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Adult Dog With Insecurity - Any Advice?

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#21 Denise E.

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:44 AM



Before June:

Hand fed him for two months or so and gradually got so hand is in dish while Roger is eating.

Lot's of exercise and leash work - he is heeling well for BOTH Kelli and I.


Dog Park, we let him be a dog and he began to play and run with a few other dogs.

Took him into BIG Dog Park, he likes big dogs but not if they are aggressive.  We walk the sidewalk around the park with him off leash and he stays nearby and sniffs and go ahead and sniffs and so on, if there is a big dog he feels uncomfortable with he comes over by my side and we continue on.

(I think that is a breakthrough in his trusting me and looking to me as an alpha.  My sister, Kelli, has always been "Mommy" to him.)

He is happy to greet and sniff with other dogs and friendly with ALL people.


He will be calm if we put him in a closed room while we are home, then let him out a bit later.

He barks some when a repairman is at house and we put him in bedroom but not constantly barking - I'll take it.


Crate training going well, we have crated him a few times when we leave the house and each time come home to find bottom tray & pillow in front of cage and dog still in crate.  Dog looking happy, calm & innocent inside crate I might add.



At Mom's with his litter mate, Ginger, Mom's dog.

Mom did her best to keep a modified training consistency.

(It's a lot for Mom to take care of all our family's animals - my sister goes with me to ceremony)

NO incidents from Roger and we came back to a still pretty well behaved dog.

I was glad he didn't backslide into resource guarding and other stuff.  BIG PLUS!

Before I went home, after trip, I did reintroduce Ginger to the crate (with treats), Roger used a crate up at Mom's on his own sometimes.


He and Ginger feed excitement and anxiety off of each other, so there was a lot of excessive barking (Ginger always has to have the last word)and clinginess to each other, AND separation anxiety level increased on Roger because Ginger has it bad.


Returning from Mom's:

Mom stayed for 4th of July weekend and Ginger came with her.

Kelli was up visiting with her and the troupe came down that weekend (my cats came home with me earlier).


Combination of Fireworks, quarter sticks, and thunderstorms set off BOTH dogs quivering uncontrollably and scooting under our feet.

(Mom, Kelli & I have neuropathy and tripping on dogs is not good for any of us including the trembling dogs ....)

We put Thunder shirts - which we call "Brave" shirts on the dogs.  Helped a little but needed to leash the dogs to get them outside to go to bathroom and Gee, every time we left the house (no longer than an hour at a time) when we came back - my couch was pulled apart.  Nothing torn up but pillows and some cushions on floor - like they were trying to move things thinking they would get out the window - where my car parks in front of the house ....

dogs not allowed on couch - except of course when we're not home to tell them no .....



July (After Mom & Ginger left):

Thunderstorms continue daily for hours, Roger's "Brave" Shirt not calming his anxiety and shaking like jello & clinging.

After a week of this, a friend tells me of a natural calming AID pill sold at stores - she gives me some to try.

Next storm, (the next day), when thunder happens - it was on TV and Roger had an 'episode', put on shirt, gave him pills and in 10 minutes shaking stopped and then he was laying down -relaxed on the floor nearby.  no shaking - well maybe not totally relaxed but he was still alert and body relaxed, mind able to think and listen.

We decided because he is getting these pills every day to cut it back to a min dose (which is a quarter tablet), stops the shaking and allows him to listen to us.


Have to use leash to take him for potty but he listens with his shirt on and the Calming Aid.

After four days of that routine, Kelli just put his "Brave" shirt on him (we tell him it "Brave and good" every time we put it on him) and he has stopped shaking and laid down when asked.  No calming pills. 

I think he is starting to associate the calming feeling the pills give him with the "Brave shirt"  (mind over matter?)  Thumbs up!

His separation anxiety is waning also since he is not with Ginger.


I have hand fed him a few more times and then also just walked up and stood near him when he is eating - he keeps eating!

Will slowly progress with this until I can do something by his bowl and he keeps eating.

Took him back to our dog park (the small dog part) and he's not ready to run with other dogs but walks around sniffing and marking everything.  That's OK - it's been a while.


My sister moving down with me has been good for Roger.

We will continue consistency and basic training with him.

I believe Roger is responding and behaved and is ready for a new addition (AI puppy) into home.


We will continue training Roger and the puppy - all this good practice I've received - thank you Roger! ? ! - LOL!

Since they are not litter mates - I don't think I'll have the same issue of energy feeding that Roger and Ginger do - YET ...


I have a tentative plan (it will change as needed):

Roger and puppy will be crated in separate rooms

puppy will be fed meals first.  Roger is fed after the cats finish eating now, so it will go cats, puppy, Roger.  Sometimes we eat first and sometimes somewhere in between.

Roger and puppy will not have bathroom breaks at the same time ALL of the time.  They will sometimes so puppy can smell it's good to go there (backyard).

Of course at first their walks will be separate.

Puppy and crate will come to Inipi with me and Roger will stay at house (ceremony is almost all day - Roger can hold bladder but puppy cannot for that long.  Puppy will be in crate in landowner's house - have some select socialization with strangers and the ceremony.  It will be good for all - YEAH!

Roger will get his own rides in car and .....  also puppy and Roger will get rides in car.

Of course supervised play times for Roger and puppy.


Roger is a beta personality - professional trainers have assessed this.  Puppy will become calming leader over Roger.  (Kim is aware of Roger's personality).


Ok, so that's my initial plan and work done so far,

Comments, suggestions welcome:  I have pretty tough skin and am stubborn  B)












#22 Allison



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Posted 22 July 2014 - 10:12 AM

Just want to remind people that this is not an AIDog that Denise is asking about.


Also I am moving this topic to General Discussion, where we talk about dogs in general.

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#23 Denise E.

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 01:48 PM

Sorry Allison - thanks for the Forum Group clarification!  ^_^


On the 1st page I did specify that Roger is a "hotdog"/terrier mix and his history, however the posting has gone past that page ....


The PUPPY coming is an AI Dog - so the "tentative plan" is training the AI Puppy and continued training with beta Roger (other breed).  :rolleyes:



#24 Karen


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Posted 23 July 2014 - 08:09 AM

Wow, you've got a lot going on! It sounds like you are just the person for the job, Roger is a lucky dog.


I wanted to give you something to look forward to - rather than thinking about adding a pup to the mix as a challenge, try to see it as a perfect opportunity. You are doing lots of basic work with Roger, and we all know that it's hard to overdo that but dogs get bored. But when you've got a puppy and you are starting from square one, you'll have two dogs to run through their paces and it will be a whole new experience for Roger. He'll get to be the older, wiser dog, and he might just love it. If you are working with the two of them, try letting Roger go first with every command, let him be the leader. (I wouldn't worry about it turning him "alpha", I don't think we can engineer that. He'll be who he is.)


The thing that caught my eye in your title was anxiety. We've got a super jumpy, nervous AID. She is a sweetheart and is always eager to try some new diversion and it's actually not too hard to desensitize her - she's no longer afraid of plastic grocery bags or folding laundry, for example. But it's like putting your finger in a dike - new anxieties spring up when you aren't looking. I'm not capable of keeping up with all of them.


So what I've got now is a strategy rather than a list of specific things to try to 'fix' the problem. I can't fix her basic nature - I watch her flinch and start when there is a sudden, loud noise. I know she can't help her physical reaction to noise and surprises, that's how she's wired. What I can do with her is help her develop her own coping methods, intervene with things like thundershirts when I can, and offer her a way out of the stress without seeming to agree with her that the danger is real. It's taken a long time, it's not a quick process, but she is definitely a dog who is more at peace with her own nature. I made a safe, cozy spot for her, it's a crate in our bedroom where it is dark and quiet, and there is a rug draped over it so the sounds are even more muffled and distant. When things get bad and she is miserable but doesn't want to leave my side, I'll go in our room, which makes her super happy, and stay with her until she has settled. She's learned to relax and calm down. (Not including fireworks, the only thing that works for that is knocking her out 2 days a year. I hate it, but i've tried everything else and my neighbors are not going to be the ones to calm down.)


I could be anthromorthizing, but I think she's proud of herself for how well she manages her fear and anxiety these days. I'm proud of her, that's for sure!

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#25 Sherab


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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:39 AM

Excellent comments Karen. FYI Waki use to be a little rebel off lead but now he likes to show Cake the ropes. Could well work for Roger too and build up his confidence. I can see in Waki's eyes he's proud of himself when he does things like a "big boy" so I don't think you are imagining the pride in Danza.

#26 Denise E.

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:45 PM

Yes always aware of new possible triggers  .... 


I am looking forward to Roger being able to help teach AI Puppy GOOD things.  :wub:

I can't wait for puppy to be fully vaccinated and ready to go to the Dog Park with Roger.

I think Roger will really shine with AI Puppy at the Parks.  It will definitely be his place to show the puppy around.


Roger actually trusted me enough to start to climb one of the obstacles the other day...

We don't push him - just we were only one's at park and I climbed a little and asked him if he wanted to come up - and HE DID!!!


He gets lots of praise when he does good things and quick corrections when he is going off course and sometimes just ignoring so he can figure it out on his own.  He also get s treats and he loves treats and butt rubs - LOL!


We've tried some of the intelligence treat dispensing games and he doesn't do well with those - his littermate Ginger can figure them out and grab up the treats though ....  I figure the AI Puppy will be able to teach Roger that game - LOL!.  I think the two dogs will be good for each other, especially if the AI puppy can be a calming influence on Roger.


Roger eats last because it works for him.  Even up at Mom's, he is fed after Ginger.

He does still get "dessert" when he finishes and walks away from his bowl instead of laying on it and showing the whites of his eyes.

He has been really good with that - such a transformation!!!!!!! 

Also he didn't resource guard the toys or lunge at any of Mom's visitors as they walked by this last June.

BIG IMPROVEMENT! Maybe someday the feeding routine will be able to change. 


Roger is a good dog ... REALLY he is!  (Not my first choice of dogs - we'd have two AI Dogs  :rolleyes:  :D )

My sister has a black spot on her left frontal lobe (since birth or early childhood) and it causes her to get anxious or angry or confused when she can't think of an answer or process a question fast enough.

Roger picks up her feelings -really fast! and he has translated that into anxiety and anger and resource guarding over the years.  There are a couple of Mom's friends that won't come to her house anymore when he is there.  There are other friends who have NO problem with him (so it depends on their personalities, if he felt you are timid that was when he used to get aggressive for no reason).

FUNNY THING -  he LOVES when the neighbors visit with their babies! NEVER had a problem with that.....

He sits by the car seat / carrier thingy - so happy and proud - like he's making sure the baby is OK.



My sister moved in with me last fall and we have been working on consistency and re-training and it is really working!

Thank you for your comments!


Kelli (my sister) is also in process of learning how to release / ground her anxiety feelings.  It is helping both of them :)

I'm glad my sister and I can work together and are on the same page with Roger's retraining / help.


Kelli is home during the day and we will both agree on a plan and adjustments to the plan for AI puppy.  We will both be involved even though this AI Puppy is mine to care for and pay vet (health visits of course!) and food and baths  and pick up poop for  ......  LOL! 


I'm really psyched and we're all ready - well it is a good time for a new family member!

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