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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Spitzer Spaniel, Rocket, flipped from desperate for walks to not interested overnight. From 4 walks to Nothing - overnight. It's got me concerned. Background: My wife passed away 7 months ago; for the first month he was rather apprehensive of me. "What did you do with Momma?" Then things changed and he became walk obsessed.

Our last walk was Saturday night. Come Sunday morning he ran into the backyard as soon as he saw the leash.
He comes to me for food bits and treats. He will sit next to me when I am in the office chair. He is sometimes skitterish of me for no apparent reason, other than I am standing. I "know" he wants to go for a walk, as he jumps up on the couch (his usual leash-up point), sees the leash and skidaddles.

Rocket is a rescue dog and I am certain he was abused in his youth - he is about 5 years old. Maybe 6. He jumps at loud noises and when a water bottle cracks he panics. I have been painting the interior of the home every weekend for 6 weeks. A trainer advises that his PTSD has re-emerged due to the reduction of my wife's lingering smells - replacing it with paint.

I cannot have this behavior as I need to leash him for trips to the vet, or emergency situations. I don't want to run after him and tackle him just to leash him up.

Advice welcomed. - And necessary.
 

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Firstly condolances on your loss. This cant be an easy time for you either and dogs do pick up on stress.

Have you tried using something of your wifes to calm him? A tshirt or sock a scarf anything that would have her scent. If you wore it (in the case of a scarf ) or held it tucked into belt etc it might make you become more acceptable again you would smell a bit like mum..

I had to leave one of my dogs for 3 weeks while I looked after my grandchildren, he was my velcro dog and a total wreck without me so OH used one of my old tshirts to calm him at bed time and wore my gloves when leashing him so that the dog reacted to the smell on the gloves not my OH.

Some people advise going on familiar walks after a loved one has passed but sometimes that works against you, the dog will then look for the person, or in my case other dog that should be with them on that walk..The two who were left would spend all of the walk time searching and frantically tail wagging at any dog in the distance that looked a bit like their lost companion only to be disappointed time after time.. I found new walks and new adventures distracted my dogs and made them more relaxed on walks after their companion died.

Good luck and do let us know if you find anything that helps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you all for your replies and concern. Answering JoanneF first, when he was on leash he was eager for a walk - excited. Leaving a P-mail every 100 feet. His tail would be up and nose sniffing for every scent. But I cannot get him on leash so that no longer happens.

And to Mad Murphy, there are two pieces of clothing that my wife wore all time - I placed those on the couch - the place where we leash up. He sits on it, but when I enter the room he jumps down. It's as though I am a stranger to him. But when I lay prone on the floor he comes up and acts silly next to me. I can even touch his collar, but if I move too fast - Zoom! - he's outta here.

My son is recommending CBD treats to calm him. Is there any experience in this forum with this medicine?
 

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I believe Mad Murphy has used CBD for one of her dogs so she will be able to advise on that.

For getting him to accept the lead, I have two suggestions, you could try both.

Do you use a clicker? Because this would work well if you do. If you don't, but want to try, please read this first. Behavior Diagnosis

You could put the lead on the floor and if he looks at it, click and reward. If he approaches,click and reward.

Then you hold the lead, if he approaches, click and reward. Very gradually he will learn the lead = reward. Your aim is to create a positive conditioned emotional response (google +CER for more information) to change his perception. This could take some time, don't rush it.

The other thing you could try is to keep a short lead always on him, one without a handle so it can't catch on anything so you can attach a second lead.

Another thought I had though - have you tried a different lead? It's possible even the sound of the clip or similar is triggering this.
 

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@JoanneF is correct Ive used CBD oil for Murphy to help him get over his fear of fireworks and strange people. It takes about 2-3 weeks to see any effect and its a slow gentle one.

Its not a quick fix or a cure all.. We still used traditional training methods alongside the cbd, the oil simply made it easier for him to relax into the training and be receptive to us instead of going directly to flight mode.

There are lots of guides as to how to use it correctly and the dosage , importantly you must use a good brand that is 100% trustworthy because like all fashionable things there are a lot of fakes. Murphy is around 25 kg and 2 drops a day at 2.7% was the recommended dose.

If youre thinking calming products there is also the adaptil range lots of people find them very helpful and you dont actually have to get close enough to give the dog a pill or drops because they even have a plug in! This is the US site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your information. I believe my little guy was shot at during his young years The second there is any clicking sound, or the sound of a water bottle crackling he panics - so the clicker won't work. Regarding the leash - getting a new one is not a bad idea and certainly worth pursuing. But it's not the sound of the clip that gets him - it's seeing the leash. So maybe a new one will work.

I will try the Adaptil solution. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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