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My fiance and I got this pup (4 years old) about three weeks ago from a rescue in West Virginia. We just bought our first house and wanted to get a dog before we replaced the carpets to give ourselves time to work on house training. We looked at several dogs but fell in love when we saw his picture on Petfinder, so two weeks later we made the 5 hour drive to WV (from PA). He was advertised as being good on a leash and fine with dogs and other animals. He had been taken from a guy who had 6 dogs and 2 horses all fighting for one small pile of dog food. We arrived to pick up "Woobie" (his new name) and were told that he was extremely aggressive with the other animals that he had been brought in with, but not with any people. We currently have two cats (which I had told the rescue about on my application) and do not plan on getting another dog, so we requested to have him tested with a cat. He did not react at all to one of the shelter cats so we took him home. He rides perfectly in the car (his 5 hour ride home was only the second car ride he's ever had), never pulls on the leash, and has never had an accident in the house. He's very tidy and will only poo very far away from the house, so we end up taking him out to the field at the far end of our property for that. He is scared to death of our cats, and hides upstairs 90% of the time he's in the house. Initially he was borderline catatonic- no reactions to anything, but liked to do early morning howling as the sun was coming up. He had extreme reactions when left alone - howling, whining, chewing/breaking things (which caused some tooth damage). If we were with him and he became overly stressed he would literally go limp and slump onto the floor. He was (and is) fearful of men and any sudden movements, and gets very jumpy if you are behind him. Due to these extreme reactions, and the fact that he had injured himself, our vet recommended that we start him on Prozac and get a DAP collar, which will be discontinued after we have had a chance to get him started with some scent training. The collar seemed to have an immediate effect, as he did not demonstrate any separation anxiety the next morning when I went to tie him out for the day (he is in the house when we are home). He has not demonstrated any aggression towards dogs that he has been around while with us, and was well behaved for the groomer (she did not note any aggression either). However, he does seem to have a strong hunting instinct when out in the woods, especially towards smaller things like mice, squirrels, birds, etc. He has just only begun to act playful within the past two days, and loves to run and roll around in the mornings. He tends to play with me as if I'm another dog, and shows no interest in balls, squeaky toys, rope, or any other dog toys. My family has had quite a few dogs throughout my life, but never any quite like this...any tips on helping him with his anxiety? His biggest problem is being in a room with two or more people, during which he will begin drooling and breathing heavy, appear very scared, and sometimes, slump over into a pile until the "threat" is gone. Also, any guesses on breed? We adopted him as an airedale x wolfhound mix, but he is a medium sized dog and only weighs 50 lbs. He howls a few times a day (not a hound howl - my last dog was a pure coonhound) and we have heard him bark twice (both of which were followed by howls), but other than that he doesn't really make any noise. He has very thick fur, and some agouti coloring down his back, as well as very small feet (for his size anyways), and a curly tail. Based on that, I feel pretty confident that he has some husky in him, but beyond that I have no idea.




 

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He looks so sweet. Glad he has a good home now, and hopefully with lots of patience, he will come around and get over his fears.
 

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Hello and welcome! Thank you for rescuing him:D He's very handsome and also very unique looking :eek:

I could see some husky or malamute in him.

Also - it can take anywhere from 3-6 months for a rescue dog to fully settle in and be comfortable :).
 

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I see terrier and husky; interesting looking mix for sure.

He sounds like he was under a lot of stress and fear in his old home, he will need quiet time to settle in. Like Niraya says, at least 3 months is normal before the dog starts feeling comfortable and showing his true personality. You might notice some acting up or some behavior changes as the dog becomes less fearful. He may chase the cats for example once he's not scared of them anymore.

Give him a space to go to on his own when he is stressed- a corner of the room with a dog bed out of the line of traffic of people, a large closet with the door open for him to curl up out of the way or somewhere similar (every house is different of course)

The collar seemed to have an immediate effect, as he did not demonstrate any separation anxiety the next morning when I went to tie him out for the day (he is in the house when we are home).
If you must leave the dog outside when you are not home, PLEASE use a secure kennel and do not leave him tied. Especially for a fearful dog, one with possible aggression issues and one with a prey drive, unsupervised tie-out is quite dangerous. Depending on where you are, fixed point tie-out may actually be against the law and even trolley-line tie out can be dangerous when the dog is alone. He will probably adjust better and feel more secure if he is inside because he can have a calm, quiet area and feel a "part of the family" but a secure kennel outside is at least a safe option.

For calming, try lavender scent on you and other humans in the household and you can spray some lavender (real/natural lavender scent) on a dog bed or on a bandanna for him to wear. I tried the calming chews for the overexcited foster dog and they worked well- the kind with Valerian root. Prozac is kind of strong to start right of the bat without giving other things a try IMO.
 

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What a great looking dog! I love the scruffy almost Schnauzer look about him even if he is bigger. :) I love his face!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments and feedback. We are aware that it will take him a long time to settle in, I just wanted to see if there was anything helpful I could do in the meantime..it makes me feel bad that he looks so scared most of the time. My vet also suggested lavender, however we ordered the Bach calming spray at the advice of another dog owner..has anyone tried it? Would the lavender work better? I did not think about spraying it on a bandanna for him - that's a great idea. I only started him on Prozac at my vet's recommendation...and I do not plan for him to be on it long term. I'm an outpatient therapist and work with psychiatrists on a daily basis, and I know many of my clients have benefited greatly from medication. That being said, I'm aware that there can be side effects, and that usage of psychopharms has not been studied in animals the way it has been in humans, plus he would not be able to tell me if he has an upset stomach, etc. So..I'm going to try it for now and if it seems to be helping I will follow the vet's recommendations, if not then I will talk to the vet about taking him off if it.
As far as being tied out - we had wanted to keep him in the house when we were not home. He has a very quiet spare bedroom upstairs where he spends almost all of his time when in the house, so we set it up for him - it has his bed, crate, some toys, a rawhide, etc. We did some crate training with him (the rescue had not crate trained him but thought he would do well in one) and he actually seemed to like the crate..he would lay/sleep in it frequently. We tried to leave him alone for about an hour, and I came home to find that he was howling, hyperventilating, had somehow bent the bars on the crate, gotten out (we didn't skimp on the crate either, it was nice and size larger than was recommended so he could have more room) torn up the carpet, chewed on the window sills and frames, as well as the molding around the doorway, and snapped the tip of one of his canines off. We have since found that he does not like to be confined in any way. However, he has no reaction to being tied out - his anxiety actually seems to decrease anytime he is outside. We have a neighbor (who has three dogs of her own) that checks in on him throughout the day and she says he is fine when we aren't home. So...yes, keeping him inside is ideal, but for now he is being tied outside. I'm hopeful that will be able to have him staying inside after we start to address some of his issues. I'm wondering if being tied out is familiar to him, as he has been tied up his whole life...he was not in a good situation, but changes in their own right can also cause anxiety...any thoughts?
 

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He might be claustrophobic or maybe has been crated excessively. Having him outside is not a problem if he is calm there and you keep him inside with you when you are home (or course, you are doing activities outside). He may become comfortable with you over time and then be able to hang out inside in a room. My dog Chester cannot be crated, he will panic, but he is 100% trustworthy inside the house so there is no need to crate (fortunately)

It is the actual tie-out part that is concerning. If he darts after a small animal, he could snap the tie-line (at the least) or worse, break a leg if that is caught or break a neck if he's on a collar. Harnesses are safer for tie-out than collars for obvious reasons, but even harnessed, a dog can get a leg tangled very easily. Then all it takes is going after a squirrel or rabbit etc. If you are using a tie-out because you don't have a fence or the fence isn't adequate, then a stray or loose dog could run into your yard and harm your dog, start a fight or be hurt by your dog.

A good quality and good sized kennel isn't cheap, but it can be locked and you can use a cover for sun and weather protection and you really reduce the risk of the dog getting hurt while you are gone. A privacy fence is great if you can afford it and you are a homeowner, but obviously that is a large chunk of change for most people.
 

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I wouldn't be surprised if he was an Aerdale (sp) and Husky cross as he looks like he has sort of wiry hair on his face and a bit of a beard. Cute looking dog. It sounds like he is comfortable being tied up so probably has been used to it and as you have someone checking on him, he should be alright.
 

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Very unique/cool looking pup! Kinda reminds me of a Picadry/Husky mix. Love those eyes!

I'd be too nervous leaving him tied up without someone right there with him. It only takes a second for something to happen that can't be undone. =( If you can do an outside kennel, that would be the best way to go. Maybe you can find a good used one for cheap on Craig's list or someplace.
 
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