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How do you break anxiety in a dog? Meet Pina our new puppy.

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posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 10:16 AM
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My wife and I have previously owned 2 golden retrievers. Ginger, our second retriever passed away back in July of last year at 14 years old. I told the wife I didn't want to buy another dog until after the winter, considering training a dog and standing out in the cold and snow could be a major pain in the you know what.

Well, the wife and I couldn't last too long without another dog around the house. So in November, my wife found an ad in the local newspaper selling Golden Retriever puppies. It didn't take too much prodding on my wife's part to get me to jump in our van and head out to buy another golden retriever puppy against my wishes of waiting until summer.

We drove the 30 minute drive into the country to find our new puppy. The litter of 8 pups were in a barn along with a real friendly cow (lol) and a goat. (As I passed the cow, it licked my hat right off my head). We wanted to take the entire litter home with us because they were just too cute. My wife chose "Pina" because she said it winked at her. (lol)

Ever since we brought Pina home, my wife has treated her like a baby. Pina is now very attached to my wife. She follows my wife around the house most of the time. If my wife goes upstairs she whines.

Here's our problem, Pina is now 6 months old and she is literally afraid of her own shadow. She jumps at the sound of any loud noise. When she goes outside to do her business, she wants us to stand by the door. If we walk away from the door, she jumps up and peers through the window as if to say "don't leave me." Most dogs love to go for walks. Just the sight of a leash used to make our other retrievers excited and happy knowing they were going to go for a walk. Not "Pina" she walks under the kitchen table at the sight of the leash.

It's like playing tug of war at the start of the walk. Once we get going, Pina constantly is turning her head and watching the cars go by. The sound of the cars passing by scares her. Walking by a trash can, or something large and out of the ordinary makes her panic. If she was a cat, I swear she would have ran up a tree on a couple of occasions.

If the dog next door is outside barking, she doesn't want to go outside! Recently we had a really nice 75 degree day. I decided to do some yard work, so I figured I would put Pina on a leash in our yard thinking she would enjoy the sunshine. Nope, she wanted to go back in the house. She kept on jumping up on our back door and wanting to go back inside.

Pina has just finished 6 weeks of behavior training and she has been around other dogs. The trainer also noticed how nervous Pina was and would always have to calm her down. I've tried to introduce as many different noises as possible, I even bought her a babble ball that makes animal noises ever time she rolls the ball. At first it scared her so much, she quickly turned and accidentally ran into our kitchen wall. She adjusted to it and can now play with it, but she still panics with new sounds.

Anybody here ever have this type of anxiety problem with a dog? If you did, how were you able to get your dog to stop being so scared and paranoid about everything? I'm hoping she will grow out of this, but right now it doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon. Anybody have any suggestions, because I'm running out of ideas.




posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 10:49 AM
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Well, some puppies at that stage are prone to being a scaredy-cat type for a bit.

My suggestion is to keep playing with her, and let her win some tug of wars which allows her build confidence in herself. Sounds to me like she got babied too much as a puppy and didn't properly grow up. So you may have to play a little rougher with her like her siblings would have. That in itself teaches pups how to overcome fear. Ever see puppies play with one another? They bite, claw, scratch and roughhouse with the best of them. It's typical puppy behavior.

Now, I am not condoning abusing play or beating a dog whatsoever!

But you learn to build up a dogs conditioning by teaching it that it's okay to growl or play a little rough. It won't hurt. Just teach her that "easy" word when you want her to calm down. She will learn and it takes time. I almost cringe when I see people coddle or baby a dog or animal. That spoils them completely and is a hard habit to break. It is a dog...not a human.

Most golden retriever I have been around always seem shy as puppies.
They grow out of it with time...







posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 10:52 AM
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Aww, what a doll! How old was she when you picked her up? Those kinds of problems can be common when a puppy is taken away from mom and siblings too early. We went through something similar to this with out current dog. He was an SPCA rescue case and was about a year old at the time when we got him. We figured he must have been abused/abandoned when he was a puppy cause boy did he have some issues, very similar to what you were describing.

The two most important things I can tell you are to have lots of patience and to do lots and lots of socializing. Keep introducing the dog to new people, dogs, environments, sounds, every day. Invite new people over to the house, bring puppy over to new places, make a point to expose the pup to as many new situations as you can and he should grow out of his anxiety eventually.

The separation anxiety can be a bit trickier to deal with. With that you need to start out small, leave her alone in a room or in the house for a couple minutes a day and keep increasing the time and frequency as you go. The most important thing with doing that though is not to react to the pup at all when you come back. Don't make a big deal about it if she's whining or freaking out, just ignore her. She needs to understand that being left alone is normal and you're always going to come back. If when you come back and she's whining and you make a big deal about it, giving her sympathy and pets and comforting her saying it's okay and whatnot, it only reinforces that there's something wrong when you leave her alone.

One thing to be aware of as well is your own energy/mindset when you're interacting with the pup. If when you take her out or are about to leave her for a bit, if you're already starting to get a little stressed out because you're not sure how the dog is going to react or think she's going to freak out, she probably will just because she's already picking up on that from you. Animals are highly perceptive and if they pick up that kind of feeling, they won't understand why, they'll just know that you're nervous about something and so they think there's something to be nervous about.

Our dog is still a bit of a freak sometimes but he's night and day better than when he was. It took a lot of patience and working with him, some dogs just take a little more work than others but boy has he become a great dog.

Good luck with the pup



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 10:58 AM
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Typically, anxiety in dogs is caused by wanting to protect their owner. You break this anxiety by becoming the alpha and showing your dog that it is the one being protected.

This, on the other hand, seems more like fear. For that I would say the best cure is exposure. Just like a sheltered child can be afraid of social interaction, a dog can be afraid of the things unknown to it. Gradually expose her to the things she is afraid of. If she runs to your wife, take her out of the situation. If she runs to you, take yourself out of the situation. She needs to learn to feel safe without her two security blankets.

The best thing I think you can do to start is to find a friendly dog of her size or smaller that she can spend time with. Dogs tend to feel more comfortable interacting with other dogs than they do humans, so she will be more likely to step out of her comfort zone. The goal is to have her experiencing positive emotions without the two of you present that will block out her fear and help her feel comfortable. Once she is comfortable without the two of you present, you can expose her to other things that scare her.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by WeRpeons
 


We had a similar problem with our dog (yellow lab) once upon a time.

We knew some folks that had a daycare and we brought our puppy there.

She got used to children, noises, and kids playing with her food. It also made her very sociable.

Just a thought.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 11:22 AM
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My suggestion is to keep playing with her, and let her win some tug of wars which allows her build confidence in herself. Sounds to me like she got babied too much as a puppy and didn't properly grow up. So you may have to play a little rougher with her like her siblings would have. That in itself teaches pups how to overcome fear. Ever see puppies play with one another? They bite, claw, scratch and roughhouse with the best of them. It's typical puppy behavior. - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...
reply to post by havok
 


Yep, my wife coddled her like a new born. My son and I kept telling her she needed to stop treating her like a baby, but of course she couldn't help herself. My son rough houses with her a lot and I'm usually the one throwing her toys and playing tug o war. She listen's to me and my son more than my wife. The trainer says Pina sees me as the alpha of our family, so she feels more secure around me. She won't walk with anyone else.

I always tell my wife she picked a dog whose personality is just like hers. lol Thanks for the input, I'll keep on working with her.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 11:27 AM
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Aww, what a doll! How old was she when you picked her up? - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...
reply to post by Sonder
 


I was thinking the same thing. I was wondering if she had separation anxiety. With my wife coddling her like a baby, Pina uses her as a security blanket in the place of her mother. We got her at 6 weeks, which I think 8 weeks is the norm for taking puppies from their mother.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 11:38 AM
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Typically, anxiety in dogs is caused by wanting to protect their owner. You break this anxiety by becoming the alpha and showing your dog that it is the one being protected.

This, on the other hand, seems more like fear. - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...
reply to post by scojak
 


She definitely sees me as the alpha and it definitely seems like fear. When I replaced her small puppy dog bowls with a new larger one, it made a noise when I placed it on the tile floor. She backed up away from it after hearing the noise and was afraid of eating or drinking from it. Any new sound, thing or something large makes her jump with fear. I told my wife not to feed her any treats until she had no choice but to eat out of those new bowls. She finally did and approached them like a prowling tiger. lol One thing I do notice is when strangers come to the house, she starts barking like a mad dog and backs away from them.

I think I have my hands full. I will definitely keep your recommendations in mind. Thanks for your response.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 11:43 AM
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reply to post by beezzer
 





We had a similar problem with our dog (yellow lab) once upon a time.

We knew some folks that had a daycare and we brought our puppy there.

She got used to children, noises, and kids playing with her food. It also made her very sociable.

Just a thought. - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...



Good idea. The place we brought her to get behavior training is a doggy daycare. My wife mentioned we should drop her off there for a few days to see if it will help. I know she got along with the other dogs during training, but maybe having a bunch of dogs around her without my wife and I being there, she won't have a security blanket to rely on.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 11:58 AM
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Congratulations!! She is beautiful.

Maybe something you could try is a thunder shirt. They're relatively cheap and you can find them in most pet stores. Other than that you could try some one on one training with a trainer (which is a much more expensive options).

Like most have said, be patient and hopefully she'll grow out of it.

Good luck.
edit on 15-4-2014 by RomaSempre because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 12:10 PM
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That is one cute puppy... not that cute puppies are rare, or anything, but geez.

And as far as lessening their anxiety... I'm not an expert but most people seem to think yelling and slapping them will magically make them read your mind and follow your orders... I get the feeling you're not one of those folks.

I would think gentle reinforcement and specific, firm actions that tell them you are alpha and will handle things. Like going through doors first, eating first, etc. Nothing violent, just make sure you are first... doggies are naturally pack -hierarchy oriented and you being first doesn't offend them, it makes their world orderly and understandable.

Also, if separation anxiety occurs, acclimating them to you leaving and coming back by repetition and longer intervals, without making a big deal about it, works... usually.

I had one that destroyed one beloved item whenever I dared leave her alone... she eventually won that struggle of wills and went with me wherever I went... I had a therapy dog vest made for her to make it easier (for me).

Good luck.
edit on 4/15/2014 by Baddogma because: add and spelling



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 02:44 PM
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WeRpeons
I was thinking the same thing. I was wondering if she had separation anxiety. With my wife coddling her like a baby, Pina uses her as a security blanket in the place of her mother. We got her at 6 weeks, which I think 8 weeks is the norm for taking puppies from their mother.


That's probably a good portion of the problem right there. Most states actually prohibit the sale of puppies less than 8 weeks old. 2 months is usually around the time a puppy is good to go though a lot of vets and animal behavourists even recommend 3 months, that gives them enough time to come into their own, develop confidence and social skills, become much less shy and much more sure of themselves and their surroundings. Pups taken away from their moms and siblings too soon tend to be overly shy and fearful of new situations, people, other dogs cause they haven't had that foundation and time to grow out of the fearful, clinging to mom puppy stage.

This all can end up being a serious problem later on if the pup doesn't get over the fearfulness as that fear can easily turn into aggression when she's older and is a bit more confident in herself and her abilities. All of a sudden that flight response can turn to fight when the animal is older and feels threatened in any way. I would probably look into any trainers in your area who specialize with fearful dogs and socialization or working with young dogs who have been removed from their mom and siblings too early to address the fearfulness now while the puppy is still in its formative stage before it escalates.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 03:43 PM
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Is your wife passive? Does your wife try and reassure her when she leaves the room or house? If so that can create more anxiety for the dog. I am currently dealing with the results of a neighbors dog that has high anxiety and howls anytime the owner isn't home and is extremely aggressive to anyone else unless that person shows dominance.
I hear the neighbor trying to comfort the dog when they leave saying "It's alright sweetie, I'll be back I swear, it's gonna be alright ...blah blah blah." And they make this long drawn out process. I am left thinking to myself, OMG, that is the WORST thing you can do. You are inducing anxiety in the dog. You are setting the dog up to think there is a problem with you leaving.

I read here www.cesarsway.com...where you are supposed to wait a while after you get home before you acknowledge the dog as well.
I would suppose that would be difficult with a face like that, how could you not want to go right up to her, but it might be what she needs.
edit on 15-4-2014 by calstorm because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 04:15 PM
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Maybe something you could try is a thunder shirt. They're relatively cheap and you can find them in most pet stores. Other than that you could try some one on one training with a trainer (which is a much more expensive options). - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...
reply to post by RomaSempre
 


I plan on buying her a thunder shirt. One of our friends say it really works. Thanks for the suggestion.



posted on Apr, 15 2014 @ 04:27 PM
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reply to post by calstorm
 


I'm usually the first one home and I don't make a fuss when I see her. She's in a large cage during the day until we get home. Until she gets out of her teething stage, we will remove the cage. She's quite happy and enjoys the cage. One thing I do notice, is when my wife leaves the house, she has a tendency to walk upstairs into her cage. It seems like she gets depressed when she sees her leave so instead of enjoying our presence she wants to be alone in her cage. I block off the stair case so she can't get to her cage.



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