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Parker is three years old now.  Recently, we have seen changes in him.  Seems to be afraid of random things – my husband had a coughing fit last night.  He has coughed before.  But this was explosive and loud - and on-going.  Parker came running upstairs and practically jumped on my head.  I went downstairs and he went with me.  He would go to my husband, however, if he started the very loud coughing, he would want to run away again.  This happened 5 days after he came back from the groomer, although I wonder if this has been simmering for some time. He was acting kind of strange the day after the groomer's.   I was at the groomer the whole time – nothing unusual happened there.  He has been there before.  He doesn’t like the blower, and he sure doesn’t like the toenail part. We are working on all that.

2 days after the groomer,  my husband was chopping potatoes at the table – the chopper made a rhythmic banging sound.  He came running upstairs and jumped all over me because of that.

A week prior to the groomer, he was at the vet.  He does not like to have his feet touched or his legs held.  We are working on this at home.  He was a champ, standing there for his exam and shot.  But when they tried to restrain him to do blood work, he flipped out (panicking and struggling to get away - not aggressive;  just panicked.)

I am wondering if this is the future of this dog…...developing phobias.  Did not really see this in his early years (except even as a puppy, he was always tough to restrain at the vet.)  Seems to be developing.  And if so, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?  Is there anything I am doing wrong?  I am totally thinking of no more groomer for him.

Additional info:  he is what I call a needy dog;  always wanting to be in your lap and wanting to be petted.  He’s very affectionate.  Loves people.  He goes to agility once a week and gets plenty of exercise in the yard.

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Curious, are you possibly reading needy incorrectly and it's insecure instead? Stopping the groomer may be a good starting point, remove/change 1 thing at a time. Developing phobias is thinking negatively. Flip your mindset..face the fear and reward the facing of it, then build from there. Instead of allowing someone else to restrain him, can you, with a wooden spoon of peanut butter shoved in his face at the same time ;) Chopping potatoes, do it again, with you there, so he doesn't need to leave and he see's you are fine with it, all the while flipping him treats from where the noise is coming from. You aren't doing anything wrong, each dog is individually different, you need to, and have, recognized, that Parker needs to learn things a bit differently. As for "always wanting to be in your lap" here I would make him a spot at your feet, no possessiveness, no security in your lap, face the fear, yet, have you right there. This doesn't mean when invited he can't come up, just not *all* the time when he wants, your rules.

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14 minutes ago, Journey said:

Curious, are you possibly reading needy incorrectly and it's insecure instead? Stopping the groomer may be a good starting point, remove/change 1 thing at a time. Developing phobias is thinking negatively. Flip your mindset..face the fear and reward the facing of it, then build from there. Instead of allowing someone else to restrain him, can you, with a wooden spoon of peanut butter shoved in his face at the same time ;) Chopping potatoes, do it again, with you there, so he doesn't need to leave and he see's you are fine with it, all the while flipping him treats from where the noise is coming from. You aren't doing anything wrong, each dog is individually different, you need to, and have, recognized, that Parker needs to learn things a bit differently. As for "always wanting to be in your lap" here I would make him a spot at your feet, no possessiveness, no security in your lap, face the fear, yet, have you right there. This doesn't mean when invited he can't come up, just not *all* the time when he wants, your rules.

Well, I feel better already!!  Thank you!  A Plan!!  I never considered "needy" as "insecure".  I have been rewarding his facing the fear.  For instance, last night I took him down to the family room, and rewarded him for staying there.  I also threw in some obedience commands and tricks to divert him.  Same with chopping potatoes - I took him to the dining room next to the kitchen and fed him for staying while it happened.  He is very food motivated, and so he happily stays if he's getting fed.

And my husband is the culprit for encouraging his climbing into your lap and wanting all that petting.  We can definitely work on that one!

As far a peanut butter for toenails, not much overrides that hatred.  I started these puppies out with toenail clipping weekly, like I've done with all my dogs.  Everything was fine until one day when they were about 4 months, it wasn't fine anymore.  Fear period maybe.  But they never got over it. 

I have made a grooming area in my basement and we go there every day now and practice the blower, and handling paws.  And since he gets treats, he is fine.  So fine, that he will literally run down there if the door is open and wait to get into the kennel room.  I know this is will be a long road.

One more thing:  For two years now we have gotten into a routine.  They are in our yard (2 acres fenced) or at class.  I had stopped taking them new places to socialize.  Could that also be a problem?  Should I go back to getting them into new situations and new places??

Thanks again, Journey!!

 

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Journey gives great ideas! Work on one thing at a time, until you've got Parker kind of 'blah' about whateveritis.

Start by simply picking up, or even just touching a paw, reward. When Parker's response to that becomes, 'fiddling with my feet again, ho hum .  . .' Haveve the first couple things you work on be the most simple for Parker. As for treats, if peanut butter is not a good enough treat, then up the value ~ scraps of chicken or whatever he loves. DON'T give that type of treat in any other circumstance, only when you're working with him on an issue.                                                                                                                                           Keep your own attitude sort of ho-hum, too. That might help, too.

        Good luck and keep us updated!

R

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Instead of clipping them have you tried to dremel them? That's one pet peev of mine..I can't stand the ticking of nails on hard surfaces ;) Chances are they won't like the noise or the feel of it at first, however, over time they may like it better than the pinch of the clippers. You're done good with facing the fears! Incremental steps from the dining room to "the" room with the chopper!

 

Socialization is always good! On your terms though and with them having to do something to earn rewards. Or just simply hanging out doing nothing but not getting fussy, pushy, busy, just settle and be. If you are so inclined, a trip to the vet office, hang out, trim one nail, praise/reward, leave. This may be pushing it but something to work up to.

 

Ruth is right, if PB isn't valuable enough, seriously up the ante! Anchovies come to mind :D

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59 minutes ago, urge to herd said:

Journey gives great ideas! Work on one thing at a time, until you've got Parker kind of 'blah' about whateveritis.

Start by simply picking up, or even just touching a paw, reward. When Parker's response to that becomes, 'fiddling with my feet again, ho hum .  . .' Haveve the first couple things you work on be the most simple for Parker. As for treats, if peanut butter is not a good enough treat, then up the value ~ scraps of chicken or whatever he loves. DON'T give that type of treat in any other circumstance, only when you're working with him on an issue.                                                                                                                                           Keep your own attitude sort of ho-hum, too. That might help, too.

        Good luck and keep us updated!

R

Thanks Ruth. Chicken it is! I buy a rotisserie  one every week so that will be easy! 

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I have a Dremel and have tried.  He won’t let you hold his paw long enough, and it focuses on the nail for too long.  My plan is eventually one nail and build up.  The groomer got them done, but at what price.  I hate that he is so stressed. My old girl (she’s gone now)came that way.  Took years of clipping one a day until she could finally tolerate it.

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Just be sure you don't let your emotion of his discomfort bleed out into his fear. While you may hate that he is so stressed..he doesn't need that type of reinforcement. You've got this and you've got a plan, don't dwell on the why's :) step by step..

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Lots of good advice, but I have decided sometimes you just can’t win with paws. My 6 year old simply hates his paws being touched, I have tried everything and there is no touching his toes he has been like this since a puppy. Once a year he goes to the vets is sedated and has his claws done, I have done all my other dogs claws but he is simply not having it. It’s enough of a trauma to give them a good hair cut so he doesn’t look like a yeti. I don’t like the length of his claws especially for agility but this is the compromise I have reached. 

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With respect to touching of paws: Have you tried touching up much higher (shoulder or hip), then s-l-o-w-l-y slide your hand down an inch or so, then treat. Using very small advances (1/2 or even 1/4 inch at a time) and treating after each advance, how far down can you go? Continue working your way down the leg with high-value treats. This approach will also take a long time (if it will even work) because of micro- splitting.

when I had livestock, this method  - sliding your hand down the leg before picking up the foot - worked better than just grabbing the foot. It let the animal know what was going to happen, and they could mentally prepare. 

Worth a try.
 

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On 11/23/2022 at 12:47 PM, alligande said:

Lots of good advice, but I have decided sometimes you just can’t win with paws. My 6 year old simply hates his paws being touched, I have tried everything and there is no touching his toes he has been like this since a puppy. Once a year he goes to the vets is sedated and has his claws done, I have done all my other dogs claws but he is simply not having it. It’s enough of a trauma to give them a good hair cut so he doesn’t look like a yeti. I don’t like the length of his claws especially for agility but this is the compromise I have reached. 

Makes me feel better that I'm not the only one in this boat!

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22 hours ago, gcv-border said:

With respect to touching of paws: Have you tried touching up much higher (shoulder or hip), then s-l-o-w-l-y slide your hand down an inch or so, then treat. Using very small advances (1/2 or even 1/4 inch at a time) and treating after each advance, how far down can you go? Continue working your way down the leg with high-value treats. This approach will also take a long time (if it will even work) because of micro- splitting.

when I had livestock, this method  - sliding your hand down the leg before picking up the foot - worked better than just grabbing the foot. It let the animal know what was going to happen, and they could mentally prepare. 

Worth a try.
 

Now this sounds very logical.  So....do you start and just work down like 2 inches a day -- or do you start at the top and just slowly go 2 inches, treat.  2 inches, treat all in the same time frame until you get to the paw? 

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On 11/24/2022 at 2:36 PM, beachdogz said:

Now this sounds very logical.  So....do you start and just work down like 2 inches a day -- or do you start at the top and just slowly go 2 inches, treat.  2 inches, treat all in the same time frame until you get to the paw? 

It will depend on the dog. Don’t be afraid to treat, at first, for just touching the shoulder or hip. Then start sliding down, stop, and treat. I am guessing that you might be able to slide down in bigger increments when at the top of the legs, then your dog may get nervous once below the ‘knee’. At that point, split as much as the dog needs - what I mean by splitting is to break down the action as much as necessary. If your dog can only tolerate 1/2, or even 1/4 inch, that is what you need to do.

Also, you don’t have to always progress each session. I always like to throw in a session where I am just treating the dog for things they already know. I give them a break from pushing the boundaries.

Hope this helps.

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Just thought of this about the peanut butter ~ it's not that easy for dogs to eat. It can get stuck on their tongue which might feel weird to them. A bit of cooked chicken or a piece of whatever your guy really loves is best. A couple of my dogs have loved fresh fruit. I couldn't cut an apple without wagging tails magically appearing.

R

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I have a dog who is like that with apple. And bananna. And blueberry. And kale. And carrots. 

Once had a foster dog who I trained by using only pieces of lettuce, which she was wild about. That was the least expensive training of a dog I ever did!

In my experience generally dogs love the taste and smell of peanut butter, but have trouble eating it unless it is a tiny amount. I have sometimes mixed a little peanut butter into some rolled oats, just enough to make them stick together long enough to put into the dog's mouth, and that seems to help. But it's easier to use peanut butter flavored treats. Which you can make yourself if so inclined.

 

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