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Long time lurker, first time poster who would like some advice. I have a 2.5yr old puppy who is an incredible dog. Happy, friendly, obedient, patient etc. However, a traumatic experience as a wee pup has led him to become deathly afraid of the smell of raw lamb.

I took him outside to eliminate while I was potty-training him at 11 weeks and my neighborhood butcher was unloading lamb carcasses next to us onto a hand-truck by the street. As I was coaxing my little buddy to pee, the delivery guy's hand slipped and the edge of a lamb leg caught him on the side of the head. Physically he was fine, but psychologically he was cut to the bone. Ever since then he has had an unholy fear of the smell of raw lamb.

As soon as he picks up the scent of lamb, he goes into a cower, tail as tight between the legs as he can physically make it go, but instead of pulling away he will insist on smelling around as much as possible and making himself increasingly more afraid until he bolts, or I succeed in leading him away from the offending area.

He's not afraid of the smell of any other raw meat, and is unafraid of the smell of cooked lamb. And aside from deep concern at the sound of approaching skateboards, he has no other fear issues, or problems of any other kind.

This is becoming more and more of a problem, as this reaction can occur almost at anytime. Not just in front of butcher shops or farmer's markets, but literally anywhere because trash is left on the street in piles of trash bags where I live in NY. It has reached a point where even I can pick up the sour twang of raw/rotting lamb from yards away.

A trainer recommended positive reinforcement clicker training, which I have tried, rewarding small approaches toward a piece of lamb placed in his bowl or held. However, I've been working on that for weeks now and have not had a stitch of progress. In fact, he is wary of me for days after I've last held lamb, as if I might rip off my skin and an offending lamb carcass will leap out and beat him over the head.

Anyone have experience with something like this? Any other training ideas?
 

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weeks is not long enough, it can literally take months to year for a dog to over come a fear.

Don't give up hope
 

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You know, it might not be the experience as a puppy that was the problem. On my breed list, two or three people have reported dogs that panicked when their owners tried to cook lamb in the oven. Nobody has ever figured out why, and those dogs had no previous exposure to lamb. These were dogs from good breeders so their life history was well known. Weird but true. Did a google search and found three examples right off the bat.
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-257945.html.
http://ask.metafilter.com/82237/Why-is-my-dog-scared-of-cooked-lamb
http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/dogs/dogs-terrified-when-lamb-being-barbequed-129471.html

Here's a couple ideas you might try, might be most helpful to try both at the same time. They should complement each other. One is a thundershirt, have the dog wear it as you are working on the desensitization training. http://www.thundershirt.com/?gclid=CKeCxsaKuLkCFfFDMgodVhMAvQ My other suggestion would be to work with a veterinary behaviorist who can prescribe medication. An anti-anxiety medication can take the edge off enough to allow the dog to absorb the training program. A veterinary behaviorist would also be able to guide you to the most effective method of training. Then once you have made enough progress you start to wean the dog of the medication.

Also, if you are not making any progress with the training program, perhaps it is time to search out a new trainer. A good trainer can break things down into very small steps, as small as necessary to get the dog to accept something.

good luck!
 

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You know, it might not be the experience as a puppy that was the problem. On my breed list, two or three people have reported dogs that panicked when their owners tried to cook lamb in the oven. Nobody has ever figured out why, and those dogs had no previous exposure to lamb. These were dogs from good breeders so their life history was well known. Weird but true. Did a google search and found three examples right off the bat.
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-257945.html.
http://ask.metafilter.com/82237/Why-is-my-dog-scared-of-cooked-lamb
http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/dogs/dogs-terrified-when-lamb-being-barbequed-129471.html

Here's a couple ideas you might try, might be most helpful to try both at the same time. They should complement each other. One is a thundershirt, have the dog wear it as you are working on the desensitization training. http://www.thundershirt.com/?gclid=CKeCxsaKuLkCFfFDMgodVhMAvQ My other suggestion would be to work with a veterinary behaviorist who can prescribe medication. An anti-anxiety medication can take the edge off enough to allow the dog to absorb the training program. A veterinary behaviorist would also be able to guide you to the most effective method of training. Then once you have made enough progress you start to wean the dog of the medication.

Also, if you are not making any progress with the training program, perhaps it is time to search out a new trainer. A good trainer can break things down into very small steps, as small as necessary to get the dog to accept something.

good luck!
Interesting,Haven't gotten raw lamb because its pricey,but now I`m curious to try it.

I`m not sure what to say except giving cooked lamb or the highest value food you can find with the lowest level of raw lamb smell in the house. Making sure the dog is hungry before hand as well.
 
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