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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the past week Zelda has been showing some fearful behavior, do dogs go through a third fear stage or is it just something worse?

Back story and info; Zelda is 21 months old, last heat cycle was end of October. For the past week she has been showing odd behavior, mostly during walk time. I was practicing stacking her, she started lip licking, and looking out of the side of her eyes (whites showing) then the fur stared to stand up at the base of her tail. When I stopped stacking her she ran and cowered in the corner of the room. No corrections were given at all, when I tried to call her to me she peed a little, I ignored her, left her alone and just started doing housework. The next day I went to put her collar on for walk time (which she loves) again she cowers, pees a little, fur standing up on the base of the tail, and she starts shaking. I again ignore the behavior and we go to the car to drive to the park, she is fine the drive there, but when I open the door to let her out she is again shaking. She is then fine for the rest of the walk, and the drive home. This behavior repeats for the rest of the week during walks. Today though was the worst! Our 4H club walked in our annual Christmas parade, Zelda has walked in parades since she was a puppy with no problems. Today however she was acting up the whole time, pulling like a freight train even with her prong collar own, heavy panting, ears pinned back whining and high pitched barks the whole time, and shaking. She wasn't to upset though to eat treats, although she was taking them a little more rough than she usually does.


I am at a loss on what to do, most of the time she acts just fine until it comes time to walk her. I know part of it is probably her reacting to my frustration. I don't know if I should just continue to ignore her when she acts like this or if I should correct her?
 

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Its pretty safe to say she's sensitive, especially to you. I'm not a big believer in fear "stages" I know there's got to be studies or scientific proof that I'm wrong, but I think of it more as what their temperament is and that its always going to show in one way or another throughout their life. You can't fairly correct her for those things you mentioned. With mine who's nervy and sensitive, I go with the square peg in a round whole plan. I stick with what he's good with, and I don't bother trying to push him into things he's not.
 

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This makes me wonder if one of two things is going on. She may be having some type of seizures. Seizures can manifest in many ways and have lingering behavioral changes. The other thing is she may be experiencing some type of pain. I once had a dog that suddenly started exhibiting some off, possibly fearful behaviors. Was diagnosed by vet as a sort of bloat propensity where the dog was experiencing extreme pain from the gas which resulted in his "fearful" behaviors. Adding gas relief meds to his diet was a simple fix. Either way, I would get her in for a check up ASAP.
 
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I agree with both opinions expressed above mine. If this is really out of the blue, I’d second the recommendation for seeing the vet. Just to make sure something medical isn’t going on. If she was prone to “fear periods” while growing up, I might be wont to attribute this to her overal temperament. It could also be hormone related. Perhaps she is experiencing a false pregnancy?
 

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Deja shows a similar reaction when there is a skunk around the house but only then. The first time I saw her react (before I ever smelled the skunk) I thought she had a seizures. Just to show that they may sense more than we do.
For your dog: could her collar hurt her? Could you consider changing the routines completely: new collar, leash, treats and toys.What about your clothes like a coat that rubs against her etc.
Does she focus on a certain direction, area? What if you maintain a happy, confident and fun attitude?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies!
@Steve- she is definitely sensitive! When the trainer would have me give her a leash correction she would yelp like we killed her even though it wasn't a hard correction, but on the other hand when we had problems with her charging the fence at the neighbors dog or when she is focused on the kitten too much, you can give a hard correction and it barely phases her.

@MAWL- I will have the vet check her out on Monday since the only way I could have her seen now would be an emergency visit. She did a have a bit of a cow patty poop when we got home, but I don't know if that was just from stress or if she maybe had an upset stomach and didn't want to go during the parade. She also did get her heartgard today so maybe that was it?

@gypsy I never really noticed too much of fearful behavior when she was younger, though she did submissive/excitable pee, and still does a little when my oldest son first comes home to visit (about once a month) Loud noises don't phase her at all, she is neutral to dogs and people. She ignores dogs unless they get in her face, then she just gives a warning growl, but she is fine with them being near.
I never thought about a false pregnancy, that will be something I ask the vet about.


I guess I will continue to just ignore any fearful behavior maybe not take her for a walk for a day or 2, and see if she is any better on Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Deja shows a similar reaction when there is a skunk around the house but only then. The first time I saw her react (before I ever smelled the skunk) I thought she had a seizures. Just to show that they may sense more than we do.
For your dog: could her collar hurt her? Could you consider changing the routines completely: new collar, leash, treats and toys.What about your clothes like a coat that rubs against her etc.
Does she focus on a certain direction, area? What if you maintain a happy, confident and fun attitude?
I could try a different collar and see if that works, normally I walk her with a prong collar, but I could just try her buckle collar instead. Treats and toys are her main love! She has brought me a 1 inch piece of rubber ball before to play fetch with, she loves treats even if it is just her regular food. Put her food in a bowl and she will eat it slowly but use it for a training treat and she gobbles it up fast.


Normally during our walks, as long as there isn't a lot of people around, I don't even hold her leash so I don't think its anything with her actually walking its just getting her there the last week is the problem. I have been wearing a winter coat lately but again that doesn't seem to be the problem since she will still jump up on me when we are playing.


May of just had an epiphany! I forgot about this until now, she did give herself a leash correction last week when we was playing fetch at the park (human park) she stepped on the leash that was still attached to her prong collar. I didn't think much of it because she continued to play fetch after it happened. I wonder if she is now worried about it.


I know in hindsight I probably should have just taken her leash off while playing, but technically dogs are not allowed off leash in my city so I usually just leave it on so I can pick it up real quick if needed.
 

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Most of the time its not going to be how physically hard the correction is, especially when they're amped up about something like the other dog. Its the attitude and emotion from you. Frustration coming with some anger, ends up showing in the ways you're seeing with her. Could be something medical, but with some of what you've posted about her, I'd think temperament.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now for the million dollar question, is this a genetic temperament problem, newbie handler problem or a bit of both? Not that it really matters other than if it is something I did to create this problem, how do I avoid this with the puppy we are getting in June?

I think I was so focused on trying to make sure that I had a good obedience performance dog and that I didn't have a bad mannered aggressive dog, that I inadvertently created a problem that wouldn't of been there in the first place.
 

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Is her vulva and nipples slightly swollen?


Could also be a split heat.


Our girl had some weird behaviors when she went thru this.


Moms :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Vet visit Monday went fine, she said she is perfectly healthy no pain that the vet can discern, no split heat and she doesn't think its a false pregnancy.

I tried something different today. Used a different collar and leash, and instead of driving to the park or walking trail like I normally do, we just walked around the neighborhood. Didn't make a difference. :frown2: As soon as I started to put her collar on she peed a littles started trembling again, ears pinned back, and fur stood up at the base of the tail. Once we started walking she was fine, got home took the collar off, and then tried putting it back on again, Only reaction was peeing a little, but no trembling.


I am not sure what to do now.
 

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I am not sure what to do now.
What I would do now is to go about your routines, ignore her behavior and "forget" about her issue. No fuss about her collar either. Have her sit when you put it on and take it off as if she were any other dog. If she pees, completely ignore it as if it didn't happen and wipe it off when she can't see you do it. Just be happy with her and hopefully she gets over this.
Keep us posted. Good luck.
 

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Can you take her for an off leash romp somewhere safe? See if the leash and collar have somehow triggered some bad feelings? A young dog that doesn't want to go for a walk, is going through something strange, indeed.

Continuing to force a walk when her mind is in such a state can't be helpful. Does she love the ball, fetch, or some treats? If so, maybe you could snap her out of it using those. I'd try to find some activity where she shows no fear and is confident and happy, and engage and reward her for this, and see if you can build up confidence before trying a walk again.

How could the vet tell that it is NOT a split heat with a physical exam? They aren't always obvious. Did you progesterone test? Neither are false pregnancies, even with blood testing. I can't imagine you could even test for one, it would be based on the dog's behavior over the weeks.

My recommendation, if it may be hormonal, is to spay her at about 2 years because hormones can have MAJOR impact on a bitches' behavior. It depends on the individual dog, but I've seen major temperament changes in pregnant dogs and dogs in heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Saco no we didn't have a progesterone test done, I didn't even think to ask and the vet never mentioned having it done, she just examined her. Her last heat cycle though was normal though.


Its not that she doesn't like to walk or car rides, quite the opposite in fact. If I don't put her collar on she acts normal. Unfortunately there really is no place to walk her off leash other than the dog park, that we never go to because she doesn't like to play with other dogs. I do let go of the leash at the human park when no one else is there, which is most of the time since I go when the kids are in school, plus now that it is getting cold most of the older retired people aren't walking either. It is just the act of putting on the collar

She has high ball and food drive (as long as you are not asking her to eat her dinner out of a bowl) even when she is trembling she will still take treats. We usually play fetch during her walk or when it is warm out she gets to play in the creek or river.
@wolfy dog that is what I did today, just completely ignored her behavior and just started walking. I think from now on I will just put her collar on outside so I don't have to worry about the mess. I am also going to start doing engagement work with her again.
 

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If she is reacting to a prong collar like this, why not just use a flat collar?
 

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How does she react if someone else puts her collar on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If she is reacting to a prong collar like this, why not just use a flat collar?
I tried that and still got the same reaction. I am also thinking of just leaving her buckle collar on all the time and see if it helps or if she will still react the same when I snap the leash on. I guess I really only have been using the prong out of habit, she doesn't need it anymore
@Bramble my 14 y/o daughter, who does most of her training (she is her 4h dog) gets the same reaction.

I did advise her to try and not react if she pees just keep smiling and if she has to practice singing her choir songs. I sang Christmas songs today, just to make sure my face didn't show any negative emotions lol

Other than this she acts just fine the rest of the time.
 

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I tried that and still got the same reaction. I am also thinking of just leaving her buckle collar on all the time and see if it helps or if she will still react the same when I snap the leash on. I guess I really only have been using the prong out of habit, she doesn't need it anymore

@Bramble my 14 y/o daughter, who does most of her training (she is her 4h dog) gets the same reaction.

I did advise her to try and not react if she pees just keep smiling and if she has to practice singing her choir songs. I sang Christmas songs today, just to make sure my face didn't show any negative emotions lol

Other than this she acts just fine the rest of the time.
How about trying a harness? That way you could avoid the neck area altogether.
 
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I tried that and still got the same reaction. I am also thinking of just leaving her buckle collar on all the time and see if it helps or if she will still react the same when I snap the leash on. I guess I really only have been using the prong out of habit, she doesn't need it anymore

@Bramble my 14 y/o daughter, who does most of her training (she is her 4h dog) gets the same reaction.

I did advise her to try and not react if she pees just keep smiling and if she has to practice singing her choir songs. I sang Christmas songs today, just to make sure my face didn't show any negative emotions lol

Other than this she acts just fine the rest of the time.

What if you go through the motions without the collar does she react the same? How about if you change your body positions, like stand sideways to her and place the collar on or crouch down beside her?



I have grooming clients with dog who have formed sudden fears about things, but they have all been older and I think a lot is due to changes in vision and hearing due to aging.
 

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Since you don't feel that the prong is needed and she reacts to the buckle flat collar also, if a martingale collar can be slipped over her head and still fit properly, that might be worth a try. You could introduce it by enticing with treats to have her put her snout through it and no buckle to fiddle with.

Just a thought in line with other suggestions.
 
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