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Thread: New staffy - ex breeding bitch - settling- in issues with family - long post

  1. #11
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    Jan 2011
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    I know it's horribly depressing to watch a dog sitting in a corner being terrified when you just want them to be a happy part of the family. We've been through that with our Rox and I had to learn to restrict myself and not hug her all the time but give her the space she needed She'd cower in a corner every time someone raised their voice a little and froze in fear when she was patted. She still has moments when she seems to fall into a deep black hole and often we just can't work out what we've done to trigger such a reaction. But this now happens only occasionally and watching her transform was worth the pain.

    Just hang around here and keep on writing about about your questions and her progress. There are a lot of people here who know a lot about dog behaviour and training. I found this forum incredibly helpful working through some of her issues.

  2. #12
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    Jul 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ados View Post
    I feel sad for taking her out of her environment to this one. The owners said that the dog would be socialised and ready for the family. I was disappointed to say the least
    The previous owners may have thought she was. Certainly when I went to look at the ex breeding bitch my mum took on she appeared to be a happy well adjusted dog. She was in the environment she knew well. Trouble is, it can be a false indication of their ability to cope outside this environment. I had a fearfull dog once that was pefectly fine at home and with people she knew and you would never have known that she was a complete basket case outside that environment.

    There are a couple of very good professional trainers in Perth, Kathy Kopellis McCleod, I used for my fearful dog once. She is excellent if you ever feel the need for a consultation.

  3. #13
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    Thanks again. Another couple of questions (one of many). -

    Although she is in the garage, she doesn't look like she feels safe or protected. She is just sitting there shaking with fear and anxiety. But if carefully coax her inside using the lead gently I find that she likes being under the desk and feels safe enough to lied down and go to sleep and as long as the kids stay away then she seems less fearful. The problem with that is that at the moment she is close to where the cars reverse and she has escaped when the car door was up. If I keep her inside at least she is safe from getting run over (we live in a busy rd).

    anyway, again thanks so much for all your advice

    Adrian

  4. #14
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    I'd go with whatever seems to make her feel safe. If she is relaxed enough to go to sleep under the desk that's a great sign that she doesn't want to be totally alone. Maybe if she can lie there and observe she'll eventually come out in her own time. Just make sure everyone leaves her alone and the desk can be her safe zone

  5. #15
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    Feb 2014
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    Perth
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    hi Margoo,

    she is at my feet as I type and she seems relaxed and at least she is not shaking. I bought a Thundershirt today and I might try it and see what happens. I can get my money back if it doesnt work. I'll keep all posted.

    Cheers

    Adrian

  6. #16
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    Feb 2014
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    Perth
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    Ok, update.

    I purchased a thundershirt for Serena. Go it on her no problems and she doesnt seem to mind it at all. As to its affect on her anxiety - some promising signs - she was very calm on her walk and walked right next to me off lead. Previously if I took her off she would just run off and ignore my recall. I haven't been to the beach with it on her yet.
    She came into the lounge of her own accord to say a quick, tentative hello. Its way too early to say if it is really working but even if it takes the edge off her anxiety than that would be a big step.

    cheers

    Adrian

  7. #17
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    That's great news!

    We used a thundershirt on our big baby because he is so scared of the wind. Same experience here... it's not bombproof but it takes off the edge of his anxiety so he (and we!) can sleep through a stormy night.

  8. #18
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    Hi Ados

    I have to agree with what the others have said - there are several ANKC registered breeders that operate out of the north of Adelaide - Virginia, Two Wells etc and they breed hundreds of puppies every year and sell them and the breeding dogs live in small kennels like you see at the pound. It's all clean and the dogs are well looked after but they really don't get much if any socialisation with humans and sometimes not with other dogs.

    I don't think these people do things like DNA checks when choosing who to breed with what to prevent health problems in the puppies and they probably don't care about the personality (temperament) of the dogs either.

    Most of us would call them puppy farms with many of the problems related to that. Like just being terrified of anything new because they never experienced anything new or different where they lived.

    You need to think of Serena a bit like a rescue pound dog and manage her the same way. It will take at least a month for her to settle in to your home as it would any rescue dog. And while that happens - the more predictable and safe you can be with her the better. At the same time set your boundaries and be consistent on what your house rules are.

    I would not let her up on the couch until that month is up. I'd have a designated spot in the lounge room (my dog has one in every room of the house) that is the dog's place to be. I have a mat at the entrance of the kitchen, my dog gets lots of treats (bits of carrot and other stuff she likes) for being on the mat - and none for coming into the kitchen where the pots of boiling water are. Same - for the lounge place (which happens to be a crate that she gets her "bob a lot" with kibble to beat up... and she has a hammock bed under the office desk and a bed next to my bed in the bedroom.

    I wouldn't let her off lead in the park either until you've got really good recall at home. And I'd find places that are ok for dogs on lead to walk - so hopefully there are no off lead dogs getting in her face. If you can organise play dates with her with one or two dogs at a time that would be great. And maybe find some dog training clubs that use reward based training (no choke chain collars) - and do some walking near them but not in them until she seems calm and happy around dogs she doesn't know so well.

    A dog that has grown up in small kennels with limited time with other dogs - doesn't always learn proper doggy greeting techniques or dog to dog etiquette and manners and they can get into trouble because of sending the wrong signals to other dogs. Getting your dog to hold a down-stay when other dogs are approaching - is good for both dogs. As she will appear less threatening to the other dog and you will seem more in charge so she doesn't feel she has to protect you.

    Forcing the down stay won't work tho - it may just get you bitten instead. She has to learn it at home with lots of reward for doing it (eg the kitchen mat and before dinner are great opportunities for training a nice down-stay).

    And for at least this first month - you need to protect her from bad experiences with humans and other dogs. Anticipate and prevent or avoid as much as possible.

    And never punish a warning growl - or you will just get the warning bite instead. And if you punish that - you will get the survival fight with no warning at all. Protect your dog - don't reward her for growling but assume there is something she needs help sorting - and sort it for her.

    And you might have to train "bite inhibition" from scratch with an adult dog - that's going to be no fun. I don't allow any play biting. I push my hand slowly and gently into the dog's mouth towards the back of the throat until they try to spit me out. You might want to wear welding gloves if you feel you need to train this. And never play tug in the dark/dusk.

  9. #19
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    Ps you might want to get a book called "ruff love" by Susan Garrett about how to introduce a new puppy or rescue dog safely into your home. That and crate games - are the two best things for a new dog in a new environment.

    You can get these locally from agilityclick.com (queensland based) and agility dog training clubs in WA might have copies available too.
    I would ask at this one - since they have a link to Agilityclick on their website.
    ACWA - Agility Club of Western Australia

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ados View Post
    She came into the lounge of her own accord to say a quick, tentative hello.
    Where do you feed her? I'd be putting her food bowl somewhere near the lounge, far enough away so she's not nervous about people being able to get her without her being able to escape but close enough that she learns that it's a good place. I'd also use high value food through that process .. human grade beef mince is my preferred option but there's many different options.

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