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For all of the veterans on the board who have dealt with dogs who have issues with aggression, reactivity, fearfulness, shyness, separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, etc...it would be awesome to have a thread where you talk about the issues your dog had, how you dealt with them (behavioral, medication, environment, etc), what worked and didn't work, how long it took to resolve them, and what kinds of ongoing management (if any) you do.

I use the "search" function a lot and see that dogs like Rafi, Mya, Onyx (to name a few) have had many issues in the past but they are now resolved or managed successfully. I think it would be so helpful for people going through a current "crisis" with their dog to be able to read through the stories of others who have dealt with similar issues and get an idea of how they have been handled...and get some hope!

Just an idea...share if you would like.
 

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This is Onyx's story:http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...-ugly/87010-can-fear-aggression-overcome.html
Now that she has matured she is doing much better, but I still cannot have her around small children because she is aggressively reactive to the sight of them. At the vet, we still muzzle her, but she is calmer with the vets techniques.
I don't take her often to "socialize" but my goal is that eventually she'll not be reactive to little kids and I'll be able to take her anywhere without worry that she is over her comfort level. Genetics trump everything, and she is a genetically anxious, always "on" type...better with age though!
 

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For all of the veterans on the board who have dealt with dogs who have issues with aggression, reactivity, fearfulness, shyness, separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, etc...it would be awesome to have a thread where you talk about the issues your dog had, how you dealt with them (behavioral, medication, environment, etc), what worked and didn't work, how long it took to resolve them, and what kinds of ongoing management (if any) you do.

I use the "search" function a lot and see that dogs like Rafi, Mya, Onyx (to name a few) have had many issues in the past but they are now resolved or managed successfully. I think it would be so helpful for people going through a current "crisis" with their dog to be able to read through the stories of others who have dealt with similar issues and get an idea of how they have been handled...and get some hope!

Just an idea...share if you would like.

I think this is an excellent idea. I definately need to see some success stories to help me deal with Victor. I would love to see there is hope for him. I am for sure going through a current "crisis" with him and need to know that management will work in the long run.
 

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There is a forum on behavior with sub-topics.
 

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I think it is a good idea. When I have the time/inclination to sit down and type for a while, I'll gladly share my Keeta story.
 

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i have a somewhat difficult puppy. I got Skylar at 9 weeks old- she went everywhere with me, baseball games, beaches, hiking, playgrounds, boardwalks, shopping malls- anywhere she could go, she went (except dog parks!) She was a great puppy, didn't pay attention to anything, really. very friendly! Then, when she turned 4 months old, she started reacting (fear) to dogs and strangers, but ONLY on leash. So, i kept socializing her making every situation a positive one. Then, we went to a behaviourist (recommended by our group trainer) and she said to really look at how I act when skylar's on leash- yup, i was the one reacting, and skylar just did what i did. I misinterpreted her excited bark, thinking it was aggression, which was completely wrong- i just MADE it that way! so i started really paying attention to how I was feeling, and started completely ignoring other dogs and people, now she does the same! She still reacts to people looking at her eyes, but that can be avoided by telling people how to approach her! just as they should any dog.
Now we're in agility classes, graduated 2 levels of obedience and i'm planning on training her in rallyo, she's trustworthy around people and dogs as long as i'm with her.
 

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For all of the veterans on the board who have dealt with dogs who have issues with aggression, reactivity, fearfulness, shyness, separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, etc...it would be awesome to have a thread where you talk about the issues your dog had, how you dealt with them (behavioral, medication, environment, etc), what worked and didn't work, how long it took to resolve them, and what kinds of ongoing management (if any) you do.

I use the "search" function a lot and see that dogs like Rafi, Mya, Onyx (to name a few) have had many issues in the past but they are now resolved or managed successfully. I think it would be so helpful for people going through a current "crisis" with their dog to be able to read through the stories of others who have dealt with similar issues and get an idea of how they have been handled...and get some hope!

Just an idea...share if you would like.
What was yours in dealing with the separation anxiety? I searched that and found your post you had a while back. I saw everyone's advice that they gave but you went about 4 months between posts towards the end of the thread and never really said what you did. Just curious as to your methods you tried. Thanks.
 

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Hi there,
Well, I wouldn't classify my story as a "success story" quite yet, but with the separation anxiety, here is a very short summary of what we did.
May (adopted Regen): Realized Regen had SA on her 3rd day home. Consulted with behaviorist and started desensitization with keys, doors, coats, shoes AND either took Regen to work with me or had her at daycare for any absence. Last week of May, started counterconditioning as well as desensitization (as described in "I'll be home Soon" by Patricia McConnell). Worked up to 5 minutes alone with no distress.
June: Continued with counterconditioning & desensitization. Worked up to 10 minutes alone with no distress. Only left Regen at daycare or took to work.
July: Continued with counterconditioning & desensitization. Worked up to 20 minutes alone with no distress. Only left Regen at daycare or took to work.
August: Continued with counterconditioning & desensitization. Worked up to 30 minutes alone with no distress. Only left Regen at daycare or took to work for periods over 30 min. Took Regen to vet and put her on Clomipramine and Xanax since she had been unable to "get over the hump" with just the behavioral stuff.
September: Kept working on protocol, got Regen up to 1.5 hours (uncrated) with no vocalization or destruction. Toward the end of September, started to see results from the Clomipramine.
October: Regen had a papilloma & her home daycare buddy had KC. Had to leave her alone for 3 consecutive days during workday (about 6 hours). First 2 days went fine, 3rd day she managed to lock herself in bathroom and freaked the heck out. It took 3 weeks to get her back to the point she was at before this happened.
November: Regen is able to handle 2-3 hours at home alone, she doesn't love it, but she doesn't destroy anything. On days when she is home alone, she is more reactive toward other dogs and more high-strung in general for a couple days. Still paying for daycare.
December: Regen seems like she is at a standstill, we talk about getting another dog since she does much better with another dog and we had always planned to have two. Still paying for daycare. End of december- bring home Osa. Work on counterconditioning with both dogs over break in anticipation of return to work. Regen handles being crated and home alone WAY better- she actually finishes her Kong and doesn't hurt herself trying to escape the crate.
January: Regen and Osa are now at home, crated, for 8 hours 3 days a week and 6 hours 1 day a week. Regen has a 1-2 minute hissy fit after she finished her Kong and then sleeps the rest of the day now. Osa is another story :). Try them uncrated for small periods of time, Regen does great, Osa is another story!

So that's where we are now. She still has major issues with reactivity toward dogs/resource guarding, and I still wouldn't trust her around small children or our cats, but we can manage our life with her now that we can go to work and not spend a small fortune on daycare!
 

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I am not a veteran, but I do have a "difficult" dog.

I rescued Timber at 13 weeks at which point he was diagnosed with HOD 3 days later.
He was on strict crate rest, only going out for potty on short leash then back in, until he was about 6 months old. By the time we were able to begin socializing he had already missed the most crucial time and was extremely reactive. He would lunge and growl and literally scream whenever he saw another dog.
We tried group class twice and pulled him out as he was climbing the walls to get out. Way over his threshold and was not able to even be in sight of another dog.
I called in a behaviorist and we began extensive work. He already had a really good training foundation so we just built upon it. Taught "look" when in presence of other dogs and began changing his mindset to a "good feeling" with high value treats.
At 9 months old he was diagnosed with PANO and off we went for another 5 weeks of strict crate rest. Training came to a halt.
So we started all over again.
And he started doing really well. I could walk him in public and around other dogs with little reaction and as long as I kept his focus on my we were fine. If I lost him for a moment, it was done and we needed to backtrack and start again. Lots of work, and time and effort but he began to come around. My dream for him was to do agility and fly ball and I had signed him up for fall classes. He was doing that well.

Just after a year (September) Timber began losing weight very quickly. We ran CBC, normal. Thought it could be EPI, normal. Folate/Cobolomin (spelling?), normal. Still losing weight. We canceled agility class and instead started him on Tylan and weekly b12 shots hoping it was SIBO. After 3 weeks still no change so we are deworming him hoping the fecal just didn't pick up a strange parasite.
Today he is doing another dose of Tylan along with 6 weeks of B12 and in 3 weeks will be dewormed again.
So training has come to a halt again and he is just living happily in our home with short trips in the car at the moment.

Anyway, this has turned into a medical reply but my point it, any behavior takes a lot of hard work. And some dogs are genetically predisposed which takes even more work to overcome. But it can be done.
Timber (he is a white Shepherd and unfortunately is taking the brunt of all the bad breeding associated with weak genes) is unbalanced. We know that but love him despite his faults :)
 

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When Phenix was a puppy (until the age of 8 months), he was so well behaved with other dogs. We used to go to the dog park each week. He was playing with all other dogs. Each time, other owners were telling us how much they loved Phenix and how much he was well behaved. Unfortunately, the other GSD in the park were not that gentle and it gaves a wrong image of the breed.

But one day, Phenix got attacked by a female Dogo Argentino (which was so beautifull!!). Without any reason/warning, she grabbed Phenix as he was passing by playing with another dog and she literraly tried to kill him (do not exagerate, she was into a red zone). I cannot forget the cry of Phenix, that sound was......I have no word.

Hopefully, we and other owners succeed in separating them. Phenix was laying on the ground. The Dogo Argentino's owner came and picked up his dog (did nothing to help us). The guy told us it was normal for big dogs to be agressive and to battle. WTF????? We were astonished! But, Phenix had nothing severe, so we gave up and we decided to stay for a few more minutes to avoid any fear against dogs. He played again with a few other dogs and we left.

Since then, the problems started. Phenix who had never shown a single moment of agressivity toward other dogs started to launch at any dog he sees. At first, we thought it was "normal" and that he needed time. Long story short, it escaladed. Phenix started not only to be agressive towards other dogs, but towards strangers too. He was scared about every thing. We knew we had to do something, and NOW.

We worked for several months with a behaviorist (1 to 2 hours a week with the behaviorist plus 2-3 hours per day at home). It took us 1 year to bring Phenix back to a "normal" behavior. We worked so hard...

Phenix is still a very anxious/stressed dog which is not easy to manage sometime. But, now, we know what to do and how to do it. We always thought Phenix's agressivity was related to his agression, but now we think it might be more related to a "bad" breeding as we discovered a lot of things on the breeder and her dogs......

Anyhow, we love our dog with every beat of our heart. He is so intelligent and sweet with us and other people now. He is a big baby looking for caress.
 

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My name is Kathy, I'm new to the group, I haven't written an introduction to the forum yet but I will, I promise.

I got Mia last year from West Side Shep Rescue. We think she might be four now and she's an angel in the house, I couldn't ask for better, but it didn't start out that way. After a fine first few days, Mia became guardy and anxious, and showed every aggressive looking tooth in her head. I realized her hips were horrible and got that taken care of to remove that as a source for her behavior. After a full year here, she's solid in the house with new people, in fact, she seems to truly enjoy company, and I trust her with my life of course.

Things started to improve most when I got everyone, even the least likely of my friends and family, to be treat dispensers. Consistent obedience and manners training gave us a lot of success and the bonding that comes with that.

That's the progress part.

The less successful part is obedience class. We started in again after a hiatus since early last summer and each class is progressively worse. She winds up as the class goes on and soon she can't figure out what to bark at first or most. I know I'm doing stupid human tricks, but I can't think of a way to keep her under control and not terrify the other nice dogs without perpetuating the cycle. (The instructors must not be horrified at my handling, but I feel like I need more help. It's a large class.)

I'm wondering if it's worth it to continue. I mean, I only go because I would love to get CGC, but in reality, she doesn't even need to leave the house except for walks, and those have become fairly comfortable as well.
 

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This is about my 14 year old doberman, not my GSD, but it might be helpful as some people on this forum adopt from rescues. Val was about 2 when I adopted him. He had been abused -- apparently severely -- by a man and was placed with me because I was living alone. When I walked Val on lead and a man approached way in the distance, Val would try to go in the opposite direction. So I would just cross the street.

In the early months when workmen came in the house, Val was put in his crate and a bed sheet was placed over all but the front. This kept him confident and he did not even bark. I had a male neighbor come in from time to time and sit quietly in the room. This man was large but very mellow and soft spoken. Val accepted this man in the room without fear. Six months later I began dating a man who loved animals and he was very gentle with Val as well. We married about one year after I got Val.

By that time Val was very good around strange men and acted as though the abuse never happened. Now at 14 he has a very elegant and dignified demeanor and doesn't usually solicit attention but he is very sweet and likes being petted if visitors are so inclined. I hope this experience will give hope to people who have or are considering adopting a rescue dog that has been abused.
 
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