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Need help/reassurance with fearful dog

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Old 03-22-2014, 10:36 PM
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We actually used to live in a very small town, so it was MUCH easier to go for walks without her having a panic attack, and we had tons of nature areas to go relax in. Unfortunately the last month we've had to live in the city, which is why its understandably more stressful for her and Im actually quite surprised she's not freaking out as much as I anticipated.
We're moving out to the prairies in a months time (roughly) so we will have some more relaxing areas but also not be far from more densely populated areas, and have the ability to practice in different locations when she's ready to get to that point. She hasn't gone for a real long nature walk in a while, and yeah, it will do a lot for me emotionally too lol we're planning on taking her to our friends 200 acre wildlife property and Im sure she'll have the time of her life. Will be a great bonding experience too. The city does nothing good for either of us! I hate busy places!
I'll try shortening the walks. I just feel really bad not being able to offer her more exercise. When we first got her, I was taking her out to fields and conservation areas and we'd be gone for an hour or two a day, walking/running/resting outside. And lately all its been is crappy short walks in a boring suburban neighbourhood. But I get what you mean and thats probably a good idea. I just never thought of 15-20 minutes as being too long, based on how much time we'd spend together on walks//runs before we moved here.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:41 PM
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We actually used to live in a very small town, so it was MUCH easier to go for walks without her having a panic attack, and we had tons of nature areas to go relax in. Unfortunately the last month we've had to live in the city, which is why its understandably more stressful for her and Im actually quite surprised she's not freaking out as much as I anticipated.
We're moving out to the prairies in a months time (roughly) so we will have some more relaxing areas but also not be far from more densely populated areas, and have the ability to practice in different locations when she's ready to get to that point. She hasn't gone for a real long nature walk in a while, and yeah, it will do a lot for me emotionally too lol we're planning on taking her to our friends 200 acre wildlife property and Im sure she'll have the time of her life. Will be a great bonding experience too. The city does nothing good for either of us! I hate busy places!
I'll try shortening the walks. I just feel really bad not being able to offer her more exercise. When we first got her, I was taking her out to fields and conservation areas and we'd be gone for an hour or two a day, walking/running/resting outside. And lately all its been is crappy short walks in a boring suburban neighbourhood. But I get what you mean and thats probably a good idea. I just never thought of 15-20 minutes as being too long, based on how much time we'd spend together on walks//runs before we moved here.
lol, i don't like cities much myself! from the sounds of it, when you move, things will improve for sure! in the mean time, training, puzzle toys, are good. you can still be out for 15-20 minutes, but just stick closer to home for it...

ooo, have you done any sort of nose work training with her?



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Old 03-22-2014, 10:43 PM
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You're right, and I do agree that she could be stressing out without me noticing. It still seems completely random though. She'll encounter 5 or 6 different people on our walks (sometimes theyre hard to avoid, even on a short 15 minute walk) and freak out over a petite woman, be okay with a really tall big man, and then freak out over some other person. But it could be her building herself up internally and me not picking up on it, largely because Im trying to be casual and progress with the walk as to not send her any unnecessary signals.
We do loads of trick training, unfortunately tricks are ineffective during walks. The best I can get her to do on a walk is a sit or lay down, largely because the moment theres a person approaching, I lose her attention all together and she does not have enough of a food drive to regain her attention- yes, even with high value treats. She has never really had a food drive since we got her, and the only treats Ive found effective that aren't meat, is the freeze dried beef liver. But even then, not always effective, especially when shes fixated on something scary. And even when you withdraw her from the situation, she is still in panic mode and it is not easy to make an escape.
Sometimes I try to distract her by getting her running and upping the pace. I never do this after we've encountered somebody.. as to not encourage running away... but we might just for a jog at times so she doesnt have time to worry about the people she sees. It seems to help with her overall demeanor and actually keeps her relatively calm.

And yeah Ive been reading on behavior adjustment. I literally spend every day working on this with her, small amounts at a time, and inbetween training, Im reading all friggen day!! But there is always something to be learned.

It may be the number of people being met that's the common denominator. She may be a little worried about the first, a little wary about the second, starting to get fearful about the third, and by the 4th fixing to have a panic attack. Sort of like a person who's afraid of spiders being able to hold it together when shown the first couple but by the 5th they're actively panicking.

I agree that BAT may help her, from what I've heard it does help, and it never hurts to have another trick to use.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:46 PM
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No but I really want to! Im actually just not sure how to approach it. We've played games at home with finding treats and things like that.. putting them in tricky places and saying "go get the treat!" and she'll take off and start sniffing around, but she seems to get frustrated easily and give up. I guess it just takes time to build it up, but we definitely have rainy day games like that.

Do you have any recommendations in regards to scent training? And both her parents are schutzhund trained but I dont think thats gonna happen for her I always end up with the "special" one haha. She's also the only pup out of the litter/parents that retrieves... soooo.. shes full of surprises. Not at all what I expected.

And yeah, maybe we'll just practice going up and down the road rather than going all around the block, so that if we need to go home we can do so quickly.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:48 PM
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It may be the number of people being met that's the common denominator. She may be a little worried about the first, a little wary about the second, starting to get fearful about the third, and by the 4th fixing to have a panic attack. Sort of like a person who's afraid of spiders being able to hold it together when shown the first couple but by the 5th they're actively panicking.

I agree that BAT may help her, from what I've heard it does help, and it never hurts to have another trick to use.
Yeah but the weird thing is there's no magic number either. I had her on a 4km walk one day when it was a pretty quiet time, not many people out.. but she still did encounter a fair amount of people. Very first person she encountered, she spooked instantly and we waited for them to pass before continuing. She did fine, walked past a 2nd, 3rd person, no problem. Saw a 4th and cautiously proceeded past him. Saw a 5th and panicked. 6th was fine and that was that. I see where you're coming from and I'll keep an eye on that, maybe she didnt freak on some of them because she had enough time to "get over it" /calm down/keep moving
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:51 AM
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No but I really want to! Im actually just not sure how to approach it. We've played games at home with finding treats and things like that.. putting them in tricky places and saying "go get the treat!" and she'll take off and start sniffing around, but she seems to get frustrated easily and give up. I guess it just takes time to build it up, but we definitely have rainy day games like that.

Do you have any recommendations in regards to scent training? And both her parents are schutzhund trained but I dont think thats gonna happen for her I always end up with the "special" one haha. She's also the only pup out of the litter/parents that retrieves... soooo.. shes full of surprises. Not at all what I expected.

And yeah, maybe we'll just practice going up and down the road rather than going all around the block, so that if we need to go home we can do so quickly.
there is this:
https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...tracking-9594/

i've started playing a game with clover though, that works out really well. we have a special tuggy. something that he is NEVER allowed to play with without me, no exceptions. i take it, and i make him "wait" then i exxaggerate putting it in my sweater and walk around the house/yard really ridiculously (he is used to this, i dunno about your dog but be careful not to frighten her here!) pretending to hide it in a bunch of different spots. then i walk back to him and cue him to "find it" when he finds it, i make the biggest deal about how clever he is, and we have a short game of tug and treats and maybe even a little fetch. then we go back to the beginning. the first few times i ask him to do it, i put the toy right in front of his place, but then sneak around, gradually moving it further and further away then outta sight, maybe over 3-4 rounds of it. lmao! he was so bored it was hard to keep him engaged. each time i hide it, i go to different areas of the yard and pretend to hide it, even when it is right in front of him... then, when it goes outta sight i pretend to put it in one place but really in another and when he finds it this time he is like "BAM!" totally engaged and watching me prance around pretending to put it somewhere, making it more and more complicated. oh, and you should see him "scanning" the yard with his nose... he sorta stands real still and swings his head from side to side sniffing, you can almost see the little cogs cranking away in his brain.



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Old 03-23-2014, 12:56 AM
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there is this:
https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...tracking-9594/

i've started playing a game with clover though, that works out really well. we have a special tuggy. something that he is NEVER allowed to play with without me, no exceptions. i take it, and i make him "wait" then i exxaggerate putting it in my sweater and walk around the house/yard really ridiculously (he is used to this, i dunno about your dog but be careful not to frighten her here!) pretending to hide it in a bunch of different spots. then i walk back to him and cue him to "find it" when he finds it, i make the biggest deal about how clever he is, and we have a short game of tug and treats and maybe even a little fetch. then we go back to the beginning. the first few times i ask him to do it, i put the toy right in front of his place, but then sneak around, gradually moving it further and further away then outta sight, maybe over 3-4 rounds of it. lmao! he was so bored it was hard to keep him engaged. each time i hide it, i go to different areas of the yard and pretend to hide it, even when it is right in front of him... then, when it goes outta sight i pretend to put it in one place but really in another and when he finds it this time he is like "BAM!" totally engaged and watching me prance around pretending to put it somewhere, making it more and more complicated. oh, and you should see him "scanning" the yard with his nose... he sorta stands real still and swings his head from side to side sniffing, you can almost see the little cogs cranking away in his brain.
Ha! Cute! Ive had similar games with Cargo and hiding toys. She's not always into it and would often rather play tug-o-war than anything, but I just have to avoid doing it too often to make it boring for her. I haven't tried it in a while but I should, as soon as we get some new toys that is.. everything shes had has been ripped to shreds, even the supposedly "indestructible" ones. When we would play this game, she'd always check the spots I previously hid the toy, in the exact order that I hid them, too. It was interesting to see that her memory worked that well lol. I started off with just hiding it behind my back while she wasn't looking and asking her to find it, then placing it somewhere else in the room discreetly and going back to where I was sitting. The first thing she'd do every single time was check between my back and the wall to make sure it wasn't there- then the next place, and the next place and so on, before actually making an effort to find it.
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:06 AM
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Ha! Cute! Ive had similar games with Cargo and hiding toys. She's not always into it and would often rather play tug-o-war than anything, but I just have to avoid doing it too often to make it boring for her. I haven't tried it in a while but I should, as soon as we get some new toys that is.. everything shes had has been ripped to shreds, even the supposedly "indestructible" ones. When we would play this game, she'd always check the spots I previously hid the toy, in the exact order that I hid them, too. It was interesting to see that her memory worked that well lol. I started off with just hiding it behind my back while she wasn't looking and asking her to find it, then placing it somewhere else in the room discreetly and going back to where I was sitting. The first thing she'd do every single time was check between my back and the wall to make sure it wasn't there- then the next place, and the next place and so on, before actually making an effort to find it.
i definitely recommend reserving one toy to be "special" make sure it is a texture that she likes and stuff. clover has A LOT of value for tugging, and thus for his tug toy. especially cuz we built that value over time. he knows where it is kept, but is not allowed to touch it himself, at all. when i buy him a new tug, i always build value for it by being a huge dork with it. i'll let him catch glimpses of it, but then pretend that only the cat/bodie/other humans are allowed to see it, then put it away really quick, being all dramatic with him. then i'll be all dramatic and play with it like i just won the lottery and it is the best thing ever... keeping my back to him... then after a day or so, when he is like sitting in front of the cupboard where i keep it, whining, i will let him play with it. rofl, its like christmas for him! we learned to tug from watching michael ellis's tug video... (he does schuntzhund training with REALLY high drive dogs, he's a great trainer, though he does use corrections) anyway, he is allowed to tug with any other toys he has, of course, but i don't really put much effort into it. only his special toy gets that sort of attention...

then of course, i vary how hard it is to find the toy when i hide it, and make a round of tug a reward for finding it... that all together = THE BEST TIME EVER!



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Old 03-23-2014, 08:59 AM
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i definitely recommend reserving one toy to be "special" make sure it is a texture that she likes and stuff. clover has A LOT of value for tugging, and thus for his tug toy. especially cuz we built that value over time. he knows where it is kept, but is not allowed to touch it himself, at all. when i buy him a new tug, i always build value for it by being a huge dork with it. i'll let him catch glimpses of it, but then pretend that only the cat/bodie/other humans are allowed to see it, then put it away really quick, being all dramatic with him. then i'll be all dramatic and play with it like i just won the lottery and it is the best thing ever... keeping my back to him... then after a day or so, when he is like sitting in front of the cupboard where i keep it, whining, i will let him play with it. rofl, its like christmas for him! we learned to tug from watching michael ellis's tug video... (he does schuntzhund training with REALLY high drive dogs, he's a great trainer, though he does use corrections) anyway, he is allowed to tug with any other toys he has, of course, but i don't really put much effort into it. only his special toy gets that sort of attention...

then of course, i vary how hard it is to find the toy when i hide it, and make a round of tug a reward for finding it... that all together = THE BEST TIME EVER!
Sounds great! I'll give that method a shot
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