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Agoraphobic 9 month old Puppy

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by BlueIris1*, Apr 20, 2019.


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Have you ever had an agoraphobic dog?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  1. BlueIris1*

    BlueIris1* PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Guys,

    I have an Agrophobic 9 month old Border Collie Cross Lurcher and i was wondering if anyone had any advice to help me help him get over his fears.

    What Happens:
    When he walks out the front door he get hypervigilant and barks at anything that moves or even sees posters with people on them he goes mad. Its almost like he loses some cognitive ability, barks like crazy and runs around in circles and tries to run away when he sees another dog or even people.

    Background:
    Blaze is a 9 month old Collie cross who has lived with me from birth, we had an accidental litter because we owned an intact Border collie ( Titan) and an unaltered female Lurcher (Luna). We never intended to breed , i lost my job and my husbands job went into liquidation and couldn't afford to pay a vet to castrate either dog. Blaze and his 9 sisters where born on the 13th august 2018.

    He was the puppy who used to walk around on his own moaning all the time to the point where i thought he could possibly have fading puppy syndrome but of course that was not the case. He didnt want much to do with his siblings and tended to follow me everywhere. He would wine the most if i was not in the room with him. I didnt give in as i expected to sell him and left him with his siblings and mother.

    After the other puppies were re homed and he had all his vaccinations ( at 24 weeks old ) i would take him out regularly at night for walks where we could not leave our street because he was too scared. I thought he was just being a normal scared puppy first time on a lead and if i took him out enough he would start to relax. We kept doing this every night i never pushed him and if it was too much would take him back home. I knew he was very frightened and we took things very slowly. Then when he was about 40 weeks old i got very sick and was admitted into hospital and was in and our of hospital so regularly i felt like i was a human yoyo. My friend rebecca and her husband would at that time would come over to walk him every other day. Then they couldn't and at that time we couldnt afford a dog walker so between December and late January he hardly got out unless i wasn't in hospital. My husband was away for work at that time and wasn't home, they stayed with my parents who refused to take any responsibility of them other than giving them food or water.

    We re-homed his father Titan in December for aggressive behaviour we could not control and he had become a danger to the other dogs in the house and people and dogs out on the streets. ( Apparently doing very well in his new home and behaviour is improving dramatically ). We made the decision to rehome Titan after he attacked Blaze and left him in a terrible state. It was a hard decision but not one i have regretted , i couldnt have an aggressive dog in a home with a baby. Since then we have noticed that Blaze is frightfully scared of border collies more than anything else and can not be controlled at all when he sees one.

    Since then we have hired a behaviourist to help Luna and Blaze with their dog anxieties generated from Titan. Luna has come on leaps and bounds and we are so proud of her and ourselves but Blaze is regressing and we dont know what to do.

    He used to be able to play with dogs and be around people if he was off lead and he had loads of positive interactions but none of them seem to be making an impression as his behaviour is regressing. And if he does get time off lead in a field he will bark all night long and wake the whole neighbourhood.

    What do we do?
    We tough him tricks such as leave it , sit , come , stay , wait and am currently teaching him to follow and weave through hurdles.
    They get 2 hours exercise a day outside the house. At 8pm and 3pm . Basically at any location where there isnt a dog or person in sight !!!
    He goes out for short walks where we teach him sit , look etc ( behaviourist said it was good to do this , i asked for the reason but cant remember it and didnt particularly understand it ) I think the idea is if he gets used to responding to these commands outside we can get him to look at us instead of the person or dog he sees. This however was doing well until an aggressive dog snapped at him and now he is terrible and constantly regressing. The behaviourist says just start from point 1 but thats not as easy as it may seem and doesnt seem to be helping matters.
    I have also been trying turning around and walking away from the thing that upsets him and talking really loudly saying things like " This way " , Look at me , Follow me and over here and good boy if he listens

    Anyway its still a massive struggle and i feel like he is never going to get better and was hoping for some advice and even if you cant give any advice maybe just a nice message of understanding would be nice or even some motivational ones.

    After his run at four we land up having to walk on lead through everyone heading back from picking their children up from school and he is just barking wildly at school children :'( and its so embarassing and heartbreaking to see. I feel so helpless. Our behaviourist is on holiday so will be awhile till we can get him back to see him. Saddest thing is he can somewhat be better controlled on his own but if we are walking his mother at the same time he is even more anxious its unreal. I love him so much and i want him to be happy outside like his mother and not scared of everything i just dont know what to do and i dont want him to get to get so bad that he starts hurting people. We realize his father must have had the same problem as a pup but we didnt realise it until too late so we are glad we know and are trying our best to help him but it seems so hopeless. And im really wondering at what point am i going to have to muzzle him for the safety of other people and dogs. He is just so scared but an amazing dogs at home and so love-able and a big friendly giant.

    Sometimes i feel like im a terrible dog owner who turns her dogs into aggressive monsters who want to hurt everyone and their pets and that Luna is just an absolute saint of a dog being able to put up with us. I feel so down its unreal.

    Please any help would be amazing
     

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    #1 BlueIris1*, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  2. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Your dog isn’t agrophobic, just anxious, fearful and stressed. It sounds like a mixture of genetics if his father was aggressive, and lack of socialisation if you didn’t start taking him out until he was 24 weeks and then only at night.

    It sounds like what your behaviourist is doing is generally a good idea - keeping him far enough away from other dogs so that he doesn’t react, and then rewarding the calm behaviour. You need to avoid situations that make him anxious as much as possible. Can you change his afternoon walk time or location to avoid the school pick up? This really won’t be helping and is a recipe for disaster.

    I would definitely start muzzling him in public (after introducing the muzzle properly) as this will give you peace of mind and should also signal to other owners that they need to give your dog some space (although again, you should be avoiding interactions with other dogs as much as possible).

    Your dog will be so stressed right now that a few days at home now (or after particularly stressful encounters) is probably a good idea.

    Some other more knowledgeable people will probably be along in the morning with more suggestions.
     
  3. BlueIris1*

    BlueIris1* PetForums Newbie

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    Thank-you i used to take him out at 1 am but unfortunately my husband and i are now working night-shifts and leave for for at 9pm and get back at 6am. I thought about walking him after work but have noticed a lot of people like walking their dogs at 6 am. :/ so really stuck on whens the best time to take him out. My behaviourist told me there is a barn in our local area we can hire for an hour a day for £10 so am planning to check that but it doesn't really solve him getting comfortable outside the house. We have recently noticed that he can coupe a lot better in pets at home rarely even barking at anyone or anything. Clearly still somewhat anxious but coupes better and gets a lot of posivite interactions with people and the occasional dog. But unless its pets at home he is in a right panic.
     
  4. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    It is not unusual for collies to go through a fear period at his age as they tend to be sensitive dogs in any case. I had similar problems with my youngster (pure border collie) who was attacked at about 11 months old and a week or to later was chased by a very feisty collie puppy. Like yours she had an absolute hissy fit at large posters of dogs at a training centre and was horrendous with the real thing....!! It took me all last summer and autumn to gradually improve her fear. I am lucky in that she loves agility so used the shows as a means of gently socialising her, being very careful not to overwhelm her and steering well clear of any dogs that might have had a pop at her.
    It's time and patience in all honesty. Do you know any dog owners with calm and placid dogs who you could walk with or are there any local training clubs (preferably that train outside and not in a hall) where your boy could be introduced very carefully, and in a controlled environment, to other 'nice' dogs?
    Btw the "look at me/watch me" is a way to get your dog to focus on you rather than stare at other dogs when he's stressed. I assume you back it up with loads of very tasty treats?
     
    O2.0 and lullabydream like this.
  5. BlueIris1*

    BlueIris1* PetForums Newbie

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    There is a trainer who runs outside agility classed but unfortunately he isn't ready for that yet as he goes into an absolute frenzy when he sees another dog, we have been backing the look at me with tasty treats and he is very good at it but when in a frenzy no treat is good enough to break that which is something we are really struggling with. I do know people with placid dogs but unfortunately they are all his siblings and we met up on the beach the other day and he didnt bark at them so im not sure that would help ??? Unless maybe that's a start i do not know. They also all live about an hour away so we wouldnt be able to do a regular walk with them
     
  6. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Hmm if he knows his siblings then no it wouldn't really help. What you need are several local placid dogs that you could walk with to give him confidence. I'm not sure the agility class would be suitable at the moment as a load of highly excited dogs would simply increase his stress levels. What you really need is an understanding and experienced trainer that runs basic obedience classes outside, where you could watch the class from a safe distance initially. Whereabouts are you (assuming UK)?
     
    O2.0 and Torin. like this.
  7. BlueIris1*

    BlueIris1* PetForums Newbie

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    East Sussex near Brighton.
     
  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Well there are plenty of trainers in your area but sadly since my sister died 5.1/2 years ago I've lost touch with quite a few of them in that area. My sister also lived in East Sussex.
    Have a look at The Dogs Trust website as I'm pretty sure they run behaviour/basic training classes around Brighton. You could also try Lee Lampert who is a very experienced trainer/handler and she's near Brighton. I'm not sure these days who the instructors are at Lewes Dog Training Club but you could ring and enquire (they have a website).
     
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