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> Feeling Totally Stressed.....
melbury
post 5th Mar 2018, 8:04 pm
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Our boy is now eleven months old and absolutely terrified of other dogs (in fact I would say all other animals).

If he sees a dog approaching he simply lies down and won't budge until they have disappeared - this is even the case if they are a long way off say on the other side of a field.

We are at our wits end as to what to do. We got him at 9 weeks old and unfortunately (as instructed by vet) he did not venture out until all of his vaccinations were complete - so I would say about 15/16 weeks by then and so no socialisation with other dogs at that time. I thought he would be fine as was one of seven pups who all played together.

He has attended two lots of puppy classes and ironically was better at the first lot than the second - he just sat absolutely petrified not wanting to join in at all.

Today the absolute worst happened. My OH was walking him and a really friendly lab puppy (who is being trained as a guide dog so very well behaved) started to approach and somehow he managed to slip out of his harness and just bolted. My OH went after him but of course couldn't catch up and he had managed to get all the way home - despite having to go along a fairly busy road where he could easily have been hit by a car or caused an accident.

I am still so upset about it all and just don't know what to do next. We have been thinking of having him neutered, but then I read some reports that say it can make a nervous dog even worse.

We do not let him off the lead because his recall is non-existent, despite trying everything that the behaviourist at puppy training suggested. He is so nervous that even the best treats in the world don't interest him.

We were so thrilled to find him after losing our other lovely dog a year ago, but it has turned into a complete nightmare.

If any of you have ever experienced this, any advice would be greatly appreciated.









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Elainew
post 5th Mar 2018, 8:17 pm
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This is not something anyone can help wit( over the internet, you need professional help. Your dog needs to be observed by a reputable behaviourist, check out the COAPE and APBC websites for behaviourists in your area.
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kimw
post 5th Mar 2018, 9:59 pm
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First of all hug.gif hug.gif and I hope you are all feeling calmer after what sounds like a frightening and worrying day.

I hope you manage to find someone that can offer you advise and guidance so that you can enjoy lots of stress free walks for many years to come hug.gif
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nikirushka
post 6th Mar 2018, 9:56 am
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Please don't have him neutered. The chances of it making him worse are small, but they are real and it cannot be undone. I have seen enough cases of it happening that I would never risk it on a nervous dog unless absolutely necessary.

This may be a case for a decent veterinary behaviourist. How is he on walks when other dogs are not around? It may be that you need medication to help him through this, as the fear is so strong, and a VB is the best person to advise on this as they can do it from a position of knowledge on both sides (behavioural and medical).

On the other hand, most (if not all) VBs are clinic based so a "normal" behaviourist would be better placed to aid you in the field, so to speak, showing you techniques and guiding you through them. If you could find one of those with good veterinary backup if meds are needed, that would be the best option all round IMO.

Have a look at the IMDT also, they have strict rules on conduct so you can be assured of not ending up with a numpty who uses punishment!
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Jeffrey's Mummy
post 6th Mar 2018, 10:04 am
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Please don't neuter him it was the worst piece of advise we received for Alfie who was exactly the same. Sadly for Alfie the behaviourists that were recommended by our first vet caused untold damage, the advise we were given caused him to become extremely reactive. When we changed vets we were referred to Sarah Heath working in Chester and Liverpool Vet school. Her advise was sound but by then Alfie was beyond rehabilitation and we had to just manage him. There is hope for you because your dog is young by the time Alfie went to Dr Heath he was two and half and as she said to us if only we had got there before he was neutered and the other behaviourist had worked with him. In our case we sadly had to have Alfie put to sleep - a heartbreaking decision because he was dangerous and wasn't having any quality of life. He was muzzled all the time outside but in the house he killed one of our cats that he had known since he was a pup and at a later date attacked Jeffrey. Both myself and my husband were also bitten a few times - not mouthing real deep bites Jeffrey and I still have the scars.
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bix
post 6th Mar 2018, 12:25 pm
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What a terrible situation. No wonder you are stressed. I belong to a very good Facebook group called Dog Training Advice and Support. They are an excellent group for immediate advice but in cases such as this, they can recommend suitable trainers in your area. If you don't use Facebook, perhaps someone you know could have a look at it for you.

I do hope that you find a way forward from this.
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Penninepoodlewelfare
post 6th Mar 2018, 1:53 pm
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Have you tried Training and Behaviour on this site?
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Elainew
post 6th Mar 2018, 4:57 pm
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There are hardly any people left on this site. Anyone who is going to reply, will reply here.
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Nutmeg
post 6th Mar 2018, 6:10 pm
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I regularly pass a golden retriever who is terrified of other dogs, his owner just does a detour to avoid putting him under stress.

Another dog owner had a very nervous cockapoo so got a second dog, it now plays quiet happily with its companion and has given it some confidence.

Is this a possibility for you? if so I would suggest a puppy.
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mokee
post 6th Mar 2018, 6:30 pm
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QUOTE(Nutmeg @ 6th Mar 2018, 6:10 pm) *

I regularly pass a golden retriever who is terrified of other dogs, his owner just does a detour to avoid putting him under stress.

Another dog owner had a very nervous cockapoo so got a second dog, it now plays quiet happily with its companion and has given it some confidence.

Is this a possibility for you? if so I would suggest a puppy.


Please, please don't go out and get a puppy (sorry, Nutmeg). You really need to work on the problems of the dog you already have before you introduce a new dog into what is already a difficult situation. I did try to post a mini novella last night about the issues I've hard with my own nervous dog, Sjindi, and what has helped but it didn't post. I'll try again in a few minutes.
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mokee
post 6th Mar 2018, 6:43 pm
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Can I suggest that you stop walking him completely until you've managed to get some professional help? I know that sounds totally counterproductive, but if he's finding it terrifying you could be doing him more harm than good by walking him regularly, especially if he really doesn't want to go. This http://yourdogsfriend.org/spoon-theory-and-funny-dog-gifs/ is a really interesting perspective on spoon theory and how it can apply to dogs - it helped me enormously to understand my own scared dog, Sjindi. He was taken away from mum far too young at five weeks old and put into rescue kennels. Just like your dog he would sit passively whilst everyone around him thought he was an exceptionally well behaved puppy - in actual fact he was terrified and completely shut down.

There are lots of other things you can do to exercise your dogs mind and body at home, including mind games (google dog mind games). You could also take your dog out for drives in the car if he finds those less stressful, or hire a secure field for him to run around safely with the added bonus that you can work on his recall safely too.

A really helpful resource for the owners of scared and reactive dogs is the facebook group "Reactive Dogs UK". They recommend using the CARE protocol for reactive dogs, http://careforreactivedogs.com/ which is reward based.

I decided not to have Sjindi neutered because of his fears and I'm glad that I made that decision - now that he's fully mature (haha) at almost five years old he's still nervous but he definitely has a level of self assurance that I'm not sure would still be there without his testosterone. Having said that, I made the decision after talking with his behaviourist, the rescue he came from and his vet, it isn't a decision to be taken lightly.

Sjindi genuinely has been the most challenging and difficult dog I've ever, ever known, especially when he stopped hiding from things that frightened him and started barking and lunging at them instead. There were times when I sat with my head in my hands and cried in abject despair - it felt like his teenage period would never end, I thought I'd completely failed him and he would never be a 'normal' dog. Finally, I came to accept that he'll never be a completely normal dog, that was never on the cards, and that's okay - but he's much, much better than I ever thought he could be. He can now go out for a walk with other dogs and actually interact instead of hiding behind my legs and trying to get away. He can meet strange dogs nicely and has even developed a lovely recall. It has taken a huge amount of work and effort, but we have a lovely working relationship now and I find it hard to believe that I actually seriously considered taking him back to the rescue at one point.

Definitely find yourself a decent behaviourist that only uses only reward based methods. Finding Nikirushka was the one thing that made more difference to Sjindi and I than any other - more than anything she made me understand that the way Sjindi turned out was NOT ALL MY FAULT (although admittedly I had made loads of mistakes that hadn't helped too).

Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.
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hazzy1066
post 6th Mar 2018, 7:52 pm
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I have purchased some Ruffwear webmaster harnesses as they appear to be extremely safe for very wriggly dogs. They aren't cheap but you can sometimes get cheaper on Ebay. They have a handle as well so I can also lift them should there be a problem.

I have 3 dogs but two (Chihuahuas) don't like other dogs out and about and they can go wappy when they see other dogs. One we had from a puppy again similar age to yours who we took to puppy classes but wouldn't move and constantly had tail down. Infact she told us to go home and not come back after a few sessions. Now rather than being quiet though shes yappy same as the other rescue we have. They do it because they are nervous, I thought the relaxed behaviour of our yorkie might rub off but it hasn't.

What might help is finding other people with really friendly dogs and meeting on a regular basis to help socialise more, ideally in an enclosed garden.

We put up with it because they are happy in the house, not that bothered about walking far anyway and play with each other in the house. I appreciate its not ideal with an only dog that probably needs a good walk.


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melbury
post 6th Mar 2018, 8:16 pm
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Thank you all so much for your very helpful and reassuring replies.

My OH took him for a walk today along quiet lanes and didn't meet anyone and all was well. He does walk very well on the lead provided there is nothing to scare him. As I said his recall is virtually non-existent so we were only letting him off occasionally, however, after yesterday's incident we will not be doing that again.

I have been checking my insurance policy and think that it may well cover behavioural problems provided a vet refers us, so will pursue that.

Getting another dog is really not on the cards for us. I am sure he would have been entirely different if there had already been a dog here when he arrived at 9 weeks old, but there wasn't and my goodness I would never have believed the difference that makes. Our previous two dogs that we brought up from tiny pups were never like this and it must be because of having another dog in the house to show them the ropes.

Honestly if I could wind the clock back twelve months I would not have got him as it has been a tremendous strain. Mokee, I too have sat and cried in total despair wishing I had never set eyes on him and feeling such a failure. We just wanted him to turn out like our darling boy that we lost who was such a wonderful companion and never ever went for us. It is such a feeling of betrayal isn't it when they go for you and you have tried to do your best.


I really thought we had cracked it because for a whole week he had behaved so well and then yesterday happened.


Will definitely put the neutering on hold. Lots of people have said to me that it would help calm him down, but then he is not showing any aggression to other dogs and people. My vet asked at his six month check up if we had thought about neutering, so undoubtedly will suggest it again.

Are vets quite open to referring you to a behavioural specialist bearing in mind that there is nothing in it for them? (sorry if that sounds a bit cynical)

This is very likely the last dog we will have and it seems so unfair that he should prove to be the most difficult ever.



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Elainew
post 6th Mar 2018, 8:43 pm
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McKee has given you excellent advice.

In my experience vets know nothing about what constitutes a good behaviourist.
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mokee
post 6th Mar 2018, 11:40 pm
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QUOTE(hazzy1066 @ 6th Mar 2018, 7:52 pm) *

What might help is finding other people with really friendly dogs and meeting on a regular basis to help socialise more, ideally in an enclosed garden.


Please don't do this, either. This is called flooding and does not work. It would be like shutting somebody who is scared of spiders in a room full of 'friendly' spiders in an effort to cure their arachnophobia - it is only likely to make the situation, and the fear, worse.

Best of luck finding a decent behaviourist, it would be nice if the insurance would cover this, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Just be aware that anybody can call themselves a behaviourist, they don't need even any rudimentary experience or qualifications. To be absolutely sure you're getting somebody who knows what they're talking about please look for somebody from a reputable organisation. smile.gif

And yes, raising Sjindi was an experience I would never want to repeat - but what helped enormously was when someone pointed out that he had no more control over his behaviour than I would have over mine in that room full of spiders. He wasn't deliberately being naughty, but was reacting out of a fear so overwhelming that instinct kicked in and blinded him to everything else but the thing he was afraid of. Once I realised that it was nothing personal, that he wasn't doing it on purpose just to upset or punish me (and it took a while because I can be a bit dense like that) I was able to look at him more sympathetically and work with him to find a solution for both of us instead of, I'm ashamed to admit, resenting him so much at times that I almost hated him. I wanted a perfect puppy but ended up with a frightened, barky, bitey, reactive reprobate who took ten whole months to toilet train and who will never be entirely 'normal'. Wouldn't change him for the world, now, but four years ago I would have posted something entirely similar to your post (in fact, I think I probably did).
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