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A New Chap - Very Shy, Nervous And Now Freezing On Walks


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Hello,

Were new and have just rehomed a 4.5 year old black and white Boy called Senner. Hes recently retired. Weve brought him into a 4 bed detached home with a small to medium garden. No other pets or kids, just me and my partner. We knew he was a bit shy when we first adopted him but were just hoping for some advice.

He has taken to his bed in the kitchen immediately, this is his safe space, and its very difficult to get him away from there. He doesnt seem to recognise his name, making any training difficult.

When we first got him 2 weeks ago you could put his lead on and this would get him up and hed Go for 2 walks a day, theyd be occasional freezes but he seemed to enjoy them. However now he refuses to get up for his collar. If we put it on when hes already outside to go to the loo then hell freeze at the end of our culdesac and refuse to go any further, you cant walk in corcles, hes not food motivated and we end up turning round and he marches home.

We also could get him up from the bed and gently lead him into the lounge on an evening when we were in there arching TV, close the door, and hed settle. Now he wont be led anywhere and we cant seem to Tempt him In with treats.

Were using a pet remedy diffuser in the lounge and hes wearing a bandana with it sprayed on to help but it just feels like were taking some Many steps backward.

Any ideas/words of wisdom?

Any help would be appreciated!

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Congrats on your new boy!

 

Try to give yourselves a break :) It's still very early days for him, how they act the first few days is often very different than what comes later.

 

In our beginner class one of the first things was the 'name game' where you say their name, and once they look at you they get a treat and a "good boy." Super basic but that's one way to teach them their name. Try right before dinner time to maximize the incentive of food.

Beyond that, if any training, I'd just focus on 'capturing' (that's what they call it in our training) where you give consistent verbal signals/names for different behaviors as and right after they are doing them. At first ours would always flop himself down kind of hard on the floor, I'd jokingly say "dead" when he'd do it and 7 months later "dead" is a command that means lie all the way down on your side :rofl You aren't asking him for anything, you're just giving a name to what he's already doing.

 

Ask yourself - is he doing ok with potty training? Is he eating well? Is he exhibiting any concerning behavior - separation anxiety, destructive tendencies, health issues etc? If he's ok on these fronts, then you just have to be patient with his settling in process.

 

At this point there's no hard and fast rule about him having to take x walks a day, for x minutes. He only makes it to the end of the culdesac? That's far enough. There will probably come a point where he's ok going farther. Maybe you try being the one to end the walk (before his usual stopping point) and that'll get him into the thinking that you are the boss of the walk.

 

On the other hand, have there been any changes you might not have thought about the could correspond with his reluctance? Weather shift? Neighbor undertaking a loud renovation? New dog on your street? You could try driving somewhere else and see how he does in a new walking environment as well.

 

You might also challenge his not-food-motivated behavior by making sure you have just the best treats ever. Cheese, pieces of hot dog, etc. If food really doesn't do it, is he more motivated by toys/squeakers?

 

Does he eat his dinner pretty well? Ours downright refused to get in the car at first, wouldn't even go into the garage. Even with delicious treats - which he normally loves. Then we fed him his dinner in the car a couple times, and bam! Now we love the car. Depending on your situation and neighborhood, maybe you carry his bowl full of kibble on your walk to that point on the culdesac, get him thinking "hey this is a pretty nice place."

 

Generally just try some baby steps - like having him wear his walking collar inside the house to disconnect it with the walk experience. Same with the leash when it's safe for him to drag it around, or be attached to you.

 

OTC calming supplements are pretty hit and miss, and it doesn't actually sound like he has anxiety (but maybe you've left out more details specific to that) so I'm not sure how well they'd work anyway. He just sounds like one of the more aloof ones. It could take a long time before he wants to cuddle or watch TV with you, but that doesn't mean anything is wrong with you or him.

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Patience, patience, and more patience. Take it slowly and gently. Some dogs just need a bit of time. Take your time and speak to him sweetly and gently while putting on his leash and collar.

 

My Iker was a lot like your guy. I had tried supplements, meds, you name it to try to help with his shyness. Finally I just decided to accept him for the gentle, shy, scared guy he was rather than make him into the dog I wanted him to be, and he grew by leaps and bounds.

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Thanks guys thats really helpful and reassuring that youre both saying its quite normal!

He goes out to pee and poop like a champ and hasnt had any behaviours that are destructive so I think it is just some patience!

Normally hes pretty food motivated but when he gets nervous and freezes there is just nothing that seems to break it.

Yesterday and today we got him into the car and took him to a big county park which he enjoyed! Today was a tad bad timing as it was park run so like 200 joggers descended on us at once! But he coped marvellously! We also stopped about 300m from home and my Partner walked him back across the road and into the culdesac with no issues which is good, we just need to work on walking away from the house!

Getting him to wear the leash and collar in the house is a fab idea! We will give that a go!

Thank you both so much!

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Hey guys! So we thought after Saturday we were at least stepping in the right direction! We took him back to that park on the Sunday and he started freezing and freezing and no matter what we did it didnt help. We had to lift him in the end as we were in a bit of a pickle and my partner even ended up having to bring the car to get us as he would not go more that 100 steps without freezing!

Yesterday I drove about 200m from the house and while he didnt want to go the usual way he did walk past the house towards a little nature reserve wed been to the previous weekend and then was fine walking around that.

In the evening we took your advice and he ate his dinner on the pavement opposite our culdesac and seemed fine doing so.

Today I drove 500m up the main road and tried to get him to walk in the opposite direction from the house to the park that used to be part of his daily walks last week and he wasnt having any of it. Instead we just walked back to the house and any attempts to get him to turn around or go towards his old circuit failed. There was one point he froze in the road and I had to lift him to the side because there were cars coming.

Im really worried that hes actually getting worse, he now doesnt want to seem to walk anywhere that weve walked before and by always going the way he wants that were perpetuating his behaviour?

Any ideas welcome please!

Im petrified that if he doesnt start walking then we wont be able to manage him and he might have to find another home which would break mine and my partners hearts!

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This is part of our story (my grey Max and me): During on-leash walks of about 45 to 60 minutes, sometimes we walk only a few hundred metres as the crow flies. I have a general idea of where we'll have a walk each day that we both enjoy (depending on safety and known history where my dog has shown anxiety or fear) and we usually zig-zag, stop to smell the pee-mails or whatever, walk on path, dirt, sand, grass, bitumen, swim in a quiet waterhole, change direction/s, explore the creek bank, whatever. I take him for a walk/outing for his benefit, not mine.

He freezes to 'ask' to take a different path, or that he wants a swim in the waterhole, or that he 's interested in THIS bush or THAT bush, or "let's rest a while", or "I'm scared of that house, or "I have a sore foot", or that he'd rather head for the safety of home.

 

Two weeks is a very short time to learn his likes and dislikes. My grey would not sleep inside for several days. For months he would sleep with one eye open. The more you can help him to feel safe and secure, and that you 'listen' to him, and understand, the more he'll be confident. Alternatively you could get a Positive-Reinforcement-type trainer/behaviourist to assess your situation and suggest a tailored plan of action to help you and your dog. Best wishes.

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Hey guys! So we thought after Saturday we were at least stepping in the right direction! We took him back to that park on the Sunday and he started freezing and freezing and no matter what we did it didnt help. We had to lift him in the end as we were in a bit of a pickle and my partner even ended up having to bring the car to get us as he would not go more that 100 steps without freezing!

Yesterday I drove about 200m from the house and while he didnt want to go the usual way he did walk past the house towards a little nature reserve wed been to the previous weekend and then was fine walking around that.

In the evening we took your advice and he ate his dinner on the pavement opposite our culdesac and seemed fine doing so.

Today I drove 500m up the main road and tried to get him to walk in the opposite direction from the house to the park that used to be part of his daily walks last week and he wasnt having any of it. Instead we just walked back to the house and any attempts to get him to turn around or go towards his old circuit failed. There was one point he froze in the road and I had to lift him to the side because there were cars coming.

Im really worried that hes actually getting worse, he now doesnt want to seem to walk anywhere that weve walked before and by always going the way he wants that were perpetuating his behaviour?

Any ideas welcome please!

Im petrified that if he doesnt start walking then we wont be able to manage him and he might have to find another home which would break mine and my partners hearts!

Do you have a backyard you can walk him in? I had to walk Iker at night or with other dogs because he was so afraid. Instead of wanting him to do things that I wanted him to do but clearly scared him, I worked around his fears until he was ready to spread his wings. He eventually became much more social and less frightened.

Check out this website. I found it very helpful.

 

https://fearfuldogs.com/

Edited by robinw

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Do you have a backyard you can walk him in? I had to walk Iker at night or with other dogs because he was so afraid. Instead of wanting him to do things that I wanted him to do but clearly scared him, I worked around his fears until he was ready to spread his wings. He eventually became much more social and less frightened.

 

Check out this website. I found it very helpful.

 

https://fearfuldogs.com/

Thank you! We do have a garden that he Potters around not on his lead, would you recommend putting his lead on and doing little circles?

Thanks! Ill have a read!

This is part of our story (my grey Max and me): During on-leash walks of about 45 to 60 minutes, sometimes we walk only a few hundred metres as the crow flies. I have a general idea of where we'll have a walk each day that we both enjoy (depending on safety and known history where my dog has shown anxiety or fear) and we usually zig-zag, stop to smell the pee-mails or whatever, walk on path, dirt, sand, grass, bitumen, swim in a quiet waterhole, change direction/s, explore the creek bank, whatever. I take him for a walk/outing for his benefit, not mine.

He freezes to 'ask' to take a different path, or that he wants a swim in the waterhole, or that he 's interested in THIS bush or THAT bush, or "let's rest a while", or "I'm scared of that house, or "I have a sore foot", or that he'd rather head for the safety of home.

 

Two weeks is a very short time to learn his likes and dislikes. My grey would not sleep inside for several days. For months he would sleep with one eye open. The more you can help him to feel safe and secure, and that you 'listen' to him, and understand, the more he'll be confident. Alternatively you could get a Positive-Reinforcement-type trainer/behaviourist to assess your situation and suggest a tailored plan of action to help you and your dog. Best wishes.

Thank you!

I think we panicked because we felt so stuck we couldnt get anywhere and then when he froze in the road! What do you do when Max freezes and wont go anywhere? Would you suggest picking him up at that point?

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So long as he's pottying appropriately and not becoming destructive from lack of exercise, then there should be no specific amount of walking he needs to be doing. Of course, some greys are higher energy and need to burn it off, but from what you've described he doesn't sound like one of them - is this not the case? I guess I'm a little confused as to why having a hard time walking him a specific distance equates to not being able to manage him?

 

That said, it hasn't been nearly long enough for you to really know how he's going to be once he's settled in. Setting a predictable routine (that should probably only include places/distances he's comfortable walking and no road-crossing) is crucial to getting him more comfortable in his new life.

 

I think you may need to reset your expectations on how fast this will go; small victories are awesome, but real progress will more than likely be too slow to notice. It could take weeks for desensitization training to kick in, and sometimes months for (even non-spook) rescue dogs to feel settled in a new home. It doesn't always take that long, but it sounds like you need to prepare yourselves for the possibility that it could.

Edited by Bizeebee
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So long as he's pottying appropriately and not becoming destructive from lack of exercise, then there should be no specific amount of walking he needs to be doing. Of course, some greys are higher energy and need to burn it off, but from what you've described he doesn't sound like one of them - is this not the case? I guess I'm a little confused as to why having a hard time walking him a specific distance equates to not being able to manage him?

 

That said, it hasn't been nearly long enough for you to really know how he's going to be once he's settled in. Setting a predictable routine (that should probably only include places/distances he's comfortable walking and no road-crossing) is crucial to getting him more comfortable in his new life.

 

I think you may need to reset your expectations on how fast this will go; small victories are awesome, but real progress will more than likely be too slow to notice. It could take weeks for desensitization training to kick in, and sometimes months for (even non-spook) rescue dogs to feel settled in a new home. It doesn't always take that long, but it sounds like you need to prepare yourselves for the possibility that it could.

Thank you!

I think maybe we did sort of have a presure to walk him 2x20m walks a day but youre 100% right, as long as hes not restless we can take a step back and just focus on making him as comfortable as possible and as happy as possible.

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Hi. If my Max stops in the road, it's safety first to get him (and me) off the road and out of danger. Leading backwards, to the side, in a circle or a U-turn, sometimes accompanied by a gentle nudge in the rump, helps him to decide to start walking (using food as rewards is a separate subject). Once out of danger I/we can decide what to do next.

 

Sometimes he wants to investigate the 'nice' smells around a man-hole cover or stormwater drain, but it's safety first. Cheers.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey guys!

We just wanted to give a very positive update on Senner 2 months in!

He has come out of his shell massively and now is a calm, happy and confident dog in the house. 

Thank you all for your help! We did a mix of different bits and bobs but here are some of the things that helped the most incase anyone else with similar issues reads this! 

- Gave him lots of time.

- Didn’t walk him for around 3 weeks which really helped him settle and be confident with us.

- Eating his tea outside did help a bit with the road noise.

- Started walking again gradually and did a few walks with other dogs.

- Once we were confident that he was stopping because of stubbornness rather than fear (he wasn’t shaking, dribbling or tail between his legs as before) started marching him with a harness. After around 2-3 walks he no longer needed that.

He now looks forward to walks. He still isn’t confident with other dogs but that’s something we’ll continue to work on.

Thank you again for all the advice, it really helped while we panicked unnecessarily! 

We even have made him an instagram! @Senner.the.greyt

 

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Unnecessary panicking: an essential part of the first year of owning a dog. We adopted our boy Buddy almost a year ago and I swear that almost every tiny blip felt like a complete failure. You will relax a bit more the longer Senner is with you, and some things that feel like failure at the minute, in six month’s time, you will learn to accept are things that you can’t (and probably don’t need to) change. I am by no means an experienced owner, but have eventually realised that when we adopted Buddy, we were put through a reasonably rigorous vetting process and were deemed to be competent to have a dog placed with us. It will be similar for you if you’ve adopted. Just keep doing what you’re doing and your care, love and attention will be rewarded.

And in addition, this site is brilliant for helping you to put things in perspective! I’ve only recently joined Greytalk but have read lots of threads over the past year, and these chats really help you work out what you need to be worried about (about 5% of what your greyhound does) vs. greyhound peculiarities (everything else, and then a bit more when you least expect it)

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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