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cethlen1621 12-05-2013 11:26 PM

Rescued GSD anxiety with sound of horses whinnying
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This is our Ajax we got from the shelter almost 2 months ago. He was one of the near 200 dogs & puppies rescued from a puppy mill situation in Pine River MN. The shelter guesstimates his age at about 5 years old, so most likely was used as breeding stock. He is a super sweet boy. No longer skin & bones, and his coat is so much softer & shinier since we've had him.
One of the few bits of full out anxiety he's had was when he was napping by us while we were watching TV, twice now when a horse whinnies on the TV, he jumps up whining, whimpering, clods around the house trying to look through the windows & doors. He's heard other noises on the TV like other dogs and only perked up & looked towards the door then went back to whatever he was doing after we said in a calm manner "it's just on TV." That same manner wasn't working as easily or fast for the horse whinnies. We looked it up and the puppy mill chick (I'll leave out the words I normally refer to her as) also had a horse riding stables.
Any tips for when a random horse whinny may show up in the future? We haven't acted any different during these times, we were more expecting this from dog sounds on TV. So far it's only been twice, but it makes us wonder what bad things may have happened to him or those horses when he heard that sound.
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selzer 12-05-2013 11:39 PM

He may have a negative association with horses. It's possible that he was kicked badly. Chances are he did not get out of his pen much though, being from a puppy mill situation. It is possible that he was actually abused as horses were whinneying. And he may have never seen the horses, but only heard them, so hearing them on TV might be similar to the experience he had.

If he is otherwise ok, he should become desensitized to the TV. Give it time.

Baillif 12-06-2013 12:03 AM

I'd try to experiment with a few things. I'd get him hungry first. Play the whinnying noise and then treat treat treat. Play it again and treat treat treat. If he didn't take food because of high anxiety I'd try lowering the volume. If that didn't work I'd either wait till he got hungrier and try again, or using higher value food rewards I'd amp him up ahead of time to where he wanted it really bad then play that noise and give it to him right after it played. Might take a bit of trial and error at first to produce positive results.

cethlen1621 01-07-2014 04:51 PM

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Sorry I haven't been on for a little while,a bit busywith the holidays. We had the whinnying sound again once more while I was going towards the kitchen. That's near where we keep the treats, so I was able to direct his attention to a treat rather easily. Worked rather well. He came over and sat with a happy face the tip of his tail wagging waiting for a treat. He was perfectly fine after that. Now to see how things go the next time. Thanks guys! He's such a sweet goofball, so I'm happy to help him heal away the bad memory associations.

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