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Old 01-17-2013, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Link will be 9 months tomorrow. For the most part, as far as his behavior and trainability I've been impressed day after day. But he's shown 3 issues which I think could all be linked to anxiety.

Every morning, I wake up and take him for a walk around 5:30, when there's very little traffic. We stick mostly to the backstreets but I've included a brief walk along a road where we'll be passed by maybe two dozen vehicles, one or two at a time in that 5 min portion of our walk. When we get home I feed him, put him in his crate with some chew toys and I leave for work, where he's alone for a few hours until my brother and his gf get up.

Issue #1, when I leave, he barks relentlessly. They try to ignore him but eventually give in and yell at him, where he usually gets better (still dissatisfied with his own situation).

Issue #2, terrified by traffic. When a car passes he'll try to run away from (on rare occasion, toward) the traffic. If its a bus he jumps and spins and twists.

Issue #3, less serious, but really bugs me, he barks at passerby's when he's outside on his leash, which he doesn't do off leash. Off leash he's kind and calm and approaches people in a very nice way. Kind of curious/submissive immediately followed by playful.

2 side points that I hope aren't related but may be, his tuffet goes up over pretty much anything he gets excited about, and he doesn't lift his leg to pee.

Any thoughts, opinions, ideas, or suggestions????

Thanks.


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Old 01-17-2013, 07:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If he has been desexed, he may never lift his leg to pee, whereas he may start doing it as he gets a bit older. They are all different. We have two boxers from the same litter both male, one squats, the other one lifts a leg.

As for the barking when you leave, he is trying to get the attention he craves, and knowing that the other people who live with you are going to eventually "give up" too his barking. That would be why he is relentless. Make sure you leave him with a kong, to try and keep his mind active and only when he is quiet in his crate to pay him any attention what so ever.

As for being timid and a little anti social, have you been socializing him since you got him? If he isn't getting any better over this amount of time maybe seek some obedience classes, where he will have to interact with other dogs and people. The traffic could be a cause of a problem later on(if he got out and ran onto the road) I suggest you be as calm and in control with your body language as possible, try not to put pressure on the lead. If you ignore the problem, he should hopefully feed off your energy. Is there anyone in your neighbourhood with a dog who is very calm on a walk, ask if you can join them, or borrow their dog for walks. He may need the confidence from a bigger pack. Also, I have found with dogs that have anxiety, put yourself inbetween the dog and the problem. So walk the dog on your other side.


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Old 01-17-2013, 09:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He hasn't been desexed. When he's in his cage he has the standard kong with treats, a toon-like bone shaped kong, and a kong shaped like an actual bone (he has other toys as well and what he gets varies from one day to the next with 2-3 toys at 1 time). I've asked them not to give in, but they can't help themselves, I'm moving feb 1st, hopefully that'll help.

As for socialization, I don't think there's a point that's "enough", but he use to spend his mornings with 3 dogs and their owners playing fetch for up to an hour before i went to work every day. We also made regular walks off leash at a popular local park where he met many different people and many different dogs each time about twice a week. I also have a poker game or a fire pit on the odd weekend with friends and family including kids. These things have all slowed down once the heavy snow came, but that's only very recent. I would like to do the classes.

I think having a positive influence around him is a good idea if I can make that work. Otherwise I do everything else you suggested on walks. And never let him walk on the outside if the sidewalk.


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Old 01-17-2013, 10:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I know ultimately you want your pup to see you as the one who keeps him safe, but as far as traffic anxiety goes, walking him in those situations with a well behaved and confident dog can help. Does he have a playmate who does well out on a lead? If he does, maybe try walking your pup with him. We used our lab to jump start our two GSD pups. We noticed a huge difference when we walked all three together. Traffic, dogs, and other distractions no longer seemed to bother them. We did it a couple of times and they were fine on their own after that. Someone might come along with some better suggestions, but for us, the confidence boost from the older dog worked very well.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My only other suggestion, silly as it may sound, is do some extensive exercise with him before you take him for a walk. And when he is really buggered if walked with another calm dog it may help. Only other thing, maybe try entertaining his natural instincts, something he really enjoys eating. Try and do obedience on the walk, such as sit and drop, lots of food. Keep his mind active and concentrating on you. If you live on a quiet street, could you get someone to drive past you over and over, someone ride past on a bike, have him drop on the sidewalk of the road and watch the car go by, and try and keep his focus on some food. This may help him understand that traffic means food.
Never praise or say its okay when he is stressed or being anxious, do not pat him. Just calmly continue forward.
As for barking at strangers, try and get someone to approach you calmly whilst on leash, have food in their hand, ignore the dog and strike up a conversation. Hopefully he will smell the food and determine the stranger as a good thing. If none of this works, perhaps a behaviourlist may have some other ideas for you.


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Old 01-18-2013, 07:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Like i said, I like the idea of having a positive influence around him, a bigger confident dog. Unfortunately I don't have one at my disposal, but I'm going to keep an eye out.

I can not get my dogs attention when we're out on on-leash walks in the city area, I really fail there. He's not interested in his favourite treats at this time -- just to get him to take one I have to put it right in front of his nose and wait for him to go for it. The only thing that works to get his attention is a tennis ball! The problem being that I can't actually give it to him for good behavior or he'll play with it and lose it in the street or something, so holding it as an attention grabber eventually leads to him realizing he's not getting it and giving up. He'll still listen to basic commands, but not the "watch me" when we're out on leash. Off leash walks - his recall is great even with huge distractions and he follows all my commands, other dog owners are often impressed.

I really appreciate all your input, guys! Keep it coming


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Old 01-19-2013, 04:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sounds like the best thing you could do is join an obedience club, make some friends and see if they will tag along for walks with you.
Doing obedience in a controlled environment with the distraction of other dogs, may just help him 100% tune into you.
Hope all goes well for you. They really are the best friend a person could have


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Old 01-19-2013, 06:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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@raintheshepherd-my apologies, I missed the last part of your post (#2) when I suggested the same thing.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Take your dog out for a nice long walk away from traffic. When he's good and tired, walk where there is traffic. Don't acknowledge any of his offish or fearful behaviors. Just keep on moving. Since he'll already be tired, you should see his reaction to passing cars decrease. Grim had some issues with cars. We just did this exact thing the other day. Before we reached home, even semi's were able to blow by us without him even looking up. I think classes would be great for you, also.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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@nigel- no worries, good to know other people are on the same page as me.


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