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Problem with my BC

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Thanks to both of you. She is really pretty, and so people do want to pet her. Also good to know that she is not ruined. Will get these last two books also. Will have a lot to read. I often think that comparing the two dogs makes me feel that Mocha has not bonded and is indifferent, but the more I think about it the more I realize that she has somewhat bonded with the both of us, but at the same time I think if she has bonded then why not trust me?

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...but the more I think about it the more I realize that she has somewhat bonded with the both of us, but at the same time I think if she has bonded then why not trust me?

No matter how closely you may be bonded, sometimes deep-seated (genetically or environmentally based) fears can overcome the best of trust in certain situations. I would look at her improvements as indicators of how far she has come and her issues in what progress needs to be made (and hopefully will be made) in the future. And sometimes, you can't overcome an issue but you can learn how to manage it.

 

Best wishes!

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I realize that she has somewhat bonded with the both of us, but at the same time I think if she has bonded then why not trust me?

 

Because trust is much more than being somewhat bonded.

 

In fact, I would be much more focused on building trust with a dog like Mocha than with bonding.

 

I've found that with fearful dogs, a deep sense of trust can take quite a while to build. When there is a solid history of you having the dog's back, of not letting the things that the dog fears happen, and of good things happening in various situations, then the dog will begin to trust. Often it's a gradual thing.

 

Like Sue said, sometimes you can't overcome an issue, but there is always potential for improvement. When the dog finds himself experiencing fear less, there is more trust. And trust builds more trust. It's a beautiful thing to see happen, but it can take time and quite a lot of patience. And there are usually setbacks along the way, but they can be overcome, too - and that eventually builds trust.

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In fact, I would be much more focused on building trust with a dog like Mocha than with bonding.

 

I've found that with fearful dogs, a deep sense of trust can take quite a while to build. When there is a solid history of you having the dog's back, of not letting the things that the dog fears happen, and of good things happening in various situations, then the dog will begin to trust. Often it's a gradual thing.

 

This is well-said.

 

Buddy's fondness for me was separate from his trust in the world at large. I think eventually he learned that he could trust me to put him in only good situations. (One of my proudest days: my trainer saying, "Wow. He really trusts you.") Until he had confidence in the world and, indirectly, my ability to make the world safe, his fears governed his behavior.

 

The half-life of Buddy's fear was days, at first. Then weeks. And now, it's years. Early on, over the course of a few days, we'd make giant leaps, like the transition from "Not being able to walk outside on leash without fear" to "looking forward to leash walks." Now, the progress is so gradual that I hardly notice it, until an acquaintance says, "Look at him! I can pat him and cuddle him! He never used to even let me look at him!"

 

So, yeah - I'd say that trust is #1, and bonding will come.

 

Mary

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We always tethered or 'wore' all guide dog puppies. When they demonstrated some decision making skill and confidence they graduated to short periods on tie downs in the room we were in. That meant that once they were old enough to walk on the ground they went to the potty with you, sat by your desk, were 3 feet away at most while you cook dinner, slept right next to the bed and sat in the foot well of the front passenger seat of the car (prob not allowed now). It was always on the left and once they learned to heel it was on the left without exception. I have followed some of this practice with all new dogs mostly out of old habit but find that it works very well to bond them to you. When she was really little Clementine would cry in the crate at night until I put her leash on and threaded it through the front of the crate. She's better now but both the young bc's will ask to be 'worn' on leash if they are scared or overwhelmed!

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I haven't read all the comments, so maybe others have already said this, or maybe I'm misunderstanding. But regarding your first description of the aggressive nose bump, according to the veterinary behaviorist I consulted a year or so ago, that sounds like what is called a muzzle punch and it's low-level aggression. It's lower than snarling - the showing of teeth you said she did to you before. I know it sounds kind of disturbing because she hit ya in the face, but a muzzle punch in general can be a pretty low level thing. Nose bumps can also be friendly (my totally non-aggressive Vala does it all the time just to express excitement and say hello--I think it's cute so I put it on a command and have her do it to my hand--"high five" I call it). Not being able to see what your dog did myself, if maybe your face just happened to be the closest thing to her, I would guess maybe, that she trusts you enough now not to snarl anymore but she was experimenting with another form of expressing her displeasure. What my v. beh. encouraged me to do with muzzle punches was to respectfully ignore signs of aggression, literally turn away from the dog and wait for it to stop and then when it did stop, slowly approach with praise and treats, staying calm the whole time.

 

I also like what people are saying about trust building. Using dominance theory based advice (what you got--to pop her on the nose, roll her over, etc.) doesn't work with a fear aggressive dog. 95% of aggressive dogs are fear aggressive, not dominance aggressive, so that approach really isn't used much in the veterinary behaviorist world anymore. I'm glad you've started using a soft approach, because scaring a fear aggressive dog further will only make it worse as you learned. The best approach for a fearful dog is to try to read her, ignore any aggression, and reward calm deferential behavior.

 

Even though my Vala is not aggressive at all (I consulted the behaviorist for another dog), and even though she really trusts me a great deal (though I've had her less than a year) I still do lots of calm praising and treating anytime I have to groom or loom over her because she is a timid beastie. :rolleyes: I built that trust by swooping in and saving her (literally picking her up) in any situation she was nervous when I first got her (she had about everything you can pick up at a shelter + heartworms, and she's small, so she needed saving, when for example a big loose dog came into the yard or my cats double-teamed her). After about a week of that, she got really really trusting and super eager to please, and started modeling my behavior towards others. With my previous dog I had tried some bad advice for dominance stuff, but by the time I got Vala, I knew better and have never exposed her to that, so her trust for me has never been broken thank goodness. But dogs can and do recover from that sort of thing if you can just stop and be consistently soft with her. Has anyone linked to any dog body language stuff? That can really help you build trust with your dog because you can learn to read them better and know when they are nervous and need praise/calming. You will also learn to love her more because you'll learn to understand her behavior as communication of sorts. Here are some links that have helped me: http://www.familypaws.com/communication/ and http://www.squidoo.com/readyerdog. What you can do after reading up on all this and fear aggression is to learn to spot early signs and not put her in situations that make her uncomfortable, by listening to her early communication that she is uncomfortable and backing off. Then she will learn to trust you more, and you will understand her better; it's really a wonderful process once you get started. And Mocha doesn't sound like she's really all that bad off. It does sound like she can recover.

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One quick comment about muzzling...There is nothing wrong with a dog learning to be muzzled, matter of fact it's not a bad thing for 'any' dog.

 

the key is to desensitize a dog so that he learns to "love" the muzzle, AKA "treat basket"

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One quick comment about muzzling...There is nothing wrong with a dog learning to be muzzled, matter of fact it's not a bad thing for 'any' dog.

 

the key is to desensitize a dog so that he learns to "love" the muzzle, AKA "treat basket"

 

i agree, but only if you can desensitize them... occasionally this is easier said than done! i know pan was not normal, but i went soooooo slow with muzzling her, way slower than the vet behaviorist recommended, tons of desens for weeks, working with the vet behaviorist in email and on phone, and pan still hated it and growled and snarled... we had to LEAVE it on 24/7 since she was so aggressive and getting it on and off in the end was so stressful for her! it would ruin our relationship for a day or so. i remember i had to make a cozy for her muzzle so she wouldn't hurt herself leaving it on all the time and get sores. it was very sad. but yes--most dogs i bet could learn to love the muzzle if you introduced it right! i could see myself teaching vala to wear one very easily--of course she has zero need for it.

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I don't have any advice for you regarding fear aggression, but our older dog who we got when he was 3.5 is what I would call aloof. He is very bonded to my husband and he and I have a good relationship but there is a lot of time he just wants to be on his own. He will go and find a quiet spot and hang out, he will cuddle for very short periods, maybe hop on our bed for a minute say hi and leave. In the begining I found this difficult because our other dogs had been almost overly cuddly, We have just had to learn to respect that side of his character and have fun with him in other ways.

Brody is mildly reactive and also has fear aggression of people in very limited circumstances, that we have learned to live. Basically we have just come to accept and love our weird little guy for who he is.

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thanks again for all your help. been reading all the posts but have been too tired to post. need more sleep.

 

met with the woman who trains dogs here. had tea with her and my friend, so we are fast becoming friends. she said that mocha needs to know who is boss and if she bumps me to talk hard to her and hold her head when doing so. i think all the advice here was so good and informative. and when i tell her to roll over now, she still gets up and gets on her other side. smart dog because that is why i wanted her to roll over. this was no training for tricks.

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I just want to update everyone that replied to this thread. My dog has finally bonded with me. I can't believe it. I had thought of tying a leash to me to make her go with me, but I didn't have to do so. What I did was, instead of always walking her in parks without a leash, I took her out daily for a long walk on a leash, and now she follows me even when I go outside to work in the yard, something she seldom did in the past.

 

One day I thought I found a sticker in her year, and since she has been okay with brushing I tried to get it out. She put up with me, and when she grew tired of it all she did was give me a dirty look. I came back with some proxide for her ear, and she was fine. She wasn't even upset with me.

 

She doesn't even mind my brushing her hindquarters, and when I tell her to roll over she now shows me her belly, but then i say the command again because I want to get her other side, so she gets up and lies down on the other side.

 

I am feeding her a raw diet now and believe this will improve her help. It was suggested to me by my new friend, a dog trainer, who has 3 collies on the diet who win at agility trials.

 

Thanks for all the books that were suggested as they were very informative.

 

I am very pleased with Mocha and I can tell that she is much happier.

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