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Hi! I have a 5 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback male. He was not raised with children and is a retired AKC champion showdog. When I purchased him from the breeder I explained our lifestyle ( we travel a lot in the summer and take our dogs with us) plus we have 4 kids. We are very active and on the go. She said he would be a perfect dog for us and our family. I had him driven up from Florida to Montana. The driver said he was a bit anxious in the vehicle and a really hard dog to figure out. When he got home, we welcomed him and walked him through our home. I kept the kids at bay so he could adjust. Right away I noted his anxiety but really chalked it up to a new home. Him and our other dog hit it off right away, no problems at all. He's a very sweet dog, but even after 5 months, his anxiety is through the roof and it is all directed at my children, but mostly my 16 year old. He growls at him when he gets home from school or walks in a room and paces, won't be on the same floor of the house and even gets so anxious his anal glands are expressing. ( I think thats what it is, it's a horrible smell).He also growls at the small kids but not every time like when my son walks into the room. He won't eat if my son is upstairs. We have another dog who is blind and my son cares for 100%. My son is patient and kind, doesn't yell and is over all a very gentle person . I have discussed this with our vet who is recommending anxiety meds. We have taken all of her advice, have my son feed him, have him give treats with no eye contact, take him for walks, ect. The dog won't eat if my son brings the food, will not accept treats from him, even if he places them on the floor, and is so terrified to be by him, that a walk is out of the question. The breeder said he has never presented as anxious except in the car. Didn't tell me that until after we got him. When I take him in the vehicle to the vet, he has his blanket and his spot. He gets so anxious that he pants and drools everywhere. Last time I had to have the air in stomach let out because he bloated from anxiety and the car ride.
My question is, is it possible this is just not a good fit for him? I feel so badly that he is so anxious and I don't even know how we are going to go on our summer road trips. I don't like drugging a dog to make him fit into our lifestyle either. It's hard to ask this as our only other dog we've had since she was 8 weeks. We spend $180 a month on her allergy meds and love her old blind self(she's 11 now). It's not that we give up easily, but I feel he's miserable and it makes it miserable for everyone. Would this be a circumstance to send him back to the breeder?
 

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It's odd that he would respond to one of your kids like this but not the others.....

From your description you seem to have tried the obvious stuff already and you've done what I would have tried.

Two things come to mind. First, you come across in your post as someone with a lot of drive and/or a person who tries to "force" things. To my mind, the dog could be responding like this because he's feeding on your nervous energy. The fact that you're paying $180 per month on drugs for your other dog is also a red-flag to me. Asking the dog to be "perfect" because you are a "perfectionist" (my reading -- I could be wrong) could be causing the dog to be stressed.

I also have a dog that was initially shy and anxious and we managed to deal with that by ignoring him a lot of the time and allowing him to just be a dog. In our case we also bought the dog a bed and a crate so he could withdraw into a "safe space". He does this often. The point here is that if you run around after your dog giving him commands the whole time then you can and will stress the dog out. I don't know if this is what you're doing but from your post I get the impression that your dog could do with being "ignored" more.

The other thing that you might want to try is to get the dog to sleep in the same room as your 16 year old. Dogs are pack animals and sleep time is bonding time. If your dog and your son sleep in the same room then there is a good chance that the dog will warm up to him. This is one thing that you haven't tried that I would still recommend.

In any case, good luck. Dogs with anxiety issues can be a real challenge and I think your dog is lucky to be living in a family that sees it and will do whatever it takes to help him get over it.
 

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Thank you for your response! This really has been a challenge. I need to reread my post because i believe it maybe misleading. I am far from a perfectionist. ? I'll further explain. Our other dog is on medications for autoimmune issues. Without them, she breaks out in hives and scratches herself bloody. It really is for her health and happiness. I think a lot of people woukd have have put down a dog with her severe issues, but we are in it for the long haul. Our dogs are part of our family, but they are still dogs. They are not followed around, are honestly, not the spot light of our home. They are loved and cared for but do spend the day just being dogs. I did get him a kennel and his own bed. He spent a lot of time in it at first but only wants in it at night, where he prefers to sleep. Otherwise, he can be found in the living room on his other bed. We tried to have him sleep in my son's room but he became so anxious that shook and whined for hours. His pupils were huge and he was drooling everywhere. Just terrified. We tried again and with the same results. It's like someone who resembled our son did something to him before we got him. I have to figure this out because the poor dog can't live like this. I feel it's not fair to medicate a dog because we want him to fit into our home when he didn't have this anxiety before, or I should say, it wasn't this bad. I don't like feeling like I'm giving up though. I made an appointment with the vet this week so I'll talk with him more about it too.

Thank you so much!
 
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