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please tell me it will get better. Crying

(20 Posts)
TakingTheStairs Wed 15-May-13 19:40:12

I'm in floods of tears. I'm just so stressed.
We re-homed a Spanish Water Dog in February. It has been a lot of work, he's isn't quite three and we're his third home.

We are also his last home because he is going nowhere.

With that said.... oh my, it's just so hard.
The first owners treated him like shit, the second owners made massive inroads with him and really did brilliantly, but basically they couldn't (wouldn't?) keep him and DH and I adopted him.
I adore him and he is getting better but he is so fearful and barks and tries to nip people from fear.
We've done one on one training with him, he is enrolled in adolescent classes, we have a professional walker that takes him out everyday with other dogs (he really hadn't been socialised enough) and he's doing brilliantly with her.
He's getting better with visitors to our home and we're careful not to push him too much into situations that he is uncomfortable in.
His recall and his commands are good. He's quite aloof so has no interest in approaching other dogs or children. He can be let off the lead and is excellent.... but on the lead, it's awful.
Today he nipped a complete stranger as she walked by and ripped her skirt. She was so so so lovely about it, said he didn't touch her leg so she wasn't bothered, but I can't stop crying. He's just so unpredictable. When it happened he was sitting facing me, looking at me and as she passed he just leaned sideways and went for her.
I am also pregnant and probably more than a little hormonal. smile

Please tell we'll get there eventually. I just need a little support and hand holding at the moment as DH is still in work.

Floralnomad Wed 15-May-13 19:45:46

Poor little boy and poor you ,it sounds like you're doing a great job . Would it help to walk him in a muzzle if it would cause you less stress ,lots of greyhounds are walked in them .

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 15-May-13 19:45:59

Meaning this as gently as possible, are you absolutely sure you're not keeping him out of guilt? Because for me, bringing a baby into a house with a dog that's that unpredictable and such hard work would be a no-no.
I take it this is your first child seeing as you don't mention how the dog reacts with children?

ClaraOswald Wed 15-May-13 19:48:46

It sounds like you are stuck in the middle of an epic uphill struggle.

You will get there, you just need to pause every so often to catch your breath.

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 15-May-13 19:50:14

It will get better. Have you tried BAT? Ring your local APBC registered behaviourist and ask if they experienced with BAT. It really helps.

I'd also hide this thread, if I were you, you mentioned dog and baby in the same post. You will now be bomarded with well meaning but clueless when it comes to canine behavior posters telling you that should get your dog pts and questioning your parenting skills.

Start another thread later without mentioning the 'b' word if you want extra support.

TakingTheStairs Wed 15-May-13 19:59:51

thank you so much everyone.
D0oin what is BAT?

Clara that's a really helpful way of looking at it, thanks.

Flora A muzzle might be a good idea thank you. I'll speak to his trainer about it.

Curly No i'm not 100% sure it's not guilt , and yes it it my first child but he has no issues at all with my friend's children. Just adults. but thank you.

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 15-May-13 20:00:56

No-one is saying any such thing, Doin! What I meant was that it will be VERY difficult keeping both the dog and baby happy and safe and wondered if the OP was prepared for all the additional behaviour training and separating and maybe muzzling that will be essential in this situation, on top of what she is already doing. Mentioning that a baby will be part of the family soon is absolutely ESSENTIAL to mention, IMO.

God, if rehoming places won't let difficult dogs go to homes where there are children if the dog has a poor history around children, then it is absolutely necessary to mention it when asking for advice on here!

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 15-May-13 20:02:47

Taking, in that case, well there is hope then! Have you wondered if he can sense you are pregnant and was being protective of you when he snapped at the passerby?

ClaraOswald Wed 15-May-13 20:03:16

For the moment, can you muzzle him when on walks? Just as a precaution.

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 15-May-13 20:03:24

Here it works wonders with fearful dogs because it actually gives the dog control over how close they get to their trigger, thus increases their confidence.

FragileTitanium Wed 15-May-13 20:06:46

You need to think about yourself first. As far as I can tell, it's quite normal to cry every now and then about how hellish having a dog can be sometimes but if you find yourself overwhelmed and crying a lot, then there's no shame in admitting things are just too much for you and rehoming your lovely doggy.

Having a baby is such a huge thing, if you are already finding things difficult, then it will be even more so once your little one is born.

I'm certainly not saying you should put your lovely doggy to sleep and I'm not questioning your parenting skills at all. In fact, I admire your determination. I just think if you're not happy, then you need to deal with that for your own sake.

TakingTheStairs Wed 15-May-13 20:08:25

Thanks D0oin that's really helpful.

I'm def going to look into muzzling on the lead.

Curly I hadn't thought about that.... though he's like it with DH too so I doubt it.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Wed 15-May-13 20:10:42

I'd muzzle him for now while you're working on things. It will give you peace of mind and mean that you can concentrate on training without worrying about him reacting.

Woofers Wed 15-May-13 20:11:42

T touch. Do some calming work before you go out - 2/3 mins of calm massage. Look at the wraps toucan put on. Or a thunder shirt.

Sounds like a leadership / separation anxiety thing to me.

Also. Give the dog 12 months at least to settle in with you.

Sounds like you have it under control grin

idirdog Wed 15-May-13 20:20:59

Yes it will get better - you have had a horrible day.

Do speak to a qualified behaviourist, the sooner you start on the correct programme for your dog the quicker you will feel happier. APDT should be able to help on day to day management but you may want to contact APDC .

I would have your dog on a head collar so if he does lunge you have more control over him.

Dogs are fantastic animals and incredible adaptable, together with the correct treatment you will get there smile

Agree with T Touch and BAT.

TakingTheStairs Wed 15-May-13 20:21:58

Thanks Chickens and Woofers I'm calmer now smile
Having cuddles with him on the sofa and all is well

Woofers Thu 16-May-13 05:51:30

Yay for cuddles grin

Defo agree about head harness. And / or mussel. If anyone asks if your dog is aggressive you can say he gets a bit stressed sometimes and it's a precaution - or he eats poo. wink

I can recommend a head harness that did wonders for our stressy dog aggressive American bull dog. kisi head collars

TakingTheStairs Thu 16-May-13 09:03:13

Thanks Woofers and Idirdog.

Callisto Thu 16-May-13 10:51:13

When I got my first rescue greyhound I was advised to walk him in a muzzle until we got to know him and how he would react to strangers. Not because he was likely to bit random people, but because dogs will muzzles give off a distinct 'don't come near me' signal and being an off-track greyhound, he needed space to come to terms with his new life.

I really think a muzzle is a good thing for your dog. Both to protect him from people who want to stroke the doggy and to protect those random strangers that he may see as a threat.

Good luck with him, you're doing such a lovely thing.

Callisto Thu 16-May-13 10:51:56

bit = bite hmm
will = with hmm again

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