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Hi I am Twyla and I am new here, I have had my Mini silver Poodle Fannie for 2 1/2 years she will turn 10 at the end of the month, she is a retired breeder and was adopted out previously found abandoned in the streets three years later emaciated and in terified state I adopted shortly after that. I believe that patience and constitent training will win out, any changes in routine set her into a panic flight mode.


That said, work with her daily, never walk the same path outside ( okay maybe not up the same walkways or stairs) Have gotten her leash trained, she was good recall,

But I have two issues walking her one is getting my mail out of the mailbox she is afraid of it, I have been getting her steered over to the mailbox where she gives up and lays there instead of pulling away into the parkinglot I won't let her do that

the other issue is the challenge of walking her by parked cars when a car drives by

I live in a condo so these is a problem I want to address


I solved her panicking when cars drive by keeping her to my right and on the grass and simply make her stop


any insight will help

yes I realise that she will always be nervous but I need to make her more comfortable with giving into her feaars

Twyla
 

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You are doing everything correctly that I can tell....you know what? My first instinct is to pick her up in my arms and say "there, there. I got you. You're OK!" I know thats the most wrong thing you can do. I knew one old girl pomeranian that was such a nervous nelly. She always turned her head away from situations. A time came when her owner got cancer and I took these 4 little dogs to keep till she got better....that shy nervous dog did not eat, drink or pee. On day 3, I took her to the vet and she died during the exam. I think she died of stress....not knowing where her owner was and she was out of her regular routine. The other 3 dogs were absolutely fine with the new arrangements...the lady died and I placed them in new homes.
 

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Nervous by nature

Thanks

I ignore the unwanted behavior, try to guide into wanted behavior and praise good behavior, I just keep going and don't give up

I live with my mom and she undersand the importance of constitency too so that helps

Twyla

I just want to do well by Fannie
 

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Fears are tuff!!

You took on a dog with unknown problems so you my never fix everything and it is possible this dog just had a crappy temperament and nothing really bad ever happened to her. She maybe is just scared of her own shadow. Dogs look to there owners for the right reaction in a lot of instances so it is your job to not react or if you do react do it in a complete opposite way. For instance when driving if I have to do some quick breaking or turning in the car that might frighten my dog I usually go weeeeeeee that was fun and laugh instead of getting upset. My dog once tried getting onto my bed because of thunder and rain instead of coddling my dog we went out for an awesome walk, we got wet but my dog won’t shrink. He never had another problem with rain and thunder since.

Now counter-conditioning every problem my not be possible or even needed but it never hurts for you to giver a try and see if you can actually make some changes in this dogs life. I am a big believer in tugging if you can teach tugging you now have an interactive game that you and your dog can do to help her build confidence and keep her from focusing on the problem/s.

As for the mailbox I think I would take off the pressure instead of going to it walk past it. It is not needed that she goes to the mailbox instead pass it and give her treats as you pass. Then put her in a stay away from the box and you walk back and get your mail. Over time she will hopefully look forward to walking past the mailbox in time maybe even ask for a sit near the box. Also what makes you think it is the mailbox that is the problem could it be your keys? Once you get your dog trained to actually tug see if you can get your dog to tug near the mailbox.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have been doing to counter conditioning, as far as tug toy or playing with any toys at all she is terrified of squeeky toys. I have started with the walk by of the mail box,

I am always working with her, I am beginning to accept that I probably always will have to. Fannie is a sweet girl so the effort is worth it

Thanks Twyla
 

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twyla,
I personally would never give positive attention to a negative act. If your dog acts afraid of something that is normal and environmental, just keep in mind she might of never seen these things being kept as a breeder in her previous life. As others said, ignore the bad - praise the good. Resist the 'primate instinct' to pick-up, protect and cuddle, as this will be mis-interpreted as positive reinforcement. Canines are not primates, and that act does not have the same meaning to them.
Another idea comes to mind . . . if she is afraid of mailboxes - then lets hang out with the fun yummy mail boxes! A game where you 'discover' a favorite (liver comes to mind) treat 'hidden' in the mailbox and reward her with it for being so brave. (If she isn't, then don't reward). Play ball near the mailbox, feed her near the mail box . . .you get the idea . . . replace mailbox with those other things that go bump in the night. That is . . . cars, curbs, kids on bicycles. You might need to start 20 feet from the mailbox and work your way towards it. 15 feet a couple days later, then 10, then 5 and then . . . wow those mail boxes are cool - they generate liver treats!
Our female, Samantha, (not a rescue, we got her from reputable breeder) had issues with surface textures. When the grass was wet, or she stepped on tile for the first time, she was in avoidance mode. As a puppy, we immediately made sure that she touched the thing she was afraid of, telling her its alright, and doubly made sure that she was going to get 10x exposure to the thing she was attempting to avoid. (I don't recommend that for your dog). She did the same thing with cars, vacuum cleaners, new bedroom furniture and etc. When she decided she was going back away from the new furniture, guess who was immediately placed on the new offending bed frame?

I suppose the point is, that you'll have to find the correct 'intensity level' to desensitize your dog. She could surprise us and be highly flexible and can accept a level like Samantha's. Or it might be that she'll need an increment slow approach - or somewhere in between.

Good Luck and Kudos to you for rescuing!

Mark, Jamie and The Poodle Gangsters
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice, Fannie is doing better I actually am running with ther by the mail box, getting closer with each run by. I find buddying her up with a confident dog does wonders.

Liver teats would be great but Fannie is the type who will not take treat when nervous

thanks again Twyla
 
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