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Fearful or Neurotic Dog

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HurtsButImOK posted 3/21/2014 20:30 PM

Does anyone else have experience with a neurotic dog! I love him dearly but he shits me no end at times.

There is nothing in his history that I can see that causes him to be so fearful (have known him and his birth place since he was born). Yes he had surgery when young (OCD/bone spurs of shoulders), yes it was painful and annoying for him, yes it caused some issues, yes I have spent immeasurable time going over those issues to the point that he is now manageable to do things such as clip nails with. Yet he is over reactive to, well, anything. He has always been this way and just added the nail clipping etc phobia to his already existing repertoire. It doesn't seem to matter if he is walked/exercised to within an inch of his life or not. He over reacts to sounds, smells, light, friggen everything and wants to climb on my lap. Dude weighs over 30 kilos and has really sharp, pointy elbows. Climbing on my lap is just not gonna happen and has never been something that is accepted as 'ok'.

How do you stop a fearful dog (for an unknown reason(s)) being fearful???

tesla posted 3/22/2014 09:41 AM

When I got my rescue husky she had some fearful behaviors. She would have weird reactions to shaking towels, trash bags, bags, etc. I put her in a place she could not flee, made her sit, shook a towel or a bag and then gave her a treat or praised her. She associates those sounds/actions with good things now and I haven't seen the fearful behaviors.

tushnurse posted 3/22/2014 10:12 AM

What Tesla said, works well with specific fears. However dogs that are fearful of everything esp without a known cause of it, no abuse etc can be very very difficult to manage.
I would consider talking to the vet about possible meds to help calm the poor guy. Of course with a medium to large size build it becomes a concern of bite risk. You certainly wouldn't want him to bite you or a kid.

There are behavior therapists that work with dogs. You may want to ask your bet if they know off any in your area.

HurtsButImOK posted 3/22/2014 11:25 AM

Tesla - he gets positive reinforcement for specific fears eg treats for toe clipping or playing ball during thunder storms. Its the times when he will be fast asleep then jump up suddenly, scurry over and either dive under the chair (typically misjudges and knocks it, you and table almost over) or try and climb on lap to hide. The other dog remains fast asleep. Its almost like an ant bumped into him or something

Tushnurse- no abuse in his history. His mum was timid though so there may be a genetic component. Behavior therapist is a good idea, will look into it. He doesn't display noticeable anxiety majority of time and is not aggressive, his response to whatever is setting him off is to hide. He is fairly easy to get to snap out of it through play/scritches and will obey if sent away. His response to unknown things can just be exasperating at times because I just can't figure out what he is reacting to.


ETA - pic if it works. The brown one is the problem child.

[This message edited by HurtsButImOK at 11:50 AM, March 22nd (Saturday)]

tushnurse posted 3/22/2014 20:32 PM

If he is young and being of Aussie descent he may benefit from being exercised daily. Some dogs are wound so tight they just dont know how I react.

And even though he
At appear anxious only be cautious that he can or will bite if scared or cornered and a skittish dog is the one that will bite when you least expect it.

Be cautious in assuming he wouldn't bite. The ones that are nervous and scared by every thing are the ones that will react unexpectedly.

Pentup posted 3/23/2014 12:44 PM

Have a rescue that was abused. She is exuberant and yet fearful. She bites. She is on Prozac and it does help. She does not need to be on me constantly now.

Lalagirl posted 3/24/2014 13:37 PM

My GSD (he is at Rainbow Bridge now...lived to be 13) - was an anxious mess and a fear biter (never bit DH or DDs or me...but anyone else was a potential target).

Clomicalm and behavorial therapy helped. But nothing completely alleviated his fear of thunderstorms. Poor guy would lean on me like velcro was attached to us and he would pant and shake. We just comforted him the best we could.

I hear differing experiences for the Thunderjackets...they did not have them when Luger was alive. Maybe someone can chime in with opinions?

[This message edited by Lalagirl at 1:38 PM, March 24th (Monday)]

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