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Discussion Starter #1
We just moved to a new home in a new town and brought our 4 yr old Giant Schnauzer with us. In our old town, he had 4 different woman who would come each week (on different days) to walk him around our neighbor hood, and he would also go to daycare 1-2 times a week, plus he spends a few hours at another daycare where we vacation. We took him for a meet and greet at a new daycare, in the new town, a few weeks before the move and he did very well. They were impressed with how "sweet" he was and how he fit into their pack almost immediately. I brought him to the new daycare 2 days after the move and he was fine, no issues. The next time I took him, he pinned a dog and was snapping/trying to get his teeth on other dogs uncontrollably, without being provoked. Then when the new dog walker came to visit with him before their first outing, he wouldn't let the man in the house. He always barks at the door, but always calms once I introduce them and show him that they are welcome, but this time he was being so aggressive I had to crate him to let the man out of the house.

I am sure that moving is the main reason for this extreme change in behavior, we have only been in our house about a week and a half. Does any one have any ideas for how I can help him with the adjustment? Or how I can go about introducing him to these new walkers and packs? I need to be able to find care for him, but if we can't get him to stop, no one will want to work with him or have him at their facility. I am at a loss.
 

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I don't have a lot of advice to offer I'm afraid but have you heard of trigger stacking? It's where,a number of little stress triggers mount up, and up, and up with no decompression time. So if you can imagine the stress hormone cortisol like a tap dripping into a bathtub faster than it runs away, eventually it overflows. That final stress trigger, on a good day with an empty stress tank, wouldn't have bothered him but on top of all the other triggers, it's enough to push him over the edge of his tolerance levels.

Can you have about 3 quiet days of doing nothing to allow his stress tank to drain back to empty, then maybe reintroduce one thing at a time - like one dog walker only; and let him get really comfortable with that person. Then after a few weeks of that, introduce a second thing like a second walker, and so on?
 

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How long do you need to leave him for each day, and how OK is he with being left?

Would dog daycare be prepared to take him, but not to let him get into a situation where he could pick on another dog? How did he get on with the people there - is there a risk he could bite them?

Is he muzzle trained? As a general rule, you shouldn't be putting your dog in a position where he might bite someone, but if his stress levels are high, then he might seem fine with a new person but suddenly be pushed over the edge and bite them - a muzzle can help that person be calm around him.

You can get calming supplements and pheromones - Adaptil is worth a look. They're not guaranteed to be effective, but could be worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't have a lot of advice to offer I'm afraid but have you heard of trigger stacking? It's where,a number of little stress triggers mount up, and up, and up with no decompression time. So if you can imagine the stress hormone cortisol like a tap dripping into a bathtub faster than it runs away, eventually it overflows. That final stress trigger, on a good day with an empty stress tank, wouldn't have bothered him but on top of all the other triggers, it's enough to push him over the edge of his tolerance levels.

Can you have about 3 quiet days of doing nothing to allow his stress tank to drain back to empty, then maybe reintroduce one thing at a time - like one dog walker only; and let him get really comfortable with that person. Then after a few weeks of that, introduce a second thing like a second walker, and so on?

His calm days are usually at home and the dog walker would come around lunch time for 30-60 minutes (only one came at a time, just a rotating group depending on the day of the week). He usually went to daycare to get him out of the house and more exercise. I don't have the ability to work from home to stay with him for the day and have long hours that would leave him alone for 10 hours which is way too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How long do you need to leave him for each day, and how OK is he with being left?

Would dog daycare be prepared to take him, but not to let him get into a situation where he could pick on another dog? How did he get on with the people there - is there a risk he could bite them?

Is he muzzle trained? As a general rule, you shouldn't be putting your dog in a position where he might bite someone, but if his stress levels are high, then he might seem fine with a new person but suddenly be pushed over the edge and bite them - a muzzle can help that person be calm around him.

You can get calming supplements and pheromones - Adaptil is worth a look. They're not guaranteed to be effective, but could be worth a try.
He is fine being left, but I work 10 hour days and don't want to make him have to wait to even use the bathroom for 10 hours. He was great with the people at daycare, and the dogs, but out of the blue had this aggressive incident.

We have never used a muzzle, as we have never had a reason to. He went to a daycare and training that specializes in police dog training and they never saw any reason for him to be muzzled.

Are the supplements something that I could purchase at a pet store or vet?
 

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I may be misunderstanding your timeline.

Before the move, he had a daycare visit which went fine - understandable as you hadn't moved at that stage, so he wasn't stressed.

Then you moved (stressfull) and 2 days later (so still with stress hormone in his system) he went to the daycare again and the pinning incident occurred - apparently unprovoked but canine body language is subtle, I would bet money that something happened. Either way, that's another stressful incident.

Then (and I'm not clear of the timescale between the daycare and this) a new dog walker is introduced - another stress trigger.

So I'm not sure I am clear on when his calm days have been?

Sorry if I am being obtuse, I'm just trying to understand the timeline.
 

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My apologies, I thought you were asking if I could give him some calm days. I do still need to meet with the owner of the new daycare to go over the tape of the incident, she wants to make sure I know exactly what happened, she is just as baffled as I am.

Timeline is this:

Before the Move - New Daycare visit, all good.
Moved.
2 days later (Thurs) - New Daycare, all good.
Fri, Sat, Sun - Days at new home with a family member
Mon - New Daycare, all good
Tues - New Daycare, pinning incident.
Wed - Old daycare (no other choice for him until review at new daycare), all good; Afternoon New dog walker intro, aggresive behavior
 

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You should be able to get the diffusor at a pet store, and they will also have various 'natural' calming supplements - scullcap & valerian is often used. It's difficult to know how effective they are, though.

Sorry if I sounded as if I was suggesting he already should be muzzle trained - I was just wondering if it might be part of the answer in the future. But if he's not accustomed to one, then putting one on him now is just going to add to his stressors. It's good that the owner at the new daycare wants to go over the tape with you - so many would have simply expelled your dog.

Is it feasible to keep taking him to his old dog day care until he has settled better? Hopefully if you can give him a few stress-free days, maybe having the new dog walker visit as a 'friend' while you're there, you'll see a big change.
 

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No, ou are right; I was asking if you could have several stress free days to bring his stress levels down.

So, in the last 9 days or so, he has had a new daycare (several times), a house move and a new walker. Plus, he is likely picking up on your stress too - moving house, his behaviour etc.

Is keeping him at the old daycare an option?

If not, I'd go forward like this (and like I said at the start, it's only a suggestion, I've not had to deal with a,situation like this so feel free to ignore it) -

From now - three to four days in the garden. No walks, no other visitors - the only new thing in his life is the new house which obviously can't be changed. Do brain games like scent work in the house and garden rather than walks in new places, just let him totally decompress.

Maybe in the middle of next week, introduce one new thing - like one new dog walker. To ease the transition maybe one of the family members can can walk with them too. Give him some time to get used to this new walker, and only when he is ok with this person, then introduce something else - like a second dog walker.

I'd be keeping him out of daycare for now as it's got the potential to be such a busy, intense environment depending on the set up. Does he have an area to be quiet and alone there? I'd want to know that was available before even thinking of letting him back.

Also, dogs normally do anything to avoid a confrontation. Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. So look out for eye contact and stiffening in that video - from either dog.
 
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