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Too embarrassed to walk my dog!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by RobynB, Sep 27, 2013.


  1. RobynB

    RobynB PetForums Newbie

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    I've had dogs ever since I was a little girl and I've always enjoyed taking them out on walks. We moved to Chester five years ago with our King Charles Spaniel and I relished walking him through the woodland pathway in my village. We got a Patterdale Terrier roughly two years after moving into our new home, as a birthday present for my younger brother who has various mental disabilities. At that point all of my siblings were in education and my parents were both working throughout the day to scrape a living. Walking the dogs became a less frequent event and letting them out to run the stretch of the garden became the new thing, and as this occurred in the Patterdale's younger years it has had a profound effect on her.

    I noticed that the female patterdale is extremely nervous and protective over us all but especially over my male spaniel. Taking her on walks or on holiday has become a nightmare and we now all avoid doing such things. She will bark very viciously at people, cars and other dogs whenever walked. She will whine and bark to herself throughout the walk and will actually have diarrhoea. Letting her off the lead is not an option as I am petrified that she will bite someone or another dog. If I approach another dog with her she will lower herself into a stalking position then will suddenly burst into barking fits. She completely ignores any commands and will not fall to the temptation of treats which I try to use as a bargaining chip. I actually have to walk the dogs separately as the terrier cannot stand it if our spaniel walks ahead of her, she barks and whines even louder than usual as though worried he might vanish!

    She has never bitten another person or animal, whenever confronted by a larger dog she is worse and more defensive although if the other dog starts to play with her or gets close to her she will calm down to a degree but will be very tense and tends to snap at the air if the other dog is too shifty or creeps around her to where she can't see it. She will usually bark at people if they're at a distance from her, for example she recently barked at an old woman who was gardening over the road from us whilst I was walking her, the old woman came over and greeted her and she stopped barking and acted like a sweet little angel. She is great with kids and people in her own home, she's the perfect lap dog and loves attention but whenever she is put into an environment she isn't keen on or doesn't know too well she gets very defensive and people are starting to interpret this as aggressive and I'm too embarrassed to walk her.
    I now have more time on my hands and would like to start walking my dogs again, I just don't know where to start, our patterdale is now turning three years of age and needs introducing to other dogs I just don't know how to do it safetly, please help!
     
  2. Debbierobb109

    Debbierobb109 PetForums Member

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    hi! it sounds like your dog is absolutely petrified, if she was not socialised to all these things in the very beginning then its no wonder she is scared of them now and reacting the way she is. with her just being out in the garden she would not have experienced al the goings on in the big wide world that is outside the house. the house will be her safe place!
    you will need to try and desensitize her to it all...which wont be easy.
    have you thought about getting help from behaviourist?
    maybe you could sit at the front door with her and every time someone passes you give her a high reward treat for being calm, then progress further out of the garden, stand at the pavement and repeat the process getting further down the road each time, if she stresses out go back a stage.
    you could also try giving her some calming medicine, you get great stuff called Valerian compound from here Nerves and Phobias - Dorwest

    you could give her this to calm her a bit so you can work with her to try and get her over this awful fear she is experiencing, obviously having never met your dog the above might not work, and is only a suggestion. but if i were you i would contact a good positive behaviourist and see if they can help you to help your dog.
    hopefully you will be able to relieve her of some stress. :eek:
     
  3. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

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    That sounds like me in a parallel universe. I have a little terrier, suspect lakeland type x, spent the first 14 months on a farm with no experience with anything else.

    We took her on a year ago and wow culture shock for us both.

    All the things you describe sound exactly the same as my little one and I think are her showing extreme stress :( poor wee thing.

    Debbie has some excellent advice but I think you need to start understanding her first. I think you would benefit from a positive reward based behaviorists help but also try reading some books and just generally educating yourself on dog behaviour, stress levels and how dogs cope and react.

    She wont take treats she is way over that point, the crawling behavior is chronic stress, barking at everyone and everything is stress but also a bit what terriers do.

    Particular books I found helpful were found Scaredy Dog by Ali Brown, Feisty Fido by Patricia McConnell, these help you help the dog, to try and understand some of her signals then Turid Rugaas books 'Barking' and 'On talking terms: Calming Signals', to understand dog full stop then Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson, I also saw an excellent trainer and attended a reactive dog course, that practical help essential I think to actually put all the whirlwind of info into practice and help you root out what will and wont work for your dog, they are all different after all.

    I have also muzzle trained her and now walk her muzzled so she cant resort to biting so I can relax, I dont need to fear a nip either.

    Recently also read another good book, a little heavy handed in its advice in places so take care, but the first part was really interesting, in that explains terrier behaviors in context of their breeding (mostly common sense when you think about it but sometimes we need a poke int he eye to see) and a patterdale is possibly the closest to their original working breed traits as you get with modern terriers unless buying specifically from a working kennel. This called Terrier Centric Training.

    You have come to the right place, IF you are truly prepared to put in the work, it can be heart breaking, theres lots of helpful advice here I could have given up with out the support of this forum, but above all TAKE IT VERY VERY SLOWLY, if you force her to do anything, she may well do it all guns blazing, but you will be building on the layers of stress she is already feeling.
     
  4. RobynB

    RobynB PetForums Newbie

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    Thankyou very much guys for the tips and advice. I've ordered some books and will get reading! I adore my patterdale to bits (she's called Luna by the way, wasn't my name choice..!) and I'm willing to commit the time in now to put right what we did wrong. I'll be starting with small regular walks to places that she is familiar with, obviously if she's hysterical then I'll bring her home but she is slowing starting to become less stressed as time goes on, hopefully I can get her back on track without a behaviourist. Obviously it is in terrier breed to be a bit snappy and nervous every now and then but it's really getting out of hand.
    Thanks again!
     
  5. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Administrator
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    Sounds a bit like my rescue dachshund too. She's 10 yr old, has been shown and bred when younger , but seems to have spent the last few years with little socialization. She snaps at dogs that get within 2 feet of her, lunges and growls but is getting much more relaxed with calm dogs approaching. I daren't walk her off lead though .
     
  6. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

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    One more thing I am a bit of a stuck record on this but what do you walk her on:

    Dogmantics Dog Training Blog: Is it harmful to attach a leash to your dog’s neck?

    I strongly believe using a well fitting harness is far better than walking in a flat collar. The link above explains the myriad of reasons far better than i can, I use a front attaching one, from mekuti, as it gives you the ability to have two points of contact, the chest and the back, you can use the front attachments to help guide her away from triggers.

    Ok two more things :p., especially in the early stages I would remove her from the situations that trigger her. A good u-turn move (you should practice this anywhere anytime even when there nothing there) and avoid walking in places where close contact or avoidance isn't possible, so no narrow footpaths or alleys etc however if she is a scanner it can be useful to have things you can duck behind.
     
  7. RobynB

    RobynB PetForums Newbie

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    I use a full fitted harness which has a clip on her back, it straps around her chest so is quite handy if I really need to move her away from a situation without causing too much fuss :)
     
  8. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

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    Sorry I get a bit excited when I feel I can advise on something :eek:
     
  9. Firedog

    Firedog PetForums VIP

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    Didn't you know Luna is short for lunatic.:)

    Not helping I know.
     
  10. sianrees1979

    sianrees1979 PetForums VIP

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