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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Bentley is now nearly 8 months old (time flies!) and in the last few weeks he seems to be afraid of everything. He barks at everything and he's marking everywhere (despite no accidents for a few months). He does need more socialization, but living in the desert where temperatures are so high, and with him getting car sick, it's been difficult to get him out. He does go for walks early in the morning but we don't see many people/dogs.

We spoke with our vet, and she recommended Trazadone (which I am NOT putting him on for several reasons), as well as getting him neutered ASAP. I don't love the idea of neutering him so young, especially when he seems to be scared of everything, but the marking is a problem. (Note - I don't like this vet and we plan to switch him after his neuter, which we've already paid for in part of a puppy package).

Any tips on socializing without overwhelming him to the point where it does more harm than good? We are working on noise desensitization at home, and will take him in the car to a parking lot so he can observe people when the temperatures get cooler. We did take him to Petco once, but he just barked and barked at everyone. The tricky thing with him is he has ZERO interest in treats/toys/anything when he is stimulated, so it's extremely difficult to get him to stop/work with him through it.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Adolescence is tough… just like raising a teenager. And marking, unfortunately, has nothing to do with “normal” potty training”. In the dog’s mind, they have nothing to do with each other, even though, in your mind, you think, “urine”. Marking needs to be trained, just like pottying. Absolutely not allowed in the house… ever! That probably means back to close confinement/supervision for the adolescent boy until he internalizes that message! And as more people are waiting longer to neuter, this is SOOO important, as neutering doess NOT always stop marking, if you allow marking to become a habit!

As far as socialization is concerned, both it and the car sickness, unfortunately, have the same answer. You NEED to really work on getting him out a LOT more. In tiny doses, in the air conditioned car if it’s hot. Early in the morning to sit outside a convenience store or coffee shop. Later in the evening outside an ice cream shop. Keep the car at whatever distance he will tolerate, where he can watch and eat cookies. Over time, close the distance as he gets more comfortable. As it gets cooler, you can open the back of the car and sit on the tailgate with him and enjoy passers by. We rotate our guys and take each one separately out to the ice cream shop. They think it is a HUGE treat to share a bit of ice cream with us!!!
 

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I’m glad you will be able to switch vets. Our vet usually prescribes medication for anxiety in conjunction with training, and rarely without the recommendation of a behaviorist. There is a better chance of being able to go off of the medication if it’s used to help them relax enough to participate in training and socialization. Since there seem to be long waiting lists with good behaviorists, I might try to connect with one in your area. In the meantime do lots of short trips and start with distances that are further from people. Be careful because if you go too fast and he’s stressed out you can accidentally train him to keep doing what he’s doing now and reinforce his anxiety. Maybe there’s a daily errand you can take him on? Once you figure out what distance you can be around people without him reacting, try to expose him to it every day, then moving closer in proximity.

If he does okay in some parking lots but not at Petco, that makes sense, because he’s probably reacting to other dogs. It takes time for even a well socialized dog to develop those behaviors, so keep working on it in in other parking lots. I took our puppy with us everywhere, to carpool, etc, and now he’s an adult and I spend time waiting at lessons and activities where he can be loose in the car. He still barks at other dogs through the car window sometimes. I think it’s pretty normal. I do work on it, and I’m not saying you should ignore it, I just wouldn’t use that as a measuring stick for improvement. Work on it in more neutral settings, where you’ll see improvement more quickly, and it will probably start to transfer to different situations. Every once in a while when I take him to pick up one of my kids at the high school, tons of people will walk by and he just watches and then all of the sudden he’ll bark at someone. I have no idea why. But outside of the car that wouldn’t happen. Maybe try to change the setting when you are trying to target his behavior specifically with dogs. For instance, instead of a walk, take a book to the park or to the busiest part of your neighborhood and sit for a while, so he can potentially see other dogs and people from a distance. Or maybe switch up your schedule temporarily, so that his walk is at a time of day when more people are out.

I don’t have a covid puppy, but mine didn’t do well with the isolation, either. I have noticed an improvement just from taking him with me in the car more often, but it’s only been about two months since we’ve been able to go more places. This fall and winter as we’re limiting activity again I might try leaving 5 minutes early for carpool and taking him with me to sit in the grass next to the school, at least until it gets too cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both! We are planning to take him more places ASAP and every day. Managing his car sickness has been very tricky because he just doesn't act like himself when he doesn't feel well (ie doesn't react really to anything), and he seems to feel sick the minute the car starts moving (drool EVERYWHERE). The last few times he was in the car we were lucky he didn't actually get sick, so I'm hoping he's starting to grow out of it. We will try very short trips and hope they are short enough so he won't feel so sick that it changes his behavior, and we'll stick to observing people from afar first and move to close the distance. That's a great suggestion! We do deal with a LOT of sibling rivalry (as I'm sure many of you have experienced), but in this case, we'll need to make an effort to take Bentley on "adventures" as we call them separate from our girls. It will probably be good for all of them anyway!

Our vet did suggest a behaviorist, so we may try that. We are working with a private trainer already, so are trying to see if that helps before we spend more money. Like most Havs, he's extremely trainable at home, so the trick now is finding a treat he likes enough to eat while he's distracted by the outside world. Trazadone isn't off the table if that will really allow us to train him better, but it's certainly NOT my first (really not even my fifth) choice here. With a poor experience with my other Hav on Trazadone, I'm not jumping into that yet (though I know dogs can react differently).
 

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I agree that you may have to address the car sickness first. But the way to do THAT is with tiny, frequent exposures. There is also an OTC drug that is non-drowsy, and can help with that. I can’t remember the name, as it’s not something I’ve ever needed with my dogs. But I know people use it even on the way to trials, so it does not sedate them or anything. Just settles their stomach.

As far as mads for his anxiety are concerned, Trazadone is far from the only option. If you are not comfortable with that one, perhaps Prozac? (Fluoxetine) It is completely non-sedating, and very good at helping anxious dogs. Talk to your vet about other options.

Finally, I agree that you DO want to do this work with him alone, away from your other dogs. He needs to learn to depend on you, his people, not on his “dog family”.
:)
 
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My little one is a 3.5 year old female and I remember reading how she needed/must be socialized. At the the time due to numerous circumstances such as COVID isolation, the lack of puppy classes and travel there just wasn't an opportunity to do intensive socialize training.

I took her to Petco a couple of times and once put a leash on her. She was very! excited and interested in walking around Petco and decided to hike her leg and pee next to a sign that said: It's OK if your dog pees on the floor" - next to some paper towels. Well..... it was NOT OK to me so now on the rare occasion I take her to Petco she's in a cart.

Patti was very apprehensive about people wanting to touch her and I thought "I was a terrible puppy mom" and that Patti would always be anxious around people. As Patti has gotten older she has become less anxious, more confident and now I often have to pick her up and make her leave people alone.

I think, as your baby gets older he'll naturally learn to be more social provided his experiences are with other people. My advice: relax and don't rush things. And if people approach and want to pet your dog and your dog resists tell the person to back off - in a nice way.

REGARDING HIKING:
I have a female and when I take her for walks she hikes her little leg on every new tree or clump of grass. She does not hike in her own yard that's she's familiar with. I've always had female dogs and never had one that hiked their leg. Patti is housebroken and is well trained and occasionally uses an indoor potty tray. She's never hiked her leg when using the indoor potty tray. There are indoor potty trays that have sides for dogs that hike their legs.

Barking: As your puppy becomes more familiar to sounds and surroundings he'll probably bark less often. Havanese bark when there's something to bark about. Yesterday when I let Patti out around 5-5:30 a.m. she started barking like crazy. Yes it was Annoying!! I couldn't get her to Shut Up. Turns out there was an armadillo tearing up the yard. Daddy got his gun and shot the thing. ;)
 

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Car Sickness: My daughter had a Golden-doodle who routinely got car sick but didn't throw up. There were times we took her on long trips and was given some medication. Other times there were short trips. We stopped giving medication and Lucy suffered through being anxious and feeling ill but eventually she adjusted and learned to ride in the car.
 

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I relate to the cold/ shivering. Perry shivers until it's at least 70F :). I don't actually put a sweater on him til it's cooler than it is now, but if it's below 70 he does shiver.

I do like this fleece - Perry has several colors. He wears a medium and they do have two sizes smaller than that, so it might work for JoJo


175657
175658
 

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I think, as your baby gets older he'll naturally learn to be more social provided his experiences are with other people. My advice: relax and don't rush things. And if people approach and want to pet your dog and your dog resists tell the person to back off - in a nice way.
I can’t agree with this enough! You have to be your dog’s advocate ALWAYS!!! I think that many people are a little embarrassed to speak up when their dog or puppy is feeling overwhelmed by well-meaning, but overly “friendly” strangers. But in the long run, it is doing no favor to your dog to force them into these situations!
 

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Car Sickness: My daughter had a Golden-doodle who routinely got car sick but didn't throw up. There were times we took her on long trips and was given some medication. Other times there were short trips. We stopped giving medication and Lucy suffered through being anxious and feeling ill but eventually she adjusted and learned to ride in the car.
If it’s mild, very often, just short, repeated exposures usually does the trick. Kodi had some mild car sickness as a puppy, but we worked through it. Neither of the girls did, though I know Panda’s breeder had her litter in the car daily from a very young age, because they went to work with her every day! I also made sure Ducky’s litter had several experiences riding in the car while they were still with me so that none of them would have problems with car sickness. Now that we know that just a few rides in the car before 7 weeks of age “inoculates” puppies against car sickness, I wish more breeders would take the time to do this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is all great- thank you!

I think, as your baby gets older he'll naturally learn to be more social provided his experiences are with other people. My advice: relax and don't rush things. And if people approach and want to pet your dog and your dog resists tell the person to back off - in a nice way
Thanks for this - I think I've been putting a lot of pressure on both of us to do everything perfectly when that's just not possible with little puppies. We'll continue to work with him every day and work up his confidence, and I think we will be okay (hopefully lol!)

We took him to a small group puppy class today held by his trainer we've been working with and he did GREAT. Barked a few times at 2 people (but got used to them and went up to them several times after that), but not at all at the other dogs, and he played with all of them. Might have helped he was the only boy of the 8 dogs that were there ha (he was a little rude with all his sniffing! lol). We will continue to work on getting him used to the car in small doses, new people (outside of a class with a lot of dog distraction), bigger dogs, etc, but I felt reassured that he did so well today.
 

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This is all great- thank you!



Thanks for this - I think I've been putting a lot of pressure on both of us to do everything perfectly when that's just not possible with little puppies. We'll continue to work with him every day and work up his confidence, and I think we will be okay (hopefully lol!)

We took him to a small group puppy class today held by his trainer we've been working with and he did GREAT. Barked a few times at 2 people (but got used to them and went up to them several times after that), but not at all at the other dogs, and he played with all of them. Might have helped he was the only boy of the 8 dogs that were there ha (he was a little rude with all his sniffing! lol). We will continue to work on getting him used to the car in small doses, new people (outside of a class with a lot of dog distraction), bigger dogs, etc, but I felt reassured that he did so well today.
Yes, if people can find a small dog play group like this, I can’t recommend it highly enough! Ducky and Fezzik both go to one too. Ducky is pretty out-going by nature, but Fezzik is a bit more retiring. It is wonderful to see how a few weeks with this group has helped him come out of his shell, and start to enjoy being around other dogs. I don’t think it’s necessary for little dogs to want to PLAY with every dog they see… especially big ones… but you want them to get enough used to them that they aren’t AFRAID every time they see them.

Another thing I did with Ducky, when he seemed a bit wary of big dogs, was to go to our training center when classes were changing, and just sit with the hatch open, with him in his crate, and let him watch the big dogs come and go from the building, ehile feeding him cookies. When he was fine with that, we went other times and I got out and walked around, still at a distance, eating cookies and watching. You could do the same thing at a dog park, not actually USING the dog park, just letting your puppy watch the dogs. (I don’t really care that Ducky interact with these big dogs, only that he feels comfortable that they are not going to hurt him while we are all on leash!)
 

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Yes, if people can find a small dog play group like this, I can’t recommend it highly enough! Ducky and Fezzik both go to one too. Ducky is pretty out-going by nature, but Fezzik is a bit more retiring. It is wonderful to see how a few weeks with this group has helped him come out of his shell, and start to enjoy being around other dogs. I don’t think it’s necessary for little dogs to want to PLAY with every dog they see… especially big ones… but you want them to get enough used to them that they aren’t AFRAID every time they see them.

Another thing I did with Ducky, when he seemed a bit wary of big dogs, was to go to our training center when classes were changing, and just sit with the hatch open, with him in his crate, and let him watch the big dogs come and go from the building, ehile feeding him cookies. When he was fine with that, we went other times and I got out and walked around, still at a distance, eating cookies and watching. You could do the same thing at a dog park, not actually USING the dog park, just letting your puppy watch the dogs. (I don’t really care that Ducky interact with these big dogs, only that he feels comfortable that they are not going to hurt him while we are all on leash!)
We went to DC this past week and took Perry (more on his last Dr. appointment in his thread)... Because of his leg, I do still need to carry him around most of the time so he was in his sling or on my lap a lot of the time when we were out. There are also quite a few dogs in DC so it was interesting trying to figure out his reaction to other dogs.

I've always known that Perry is super attuned to a person or dog's energy level - and that's not just related to how they're acting. We know that he's not really happy (and will growl and bark) when cousins Finley and Zadie are racing around... or just high energy overall, but are fine when they're chilling. When he first met Otto (my nephew's pitty-mix) even though Otto didn't approach him, because he was soooooo high strung, Perry was barking, snarling, growling and would have (if I didn't keep a tight hold on him) tried to attack him I am sure!

I saw similar things on this trip. The size of the dog didn't matter so much, but there were a couple of things that did - (1) he was much more aggressive/ snarly when I was holding him (unknown if he would have been the same with those same dogs if he'd been on the ground and able to approach them) (2)the dog's energy level was definitely still a factor. He did get to "meet" three dogs and was perfectly fine - sniffed noses, sniffed butts and then was good to go. One was this completely adorable doodle (I think) - we were both out walking in the morning and the doodle was at the end of the road - (s)he looked over, saw us, and then just plopped to the ground and wouldn't move (despite the owner trying to keep moving :) ) until we came to meet him/her. (s)he was super chill, stayed on the ground and just sniffed Perry/ let Perry sniff him/ her. Another was an older toy poodle - same sniffing and we were good. The third was a slightly higher strung pug and Perry was good for a couple of sniffs but then let him know he was done with a tiny growl (which the other dog ignored so I picked Perry up so it wouldn't escalate). However, we did pass several other dogs - some of which got the full on "I want to rip off your face" vocalization which I am convinced is totally pre-emptive because he's afraid. He was in his sling for those and was really not happy with them.

I think I need to find a class like karen suggested and just sit out side it while they're leaving and feed him cookies to get him more used to a variety of other dogs.
 

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I can’t agree with this enough! You have to be your dog’s advocate ALWAYS!!! I think that many people are a little embarrassed to speak up when their dog or puppy is feeling overwhelmed by well-meaning, but overly “friendly” strangers. But in the long run, it is doing no favor to your dog to force them into these situations!
I agree - though I have personally found it really hard to find the right words that don't sound like you're blaming the person.
 

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I agree - though I have personally found it really hard to find the right words that don't sound like you're blaming the person.
Regarding strangers wanting to touch or pet your puppy or dog: I usually say something like.... Patti doesn't like to be touched until she gets to know you.

On or off a leash these little dogs are fast and can easily avoid someone wanting to touch or pet them. If I'm holding her I can step back. Most people aren't that interested in pushing the issue if Patti isn't interested. It you've got a pushy stranger then maybe blaming the person isn't a bad idea.;)
 

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I agree - though I have personally found it really hard to find the right words that don't sound like you're blaming the person.
With Pixel, who is the one we are mostly running interference for, though we are now doing it for Ducky too, not because he's shy, but just because he is so young, I just say, "sorry, she's a bit shy. If you'll squat down, if she'll come to you, it's fine, but she may not be willing to, and we respect her feelings." That way it's not on the person at all. With Ducky, we just say he's a puppy in training, smile and sail on.

These days, with all the KC going around, that is our excuse for not allowing ANY direct dog-dog interaction outside a school setting.
 

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With Pixel, who is the one we are mostly running interference for, though we are now doing it for Ducky too, not because he's shy, but just because he is so young, I just say, "sorry, she's a bit shy. If you'll squat down, if she'll come to you, it's fine, but she may not be willing to, and we respect her feelings." That way it's not on the person at all. With Ducky, we just say he's a puppy in training, smile and sail on.

These days, with all the KC going around, that is our excuse for not allowing ANY direct dog-dog interaction outside a school setting.
That's a good statement. The thing is that I do want to let people try to pet him - he does need that socialization since he's fine with seeing people, so petting is the next step... but sometimes when they do you can tell he's not into it - and it just always felt rude to then try to explain that he was shy and not into being pet :) Often it's in places where he's not really able to approach them either because I'm holding him or he's sitting on a chair in the airport lounge or similar. But what you say for Pixel is a great start for the process.

In all the years I've had of people approaching him, I've only had one who did and understood himself that Perry was not feeling it :) and backed off.
 

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Regarding strangers wanting to touch or pet your puppy or dog: I usually say something like.... Patti doesn't like to be touched until she gets to know you.

On or off a leash these little dogs are fast and can easily avoid someone wanting to touch or pet them. If I'm holding her I can step back. Most people aren't that interested in pushing the issue if Patti isn't interested. It you've got a pushy stranger then maybe blaming the person isn't a bad idea.;)
I do this sometimes too but I do want to let people try at times as well.
 

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That's a good statement. The thing is that I do want to let people try to pet him - he does need that socialization since he's fine with seeing people, so petting is the next step... but sometimes when they do you can tell he's not into it - and it just always felt rude to then try to explain that he was shy and not into being pet :) Often it's in places where he's not really able to approach them either because I'm holding him or he's sitting on a chair in the airport lounge or similar. But what you say for Pixel is a great start for the process.

In all the years I've had of people approaching him, I've only had one who did and understood himself that Perry was not feeling it :) and backed off.
See, I guess I feel differently about it. From my point of view, NO dog HAS to put up with being patted by strangers. They HAVE to tolerate being handled by trained veterinary or grooming personnel, but those people know how to approach and handle dogs competently. That's so different from John Q. Public. I am quite cavalier about allowing people, even small children pat Kodi and Panda, because they love everyone. If I think a child can't be trusted, I will guide the interaction, or if a child seems very worried about the dog, I will offer to hold the dog's head so they can feel how soft they are. (even though I know the dog won't hurt them) But Both Kodi and Panda never met a human they didn't love. Ducky will be the same, but he's puppy, and I still need to manage all interactions for him.

But Pixel is a different sort of dog. She DOES make friends, but it takes her a bit of time to warm up and get to know someones. MUCH more than just allowing a stranger to pat her in a store. She almost NEVER will allow that, though she will usually go over and greet a friendly stranger by touching her nose to their fingers with a wagging tail these days. But I don't think we ever would have gotten THERE if I'd forced her to allow strangers to pat her. ...And every once in a while, she finds a stranger that she just loves. And she will jump in their lap and ASK for patting. But that is EXCEEDINGLY rare.

She was the MOST useful of my dogs in sorting out puppy buyers though. As I said, Kodi and Panda (before the puppies were born) loved EVERYONE who came to visit. Pixel checked people out. If the people LISTENED to me and gave her space, she quickly warmed up and made friends. I think it was Chase's family where I nearly fell down because I turned around and the dad was HOLDING her!!! She has never allowed ANYONE outside the family to pick her up!!! They got a puppy! LOL! There was one individual that Pixel refused to get near. She did not get a puppy. And one family whose young child would NOT take direction on how to approach (or NOT approach) Pixel, and insisted in chasing her around the back yard. They didn't get a puppy either. :)

I have no use for dog who are dangerous to humans. But on the other hand, I ALSO don't think that every dog needs to be "friends" with everyone, or even needs to accept handling for strangers. It's the same thing as people wanting their dogs to "want" dog friends. Not all dogs want that either... and that's OK.
 
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