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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Ear Companion dog


I'm looking for some advice for my rescue dog! This little cutie has been with me for about a month now, and hasn't shown any problems until now. I adopted him from a foundation that saves dogs.

In the beginning he had some anxiety but it seemed like we worked through it and after about a week he was feeling at home. He would sleep well, eat well and do well on walks (every day around the same time) and generally just being a very happy dog.

Since a few days he has been showing signs of stress and fear when we're at home, especially after we've gone for a walk. It is at its worst at night (but he does this during the daytime as well), when we try to go to sleep after his walk. When we get home after the walk he starts to whine and cry out (very loudly) and shiver and he keeps it up for a long time. I've tried ignoring it and reinforcing positive behaviour but he keeps at it. He seems really spooked by something, but we can't figure out what it is. We didn't change anything in the house and there's been no loud noises at night, we live in a quiet neighbourhood and there's been no thunderstorms of any kind in the last week. Since the behaviour is new and only happens when we're in our home I'm at a complete loss at how to deal with this. For example: I take him with me to work to the office and he seems completely happy there, and never whines after he's been out for a walk, so that makes me think it's not a health issue.

Does anyone have any experience in dealing with this?
 

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I agree with @JoanneF, there's probably something in your house (sounds, smells, etc.) that they're reacting to. It can take a dog a few weeks to settle into a new environment enough to feel comfortable 'expresing an opinion' about something in that environment that they find disquieting, and with rescue dogs it's impossible to know whether there isn't some prior experience they're being reminded of. It would be ideal if you could find the source of their anxiety and fix it, but in the meantime, I'd just sit with them quietly to reassure them when they start whining.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is it uniform throughout the entire house, or does it intensify in specific parts of the house?
He seems to like the living room the most. He used to sleep in my room, we started him out with his bed next to mine and slowly moving his bed towards the hallway. The first few weeks he seemed very comfortable with this and settled without any fuss.

But when the whining started, it first started at night. So when I started getting ready for bed it would start. And instead of settling he started whining, crying, panting and shivering and running in and out of my room and I could hear him running all over the living room downstairs. The days afterward he started showing these distress signs after we had been for our evening walk but then he started doing this during the day as well. And now he keeps us from our sleep, he usually goes on with the whining and crying for about an hour or so.

So if I work from home and come back from our noon walk, he would show these fear related signs. But when I work at the office and take him with me, he doesn't! Which makes me think it has something to do with the house, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. He doesn't seem scared of any of the appliances (except that he doesn't like it when I vacuum) nor any of the rooms..
 

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I can't help but wonder if something didn't scare him at night, and because you'd moved his bed away from yours he couldn't seek reassurance from you in the moment. Subsequent, you might have seen fear of going to bed, which has escalated to fear of being alone. The stress hormone, cortisol, has an additive effect with each new reaction, which could explain the escalation.

I'd probably be trying to de-escalate the reaction - possibly by moving his bed nearer to yours again for the night, and sitting with him quietly to reassure him by your presence when he's whining. If you're familiar with it, the T-touch zone on the top of the head and around the ears is particularly good for encouraging relaxation.
 

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I have no way of helping you find what’s scaring him. But if it continues talk to your vet about anxiety medication. Some dogs are just not meant to live in this world and meds help them cope, especially for rescues. It should definitely not be a last resort if your baby is suffering but, again, talk to your vet.
If he’s new to your place that could also cause some anxiety.. good luck and thank you for rescuing him. Try stuffing and freezing some Toppls for him and putting them in “his” place. They might relieve stress and tire him out. I’ve heard Toppls are easier than Kongs
 
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