anxiety in rescue dog
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Thread: anxiety in rescue dog

  1. #1
    Member laurelsmom's Avatar
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    anxiety in rescue dog

    Chocolate's anxiety is steadily improving but it still needs to be addressed. She was very good at the conventional vet's, but when I came back to drop off her stool sample she....um....provided a fresher sample on the floor, shall we politely say.

    The conventional vet is willing to prescribe meds but I feel that it would be overkill and so does my trainer. Her issues do need to be addressed but she is still very young, loving, and adaptable. Nobody knows for sure what happened to her, but she was definitely abused if not intentionally. She has severe separation anxiety and littermate syndrome, is leash reactive, and may never be perceived as a "nice doggie" by the general public.

    But she still brings me and my other dog so much joy and love that I could never regret adopting her or do anything less than the best i can to help her with her issues. She absolutely does not have worms so the vet thinks that her stomach issues are also caused by her anxiety.

    She has been with us for about six weeks and has gone from not letting me come near her to a cuddlebug velcro dog who follows me into the bathroom. I was told that she should never be left completely alone and needed at least another pet in the house, but it is time to start separating her from Laurel for brief training sessions and walks. Both of them need that. Chocolate does very well in Obedience and seems to take comfort in it.

    I'm not 100% anti-medication, just looking for gentle suggestions on how to make her life easier and slowly improve her socialization. She needs and loves off-leash hiking but we get in vicious circles where her recall and general demeanor improves until we run into a dog-hater who threatens her and makes her even more protective ("aggressive" is the wrong word, since she has never bitten anyone and only weighs 9 lbs) than before I started working on this issue.

    Right now I'm kind of on her side as far as wanting to just avoid humans on our daily hikes, lol. Too bad there aren't any trails around here where humans aren't allowed unless they are on leash or under voice control.

    Thank you in advance.
    Yes, they're all mine, yes, I know what causes this, and if you think my hands are full, you should see my heart:

    Laurel the Wonder Dog, born on or about 9/1/18: micro-mutt, li'l yaller dawg, or "All-American".
    Chocolate (Blue Skies O' The Mountains), born 10/4/18: cute little mutt with anxiety issues and talent in Obedience class
    Dark Skies O' The Mountains, C.D., Shetland Sheepdog, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on or about 1986ish
    and the new furbaby, Willow the #AdventureKitty, 7/?/19

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Jen2010's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety in rescue dog

    Sorry you're going through this. She's lucky to have you.

    I found this booklet a huge help with my dog's fearfulness. https://www.amazon.ca/Cautious-Canin...s%2C208&sr=8-1

    I tries to help the reader understand the dog's behaviour and that is key to be able to help imo. It's a good place to start anyway.
    <a href=http://s876.photobucket.com/user/jenelleswitzer/media/Tellier%20-%20Dogs_zpsidzysuwq.jpg.html target=_blank><img src=http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab325/jenelleswitzer/Tellier%20-%20Dogs_zpsidzysuwq.jpg border=0 alt= /></a>
    Kane & Pepper

  4. #3
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety in rescue dog

    Time.............. time spent in a consistent environment... that i how I handle it for animals... once their sense of well being is restored in one environment they do well /better for having more exposure to other stimulus when it happens.. I give it a year of enjoying all the things they enjoy and do well at, while yall are bonding and working on your team skills... Always able to fall back on skills together to handle any real life situation for the future...

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  6. #4
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    Re: anxiety in rescue dog

    It is just as likely that she was never abused as she was abused. The issues you describe or fear based and more likely genetic and not from abuse. Better for all concerned if you realize this. Thinking a dog was abused makes our signals less clear (because we are human and feel bad for the dog and are sympathetic).

    How old is this dog and how far are you hiking? What breed/mostly like breed is the dog?

    If her recall is not 100% then do not take her off leash hiking. If she is defensive around people and dogs (so appears nasty) then it is up to you to keep her back far enough that she does not react (there is instructive information on this forum for reactive dogs). If she is both defensive and nasty around other dogs and people and off leash.. the people you encounter aren't going to like that very much regardless of her size.

    Yes she needs to be separated from the other dog for training and, sometimes, for walks. They should also be crated separately from time to time.

  7. #5
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    Re: anxiety in rescue dog

    Try some simple training skills. For instance, off-leash recall with a whistle.

    I started in my home with Shadow on leash, I'd blow the whistle, when he would respond....treat. Soon, he started coming to me after whistle....treat. Then, off-leash just lounging around I'd blow the whistle.....he would come to me.....treat. We worked up the distance of off-leash. Now, he is to a point where he can be out of my line of sight over 100 m separate, whistle blow......here he comes flying as fast as his legs will allow......treat. This should build confidence in both the dog and you for off-leash call back. I use a bobby whistle, because I can't whistle for any amount of money. I also don't want to be yelling his name trying out volume traffic horns or other chaos.

    Fear could be from lack of socialization. Take the dog to a park or some unfamiliar environment. Sit on a bench, curb....with the dog on leash, keep him close to you. Allow the world to go by. Watch the dog intently for reaction.....never reward for excitement, only reward for calm, relax.... Shadow is able to handle any environment we encounter without adverse reaction. It all started with the socialization. Take little steps, reward for calm behavior, ignore on the excitement.

    Training seems to be more focused after an exercise like a walk. This is also a training time to learn how to behave on leash. When he begins to pull....just stop or change direction. Keep the leash short, about 2-3 feet is enough. Again, treat for proper response, never punish for poor response. The dog will learn.....may take a few repetitions and test your patience.

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