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Nervous Dog, HELP

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Elsas mum, Jul 3, 2010.


  1. Elsas mum

    Elsas mum PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, rescued my Ridgeback around 9 months ago, we think she may be nearly 2 years old. She is doing really well, considering she had such a bad start in life. Was not house trained, never was walked on a lead and kept in a cage with hardly any exercise. She is doing great, but I am struggling to walk her on a lead on any slightly busy street. We live in a small market town and she got out of her lead and ran in the middle of the road, the other day. She froze until I got to her but anything could have happened, to her or anyone else. I felt like such a bad mum. Every other day I have been walking her up town to get her use to it, but not sure what else I can do, any suggestions????
     
  2. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Sounds as if you are doing a pretty good job anyway.

    How about taking her to a pet training class. Check them out first, before taking the dog, as some are much better than others.

    It would at least help her to solicalise with other handlers and dogs in a friendly environment.
     
  3. Elsas mum

    Elsas mum PetForums Newbie

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    Hi thanks for the reply. Will have a look at whats available in our area.
     
  4. Bearpaw

    Bearpaw PetForums VIP

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    Hi,sounds like youre doing a great job so far well done you.Dont feel bad.
    training classes would be great,if you can find some near you.Have you considered a halti/gentle leader? may be worth a go,some dogs dont like them at first but once used to them,can really help.
    Keep up with socialising as much as you can,one day all your hard work will show.:)
     
  5. mollymo

    mollymo Life is Golden

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    We went on holiday a while ago and our youngest a Golden Retriever was very nervous in the small towns we went to with many people there.....she also slipped her halti in a panic and pulled into the road(very scary)when a push chair approched us.
    I went the next day and bought her a harness and she took to it like a duck to water...I think she felt more confident and secure in her new outfit and it made myself and hubby happy aswell knowing she was happy and safe.

    A harness is something ive have never been interested in trying before...but im very glad i did....a good £18 spent.:thumbup:
    Maybe this could work for your dog and ourself.
     
  6. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    I will echo, don't feel bad about your dog running into the road - it's more common than you think!

    Merlin did this a couple of times when he was younger, no damage thankfully, except that when crossing roads he always pulls because he remembers that being in a road is scary. He also shies away from any shops that sell Halal meat, because the first time he ran off I caught him outside an ethnic food shop/butchers, and he has forever associated the smell with being scared.

    I'm sure when you've had your dog a bit longer and built up more of a bond (training classes are good for this) it won't happen again.

    I met a lovely rescued whippet-cross a few months ago who slipped her lead and ran into the road beside some shops. Her owner managed to get her back, saying she'd only had her a few weeks and she was still very nervous. I met the dog again last week, and you wouldn't believe she was the same dog - very happy and chilled, and obviously bonded to her owner now.
     
  7. bird

    bird PetForums VIP

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    Apart from the other tips, do you have any supermarket carparks near to you. When Arnie was a pup he was totally scared of cars, so I used to drive down to the supermarket and walk him around the carpark, starting at the quieter end and working my way up to the busier part, all the cars are travelling slowly and theres people moving around, but not in the manic way that happens in roads where shops are. Just did a few minutes each day with a reward of a nicer walk afterwards.
    Also it sounds like your dog has had a pretty crappy start in life, so just lots of reassurance and patience. You'll get there. ;)
     
  8. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Hi.

    Well done for giving this dog a home, sounds like you are doing a fab job - so keep up the good work.

    Invest in a different type of coller. All my rescue's wear half checks. They cannot slip out of them.

    Your dog was obviously very fearful to slip the lead and run off, therefore maybe you went a bit far?

    What exactly is the trigger? Cars? People?

    You need to desensitize her to whatever it is, and build her up gradually. Nervous dogs are one of the most difficult to deal with.

    If you haven't already, why not book a couple of sessions with a reputable behaviourist (ask on here for leads to your area)? They will give you tips on how best to deal. Obviously you don't want to make this worse, and by not addressing it in the corrrect way you may inadvertandly do so.

    Best of luck
    x
     
  9. ClaireandDaisy

    ClaireandDaisy PetForums VIP

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    Hi
    I have a terrified dog who was severely abused. After 7 months he now lets me stroke him. :thumbup:
    I think with frightened dogs you have to go slowly and let them move on at their own pace. If she is frightened in a busy street, stick to quiet ones till she is more relaxed. It will come, but if you push it, she will produce more adrenalin, become more anxious, and it`ll lead to a heap of other unwanted behaviours.
    It does help if you note down the tiny successes. After a few months they add up to a big step forward, I think you`ll find.
    There are quite a few things you can do to help calm her. Giving her confidence with reward-based training is good, and a DAP diffuser and a den of her own in the home. Using `deferment` techniques (teaching the dog to defer to you rather than panic by teaching a rear sit or watch-me command) is good for walks.
    Good luck with her.
    How did she slip her collar? Did she back out of it? I use a martingale collar on the one of mine who does this as it prevents it. Or you could consider a harness.
     
  10. Elsas mum

    Elsas mum PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for all your suggestions. Think i may try a harness and just do it slowly. We managed to walk a 6th of the way up the street today and sat down for two mins. As you all say it may just take time. I keep telling her to trust me ( know it sounds mad). Am thinking of getting another rescue once we get this cracked, as she loves being with other dogs. But may have to leave it for a while yet. x
     
  11. pika

    pika PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like your doing all the right things, perhaps some training classes so your dog can see new people and other dogs like weekly or something?

    Anyways, I hope it all goes well!
     
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