Basset Hounds Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Gigi, our rescue Lab, is still very nervous and jumpy and she barks at every sound and every person except us. We don't have a lot of people come over, but she gets very protective of us (not altogether a bad thing, if the person were an intruder, but a very bad thing if the person is my dad or one of our friends!). She's too excitable right now and too nervous to take her to a class, so we've got to work on her at home first to get her somewhat calmer before we try a class. Right now, she'd just freak in a room full of strange dogs and people. I'm convinced she was abused before she found us -- she was certainly very neglected -- so it's no wonder she's like this, but we have to get her over it.

The first thing I'm trying to do is teach her to stop barking when I tell her to. I'm using a method I used on another dog that worked, but that was years ago and I don't remember how long it took to get through to that dog. When she barks and I want her to stop, I lay my hand on her muzzle or take her chin in my hand and say, "no barking." She does stop as long as I have my hand on her, but when I let go, off she goes again. With the other dog, eventually all I had to do was say "no barking" and she'd quit but as I said, I don't remember how long it took for her to get it.

All I hear is "take her to training class" but honestly, she wouldn't learn a thing right now. She'd just flip out over all the strange dogs and people. And having been abused, she has to be taught very gently and slowly. Any other suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,249 Posts
Yogi (half lab) is very, very sound sensitive. It has gotten somewhat better over the years, and he has figured out a few ways of dealing with it --- eg, if he hears a big BOOM outside, he runs to the door to be let in. :rolleyes:

thunderstorms, though? yoikes!

it's my understanding exposure to sound is one of the best ways to deal with it. just stay calm --- or even have fun --- when there's loud scary noises. whatever you do, don't pander to it. i did that, which is how i ended up with a pup who wants to come inside whenever there's a big noise.

well, except trucks. he loves trucks. except when they backfire.

as for the rest, you need to get her out around people. i am far from an expert, but that does feel to me a bit like a socialization problem. if you're uncomfortable with how she might react, get her a comfy muzzle til you feel certain she won't overreact.

take her to parks where there's lots of people, stuff like that. and don't overreact when visitors come over, but make it very clear to her she is NOT to jump up on them, etc.

most labs i know are somewhat protective and, because of their size and the way their heads are shaped, can look quite fearsome. that isn't necessarily a terribly bad --- but you need to be certain she knows the limits of acceptable behavior.

if she's not ready for training classes, definitely walks in busy parts (muzzled, if it will make you feel more comfortable). you might think about a halter, too. they're big dogs! and sometimes when they start pulling, a leash can feel like it's not enough!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
She sounds very similar to my wee westie when I first got her.After the honeymoon period of several weeks, she then felt more at ease in her new home, and then all hell broke loose.!!(seemingly this is very common) It was obvious that she had never been socialized and I was told that she indeed had been ill-treated. My first attempt at a training class was a disaster. When she wasn't trying to climb the walls, she was growling and trying to attack every dog and person in sight.

I was told that this was fear and she needed very definate(not harsh) leadership so that she felt secure enough to leave me in charge.

I had to ignore her for about 4minutes EVERY time I came back after being away from her for more than 5minutes, even if I just went to another part of the house. She was not to be allowed up on furniture unless I invited her. She was not to be petted, unless I called her over. At home I practised the come, sit , stay routine. I took her out on walks and whenever a dog came into view I told her to sit and gave her a treat. I went back to classes and she was, although not perfect, so much better.

The other problem was that in the middle of all this I got Toby and of course, he started copying her.(funny how they always copy the bad habits, never the good :rolleyes: )

Just dawned on me that you were asking how to stop her barking, and I seem to have gone off on a tangent here. :rolleyes: Well terriers were bred to bark, so trying to get her to stop is extremely difficult almost like getting a hound to stop sniffing and I never actually tackled that one properly, but she certainly barks a lot less often than when I first got her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,937 Posts
First off the cause of the problem is more likely neglect rather than abuse. A dog not properly socialized early in life is much more likely to develop phobias to things it has not had much exposure. This can take quite a while to over come and to some extent it is unlikely to ever be fully over come.

Something else to consider. I understand how constant barking can be irritating and why it would be the first thing you want to fix, but consider it from the dogs point of view. If barking is the dogs response to fear eliminating the barking does not eliminate the fear. The dog will need another outlet to display it's fear. If the dog is left to chose such an outlet on his own it is possible even likely he will chose something potential more dangerious than barking, growiling, snaping and biting. Once must be very carful about eliminating a dogs less aggressive reactions to fear or one can soon end up with a dogs whose only recourse is to bite first. Anway in general it is better to treat the cause rather than the symptom, once the cause is cured the symptom will go away.

Dealing with fear is not an easy subject and certainly requires more extensive discussion than can be provided her you may find the follow helpful however

HELP FOR YOUR SHY DOGby Deborah Wood
Review

FEARFULNESS by Ian Dunbar

CAUTIOUS CANINE, 2ND EDITIONby Patricia McConnell

HELP FOR YOUR FEARFUL DOG: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO HELPING YOUR DOG CONQUER HIS FEARS by Nicole Wilde


FOR THE LOVE OF A DOG - UNDERSTANDING EMOTION IN YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIENDby Patricia McConnell



Incase your interested in the importance of socialization at an early age
Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 1) Why is it Necessary?
Perhaps the most significant tests of all are those carried out in 1961 by Freedman, King and Elliot, which found that if puppies are kept in isolation from man and introduced at different ages their response to man deteriorates with age of first exposure. The results show that if puppies are introduced to humans for the first time between three to five weeks they will approach confidently, but those that are introduced between five and seven weeks of age will show increasing amounts of apprehension. Those puppies whose first experience of man is at nine weeks old or later will be totally fearful. In 1968 Scott concluded from his research into puppies kept in isolation from man until fourteen weeks “by fourteen weeks fear and escape responses have become so strong that any puppy raised in these surroundings acts like a wild animal”. Freedman, King and Elliot also found that puppies exposed to human company at fourteen weeks for the first time never developed a positive approach[/b]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,249 Posts
you know, Valerie, i don't know exactly how GiGi reacts, but this from my own experience with Yogi might make you feel better

Yogi has horrible fear aggression. the first time i ever tried to take him on a walk in a park, he nearly had a nervous breakdown. it was so sad that people were stopping by to make sure he was okay --- he was literally stuck in place sitting, shaking like a leaf, panting, you name it

it was horrible. and i was flummoxed. i'd never had a doggie who didn't love being taken to a park or anywhere outdoors, really

these days, though? i can't even look at a leash without Yogi almost doing backflips. and i never really had to do anything --- he loves being outdoors, he loves going on little walks, he loves things like parks --- even though he's still not crazy about strangers. when he sees a stranger, he has to go hide so he can spy on them to determine whether they're monsters.

i'm certain that part of it is that Yogi knows he has a secure place, a real home, where he feels safe (except during thunderstorms -- ::big sigh:: ), and it's as if he carries that feeling with him and it gives him confidence

iow, it's possible that part of what GiGi needs is time
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,494 Posts
We just finished our CGC classes and one of the dogs was very fearful and scared in the beginning. A beautiful collie, farm dog, and the first night they literally drug her in the building. She hid by her owner the whole evening shaking. The next time with treats and much persuasion she finally walked in, and did better. Each session she improved and she is now a "Canine Good Citizen". The owner said that this was the best thing they had ever done for their dog, making her face her fears of being off the farm and getting her out into the world. It was unbelievable the difference in the first night of class and the last night when she came in tail wagging and waiting for everyone to pet her. The owner said she was such a happy dog now on the farm and did not bark and growl at company that pulled up in the yard any more. She is now welcomed into their home, and really listens to them.
So don't give up on Gigi. It will take time and lots of work and patience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
She's not trembling. It's barking and growling and protective behavior. On the Lab discussion board, they said it was fear and I don't really think it is, or if it is, she expresses it by aggression. My theory is that she was on her own for so long that now that she does have a home, she's going to protect it and us at all costs. Every sound makes her go into hyper-alert mode, like "OH! Here's something I can protect my people from! I don't know what it is, but by golly, I'm on the JOB!" Maybe she thinks we expect her to do this. What would really make her happiest is for us and George to spend all our time together in one room where she could keep an eye on us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,249 Posts
sounds like fear aggression. it really does. she doesn't have to be trembling or shaking to have fear aggression.

in fact, i saw it as a huge step forward when Yogi started to tremble instead of react. that's just me and not based on anything scientific, but i likened it in my mind to the way some people are so angry and aggressive when they're actually depressed.

is she "retrieving" you all? :D Yogi used to do that. if he didn't think i should be somewhere, he'd come get me. it was very amusing. :D

in any case, i would check out fear aggression. it's a common consequence of lack of proper socialization. it can look like aggression --- in fact, Yogi's original owners gave him to the rescue because they claimed he was aggressive. but he's not aggressive --- he's got fear aggression.

it can take some time to untangle all the threads but i think it would be worth your time to investigate the difference between the two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
She doesn't retrieve us so much as she herds us. Maybe there's a border collie in her family tree somewhere. When George is out and wants to come in, if she doesn't think I'm moving fast enough, she gets behind and pushes. :lol: "Come on, Mom! George wants to come in NOW." She does get me out of bed in the morning. If the alarm goes off, and sometimes when it doesn't, she and George both come in to roust me though George lets her do the actual routsing; he just bosses the job.

George is reasserting his control over the couch and she's decided to take the recliner instead if he beats her to the couch, which is nice for George and not so nice for us because that means we have nowhere to sit! Sometimes they share the couch, but George isn't really into sharing. At the moment, he has the couch and she's got the doggie bed. They're getting along well and George is trying his best to teach her how to be a house dog and not to bark unless there's something to bark at, and she IS improving. It took all three of us to house train her, but we've finally succeeded in that (hallelujah!). She's not as bad about interfering if we try to pet George, and she's stopped getting into the garbage (knock wood). I'm sure we'll succeed on the barking/freaking out front, too. These things just take time.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top