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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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Discussion Starter #6
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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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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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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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..
 

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I think they get the poutty from the poodle. The one that I have seen was just a big bouncing happy go lucky young dog that was too big and strong for this owner. LOL a pinch collar got this pups attention that he wasn't allowed to drag his owner around.
 

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If your husband is not comfortable with the dog and the dog is not comfortable with your husband - they are feeding discomfort off each other. What are specific issues your husband has with the dog? Avoiding startling him is a first step, but are there other areas of conflict that could be smoothed?

A happy activity they do together would be ideal, but you might want to think about other elements that cause discomfort for the two of them, because fixing the small stuff may actually add up to a big win.

dd
 

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Originally Posted By: dd
A happy activity they do together would be ideal, but you might want to think about other elements that cause discomfort for the two of them, because fixing the small stuff may actually add up to a big win.
dd
I was thinking the same thing about an activity. Maybe figure out what his most favorite thing in the world is and have your husband be the only person who does it with him. Making him rely on your husband for his favorite activity could help him form a bond.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I agree- feeding off of each other is a good way to describe it! I can't specifically put my finger on it... it sounds silly but my husband really does have a negative energy around him.... I think it's partly that he was not raised with large dogs and may have a tiny bit of fear (the first big dog I had was a rescued GSD and he was worried about him around the kids but he ended up being the one in the family that spoiled him the most and spent tons of money trying to save him when he started having kidney failure), the growls (I've tried to explain that it's good he is communicating) and that fact that he is probably a little jealous of the time I spend at training with him! He just isn't a natural with animals (or human babies, lol) but he does try- He is the one in the house that does the cooking and the dogs (including my scaredy cat) line up for meat scraps. The kitchen is the one place they interact the most and the most positively. I don't feed table scraps so this is the one thing they only get from my husband! I wish my husband could be more conscious of they way he stomps around and makes loud noises- he is not even conscious he does it. He is also one of those guys that goes straight for the top of the head when he tries to pet..... I think I have him not doing that anymore! I wish there was a magic wand that I could wave to undo all the harm that has been done to dogs before they have been rescued!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
he is actually a f1b which means one parent is a labradoodle and the other was a standard poodle. That makes him 3/4 poodle and 1/4 lab.... so your theory may be right!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We have an outside pen and numerous crates inside so we rotate the labradoodle out for most of the day and then in the evening the pup goes in a crate and the labrdoodle gets the run of the house until morning. They get maybe a half hour together in the morning and a half hour at night. Is that too long? I am "trying" to limit my interaction with the pup too since my daughter wants to compete with him eventually... it's a lot harder than I thought though he is such a cutie! We also have a elderly yorkie-poo that acts too superior to ineract with either dog! He gets the run of the house all the time.
 

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1/2 hr twice a day is fine.. Especially if this is gonna be a competition dog.. It needs to focus more on it's people than other dogs..
 

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I have one added suggestion ....... this applies to any dog that requires clipping and also has nervous tendencies .... it is a good policy to keep hair trimmed around the eyes so the dog always has good visibility. A nervous dog who lacks good visibility is more likely to be startled and fearful when they can not easily see where a noise is emanating. I have seen many OES (Old English Sheepdogs) and even purebred poorly maintained Standard Poodles (even with otherwise "good nerve") who have become skittish when their vision is impaired.

All the best
 

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Originally Posted By: QynI have one added suggestion ....... this applies to any dog that requires clipping and also has nervous tendencies .... it is a good policy to keep hair trimmed around the eyes so the dog always has good visibility. A nervous dog who lacks good visibility is more likely to be startled and fearful when they can not easily see where a noise is emanating. I have seen many OES (Old English Sheepdogs) and even purebred poorly maintained Standard Poodles (even with otherwise "good nerve") who have become skittish when their vision is impaired.

Good point! I had someone else mention this to me and I have been trying to keep it shorter. i havn't decided yet if it has helped but i figure I might as well try everything I can! Thanks! I bet you see a lot of Labradoodles where you live!

All the best
 
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