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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi. I have a otherwise lovely 1 year old female longhaired regular dachshund named Freyja that has a little issue with people she doesn't know. She was not socialised properly when she was a puppy and now I am dealing with the consequences.

She will bark at someone as soon as she sees them. It doesn't matter if we are home, outside or indoor somewhere else, she will start barking loud and long at them as soon as she sees them. She will also try to charge at them whithout seeming to be agressive, but as soon as she gets close she will stop and move away again. It's like she want's to scare them away without attacking them. She seems confident with her tail up if the person is far enough away, say 10-15 yards, but when she get's up close she tucks her tail beteeen her legs but wags it at the same time. I have tried all the advise I have received so far. At first I did the thing one should not do, yank her leash and yell at her, which did not work, then I started to ignore it, which did not work, then I started to try to catch her attention when we met people, which did not work because nothing I say, yell or do with or without treats gets her attention once she has started.

The last thing I tried was joining an amateur dog training group in my area that consists of people with problem dogs working together and pooling their knowledge to help each other. Helped greatly in boosting her confidence and made her bark at people more, louder and longer. The advise the group leader keeps giving me is to move away from the person or object she barks at, but how am I suposed to do that when she barks at anything that moves as soon as she sees it and only stops barking a good minute after she can't ses it anymore. Doesn't matter if it is 1 yard, 10 yards or 100 yards away. If she can see it, she barks. I have a suspicion that as long as the person is far enough away that she is not intimidated by them, she things barking at them is fun.

When I am with the group and their dogs she barks at everyone for 20 minues straight before seeming to understand the futility in it and grudgingly accepting them and only barking if any of them tries to interact with her. She will also bark at anyone we meet that isn't part of the original group.

She has more or less the same reaction with other dogs we meet on walks, only ten times worse. And she seems genuinely scared of them. Doesn't matter how big or small it is. The other day she stood cowering and shaking in a corner while barking at the neighbors chihuahua.

Does anyone have any sugestions on what I can try?
 

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These behaviors are the classic signs of weak nerve and no confidence. The behavior is genetic. Socializing might have helped, but I would bet not a lot.

She is a small dog and she is AFRAID. Her behavior is fight or flight. She goes forward because she cannot run away (leash and you won't let her). So that leaves her with only one option: Looking as scary as possible and maybe THEY will leave. When they don't, she tucks her tail and tries to appear submissive so they won't hurt her. If the threat continues forward, most of these dogs will pee (submissive pee or loss of bladder control).

So, you need to help her. You can read up here about leash reactivity and some of those things will help. What I find helps a dog like this even more is to CLEARLY convey that YOU are in charge, YOU will take care of the situation. That is YOUR job and not your dog's job.

So, the question then is how to convey that she is NOT in charge.
First and foremost, put yourself between her and the threat. If she tries to get past you, turn and face her and quickly step into her personal space so she looks up at you. I also suggest you say something like "Not your problem!" Then, turn and face the "threat" and maneuver to stay between your dog and the threat.

I would also work on an obedience cue and classically condition that cue ad nauseum. You have a short legged dog, so Down (lie down) or Platz is what you teach because it is easy and reward this heavily. You teach her that to lie down is safe. Always. It is rewarded. It is the default to go to when worried or scared.

Eventually your goal is to be able to have your dog lie down and pay attention to YOU when there is a threat and allowing the threat to pass by with you between the dog and the threat.

Great food and focus work is also your friend.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
These behaviors are the classic signs of weak nerve and no confidence. The behavior is genetic. Socializing might have helped, but I would bet not a lot.

She is a small dog and she is AFRAID. Her behavior is fight or flight. She goes forward because she cannot run away (leash and you won't let her). So that leaves her with only one option: Looking as scary as possible and maybe THEY will leave. When they don't, she tucks her tail and tries to appear submissive so they won't hurt her. If the threat continues forward, most of these dogs will pee (submissive pee or loss of bladder control).

So, you need to help her. You can read up here about leash reactivity and some of those things will help. What I find helps a dog like this even more is to CLEARLY convey that YOU are in charge, YOU will take care of the situation. That is YOUR job and not your dog's job.

So, the question then is how to convey that she is NOT in charge.
First and foremost, put yourself between her and the threat. If she tries to get past you, turn and face her and quickly step into her personal space so she looks up at you. I also suggest you say something like "Not your problem!" Then, turn and face the "threat" and maneuver to stay between your dog and the threat.

I would also work on an obedience cue and classically condition that cue ad nauseum. You have a short legged dog, so Down (lie down) or Platz is what you teach because it is easy and reward this heavily. You teach her that to lie down is safe. Always. It is rewarded. It is the default to go to when worried or scared.

Eventually your goal is to be able to have your dog lie down and pay attention to YOU when there is a threat and allowing the threat to pass by with you between the dog and the threat.

Great food and focus work is also your friend.

Good luck.
Thanks, this makes great sense to me and I will start trying to train both her and me in the things you mentioned right away.

You are also right about her peeing when it happens. This also happens when she greets someone she loves. She also cannot stay home alone for even 10 minutes before she starts howling and barking and keeps it up for hours. I am currently taking her with me to work where she stays in my car with food and water and a small heater. She seems to be calmer in there, but she stays there for 8 hours every day with only short bathroom breaks. She must get so bored, which I am sure does not help the situation.
 

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Have you tried a crate at home with a cover over it so it is dark and she cannot see out? That is sort of what the car is. What is going to happen when the weather gets hot??

A solid (plastic or other material that is solid and not wires) crate like that can be a haven and a den for a scared dog. You might also try leaving her with a kong stuffed with low fat plain yogurt (that you freeze over night) and give her that in the crate.

Good luck!!
 

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You might want to talk to your vet about anxiety meds. It is not the be all end all, but if your dog is truly panicking at every living thing that moves by and is being set off multiple times every day... Life sounds pretty difficult for her. Meds might help put her in a better state to train.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Have you tried a crate at home with a cover over it so it is dark and she cannot see out? That is sort of what the car is. What is going to happen when the weather gets hot??

A solid (plastic or other material that is solid and not wires) crate like that can be a haven and a den for a scared dog. You might also try leaving her with a kong stuffed with low fat plain yogurt (that you freeze over night) and give her that in the crate.

Good luck!!
I tried the crate when she was a puppy and and according to the neighbours she cried and barked constantly in there too. The crate was covered on three sides and the top, so she could see out the front of it. I only tried it for 2-3 hours at a time. I also feel so bad for leaving her in it for another 8-9 hours after she just spent 6-8 hours in it at night with just a short walk in between. At least in the car she can move around a bit and I can give her bathroom breaks.

When the weather gets hot I have the opportunity to leave her at my dads farm.She has an outside dog pen there whith her own doghouse and everything. But my goal is for her to be able to be home alone when I am at work or other places. As it is now my girlfriend and I cannot go out to movies and dates because of her and that really hurts. It has started to create some resentment towards the dog at times.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You might want to talk to your vet about anxiety meds. It is not the be all end all, but if your dog is truly panicking at every living thing that moves by and is being set off multiple times every day... Life sounds pretty difficult for her. Meds might help put her in a better state to train.
I have thought about it and might do that eventually. I just thought it was a bit of an extreme move.
 

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I tried the crate when she was a puppy and and according to the neighbours she cried and barked constantly in there too. The crate was covered on three sides and the top, so she could see out the front of it. I only tried it for 2-3 hours at a time. I also feel so bad for leaving her in it for another 8-9 hours after she just spent 6-8 hours in it at night with just a short walk in between. At least in the car she can move around a bit and I can give her bathroom breaks.

When the weather gets hot I have the opportunity to leave her at my dads farm.She has an outside dog pen there whith her own doghouse and everything. But my goal is for her to be able to be home alone when I am at work or other places. As it is now my girlfriend and I cannot go out to movies and dates because of her and that really hurts. It has started to create some resentment towards the dog at times.
Let me tell you this. Most people have to go to work. I find a lot of people here on this forum either can take the dog with them OR work form home etc. The reality is that MOST people have to get up in the morning, get ready for work and LEAVE for the day. That would be me. That would be you.

I have German Shepherd dogs. Not only do I have this breed, I have working lines. These are dogs that WANT activity and have drive and.. well a lot of energy.

I also work.

At night they are crated. During the day the can sometimes also be crated. Exactly as you describe. It means I have to get off my fanny as soon as I get home and get dogs out and work dogs.. but that is what I do. I cannot take them out and run them for several miles either. So I train and make them think. Twenty minutes of brain work and they are more than happy to stop (usually). I am lucky in that I have my own house and no one really close by. I have a beautiful clean dry basement and I have full size dog kennels set up down there so in winter during they day that is where they are. I also have outside kennels with dog houses for days in nice weather. However, I have crated my dogs as you describe with no issues.

When I lived in my other house (further from work) I had to crate them for 11 hours a day (I hated this yet the dogs seemed fine!).

You need to revisit leaving this dog in a crate in the house by herself. Get a raw meaty bone. Get a Kong like I suggested and fill it with something really good and freeze it. Get her used to being in that crate with those rewards when you are around (but go in and out) and have the crate in a room that you are not in all the time. You are going to have to do the work. The longer you put this off, the worse it will be when the day comes and you HAVE to leave her crated.

NEVER let her out of the crate if she is screaming. Never.

At this point, for the crate thing, I would not hesitate to try some medication to take the edge off (and still use the raw meaty bone and the kong). The object is to show her and help her understand that "alone time" is good because no one is going to bother her and she is going to have something really good.

I love my dogs, and due to the responsibility of their care I DO schedule my life around them. HOWEVER, they do not rule my life. Your dog is ruling your life if you cannot go out on date night or to the movies and this needs to be remedied.
 

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3GSD has given you good advice, generally, although I would disagree with teaching the down as a default behaviour for when she's scared or worried. Down is a very submissive posture, and as such it will leave the dog feeling vulnerable. Honestly, I doubt that you will even be able to get your dog to down, much less to sustain a down during situations where reactivity / excitement / barking are likely to occur. I would suggest working on reactivity by following basic LAT protocols like those presented in this video by Donna Hill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdraNF2hcgA Note how the dog is free to stand or sit etc at will. No behaviour or position is expected other than simply looking at the distraction, and not reacting.

I also feel that leaving your dog completely unattended in the car is doing little but exacerbating the reactivity problem. She is absolutely free to practice / rehearse the unwanted behaviour, at length, with nobody there to guide her towards the correct, calm behaviour. She may see people approaching, begin to react, the people inadvertently walk on past, the dog feels it's "mission accomplished" - she's scared them away, and the cycle repeats itself many many times throughout the course of the day. In other words it's unimpeded and it quickly becomes extremely reinforcing. Training towards being crated, at home, is definitely a large part of the solution.
 

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The last thing I tried was joining an amateur dog training group in my area that consists of people with problem dogs working together and pooling their knowledge to help each other. Helped greatly in boosting her confidence and made her bark at people more, louder and longer.
A clear case of an amateur with "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing". Instead, I would strongly suggest that you enlist the assistance of a professional trainer or behaviourist.
 

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Two things:

1-) Read this thread: http://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/422457-medicating-molly.html

And also ask yourself why you consider medication a fairly extreme move? Honestly, medication as a last resort is a concept that bothers me. If the dog is unhappy and you can't change that pretty fast with training, it's time to use meds. Don't wait until it's super bad - or even until you've thrown everything else at the dog you can think of and the only alternative is euthanizing. Medication's not expensive, it's not really dangerous, it doesn't sedate the dog, you MAY need to play with medications and types to find what works which can take time, and when it works it makes an enormous difference in the dog's quality of life. When there's a real issue, like this, waiting until meds are a last resort to me makes about as much sense as waiting until the dog with diabetes is nearly dead to give it insulin. Don't let the situation get worse and dog suffer because there's a stigma to that drug class.

2-) PetPeeve is right about positions. I actually use down as a sort of 'mental health check' for my BC (ie: Molly from the thread). If she can do a down, she's comfortable. If she can do a roll over she's INCREDIBLY comfortable. Her lying down when she's anxious as heck is just not going to happen and it's not fair to force it. Sit works, or standing between my legs.
 

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Sam is leash reactive for the opposite reason as your girl (he wants to get closer to the other dogs, she wants space. He reacts out of frustrations, she's fearful), but a lot of leash reactivity protocol is the same regardless of the root cause of the behavior. I highly recommend Dr. Patricia McConnell's Feisty Fido book - it can be downloaded as an e-book I believe, but even as a hard copy it's quite cheap. It's a quick read, and contains a lot of the same information that I've picked up over the years about dealing with reactivity, but it presents it in a very compact, easily understandable way with clear instruction and explanations. We've started working on the protocol in the book, and it's made me realize that I've made a lot of (common, understandable) novice mistakes in the past.

My biggest one - and it sounds like you might have this issue too - is I previously have not taught and proofed the alternative behavior (looking at me instead of fixating on the other dog) to the point where Sam's truly fluent (ie understands the command and can perform it quickly and enthusiastically under a wide array of circumstances, working up slowly from no distractions to high distraction) before expecting him to be able to do it when a boxer pops out from a side street a meter in front of us. I've realized it's not fair and reasonable to expect to be able to gain his attention in a super exciting or stressful situation if I haven't given him that training foundation of giving me attention being Very Rewarding and also so well-practiced it almost becomes automatic instead of something he has to think about and process. Dogs can't think and process when they're in that reactive state, just like most of us can't do math problems while in the middle of a really intense football match.

Sorry, rambling a bit. But I seriously recommend finding that book, because it's the next best thing to having an experienced, reinforcement-based professional trainer working with you.

ETA: Listen to your dog. If she doesn't want to be near another person or dog, don't force her to be. Tell people she needs space, don't let strangers pet her or hover over her, leave crowded situations or offer her a 'safe' alternative (ie if you have guests and she doesn't want to be around them, let her stay in another room away from the action). I honestly believe one of the best things a person can do for the confidence of a fearful dog is teach them that their fears are respected and you will get them out of "scary" situations, even if they don't seem scary to you. That may mean stop going to the novice support group, at least for now, until she can at least be in the same area as the other dogs/people without displaying as much distress as she is now.
 

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Just to clarify: I would not require a down (or sit.. but this is a Doxie and it is hard for them to sit and hard for you to know if they are sitting or down) AT FIRST in a exciting situation. You work UP to this.

The ultimate outcome is the dog is focused on you and doing a job (down or sit is a job) when something that excites or scares her comes by. Focus is absolutely key and I apologize if I was not clear on that. I actually use Sit and focus with my dogs (and they won't sit if they are not focused) not down or I use "basic" position (basic = dog sitting next to me in heel position and looking up at a focus spot) as the 'safe' place.

The point is to practice some default job that you ask the dog to do and you proof it and practice it everywhere with no fear raising distractions so the dog recognizes that behavior is "safe." As the dog gains experience defaulting to this "safe" place, she should be less worried by distractions
 
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