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Discussion Starter #1
hi all,
this is my first post here. so bare with me till i learn the posting systems. lol

i have an unspayed female gsd,whom is 1 yr 4months old,aprox 100lbs,whom i purchaced from a breeder at age 12weeks.3 weeks after getting her i got very sick, i had been sick throughout her formative time when i should have been training her about the world.i requested the breeder take her back ,very early after i had gotten ill,and she had declined me.not wanting her to go to the pound,and not realising how ill i was and would become. i kept her.i had almost died 2 times last year,from this,had to have nursing in the home, couldnt eat,the whole 9 yards.now i have recovered enuff (albeit damage done to myself and her)to be as close to normal, beeps....well not normal. i realise now i should have rehomed her, but im now committed to trying to make right the lack of training that had occured. shes unsocial,fearful of other humans, and cant walk on a lead without pulling me to death. i cant walk her more than 1 mile without having to return home, because my back is in spasm,my hand/arm is numb, shes paniced to end all,and i just dont know what to do.i am using a choke collar,and lead. she wears a basket muzzle. as we've had some not so great reactions without it.it also makes her walk better,for whatever reason.pulls less looks back at me,instead on irate panic. we dont have money for a trainer,due to being on disability/nursing bills. shes also very insecure and has anxeity type barking. she cowers but no ones ever done anything to her. you yell for someone to bring in the iced tea or something,and shes down on her back. we've never hit her or hurt her in anyway. is this anxeity related?
can anyone offer suggestions,i have worked with many large dogs,but just never encountered this before.how do i get her over this?
 

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Personally I would work on obedience and trust first thing - and then socializing. The dog needs to learn that you are alpha and to sit, down, stay so that in public places you have control and can avoid or handle situations that arise. This will provide the dog with the security that YOU will protect her and then maybe not be as fearful around other people and dogs.

Use treats and lots of praise to teach the sit, down, come and stay and make it fun. Make her look to you for everything that is good and maybe she will start to work with you. Others with much more experience will pop in here and give their help I am sure. Good luck
 

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Prophecy,

I'm so sorry for your ordeal. Understand this though... dogs live in the moment and you can change a lot of this fairly quickly. Unfortunately it sounds like your girl may be a bit weak nerved, but you can work through that too. She needs to get out and have positive experiences with you. Here are some ideas...

1. Lose the choke. She will fight through it and damage her throat and pull you in the process which you cannot afford with your back. Use a prong or no pull harness on her since a gentle leader cannot be used with the muzzle. If you use a prong, just let her self correct on it and fit it properly using this article http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm .

2. Read up on NILF (nothing in life is free). Some of her fear could be based on the fact that she has not been able to get good leadership through all of this and she feels as if she needs to worry about everything in the world. Once she understands that it's your job to worry about all of that and all she needs to do is key off of you she might relax a bit. Include LOTS of fun obedience (sits, downs and comes for food and lots of praise).

3. Make sure you are approaching new situations properly so you are not adding to her stress. Do your best to keep calm (think neutral) and keep a loose leash. DO not let her avoid things, just ignore her and walk by. Any time she shows fear ignore her. Telling her that "it's O.K." like you would tell a child tells her that it's O.K. to be afraid and reinforces her fearful behavior.

Slowly increase her socialization while giving her structure and leadership. She will come around.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ok, since you hit on a few things....heres what i have done.

nilf is currently a very good option. my dobie chat people (rescue dobe advice )suggested that a while back for my dobe kane. we had a glitch the first time as my friend i live with cant remain consistant and ''forgets herself'' shes never had multi-dogs and only had one beagle in her life.shes 50 yrs old and a softie. im certain i can be consistant,how do i adress this with her,so were on the same page as she forgets herself often.lol

i dont reinforce fear,i was aware of that no no. i usually try to remain calm,and positive. i walk her over to things like lawnmowers/carts/strollers,etc and reinforce positive interactions/investigating it.if she fakes out too many times i abort and do it again(go around the block and give her time to get out of her panic),but if I aproach it,touch it,first shes gets better.and becomes fine. socailly,i keep her just out of comfort range until i start feeling her nervous,wait about 2 minutes for her to work it out,then remove her without panic or fanfare, gradually introducing ''new things''if i get a favorable reaction,i pet her slowly and softly say ''good girl'' as excitable/high pitch voice imo makes her strung out.

i thought about using a prong collar,but i think they can detach if she moves wrong(link seporation) wich concerns me.can you reccomend a safe no-pull harness? that way an id tag collar can be left on so,if she gets loose/harnes breaks or something,i can get her back. i feel much better with a harness.

another thought,could this be hormonal? shes intact. can hormones make anxeity worse,by chance?
thanks!
 

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Originally Posted By: prophecy we had a glitch the first time as my friend i live with cant remain consistant and ''forgets herself'' shes never had multi-dogs and only had one beagle in her life.shes 50 yrs old and a softie. im certain i can be consistant,how do i adress this with her,so were on the same page as she forgets herself often.lol
In a perfect world she would make sure the dog did something for her prior to any affection or giving the dog anything she likes (going out, toy, petting, food, etc.). In a not so perfect world she would ignore the dog completely. If neither are an option I'd consider keeping her crated and only interact with you until you get her issues worked out.

Originally Posted By: prophecyi thought about using a prong collar,but i think they can detach if she moves wrong(link seporation) wich concerns me.can you reccomend a safe no-pull harness? that way an id tag collar can be left on so,if she gets loose/harnes breaks or something,i can get her back. i feel much better with a harness.
You can back up a prong with a nylon slip collar which if I remember correctly is shown in the article I linked. As for harnesses, I do not use them but I'm sure others who do will chime in and make a recommendation.

Originally Posted By: prophecyanother thought,could this be hormonal? shes intact. can hormones make anxeity worse,by chance?
thanks!
I've never heard of it.
 

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I have fostered a lot of dogs that had fearful, under socialized behavior. It is very possible to make her more comfortable in strange situations, so there is hope!
It is very important that you don't encourage the fearful reaction in her with coddling or reinforcement of any kind. I can't stress enough how important it is to get the help of an experienced trainer during the early stages of her training. The trainer must have experience working with fearful dogs.
Your dog can't walk on a lead because she has never been taught to do so. This is not something that they are born knowing how to do, and it sounds like you have been too ill to train her in that area. Stack the deck in your favor by using either a dog head halter or an Easy Walk harness. Both the head halters (such as Gentle Leaders or Haltis) and the Easy Walk harness are geared towards dogs that pull. The halters work on the same premise as the halters used on horses, where if you control the head, the body must follow. They can't pull because doing so just turns them around. There is no forward movement when they pull. The Easy Walk harness is built somewhat differently from a regular harness (that you should stay away from because a regular harness encourages a dog to pull), and the leash clips to the front, on the dog's chest. When the dog pulls, they are again turned around. The choke chain you are currently using is not a good idea.
Maybe someone on this forum can put you in touch with a person local to you that can work with you and your dog for a reduced fee, or at no cost? Contact your local kennel club and see if someone in the organization could help you.
Just make sure that whoever it is has experience with fearful dogs. The wrong approach can make it much worse. Start off where she is comfortable, using a happy and matter of fact approach on your part. Make sure you have total control over her and the environment before you start. It won't help her if you start off at the local park, for instance, where strangers are running past and dogs are approaching. The park would be the finished goal, not the starting off point.
There are some good books available on the topic of working with fearful dogs. For the life of me, I can't remember one title right now!
good luck!
Sheilah
 

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I'd like to put in a recommendation for the Easy Walk harness, which I just started using a couple of days ago. I've used a regular collar, choke chain, gentle leader, and prong collar and none of them worked as well (for me) as the harness does. She didn't like the gentle leader at all and it left a mark on her muzzle, even after I took it off. I use the prong collar for training, which works well, but when I took her on regular walks, she would still pull a lot. But there's something about the harness that really keeps her from pulling.

I've heard that sometimes if the harness doesn't fit well to turn it upside down (with the light part of the harness on top) and that seemed to work better for us.

Good luck, Steph. You've come to the right place. I've learned so much from the people on this board. We adopted our Heidi last October and she was a real handful too. She was also very afraid of people. She used to cower when we'd try to pet her and she is still a little fearful of new people and sudden moves, but she has come a long way. NILF, training, and lots of exercise has helped a LOT to turn Heidi into a more balanced dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
im just wondering what is realistic to accomplish with beep.given her age and lack of socialization? i dont understand WHY shes so skittish. is this a temperment flaw? we have NEVER done anything in the ways of harsh correction,let alone abuse.but she acts as though we beat her **** near to death??? ive not seen this before in a dog that hasnt been mistreated.
my doberman pinscher i saved about a year + ago.was beat **** near to death,starved, and in general physically/emotionally destroyed.i brought him back,and hes great!
i dont understand why shes fearful like this.
im going to ask......would a spay help at all with her temperment /quality of life? it did wonders for kane.he settled down alot. ive typically only owned male dogs and this is my first girl. does it do as well for females as it does males?
 

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Remember, she's young and female. It is normal for young dogs and especially females to be a little more sensitive to virtually anything. She may have weak nerves, she may not. It's impossible to tell without actually seeing her.
 

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Originally Posted By:prophecy
Quote:another thought,could this be hormonal? shes intact. can hormones make anxiety worse,by chance?
Originally Posted By:ZeusGSD

Quote:I've never heard of it.
OH John, I think we need to have a little discussion about female (dogs) and hormones. I know you will be thrilled.


Hormones can affect a female dogs personality. Those nasty hormones can make females any or all of the following: skittish, jumpy, snappy, over-reactive, not hungry, starving, clingy, standoffish, bitchy, cuddly and some times just not the same female when the hormones are in play.

Now with that said, if it hormonal, then you will only see the problem(s) around the time of the heat cycle. My current intact female I can tell you two weeks before she will be coming into season on small little personality changes. My other two females who are now spayed ranged from not personality changes to the other one would just curl up in a ball for three weeks.

So hormones can cause problems but not all the time, only around the heat cycles.
 

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Originally Posted By: Wisc.Tiger
So hormones can cause problems but not all the time, only around the heat cycles.
I knew about this, just not overall behavioral issues in general that could be compared to intact males.

Besides, I would always be thrilled to have a conversation with you!
 

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I really think that females with a bit weaker nerve are more sensitive to even slight hormone changes, but then again they are usually more sensitive to most things. The most neutral time for hormones is right smack dab between heat cycles other than that there are slight hormone rise and falls going into and coming out of season. But with the slight changes going on the dog should be able to deal with it.

But I learned with Raya that some females can be sorta flaky from 6-8 months to almost 2 years old. I think it has a lot to do with them maturing and increased levels of hormones. Sort of like when some males mature and start challenging their owners.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
on hormonal side........ok,shes due for a heat cycle most likely next month as her first was dec 07. i believe its aprox 6 months between? my males have been licking her/checking. shes more assertive and fussy.the vulva is not yet swollen,nor bleeding. however this happened before the one in dec,for about 1 month prior her cycle.she actually is worse before her cycle. and just very ''off'' after. she mopes and appears depressed post heat for 3 weeks. then shes fine.
my male doberman is neutered,so no real chance of her getting pregs. my mix is still a puppy and we're gating him off to make certain.
i dont know is any of you use homeopathic remedies for you dogs, but is there a herb/remedy that can level out her hormones so shes more comfortable.
i know you can give black cohosh,evening primrose oil and st.johns wort to dogs.does it effect them the same?
thanks.
 

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Hi prophecy, my brother has an intact Shih Tzu and she seems to have the same kind of cycle related "personality bumps" that you mentioned your girl has.
Is there a reason why you are keeping your girl intact? I recently had a 6 year old foster dog with mammary tumors. I had her spayed at the same time the tumors were removed and she did very well.
Sheilah
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Originally Posted By: sit,stayHi prophecy, my brother has an intact Shih Tzu and she seems to have the same kind of cycle related "personality bumps" that you mentioned your girl has.
Is there a reason why you are keeping your girl intact? I recently had a 6 year old foster dog with mammary tumors. I had her spayed at the same time the tumors were removed and she did very well.
Sheilah
money problems,is the reason shes intact. i lack the money to fix her at my usual vet,and the 'low cost spay'' vet is backlogged until august/september.we have to wait on it. i have all intentions to spay her ASAP.
 
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