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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sorry in advance this is long but I need HELP!!!

Hi! I'm new here - first post! I have a Beagle mix that I've had for a couple of months now from a shelter. I'm guessing she's about 15 months old. I was leaving home and I have a lot of anxiety issues so part of why I wanted a dog was to help calm me down and have something to keep my mind off my worries and such because all my past dogs have helped loads with my anxiety. But this pup has made me SOOO stressed out I can't even start.

She has a lot of behavioral issues. I've trained lots of dogs in the past but I've never dealt with behavior stuff. So when I thought I was adopting a new bestie, I kinda got the opposite. I would say we are currently frenemies.

I've just moved out of my parent's place and in with my boyfriend - we have a house with a nice sized fenced in yard - so I am quite strapped for cash after all those deposits, so I currently can't afford to get a pro out to the house. Can anyone shed some light on these issues? Pleaseee??

Issues:

Bed/couch guarding: Any time we try to move her from a place she's settled down she growls and snaps and goes insane. I've taught her 'off' but she never listens to that when she's comfy.

TERRIFIED of car rides: She drools immediately and within minutes throws up. I can't even pick up the keys now without her going to the corner and shaking and avoiding eye contact. I have tried introducing it slowly! I did the: have her in the car, build that up, start the car, build that up, up the drive way, up the road, around the block, increase time. Every time I work on the car issue with her it seems to make is SO SO much worse and it never gets better.

Barking at strangers: My bf had a friend over just the other night and the pup barked for, literally and I do mean LITERALLY she barked for three hours STRAIGHT! NOTHING we did helped. I gave her anxiety tincture, thunder shirt, he gave her treats when he came him, ignored her, gave her attention, we tried her outside, in a different room, having her crate as an option, did a mental training sessions, tried rawhides. NOTHING stopped her from barking. Even after six hours she was still growling at him every time he stood up or walked across a room. It was SO embarrassing. No one ever wants to come over because they know the pup will bark constantly and growl. She's never bitten a stranger, by the way.

She also barks at people and dogs and growls and lunges on walks. If we see people coming we turn around on walks because it's so bad. I have tried friends with dogs coming to help practice walk bys and she's so bad that the friend gets frustrated and ends up leaving and my pup has made ZERO progress.

HIGH energy and TOO SMART: She gets two walks a day, about 45 minutes each. I have access to some woods so she gets to roam (leashed) and sniff. We incorporate her pulling us/running with a skateboard too for energy draining. She also wears a weighted backpack most of the time. Even after skating and walking she wants to tug and play ball for over an hour. Since she's terrified of the car I can't take her to parks or trails or anything. I feel like she's somehow under exercised (how, I'll never know! LOL) but I can't exactly just walk her the same loop for two hours without her getting bored. She also has some puzzles she learned to solve in like under a minute.

Every trick she knows (there's tons) she's learned in about five minutes. Even opening drawers she learned in, legit, 45 seconds. Rolling over took her two days because she has trust issues but everything else is so fast. What on Earth can I teach her/play that will actually wear her out and be happy?

I can't keep up with her! I have tried everything in my arsenal of knowledge and I feel so defeated with her.

It doesn't help my bf takes the only car to long work shifts so it's me and the pup stuck at home all the time. Since she stresses me out so much I stay anxious and I know she picks up on that, but goodness I just can't help it!

I should also mention the bf is super fed up. He yells at her a lot and tries those icky dominance moves with her on her back and such and then I yell at him to not do that and we end up spatting because our methods are different. I've tried being nice to her, being firm, etc., and this dog just isn't responding to anything. It's causing so many problems in my life. My parents tell me to get rid of her but I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't give this all I've got.

THE GOAL: My bf works in a dog friendly store. I would love to be able to take her there and inside and have her calm around the people and occasional other dog. Is this far fetched?

I'm at my wits end here. Can anyone put me on a better path??
 

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She sounds fearful and insecure. The dominance things your BF is doing are probably making her worse. The dominance theory has been debunked, this link has info and other links explaining it. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/

For the couch. Work more with the off command. I've been working with my dog with it. She is over 110lbs, so if she doesn't want to move there isn't much I can do. I was getting frustrated thinking she would only get off if bribed when the other night I told her off so I could go to bed and she got up. I was actually a little surprised. So it just took time. In the past I've thrown a treat for her to get, or lured her with a treat. So slow down, take a breath and just keep working with her. Start backing off treating all the time. Before you know it you'll be there.

Car. Back off a little, maybe you've taken it too fast. I'd go back to the beginning and take it slow, really slow.

Barking. She sounds fearful. I don't have a lot of experience with this. It's going to take time, months or even years of working on it.

Your bf needs to back off and chill. You've only had her a couple of months and it normally takes a few months for dogs to really settle in. Some dogs are more work than others and it sounds like she has some fears. You need to build her confidence. Yelling and alpha rolling are just going to break her down more.
 
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Welcome to Dog Forum! You'll get great advice here.

I would add to annageckos' comment to have her examined by a vet specifically for her behavior issues. Not wanting to be moved could be pain and anxiety about car rides could be motion sickness.

The issue with not wanting to be moved could be resource guarding. Resource Guarding, causes, prevention and modification

She does sound fearful and your BF's actions will only make things worse. Check out CARE for Reactive Dogs and Fearful Dogs for advice on working with her in a more effective manner. Also, Reactivity, On Leash Aggression, and Barrier Frustration.

For training, you may want to attend some classes, maybe not right away, but something to consider for the future. Almost any of the dog sports (e.g., rally, nose work, agility) would be good; you might find that working towards a goal and building on skills helps work her brain more. Positive reinforcement-bases training is also good for increasing confidence.

There are tons of great resources in this section: Training and Behavior Stickies
Web Resources - look at the youtube chanels for trick ideas
Helpful Training Videos and Articles - includes a number of videos for working with reactivity

Since you haven't had her that long, check out Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog and you may consider reading McConnell's book specifically about adopted dogs that is referenced in the post.

Sounds as though you are doing very well considering the unexpected issues that arose. Please continue to ask questions and let us know how you're doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone! A lot of the links were helpful but we're still having issues. I mean, what do I do now when I go to get in. Bed at night and she growls and lunges at me? Do I just do off and give her a treat? It's scary when it feels like she wants to attack me. Last night my boyfriend sat on the couch near her and she snapped at him when he did nothing but sat.

She is DEFINITELY fearful but I have zero idea how to build her confidence.

In the mornings she wants to go walk but I need a while to wake up, have coffee, etc., and she barks and nips the ENTIRE time until I hook her up. It starts the day off so badly and I end up so frustrated with her.

Yes, Aspen726, I WANT to work with a trainer or behaviorist badly, but like I said in the initial post we are so strapped for cash after the move (LOADS of deposits were needed). We are saving some from each check to get someone out here but I can't get her in the car to take her to any kind of class. Even a drive around the block gives her diarrhea for two days.

So what could I do in the meantime when she's growling and snapping at us for getting in bed or sometimes just sitting near her? And what about in the mornings? When she's up with my boyfriend she goes back to sleep on the couch but with me it's like she terrorizes me constantly. Part of me thinks it is because he's shown dominance because she really only listens to him now even though I walk and feed her and train her. I just don't get it. I feel like she hates me most of the time. :(
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Don't let her on the furniture is she is going to growl or snap. Teach her off. If you want to let her up there there are two things I can think of. One is to make her get off if she growls. Or you could only let her come up by invitation. Training takes time, you need to stick with it. She sounds like a resource guarder. The couch/bed is the resource she is guarding. She feels she needs to protect it from others.
I'm going to guess the reason she listens to you BF is because she is afraid of him. You really don't want a relationship based on fear.
Also don't give her want she wants when she is being pushy and a bully. Walk her when she is quiet and behaving. Not when she is demanding it. Make her sit and stay when you put her leash on. Make her sit and wait while you open the door. It will take time to get a really solid sit/stay but just keep at it.
 

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Good advice from Annageckos. I wanted to make a few comments...

Thanks everyone! A lot of the links were helpful but we're still having issues. I mean, what do I do now when I go to get in. Bed at night and she growls and lunges at me? Do I just do off and give her a treat? It's scary when it feels like she wants to attack me. Last night my boyfriend sat on the couch near her and she snapped at him when he did nothing but sat.
In the moment, you're not training, you're managing in a way. If she's growling and lunging when you get in bed, don't allow her in bed at night. During the day, work on training "off" and "on."

She may be snapping at your boyfriend because she's scared. Work on building positive associations with him and keep them separated until she's starting to feel more secure around him.

Positive training is as much about managing situations and planning for success as it is about reinforcing desired behaviors. For example, if you know your dog counter surfs, you don't wait for him to jump on the counter and reinforce his getting off. You keep him out of the kitchen and then set up training situations where he learns the value of four-on-the-floor and some impulse control.

She is DEFINITELY fearful but I have zero idea how to build her confidence.
See the links to fearful dog, CARE, and the reactive dog sticky in my previous message. Plus training where she "wins" often. Nose work is good; I believe there's a sticky on that, too.

In the mornings she wants to go walk but I need a while to wake up, have coffee, etc., and she barks and nips the ENTIRE time until I hook her up. It starts the day off so badly and I end up so frustrated with her.
If it's the first time she's going out, she may really need to go out. If she's just being demanding, work on impulse control as Annageckos described.

When she's up with my boyfriend she goes back to sleep on the couch but with me it's like she terrorizes me constantly. Part of me thinks it is because he's shown dominance because she really only listens to him now even though I walk and feed her and train her. I just don't get it. I feel like she hates me most of the time. :(
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She's probably too scared around him to do much of anything. Suppression, Modification, Shutdown, and Fallout.
 

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This sounds like a very fearful dog that needs structure and boundaries so that SHE understands what is expected of her and can then gain confidence within that framework. When we got our rescue she was very fearful of people and had never lived inside a house before. She wasn't aggressive, but easily could have become so if we had pushed her outside her comfort zone. What helped her gain her confidence in us:

1. learning that even when she did the " wrong" thing, she wasn't punished -- merely redirected (we still don't EVER positive punish her). example:
There were chicken wings from our dinner in the garbage. She went into the garbage. We called her over, she ignored us. I went into the kitchen, in a neutral manner I got her face out of the garbage, put the lid on and put a heavy object on the lid. Walked two steps away, called her to me, when she came I treated. I walked a few steps further away from the kitchen (she resumed sniffing the garbage, called her to me, treated. etc. Shame on us for leaving such a tasty treat accessible -- but she got rewarded for leaving off the yummy smell to come when called. No punishment.

This is not because I don't *believe* in positive punishment. I have had a retriever in the past and she was not at all sensitive -- positive punishment was sometimes necessary to get the message across. However with a fearful dog, trust is SO key to training behavioural changes (different from trick training!)

For the first 3 months, my girl had a strict schedule and strict boundaries that were kept up. Crated every night and in the morning taken directly from the crate for her first walk (just a 15 minute "pee" walk). Breakfast fed from a kong in the AM (while I have my coffee and read the paper), then out for her first long walk of the day. Crated after the long walk for a couple hours while I worked, then let out for a couple hours with something to keep her occupied (rawhide chew, rope toy, whatever). Second long walk in the afternoon. Crated afterwards until dinner, a training session (or nosework) in the evening with some "chill" time, then last nightly walk before crated for bed.

She learned this schedule and it helped her SO much in understanding what was expected of her and to help her bond with us. We only used positive reinforcement and negative punishment, and we rewarded all good behaviour. If she was lying quietly on her bed (she has her crate but also an open dog bed), she was tossed a treat. If she was entertaining herself with her toys, she was tossed a treat. If I was grooming her, she was given treats. If I was simply lying with her, she was given a treat. Not in rapid succession, but I just always had treats in my pocket or handy throughout the main communal living rooms (out of her reach).

When she did inappropriate behaviours (getting up on the couch, "digging" at the rug, chewing human things, scratching at doors) I would redirect her attention to a positive behaviour (playing with a toy, doing simple obedience sit-down-touch-paw etc). Usually these behaviours indicated boredom so I knew it was about time for another walk but some days she was just a pill in which case after the positive behavior -- she was crated with a fun toy. I mean, I gotta work still!

You are a bit disadvantaged because she's already had some negative behaviors with your BF and she's already had run of the house. Just stay very neutral. Even keep positive expressions mild. Rather then big and loud "Good Girl!" just stick with quiet words of affirmation. The treat will speak volumes for her.

As for the car, if she's having diarrhea for 2 days after a trip around the block, she's having severe stress reactions to the car. Simple desensitization is most likely not going to work in this scenario as she's probably shutting down mentally. Maybe try talking to your vet about prescription drugs to help her chill out while you desensitize her? At the very least, slow WAY down in your progress. Don't even turn the car on, until she'll willingly jump into the car when it's off.

You can try feeding her all her meals in the car. Take her out, bring her bowl with her meal and let her eat in the trunk or the back seat. When she's done, she goes back inside. In the beginning she may be too afraid to eat. That's fine. Leave her in for 10-15 min, if she doesn't take a bite bring her and the food inside (but don't feed her inside). Try again next meal time. Eventually her stomach will take over. It will be a long road, so have patience.

The amount of exercise she is getting sounds fine, actually like quite a lot. You may almost be making her TOO fit. Try substituting some of the physical exercise for mental exercise. Beagles are sniffer dogs, so try teaching her nosework! Set her up for success -- like people, dogs gain confidence in doing well at their tasks!

Obviously once your finances are a bit recovered having a professional come in is the best thing you can do. But I understand the expense, so just do LOTS of reading and researching online in the meantime!
 

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I just have a couple of things to add. You mention she is terrified if you even pick up the keys. Pick up the keys many times throughout the day and jingle them. Then give her a piece of chicken or some other awesome treat. It's fine if she doesn't eat it. The point you want to get across is that keys don't always mean a car ride. Once she's okay with keys, then move up to the car.

I also suggest leaving a lightweight leash on her in the house. If she refuses to get off the couch you can calmly remove her, then reward her for being on the floor.

Incorporate some training into her walks, if you aren't already. I don't know how much space you have to work with on walks, but for us, I can have Riley heal, then let him sniff, call him back, let him sniff, sit... ect. It adds a little more stimulation than just walking/sniffing.
 

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In the mornings she wants to go walk but I need a while to wake up, have coffee, etc., and she barks and nips the ENTIRE time until I hook her up. It starts the day off so badly and I end up so frustrated with her.
Do you let her outside to pee first thing? My dogs need to go right away when they wake up. I have a couple minutes to get ready, and then have to get out the door with them or they'd be pretty stressed and probably end up in pain. I think it's pretty standard for dogs to need to get outside as soon as they wake up.

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