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Very new Romania Rescue - issues

Discussion in 'Dog Rescue and Adoption' started by Alison Gee, May 13, 2019.


  1. Alison Gee

    Alison Gee PetForums Newbie

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    Hi
    I'm a newbie here and a newbie to dog ownership. We have taken in a small Romanian rescue. She is about 18 months old, very affectionate little girl lap dog. She is crate trained at night already and only whimpers for 5 mins before she settles. The foster family she was living with before we adopted her had another Romanian rescue and they got on well. Since we have got her she barks and growls at other dogs when we take her for a walk. She pulls on the lead to get to them and barks and growls. We have walked her up to a couple of willing people and she has barked and growled, one dog was very submissive and went on her back and our dog just growled and went to nip. We've only had her a week so she is not trained yet. The foster carer said she was not like this when she took her out for the 3 weeks she stayed with her. Any advice what to do? We really want her to be okay with other dogs. So don't particularly just want to avoid places with dogs. How should we handle it when she does pull toward them and barks? We have signed her up for dog training but they said she needs to be okay with other dogs and at this point I'm not sure she is thanks a lot for any help
     
  2. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    I think you need a one to one with a good behaviourist before this escalates.

    You need to know why she’s doing this before you can put anything in place to change it, and as a newbie dog owner you might be reading it all wrong.

    It may be that she’s been walked with the other rescue, in her previous home, and is having trouble dealing with stuff on her own, but without a professional assessment that would be hard to say.

    In the meantime I would try to avoid any interactions that are going to get a reaction from her; a behaviour which is repeated is re-inforced.
     
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  3. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Member

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    If she’s growling at other dogs, she’s not happy about them being near, so the last thing you should do is to take her closer. I think the advice to get some professional advice is sound (does the charity she was homed through offer any support? Some do.) In the meantime, the best thing to do, if she sees a dog and reacts is to walk smartly away in another direction. If the dog is off the lead, ask the owner (firmly, if needs be) to recall their dog. Don’t berate your dog fir growling and barking as that may help to reinforce her anxiety. Just make no drama out of it.
     
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  4. Alison Gee

    Alison Gee PetForums Newbie

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    Oh dear, that's not good. We are not forcing her over to the dogs, she actually pulls the lead towards them. The minute she sees a dog she starts barking and trying to drag us towards them. I wasn't sure if it because she is on a lead that she feels more vulnerable? Whereas she is used to being able to roam free and run up to them or runaway? We would never take her towards them, we tried to let her lead us over to see if she actually just wanted to play or was over excited but she just sort of growls. She met some other dogs and again growled but then lost interest. It's just strange that the foster family didn't have this problem. I guess we just try and avoid dogs and pull her away for now until we can organise some training. Feels a bit stressful at the moment as we don't want to reinforce the wrong thing. Thanks for your help
     
  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like she’s anxious about the other dogs and given she’s new to you and she isn’t yet confident in her new environment.

    If she was walked with the other foster that will have helped her, I’m sure.

    Find the distance at which she will be calm and praise/reward.

    If she’s pulling towards them, turn and walk away in a lighthearted manner and as soon as she settles, reward/praise. Then you can wander along parallel to the “trigger” so she doesn’t feel threatened or over excited.

    A harness and long line will give her some freedom but you have control and can work at recalling away from the other dogs.

    If you can find a local owner with a dog she will settle with, that will help her confidence (and yours tbh ;)).

    Best to work towards having a dog that is neutral to other dogs in general and encourage only a small number of suitably calm and well mannered buddies, rather than a dog who sees all others as a playmate.

    The stress hormone is accumulative and takes a few days to dissipate so maybe a few quiet days to go back to “empty” and start again whilst maintaining that workable distance.

    Be very firm with other owners not to allow their dogs to approach her.

    My rescue was over excited/frustrated and was like a whirling dervish at first but the distance training really enabled him to be calm at the sight of other dogs.

    He became BFF’s with a local Greyhound (because he was now so steady and calm) who was reactive through fear and it really helped her (and her owner) to relax, though she still wasn’t ever happy around other dogs.
     
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  6. Alison Gee

    Alison Gee PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much for the replies. The advice has been really helpful. We have invested in an extendable lead today and will start to try the distance training. I have contacted a one to one dog trainer. There is a group assessment next week for a different dog training group which we will take her long to and see how she is. If she cant handle it we will have to use the one on one trainer. Its very early days as we have only had her a week but I was concerned as she wasn't displaying this behaviour in the foster home and didn't want her regressing or somehow reinforce any bad habits with out realising.
    There is a local pet meet up group so I may explain the situation to them and see if anyone is willing to let us have a meet up and try her out.
    She has generally been very relaxed with us. Does not appear anxious around the house or scared on her walks until there is another dog.
    Thanks again everyone. Any further advice is always appreciated.
     
  7. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,the situation sounds familiar to me with our Romanian rescue,Maci.We had him directly from the the transport from Romania,which sounds crazy but with our circumstances we were sure we could make it work.It has and nearly six years on he's a fabulous little dog.When he first arrived,he was quiet and easy to handle by us.Basically,he was in shock from all that had happened to him,the gruelling journey and suddenly finding himself in a domestic setting.It was only when he started to come round that his real character and reactions started to come out.I suspect that could be what has happened with your girl,three weeks in foster care is no time compared to what had probably happened to her beforehand.She may be feeling he feet,or paws now,so what happens now really matters for the rest of her life.We took everything very very slowly and were guided by how Maci reacted.He freaked out at the sight of any other dog,and men and other things he saw when we were out.We gave him the space he needed,turned round,crossed over,stood behind a car until the 'danger' had cleared.I also walking him very early so that there was no one around.Nearly six years on and he's much more relaxed.We can visit parks and places now and he will ignore dogs he's not interested in but often wants to have a sniff and make friends.Occasionally he will still freak out at the sight of a dog for whatever reason.We beat the retreat on these occasions,even if I can't understand why he feels like that with a particular dog,I know it means something to Maci.He is far more reactive on the street now than in other places.I simply put it down to the fact that most of his troubles in his previous life occurred on the streets,other dogs were literally a threat to his very survival,whether through aggression or denying him the crust of bread he might have found in the garbage.I'm very proactive in protecting him from unwanted attention from other dogs.Most people understand,if not it's too bad.It's very early days for your girl.As others have said,please make sure that any behaviourist you have uses positive methods.Also check if they have experience /understanding of Rommie dogs.I have heard instances of things going wrong because of a behaviourist having zero understanding of where these dogs have come from.All the best with your beautiful girl.
     
  8. Huds

    Huds PetForums Junior

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    Again, this is familiar to me. We adopted a Romanian rescue aged 6months who had no issues with his foster family. He was also our first dog. He eventually started to relax in the house and was so gentle and sweet to my family and even the cat! He never seemed to want to go for a walk, however. Ironically during puppy training he started to lunge and growl and bark at other dogs and I’m afraid it escalated from there. It started with puppies, generalised to any intact male, then any male, then any dog except for his close doggy buddies. He then started doing the same to visitors and people on walks and the stress was unbearable. I truly believe it was fear aggression as he never actually made contact but could have done on many occasions. He was a gsd cross so big and strong too and although I followed the trainers advice (we had 3) of avoid and praise etc I clearly wasn’t helping him develop into the confident dog he was supposed to be. I was heartbroken (and so was the family) 6 months later when it got too much and I decided to take him back to foster in the hope he could find a more experienced owner and I could learn to breathe and be a mum again.
    Happily he has already found another home and although I don’t get updates I understand they were taking things slowly and this is something I wish I had done. Instead of going for 2 walks a day (because that is what I believed a good dog owner should do) I should have taken a few days off. Let your dog relax. It’s worth walking with another dog but this made no difference to mine. Adaptil collars could be worth a go on top of the behaviourists training tips.
    I wish you the best and hope you have the time and resilience to help your scared pup pull out of this.
     
  9. Alison Gee

    Alison Gee PetForums Newbie

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    So we've been out on a few more walks and God it's hard to avoid dogs. She is going crazy everytime she sees one. She is a bit better at recall now so I've been calling her back, letting her settle and giving a treat but not sure its helping. After a walk she always seems a bit over excited when she gets home, chases her tail in a circle and starts to chew on one of her beds. She then chewed on a blanket and bit a part off and ate it. She is only displaying this behaviour at night either after a walk or her dinner. First I thought she was bored but now I'm not sure if she is finding her walks stressful or over excited and then playing up when she gets home. She also gets the zoomies which I don't mind as I think that's pretty normal. I'm going to purchase one of those collars definitely. I'm not sure if we should be taking her for more or less walks? If we don't walk her she tends to pee in the house, again the foster family said they didn't have his problem. I wonder if the other dog was keeping her calm. I wish you could read their minds! Thanks again for the advice
     
  10. Huds

    Huds PetForums Junior

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    Yes it’s amazing that only when you get a dog do you realise 1) how many other dogs are out there, 2) how many squirrels there are and 3) how complicated dogs can be!
    It was actually impossible for me to avoid dogs on walks as although I live in a semi rural village it is very doggy dense! That means all the friendly ones are out all day and all the reactive ones are out at night.
    I wonder if you have the funds to hire a behaviourist for a day visit. That way he or she can watch the dog at home as well as out and help you to ‘read her mind’.
    Is your dogs sleeping arrangement the same as at foster? Mine was allowed to sleep in a pile of dogs on the foster carers bed but after a few noisy nights in my room I moved mine to another room to sleep. He seemed fine with this but I’m not sure it did much to help his confidence.
     
  11. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I’d stick to pavement walks for a while as at least then any dogs you do encounter will be on leash, thereby easier to avoid at first sight.

    I spotted the dog that actually attacked Jack some time back and I walked up someone’s drive and stood behind a bush until it passed.

    Another reactive dog another time and I hovered on the other wide of a van until it passed.

    Neither Jack nor the other dogs knew the other was there so none of them reacted in any way.

    After a few “dog free” walks you can start working at keeping her focused on you with a tasty treat held to her nose, whilst acknowledging the existence of the other dog but at her “safe” distance.

    If she’s having accidents then yes, I’d take her out regularly so she can empty and reinforce outside as the toilet, not indoors. (Jack wouldn’t poo in my garden in the first few weeks so I had to take him out more.)

    However, not too many long walks as you’ll end up with a very fit dog who needs lots of exercise ;).

    Given her issues too, if the walks are relaxed that will help but if she’s stressed, it will be counter productive.
     
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  12. Huds

    Huds PetForums Junior

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    Just wondering how you are getting on?
    It can be very isolating to have a reactive dog and perhaps with this being your first dog too you may be more overwhelmed by the steep learning curve than if yours was a more relaxed pup.
    Keep coming here for support. I had lots of good advice from this forum. Good luck.
     
  13. Alison Gee

    Alison Gee PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    Its nice of you to ask. So we scaled things right back. Kept her in for two days after the last incident. We bought an aptamil collar and plug in and some calming spray. Thought we would cover all bases. Struggling to get her to wee in the yard so without her walk she peed in the house. We sat in the yard with her for 2 hours and when we gave up she went inside and peed in the house. We started to take her out again yesterday, short walks, same route and avoiding dogs. If we see one we are trying to keep distance, distract her as much as possible and give her a treat. We've booked a training with a group that starts in a few weeks. Will see how she gets on. If she cant cope then we are investing in one to one, found some one who charges £40 per hour. She has been much better in the house, isn't ripping stuff up and we have a toy that she likes that we can distract her with. I think maybe the collar and plug in have a helped. Taking it one day at a time. She is the loveliest, most affectionate little dog and gives love to everyone she meets. As long as you're not a dog! I will update with information on her progress. All the information that's been provided has been so helpful. Thanks a lot everyone
     

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  14. Huds

    Huds PetForums Junior

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    Well done. It sounds like you are an amazing and caring owner. Please do give updates!
    She does look very cute!
     
  15. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums Newbie

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    Ahh,she's beautiful and looks so relaxed.It sounds like you're doing brilliantly,keep going,you'll get there.Maci would only toilet away from home when he first arrived too.I think he was used to being chased off,so always looked for somewhere where he could hide,like under a bush or something.He'll use the garden now,but it took some time.Well done,although I can see she's well worth the effort.
     
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