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Do all dogs have this many issues? Am I expecting too much?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Sylvergrunge, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Sylvergrunge

    Sylvergrunge PetForums Newbie

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Hey all, we recently (back in October) rescued a 7 month old Boxer x Lab. Now 11 months old, he is gorgeous and is generally such a softie with my family (I have 2 daughters aged 6 and 8, and he had growled at my 6 year old a few times). Unfortunately though, different issues have been coming out with him and I am getting to the end of my teather and am tempted to rehome him. The following is a list of the issues in the order that they have been coming out, aswell as things I have been using to try to overcome them:

    1. Seperation anxiety - he goes mad when we leave him on his own at home (even though it is not regularly or all day, as I work from home). I have tried leaving him in his crate but he whimpers and drools, and is always panting like he has been on a big run. I have also tried leaving him to roam the house but he chewed some of my daughters toys. I then restricted him to the hall way with nothing available to chew and he just sits and howls. When I am home, he follows me round and whines if I put him in the garden on his own.
    2. Car sickness - he is sick in the car every time we go out in it. I have tried short, journeys, giving him treats in the car and talking to him. Leaving the window open, ginger biscuits. Feeding him in the car (but he wont eat). The car now stinks and the boot (although we have lined it in rubber matting) is now damp and as it is so cold, is not drying out.
    3. Food - we were told he ate WAGG puppy when we got him but that he needed to go onto an adult dog kibble. He had major liquid poo, which we put down to the upheaval, so after consultation with the vet, we put him onto an adult kibble from our local pet shop (Heather Valley) but he doesn't like it and will not eat it on it's own, so we added some tinned meat (Chappie) which he enjoyed but did nothing for his poos. We have since tried a different kibble (but he just doesn't seem to like any) and gave up on the tinned meat and added pasta to try and get him to eat more. His poos are still super soft so we resorted to Chicken and Rice, which he LOVED and hoovered up, poos have become more formed so we have started readding kibble, but it is giving him the runs again :(
    4. He has nipped 2 children - one at school when I used to take him on the school run, but have now stopped as dont want to risk another repeat. Once at my house when my friends son came to the door, my dog barked which scared my friends son, making him run back, and my dog got past me (my fault I know) and ran after him and nipped his leg. He has also started chasing children at the park, not to nip....so far...but as he is such a big dog, it does scare them.
    5. He is becoming increasingly dominant with other dogs. Although there are a few at our local park that dominate him, he has started agressively pinning down some of the more submissive ones.

    Am I expecting too much from a rescue dog? We do take him to obedience classes and he is an angel there and always top of the class. He knows and responds well to lots of different commands but just doesn't seem to listen to me when we are out and about :( Just looking for some advice please. Thanks in advance. x
  2. Helbo

    Helbo PetForums VIP

    Sep 15, 2010
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    Separation Anxiety is a tough issue to deal with so don't expect drastic changes to his behaviour in a short amount of time. This will be something you'll have to work on gradually.

    When at home, try to make you moving around the house as nothing to be interested in. Get up and do it often. Sometimes leave the doors open behind you, sometimes close them. If your dog is separated from you, only leave the door closed a few seconds. The general idea I'm trying to get across is that you need to try to desensitise the dog to your movements in the house. This in my opinion is the first basic step to building his confidence. Similarly, sometimes get your shoes and coat on and go sit in the lounge, sometimes go out the front door for a couple of seconds...again try to make you getting ready to go nothing to pay attention to.

    Some dogs just are travel sick - like us. Have you tried traveling on an empty stomach?

    There could be something in the kibble irritating his stomach. My puppy went through something similar and I ended up feeding him Wainwrights Turkey and Rice available at PetsatHome. Wainwrights is a range of food that has tried to exclude irritants in their ingredients. Its about £35 for a 15kg bag, but that lasts me 2-3 months with a medium sized dog. But I also add 2 tablespoons of their tray wet food to the kibble to keep Charlie interested in his dinner.

    For now, keep him on chicken/fish and rice if thats agreeing with him. Its not a long-term solution but I kept Charlie on it for about a week after his tummy cleared up to make sure any issues were gone before gradually introducing a new food.

    Many on here swear by RAW feeding so you know exactly whats going in your dogs tummy...

    Sounds to me like play but something that needs to stop. I've never had any nipping issues like this so can't offer much advice.

    Again, sounds like play. Unless he's snarling and growling and trying to hurt the other dog, he might just be wrestling. Many dogs play this way. If you don't want him to play this way all you can really do is end the playtime when it gets too rough.

    From everything you've said he seems an excitable and a nervous dog - and you need to work to build his confidence and calm him down. Dogs in general are a lot of work, and most have at least 1 'issue'. And it takes time to deal with these issues.

    If you're struggling for what to do, try a dog trainer to work with you one-on-one.
  3. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

    Aug 27, 2008
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    Wow, that is alot of issues but well done for taking him on!;)
    I dont think Id be brave enough to take on a boxer/lab cross as both breeds are extremely bouncy, energetic and have long puppyhoods. Some of his 'problems' might just be breed behaviour (nipping the kids and wrestling/attacking other dogs sounds like an over excited, boisterous large breed teenage dog TBH).
    Have you considered using a long line when out walking to keep some control when greeting other dogs/kids in the park??
    Also have a look at the raw feeding threads here, if you have the freezer space its a diet that works out well for alot of dogs.

    Good luck (and I think I'll stick with my Chihuahuas!LOL):eek:
  4. hawksport

    hawksport Banned

    Dec 27, 2009
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    Apart from the training class where else do you train him?
  5. Daneandrottiemum

    Daneandrottiemum PetForums Member

    Aug 26, 2011
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    Wow, sounds like you're having a right old time of it and the dog doesn't sound like he's very happy either :(

    You got him at 7 months old you say and he's now 11 months so he's still a pup, but now fast approaching adolescence. Can I ask where you got him from? Is he your first dog? Having regards to the issues you mention, can I just say that from your post he doesn't sound dominant, he sounds confused, anxious and frightened.

    1. Separation anxiety. It sounds like he doesn't know how to cope alone or self soothe so baby steps here i'm afraid. You'll have to start leaving him alone in a room for a minute or so at a time, returning before he becomes anxious and gradually build the time up. It can take a long time to get him used to being alone if you've always been there with him so you'll have to do this even when you are there all day. When you go back in reward him for his quiet behaviour with a stuffed kong or something he really loves. You could also try using DAP diffusers around the area that he's in or lavender oil. If you crate him, make sure you have got him used to the crate first, you can't just shove them in and expect them to be ok with it. Leave the crate door open and entice him in with a stuffed frozen Kong toy to keep him occupied. Leave the door open whilst he eats it so he associates the crate with good things. You will have to be consistent with leaving him and returning before he stresses and the crate training or it won't work.

    2. Car. You say he won't eat in the car, which is normal because he's too stressed. If you put him in in that state, he'll stay in that state and will vomit and pant. Try, when you take him for a walk, going out to the car with him and sitting in the boot yourself but leave him outside. You can treat him, play with a toy or just chat to him, whatever he likes most. Stay there for about a minute then get out, shut the boot and go off on your walk. When you come back, same drill for about a minute and then into the house. You need to change his association with the car as a source of stress to a source of calm. When he's calm outside the car, invite him into the boot WITH YOU but don't close it, just sit there for a very short time then get out and go on your walk. When he's ok with that, he goes in the boot alone, then out and walk. Then start the car, then out then walk, then drive forward 2 yards, then out then walk etc. My Dane had this problem and it took about 3-4 days to get it sorted but he now loves the car. Lavender oil can also help on a comfy bed in the boot.

    3. Food. It can take a bit of time to get the food right (I'm glad that you changed him off of Wagg) but it would be better to introduce different foods gradually rather than chopping and changing. Any diet change can give them a runny bum. A vet check would in oredr to make sure that he hasn't got any bugs or medical problems, then I would put him back on the chicken and rice and introduce a good quality kibble very slowly or consider raw feeding but again slowly introduced. Stress can play havoc with their bowels too so as he starts to calm down re the sep anx and car that may help a bit.

    4. Nipping. Has he nipped your kids? It could be just puppy play because he never learned bite inhitbition but definately not somthing to encourage :eek: I personally would agree with not taking him on the school run which could be stressing him out with all those noisy squeaky fast moving kids in close proximity but it would be worth you taking him onlead to the local park for example and let him watch the the kids playing at a safe distance so he can become more used to them gradually. Re the episode at the front door - don't let him go to the door in future. Train him to go to his crate or bed. He needs to understand in no uncertain terms that you decide who comes aand goes and if he struggles with that (one of mine does) he must go to his safe place (crate/bed/room whatever) when guests come in.

    5. Other dogs. You say he's been "dominated" by a couple of other dogs at the local park and he now pins down the submissive ones. No surprise really because that's what he's learnt about interaction from being in that park. Don't let him off lead for a free for all with dogs that you don't know and try to find some other dog walkers with polite dogs to walk with on lead to get him used to the presence of other dogs and learn a few manners. He sounds like an anxious case anyway so you have to protect him from dog park bullie.

    As for not listening to you. Patience is the key. You are the human, he is the dog. If you ask him for a sit when you're out and he doesn't want to do it, stand there and wait him out for as long as it takes so he understands that he doesn't get to do anything else until he's done what you asked of him. Dogs are smart, he'll soon figure out that it's easier and less time consuming to do as he's told :D.

    He's hitting that awkward age now and you will have to step up the training to make it stick. Good luck!
  6. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

    Oct 19, 2011
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    It sounds to me that you need to go to "real life" dog classes; ALL dogs behave in a village hall, there is nothing more interesting to do, see or smell.

    Where do you live? perhaps we can recommend someone?

    All of these issues are relatively simple to solve, but you might need some 1:1 help to start off with?
  7. celeste/ROXY

    celeste/ROXY PetForums Junior

    Jun 12, 2011
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    Great advise smokeybear:D
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