Not the dog I wanted(7 Posts)
Let me just start off with a disclaimer. I love my dog, he's family to me and I would never to anything to his detriment/rehome him, etc.
This is more of a whinge. Went for a coffee with DH yesterday and was talking about the possibility of going camping. We would want to take dog with us. He's awkward - he's nervy of people, high anxiety and occasionally reactive towards other dogs. Therefore - we choose not to take him camping.
He misses out on so much. I'm currently pregnant and would love to take him with us to country parks, on picnics, camping, etc when we have kids.
He's fine with a self catering cottage as we can manage his environment but all we seem to be doing is managing him. He's so well trained but his lead work isn't great (mostly due to hunting behaviours) and we hate to risk him getting upset by other dogs/off lead dogs getting into his space. He doesn't attack but will lunge and growl - which as he's a german shepherd isn't nice for others. I also can't guarantee that he won't take off after a jogger or cyclist (he likes to nip bums)
I wanted a dog who I could take to places and just generally enjoy when out and about. Instead, we pick quiet places to walk him and spend our time at home with him. We don't bother with pub gardens or anything.
It's frustrating because he's so well trained and so clever. It's just this little thing holding him back. He's not even that bad, just unpredictable.
He's 4 1/2 now and I've had him since he was a puppy. I love him to bits and apart from his quirks, he's perfect but he just isn't what I wanted for a dog.
Like our children really .
My dogs have fantastic traits, plus awful traits, I think it's unrealistic to expect the perfect dog you have in your minds eye when you are choosing a cute little puppy unfortunately.
You can get him used to people gradually and possibly get him something from the vets for his anxiety. Gradually build up to taking him to places with more people when you do walks, give him treats and reassurance when his around people so he knows it's a positive thing. Do you not have family/friends visit who are around him? It's just social training him, as long as you put the effort in and do it gradually it can be done.
I get what you are saying though. One of my dogs is dog aggressive so we are limited in taking him out in public places. It's frustrating, we would love to take him places we know he would enjoy if only we could guarantee no dogs would be there!
My lurcher is nervous in strange environments but we still go camping with him. I let him go in my tent when it's all too much for him and he settles himself happily in there. I'm buying a kids pop up castle for him to chill out in when we go away next week, and he'll be tethered on his screw peg too. He settles well in the tent with us at night.
I think you do have to expose him to unusual aituations to get him used to them. If he's food orientated make sure he uas plenty of treats, and toys too, to make it fun for him. If you're camping, start with short, one night trips first and build up.
The only place I've not yet cracked with my dog is busy high streets: he utterly hates them and will wee copiously up anything, and anyone who stands still, due to nerves. So I've decided it's best to just let him stay home.
I wonder if you would consider getting a dog trainer to help you with him one to one? I think they can often help a lot. Even though you would need to pay, a trainer could get you started with exercises to follow up with on your own then come back to see how you are getting on, and so on.
If you are in the UK one of these harnesses with writing on such as "I need space" might help other dog owners to respect your dog's need for space and distance better.
(I saw an article telling dog owners to watch out for using warnings like these in the US though)
Thankyou all for your comments. I've had a behaviourist in and it worked wonders when he was awful. I feel like I'm doing my boy a disservice as he's not awful, just a pain sometimes.
He's good with family and friends and does warm up to people. E.g. he wasn't too bad with the plasterer this week.
I guess it's just the feeling of having to be wary 24/7 the is annoying.
He used to have a yellow lead with "nervous" on it but no longer use it.
I think gradual build up is the key. His awful stuff was a lot of work in the early days - I worked bloody hard on his training and socialisation and he's at a point where he's so much better which is almost the frustrating thing because he's almost as good as he's going to get. I'm proud as the behaviourist said if he were with any other owner he would potentially have gotten a lot worse but that I've worked wonders with him.
I shouldn't be so ungrateful
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