WWYD unhappy dog long sorry(8 Posts)
Just at a loss tonight, I have a 15mth old poodle mix bitch who I am at the end of my tether with and not sure what I can do to make it better.
I rescued her at 9mths old from a home where she was crated 99% of her time next to a rottie who wasn't dog friendly, as a result she is fear aggressive with other dogs, nervous of strangers and not fantastic with kids.
She has learned to live with two other dogs and gets on great with them after a few days of being nervy, she also lives with 3 young children who she isn't keen on and will growl if they come to close but has never bitten any of them in this time.
The problem is walks, for the last 5 months I have tried everything on the market and seen several behaviourists but to no avail, if she sees another dog she goes mental lunging barking and twisting in the air to get to it, she hasn't attacked another dog but has gone for several, she is scared of them, she now has a muzzle on all the time she is out that she hates.
I have tried treats and a halti, several harnesses etc but nothing works to control her and nothing distracts her, the halti she screams about when on and after 2mths we gave up after complaints from other dog walkers.
Today my partner had to pick her up as two of lead labs came bounding up and she was going mad and even with the muzzle on I couldn't risk her hurting another or being hurt.
I don't know what to do anymore, I have given up I don't want to walk her when neither of us enjoys the walks, she also hates cars and will try and jump in front of one if it goes past let alone get her in one so can't walk her elsewhere.
I have a large garden and she loves running around there and plays with the other two dogs but is it unfair on her to just keep her on my property without walks?
I'd give it more time. You sound like you're doing everything you can, but it is still early days yet. She is still just a puppy really, and has had such upheaval in her life. Speak to your vet in case they can prescribe anything that may help, keep going with behaviourist, try maybe exercising her late at night and early in the morning when fewer dogs around and stick to playing in the garden till she gets a bit better. I think you're expecting too much for it to be better in 5 months.
If she's happy in the garden then perhaps you should leave it at that for a couple of weeks: she probably feels really scared out on walks so the garden offers some security. Then you could try doing teeny tiny walks - lead on, out the garden gate, big fuss and treat then straight back in - and build it up very gradually. I had a friend who went to great lengths to get her dog out but finally realised that she had a dog that didn't long for canine company and would rather chase a ball in the garden. They were all much happier once they stopped trying so hard.
Oh how awful for you, I can't imagine not being able to enjoy a walk - it's the best part of owning a dog.
Unfortunately your dog has baggage, and it's not going to be easy for you, but I would recommend you find a good dog trainer in your area. Don't go with adverts, only recommendations, you might need a one-to-one first then be able to go to training classes.
Dogs have needs, particularly for their emotional well being, and need time off leash to do what dogs do, so not to be able to give that to him must be very frustrating for you.
I have a friend whose dog wants to chase everything that moves, bikes, cars, joggers. She has a field over the road from her house, but can't even walk the dog there she has to drive over the road in the car. Unfortunately, the advice the dog trainer gave her, she can't be bothered to do every day as it's too much like hard work
You poor thing - until you have owned a reactive dog noone can understand the stress and trauma it brings.
However there is help at hand.
BAT is fantastic for reactive dogs - it is not a miracle cure and will take time, but it is easy to do and you will see results quickly.
The hardest part is finding areas to walk with other dogs that are either on lead or at a distance or dogs you can walk away from. Good places are vets car parks, car parks of dog walking spots or playing fields where the dogs are along way away.
When you see a dog the reward is to turn away. This begins to install confidence in your dog as she is in control and also the Pavlovian response of being calm around dogs. The key is to not get above threshold eg all interactions (if possible) need to be at such a distance that your dog has not reacted. So you may be right over the other side of a football pitch to start with. Look for calming signals eg licking lips, sniffing, turning head, yawning at that point turn away from the dog
more on bat here
Bat is also on facebok and there is a great book BAT book
The thing is she walks fine until a dog is in sight then the problems start, I have tried taking her in the opposite direction but she won't have any of it she will just lunge at their direction and if I'm walking away I have to drag her else she will not move.
It doesn't matter how far the dog is in the distance if she can see it then its too close in her mind I think.
I have tried rewarding her when walking off but again it doesn't work as she is not interested in the slightest of anything other than the other dog.
There will be a distance she will be happy with. All dogs have a threshold for some it may seem like a ridiculous distance away but you can work to decrease this.
I have had to do this with rescue dogs and we have had to be in a 20 acre field to start with. But quite quickly you can decrease the distance.
If you have a reaction you are too close. Just learn from it and increase the distance a bit
OP, our foster doggie is just the same. It's a nightmare to walk him, as in addition to going nuts about dogs, he can also remember where he's seen them previously and gets anxious when he goes past the same place again.
We're consistently working on his training so that we can distract him some of the time. We also put him on some tablets recommended by the behaviourist, and they seem to help.
Our trainer recommended a collar called a Gen-Con, as being very effective for fear-reactive dogs. Maybe worth a shot?
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