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Old 03-18-2008, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
1,294 posts, read 6,303,130 times
Reputation: 420

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Our dog is Lucy. She's wonderful and I wanted to share a little about her to see what you all thought. I've emailed Cesar Milan but obviously that's a long shot. Thanks for reading!

We adopted her from the pound in September 06. She's a mutt and looks like Jack Russell Terrier and either English Setter or Brittany Spaniel or a combination of all three. She's very cute (if I do say so myself).
She's always been clingy, a little skiddish, shy, and she definitely has her quirks. When we first got her, you couldn't throw a tennis ball for her to fetch or popcorn for her to catch b/c she thought it was being thrown at her. She would run and hide. She's gotten better at that but is still skiddish in that way. She's very loving and adorable, but she is scared of so many things. Ironing boards, dry erase boards, step stools, brooms, etc. she will try to get under the bed. We thought it would get better, but it hasn't a whole lot. So that's okay - we can deal with that, no problem.
We were visiting Asheville, NC with her back in the fall and when we turned the corner (w/ her on the leash), she lunged at a man walking by. She'd never done that before. Her tooth got caught in his shirt and he was obviously scared and we were shocked. He understood and we apologized and it was fine - but we didn't know where in the world that came from. Then when I was with her by myself, I let her hop out of the car (we live in a condo with many others around) and she had her leash on but she was sniffing around the grass while I got the groceries out. We had done this all the time and she would stay close. That day, there was a guy walking to his condo from his car and she took off after him - barking and snapping. She didn't bite him and I don't think she was going to but needless to say the man was scared. I was embarrassed and apologized again, but there's not much you can say. I didn't know why she was doing this.
She loves the dog park. We have one about 5 minutes away and use to go all the time; until she started running up to men and barking at them there as well. She barks very ferociously (sp?) but we know she's not mean at all. If the people she's barking at would kneel down and pet her, she would stop, we're quite sure b/c she's feeding off their being scared - but you wouldn't get me to kneel down to pet a dog that's barking at me like that! So now we're embarrassed and scared to go to the dog park. We're scared to let go of her leash and we hold it extra tight when we walk by people or other dogs. She likes to growl and bark at other dogs, kind of like she does the people, but when she's on the leash only. She's still fine with dogs at the dog park. When she's on the leash, sometimes she'll walk up to the dog and sniff and be fine and other times, she really likes to show them she's the boss. Their owners don't like it, obviously and think we're horrible for letting our dog near their dog.
She also goes to doggie daycare and is perfect there. I guess b/c she's familiar with the man who works there. She's never mean and she takes on the role as the "police dog" - the one who barks at fights and breaks it up if someone is having too much fun...haha. She's really fun when she's playing like herself. She does that at the dog park too. And boy she loves to run.
She'll also growl at visitors at the condo too. Our brother in law came over and he's tall (it seems to be tall men more than others) and even after he'd been here over night, she still would hide from him and growl at him. She would let him pet her and she never snapped or anything, but she was never sure of him. We don't know anything about her past.

We went to Dallas the other week and left her at doggie daycare for four nights. It was the longest we've been gone. She did fine, but she didn't eat very well and had an upset stomach. Now I don't know if she's still angry with us (we've been home for almost a week now), or if she's acquiring new oddities. She's kind of mopey and usually she loves to ride in the car and she still does, but she acts like she's kind of scared in the car as well.

We just want her to be happy and most of the time she's fine, but it's hard not knowing when she'll snap at someone. We don't know if it's us doing something to her to make her this way or if it's something with her. She's very emotional - very clingy. They told us this at the pound before we took her so we probably do baby her a little too much. She's like our child, but we do treat her like a dog. She minds well and always submits when told. I just don't know what to think.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I have a dog psychiatrist come check her out to see if she's okay or is this just her and she is happy? I don't want her to think she has to constantly watch out for us, etc. - she should feel like she's protected by us. So I don't know what to do if that's what is causing this.

Thanks so much everybody!
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,667 posts, read 9,074,332 times
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Psychologists work on people, since people can understand complex thought. Dogs cannot. Sounds like she has a personality that you weren't expecting. Watch for her desirable attributes and reward them. Maybe she'll respond, but dogs don't feel love/hate, or good/bad. They just react. You may read a book, like "What is My Dog Thinking?" by Gwen Bailey.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
1,294 posts, read 6,303,130 times
Reputation: 420
Thank you ESFP. I'll check out that book.

You don't think dogs feel love??
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
2,403 posts, read 5,800,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisher33 View Post
Thank you ESFP. I'll check out that book.

You don't think dogs feel love??
Not as us humans define it. They are not human and don't feel human emotions.

And yes I have 2 dogs.

Another thing you might want to do is maybe try some training courses. It might help.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:59 PM
 
604 posts, read 1,140,988 times
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No, but you might want to consider it.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:22 PM
 
1,257 posts, read 4,405,998 times
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My GSD doesn't like man when she was puppy. She is 3 yr old now. While she is still cautious around man, she accepts them and allows them to pet her in public with no problem. She never goes out her way to attack anyone. In our home, if there is an adult male guest, she would follow me around and draw a circle around us (~6 feet in diameter, I analyzed). If the guest walks into the circle, she barks. However, she has no problem for our guest to enjoy dinner with the whole family on the dinning table. My GSD is pretty bold and not afraid of any noise and new stuff. My friend's maltese absolutely hates man and loves woman. I don't know why. I am curious about others' input too.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
261 posts, read 1,174,368 times
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Default Consult a reputable trainer in your area.....

Thank you for adopting from the pound, and giving Lucy such a loving home.

Lucy has developed behaviors that are making you and her very unhappy. She is being territorial. Her fears toward inanimate objects suggests she lacks confidence. These behaviors can develop when the humans aren't being the pack leader. Lucy doesn't sound like an alpha dog. Lack of leadership is detrimental to her mental well being as it is confusing for her.

When we adopted Spike, our overly beloved Maltese, he was a teeny little 2.5 pound baby. I soon realized that even though I had owned dogs in the past, I was really clueless on training him to be a good member of the family. Starting with the potty training!

We spent $150 (which I thought was an outrageous amount of money) for 6 sessions with a professional dog trainer. Turns out it was the best money we ever spent.

The trainer actually trains the owners as much as he does the dog. I supplemented the trainer sessions with reading some excellent books on dog training, dog behavior, and how to be a good dog owner.

Spike is now 3 years old. He is the absolute joy of the family. He is very friendly with all people and dogs. He understands and reliably obeys commands such as come, off (used if he is jumping up on someone), leave it (used if we don't want him to chew or play with an item), stay in (great command to use when we don't want him to go out an open door), bring (fetch an item) and a couple more.

He's cute and sweet, not particularly smart , so we are very amazed at how effective the training and commands are.

Lucy sounds as if she will respond quickly to proper training. Best wishes to you all.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:46 AM
 
17,519 posts, read 30,817,604 times
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There are animal behaviorists. Don't know where you are, but I think they are usually/often associated with vet schools. I know UPenn has them, and so does Tufts, here in Massachusetts. Ask your vet doc if there is a referral. It goes beyond obedience training, and I think it's a real good idea if an adopted dog is showing unusual or alarming behaviors. After all, the dog might have had some bad (or a lot of bad) experiences before being adopted. I know mine have, and it shows in different ways (fear of new people, acute shyness, etc.)
Best Friends, in Kanab, Utah, might be able to give you a local referral, wherever you are. They have great behaviorists and trainers on-site, and a lot of outreach and connections all over the country. Good luck, and good on ya for adopting, getting a good pet, and saving a life.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 9,472,316 times
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I agree with what the other posters here have said. You need to show her that you're the leader, and that she can rely on you to be the leader. Otherwise, it just makes her scared.

For one thing, when you have her on the leash and you said you hold it up tightly when you think there might be an issue -- by doing that, you're telling your dog "I'm afraid, and I'm not capable of being the leader" so she reacts the only way she knows how, by being aggressive and neurotic.

Anyway...you've got some good suggestions here and I think you can get her to relax by utilizing some of them. Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
1,294 posts, read 6,303,130 times
Reputation: 420
Thanks everyone. Brightdog - we're in Charleston, SC.

I contacted a trainer/behaviorialist this morning so hopefully she'll be able to help us. I am going to pick up some reading material too. She's perfect in everyway and we love her to death, so we'll do whatever we can to make her happy and healthy.

I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Last edited by fisher33; 03-19-2008 at 08:32 AM.. Reason: change
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