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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Scared at run through

Nino has morale that is essentially unbreakable, but an incident today has left him quite shaken and not himself. Wednesdays are his training days. Two obedience schools have run throughs, one evening and one midday. We love the evening one, but his littermates has been at the midday one, so we have been going to that one over our preferred one. Construction at the business next door (with a wall shared) just started. Halfway through class, a loud jackhammer began to shake the entire building, and I have never seen Nino react to anything the way he did. He was cowering, unwilling to move, and panting, shaking, and crying. Other dogs were visibly upset, but none quite as much as Nino.

We left early, along with a couple others, and our guy is still badly shaken. His tail hasn't stopped wagging (I would be incredibly worried if it did, knowing him), but he's still shaking and panting and not leaving my side. We are going to stay away for a few weeks to wait out construction and ensure he isn't associating the building itself with fear. Anything I can do in this moment to help settle him, or do I have to wait it out? Fear in general, even just a bit, is so out if character for him, that the extent of his fear now has me a bit worried. Any help would be appreciated, but for now I'll just give him some love.

Sophie, Nino, and Brisket (Mario too!)



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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 01:31 PM
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oh gosh! Poor Nino! I am so sorry that happened. I would definitely not coddle him, that will reinforce that he has something to be worried about. When we were working with dogs for the breed ring and would get a shy/fearful one, we would be very up beat and loud-ish (in a playful way of course), pat them firmly on the sides, try to engage them in play and be silly, nothing really rough but also not being super gentle. It really worked to build their confidence and kind of break them out of that fear mode. Just act like there is nothing to be worried about and don't baby him.

If it were me I'd try to go back to the building as often as possible, if you can find out if there are times no construction is going on? That of course is crucial. Just go inside or even just to the front door if it's not open, lots of treats, toys, praise etc. The minute he is not fearful and focused on all the fun and treats you are offering him, leave. (and give the treats and praise throughout). Don't give him much time to think about things especially at first. Go in (and out) very confidently and again no coddling or babying. Make yourself more fun and important to him that anything else in the environment. So every time you go, he starts to look forward to it and when you leave when he's having fun, he'll want to go back. Only go in for as long as it takes for him to focus on you in a happy way even if it only takes him 30 seconds to get to that point.

Whenever a dog of mine has been afraid of something, I would never console or baby them. For instance when Sophie was about 5 months old we were at my step mothers and out of nowhere the neighbor dog came bolting up behind us and was on top of Sophie (she was on a leash I was pottying her in the yard). It was a german shepherd mix, big dog with hair and tail up. I immediately grabbed the dog by it's collar (which sometimes can have the opposite effect and make them more aggressive and want to attack but I had no choice since the dogs nose was touching Sophie's back) and made my poor brother come over and take it (he is not a dog person and was really not wanting to be near this dog, what a trooper) then I happily said to Sophie "YEAY Good girl wasn't that fun???" and started to try to get her to play with me. When I saw she was calm I put her in the van the returned the dog to the neighbor and tore them a new one. Luckily it happened so fast Sophie didn't have time to decide if she should be afraid or not and had no idea things could have gone very badly. Especially if I had started yelling at an dog already in an excited state and very thankful Sophie didn't run or make a noise.

It may take some time and repetition after his bad experience there. So going often would be good. I have been doing that with Sophie at the vet clinic since after all the horrors she's been through in there her short life, she stresses terribly. Breaks my heart because before all this she would bolt into the clinic and try to run over and say hi to everyone. She has definitely gotten much better since I've been doing this with her (I also have the staff love her up and play with her). Last exam she had she didnt even shake which was huge!
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Last edited by Dee Dee; 08-03-2016 at 01:43 PM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 01:35 PM
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Poor Nino. Dee Dee has given you some great advice, which mirrors what I've done with Emmie when she's been startled by something. Good luck!
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 02:29 PM
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Thanks Dee Dee...We had an issue with Abril at the vets, she needed to be seen and it was large dog day, a couple of Mastiffs, German Shepherd, Saint Bernard....first time Abril jumped in my lap and sat for 15 min then her daddy's lap for the other 15 min till she was called. Was baffled in how to handle the situation.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 02:34 PM
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I agree with Dee Dee completely. I think it would be a mistake to keep Nino away from the building at this point. Bring him there after hours, when no work is going on, even if you can't get in... just play, get attention and give LOTS of high value cookies, then leave after just a minute or two. (even 30 seconds to start with) Be as nonchalant as you possibly can be about it!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 02:56 PM
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Thanks Dee Dee...We had an issue with Abril at the vets, she needed to be seen and it was large dog day, a couple of Mastiffs, German Shepherd, Saint Bernard....first time Abril jumped in my lap and sat for 15 min then her daddy's lap for the other 15 min till she was called. Was baffled in how to handle the situation.
Owners at vet clinics can be idiots. Scares me to death. I've seen so many close calls in the lobby, not referring to the guys on this forum at all but especially see macho type guys who want everyone to notice their pit bull or rottie or whatever so they give them the leash to wander and mess with other dogs. I know the clinic people well enough if the lobby is busy I go sit with Sophie behind the counter with the staff.

I have a friend who lost her long haired doxie in the lobby of a vet clnic. Idiot guy let his big dog run over and attack her. Wish I knew where he lived....
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. The last thing I want is for him to be scared of our training center. We love the staff and facility and have had nothing but good experiences there. Construction is morning until mid afternoon, so I will start taking him over there when evening classes are going on. I work during the run through next week, but it seems to be during peak construction time so we will avoid that time for the next few weeks.

He's chilled out a bit. Not so much anxious as he is just a little shaken. Poor guy ran as far up the potty hill as possible to put as much distance between him and the building as he could as we left.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dee Dee View Post
Owners at vet clinics can be idiots. Scares me to death. I've seen so many close calls in the lobby, not referring to the guys on this forum at all but especially see macho type guys who want everyone to notice their pit bull or rottie or whatever so they give them the leash to wander and mess with other dogs. I know the clinic people well enough if the lobby is busy I go sit with Sophie behind the counter with the staff.

I have a friend who lost her long haired doxie in the lobby of a vet clnic. Idiot guy let his big dog run over and attack her. Wish I knew where he lived....
Mario is our reactive boy. He has never acted on aggression, but he does give some warning growls if an overly exuberant dog doesn't give him his space. Owners tend to get offended by this (I can't help but roll my eyes...if you don't know a dog, assume it isn't comfortable with strange dogs), so we do one of a few things. I have family working there, so they know us and the boys and will accommodate our needs by allowing him to hang out behind the front desk, or they put him right into an exam room. We have also gone outside and walked him around until they are ready.

Poor guy is terrified of the vet because he's been overwhelmed by dogs there before, so we bring him in as often as we can, whether it's to weigh him, say hello to the lovely staff, or just run around in the potty field. He still hates it, but we are getting there
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 04:07 PM
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Awesome advice DeeDee! Being new here I didn't want to give too much advice so soon, but everyone knows you and you were spot on!

That said, Layla is also growlie if bigger dogs overstep her personal space and I try and be very careful when there are young or inexperienced big dogs around. I used to get irritated with her, then I realized it was the other dogs inexperience, not hers. You don't see too many dogs at shows and trials who drag their owners around to get at other dogs. Our training facility seems to have tons of star puppy classes and those are the most unsolicialized dogs. I also try and take advantage of dogs I know and trust and let them sniff and socialize with her, giving lots of treats and coochy coochy talk. I want her to be a nice, confident dog in public. I don't want her to be yappy and snippy to other dogs. Positive association I think is key, but preventing bad experiences isn't always possible, unfortunately.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 04:13 PM
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Also, sorry that had to happen to Nino.
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