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Nervous Romanian Rescue

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Lizzog, Apr 6, 2021.


  1. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    We adopted our male 3 yo Romanian rescue via a UK foster home in Feb 2020. He has settled well in the house (apart from new visitors), and we are working with a behaviourist around this and his nervousness around dogs who come into his space (such as incoming fast moving dogs off lead and passing dogs particularly close to our house - we live on a road that goes onto a busy park).
    He lives with our other dog - a female 9 yo JRT cross, and they get on well, more so out of the house than inside where they are more likely to play chase.
    The behaviourist recommended that he take an supplement for his anxiety and nervousness - and I'm waiting for her suggestions. I'd be interested to know if anyone has found anything that particularly works with their nervous dog? I've tried the plug ins (not helped) and the Nutracalm (which I thought was helping him)- any suggestions?
     
  2. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    This sounds pretty normal for a nervous Rommie rescue to me.To be honest,I'd still consider it early days, given what many of the dogs there experience prior to being rescued.
    Can you protect him from 'incoming fast moving dogs off lead' by adapting his walks and/or being proactive/protective of him from the presence of other dogs that he clearly can't cope with at the moment?
    Could he be placed in another room/behind a stair gate etc when you have visitors to your home? My own Rommie rescue,who has been with us for nearly 8 years,still struggles with people he doesn't know and trust coming into his home.He finds it a lot easier if they text on arrival, rather than coming to the door and then he goes outside with me to meet them and bring them in.
    I don't think he would ever cope with fast,bouncy or big dogs rushing towards him.He has, however,over time, become far less reactive towards other dogs in general.He now enjoys the company of selective dogsThis has all been done at his pace and it has been such a pleasure to see him blossom into the amazing little dog he is now.
    I don't know about supplements for anxiety, although we did have adaptil collars on Maci for a time when he first arrived.I'd be cautious of 'sedating' him too much incase it masked his fear and heightened his underlying anxieties.I'm sure other people will be able to advise you more on this.
    Good luck, you'll need lots of time and patience but it sounds like you have the makings of a remarkable dog.
     
  3. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Just thought,we did use a Thundershirt with Maci at bonfire time last year because we weren't able to 'escape' the fireworks as we usually do because of covid restrictions.He coped with them much better than expected, although I think some of that may be down to his age related hearing loss.
     
  4. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for taking the time to get back to me. He's made massive progress in the year we have had him. He is great with visitors now that he knows well - my sister, her husband, our kids and respective boyfriend and girlfriend. If it's someone who we don't know well, we have done what you said and met them prior to them coming in the house and then ask them to ignore him. We have also managed to meet with a friend on a regular basis and her dog - both with our other dog and him on his own, and he initially is excited to see him, and then settles very quickly. My friend's dog is small and doesn't pay any attention at all to ours to that's great for him! My biggest problem with other dogs are that we live on a road that leads onto a very busy park so we get loads of dog walkers (a lot of them at the moment have bouncy puppies too!), and just getting into the car to go somewhere quiet is like a military style operation!! If dogs leave him alone he's fine, it's the ones that are off lead that come over to him when he's happy to be left alone that are the biggest problem. I think in time he may like to play with another dog as he loves to chase around with our other dog, and us too!
    I've just met the behaviourist this afternoon and she has recommended a few things to me for helping with his anxiety - but I will need to give it him everyday. They aren't sedatives at all but supplements, and it takes a few weeks to build up in his system. I'm hoping it will take the edge of his nervousness to help him to relax in different situations. I've lowered my expectations of him and accepted his nervousness - as you say, time and patience are what's needed.
     
  5. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Ahh, well done,he sounds lovely.I think a lot struggle with people who let their dogs rush up to give unwanted attention.I'm very proactive about it,I ask them to keep their dogs away,most are happy to oblige and I always thank them.The ones who are not so obliging hear a bit more from me! I consider it my responsibility to keep my dog safe and happy,not to be popular!
    It's amazing how many similarities there seem to be between a lot of the Rommie rescues.Do you know much about the history of yours before he came to you?
    Please let us know how things progress.It's always good to hear and there are some very knowledgeable people on here,not me particularly,who can offer advice and ideas in all sorts of situations.
     
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  6. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    Yes he was in a kill shelter in Radauti Romania for about four months. Then UK foster care for six months where he had an op to repair a broken hip. That’s as much as we know. I think a lot of prospective adopters would have run a mile as he will inevitably get arthritis. He’s on a pain trial for a month with Galliprant and seems a lot better on it, which is great, and less stiff. He’s only 3 so didn’t want to use Metacam long term because of the effects it can have on his gut. He’s a gentle soul and unlike our other previous (and current) dogs who were both terriers!! He’s happy to potter around and the odd squirrel chase. How was your dog initially with visitors? I think because of lockdown this is going to be particularly tricky
     
  7. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Poor boy,the shelters there have the most appalling conditions.I think people often confuse them with the dog pounds here but in reality,they are sheer hell on earth.How's he doing with his hip?Maci was hit by a car and had quite a bit of damage done, which is how he got into rescue.He was still in Romania when we became aware of him and, like you,we didn't think his chances of getting a home were very good,so he came to us.Maci was on metacam for a time but had to come off it,he was very poorly from it (I know some dogs do really well on it).
    Maci came directly to us,so he was more or less in shock when he arrived.We banned visitors and let him settle very steadily.He was about 7/8 years old and had never lived in a house,so it was quite a transition for him.
    There is obviously a bit of terrier in his mix and I always say he thinks like a terrier.He was quite reactive to people and dogs and still has trust issues in some situations.Visitors were a definite no no and he is still only really comfortable with people he knows coming to his home.He does love visiting other people now though and generally,he has gone from expecting people to hurt him to expecting them to like him.As you say, it's taken time and patience but it's been wonderful to see his comfort zone expand.It's been a long journey but one I wouldn't have missed for the world.
     
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  8. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    So lovely to hear that. I’ve just watched a new film called Stray. It puts into perspective what street dogs go through (this is in Turkey not Romania) - worth a watch but hard viewing at times (more because of the human poverty).
    I’m hoping with time and patience his reactivity and general nervousness will improve
     
  9. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Fingers crossed.From my experience, I'd say take it steady and try not to let him get overwhelmed.If he is,he can't learn and move forward.Maci learned so much by watching from a distance,he couldn't go near the park at first because he'd just freak out if he saw another dog.Gradually we got to the edge of the park,where he watched (he's a very smart cookie). When he was ready,we ventured in a little, until he was comfortable with it as long as other dogs didn't pester him.I'm still careful not to put him in situations that he couldn't cope with but he's comfortable in many more situations now.He's generally a very calm little dog with lots of admirer's.I'm sure your dog's confidence will grow as he builds up positive experiences.Enjoy the journey.
     
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  10. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    What did Maci do when he saw another dog out of interest? Jules is definitely a dog to 'watch' and suss out what is happening. If a dog comes into his space he makes a horrible screechy sound and will lunge. He's only young still so I'm hoping that his confidence is going to grow. A year is nothing I guess in the life of a traumatised rescue.
     
  11. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Maci would lunge,bark, become frenzied and generally 'lose it'.You couldn't touch him in this state because he'd redirect his behaviour to you.I quickly learnt to put enough distance between him and any other dog, you can work out what his 'safe' distance is where he feels comfortable and doesn't have to go into defence mode.He's still pretty reactive on the streets,so we'd only go on at really quiet times/places.Generally,though, his confidence has grown so much.I think you're right,as a young dog,Jules has plenty of time ahead to learn to see that the world is not as awful as it once was.My experience was that managing Maci's environment was what changed his reactions,what he's comfortable with has increased beyond all expectations.He is an absolute pleasure to be around,I truly believe that he has grown into the dog he was born to be.
    Have you had a look at 'The Dogs Point of View' website?
     
  12. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    They sound so alike. We tend to walk in quiet places where we know he can be under threshold and generally speaking I can manage the environment. I have to say, my biggest problem are off lead dogs who run up to us - he would run at them if off lead and bark to get them to go away. When he gets to them he just stands there.
    Yes I'm on the Dogs Point of View Facebook page and am working through their mini course at the moment, which is so helpful!
     
  13. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Maci's a bit like that,he sounds awful but doesn't actually do anything.I think there are lots of common threads running through some of these dogs.I reckon it's in their DNA!
    Do you ask/tell people to call their dogs off.I'm more than happy to have a word with people if it's to protect Maci.I think I could wear a tabard saying 'dogs ok, beware of his person'! I think there are probably more rude dogs/walkers around now as the pups purchased in the pandemic start to mature.
    It sounds like you are doing a great job with him.Take it steadily, I'm sure he'll get there,they just need the opportunity and someone to take over the job of protecting them,which they had to try to do themselves in their former lives.
     
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  14. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    Yes I agree - the lockdown pups are all now adolescents - nightmare! It doesn't help either that we live on the approach road to a beautiful park with woodland (that we can't use anymore due to the number of people coming in with puppies/adolescents).... just getting to the car can sometimes feel like Mission Impossible!
    Thanks so much for your support - it makes such a difference to speak to other owners with the same issues, and particularly good to hear from you as Maci sounds to have made such massive improvements.
     
  15. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    It's a pleasure.Maci's been with us for 8 years towards the end of May,so he's had quite a bit of time as a UK dog.I think most of 'these' dogs are intelligent, intuitive and incredibly resilient.They just need to be given the chance by someone who's willing to go the extra mile for them.
    Maci's coming with me to visit a friend shortly,now that we can go in the garden!She absolutely loves him and really values his friendship, which was hard earned.He wasn't sure when he first met her and voiced his concerns!It took many 'incidental' meetings,short,not on his territory and with no contact at all before he decided that she was on his list.It makes me realise just how far he's come.He really is an amazing little dog.
     
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  16. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    That's so lovely to hear. We've got a long way to go with visitors. We got him in February last year just before we went into lockdown. Our son, who is tall and loud (!) was working in France. I worried myself stupid that Jules wasn't going to like him. We met him in the park (which was hard as I'd not seen him for six months), and walked back to the house - they've been best mates ever since. It's taken a bit longer with our daughter's boyfriend, but he's got a select number of people he will be fine with in our house. Lockdown has made this side of training very hard and so this will be something we will really have to work on with him. Our house is a row of terraces with a shared passageway and small garden so we are limited to where we can put him when people come round. I'm going to fashion a safe space for him. He loves pizzle sticks (yuck) so it will be a stick and a safe place for him when people come round again!! We've done some walking with a friend and her dog. A momentous occasion yesterday - we walked with them without our other dog (she's got a bad paw at the moment), and he was absolutely fine - you've got to take these little gains!!
     
  17. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Senior

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    Ahh,bless,it sounds really positive.Maci would still struggle with people he isn't absolutely sure of coming to the house.He has canine massages and his masseur arranged a neutral place to treat him when she started with him (they normally work in the dogs own home).After a number of sessions she tried coming here,it was so successful that I think he'd be happy for her to move in now!He can 'get there' with anyone, he's basically a very friendly little dog but it has to be done at his pace.Once he accepts someone,he can go for ages without seeing them but they remain on his list.
     
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  18. Gingerfish

    Gingerfish PetForums Newbie

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    Hi guys, just wanted to say I really enjoyed this thread. We have had our first Rommie since November and it's the teeny bits of progress that make the difference. We live near a popular walking space too - luckily it's pretty quiet before 8am and so he can be off lead, but constantly being aware of the threshold is tough. Tomorrow we are walking with friend's dogs for the first time - we have an abort plan in case it's tricky for him - but it has been really nice to read your posts. Fingers crossed we make the same sort of progress!
     
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  19. Lizzog

    Lizzog PetForums Junior

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    Nice to hear from you! We’ve got another
    Dog too and he gets on with her.
    She’s a bossy 9 yo JRT cross and certainly is the leader of the pack!!! we’ve gradually managed to meet a friend and her JRT cross who just ignores Jules completely and we walk with them once a week.
    He lunged and barked at first and now goes up to him to greet him! I think a lot of Romanian dogs have good manners and I’m finding that a lot of the dogs he doesn’t like are the ones that are in his face!!
    Good luck with the meet up- let us know how you get on
     
  20. Gingerfish

    Gingerfish PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for that - our 'queen of all she surveys' 11(or more) YO lab (Maya) is largely in charge in our house. But these 2 terrors (a cocker and a cockerpoo) have been round many times before we got Geordie so just tend to rampage about. We met them outside and took them all for a walk - took it easy and step by step and by the end were very happily all off lead. Geordie even tried to play a bit with the Cocker (she's very fast) but bounced into a wire fence... :eek: luckily not very fast and just surprised himself a bit. I was so proud of him - in fact all of them - I nearly cried at several points. The 'borrowed' dogs don't always have great manners - always trying to lick Maya's face, luckily can't reach unless allowed- but were actually really good with Geordie. They even came into the house and they all followed me round a bit and all hung out in the kitchen, and then he went to bed while the girls finished their cooking lesson. (ahem). I'm blinking thrilled as I love my neighbour's dogs! And so proud of my very best boy. :)
     
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