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Indoor Spooks?


Guest DiforDan

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Guest DiforDan

I have written before about my spook, Slinky, and considering medication options for his fear issues.

 

In short, he was obviously abused, we have had him over 4 years, worked on his fear issues a lot. He is on Prozac 20mg, now increased to 40mg. He is not as terrified of bangs as he was, I think the 20mg Prozac helped that. But he still shakes really badly and pants as soon as he goes in the car to travel to have a walk, and especially when he gets out of the car and is on the outward bound journey of his walk. He calms down when he is sure he is on his way home. I don't think he is at all scared of the car, it is just going out into the world that scares him.

 

I am still working with our vet on meds that might help him, such as Xanax. Will know more next week when she is back from vacation.

 

My question is, do any of you give up on spooks like this and just keep them as house/yard/garden dogs? If all else fails, is it possibly acceptable to keep a dog and not take him for walks? Just let him have it his way and stay at home all the time?

 

(We have another greyhound who is calm and fine and loves his walks, despite being almost blind with PRA!)

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In short, yes. My spook HATES to leave the house for any reason. She will shake and tremble until I think she's going to shake her skin off, and drool so much her car bed is completely wet through as if she's had a pee accident. If we are on a "long" car trip - such as over 45 minutes one way - she "might" calm down enough to lay down. Often, has been so scared away from home that she poops herself .

 

If I take her anywhere, I always put her in a harness and use a coupler to attach the harness and her collar to the leash, so I won't lose her if she gets freaked out and backs out of her collar and/or harness.

 

She also doesn't have free access to our yard, which is about 1/3 of an acre. She becomes so anxious and afraid that she a) will not go in the house on her own, even with the other dogs; and B) will not come to me or let me walk up to her. So she stays on the leash 100% of the time. I don't have 4 extra hours in the day to wait her out until she's tired enough for me to catch her. We walk around the yard while the others do, sniff and dig, go potty, and even wrestle a bit with her sister if she's in the mood. Otherwise, her exercise is mostly done indoors.

 

I have to add that all of her spooky and anxious behaviors have become much less since we began treating her with Paxil. Random things and car rides don't bother her as much, and she is much more calm and receptive to training. We awr beginning to let her off-leash in the yard as the weather permits, and we'll see how she does.

 

Also, just for the record, most, if not all spooks, have NEVER been abused, any more than people with anxiety disorders. It is a genetic trait causing a chemical imbalance or neurological disconnect in their brains. It is not a learned behavior, though it can be reinforced by environment. Once you address the medical issue and his brain is allowed to be in a receptive state, intensive behavioral modification will help him to overcome his fears.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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We have 3 spooks. They do not leave the house unless they are going to the vet. They prefer to sit on the couch or in the rocking chair. Yes, they sit in the chair and rock.

 

They are comfortable in our home environment. They go outside to potty then want to come right back inside. They each have their own spot to sleep. The really true spook will lay on her bed and roach. If she has to go to the vet she crawls on her stomach across the parking lot.

 

We usually carry them if they have to leave the house. We do have the spook harness's and leads for them.

Edited by Tallgreydogmom

Vallerysiggy.jpg

Then God sent the Greyhound to live among man and remember. And when the Day comes,

God will call the Greyhound to give Testament, and God will pass judgment on man.

(Persian Proverb)

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I don't have a spook, thankfully, and admire those of you who manage them. I'd do whatever works for you and the hound. The only thing I would say or be worried about is what I worry about with a horse who is not float trained. All well and good until you need to evacuate for fire or flood. Hopefully that would never happen, but is it worthwhile getting her desensitised enough to the car that if you did need to leave, you could without too much hassle? I don't know if this means a crate in the car for her that is hers alone or what.

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I have an IG "spook". He was on meds (amitriptyline) for a few months the first year I had him. He used to get physically ill after walks or time out of the house bc he would get so worked up. So i did a lot of training with him & use tons of positive reinforcement while on walks during the time he was taking meds. He still shakes & has his tail tucked the whole time, but is so much better.

 

He needs exercise & stimulation so I don't leave him home when we walk. But while my other 2 enjoy time out in the yard just hanging out, Puzzle stays inside in his safe spots. I know his limitations, but I also expose him to new things when appropriate because you never know when he will need to be around strangers, like at the vet for example.

 

I had to leave him at the vet for a few hours recently & he was lethargic with a fever for 3 days after :( So i don't want to coddle him, yet at the same time I don't want him to be miserable. It's a fine line that will be different for every spook. Only you know what is best. Good luck! It's tough sometimes but the rewards of having a special needs dog are amazing. I have such a special bond with Puzzle :heart

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Obviously abused? What evidence do you have? Is she hand-shy or something else similar? Have you been doing any desensitization training along with the medicaton? Medication alone will not solve the problem, it simply helps to allow the hound to relax enough to be receptive to training. Dont give up you just have to work to understand where the comfort level is and expand from there.

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We have 3 spooks. They do not leave the house unless they are going to the vet. They prefer to sit on the couch or in the rocking chair. Yes, they sit in the chair and rock.

 

They are comfortable in our home environment. They go outside to potty then want to come right back inside. They each have their own spot to sleep. The really true spook will lay on her bed and roach. If she has to go to the vet she crawls on her stomach across the parking lot.

 

We usually carry them if they have to leave the house. We do have the spook harness's and leads for them.

We need a pic of the rocking chair :colgate

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I forgot how to put a pic in my signature. Please pm me if you can help. Thanks

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Guest FastDogsOwnMe

I have had several SEVERE spook fosters, and they were never abused- I knew them during their training and "attempted" racing (the leadouts couldn't catch them at the end of the race, so they couldn't be racers). One of mine won points at amateur racing while I had her. She was severe... no one but me (and now her new mom) could even come near her. I KNOW she was NEVER abused. So don't assume yours was either. To answer you, though, I would start very slow... the driveway... then the sidewalk... and make sure all the hardware is very secure.

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Guest DiforDan

I love this forum! You are all so knowledgeable and helpful.

 

First of all, lets get your assumptions that I make assumptions out of the way! Slinky is no doubt spooky because that's the way his brain is wired. However, when he came to us he was one of the worst our Rescue (Kerry Greyhounds) had ever seen. He was seriously emaciated (has put on about 25 pounds to become a normal-weight pet greyhound), terrified of anyone with anything resembling a stick, covered in criss-cross scars across his back, and emotionally "shut down". Thousand-yard stare, whatever you want to call it. It took him 6 months before he would go to my husband for a head scritch, and hubby cried when that happened, he felt so honoured to be accepted at last by this emotionally scarred dog.

 

He also had a nasty, deep muzzle scar on his nose, which thankfully all healed up. Slinky is spooky, but it is thought he was with "travellers" in Ireland after his racing career and suffered at their hands. So he is both abused and spooky.

 

Having got that off my chest, he is not as spooky as some of the dogs you guys are describing! We did work with a behaviourist and she took him around town, jollying him along like a nutcase (excuse me!) , taking him into shops (which he likes - soon as he's indoors he improves) and she said he is not that bad. It's all very well, but watching him shake so very badly and look frankly miserable every day when he walks, despite being given treats and encouragement, is upsetting to us.

 

He has improved immensely in the four and a half years we've had him. Time was, in our first year together,he was so scared of fireworks that for weeks he would pee on his own bed and poo in the house rather than go outside in the garden. It took a lot of patience to get him where he is now. So I am not just trying to use drugs as a chemical cosh to improve his nerves, but they are a last resort as the vets here (UK) are not so versed in using anti-anxiety meds as they are over the pond.

 

So compared to many of your spooks, Slinky is a very brave and outgoing boy now. Still scared of bangs and loud traffic, but since he went on the low dose Prozac his recovery is much quicker. It no longer ruins his entire day but he gets over it usually in a minute or so!

 

It's just the level of apprehension he has when he is going out tells me he is not happy at all with it. The shaking, the panting. He is coming along to stay with the pack and be part of the gang, but he hates it, and it is wearing me down that he is so unhappy. You can sense his relief and relaxation when he knows we are on the way back to the car and home. If we deviate from the route back he statues and resists.

 

I just want him to be happy. It's not only embarrassing when he meets people and they think he is cold all the time, but also distressing for all of us. Trouble is Pingu, our PRA dog, loves to walk alongside and behind Slinky, I think he uses him as a guide, and we so love taking two dogs out with us. Once Slinky calms down they are quite the two amigos.

 

Speaking to vet again next week about Xanax/Paxil/Valium options.

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Slinky is very blessed to have a family who cares enough to do what it takes that he doesn't have to live his life in fear of everything.

 

I've only worked with one spook (not abused) and I know how hard it is to balance pushing them to take that one step past their comfort level to help them to progress and not make things worse.

 

Unfortunately, after seven years of living in what we thought was going to be his forever home, after learning to trust his family, they have decided to return him because their lifestyle has changed.

 

:weep It just breaks my heart that now the family he has learned to love and trust don't have time for him any more :weep

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Guest DiforDan

 

Unfortunately, after seven years of living in what we thought was going to be his forever home, after learning to trust his family, they have decided to return him because their lifestyle has changed.

 

:weep It just breaks my heart that now the family he has learned to love and trust don't have time for him any more :weep

 

Breaks my heart to think of that too! What possible lifestyle change can make you give up on a dog after all that time? Are they heartbroken too? In a situation they can't see a way out of? Surely people would not make such a decision lightly?

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Ok, he is not on meds. Normally I don't like the use of meds, but there is a place for them I think. In your situation, I would think that the combination of medication and continuing to guide him out of his comfort zone should help. I personally would never give up and allow a shy/spook to live only in their comfort zone, thats just me. One of my little hound girls is a super shy girl, not the level of a spook in most cases, but very shy. She will do the same thing as your hound when out in large groups of people. She just pulls to get away from anyone looking at her, she trembles with fear. When we first met her, I was told she is very shy of men. I went and tried to take her out of her crate, as soon as I looked into her crate, she tried to become part of the back of the crate. She pushed herself as far back as she could and just whined and trembled. After 3 years of her living in my home she is no longer terrified of most men she knows. Strangers, she will pull away from, but not to the degree she was a few years ago. I am sorry I dont know what a PRA dog is, but sounds like a thearapy dog maybe? Anyhow, a few things that I did that may help is:

 

1) obedience classes

2) agility/flyball classes

3) random strangers giving very tasty treats to her

 

If you notice, all three things require going out in public. I do have a spook harness for her from WWW and it is always on her when we leave the house. I know exactly what your hubby felt when she trusted him, my little girl is my sweetie. While from time to time if I reach for her too quickly or startle her, she will cry in fear, but that is very rare now. Funny thing is, when my wife and I go out for walks with our three hounds, I have to walk the shy girl, as all she wants to do is get by her dad. One other thing that helps a lot is your confidence level. While it is heartbreaking to see your hound in constant fear, you cannot in any way shape or form coddle the fear or try to "ease" her anxiety. You need to be confident, your hound will feed off your strength, not your pity.

 

Chad

Edited by Greyt_dog_lover
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My uneducated opinion is.... They can get better but it takes LOTS of time and work. Some people might say that Sunshine just wasn't a true spook and they may be right.

 

When Sunshine first came home she was terrified of strangers to the point where if she saw one down the hallway of our Apt (100 yards away) She would fear poop/pee and shake, crab crawl, etc :rolleyes: She was scared of leaves blowing, car doors shutting, the dishwasher turning on, the AC units kicking on, dogs barking, strangers, any clanking or popping noise, etc.

 

Lots of different drugs, lots of socialization (at least one scary thing was attempted each day for years), trying to see what worked and what didn't (ignoring her fears did not work), some help from an Animal Communicator, lots of one step forward and 2 steps back... and today she's doing AWESOME!

 

My goal is to never let her fear prevent us from doing ANYTHING! ;) We look for challenges. She will jump up on boulders/picnic tables while we are walking and knows a lot of other obedience stuff which helped build her confidence. She may not do those things out in the big scary world but it helps even if those tasks are done in private.

 

She's still nervous with strangers and maybe will always be. That's fine with me. The most important part is that she stands there and doesn't shake like a vibrator with her teeth chattering. :lol She doesn't try to run away and I *think* views me as her safe spot.

 

2 summers ago we started traveling every weekend in the spring/summer to a campground trailer. She sees LOTS of loud drunk scary strangers but copes perfectly for her little brain. Gets nervous but still eats and doesn't loose her mind. We go to Meet and Greets and she can be loose in the Xpen now with the other dogs. A few years ago I had to be inside the pen with her and have her on a leash since she would jump out and bolt. She even goes up to strangers to sniff and gets pet by scary kids! :eek

 

Monday night she did something that made me cry. We were out for a walk to get in shape for GIG and we happened to be right by the train tracks when a train came zipping by. Now I had plans to 'set her up' with the scary train, but I wanted her harness on, double leashes, collars tighter, and some Xananx in her first. :lol

 

We were about 10 feet away from the tracks with this tiny chain link fence separating us and I had a flash of fear zip through my belly and thoughts of "OMG what if one of the dogs gets loose, the collars should be tighter, etc" Which is the worst thing I could have done. :blush I was a bad mommy and had a weak moment and we were stuck there! Sunshine really feeds off any nervousness or fear that I have even if I don't outwardly show it. If we walked quickly in the other direction I would concrete that this was a scary thing. There was no easy way out. Train was so close the ground was shaking.

 

Rainy stepped between me and the train and perked her ears looking at it. Sunshine sidestepped and leaned against me with her butt and just alertly looked in front of us, then behind us, etc. More concerned about making sure there was no one sneaking up on us in the dark now that we couldn't hear them over the sound of the train. :lol

 

We stood there for what felt like forever while I focused on my breathing deeply and calmly. Then it dawned on me that the dog leaning against me wasn't shaking! I leaned down to hug her and there wasn't a tremor to be felt. Her muscles felt pretty darn relaxed. :colgate

 

So I got bored and we started walking along the rumbling train just normally continuing on our walk. Once the train passed I made a huge deal of her braveness and we went home where I cried and gave her extra cookies. :lol

 

We are currently working with her fear of other dogs barking at her and the sound of motorcycles. Our next door neighbor has two dogs who bark at the girls while they are outside so we are slowly working on her in that setting. It's just one thing at a time... ;) Probably for the rest of her life! :lol

 

ETA prozac worked for us at first, but then stopped. We are now on Amatriptamine and it's been AWESOME! Clomicalm did nothing. Xanax is a miracle pill that we used heavily while we were waiting for the Amatriptamine to kick in.

------

 

Jessica

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Guest DiforDan

Thanks Chad. It's so hard when they are so scared isn't it? Took him out today and gave him some yummy sausagey treats along the way and he was quite a bit better.

 

Some dogs when they have to stand about (when owners are talking) their legs start to shake. My other dog, Pingu, does this, but only after standing around for an hour. I suspect it happens to Slinky who is not as conditioned, much sooner. And then he often does lie down. And often stops shaking, but sometimes doesn't. This complicates matters as this may not be much to do with the anxiety at all. He was still shakey when he got out of the car though, but the treats spurred him on a bit.

 

Sorry, I always assume everyone knows all these acronyms for medical conditions on this site - many crop up in posts and I have to look them up too! And PRA may be called something else in the States? It's Progressive Retinal Atrophy, what Pingu has got. He is almost blind. Therapy dogs are called PAT dogs over here.

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I might have missed (or just not remembered!) about Slinky's past. Thank you for explaining.

 

It sounds like you're on the right track, and doing things to help him. The main thing to remember is that it takes time and tons of patience. If I remember rightly, you have only had him on Prozac for 2-4 months. The Prozac is likely just reaching a clinical dosage stage for him, as it takes a while to build up in the dog's system. Now you can really start working with him on modifying his behavior.

 

If he will take treats while he's out, that's a BIG help. My girl will actually spit food out whe she's anxious and won't eat at all. The biggest thing you can do to help him is to teach him commands that ill build his confidence. The biggest help for Cash was when she learned the "watch me" command. Looking into the eyes is a very confident behavior, and when Cash *finally* understood she could do it, she began to be a different dog. Teach Slinky the command at home, when he's relaxed and happy. Then try and use it as a distraction from his anxiousness when you're out and about. Reward him for walking calmly and quietly away from the car, even if it's only a few steps, then stop and praise-treat-praise-treat! If he gets nervous as people approach, stop and use the command to distract him BEFORE he becomes anxious - praise-treat-praise-treat! It's all about changing the associations in his mind and breaking the chain of his behaviors.

 

Good luck.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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Guest DiforDan

JAJ2010, that is a very helpful post for me, hearing your story. How wonderful, the moment with the train! And thanks for the heads-up on the medications you have tried.

Slinky seemed a little better today on his walk. Still shakey but more engaged - Daddy took some better treats to tempt him!

 

If I remember rightly, you have only had him on Prozac for 2-4 months.

Actually he's been on 20mg for over a year, but 40mg for only about 3 weeks.

Thanks for the "watch me" advice. That will be a real challenge with Slinky, he looks all over the place. Even at home. And he is blind in one eye (my two dogs have only one good eye between them!) so that might complicate matters! Still, very much worth a try, thanks.

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This thread makes Ryder's fear of the freezer door opening, sound from the garage when working in there, loud bangs from nowhere and roofers with nailguns like childsplay.

 

What you folks do for your spook pups is something awesome and I pray Ryder never progresses into one.

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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Every individual dog and situation is different, and realistic expectations will differ in each case. IMO, there is nothing wrong with allowing a severe spook to just enjoy a private life at home, although it is still important to work on coping mechanisms for necessary disruptions (vet visits, vacations, etc).

 

If you have an active lifestyle and want to broaden your shy dog's horizons, I think that's fine too, as long as you go at a pace that the dog can handle. However, I don't believe that most public outings and social interactions are 'necessary' and are usually more for us than for the dog. Humans are happy if they have a dog they can take out and about, but dogs can be just as happy with more limited experiences.

 

I would look at the dog's response, and whether the experience you're trying to introduce is really necessary, to determine whether it is something you should continue to work on. You can gently push a dog outside of his comfort zone without making him miserable. If he's acting miserable, you've gone too far, too fast. Change the situation and try a different approach that is less stressful.

 

Decide what types of activities are necessary and unavoidable. All dogs need to receive vet care. It's also nice to have a couple options for boarding or pet-sitting for when you are on vacation or have an emergency come up. If you don't have a fenced yard and/or live in an apartment complex, some degree of interaction with strangers may be necessary. These are the areas that I feel are most important to work on.

 

Outside of these, there are few situation that are truly unavoidable, so you should look at your dog and see if it is truly in their best interest to keep taking them out in public, having them meet strangers, especially if new experiences terrify them. Do they really need to have these experiences? If there are specific triggers your dog finds scary, you can often find different things to do that minimize exposure to those triggers. You might still want to work on desensitizing, but that needs to be done in a controlled manner anyway, and everyday exposure to triggers in a way that causes the dog obvious stress is detrimental to this training process.

 

If you decide to just focus on management and avoid scary stimuli, this does not mean you've 'given up' on the dog. I see it as accepting him for who he is. There are many people who prefer to stay home and spend time with family than go out to social events like parties and festivals. If there are specific things that we dislike or just make us uncomfortable, we often just avoid things things - no reason it can't be the same for our dogs.

 

What you folks do for your spook pups is something awesome and I pray Ryder never progresses into one.

IME, spooks are usually born that way. Occasionally, you'll have a dog that becomes traumatized by an extreme event. Sensitive/spooky behavior typically isn't progressive...unless it's being handled inappropriately, or in some rare cases, if there's an underlying medical problem.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

gtsig3.jpg

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Katie came to me a very shy, noise-phobic dog. She's taught me a lot about handling a shy dog, and that noise phobias can be a difficult thing to figure out, since we spend so much time automatically ignoring "unimportant" sound... the cars in the road, the wind in the trees, the hum of the refrigerator. She had a very hard time being outside, especially on walks outside the yard without other dogs around. So my behaviorist has me going back to square one with DS/CC, starting at the front door with her on leash and lots of CheezWhiz (cheddar seems to be her favorite). Tonight she actually impressed me by leading me to the gate out of the yard, instead of staying where I wanted to do the DS/CC. So her attitude about walks has much improved. I was tempted to try going through the gate, but figured it was better to not push and possibly undo the good progress that we have are so far.

 

So you might consider doing the same thing, as greysmom said, start off with really short walks. Keep in mind that you are trying to change Slinky's feelings about being on a walk, not get exercise at this stage. If you go 2 feet and he is happy, great, quit, repeat again later! I'm working Katie with Touch while outside right now, so that she has something to concentrate on besides "all those scary sounds and things!"

 

And this weekend is our Meet-and-greet day, and I plan on taking our Target (a bright red dog food can lid) with to see if I can get her to Target it while strangers hold it. I figure I will start with some of the regulars (the rescue people and store clerks that are normally there) so that she can get the idea without it being actual "strangers".

 

Final bit of advice: if you have a generally food-motivated dog and they are not responding in a new situation, up the treat value. I never thought I would ever have CheezWhiz in my house, but Katie loves it and the can makes it easy to dole out in very small amounts, so it stays on the grocery list.

77f6598d-2.jpg

My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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Guest mbfilby

Our Cy was one of the most severe spooks I have ever seen. He literally had to be dragged out of his crate at the track, and to this day reacts when his collar is handled. He had the whole shaking, drooling, pooping, puking, etc, when out in the world. He would jump up and run away in the house if anyone walked near him with any object in hand, and would run and hide if any stranger came into the house. If anything was introduced or out of place in the house, he would avoid that object at all costs. The addition of a new potted plant on our deck was enough to stop him from going outside until the offending object was removed.

 

With a lot of time and gentle handling we managed his fear without meds, but, he needs other confident greyhound companions. He is fine now on walks so long as he is with another grey that can take the attention off of him, but will hide behind us if approached. We can now call him shy, instead of severely spooky. He loves his walks now, and gets all excited when the leashes come out instead of running and hiding, and he will cautiously approach visitors after a few minutes for a few investigative sniffs.

 

He still has his quirks, but that's who he is and why we love him.

 

I once exchanged emails with a breeder who commented that he felt Cy's condition was a condition similar to autism in humans, and is genetic. He said that he has seen entire litters of puppies too spooky to race. For Cy, his condition didn't seem to hamper his career.

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Guest itsagreytlife

I don't have a spook, but I do suffer from chronic anxiety that makes everything difficult to do (like waking up!). God bless all of you for taking such good care of these precious creatures! I am fairly good at masking my anxieties (after 44 yrs!), but I sure can relate to these guys--and it breaks my heart that they have to experience life with this. So just a kudos to all you gentle people out there!

 

Thank you,

Mary

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

One other thing that I did was to expose my hound to a lot of different things to see what she enjoyed. She LOVES LGRA (straight line lure coursing). She loves having something to do (agility). So since these two things I know she enjoys, I to extensive training with her in the house with different commands and such (weaving tricks, leaving a piece of food on her paw until I release her, etc.) and when the LGRA group is practicing, I take her to run. Find what she loves to do and let her focus on that, she may just come out of her shell. With my girl it was a long time (4 months) of hand-feeding every meal, lots of walks with our other hounds, and obedience classes that really gave her the confidence to live in our crazy world.

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Guest grey_dreams

I have two rescued Galgos from Spain. Zariel was severely abused and has extreme fear of people, close spaces, and loud noises. He was so afraid of people that he was unadoptable and had to live in the shelter for five years. He would run as far as possible if you tried to approach him, and if you kept trying to approach him, he growled impressively. I loved him. So he came home. Luckily, my first galgo Zuki was well settled, so that helped Zariel. He was also very curious, so that helped too. Now, after 1.5 years, he is doing so great. Inside, he is happy, goofy, silly, and the biggest love. Outside he can still be anxious in completely new surroundings, but it is nothing compared to how he was before.

 

What helped us was several months with Clomicalm, and then several more months with Melatonin. Some people have good results with Xanax, but many animals react very badly (or unpredictably) to Xanax, so if you do decide to use that, please observe his behavior very carefully and be prepared to stop giving it. I have to say that personally, I would not choose to give Xanax, but that is my opinion.

 

Another thing I wanted to mention, is that it will help him a lot if you behave as his protector when outside. In the beginning, when Zariel would see another person, he would start spinning and trying to escape. At first, I tried to cross the street if possible, to put more distance between Zariel and the source of his fear. Later, if a stranger was approaching us on the same path, I always moved Zariel to the opposite side of me, so that I was between the stranger and him. Now I don't do that anymore, and mostly he trusts. If he feels uncomfortable with the approaching human, he will choose to move to the other side so that I am in between. And I also use calming signals (yawning) for both dogs during the walk if there is some unexpected noise or something that startles them.

 

Thank you for giving your boy a loving home. It is so wonderful to see them come out of their shells.

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Guest DiforDan

Our vet refused to help Slinky any further in the medication sense. She is a lovely woman, but over here the vets really don't know a lot about the drugs you speak of using over in the US. We are frustrated by this but don't think we can do much about it.

 

Turns out it seems Slinky has some deafness as well, which accounts for how unresponsive he is sometimes. And if he lives in a largely silent world, then the loud explosive noises he hates must penetrate it and scare him a lot. :(

 

We have made the decision to keep Slinky as a home dog from now on. Today it was weird and strange to take Pingu out on his own. We are now looking for another, brave and bold dog to keep ours company and also to be a good ambassador, along with Pingu, on walks in public and on fundraisers.

 

This has presented it's own problems as we have two dogs with some issues (blindness, deafness etc) who are still lovely, laid-back dogs (Slinky is very relaxed indeed in the home)and we need to find an easy-going, sweet dog who will fit in and meet our needs. So many in rescue at the moment seem to be the ones with issues of their own. See my other post about the dog we "fostered" for 24 hours before rejecting her on aggression grounds! It's all a bit difficult at the moment...

 

May I say we have the ultimate respect for people who take on the more difficult dogs, and when we took Slinky who was so nervous and abused, we were amongst them. So please don't judge us because now we need an easy one.

 

Slinky seemed very happy to be left at home today, so at least he is more content. Now wondering how to get him off the sofa at all so that at least he gets a modicum of exercise around the house and garden! ;)

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

nothing worth doing is "easy"...

 

Not being judgemental, but that was a saying that my dad told me a long long time ago and it seems so very true. Just think at life, when you have to work hard for something, it is usually worth it. The things that come very easy, not so much.

Edited by Greyt_dog_lover
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