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> My New Dog Seems To Be Frightened Of Everything ...
Polladolla
post 30th May 2017, 11:30 pm
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Hello, this is my first post and its a lengthy one I'm afraid. I'm just looking for a little advice and reassurance

We've had our wee rescue dog for around 9 weeks now. She's a 19 month Shih Tzu crossed with some kind of terrier (likely a Jack Russell). She is very sweet, loving, great with kids and extremely pretty in a scruffy kind of way. We never got to meet her before we adopted her as we are in Glasgow and she was rescued to Essex, but we fell in love with her at first sight and we really want to do our best by her. She is our first family dog - there is me my hubby and two adult boys in the house.

I know that she came from a family home with young kids, the reason for giving her up was change of circumstances. She lived with another dog and we were advised they could be split.

She settled in with us really well and she made me her favourite straight away (I feed her and work from home so am with her the most). she follows me around the house constantly. I don't think she sees me as her leader though ...

Over these first few weeks we have noticed some issues becoming apparent I hope these will be overcome over time but as I don't have any doggy experience I was wondering if there is anything I should or should not be doing to help her?

My main concern is that she is fearful of other dogs (tail between legs, very strong flight instinct, barking at dogs when on the lead), she is now constantly on edge in the park, stopping frequently to look around, panting, yawning (she was allowed off leash after about 3 weeks with us then a couple of weeks later she got chased by an overly friendly Alsatian and bolted). I only let her off now if I am sure there are no other dogs around.

Occasionally, if she gets time to adjust to another dog being near her, they are both on the leash and she is not approached by them suddenly, she will eventually go into 'I want to play with you mode' but unfortunately I am scared to let her off the leash in case she gets spooked again and bolts without caution.

I so want to be able to have her play with pals in the park - any advice?

she is also fearful of noise around the house (hoover, hairdryer, lawn mower)and other inanimate things - she nearly had a meltdown today when she saw a feather duster on the dining room floor. She saw cows on TV and went mad barking at the screen.

We started Dogs Trust training classes the other week and the trainer approached us straight away to ask if she would be ok with a clicker (she obviously noticed how nervous she was). She also has had an upset tummy the day after class - not sure if this is due to stress or that she's had lots of training treats ...

She craves constant attention and closeness and goes in the huff if she doesn't get it!

Finally, because someone is usually always around the house she has not been left on her own yet and I don't think she'll cope well when it does happen.

I'm going to stop going on now - any advice?

Thanks!



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nikirushka
post 31st May 2017, 7:20 am
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First things first, please stop taking her to the park. At the moment, it is only stressing her to be there and that will not help anything. Her walks there are just unpleasant. Let her have a break, let her explore somewhere differen and quiet, then in a few weeks, return to the park for some walks, at quiet times, to start working on her fears of dogs. If it's a very busy park, dog-wise, then I'd be finding somewhere else with far fewer dogs to do the work, before you go back there.

Okay, next. No, she doesn't see you as pack leader - and that's normal. No dog does because we are not dogs! It's a myth. So don't worry about that smile.gif What she needs is a mentor, companion and guide, not a pack leader. Someone to seek reassurance from and receive it should she need it, and someone who is going to keep her feeling safe to the best of your abilities.

Her upset tummy could have been either or both - how is she in the classes? Nervous dogs can find a class environment overwhelming, and she is still adjusting to living in an entirely new world. It may well be too much, too soon for her.

With dogs like these, it is imperative that we go at their pace. Trying to go too fast only sets them back, so we need to relax and let them adjust slowly. It's also worth remembering that new dogs, and moreso nervous ones, can take many months to fully settle in to a new home and new walking places.

I think you would benefit from getting some professional help in here, a reputable, qualified positive behaviourist who can see all her issues firsthand and advise you best on how to move forwards with her. Noise issues and fear of other dogs can be tricky to negotiate sometimes, so having somewhere there in person who can demonstrate how to work with them and the timing of rewards, managing distance from other dogs and so on would be of real use to you and her.
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Polladolla
post 31st May 2017, 8:13 pm
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Thank you so much for the advice. I'll try taking her different places over the next couple of weeks and relax about the leader thing.

We've done three out of five classes so far. Tonight she was a little nervous in the room at first but was put in a quieter position and soon settled down. She then worked really well tonight ...

I'll try to chill and relax. I'll also do some research into local professional behaviourists - Thanks again!
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kilmousk
post 31st May 2017, 9:25 pm
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Without hesitation I would recommend John as a local behaviorist

http://www.glasgowdogtrainer.co.uk/

Or Claire who will travel and can advise for other local trainers.

http://www.lothloriendogservices.co.uk/

There are several so called trainers in the Glasgow and central Scotland area I would avoid like the plague; some I would rather put a dog to sleep instead of letting them near.
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nikirushka
post 1st Jun 2017, 10:13 am
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QUOTE(Polladolla @ 31st May 2017, 9:13 pm) *

We've done three out of five classes so far. Tonight she was a little nervous in the room at first but was put in a quieter position and soon settled down. She then worked really well tonight ...


Ok, cool. So you've got a tuned-in trainer (which it sounded like you did anyway) who's happy to move you if she needs it - great! I'd keep going to them then, if she's happy enough to work in them. It's just finding that balance - some dogs find classes far too much, but for some they are useful as the other dogs are on leads, under control and not allowed to run over which your own dog learns and helps both of you to relax. It's just finding a good one and it sounds like you have.
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