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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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advice about a "nervey dog"

We have a very sweet non-gsd dog (he is a great big brother to our new GSD pup!) that I wanted to get some advice on. I got him when he was a year and a half old. He was kept in an outside kennel and did not have much socialization. He came to me with a horrible fear of men. We immediately started training- basic, intermediate, ralley then agility and tricks. He is super smart, loves kids and is amazing when it comes to tricks. His confidence is much, much better and now he enjoys public places and actually enjoys being petted by some men. He still does not really like my husband. My husband is big, has white blonde hair and light blue eyes and kind-of an uptight energy. He has tried hand feeding, calming signals, ignoring.... he even shaved off his mustache to see if it made a difference. It has gotten better, but sometimes when he startles the dog he will release his anal glands and he never really can relax around him. We even had a trainer come to the house and we tried clicking and treating any time he would look at my husband. Like I said, it is better but considering all the work we have done and how much he has improved in other areas I'm worried he may never like my husband. I have had him over a year now.

Here is what I want advice on: What is your experience with a "nervey" dog like this as he gets older? I am hoping he will settle down but I recently told my vet he seemed to be a little more nervous lately and he said that often a dog like this will get worse as he gets older not better. I hope he is wrong. Has anybody had a dog with simular issues that can give any advice?

I guess now I am starting to think about ways to manage his fears instead of just thinking that with enough socialization, training and love he will come around. I can accept him as he is but I want him to feel safe and relaxed in his own home. I am starting to crate him or put him in our outside pen more often to just avoid situations that may be scarey for him instead of actively trying to desensitize him.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 07:23 PM
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

I have that kind of dog - he is 8 now, I got him at 10 months with poor socialisation and NO training. Desensitization worked for many issues - some but not all loud noises (he still fears fireworks and some thunderstorms) and he is still uncomfortable with some people. Like your boy, his main issues seemed to be with large men. The first year was a huge challenge.

Who took your dog to agility classes? Have you considered sending your husband to a class with him if they haven't done that together? Particularly something fun like agility or a T-Touch class where they have to work as a team. You say your husband startles the dog - I presume inadvertently. Sending your husband with the dog to a good trainer may also help by having an outsider critique your husband's body language with the dog.

I think dogs like people are individuals and so it is difficult to predict how they will age. I also believe the events they are exposed to will have a great deal of influence.

In your place, I would consider T-Touch techniques as a way of calming him - this has worked for us.

As a matter of interest, what breed is your dog?

dd

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 07:39 PM
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

I was going to suggest T-Touch for the two of them.


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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 08:46 PM
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

What does your trainer suggest? Easier sometimes when you can see the situation.


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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

He is a Labradoodle! I didn't mention what he was because I didn't want to get into a discussion about designer dogs! He is a sweet dog no matter what he is! My kids and I took him to agility. My husband travels a lot which doesn't help and his mom and dad are in poor health. His mom has been in and out of hospice this past year (I know, you are not supposed to leave hospice but she is a fighter) so him going to classes is not really feasible right now. His parents have to come 1st during this time of his life. He does startle him accidently and you can tell he is not 100% comfortable with the dog and I don't know if that will ever change even if he tries. I would love to learn more about T-Touch. I am reading control unleashed right now and it is mentioned often.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

We have had several trainers, obedience, agility and a trainer that came to the house. They all agree he is wicked smart but nervey- probably in his genes, wasn't well socialized and maybe even abused by a man. We will never know for sure. They all pretty much have thought he has made good progress and can't really figure out why he hates my husband so much! One has suggested that I could try compulsion but I think it would shut him down. Nobody has suggested medication only "over the counter" herbal stuff which has not helped.

He is so obedient in class that you wouldn't really know he was so fearful. When in crowds he tends to lay down and go to sleep which I think is like a defensive mode for him... so in most of our classes people think he is the perfect dog- laid back, velcro, not reactive and very in tune with me.

Some days I start to imagine that he knows something about my husband that I don't!!
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

I plan on learning more about T-Touch for sure!
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 04:29 AM
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

What a cuuutieeee!! How about you go to the classes, since hubby is understandably occupied with his aging and ill parents right now.. but HUBBY works the T-Touch on the dog at home? You could pop some popcorn, sit on the sofa together, and watch a TTouch video or DVD. (you can order this online) Afterwards, it can be Hubby's 'job' to do relaxing TTouch sessions a few times a week. Does your dog love to be brushed? If so, brushing, petting gently, can help increase pack drive... and may help with bonding between the dog and the hubby. I would only have hubby start this after a few months of him doing the TTouch with your dog-- and even with the TTouch, hubby would need to really calm himSELF and his own energy before working with the dog. I am ordering the TTouch DVD for myself for my dog, too.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 06:54 AM
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

You mentioned a puppy? How old is he/she?

I would be really concerned with how much time the puppy gets w/the nervy Labradoodle.. I would want ALL this pups attention on humans.. Once the pup reached a certain age (6-7 months) then I would allow more play time with the older dog..

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 06:58 AM
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Re: advice about a "nervey dog"

Quote:
Quote:He is so obedient in class that you wouldn't really know he was so fearful. When in crowds he tends to lay down and go to sleep which I think is like a defensive mode for him... so in most of our classes people think he is the perfect dog- laid back, velcro, not reactive and very in tune with me.
This could be avoidance behavior also..

WE get a lot of Labradoodles in class and 95% of them have the same problems your dog does.. Very few have come through our facility with sound nerves and temperament.. Very, very soft temperaments and poutty..

Leesa~

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