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Is my dog as bad as I think?

(8 Posts)
Imsosorryalan Mon 24-Feb-14 19:35:33

Sort of light hearted but as I'm a novice dog owner, I can't tell if our issues are really bad or could be a lot worse? I'd love some opinions please?

Good points:
Good recall
Very clever with training
Not very bouncy
Happy with one walk a day
Doesn't chew things that aren't hers
Doesn't show anxiety when left alone
Sleeps a lot

Bad points
Nervous of all visitors to house, barks
Hates other dogs, barks and
Barks at noises outside from in the house
Nervous nature, doesn't like anything different
Car sick.

It's her nervous nature that worries me, I can never be certain how she will react so we go to great lengths to avoid other dogs and she goes outside when visitors are round. What do you think?

Whoknowswhocares Mon 24-Feb-14 20:39:09

I'm not an expert by any means, but I'd be a little concerned tbh that what is at present slightly nervous doesn't become an unmanageable problem over time.
Rather than go to great lengths to avoid the things that make her nervous, you need to desensitise her to the things that worry her, as it's simply not practical to avoid things forever
Do you take her to training classes? If not, then that would be an ideal way to introduce her to sharing her space in a controlled manner with other dogs and new people.
If you do, then how does she react there? What advice has the trainer given?

RaspberrySnowCone Mon 24-Feb-14 20:40:37

I think she sounds very good but the nervousness might be worth consulting a behaviourist about. A colleague had similar issues and is slowly working through them and things are getting better.

When my pup gets nervous or scared of something i tend to get some treats out and just lure him gently along, apparently food alters something in the brain and can make a negative experience positive. It's certainly worked with the rubbish truck and going in the car or near next doors dog.

Imsosorryalan Mon 24-Feb-14 21:52:12

She has done her bronze training. She got used to the dogs there, well ignored and tolerated them but they were under strict instructions not to approach her! And she certainly didn't go near them.

We had a behaviourist round who told us to crate her when visitors arrive and then bring her in on lead and settle near us. We have done this however, we often have play dates or guests with children and they can't resist going up to her,even when told not to. She began to lunge at them even on lead when they came near so I thought it was safer to put her out of the way.

She also refuses any treats ( even chicken) when guests visit as she's way over threshold sad

moosemama Tue 25-Feb-14 14:32:01

I would have to disagree with your behaviourist. If she can't cope with visitors, let her retreat to her safe space and reward her if she does decide to come out in her own time.

By putting her on the lead and bringing her into the room she has no choice and no way to retreat - it's putting untold amounts of stress on her and is an accident waiting to happen.

Perhaps in a different room in an open crate with a dog gate between her and the visitors, then you can treat her should she be brave enough to approach the gate.

If she feels safer in the crate in another room, where she can still see the visitors, you can drop the occasional treat into the crate, which will start to gently increase her positive associations with visitors without pushing her past her coping point.

I would look for another behaviourist. Have a look at The APBC and CAPBT websites to find a suitably qualified behaviourist in your area.

needastrongone Tue 25-Feb-14 16:28:55

Have you had her since she was a puppy? If she was a rescue, do you know anything at all about her background? It would be useful to find out the reason for her nervousness (if there is one at all) to both humans and other dogs. Was she socialised fully do you know?

Is she crate trained? That might be a safe haven for her to retreat to. Have you tried anything like adaptil diffusers etc?

Have you been to the vet to rule out any medical reason for her nervousness?

Agree, try not to get her over threshold, a lead is restrictive for a dog, so she will feel threatened by being put into a stressful situation with no means of escape.

Agree also, you need a behaviourist (not a trainer), who only practises positive training methods to come and observe your dog in her own setting, then make a plan to desensitise/counter condition her.

Good luck smile

Imsosorryalan Tue 25-Feb-14 19:05:42

I think your right moose, she seems calmer even when she's in her crate but with the door open. Our house is very open plan downstairs which doesn't help but I may try putting a baby gate on the kitchen opening as visiting children don't tend to go in there.
She is a stray rescue pup, found at 3 months. The rescue thought she had been hurt by dogs as she is scarred and was very scared of the lead so possibly hurt by people too sad
We've had her a year, but it's slow progress. We also don't tend to have too many visitors without children really ( sad I know) so it's hard to try to desensitise her with just adults. Running and loud children are too scary.
Luckily we crate trained her and it really is her sanctuary so that's one good thing!
Will look for a behaviourist too.

moosemama Tue 25-Feb-14 20:26:02

If she was rescued at 3 months she will have missed the most important part of her socialisation window and if she'd already had bad experiences they can be very strongly imprinted when they've happened to young pups. Poor girl. sad

My boy was very poorly when we rescued him at 10 weeks and had to have his vaccinations delayed, meaning he was only allowed down outside at just under 17 weeks. We were able to carry him everywhere (despite him being the size of a baby elephant hmm) but he didn't get to interact with any dogs other than our older Lurcher and a few that he'd been in foster with. The result of that is that he's fine with people, children, traffic, loud noises, walking sticks, pushchairs, motorbikes - you name it he takes it all in his stride, but he's really frightened of other dogs. sad We're working on it and he's improving, but as you say it's slow progress.

I definitely think you need proper, qualified, professional help. She sounds like she had such a bad start and a decent behaviourist will be able to offer you all sorts of tips for living with her and helping her learn to cope.

I would also carry on attending dog training. The regular positive reinforcement of being around other dogs and people without anything bad happening will be having an effect and the longer you keep going the more good experiences she'll get. Training classes have been one of the things that's had the biggest positive impact on improving my boy's fear of other dogs.

Would you consider crating her upstairs when children come round? We had to do this with one of our old dogs as he was big and fear aggressive to people and dogs. He wasn't normally allowed upstairs, but if we had visitors, that's where he went, as it was best for him and everyone else. Eventually we bought an enormous kennel and run and then built on a doggie patio and fence it in as well, so he could go outside and play or munch on a bone when people came round. There was no way he was ever going to be ok with the majority of people and it wasn't worth repeatedly putting him through the stress and them through the potential danger.

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