Advice for a frightened Newfie?(7 Posts)
We have a four year old Newfie bitch who is very well trained and absolutely loved to pieces (despite the astonishing amount of muddy water that she can absorb!)
She has always been afraid of fireworks, thunder etc. but it's been easily manageable with some comfort and reassurance. However over the last few months she's become anxious over a lot of things - particularly noises such as kids kicking a football or a noisy vehicle passing as we walk along the pavement. It's got to the point where she will stop in her tracks and refuse to move forwards if she hears a sudden noise. The only thing she will accept is going directly back to the house/car and she is clearly terrified. When she is off the lead she will just run back to her 'safe place' and at this point she is out of control - recall etc usually goes out of the window (she will sometimes manage to sit if asked) so clearly we need to address this asap!
She's had no previous bad experiences so I'm not sure why this has suddenly started. She was recently vaccinated and checked over by the vet who says she's in great physical health.
We'll probably go down the behaviourist route anyway, but I was hoping someone here might have some useful advice I can try in the meantime.
Thunder shirts get a very good review. A bit like swaddling a baby.
I've heard good things about them too, I wonder if they're washable and come in enormous sizes - I'll have a look, thanks!
Has she been spayed recently ? Had any illnesses or injuries ?
From a practical point of view there are CDs you can get that replicate everyday noises that you can use to try and condition her to them. My Bernese was always a bit fearful and the only thing that worked was to get down to her level and reassure her. That sometimes meant sitting down on the pavement and waiting until she was ready to move off but it stopped her from learning to retreat.
I know there's a school of though that you shouldn't make a fuss as you're just reinforcing that there's something to be scared of but quite frankly, a good dollop of reassuring her and comforting her went some way towards improving her. Now she looks for comfort rather than running off in a blind panic. It helps that we have the world's most laid back Newfie to accompany the Bernese but another hairy big dog might not be the answer for you....
Another big hairy dog - what a fantastic idea! We would absolutely love another but we will wait until the kids are a bit older and we would have enough time to properly devote to training etc.
Absolutely nothing has happened to her physically recently, i thought everything was going wonderfully and she really has a very charmed life - first world dog problems I suppose!
I've tried YouTube videos of fireworks, thunder and gunshots on the TV but I think she knows they're not real - they might elicit one sleepily raised eyebrow for a moment but that's all. Good idea though!
I have exactly the same problem with my dog, same age too but not the same breed (he's a mongrel). He's gone from being very energetic and outgoing to being timid and sometimes refusing to walk. He's also taken to running back home by himself. At home, he doesn't want to play any more, just lies on the sofa. He doesn't appear to be ill otherwise, has good appetite. I have made a couple of changes recently due to his growling and biting when inadvertently woken up - I don't let him on the bed or my chair any more. But his timidity predates this. Any ideas please, or should I just take him to the vet?
If she is dog friendly OP, I suggest you get someone with a confident dog, to walk out with you. I have a similar problem with my Rottie, but he is now coming on, in leaps and bounds. He is taking confidence from her.
Well worth giving it a try !
Also as said above, a Thunder shirt, sprayed with DAP, (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) could also help.
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