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Old 01-31-2015, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,159 posts, read 5,100,908 times
Reputation: 6363

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Hi everyone!

First time posting in this forum. I have some issues and need some advice and helpful tips.

I am a professional dog walker/pet sitter since last summer. I LOVE my job. It's been one of the most rewarding experiences ever!

However as of late I am having a problems with a new client, a 2 year old mini schanuzer.

I've had 4 walks with her. The first two walks went super well and she walked at an excellent pace. She gave me frequent eye contact. However she was pretty insecure with me and was hesitant to let me touch her and she rejected treats. She is very anxious about new surroundings and doesn't do well around other dogs, people or loud noises. The third walk was HORRIBLE. First of all, her mom put a Seahawks jersey on her and she really hated it. She kept shaking (wet dog shake, not scared dog shake). Secondly as soon as she went outside another dog was walking by and she got really upset. Things were not off to a good start. We only got about 20 feet down the street and she just stopped. She would NOT move. I try really, really hard not to pull the dogs I walk. So I crouched down next to her.. she did this semi-circle walk around my front, approached me from the side and put her head on my knee. I gave her some love and tried to soothe her. We got up to try again and the whole thing happened again... and again... and again... I gave up and took her home 10 minutes early.

Mom said that if she doesn't like what she is wearing she won't move. Good, glad we got that figured out....

except we didn't.

I took her again yesterday. Again she wouldn't walk, but this time she didn't have on anything. She is comfortable enough with me now to let me treat her, touch her and pick her up.... but she won't let me walk her.

Her mom was very reassuring, but I feel bad. I want to be a good walker, but I don't know what is going on with her.

Anyone have advice for me? Tips to try with her?

Thank you!
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
683 posts, read 1,615,448 times
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I'm guessing she now associates you with the bad experience of the last walk. Maybe her mom shouldn't put clothes on her, afterall she is a dog
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Old 02-01-2015, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
1,539 posts, read 1,723,038 times
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What kind of treats are you using? Is she food motivated? If yes, with owner's permission, I'd try higher value treats to "lure" her to follow you, and then treat small bits frequently. This dog has a general anxiety issue that won't be fixed by 20 minute walks with you, the owners will have lots of work to do as well. Assuming the owners are able to walk their dog, could you ask one of them to join you a few times? I would hope they want you to be successful too, and maybe their dog's comfort level with you will increase if the owner is there a time or two. Also, you could try going a different route, maybe the dog has a bad association with the route you are taking. If all else fails, I'd quit the sweet talk and just be very matter of fact. "Come"; followed by forward motion, small leash correction to get it moving. Avoid eye contact with sensitive fearful dogs as well, it freaks them out.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,159 posts, read 5,100,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmeck View Post
What kind of treats are you using? Is she food motivated? If yes, with owner's permission, I'd try higher value treats to "lure" her to follow you, and then treat small bits frequently. This dog has a general anxiety issue that won't be fixed by 20 minute walks with you, the owners will have lots of work to do as well. Assuming the owners are able to walk their dog, could you ask one of them to join you a few times? I would hope they want you to be successful too, and maybe their dog's comfort level with you will increase if the owner is there a time or two. Also, you could try going a different route, maybe the dog has a bad association with the route you are taking. If all else fails, I'd quit the sweet talk and just be very matter of fact. "Come"; followed by forward motion, small leash correction to get it moving. Avoid eye contact with sensitive fearful dogs as well, it freaks them out.
Thank you! Owner is anxious with her too. She doesn't like that she barks and consulted an animal behaviorist last week. The animal behaviorist said about as much as you are saying... she needs a lot of work... and to not treat her as a human, that she is a DOG and needs to be treated like a dog.

I am going to take your advice. I feel like there is a weird contradicting dynamic going on. First I realize she is an insecure dog and new things are threatening to her. I noticed this right away when I put the poop bag into one of the trash cans and when the lid dropped she jumped back. If a small stationary, metal trash can lid can do that, imagine what noisy, moving objects are like for her. But I do seem to have her trust now. In the beginning I didn't, and she gave me control. I led her, I asserted my dominance as the pack leader...

but in my effort to comfort her and soothe her I lost it. I read about this in a "mixed breeds for dummies" book many weeks ago and it mentioned mini schanozer mixed with some other breeds could do this sort of janus head behavior thing... I actually have another one, a male, and he has some aggressive tendencies (biting) and I am no nonsense with him... and he does fine with me...

Well, thank you very much. I look forward to trying again with her on Wednesday.
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Northeastern U.S.
1,467 posts, read 896,392 times
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Doesn't sound like a match made in heaven - i.e. the dog and its owner. If she didn't want a dog who barks, why on earth did she get a Miniature Schnauzer - they are one of the loudest and most frequent barking breeds. They're not usually extremely nervous.

I've had noise-nervous dogs before. I wonder if her owner is nervous of sudden noises as well.

You should comfort her quickly, and only after she has stopped displaying the fearful behavior, and then move on to another activity, i.e. walking, sitting, etc.

Many years ago, I did some occasional dog walking. I remember a neighbor who had a rescue Doberman who was extremely high-strung. Someone left a sofa by one of the elevators in our building, to be transported later I guess; the dog took one look at it and freaked out, pulled free of the flexi-lead and went galloping down the hall in terror. I had visions of her scaring various residents as I chased her around the floor; but luckily, no one was spooked and she slowed down and let me catch her. She remained nervous all of her long life, but did learn to accept some stimuli. (other Dobermans I walked, including two others owned by the same person, were not nervous at all)

Good luck.
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Old 02-04-2015, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,159 posts, read 5,100,908 times
Reputation: 6363
I gave up today.

I had another terrible walk... I resorted to dragging her to keeping her out of the street, and at one point, from another dog approaching... she would have ran away from me if she hadn't been leashed.

She was just so miserable... I took her home after 10 minutes and gave back the money for today and the rest of the month. I told her that a dog walk shouldn't be so miserable for either the dog or the walker and that the dog needs someone with more experience. I referred her to someone else in our community who has been doing this a lot longer than I have (and charges more ).

I hope it works out better for her in the future. I feel like I let go of a huge burden!
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,484 posts, read 4,176,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
I had another terrible walk
Sorry things didn't work out, but did you try anything different, such as having very high value treats with you?
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:33 PM
 
16,019 posts, read 19,688,452 times
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Are her foot pads ok? Do you have another dog that you could introduce her to, that she could walk with?
EDIT:Oops....Never mind.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:04 PM
 
10,604 posts, read 14,208,493 times
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Oh my. Well you did the right and honorable thing.

I'm a professional dog walker, too. I suggest you join a pet sitting/dog walking group where you can read many many stories, postings and get some support.

Granted, it may be that even this OWNER is not capable of walking the dog and it's going to take lots of work for ANYONE. Lots of times clients think we have some overnight magical powers.

I'm not sure if we're allowed to post the link to that group here so if you're interested you can direct message me here and I'll give you the information.

BTW stop the "comforting". It makes dog think their fears are justified and you're scared, too.
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:05 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,821 posts, read 18,799,032 times
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BTW stop the "comforting". It makes dog think their fears are justified and you're scared, too.


This ^^^ I cannot tell you how many people I see comforting their dogs for ridiculous reasons .
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