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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Interesting possibility about the daycare. May try taking a break there. The only issue I see here is that the behavior predates the daycare, though it could certainly be making it worse.
 

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@Bearshandler There's an indoor area they are free to roam and play in, or just take a nap. Also a larger outdoor area where they can run and play in. The staff do a little bit of basic training (sit, stay sort of stuff). From what i can see, he's actually more relaxed at home and in the immediate neighborhood, in that he will be skittish with both new dogs and new staff at daycare (we get daily reports).
This is really interesting.
I have a few of reactions to this.. firstly the thought of someone else giving my dog commands makes me very uncomfortable. My dog listens only to me.

With the skittish behavior it sounds like your dog doesn't trust the staff, doesn't trust the other dogs, and likely feels alone and vulnerable without you.
What Sabis mom said sounds relevant. This is probably the highest stress environment your dog is in all week.

What you have described to meis a high anxiety dog, particularly nervous and distrustful of other dogs.
I don't believe a dog like that belongs at doggie day care, I don't think he is enjoying himself there.

You received a young puppy with heightened anxiety levels that have gotten progressively worse over the course of a year.
In order to makes those problems better you need to have more control over the dogs life experiences and more consistency in how those experiences play out.

A dog walker or runner sounds perfect! You can use a prong collar on your dog and tie the leash around her wrist and then that will ensure that he cannot bolt after a car and get ran over.
I would want to walk with her a few times and watch them together and make sure she knows how to use the collar properly.

Having a consistent dog walker that the dog can get used to and familiar with is way better than rotating staff at a doggie day care. and being on home property is way more comfortable too.
 

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@Bearshandler There's an indoor area they are free to roam and play in, or just take a nap. Also a larger outdoor area where they can run and play in. The staff do a little bit of basic training (sit, stay sort of stuff). From what i can see, he's actually more relaxed at home and in the immediate neighborhood, in that he will be skittish with both new dogs and new staff at daycare (we get daily reports).
I would stop the daycare. I’m not a fan of my dog meeting other dogs without me now, and I definitely wouldn’t want it in your situation. There’s a good chance that some of dogs that yours meet are bullying him and I don’t know that I expect a lot of random people to recognize some of the subtle signs of this. Even if the daycare isn’t actually making this worse, I don’t think it is helping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
The thing I failed to mention is that he loves it there. He whines and carries on when he knows he's going, would pull if I let him to get to the door to enter once we get close, and happily goes right in once it's open (and equally happily greets me when I pick him up).
 

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From all that's been said I would definitely stop daycare.
I would not allow "force-petting" either (if he's anxious when people pet him, maybe he has been touched too much in situations or by people he was not comfortable with?)
Actually, even though I don't have particularly anxious dogs, I'm not a big fan of these crowded environnements.
I would be concerned it could create problematic behaviors for lack of supervision/moderation. For instance, with Buck who has a quite strong herding instinct, I know that I shouldn't let him "herd" other dogs too much or get too intense watching/chasing. But most other people would just be like "oh he's playing, no problem".
There are things you can only manage correctly when you know your dog.

About exercising, one thing that has really helped me get some steam out of excited tank-dogs is bikejoring, but with an S shape attachment that goes on the side (not the one where the dog is at front). (like the Dogrunner attachment)
Mine proved very sturdy and the spring really absorbs any traction, which means you don't loose your balance even if the dog lunges.
And it's super easy for the human, you can even just let the dog pull when you're tired :)
Water activities are also amazing...
Anyway, my point is I would look for ways to exercise Beau in a way that's healthy for his mind, so not in daycare mode when everyone goes crazy and does his own thing, but in a much more peaceful environnment where and through cooperation with you, as a team.
You may consider letting him carry a weighed backpack for instance (a friend of mine has a hyper dog and that's part of how she manages him on the walk)and give him a job to do while walking, like fetching or carrying something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Yes, I think that stopping might be wise also.

About the petting though, he only allows people he trusts to touch him (skitters back from others), but licks the hands of the ones he does trust if he can reach it, like for example when I rub his cheek or chest when he comes over for attention (and he tries but can't reach and quickly gives up when I rub his belly, which he's rolled over to solicit me to do).
 

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I had a male rescue neutered at 3 years of age. He was a strong, confident dog, and that didn't change. The only thing that changed was he no longer insisted on scent-marking the counter at the vet's office every time we visited! :rolleyes:

Your dog sounds like one I rehomed due to her extreme timidity. She, too, bolted away when a small puppy approached her. The timidity was GENETIC and there was no fixing it. It took 5 weeks at a weekly training class before she overcame her anxiety enough to take a treat from me An additional 3 weeks went by before she would take one from the instructor.

Agility did boost her confidence a bit, - she loved tunnels because she could hide in them, and she was very smart and quick to learn.

As for the reactivity, I'd start working with him at home, and get him to focus ON YOU - ONLY on you. Tell him 'look at me', and when he does, treat. Practice until he can do this while walking beside you. Then, go outside, and start adding distractions. Every time his focus changes, get him to look at you. Watch closely, and intervene as soon as you see his eyes wander. If he refuses, correct with a leash snap.

I did this successfully with a dog-aggressive, very reactive dog, and had great success with it. I soon had the dog lying 8 ft. away from another reactive dog, with both dogs behaving themselves! It's all about building that bond of trust. and teaching the dog you are there to protect him from whatever is making him anxious. But no, you are never going to make this dog into a strong, confident dog, and it's going to take lots of time and patience to get improvement.

Edit: you also need to get this dog to stop pulling! You can use the treats for that, too. I'm sure someone here can give you some good links on teaching loose leash walking. If the dog is walking out in front of you, you do NOT have control, and the dog is paying no attention to you. Getting him under control will lessen his anxiety, and yours!
 

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The problem with anxiety is that it feeds on itself.
Shadow would get herself so worked up that she was vibrating. Drooling and to afraid to move.
Even if he likes the daycare chances are that over the day it gets more and more overwhelming.
On the petting thing. Don't let people approach him or touch him. At all. I tell people Shadow is shy and if they want to meet her then it goes her way or not at all. I talk to them while Shadow sits off to the side or behind me, often with her back to them. When she is ready she will approach and sniff at legs and feet. Then she sniffs hands. Then they can pet her. Gently and nicely. That is what works for her, she put it together not me. Once she knows people she's a suck and a mooch.
But you need to respect the dog you have and if he is anxious then help him find ways to cope.
 
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