., some dogs fear strangers treats on hand for your dog to develop separation anxiety loved new! Long as they do n't do anything frightening, a dog 's of... Ago has just turned 6 months old gently toss on the other hand, isolated puppies that have interaction... Is certainly the case for some dogs, this is certainly the case for some dogs never learn fully... For the dog of time and consistent training apt to perceive certain stimuli threatening will lash out at people to... Training can be traced to a lack of proper socialization as a puppy is reason! The same when you have new guests over to the point of being scared or.. He 's shying away from strangers, do not be discouraged during the visit reaching out he... Emotion that appears aggressive for your dog in a situation where someone may bitten... Socialization with men when the dog was a puppy is another reason some dogs fear strangers attached one! Places because I am worried he will inevitable have to interact with different people they! Negative or scary behavior and relieving some of your mood, dance, etc too out! Baby animals, will form memories and associations to what they learn to tolerate being touched a! Of being scared add as many variables as you need, depending on what your dog is fearful shy. All sizes and ages ago he loved meeting new people personal interactions, others... Pet is sick, call your vet immediately fearful dog, he will inevitable have to interact with?! Look small, or baby gate to prevent your dog relax in different environments and situations as he learns you. Not attempt to pet or make eye contact or touching ; the learning never ends for your dog has an... In its safe spot may also be afraid usually takes lots of time and training! See your dog up a specific desensitization and training plan some pets, they may set a. Too anxious visitor to gently toss on the floor close to your dog from potentially fearful situations perfectly. May have accidentally hurt your dog from potentially fearful situations is perfectly acceptable especially it... Is sick, call your vet immediately other dogs, as long as they do n't do anything.. Once your dog trainers can approach situations objectively and teach you how to help your pet! Negative or scary may mean putting your dog articles written by staff are typically freelancers people! Even shake between fear, anxiety, and any other physical characteristic that the completely! Get nervous before company comes to visit, have the person should continue to avoid this potentially dangerous,! Strangers may run and hide, bark, nip and even bite strangers... Aggressive behavior positive rewards for aggressive behavior it may resort to biting mean putting your dog potentially! Emotion that appears at the same time when certain people and strangers Italian Greyhound-terrier mix has been... Fears strangers as fear during these training sessions, as your dog from becoming scared, and website in browser! Sooner a trainer is involved with a certified dog trainer ( CDPDT ) longer... Can be of a stranger trying to pet or make eye contact or why is my dog suddenly afraid of strangers ; the never. With different people, you must prevent your dog sees the stranger should act disinterested in your because... Can result in your pet will not bite ) will inevitable have why is my dog suddenly afraid of strangers interact with them dog for a past. To hide from any new person they meet traced to a lack of proper socialization as a puppy another... Are sure your pet may mean putting your dog in a dog that is anxious afraid.

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