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OK we've had our rescue bc nearly 16 months, she was 7 months old when we adopted her from rescue, Initially, hated tractors, bikes, joggers, anything like mowers, strimmers and the shrill of ice cream vans music, would literally dart under a hedge and stay there til the threat (she thinks its a threat obviously we know it isnt) had gone. We would stand there, give her time and she would come out herself. Over time we have gone from bush hiding to wanting to leap at joggers and cyclists (we are mid training in this so it isnt my biggest issue)

When we are out and about walking we find places to do agility, run around play etc, tractors she hates still, training by me is still on going, she is very social with her favourite fur friends.

Our biggest issue is the ice cream van. In the home she will go to her safe place, (by/in our bedroom or under the dining room table on her bed) when out walking it is horrid, she has no safe place, she can hear the chimes before us, there are no set days and tizzy will dart under a hedge or sit at the side of the road. She really wont move and those chimes (as theres' two villages including ours that she visits) can be heard on and off for nearly an hour :( So sitting at the side of a country lane isnt always possible, sometimes I have had to pick her up and carry her to a safe wide grass verge and sit it out there, shes 16kg at least which isnt great on a day where its 17oC.  I am not bothered if people see us or question why, but I need some way of getting her to carry on? HELP! Please! It isnt too bad if it is in a field away from livestock or a verge by a tow path, we can sit and relax for a bit, but when it is country roads it can be dangerous.

I just feel so upset for her, all the other fight or flight issues like tractors, and walking along roads in the area are not 100% accomplished now but we are getting there its just the bloody ice cream van.  We have also tried to go out during the day and get back before the chimes are out. 

If we go out at a certain time she gets to meet up with other doggy friends for socialisation but we miss it alot due to dodging the damn ice cream shrill :(

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Forgive me if this advice is too basic and you’ve already tried it, but can you carry a REALLY high value treat and offer it only when this sound comes? She may not take it at first, but over time an association between the ice cream truck and food might form which could lessen her anxiety. 

—Mary 

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5 minutes ago, pansmom said:

Forgive me if this advice is too basic and you’ve already tried it, but can you carry a REALLY high value treat and offer it only when this sound comes? She may not take it at first, but over time an association between the ice cream truck and food might form which could lessen her anxiety. 

—Mary 

Thanks Mary, i do carry treats, of different kinds, she wont take anything when she is anxious like this, initially when she first didnt like it we were coming back from a walk and the van was parked by our house, the music was off it was off when we got around to our house and just the hum of their engine, so i came in, offered treats, nothing, wouldnt budge, started getting doggy ice cream and then if she came and i could hear the noise first id get the tub out which she would come to but if she heard them chimes no she would run off to her safe place

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See if you can replicate any part of the sound that sets her off. If you find something that will work, start at barely audible and give the BEST TREAT EVER, one small piece. The treat needs to be something that Tizzy will turn herself inside out for, that might need a little experimentation. ALL of my dogs have loved fruit, one went nuts for dried cranberries. Couldn't open a bag without that dog being right at my feet. Don't use grapes or raisins, they're not good for dogs, raisins particularly. Anything meat based, (dried liver is a winner here) is fine if your dog LOVES it.

Whatever treat you use you will ONLY use at those times you're doing the sound training, keep it special.  Very, very gradually make the sound louder. Do this over several sessions. When she's hearing the sound and whipping her head around to see where that Very Special Treat is, you can take her outside. 

If you can predict the timing, even roughly, of the ice cream truck's arrival, you can go on to offering the Very Special Treat when the truck is going to come by. Have it handy. Repeat, very slowly decreasing distance from The Scary Thing.

It takes a lot of time and patience, but with a dog this frightened you've got to take it slowly or it won't work.  

Best of luck ~ let us know how it goes.

Ruth & Gibbs

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If it were me I'd be trying to find the ice cream van (without the dog) and see if you could talk to the driver to find out if there's any sort of schedule s/he follows. If not -- or even if there is (I'm sure any schedule would be somewhat variable anyway depending on how many sales are made) -- could you ask if they'd call you when they're approaching your area so you can be prepared. You might offer them a little bit of money as an enticement to do this.

I'd also be inclined to see if I could record the sound of the ice cream truck on my phone (again, without the dog with you) to play back at home for desensitization sessions. If you can find the van sometime when you're out on your own you might even buy an ice cream and ask them to play the music while you're close by. You can then adjust the volume for your desensitization sessions.

Good luck.

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3 hours ago, GentleLake said:

If it were me I'd be trying to find the ice cream van (without the dog) and see if you could talk to the driver to find out if there's any sort of schedule s/he follows. If not -- or even if there is (I'm sure any schedule would be somewhat variable anyway depending on how many sales are made) -- could you ask if they'd call you when they're approaching your area so you can be prepared. You might offer them a little bit of money as an enticement to do this.

I'd also be inclined to see if I could record the sound of the ice cream truck on my phone (again, without the dog with you) to play back at home for desensitization sessions. If you can find the van sometime when you're out on your own you might even buy an ice cream and ask them to play the music while you're close by. You can then adjust the volume for your desensitization sessions.

Good luck.

hi thanks for your reply, they always come around 2pm and 3pm to our estate and then the next one up and then the village father up, it was two days a week and maybe weekend, so i could actually plan my walks to either  be in the opposite direction at this point, then sit it out with some training far away on those days, and the days they didnt come i could go another route where she sees her friends more often.  I want to be able to change our route because we can not to avoid it, i will record the theme tune too as i think it will be easier than trying to find the same shrill racket on alexa, even my son (hes 23) says its too loud so can you imagine what it is like for a dog? their senses are much heightened than ours. 

It has been hard on my anxiety as well as hers during this covid lockdown malarchy too, as seeing her so upset and having to juggle things because of some shrill noise and then keeping our 2m distance.  It gives it horrid weather this weekend, if its just damp and hopefully not too muggy/warm then il take her up to the rugby pitch (if theyre not training/playing) with the recall lead and do some training. 

I forgot to say I do not drive only he does (she hates being in the car but she knows at the other end its a new walk to explore etc so she puts up with it) so it isnt like i can get in the car on the ice cream days and take her off somewhere, she isnt too keen on our local main road either (but she knows if we walk it we are either going on a nice walk in the woods within 2 minutes of leaving estate) so getting her on a bus isnt an option yet or we would be going on one to escape ice cream vans
 

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hi all, thanks again for all your replies, youve been fabulous and all are taken on board, due to changes in the weather we returned before the ice cream van chimes started today, wasn't sure it was going to turn up, it did and I managed to record the tune, too big a file to post on here so I will post the link to it on my you tube channel (hope thats allowed) so you can see the sound quality we put up with etc and see what you think.

 

 

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I agree; it's annoying. But it doesn't matter one whit what it sounds like to us, or to you or to any other dogs than the one that doesn't like it. I used to have a dog who was scared witless if someone sneezed near her. :rolleyes:The point is that desensitizing that dog to your ice cream truck wouldn't do any good. What your dog reacts to is all that matters and you'll need to desensitize her to it.

Knowing that you can hear it this well inside you should be prepared with very high value treats so you can work on her with this. If you're not familiar with the Look at That (LAT) game look it up. Lots of videos on instructions online. I used to to desensitize a very dog reactive dog to dogs on TV using it. It used to be she was a complete nut job whenever a dog would come on TV. Now she barely raises an eyelash and it helped to have her at least partially desensitized when we'd take the game outside on walks.

Hopefully your dog will be even just a smidge more at ease when she's safely in her own home. At least you'll have the advantage of being able to muffle the sound a little by closing the window.

Again, good luck.

ETA: Remember, it's also important for you to remain as nonplussed when you hear the ice cream truck as you possibly can. It may even help to be upbeat and happy and say something like, "Oh, listen! Here comes the ice cream van so you get a cookie!" to help distract her away from what's scaring her so she can focus on something positive. She'll definitely sense any anxiety you have because of her reaction.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, GentleLake said:

I agree; it's annoying. But it doesn't matter one whit what it sounds like to us, or to you or to any other dogs than the one that doesn't like it. I used to have a dog who was scared witless if someone sneezed near her. :rolleyes:The point is that desensitizing that dog to your ice cream truck wouldn't do any good. What your dog reacts to is all that matters and you'll need to desensitize her to it.

Knowing that you can hear it this well inside you should be prepared with very high value treats so you can work on her with this. If you're not familiar with the Look at That (LAT) game look it up. Lots of videos on instructions online. I used to to desensitize a very dog reactive dog to dogs on TV using it. It used to be she was a complete nut job whenever a dog would come on TV. Now she barely raises an eyelash and it helped to have her at least partially desensitized when we'd take the game outside on walks.

Hopefully your dog will be even just a smidge more at ease when she's safely in her own home. At least you'll have the advantage of being able to muffle the sound a little by closing the window.

Again, good luck.

ETA: Remember, it's also important for you to remain as nonplussed when you hear the ice cream truck as you possibly can. It may even help to be upbeat and happy and say something like, "Oh, listen! Here comes the ice cream van so you get a cookie!" to help distract her away from what's scaring her so she can focus on something positive. She'll definitely sense any anxiety you have because of her reaction.

 

 

 

Thanks :) Yes distraction works for most things, my fella sneezes she isnt fond of it, so goes under the table, she is slowly starting to not care if he does it now, although most the time he holds his nose (he once sneezed so loud he pulled a muscle this was before we had her so even he wont sneeze too dramatically now as he was in pain for a few days with it) if i sneeze or my daughter she will come to us to see if we are ok lol

as for distraction like look at that yes thats worked alot for things so far, when the ice cream van came today i had to record the sound so i had the window open a bit then shut it after i recorded the sound. she sat at the back of the bedroom but yes shes less shaky etc in her own home as she feels safe here. I have done things like... oooh wheres bertie (one of her best friends) or stick wheres the stick if i can pick up on teh sound before she reacts to it but mostly she will lie down until the sound has gone. I try not to react to it, and i have to try harder. thanks again

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1 hour ago, ange_n_tizzy said:

...if i sneeze or my daughter she will come to us to see if we are ok...

Actually sneezing is an appeasement signal among dogs, and I think most dogs will also interpret humans sneezing that way. My dogs when playing will often stop for a second, sneeze at each other as if to check in to make sure everything's just fun and games and when sneezed back to go right back into playing. It's a way fo making sure the play fighting doesn't turn into real fighting.

I have some pretty bad allergies so I often sneeze really hard. And it can come out of nowhere. That's what my dog was reacting to; it didn't make sense to her to hear a loud sneeze that wasn't deliberate and was so intense. She was pretty easily frightened of things like your dog.

If I have a new dog in the house who may be a little nervous about things, I'll sometimes offer a small sneeze to let them know I don't mean any harm if they're upset by something. Or yawn, look away from them, any of the things dogs will normally do with each other can help diffuse a tense situation between a dog and a person too. It helps to know their language and not just expect them to learn all of ours. ;)

Also noticed in an older post as I was scrolling down to get to your last one you mentioned that sometimes Tizzy (aptly named, BTW) is too worked up over whatever is making her frightened. This is called being over threshold. When it happens, it's more important to get her further away from the scary thing than it is to try to desensitize her. At that point her brain simply isn't capable of responding to your distractions or treats. She's got to be far enough from the scary thing so that she isn't out of her mind with fear to be able to respond to your desensitization efforts. Learning where that line is between loosing it and being able to respond is probably the most important thing to learn in the early stages. And also possibly one of the hardest things for a lot of people to understand. Every single time she goes over threshold is a step backwards in your progress.

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11 hours ago, GentleLake said:

Actually sneezing is an appeasement signal among dogs, and I think most dogs will also interpret humans sneezing that way. My dogs when playing will often stop for a second, sneeze at each other as if to check in to make sure everything's just fun and games and when sneezed back to go right back into playing. It's a way fo making sure the play fighting doesn't turn into real fighting.

I have some pretty bad allergies so I often sneeze really hard. And it can come out of nowhere. That's what my dog was reacting to; it didn't make sense to her to hear a loud sneeze that wasn't deliberate and was so intense. She was pretty easily frightened of things like your dog.

If I have a new dog in the house who may be a little nervous about things, I'll sometimes offer a small sneeze to let them know I don't mean any harm if they're upset by something. Or yawn, look away from them, any of the things dogs will normally do with each other can help diffuse a tense situation between a dog and a person too. It helps to know their language and not just expect them to learn all of ours. ;)

Also noticed in an older post as I was scrolling down to get to your last one you mentioned that sometimes Tizzy (aptly named, BTW) is too worked up over whatever is making her frightened. This is called being over threshold. When it happens, it's more important to get her further away from the scary thing than it is to try to desensitize her. At that point her brain simply isn't capable of responding to your distractions or treats. She's got to be far enough from the scary thing so that she isn't out of her mind with fear to be able to respond to your desensitization efforts. Learning where that line is between loosing it and being able to respond is probably the most important thing to learn in the early stages. And also possibly one of the hardest things for a lot of people to understand. Every single time she goes over threshold is a step backwards in your progress.

We didnt name her tizzy but yes aptly name, shes lovely when shes not scared.  Regarding further away and over the threshold yes, this is why ive asked for advice here because i do feel for her, once she hears that noise she hears it before me, she will then sit to the side of whereever we are and not move til that sound has gone and this can take up to an hour as the said van goes to our estate, next village up and the village after that, she literally shakes, and will dig herself deep into long grass or under a hedge :( its really upsetting and i have to not send this upset to her. the days i know its likely to go around we go a walk in teh opposite direction, if we are say on our way home when she hears it we can sit in a safe place as theres plenty of fields, unused tracks, tow paths with benches, so i sit by her and go look theres sheep.

The one thing that does seem to work BUT we cant always go in there, is a field near to us, where she has access to the river, if livestock arent in there we can sit by the river, throw in sticks and stones and she goes to play and paddle in there on mild days.

I am taking all this on board as i really want to get her out of that 'over threshold' zone and work the desntization.

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You are already getting top notch advice. I will just add one thing. You mention a couple of times in your posts that this situation is making your anxiety rise. This is likely to be be playing a part in your dog's reaction. Not that it caused it in the first place.,but that it might make it harder to retrain her not to react to it. If you feel anxious it is 100% guaranteed that your dog will know that, and will interpret it as reinforcing the dread of the ice cream truck. ("my person is scared of it too so it must be really bad").

I suggest practicing any kind of relaxation method you can possibly find that will reduce your anxiety around this. Take very slow deep breaths, and speak to Izzy in a cheerful, quiet, upbeat voice to go along with the treats etc. If you can manage not to get anxious about it yourself, that will help a lot. If you start to feel anxious about it, remember, there's zero danger here! Nothing to worry about, or get anxious about. Just a dog who is so far lacking in understanding of her environment and needs to learn. No different from teaching a puppy to accept a leash.  You've got this. You can succeed in allaying your dog's fears.

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2 hours ago, D'Elle said:

You are already getting top notch advice. I will just add one thing. You mention a couple of times in your posts that this situation is making your anxiety rise. This is likely to be be playing a part in your dog's reaction. Not that it caused it in the first place.,but that it might make it harder to retrain her not to react to it. If you feel anxious it is 100% guaranteed that your dog will know that, and will interpret it as reinforcing the dread of the ice cream truck. ("my person is scared of it too so it must be really bad").

I suggest practicing any kind of relaxation method you can possibly find that will reduce your anxiety around this. Take very slow deep breaths, and speak to Izzy in a cheerful, quiet, upbeat voice to go along with the treats etc. If you can manage not to get anxious about it yourself, that will help a lot. If you start to feel anxious about it, remember, there's zero danger here! Nothing to worry about, or get anxious about. Just a dog who is so far lacking in understanding of her environment and needs to learn. No different from teaching a puppy to accept a leash.  You've got this. You can succeed in allaying your dog's fears.

i would say i am worse if she parks herself on the tarmac compared to say the side by grass on a public non vehicular pathway if that makes sense, as obviously we dont want to be run over etc. but yes i do take deep breaths, im not sure where said van was today, somebody even posted on the village group it was coming around (2 miles up the road from us) now either a) they chose not to come to our estate today b) they did earlier and i did hear it (when we werent at home) wehn i thought i heard it as tiz didnt react to it at all as we walked along the tow path and me thinking i heard it before she zoned in on it i was very upbeat so if she did hear it today she didnt react to it.

I often use distract "look at that" kind methods im sure the locals think im barmy lol

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I didn’t see it mention can you give her some calming over the counter medication? such as: Doggy weed, rescue remedy, melatonin, L-Theanine to name a few. It can help the dog with their anxiety while you try to decondition them.

Also have you tried a thundershirt? 
 

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21 hours ago, SS Cressa said:

I didn’t see it mention can you give her some calming over the counter medication? such as: Doggy weed, rescue remedy, melatonin, L-Theanine to name a few. It can help the dog with their anxiety while you try to decondition them.

Also have you tried a thundershirt? 
 

Hi :) thanks for your reply, I do have some calming drops you can put in water/food or straight down the back of their mouths (it has a dropper lid) and I have calming spray, I have also used a calming collar and a calm plug in, nothing seems to work :/ We have managed to escape going out when the ice cream van has been around of late as the weather has been too hot, for her and for me so it has been early evening walks, I have tried to distract her at home.  I have considered a thunder shirt, now I know the days the ice cream van is in the next village as shes posted on their group, however im not sure if she is keeping to the same days for us (as it is on route for being up there)

We were out the other day and we could just about hear the ice cream van, luckily our friends came alone with their dog, tiz loves their elderly pointer like a big brother and so it distracted her to walk with him all I had to say was come on tiz where is bertie? and she got up and walked with us, phew. I will mention the above to our vet, with this covid thing I tend to email them regarding anything and then go and collect it by their door if needs be as theyve enough going on so theyre quite helpful. thanks again.


ps bought her a doggy pool the other day as her confidence in water has grown so much in a good way we got her in for ten minutes (letting her tip toe, feel her way in) then the damn van came around, so i put it away, then got it out at a time when i knew the van wasnt coming so she didnt associate the pool coming out before the van if that makes sense.

 

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