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Dog with anxiety

HenrysMom
March 10th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Hello everyone - I finally decided to register today after reading the forum for the last few months. :) Please excuse my first post being so long - I've got quite a problem on my hands though.

I have a 5-year old chihuahua, Cooper. He is a graduate of many training programs, including CGC and agility, and he's just a plain "good dog". Cooper's extremely sensitive and when I was first training him, my main observation was that he did what I asked him to mainly to avoid any consequences I may lay down for him. He's the perfect dog - he just wants to please me and be with me. Because of that, he really hasn't had any "punishment" for bad or unwanted behavior. He's a social dog; he loves people and larger dogs but I began noticing about a year ago that he's not comfortable in groups of dogs that are his size. We attend a local chihuahua meetup and he just skirts around the outside of the group and never interacts with the other dogs. But if I take him around my friends' large dogs, he plays and loves being near them.

I began taking him places where I knew we'd run into small dogs to try and desensitize him to them. Nothing seemed to work; he would not pay attention to dogs his size and eventually he started to remove himself from the situation, even if I instructed him to stay. I realized the behavior was getting worse, so I stopped forcing small dogs on him and we stopped going to the chihuahua meetups since the only one that enjoyed them was me.

In October, a friend of mine called and told me of a chihuahua puppy that she was going to rescue and asked me if I wanted it. I had been considering a puppy for a while and when I saw photos of the little buggar, I said yes. It was out of character for me to say yes so quickly, especially when I knew that Cooper had problems with small dogs but I thought he'd accept a puppy eventually. Henry came home with us in mid-October and since then, Cooper has been a complete wreck. He will not interact with Henry at all; he won't look at him, he won't acknowledge his presence. If forced to deal with Henry, Cooper will try to get out of the situation. If he can't get away, he shuts down completely.

When he shuts down, he sits and stares into space and I can't snap him out of it. At first, it was only happening every now and then so I convinced myself that he was just using dog language to teach Henry to leave him alone. After a month or two, I noticed the behavior was happening more frequently. Soon after that, Cooper stopped being social completely. If we're out and we meet someone, he doesn't want them to pet him when he used to run up to be petted and acknowledged by people.

I'm afraid that whatever fear he had was magnified by bringing Henry into the house and I'm not sure what to do now. Cooper was so friendly before; he's a therapy dog and loved visiting nursing homes and seeing all the people. Now he can't participate due to his fear overwhelming him and causing him to completely shut down and become unresponsive. Our trainer suggested that I bring Cooper to basic obedience classes since he's comfortable in that environment then slowly introduce Henry into the mix. I'm hesitant to do that because I don't want Cooper to become uncomfortable in the training since that seems to be the only place he feels at home anymore.

Rehoming Henry will be my last option. Oddly enough, he has caused problems with Cooper but he's helped my cat who suffers from OCD-type symptoms. He was the magic cure with her, so I really don't want to have to remove him from the home - plus, I love the little stinker, even if he does eat my socks.

Have any of you had experience with behavior like this when bringing a new puppy/kitten into the house? I have never seen Cooper so unresponsive before and it's worrying me a bit that he is getting worse as time goes on. I just want him and Henry to get along if possible ... or at least for both of them to be happy.

bluebear
December 11th, 2008, 06:33 PM
Hi:

I just wanted to say that when you bring a new dog especially a puppy home remember that cooper is not the one who asked for the new dog. So it is your responsibility to take control and say like "off" "no" "down" when the puppy henry goes near cooper and things like jumping on him and all. Please do not leave cooper to babysit. This will cause behaviour problems between the two dogs as they get older. If cooper see's you protecting him figuretively speaking from henry he will come around. You must make sure henry does not jump on cooper or bite him especially if cooper does not like it. Also pay more attention to cooper and if henry comes to bud in then you say no or off and henry will get the hint that you only want to play with cooper at that time or cuddle and cooper will sure respect you for that. Remember they are dogs and not humans. Another dog would bite henry if he became a nuisance where you will just push with your fingers at henry's neck. Like biting. Dogs learn very well this way. Then you will only have to say the one word that you have used when you want him away from whatever he is near. Good luck

bluebear
December 12th, 2008, 11:06 AM
Hi:

I just wanted to say that when you bring a new dog especially a puppy home remember that cooper is not the one who asked for the new dog. So it is your responsibility to take control and say like "off" "no" "down" when the puppy henry goes near cooper and things like jumping on him and all. Please do not leave cooper to babysit. This will cause behaviour problems between the two dogs as they get older. If cooper see's you protecting him figuretively speaking from henry he will come around. You must make sure henry does not jump on cooper or bite him especially if cooper does not like it. Also pay more attention to cooper and if henry comes to bud in then you say no or off and henry will get the hint that you only want to play with cooper at that time or cuddle and cooper will sure respect you for that. Remember they are dogs and not humans. Another dog would bite henry if he became a nuisance where you will just push with your fingers at henry's neck. Like biting. Dogs learn very well this way. Then you will only have to say the one word that you have used when you want him away from whatever he is near. Good luck


When I say pay more attention to cooper it's not in the way that you are showing favourtism. Usually a new puppy seems to get more affection cause we are busy training them cause the older ones knows everything. I catch myself doing it cause it is inevitable. However I always look at blue if he is close by and if he is watching I will give dakota a bit of affection and then go over to him. This is what I mean. Just thought I'd add this.