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I've posted about Kira before - puppy rescue, growled at the vet when she was 4 month old, did a lot of socialization and it only made things worse - she turned leash reactive, and the more I got her around people, the more anxious she got.

She's about 15 months now... Eskie/lab/husky mix.

- can't have her around people in our house because she barks like crazy at them and scares them. So she's crated when we have people she doesn't know over (open floorplan unfortunately so she can still hear them and still barks a lot).

She does well with the two families she's known since she was a puppy, but she's snapped a few times at kids when they get in her space (both my kids and my friends' kids). Not trying to break skin or anything, just a warning. Every time it's when they get in her space - the recliner next to me, at my feet, or in her crate) and don't read her body language (or they try to take back something she stole). The kids are all over 8 (the younger ones I crate her for), I really don't want them to think that the dog will bite them, but I think they'd be old enough to know not to pester the dog all the time. Thoughts? They all have been around super friendly dogs you can do anything to, so it doesn't really help my case and honestly, I feel like it's my fault. Ugh. But the kids can be VERY loud and she doesn't seem to mind that, at least.

- for other people, she'll stay in people's faces and bark at them loudly and might snap at them if they try to pet her. I tell them to ignore her and they ignore me then again, I feel like it's my fault for not training my dog... My mom stays for a week 3x a year and it's been challenging the last two times, she'll bark at her every time she enters the room, typically gets in her face, and has tried to snap at her a couple times too (when she got her hands too close or tried to grab a book next to her). My mom's pretty good at ignoring her and typically Kira will stop the crazy barking after a few days, but it's still really annoying (plus my sister is a 'dog trainer', so obviously I'm doing everything wrong, even though my sister's dog has issues too).

- we can't teach her 'drop it' at all because she drops everything right away as soon as I even get close to the bag of treats or walk in that direction. Even the trainers we took her at when she was 5 months gave up on that one. The good news is that she'll trade anything, so it's what I try to teach everyone - get a treat to get the thing back (We had a dog with severe resource guarding issues so I've been there before). But the kids sometimes forget. And one of their moms did the 'pin the dog down' thing when she growled at her, not sure if it didn't do more harm than good (to be fair, her dogs are well behaved, mine is not, I'm really not sure at this point what I'm supposed to do).

- barking at everyone in the street. Walks are extremely stressful. She's ok with people across the street as long as they don't pay attention to her, but she'll bark like crazy at everyone who gets too close. Forget dogs, I have to avoid them or she goes completely crazy. Seriously rethinking the walks at this point for my own sanity (but obviously she needs them, even though she never seems to actually get tired).

She's great with me, the only thing I struggle a bit with and getting her brushed because she does not like it, so I often have to ask my husband to hold her to get mats out (very light, VERY fluffy coat, so many mats, ugh). But definitely the velcro dog that follows me everywhere. She still needs her space at night and typically ends up sleeping on the floor.

Any way, I'm terrified of what she might do next time we go to the vet, or when we have to board her in November for a week. I feel like I constantly have to manage her to avoid people... every time I've tried to 'help' by socializing her, it just made things worse (puppy classes, taking her around more people etc). The sad thing is that I got her because I wanted a hiking partner, obviously that's never going to happen (obviously she tries to chase everything that moves too).

I've tried working with treats, mixed results outside because she was way too focused on the stranger (honestly I haven't taken treats with me in a few months anyway because my hands have been freezing if I don't have gloves on - will pick it up again soon), in the house she did go for the treats our friend (she didn't know) gave her, but still barked at him like crazy... so it didn't work well either. Also don't want her to get the wrong idea that she's getting treats because she's barking...

I'm seriously at a loss and worried that it's just going to get worse. Thankfully I'm not big on having people over, but we have kids show up unannounced, my mom staying for a week at a time, so it's still a problem. And she HAS to go to the vet and we HAVE to board her for a week in November.

I swear nothing ever comes easy in my life, lol :(

I really don't have the money right now for a behaviorist either.

So... thoughts?
 

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She is genetically fearful. Not much you can do except stress reduction. She will likely not improve and more than likely will get worse.

Put a crate in a basement or bedroom for when people come over and then put her in it. Do NOT have her interact as this is a liability for you. Do NOT have her around your kids when they have friends over. If she bites a kid (and most kids get face bitten) the liability is not worth it.

Try to teach her to focus on you when out walking her (make that her "safe place".. looking at you). Walk her at times of the day when there are not many people around (early AM, later PM etc.). When she wants to get out in front and react get her BEHIND your and keep yourself between her and the other dog or people (you are showing her YOU will take care of the situation). You can take that even further and push into her space quickly until she looks up at you and not the other dog/person/whatever at which instant you reward her heavily. However, if there is a risk of biting when you get into her space this won't work well.

Teach her to accept a muzzle and use it at the vet (no need to hurt anyone there).

Do NOT have other people feed her or interact with her. No need to chance someone getting bitten.

From your description I think your dog is unstable and a giant liability. How you handle this is up to you. She will require life long management. This is sometimes what you get when you adopt a mixed breed dog (and you never know.. the genetics are a total crap shoot). Lots of mixed breed dogs make great pets.. then there are those that do not.

If you have described things accurately (and without seeing the dog I cannot say how much, if any, of this is a handling issue) I think this dog would go back to the shelter or go on a one way trip to the vet. I simply would not tolerate the liability.
 

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She is likely genetically fearful, and you *do* need stress reduction - avoid triggers at all costs for awhile and let her decompress! - but that doesn't mean she can't get better.

I would strongly, strongly, encourage you to look into getting her on medication.

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

Watch this:

That dog? The one in the video? Used to lose her crap at things like 'cake' in the house. She certainly lost it at people, cars, animals, trash on the ground, noises - everything. She was miserable. We were miserable. She still requires management, but it's comparatively easy management. We steer clear of unknown people and dogs. That's it. It's doable. She has dog AND people friends now, too.

YOU CANNOT TRAIN BRAIN CHEMISTRY. Once you get some meds on board helping the situation - and they did not in any way sedate her, ever - you can work training and things like 'observe the strange from a distance' will work. For my dog that's an extra 70.00 a year for bloodwork and extra 12.00 every 3 months for the meds themselves.

There's a really good class running at Fenzi right now called Bogeyman, taught by Amy Cook that would be hugely helpful to you. All the 'working' spots (live, video) have been filled, but you can follow them and get all the material for 65.00 and it is highly worth it.

Meanwhile: avoid for a solid couple of months, get some meds onboard, let her get adrenaline out of her system, and do NOTHING but bond with her. Muzzle train her for the vet and your own peace of mind so you know she can't hurt someone.

Breathe. Relax. This is doable.
 

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All of that said, I don't believe there's any shame for euthanizing when dog and owner are both miserable and the situation isn't one that can be changed (either in general or because of owner resources/skill/desire). I would not, however, take her back. For a fearful dog that just seems like unnecessary cruelty. She's going to end up euthanized there, anyway. Sparing her the stress and likely terror of being back in the shelter seems kinder.
 

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Hang in there! CptJack is right (and also the person I ran to for advice when my dog developed similar fear issues and went on fluoxetine this past summer).

My people loving, sweet boy turned into an extraordinarily nervous dog over the past year. He's always been afraid of odd new things (the stethoscope at the vet, the fire hydrant on our walks, etc), but over the past year he's also developed more of a fear of new people and he's been pushed too far a few times by people who thing all dogs should easily be able to be run up to and snuggled.

Quill lost it at the vet in September because we were very slowly trying to work up to him getting used to her, but then he was overdue for a vaccine so she tried to muzzle and just go for it. It TERRIFIED me because I've never seen him act like that -- barking, growling, would have bit if he wasn't muzzled, and he wouldn't even recognize ME until I finally walked him out of the room, got him outside to our car, and took off the muzzle. He calmed down right away once the stressors were removed, and we held off on vaccinating until he was neutered so he would be passed out. Now, he's good on vaccines for 3 yrs+ and we plan to take it VERY slowly acclimating him to the vet's office and the vet, but also knowing he will likely always need to be muzzled just in case.

It is a lot of work, it can be extremely stressful at times, but like CptJack said...it is doable. Taking deep breaths and remembering how sweet and loving she is with you helps.

We also kennel Quill when people first come over and until they are settled and he's quieted down in his kennel, he stays in there. Only once has he ever remained fearful of a person, so usually if we're all sitting calmly and I warn people to ignore him until he decides they are okay, he does fine. It's the people who try to be too hands on, too fast that we run into issues with. It isn't 100% your fault for not training your dog. Fear is something that may develop regardless of how well a dog is trained. Obviously you should always take care to not put the dog in a situation where the dog is uncomfortable, but people also tend to greet dogs in a totally inappropriate way and often ignore body language...so I use extreme care with anyone meeting Quill to make sure they 100% understand and respect this, or they aren't going to meet him.

Same goes for kids. I'm not sure I would let a kid Quill didn't know near him anymore. He adores my nephews and plays SO well with them (but always 100% supervised just in case), but outside of those two who he already knows really well, I think I would personally avoid kids with Quill. They just don't generally see an animal to use caution with, but instead a fun, fluffy new friend.

With Quill, it is about thresholds. As long as he is still calm enough to process and respond to me, we're okay. But if he is pushed and pushed, he hits the threshold and once he is over it, he needs time to come back down and relax. This goes for everything. The instance at the vet, after an injury, on leash (he too is leash reactive), etc. A lot of it is making sure he can observe and learn the thing isn't out to get him at a safe distance to keep him under threshold before he approaches.

Whatever way you decide to go, good luck! I understand the multitude of feelings that come with these types of behaviors developing and I know it isn't easy. But you aren't alone and the people here have been fantastic in helping me learn how to deal with a fearful, anxious dog!
 

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Agree with the medication option if you want to do it. Try it if you can afford to and you still want the project of maintaining this dog.

Also prefer and agree to euthanasia over return to the shelter. Only mentioned the return as there are those who would have difficulty with euthanasia.
 

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I adopted a fear aggressive dog from a shelter about a year ago. The advantage I have over you is I knew beforehand. Abe is a overall fearful dog. I am not sure if that is because he was at the shelter for 3 years and doesn't understand the outside world or just his nature-- probably a little of both. He is medicated. I know I will have to manage him for the rest of his life. So far it is working. I am single and don't have people visit the house.

I want to encourage you in that with management he has a better life than he had in the no-kill shelter. He has actually gotten better. We can walk by a person who is on the other side of the road without any reaction. If they try to talk to him he will react but even that is milder than before. People who he has encountered regularly, he will allow to come within 8 feet of us and talk to me. The other day somone came out of a store as we were walking by and he did not react. I am always looking around as we are walking and have crossed the street or turned around to avoid people. This instance I was taken off guard, but I think Abe now trusts that I will protect him. But I also know if the same thing happens again he might react. I am trying now to counter-condition him by having him sit when there is someone approaching and jackpot rewarding him for focusing on me.

I guess I am telling you it is doable but it will take mental work on your part.
 

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My dog has a lot of the same things going on as your dog, and she also has husky and lab in her but I have noticed that if I get some pup-peroni and break them up into bit size pieces and take them everywhere with her then she is less likely to react to things. I haven't tried it in our new house walking around the neighborhood because the people that live here tend to yell at people with dogs and I'm almost certain that will set her off and I don't want to push her. She was a perfectly happy dog and loved everyone until she got spayed, she had to stay at the vet all day and when she came back it was like she was a completely different dog-completely anxiety ridden over everything and even busted out of her kennel. We no longer use a kennel, she is either left to roam around the whole house or if she is having a stressful day then I shut her in my bedroom and she will lay on the bed. She has never had issues with kids though, even kids that she doesn't know, she will go up to and give kisses. I have tried several natural anxiety medications and they don't work but she has an appointment with the vet to talk about more options. Maybe that will be a possibility for you too.

Have you tried boarding her before? I was told that I couldn't board my dog because of her reaction to people, so when I have to go out of town, I take her with me.
I know it can be stressful, I'm sorry that you and your dog are going through this.
 

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Absolutely everything CptJack said. Look into taking Dealing with the Boogeyman. I took it at bronze and it helped a ton. Feelings Change might be a good one to take as well. (But if you can only afford one, take Boogeyman).

Ask your vet for meds - something for day-to-day like fluroxetine and something stronger (e.g., xanax) for things that are extra stressful like vet trips. I too attempted to use natural remedies for my dog's severe anxiety. A couple of them seemed to work initially, it was either hopeful wishing on my part or any effect they had was quickly outweighed by the "badness" of the scary thing and they stopped working. And the difference between the natural remedies that I thought were helping vs. actual medications was massive. While there was always a question mark whether the natural remedies were actually helping or if I was imaging it, there was absolutely no question that the medications helped her.

I totally sympathize with the treats + cold thing! When you do go back to using treats, try to use the thing that is the absolute highest value for your dog. A lot of people recommend hot dogs, which are good and most dogs like them a lot, but for my dogs they're not the highest value, which is what you want for trying to change feelings. Value of treats can also change for some dogs - I use a variety of things for my nervous dog, otherwise whatever I'm using starts to lose value for her. So I rotate between roast chicken breast, chicken hearts, roast beef, cheese, and dried anchovies.
 

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I have no advice as this is nothing I’ve dealt with nor could I...jut wanted to say good luck. I agree with a one way vet visit over return to shelter; they’d just have to do the same thing. Good luck.
 

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Good advice given. I will add that the fact that your friend PINNED HER for growling and your dog didn't bite... means your dog is seriously trying her best.
 
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