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mol

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Everything posted by mol

  1. I'm no expert and haven't tried the games mentioned above so this is just anecdotal personal experience. All the above seems very thorough but I wanted to share our experience in which some regular methods haven't worked well because of my dog's anxiety. I should mention that my dog is now on anxiety medication and that much of her progress may simply be due to that, but below is what seems to be working for us. I have a very barky and anxious girl. Realising that her barking was coming from a place of fear/stress helped a lot in how I deal with it. Initially, we tried to catch her to remove her from the situation which actually made things worse as she's quite flighty and would run and hide from us. Timeouts were also similarly ineffective as she has severe anxiety and would freak out more in time out. If I'm being honest, the only thing that has helped is getting her attention in some way and praising when she stops. For us, that looks like me saying in a really calm, not angry voice 'quiet' and the moment she looks to me and is quiet I shower her with praise and pats. Realising she's barking out of fear has led me to respond in a reassuring way such as patting her and telling her everything's alright (I know she's a dog not a human but somehow this works really well?), or generally just being cheerful and distracting her with a toy or training and treats. I do often also go and check out the source of 'danger' and reassure her that everything's fine which helps too. I've seen a massive improvement over the past two months. Socialisation is soo important and incredibly difficult to do right now! we take our dog to the park (in Australia) and there are a bunch of kids/people out and about at the moment - just walking around them normalises people being out in the world (our dog used to bark at all kinds of people out of fear on walks and after a bunch of exposure at a distance is actually really good now). Our covid restrictions are pretty non existent now so perhaps it's different for you. Our dog was/is fearful of people too, and she responds best to softly spoken women so we've started most socialisation with that, often getting the person to simply ignore her and just exist in the same place as her has been the most effective and least confrontational - she usually then warms up pretty quick. Good luck, it's a hard time to have a pup but it seems like you're committed to learning and putting in the time which is great
  2. Our 8 month old will sometimes still go inside in wet weather and we're not paying close enough attention, she used to be much worse though, and was a particularly difficult dog to house train despite being super clever! I spoke to a behaviouralist about this and it's very common for young dogs to not want to go outside if it is raining. We've got a very particular spot where we've trained ours to go outside which is partially sheltered from the rain. I think having this has helped, as has just being super patient and persistent with training. It's very frustrating though and I feel your pain because it seems like a relatively simple thing to learn. Our dog also kinda went backwards at around 6 months and we had to start from scratch again - maybe it's a weird puberty/teenage thing? Best of luck.
  3. Hi! Just thought I'd post an update that may help people looking through these boards in the future. Edie's has been diagnosed as anxiety and canine compulsive disorder. We assumed that she was going through a new fear period but as time wore on it escalated and we realised there was rarely five minutes we weren't focusing on her to try get her to stop barking. Turns out she's reactive to reflective surfaces like windows, tv screens and mirrors, but also to movements such as the tv when it's on, doors closing, the dog door being used and other things. She's also fearful and reactive to objects like bags, or anything new in the house. It's apparently uncommon for pups to display canine compulsive disorder so early but it is possible. So we've had to start her on some medication. I must say I was very apprehensive about this and fearful we were just drugging the problem out of her, but coupled with lots of positive reinforcement training, in two weeks we've seen a remarkable difference already. For interest, she's on trazodone and fluoxetine. The trazodone is only being used until she's adjusted to the fluoxetine which can take up to about a month to work. Just thought I'd put this out there for anyone who may be dealing with similar stuff and feeling like they've failed as a dog owner! The vet told us that anxiety can be genetic, and that BCs are known to have obsessive tendencies and are prone to these conditions because they're bred to be hyper aware of their surroundings (and they're super smart/perceptive!), so if you feel like you've done 'everything' and your dog is still having a hard time, I'd really recommend booking in with a vet behaviouralist who can assess your dogs physical and mental health (there are underlying physical conditions that can cause anxiety symptoms that are also worth ruling out). Good luck to everyone!
  4. Also I'm soo impressed that your dog can do all of those things before you throw the ball! So clever! I may have to test that idea out...
  5. Thanks for the advice everyone. Basically since we got her we've been trying to teach her fetch and she's just not willing to drop and leave it. She's perfect with low value toys but will rarely drop a ball, not even at home. So I suppose we've been trying to teach her that every day but perhaps that hasn't been the best decision. Fetch is paused indefinitely now and the trainer is coming this afternoon so hopefully we can get some information on how to help reduce her anxiety and barking/growling at everything . Throwing the ball as a reward is a good idea, as is using it for tricks! That might be the only way we can do it, but I think we'll have to build up to it to make sure she doesn't 'switch off'. Though I think balls might be a good way to call her off from some of her challenges, maybe even the barking at ghosts, who knows! Nosework has been the best thing we've done so far. We did some agility and whilst she picked everything up immediately, it seemed to overstimulate her? Afterwards her barking was much worse. Nosework seems to be within her threshold as it's not as physically active (maybe)? This morning we spent 30 minutes doing desensitisation of a stationary bicycle helmet left on the ground. She also freaked out at her empty food bag which had fallen onto the ground and some weighing scales - both got a very thorough talking to haha. Thanks again, hopefully we can undo some of our mistakes with all of your advice + the trainer today. Edie says thank you too!
  6. Thank you! The advice about fetch is golden. We always thought fetch would get her energy out and giver her a 'job' to do but we didn't consider that perhaps the switching off on walks was because of it! We have removed fetch from walks (for now) and have noticed a massive difference in her responsiveness, thank you! And we will get started on agility foundations, we're isolating at the moment and have plenty of time to do stuff at home but can't go out on walks so this will be great. Thanks Teaching relaxation is and has been such a challenge, we can get her to lie down and rest her head, but she's always on high alert for treats! The specialist is coming tomorrow so hopefully we can work on it then. Thanks again for all your help, it's been so useful.
  7. Pixie's adorable. She looks quite a lot like my puppy Edie!
  8. Hi Lawgirl, Thank you so much for your advice and helping me realise she's probably just going through a teenage phase! We will attempt some more trick training over exercise as you have suggested. We have noticed if we play fetch for a while something switches in her brain and she's super unresponsive and amped up! I think she is just generally a bit ambivalent towards people although she has started barking at people more, such as new visitors to the house and old women on walks. It can be scary for people on the receiving end and I feel awful! But hopefully with consistency and working within her limits we'll get better with that stuff (particularly hoping the trainer can help us with this!). I did a kind of DIY nosework with a bunch of boxes at home after reading your comment and she loved it, so we'll continue that and look into classes. We also taught her a few new tricks like weaving between our legs as we walk, which she also loves! It's a fun way to enjoy time together and take the focus off the stressful stuff which has been good. Thanks so much for your help! And Hi dc1727, I feel your pain! Edie also barks at the mirror but we have never experienced anxiety vomits, that must be really difficult It's so hard dealing with constant barking and crying and forgetting all training, but I can't imagine throwing biting in the mix too, that really sucks. Have you thought about getting a trainer to come to your apartment to offer one on one advice? It will cost about $150 for us and we've heard that it can be really helpful when someone comes to your environment and can see how the dog is at home. Sounds like you are also having a really tough time, I hope that it's also just a weird fear/teenage phase and that he settles down soon! One thing that we've been trying the past few days is recall training at the park using an extender lead. Even if she ignores us we can shorten it and make sure she eventually 'comes' (even if it's basically forced) and then we treat her with her favourite treats and get really excited and happy. We've always done this but have ramped up the frequency and now recall training makes up about half of her walks and she's actually noticeably better! Anyway, I'm sure your puppy training will have better advice, I hope that goes well and he settles. Good luck and I hope you can reconnect with your boy!
  9. Hi BC boards, I'm a new member, long time reader. I haven't found any posts that sum up the problems we're having so I thought I'd post and ask for some advice as we're all in a bad way at the moment. Edie is 6 months old and out first dog (I know a BC for our first dog was probably not the best idea, but here we are). She has always been somewhat reactive to objects, sounds and cars. We have worked really hard on cars with her, doing desensitisation training daily for the past 4 months. She's now at a point where she won't generally attempt to lunge into the path of an oncoming car, but they still stimulate her. We worked really hard at socialising her with other dogs, people and a range of objects and sounds in the early stages. She was doing pretty well with things up until about three weeks ago. The first thing, and primary thing, is the barking. She has started barking at objects she never paid attention to before, such as the dog door and toilet seat. She has begun barking at elderly women (usually) out on walks. She barks and growls at the front door and windows around the house relentlessly if she thinks something is out there (often there's nothing we can see). She has started running into empty rooms, like our bedroom, with her hackles up and barking furiously. She does this a lot, even if she had just been in the room. We've tried upping her exercise, she now gets about 45 minutes to an hour in the morning and afternoon of running off lead, playing fetch and general walking, in addition to playing with the other dog in the house, and sessions of fetch and play indoors with us throughout the day. We have tried upping her training, she is super smart and picks up new tricks easily but still struggles settling down. We have tried 'calm' training and are still working on it, but even then sometimes she'll bark in our faces while we're doing it, particularly if we try it at a cafe (where she barks basically non stop, even with constant commands, treats, toys, other dogs for company etc. She also barks when we're preparing her meals and it's really difficult to get her to sit. She has also started barking at visitors if they're too energetic, talk too loudly, dance or anything that differs from how she thinks people usually behave. This is really annoying and I can imagine to be scary if you didn't know her or weren't comfortable with dogs. It appears to me that this barking is some sort of play? She runs at them barking and wagging her tail (I know wagging can indicate aggression but her tail is low not erect which makes me think it's play) and often snapping her teeth which she does when she's excited (usually before a walk or dinner). Another thing is crate training/time outs. We have consistently been using time out as a way of getting her to take a break when she's over stimulated. We put her in the bathroom. We also have been putting her in here when we go out to work or something, no more than 3 hours max. She used to be fine and enjoy the space and usually settled quite quickly. Recently she's started howling and barking when put in there, sometimes doing so for over an hour. We usually put chew toys, treats, kongs etc. in there but the moment she's 'done' with them she resorts back to crying. She is also obsessed with catching flies. We've tried everything to keep flies outside but we have an old house and it's Australian summer so it's essentially impossible. She fixates on flies to the point where you can't get her attention, even clapping loudly next to her or stomping won't get her out of it. We try just picking her up and removing her from the situation but she's very obsessed. Minor new fun additions to her behaviour include stealing food off the bench, forgetting her recall, heavily backsliding on her leash walking training, running under the bed if we say 'uh oh', which is our word for 'you've done something we don't like' and usually precedes a time out, harassing the cat (she used to not but has now decided the cat is very fun and has begun chasing her), stealing our underwear and the list goes on... We are really trying to be consistent with training, getting her to sit and watch when she's displaying a behaviour that's not acceptable, and giving treats for being calm. If she's too stimulated she goes into time out. We're really struggling and it's affecting our relationship with her. I want so much to just have fun with her and communicate with her like we used to about a month ago, but she's suddenly become so extreme with some behaviours and it's really tricky to spend 5 minutes without her going off barking at something. We also can't leave her unsupervised for a minute anymore because she gets into the garden and eats all the plants, digs holes etc. Our housemate also has always disliked her and has begun swearing at her and being generally unkind, ignoring her when she comes to say hello, and yelling at her (luckily Edie seems immune to yelling and just gives a 'what is wrong with you' look whenever she's yelled at and resumes playing like nothing happened!). Edie isn't generally that friendly towards people aside from us and I'm worried it's because she's been ignored by this housemate since we got her, despite the housemate being 'so excited' about the new puppy. Our housemate also has a dog with a lot of anxiety and difficult behaviours and I have never heard her yell or treat her dog like she treats ours. Anyway, sorry for the essay I just wanted to give adequate background on Edie and where things are at. We love her and are on a waitlist for an in-home consultation with a professional, positive reinforcement trainer, but the wait could be a while and all of the challenges are sort of compounding and making life difficult at the moment! My questions are: does anyone know if this 'second fear period' could be the cause of this, or whether Edie might have some sort of OCD? It seems common in BCs but I'm not sure if her behaviours all together indicate it or not. Any advice on barking would be much appreciated, but I have read up on it elsewhere on this forum. And any general advice would be so welcome. Apologies if this board isn't quite the place for this but I wasn't sure where else to put it Thanks And of course, pictures!! As a tiny one: And now:
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