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WabiSabi

Difficult Situation - Any Way Out?

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Awesome update! It will often feel like a series of two-steps-forward-one-step-backs, just keep being calm and patient and she will eventually reach a higher base level of trust.

 

God job!


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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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

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I did not read through the entire thread, but just wanted to add some encouragement from someone who was there before

 

 

Our Kinsgley was our shy boy-- not quite as bad as your girl.. he would go out but then was too scared to move.

 

But it really was VERY slow and steady improvements over a year... so it took looking back over a long period of time to see that indeed there were changes. Even getting a second hound did not drastically change him, but he certainly changed incrementally over the years.

So MUCH patience and time and much joy at those small steps.


Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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I did not read through the entire thread, but just wanted to add some encouragement from someone who was there before

 

 

Our Kinsgley was our shy boy-- not quite as bad as your girl.. he would go out but then was too scared to move.

 

But it really was VERY slow and steady improvements over a year... so it took looking back over a long period of time to see that indeed there were changes. Even getting a second hound did not drastically change him, but he certainly changed incrementally over the years.

So MUCH patience and time and much joy at those small steps.

 

Good to know. Thanks.

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You're doing great!


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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To all of you who have recovered spooks and anxious hounds - are they trainable and do they ever learn to play?

 

Our hound is so distracted that recall training for instance is out of the question.

 

She also has no interest in playing with soft toys or lures and the like. She does a little bit of "chase me" after playbows but show her a ball or a soft toy and she doesn't want to know.

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I don't have a spook, but after 3 months of having Percy, he still rarely plays and when he does play with a toy, it last about 30 seconds before he's had enough. He's so easy that I haven't done much training, but he's not food motivated, so it's hard when I do try.

I don't have a spook, but after 3 months of having Percy, he still rarely plays and when he does play with a toy, it last about 30 seconds before he's had enough. He's so easy that I haven't done much training, but he's not food motivated, so it's hard when I do try.

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In my experience training is much more difficult due to the fact that whatever they are anxious about is *THE* most important thing whenever it happens. My girl was very smart, and she was also my best racer - a stakes winner and very fast - but she had to retire when she had to change tracks because she just couldn't handle the switch. Recall training was out of the question. If she became scared or anxious her response was to run. Run far and run as fast as she could, no matter what. We ended up leash walking her even in the yard for safety and convenience. She was smart and she *could* learn, but it all went out the window when she had one of her spells over a gust of wind or a car going by.

 

The training that really helped her was one on one kinds of things that boosted her confidence. Behaviors like "watch me" and "leave it/drop it" she learned quickly and they were things she could do for treats and to interact with me. Doing them helped calm her if I could get her to focus and do them when she was scared. Finding the right reward was also a challenge. We tried a lot of different treats and rewards. Once we did find something she considered worth eating things went along pretty quickly. We mostly taught her using clicker training and behavior shaping.

 

We did all our training at home as a class was out of the question. I took her to an eight week basic training class and she did absolutely nothing during class except stand around and shake. At home was better, and she did learn eventually.


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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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

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Neither of my Greys have been spooks but I've found that the best way to train them has been to capture desired behaviors. Lavish praise and/or treating when they randomly perform a behavior I want. It's time consuming and requires that you spend quite a bit of time with your dog watching for opportunities to capture the behavior but it's great for dogs like my two girls who are just not interested in formal training sessions. I took my first Grey, Wendy, to training classes and she spent the whole time lying down sleeping.

 

I wonder if throwing a 'praise party' for Percy when he plays with a toy would encourage him to play more often? A high-pitched super-happy voice praising him for playfulness? That's how I taught Lola to let me know when she has to go potty. It's hard to work up that level of enthusiasm at 2 a.m. but it works. :thumbs-up


Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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Trainable, yes. My Katie never really was much of a player, but would occasionally play with a toy or do zoomies. But that may be more of a greyhound thing, than a spook thing. Also, while they can be trained, it takes time and patience, and an understanding that they are not as resilient to change as other dogs. Basically, you train in stages: in a familiar place with no distractions, a familiar place with distractions, an unfamiliar place with no distractions, and an unfamiliar place with distractions. With a spook, there are lot more "unfamiliar" places, and a heck of a lot more "distractions", so you have to be prepared to reward much more frequently and generously than with a braver, bolder dog.

 

To give you some hope, here's a video of Katie earning her breakfast. This was after doing a lot of "101 things to do with a box", which is an excellent way of getting a spook to learn. That's where you place a novel object (generally a box, but really, it can be anything unusual) in front of your dog and click and treat her for doing anything with it: look at it, nose it, lay down by it, paw it, etc. The idea is to teach your dog that they can influence YOUR behavior. In other words, they can make you give them treats. You can almost see the lightbulb moment. For Katie, it was when we had been doing this for a while and she was like "Wait... if I put my foot in this box, she makes a click sound and gives me a treat?" Followed by her very slowly repeating putting her foot on the box while watching me intently the whole time. From that point on, training went much faster. Before that, she seemed to have a belief system that the universe just happened to her. Training gave her a way of controlling what happened in her world. At this point in the video, I'd had her about a year, and hand-fed her most of her meals.

 

Edited by philospher77

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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The spooks and anxious ones are trainable, and they do learn to play. At least, all I've known are/do. My current anxious/shy/spook girl -- we started training by taking a nosework class. 100% positive, very low key, no required behaviors, no sudden people moves, just reward the dog for being a dog. I haven't done a lot of classic obedience with her (have with others), but she has learned "Come!" and a couple simple tricks. She does play and has invented some games of her own involving my shoes and her grammy's socks :lol .

 

The anxious/wary/shy/spookish dogs -- it can take some time for them to settle with you, and some time for you to work out what motivates them, what calms them, so that training can proceed. That is one reason I like nosework -- it can be a great discovery and bonding experience for dog and owner.

 

 

PS Katie is awesome, as is the 101 Things To Do With A Box.

Edited by Batmom

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Not that this is any way a humble brag but our fears were real. We've just had a dog behavio(u)rist visit us and he has never seen such a withdrawn, anxious dog in a home situation :(

 

He couldn't do any work with her as she just hunkered down in her den and our pooch was refusing to interact with him, me and Mrs WabiSabi. Not even for chicken and rabbit.

 

Her pupils are like saucers, she's so adrenalised. Heartbreaking.

 

Anyway, he's given us the name of a vet who is pro-anxiolytic prescribing so we're arranging that (difficult because our hound now hates being transported in a car too).

 

Chin up, beer down on an otherwise lovely, sunny, warm British Spring day.

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Damn.

One step forward. Two back.

 

Will the new vet come to your house?

Or prescribe the meds without seeing her based on her regular Vets charts and the behaviourist?


NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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Or prescribe the meds without seeing her based on her regular Vets charts and the behaviourist?

 

We're hoping so. I'm not sure of the legality of prescribing drugs without seeing the patient in UK veterinary practice.

 

On the plus side, the behaviourist and this vet know each other well and the vet may take the behaviourist at his word that anxioloytics are the way to go. Failing that, we'd be willing to cough up for a house visit. Anything not to put her through another car journey until she's well enough.

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:goodluck

 

Here it would be difficult if not impossible to get drugs unless the critter has been seen. I have a very good long term relationship with both my large and small animal vets and they have bent a little for me on occasion.


NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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First off, my Katie was also one of those "worst case" dogs. I had to get rid of her crate, or else she would just plaster herself to the back wall of it and refuse to move. Then, my early work with trainers was on "how do you get a dog to leave a safe spot", without it being extremely traumatic to the dog? And yes, the person giving that advice spent her first several sessions unable to touch Katie, but just observing her and giving me advice on things to do. So I feel for you, but also want you to know that they can get better, and that this does sound like a dog that is going to benefit from the drugs. I had Katie on them all her life, because whenever I thought about trying to wean her off them, I thought about how much better she was on them, and that I wouldn't ask someone who had trouble making insulin to stop taking insulin shots. I think that she was a dog who just didn't make enough serotonin, and anything I could do to keep those levels higher helped her immensely in life.

 

Spring for the house call. You will want to have blood work done, just to be sure that the drugs don't do bad things long term to the kidneys and liver. Also, at least here in the US, those drugs are on the highly-controlled list and the provider can get into legal trouble if they don't do everything properly when dispensing them. Don't know about in the UK.

 

Also, you will really want to start some kind of journal to see how the drug is acting. As I'm sure you were told, anti-anxiety drugs can take 6-8 weeks to get to full effect, and it's easy to miss what they are doing as the changes are subtle day to day. It's only when you look back and say "oh, she never used to do that" that you can really see the impact that they are having. I've got a link down in my footer to one I did for Katie, covering switching drugs. Which is the second thing I'm sure that they told you: different drugs (SSRI vs tricyclic, etc) can have different impacts, so if you don't see anything with the first one, don't give up. Just try with the others. Also, I hope that the behaviorist gave you some advice for things to do or not do while waiting for the drugs to take affect, and discussed the potential use of some of the short-acting (generally around 8 hour) anti-anxiety drugs during that time frame. Those are ones that you generally use when you know a certain situation is going to be stressful, not to deal with general anxiety.


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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First off, my Katie was also one of those "worst case" dogs. I had to get rid of her crate, or else she would just plaster herself to the back wall of it and refuse to move. Then, my early work with trainers was on "how do you get a dog to leave a safe spot", without it being extremely traumatic to the dog? And yes, the person giving that advice spent her first several sessions unable to touch Katie, but just observing her and giving me advice on things to do. So I feel for you, but also want you to know that they can get better, and that this does sound like a dog that is going to benefit from the drugs. I had Katie on them all her life, because whenever I thought about trying to wean her off them, I thought about how much better she was on them, and that I wouldn't ask someone who had trouble making insulin to stop taking insulin shots. I think that she was a dog who just didn't make enough serotonin, and anything I could do to keep those levels higher helped her immensely in life.

 

Spring for the house call. You will want to have blood work done, just to be sure that the drugs don't do bad things long term to the kidneys and liver. Also, at least here in the US, those drugs are on the highly-controlled list and the provider can get into legal trouble if they don't do everything properly when dispensing them. Don't know about in the UK.

 

Also, you will really want to start some kind of journal to see how the drug is acting. As I'm sure you were told, anti-anxiety drugs can take 6-8 weeks to get to full effect, and it's easy to miss what they are doing as the changes are subtle day to day. It's only when you look back and say "oh, she never used to do that" that you can really see the impact that they are having. I've got a link down in my footer to one I did for Katie, covering switching drugs. Which is the second thing I'm sure that they told you: different drugs (SSRI vs tricyclic, etc) can have different impacts, so if you don't see anything with the first one, don't give up. Just try with the others. Also, I hope that the behaviorist gave you some advice for things to do or not do while waiting for the drugs to take affect, and discussed the potential use of some of the short-acting (generally around 8 hour) anti-anxiety drugs during that time frame. Those are ones that you generally use when you know a certain situation is going to be stressful, not to deal with general anxiety.

 

Canine psychopharmacology is remarkably similar to human psychopharmacology!

 

A terrible day today, btw. Got off to a good start first thing with playbows and her seeking our petting by getting really close, even to me.

 

And then, for some reason, she just stayed in her den all day, including when Mrs WabiSabi got home and then peed in in her den when she was having her evening feed. So we've had to change her bed and mats which, of course, has wound her up even more.

Edited by WabiSabi

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One thing that worked for me and Gypsy was I just let her be. For months and months, I didn't try to get her to do anything. I'd talk to her as I walked past, (I'm always talking out loud to all my dogs), I'd throw a yummy her way, I'd let the outside door open so she could go in and out so I didn't have to try to get her in and scare her. My philosophy was that our house was quiet, she wasn't being bullied by other dogs, she had nice beds, food, water, toys...I assumed she was happier in our house than in the kennel. She had been in the kennel and fostered for almost a year; no one wanted her because of her fear.

 

Eventually - and it literally took months - she would come up and stand nearby to me. She wouldn't startle when I walked close to her bed. She'd eat while I was in the kitchen. Eventually we got to a point I could pet her for a few minutes at a time. It took 4 years before she would lay on the floor and touch one foot of hers to a part of his body. We never really taught her much; we just allowed her to be whatever she wanted. She never did enjoy playing with toys but she certainly loved doing zoomies in the yard! She never wanted to really touch our other greyhound nor the little dogs we had. The only playing she would ever do is when I would lay down on the couch with my back to her, sometimes she would jump on top of me and beat me with her front legs like a boxer. She would quit as soon as I started laughing too hard at her. This was her big playtime.

 

So maybe if you could just relax around her and expect nothing or at least hardly anything at all, it would be better. Don't think one step forward, 2 steps back. Just assume this is what it is and she can come around in her own time. As the song says "just let it be".

 

This worked for me and I'm sure that a zillion people would think I did it all wrong, but DH and I have rescued many spooks and timid dogs (though no other greyhounds) and we've had amazing success with them over time. It's very possible she's sensing your tension and "watching" her and she's reacting to the tension. My :2c only.

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For the first time since we adopted her, our hound is playing with a toy this morning! We've had the toy since we adopted her but she's shown no interest at all in it.

 

Then yesterday, I started waving it around when she was play-avoiding me (I've done this a few times previously but to no avail) and this morning, there she is, mouthing and pawing it!

 

She's still wound up in the house but is being more of a "normal dog" in the yard.

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That sounds like greyt progress! Bless you for all your patience and understanding with her.


Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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That is good progress. A dog that chooses to play is essentially a happy dog. Soon you should notice her eyes become soft rather than looking half-scared.

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And this morning, for the first time, she is lying down on the bed we put down for her in the living room!

 

She didn't go near it until yesterday when she sniffed at it and walked across it now and again.

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