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Hi all,

First of all, nice to be here. This is my first post.

We just adopted a small Terrier mix from the local Animal Shelter. It turned out he is a very reactive dog and barking when he hears a little sound somewhere (off leash). On leash he is pulling like crazy and barking at everyone and everything.

We have a dog trainer, homework and we will also get some training classes with him. This might take some months but we really want to work on it.

My problem right now is that it really drives me crazy taking care of him since it's not really possible to walk him outside (only short walks) and he is always running around inside and when he hears something he is barking. I already tried calming music and giving him something to do inside.

Do you have any tipps? Or is your dog doing this as well and you can share your story with me?

I'm exhausted and it's just a week.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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First of all welcome to the forum and congrats on your new dog.

Terriers can be very energetic little dogs and need a good outlet, him not getting many walks will make his reactivity worse since he has all of this pent up energy. I would invest in/make a flirt pole, they are great for burning off extra energy and some of my dog walking clients that are JRTs and terrier mixes love chasing it.

I'd also suggest little training sessions throughout the day, can use a mixture of his kibble and some treats, working on general obedience. This'll make it easier for you not only to build a bond with the dog but hopefully help in getting him to respond to you. Start teaching LAT look at that' and watch me, both from what I gather from this forum are imperative for dealing with reactive dogs.

Also what methods is the trainer using?
 

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Well done for adopting a homeless dog:)
What's his name and how long have you had him for?

It can take a while for dogs to adjust to a new home and to be able calm down and relax. When they are stressed and barking a lot, their brain becomes flooded with hormones and chemicals ( a head rush). It can several days for the effect of the hormones to wear off just from one incident so your dog is still in a reactive state when he hears another sound.

Do you have a yard? You could do agility with him , you can make or buy cheap equipment.
Get him to follow a scent .

Indoors or outdoors, you can play find the treat and hide treats for him to seek . take them out of his food allowance.

Check his food doesn't have additives and colourants, they can cause hyperactivity.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you! We don't have a yard but I try to give him something to do every day, like a Kong toy or following me (heel) for treats. We also practice sit and stay while I'm holding a treat and he is not allowed to jump. That already works pretty well inside, but outside he is not listening.

Yeah, it's been just a week. So I guess I also have to give it more time. The funny thing is every time I think about finding him a new home because it's all too much to handle I look at him and think it would be the worst thing for him and that's something I really don't want.

So most of all I believe I have to work on myself. I want to show him that I am calm then it will be easier for him to be calm as well I guess.

The trainer suggested high value treats such as chicken. I try to feed him treats in the moment when he hears a sound and before he starts barking. I have the feeling he slowly starts sleeping more and run around less (I hope that lasts). The trainer also suggested an Easy Walk harness for outside. He slipped out of it though in the house yesterday so I have to try to fit it better.

We will also start training classes with a few other dogs and people in two weeks and also the trainer will visit us again at home.

When outside we now started to hide behind cars, trees, make turns and throw treats so he doesn't see people and dogs.

The flirt pole looks great but I think that does not work on leash.

I will try 'look at that' and 'watch me' since I already found out that I have to make him focus more on me.

Thank you! :)
 

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Oh Tonka ! I could have guessed that, :D It's a nice name for a terrier.

Both my small dogs can be reactive to other dogs due to other dogs attacking them. They have both improved using the techniques your trainer has advised so don't give up .
Keep up the training indoors, it needs to be really reinforced so that it becomes a habit and he will respond to it outside.

Have you thought about using a clicker? You can use it for general training and also use it for click and treat before your dog reacts to other dogs.
Maybe you could suggest it to your trainer .
 

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Classical conditioning is a good method for helping reactive dogs. Operant conditioning (clicker training) is good for training a behavior. I'd go with CC to change the emotional response to his triggers. He's very much still getting settled with you. Takes time for a dog to adjust to new surroundings and stimuli.

This is a good article. Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

Care for Reactive Dogs
 

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Grabby- I just read the article "Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog" and wow, did it ever speak to me! Then I read through the comments and felt even more assured knowing that this beginning stages of dog ownership and the feelings I have been experiencing that come with it will pass in time!

Thank you so much for sharing!
 

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I like the articles too. I have Feisty Fido ( help for the leash reactive dog )by Patricia McConnell ans some other of her books.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It's now just a little bit more than a week and I spent all day going through all the details, options and my health situation. It breaks my heart, I feel terrible and it's of course my fault but I decided today that I cannot keep Tonka.

He is the sweetest little boy sometimes and I know I would have to give it time. I am able to pay for a dog trainer, training classes and I would want to invest as much of my time as it takes to make it better. But this is something I cannot do because it stresses me so much.

I don't know if anyone here already had to give up an adopted dog. It's awful and really not how this was supposed to end. I now want to find a way to either find him a new home (this might take too much time) or if we bring him back to the shelter I want to donate all his stuff to the shelter and sponsor his adoption fee for the next adopter and try to provide as much information about him as possible.

He deserved better than being unhappy with us.
 

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I'm sorry to hear this. I understand how overwhelming it is especially when it affects your health. :huddle:
I've not handed back a dog to a rescue but I have fostered dogs and felt bereft and cried when they left.

You've obviously given this a lot of thought . I'm not trying to influence your decision, I just want to say that he's not unhappy at being with you, he's just generally stressed. He would be like this with anyone.
 

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I'm sorry you feel so stressed out with your new dog.
We are going into week 2 with our dog- and she is also a reactive dog- particularly to other dogs. It is a lot to handle, but I have told myself I have to give it at least a month for her to settle and adjust before making a decision to re-home her. Not trying to influence you or change your mind, but why not give it a bit more time? How many training sessions have you done?
 

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When you have a dog with severe problems, two or three weeks feels like an eternity and it seems like you barely make any progress and you're exhausted and feel a failure. You have to focus on what you have achieved in that time , however small and pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you are a good mum to your dog .

I adopted Judy, a JRT x in the late 80s , she'd been shut in a shed and starved. I was clueless then there wasn't all the behaviour information available . After 6 weeks , I was ready to rehome and had actually found her a home but changed my mind at the last minute. I'm glad I did because she turned out well and she became my rock for 15 years .
She set me on the road to learn more about behaviour and training and that has helped me with the dogs I have now.
But, if I were in that situation now, at my age, and didnt have the experience or knowledge , I probably would have let her go because I wouldnt be able to cope and the stress would make me ill.

I think anybody in this situation, has to do what is best for them and best for their dog. Sometimes, even though you have tried , it doesn't work out and you shouldn't feel bad about rehoming or returning a dog to a rescue.
 
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