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Thread: Anxiety problems with walks/roads

  1. #1

    Default Anxiety problems with walks/roads

    Hi guys, i'm new to the forums and am having a few problems with my 2 1/2 y/o Border Collie in relation to roads/walks. This is Forest.



    When he sees I have the leash he will just sit and not seem at all interested, but seem more anxious than anything. Ears dropping, yawning etc. Occasionally he will shuffle slowly toward me with his head dropped down. On the footpaths he usually seems fine and doesn't pull too hard but when coming to cross the road is when he is very unsure/anxious. He will always follow my lead but when crossing the road, pulls like crazy. Now to the park. I usually take my push bike so he can run with me but whenever I ride toward the edge of the park he will just stop. It's really frustrating as I know he is simply not getting enough exercise, is becoming very vocal and bounces off the walls at home. I've tried taking treats with me and giving them to him when sitting, waiting to cross the road, but will NEVER eat the treat.

    I've recently moved house so I understand this could be another factor taking him to a new park. He is not doing overly well socially at the new park either, becoming very snappy if a dog starts closing in on his backside.

    Anyway, any suggestions or ideas would be great, thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bunbury
    Posts
    1,378

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    I would locate a good trainer near you. Let us know where you live and someone may well be able to recommend someone.My bc Maggie loves her basketball, she pushes around in the backyard with us and plays soccer with us at the park.It wears even her out fast, high energy exercise.

    I also trained her to retrieve tennis balls and we go to the beach with a ball thrower every day, she is now obsessed and won't stop until we place our hands palm up and say "enough" at which point she will lie down panting and look for some water.She did need to be trained to stop when we said but she does now. Took a bit of time as they go into prey drive.
    They (Border collies) are smart dogs and obedience training exercises their minds and will give you access to some excellent information. I recommend it as I think I have been trained more than her.Border Collies are dogs that spook easily and sensitive (with long memories) so your boy may have been scared at some point. Maggie isn't interested in food as a reward either unless she is quite hungry.They do seem to be dogs that focus and it is useful to find what works, for us , if I have a ball in my hands, Maggie looks at me..lol
    Look under the current thread by Nev Allen on positive rewards. Nekhbet a behaviourist and trainer has some good advice.
    By the way he is gorgeous looking. If Maggie was the dog he was trying to hump she would have turned around and given him a serious snap, not sociable behaviour, she doesn't like attacks from the rear even in play.I wonder about roads when you talk about riding at the park, border collies are famous for spooking at loud sounds and I am very careful to have Maggie on a lead near roads and have had cause to be glad I do.
    Last edited by farrview; 04-25-2013 at 04:20 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rural Western Australia
    Posts
    2,634

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    It sort of sounds like he may be anxious about roads, for some reason. Some Border collies can be quite sensitive to their environment. If he is yawning, ears pinned back and not taking treats it would suggest he is above a threshold for something related to those roads. Will he play, interact and work for you away from a road setting? do you spend time building a working relationship with him?

    If you have a local dog club in your area that runs classes for obedience and agility, this can sometimes be a good place to start with a Border collie. It will get you working with him and building his confidence in you and there are often experienced people that may be able to help you out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    12,581

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    Carl.B

    Your dog sounds exactly like my dog used to be until fairly recently.

    What kind of collar are you using? I found that changing away from a slip collar to a flat collar or a front attach harness (attaches to a ring on the dog's chest not shoulders) has helped enormously with my dog.

    She is also much much better and less anxious on routes she knows well. As soon as we stray from the direct route to the nearest park she gets laggy and not interested.

    What do you do when your dog doesn't want to go? I got told to "drag" my dog. This was probably the worst advice ever with a sensitive dog - and I didn't know any better at the time. It made the [problem worse for me. Especially as I was attempting to drag in her wearing the slip collar (so she couldn't escape) but it wouldn't have made any difference what I used - dragging an anxious dog - bad idea.

    You can tell when your dog is relaxed - because that's when he will take a treat or pay attention to a fluffy tug toy or ball. If he's anxious - none of those things will help.

    I found the best thing for my dog when she was anxious - was to check out the source - and then wait it out. Busy roads are a problem still. As far as she's concerned - more than two cars moving - is busy.

    I could try to desensitise or counter condition this - by starting at a distance where she still feels safe - and then work on the edge of where she will take a treat - a little bit closer 5 treats, a little further - 5 treats, a little closer - 5 treats...

    But I haven't bothered. As long as she's listening to me - I'm pretty happy with that. For some things, all I need to do is act unconcerned (ok I don't like busy roads either), and wait for her to figure out it's not going to get her. But herding dogs often find fast moving things like cars - very upsetting and it takes a while to desensitise them to this.

    I did work a bit harder on getting her used to the tractor mower and joggers on the park - but this was more important to me. She still gets upset at joggers and people on bikes if they get too close to us - sometimes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    We have recently moved from Bendigo and now our factory is in Bayswater and home is Boronia Vic
    Posts
    1

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    Hi
    Have you tried a Thunder Shirt - really cosy stretch coat that give the same effect as swaddling a baby - security - worked so well for our anxious boy Sarge and other dogs that we've tried them with.
    Take away the anxiety and you have a happy pooch!
    Regards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    12,581

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    hi bmanimals

    Are thundershirts ok on dogs going for walks? I wasn't sure that was how they were supposed to be used.

    And I know they don't work for every dog. But they do work for some.

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