Help! I think he's afraid of me! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Help! I think he's afraid of me!

Help! This is making me so upset and sad! I think Henry has become anxious and afraid around me and I don't know how to make it right. These are the symptoms:
- He doesn't wag his tail when I talk to him
- He keeps sticking out his tongue and making yawning movements when I am holding him and petting him
- He rolls on his back when I come over to pet him

He has cause. His groomer cancelled for a whole month and I had to wash and brush him and he hates that (normally I dont do much of it since he is in a puppy cut). I've been having to pick ticks off him which he hates. And he got a cut which became infected and I had to chase him around to put the collar on him so he wouldnt lick it which he also hated. In addition, I do other hateful grooming things like taking boogies out of his eyes.

I have tried to counter balance all this unpleasantness with good stuff, but I have had a busy few weeks myself and I'm afraid in his mind there have been more bad encounters with me than good.

He is such a sensitive guy. He doesn't just rebound after being hurt or slighted. He is not exactly mad - I know he still loves me - but as I said, he is anxious. How can I put his mind at ease and make him my happy boy again? Hope you guys can help.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 11:57 AM
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The yawning is a stressful sign. You guys need to play more! If I were you, I would get him closely clipped and give him a break from grooming, so you guys can enjoy each other's company without stressful interactions like grooming.

Jack is my sensitive guy. He has always rolled on his back when we are wanting to pick him up ever since we got him as a puppy. He is not timid around the house though, he is a loud barker when he sees people & cats outside.



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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 01:05 PM
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Am sure somewhere inside Henry realizes that the uncomfortable things you have been doing are part of your taking care. He may just be apprehensive that there's more to come. Perhaps you can set aside five minutes a few times a day just to devote completely to him-laugh at his jokes (just kidding) but you know, telling him how wonderful he is, etc. etc. reassuring him that it's not all become business as usual. YOu probably know all this but that's my gut reaction> Good luck. Love will win in the end.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 01:50 PM
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All good ideas so far, Nancy!

First, I'd stop worrying about this new problem. I have a similar one with Camellia. But let's begin by taking it for granted that Henry loves you very deeply. I'm SURE he does!

Indeed, the yawning is a sign of stress. I suggest you buy the book and DVD by Turid Rugaas on calming signals; the information there is so helpful.

http://www.coherentdog.org/vek/stressdown.php

You should be able to get these from Amazon.

Next trick of the trade: use tiny, tiny bits of treats, and give several after you complete one of these necessary, but unwelcome, sessions. At first, you can even give a few beforehand, but I'm not sure Henry will take them; Camellia won't, because she's SO sure I'm going to do something nasty to her - and she's right!

With us, it got so I had to block the dog door, and stop other avenues of escape from me. I'd hoped never to have to chase her down, but had to give up on that.

As much as you can, if you have to chase Henry down, keep your movements calm and easy, not fast or darting, if you can help it.

About the other ideas; I agree. Play little games with Henry, preferably, again, using tiny treats. These sessions can be short - five minutes, 10 to 20 tiny treats, should do the job. I'm using a clicker with Camellia, teaching her (shaping) silly tricks, like, first, standing on her hind legs and waving her forepaws up and down - you know what a common behavior that is in some dogs; especially small ones.

And, as mentioned before, I keep Camellia clipped down, which reduces grooming needs a great deal. Be prepared for Henty's buddies not to recognize him right away, if you clip him into a puppy cut or something similar - again, use tiny treats to re-introduce the dogs, if his buddies don't recognize him at first.

And try to give Henry as much as you can of his normal fun activities.

Please keep us posted, and ask any more questions that occur to you, and somebody here will likely have good suggestions! But I really want to reassure you that Henry still loves you. He's just determined to try to avoid the "bad stuff." I believe that in time, he'll accept the bad stuff from you better than he's doing now, especially if you use, say, three tiny treats after he's put up with it.

Oh; one other thing. YOU! Try to be cheerful and not to look worried. A major factor is, remember to breathe. We humans have a tendency to hold our breaths when we have tricky jobs to do. Dogs REALLY notice this, and I could describe their responses as, "Uh-oh; Mum is holding her breath; something is up - something I don't like!"

Breathe! (hehe)

Wed, 4 Apr 2012 10:49:42 (PDT)

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 01:54 PM
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I forgot to say - I wouldn't hold Henry on your lap; those are calming signals he's throwing. Let him ask to come up on your lap, instead, and if he doesn't, don't worry about it. (And it's good that you already have him in a puppy cut.) Hope your groomer will resume before too long!

Wed, 4 Apr 2012 10:53:49 (PDT)

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 03:39 PM
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In addition to all the great advise I would sit on the floor with his favorite toy or food,don't be too obvious in your goal to have him come to you. I used to sit or lie on the floor till my nervous (not Atticus) came to me and then tried very hard not to make a big deal of it but just play gently. I also sometimes do a play bow on my hands and knees , it often seemed to help. I'm sure he will come around.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 07:01 PM
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(((Hugs))) Poor thing (both you and Henry). Hope it gets better soon.

Jasper is like that with my husband. He acts timid and shies away. He will come to him after a little conjoling but it's not the same as with me. I think it bothers me more than it bothers Jeremy.


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Last edited by Leah00; 04-04-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much for all the helpful information. I forgot to mention that he is on Predezone (sp?) and antibiotics. My sister (the self appointed animal expert) tells me that this may account for some of this new and strange behavior. He is not timid or shy - he is just anxious. And ravenously hungry. I think the drugs explain a lot of it. Still, I appreciate the info from all of you so very much!

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atticus View Post
In addition to all the great advise I would sit on the floor with his favorite toy or food,don't be too obvious in your goal to have him come to you. I used to sit or lie on the floor till my nervous (not Atticus) came to me and then tried very hard not to make a big deal of it but just play gently. I also sometimes do a play bow on my hands and knees , it often seemed to help. I'm sure he will come around.
Wonderful post, Atticus! But, then, I'd expect that of you ;-)

Wed, 4 Apr 2012 17:49:25 (PDT)

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 08:58 PM
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I agree that being on prednisone and antibiotics can change a dog's behavior; quite a bit; they can be feeling quite irritable - if you like, rather anxious - because they can't feel all that great on those (needed) drugs.

To assist us with another thread, though dosage of prednisone must, to some extent, vary with the dog (and with other conditions); would you be willing to tell us Henry's dosage of prednisone? Is he on what my vets call a "short course"? That would be something like:

x mg (tablet, or part of a tablet) twice a day for five days;
x mg tablet once a day for the next five days;
x mg tablet every other day till the tablets are all used up.

And how much does Henry weigh? The thread I'm thinking of is "Gabbys scratching," by Ruthi.

And what antibiotic is Henry on? I'm just curious. And how long a course?

My diabetic dog, Australian Terrier Kumbi, usually had to be on antibiotics for at least 14 days, and sometimes, twice as long, because diabetic dogs typically don't do all that well fighting infections. Kumbi died of cancer (not diabetes) a little over a year and a half ago.

Camellia came along to save me, after that! I don't survive without a dog ;-)

Wed, 4 Apr 2012 17:58:15 (PDT)

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