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Hello. I'm David. My wife & I currently have two dogs, both female rescues. Our older one, Berry, is a four year old, shepherd-Jack Russell mix. Couldn't be a happier, more relaxed and confident dog.

I registered primarily to ask a couple questions about our younger dog, Milly. She is a one year old Black Mouthed Cur, a hunting dog bred in the Southern US. The breed's body type is like a sleek, mid-sized hound. I will post my questions here as well as repost in the training and health forums.

Milly seems to suffer from anxiety and/or fear. We are not the first owners. I know the previous owners (from 10 weeks to 5 months) and I know they are not bad people. However, some questions have been raised of possible lack of nurturing and neglect/abuse in the form of isolation. I know the father of the household very well and trust him but I know he was the least involved with the dogs care. According to him, Millie was anxious when they got her. I suspect her resulting behavior probably played a part in how she was treated there. She can get a little confusing and frustrating and rough and prone to accidents, especially if anxious. Anyway, we've had her for 6 months and we and observers have seen major improvement. She's rarely away from a human and when she is she is with our other dog and our cat. I walk them every day. She's happy and a little spoiled with us. I see immediate major improvement in her mood whenever I can get them to the dog park. By incredible circumstance (and matching brindle coats), we met Milly's brother at the park. His owner reported no issues of anxiety to me. (No. They did not act like they recognized each other. They didn't have much time to frolic and sniff.)

Her symptoms, (which I feel may all have an anxiety induced component). The numbered entries are what I'm hoping to get advice on. The few at the bottom are just informational.

1- Fear/barking at strangers. This probably bothers me the most because our relatives have young children that don't understand and want to touch her. I'm always concerned that she'll get accidentally cornered by a child in the house and may snap in fear. She also barks at our neighbor who sees her almost every day over the fence and, although not in an educated way, always tries to engage her and be friendly. I know that slow and steady exposure in baby steps is the main thing but I want to learn a few things so I can get her to trust my guidance as to who can be trusted. I know there's more I can do to help her relax and I am anxious to learn.

2- Sometimes when scared by another dog at the dog park, she will cower. When my other dog is confronted, she will either "tell" another dog to back off or if she's truly intimidated she'll roll over and submit which seems to always end any tension. But when Milly cowers, it seems to only make it worse. They're not always bigger dogs either. But when it is a bigger dog, I get them separated asap because that cowering builds tension immediately. If the other dog is acting dominant and Milly were to snap, I can only imagine a battle would ensue. Now, recently she has "told" dogs to back off which I'm happy for. But I've never seen her submit and I feel she'd be much safer to do that rather than cower.

3- Consistently loose bowels: She has a clean bill of health. I'm treating with probiotics which definitely helps and kelp which I'm not sure about. She eats a quality kibble that my other dog has no problem with. If I made her white rice with chicken broth every night as the vet suggested, she'd be eating better than us.

-Submissive urination. This has subsided since we first got her. It used to include simply greeting people. Now it's only if frightened and approached (mainly by me). Obviously, I try to never get her in that state and back off a moment if need be.
-Eating poop on walks: stopped by training.
-Eating cats poop: stopped by no access.
-Doesn't eat hers or her sister's.

Thank you
David
 
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