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About Barbara2

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  1. Thanks so much for you advice. Great to hear that there isn't only me with such a dog, plus perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I have read some of the books you guys recommended, and most vivid in my mind is the Culture Clash, which gave me great insight, yet I am still finding myself very much struggeling with the issue. I love the idea of walking behind people in the park; because yes, my dog doesn't want to be singled out either (with attention, or simple eye contact). I am not sure how I would approach some stranger and pursuade him/her to drop treats for my dog, but the idea seems genial. As far as my dog not eating.... yesterday I broke down and we bought a bag of simple Iams kibble. We mixed this 50/50 with the expensive Orijen, and the dog ate it all. My husband says, that stuff is like junk food for people and he is reluctant to give it to her, but I dont know.... a 10-month old lean puppy shouldn't loose weight, no? Better have her eat the doogy version of junk food instead of seeing her not eating, because the expensive quality stuff doesnt smell good? I hear you, Melanie, in regards to seeking professional help. When you mentioned your dog, you wrote about "the assistance of excellent trainers, mentors, some behavioral medications, and a highly qualified veterinary behaviorist", which to me unfortunately translates into lots of $$$. I admit, this was another mistake of mine when we got the puppy, because I thought paying pet insurance would be sufficient enough to excuse having a dog (it was sufficient with my other dog). Yeah, for broken legs maybe and other physical injuries..... but it doesn't cover mental issues. I can't right away afford paying someone $80+/hour to fix my dog, but I guess I'll have to start saving my pennies for this and hope I can afford paid help before its too late for my dog and the dog totally looses it. How does one find a "qualified veterinary behaviorist"? I googled it up for my town (Portland, OR), and found one person's homepage. The consultation fee per hour was $220. Is this the normal price? Is there an organization that lists such specialists? Or does someone here in this forum know someone in Portland who could help with that kind of fear aggression? Barb
  2. Hi there; I am fairly new to this forum; I am following it by reading but have never posted before. But now I have a problem at hand and I need some constructive advice! I have a 10-month old BC, got her when she was 2 months old. She came from a backyard breeder (this I learned just recently when the same dame had a litter again, and now another litter is being offered from this same person), who kept the litter for 2 months in a barn. The sire was a very shy dog, who wouldn't even come to his owner when called. (My alarm bells should have rang then!). When she came to me, she was the most scared dog I have ever met. Never wagged her tail, not even for food or treats (still doesn't). Very shy when small (didn't bark then, but mostly growled at people), not really curious, which in a way was good because she stayed out of trouble and didn't try eating up all my furniture. I don't work so the dog is 24/7 with me. So now she is 10 months and my biggest problem that she is very fearful of people. As soon as she was cleared as a puppy in the sense of having all her shots etc, I did take her out in the world, as much as I could (perhaps I should have taken her out sooner?). We dont have much family or friends nearby, so there were and are never any visitors around, so we she would mostly only meet neighbors who would walk past us, or strangers on the street. These days, she goes to dog parks, where she totally ignores people and nicely plays with dogs. She goes once a week to a doggy daycare, where she plays well with the other dogs (this in order to make her comfortable so we can leave her there overnight, if such need would arise). However, she is VERY anxious, when the attendant comes to escort her to the area where the dogs are. Often she will bark at him or her very aggressively. I bring treats and give them to the attendant, and my dog will take the treats from a distance, and when the treats are gone, then she'll be all bark again. Two weeks ago, the attendant crouched down with treats in her hand, and my dog stood there very stiff, barking in her face, just inches away. I am afraid she will bite next time!! Next time I came to the doggy daycare, I met another attendant whom I told what happened and I said to her to "not try to be her friend, but just take charge and show her your dominance." The lady took the leash, and my dog followed reluctantly, yet without barking or aggressive behavior. That was much better! But it's another thing just out on the street. When we meet someone on a walk, she will even try lunging at him or her. Some people don't seem as threatening to her as others, yet I am always ready for her to try jumping at them. Today, we visited a relative whom she saw perhaps twice before. When we came to this relatives house, she barked him out and was very aggressive, so I kept her on the leash indoors. After awhile, she calmed down and didn't seem to mind his presence, even at close proximity. Later, I went out the backyard with her and she fetched a ball for me. The relative came out, and she (off the leash now) came up to him, aggressively barking. He just stood there. Suddenly she jumped with her front paws on him, barking, and when he pushed her down, she circled him just a bit, before she bit his side of his leg (he stood still the whole time). It wasn't a hard bite, but rather a nip. Another time, when she was about 5 months old, a neighbor lady walked by and my dog, who was at that time off the leash on a lawn, ran up to her (100 feet away from me) and started circling her and barking at her. The lady got terrified and of course circled with her, in order to keep an eye on her. Then my dog jumped up and bit on her jacket and hung there a bit. Meanwhile I came running behind and I said "Leave it" to no avail. It was actually a chaotic scene... one adult just turning herself around, and the other adult running around her like a mad woman, trying to snap my dog. Eventually I got her. That episode I noted as some crazy puppy behavior, since the dog has done this to me too before. She would circle me, try nipping me. But with me ---so I thought--- it was play, not serious attacking. While she would do it to me, she would bark too. Usually she would do this to me, when she understood that I would put her back on the leash and our walk would come to an end. -- Later on, I learned two things from this episode: don't have the dog off-leash where people could come by so close, and second, I should have called my dog and run AWAY from the neighbor lady, when my dog charged at her. Most likely my dog would have returned to me and followed me. But then, she might not have. I don't know. These days, when we walk on a lonely road, and a person comes towards us, the dog will stiffen up and immediately bark/growl/try to lunge. When we walk on an urban road, in a city, she will perhaps notice the first few people we meet, and stiffen up, but with more people going by, she ignores the situation more and more. So she is almost fine with them. But a lonely road or anywhere in our neighborhood, where there are many houses but fewer people, it is something entirely different! Also, about 2 months ago, she also started to lunge at anything moving by. That might be a car, a bicyclist or a skateboarder. The "leave it" command is here beyond help. I am not even sure she hears me when a car goes by. Same with people -- she will be so focused on barking/growling, that she ignores me completely. Just last week I noticed, she will sometime crouch down, when a car comes directly at her. Now, for full disclosure, I have to say that she is a very picky eater. I was told by a vet (and I read this frequently in books about dogs too) to just give her the bare essentials, and give her her food for 5-10 minutes and then take the uneaten bowl away, not to fancy it up with anything (like parmesan or a bit of turkey thrown in). She is supposed to eat 3x a day still, and we feed her Orijen, but when I just give it to her like it comes from the package, she often refuses it for the whole day. She might eat the third bowl of the day, then, in the evening only (then I give her the whole days ration, not just the third part). So what I want to say is that she might be really grouchy all day long because she doesn't eat. I say "might" because I don't really know..... she just seems an unhappy dog. Aware, anxious, but never really wagging her tail. There were weeks where she lost weight and then I gave in and "enriched" her food again. I wonder, if her aggressiveness has to do with her being hungry? But then, of course, even on a full tummy, she is fearful and agressive! I had such great plans for this dog... I wanted her and me to go to an agility school, but I learned that the dog must be off leash there and that I have to have full control, and I just can't trust her with people. She doesn't have another daily "job", so there's definately another reason that she is anxious. I am taking her on long daily walks and spending time running her, but mostly in rather unpopulated areas. She knows some tricks and I do challenge her mind, but somehow this aggressive behavior is beyond me. I am deeply dissappointed because I failed her. I had another BC before (adopted when she was middle age), who was a low energy dog and while she was okay with people, she was aggressive towards other dogs. We were able to manage this. But now, my neighbors don't come close anymore, because they are afraid of my dog, and I am equally afraid of going out with her. I tried clicker training before, with treats. Perhaps I am inconsistent, perhaps I figured out that she is beyond control, when she is in this aggressive mode... but I dropped that. I still treat her for good behavior; but I find myself more and more impatient with her aggressiveness. There are only SO MANY times when I can ignore her barking, while a neighbor passes me on the street. Lately I am keeping her really on a short leash even on our daily walks (not using the extra-long 26 ft flexi leash anymore), so she would understand that she doesn't need to defend me and that I am leading. But she still tries jumping from behind me, lunging at anyone even close. And I feel of course even more guilty, because I think that she should have some more freedom when we are out on our walks. Also... what to do when the next vet visit comes up? Last time around, the dog was 6 months old when she went there to be fixed. Now she is bigger.... I don't want that she bites the vet! All what I have written, might be just my wrong perception and I AM handling her totally wrong (because in those last 8 months, nothing really has worked out well enough; and I did work with her daily). I hate putting it on her "genes", or her isolated upbringing in the lonely barn without much people contact or on her "overprotectiveness" of me, her owner. How can fear of strangers be overcome? What advice can you give me?? I am at my wits end. Barbara P.S. She IS cute, though, when she sleeps.
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