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amaruq September 4th, 2003 07:38 PM

I need help badly!
Hi I'm new here!

I'm not sure if I can post here or not?

But I need help in the worst way......I'm hoping someone has ideas or been threw what I have been threw?

I have in total 3 dogs. One 10 yrs. next 4 yrs and the baby is 9 months.

Lizzy is 9 month old pure bred Liver spotted dalmation. We rescued her from the pound. She was quite ill, dehydration, maluntrition. She was 6 months old. We were told she had been in the pound for a month. We noticed that her muzzle was twisted. When taken to the vet...we were told she had an injury done to the face and that it has healed that way. She may loose 3 teeth at full grown stage.

I have had terrible trouble with her crossing roads. You can almost see a switch go off in her head and she turns into monster puppy. Grabbing the leash and shaking it. Jumping and also aggression towards the other dogs.

The fear is cars. I know that. Now I did some investigating and found out that Liz was found in an Industrial area. We even drove there to see what was there. Sure enough big trucks and heavy vehicles. Now I'm pretty sure that she was hit by one of the vehicles causing her injury to the muzzle.

This is a bit long winded but I really need some help. Sorry about this!

I have tried every thing. I can't grab the muzzle because of her injury. i did try a head harness and that caused a mess when the halter was rubbing on one of the bones that had been broken.

I have tried vet sugestions of de-sensitizing her. Making her sit on the boulivard and giving treats. I have done searches on the web. I have talked to "dog trainers" but nothing seems to work.

I find if I use aggression she gets worse.

I love to walk and play with my dogs we go every day for 2 hour play sessions. When we get to the park I do take off the leads so they can play. She is her happy puppy self there.

I hope some one can offer advice. I'm at my wits end here and feel like a failure that I can't figure it out.:confused:

Lucky Rescue September 5th, 2003 03:54 PM

I had a foster dog - 1 yr old - who was raised in isolation and had never seen anything! She was terrified of everything - parked cars, mailboxes, rocking chairs - you name it.

Get a small bag full of hot dogs, cut into tiny pieces, or anything that your dog absolutely LOVES. Do not give him this treat at any other time - only during desensitization. And do not ever soothe or comfort him when he is being fearful - dogs see that as praise - i.e. "Oh Good boy - you're acting afraid". Ignore his fear.

Take your dog out in the driveway, if you have a car parked there. If not, go to a place where there are parked cars. STop walking towards the cars before your dog shows any fear. Have him sit, and give him a treat. Then go home. The next time, go a little closer and so on.

If he only fears moving vehicles, do the same thing - go on the street, but stop before he is afraid. Have him do obedience exercises - sit, down, etc. Ignore fear, and give treats for not being afraid.

If you have a friend with a car, ask him to drive past your place while you are outside with your dog. Get your dog as close to the street (and the car) as you can without him being afraid. As your friend drives by, toss a treat a foot or so in front of you. Talk in a happy voice - "OHH, what IS it??" Slowly get the treats and the dog closer to the street. You want him to associate cars with good things! He will soon think that the appearance of cars causes hot dogs to rain down.

This could take a long time, so you must be patient. Never EVER force, or drag your dog towards the cars. He depends on you to protect him. He must go at his own pace, and if you force him, he will lose trust in you and that will reinforce his fear. You found out that using "aggression" makes it worse!

I also suggest obedience school - excellent for bonding and for giving dogs confidence. My dog did get over all her fears, but it took a few months.

Carina September 5th, 2003 10:20 PM

I'll just say I agree with everything Lucky says. :)

I'll just add...patience! Three months is barely enough time for a somewhat insecure dog to adjust to his new environment; keep doing what Lucky says, be consistent but be aware it may take some time.

I've taken in two very fearful dogs - each took a minimum of one year before they REALLY started to blossom & become brave.

And you're totally correct about not using aggression or force. Imagine you are just terrified of something, and someone gets really angry at you for being would not be likely to trust that person much. Lizzy needs to learn to trust that YOU will keep her safe...this is why obedience training is important because she'll come to rely on you for cues about how to act & react.

Good luck and stay with it! It is very rewarding watching a traumatized dog slowly gain confidence and knowing it's because of YOU. :)

amaruq September 6th, 2003 09:29 AM

Thanks for the replies and ideas. I have taken the idea and started working with them but with a bit of a twist. I do take the treats and when she panics I give the command "Calm" when she does she gets a treat ??? What do you think of that? Seems to be working. I don't expect miracles.

She does know her basic commands and a few tricks. I talked to a trainer that the Humane society recommended and she gave me some ideas. None of them worked though. I was quite upset with one trainer that said to get a pinch collar and yank when she is bad. She said that was the only way to control a Dalmation. I never used her idea at all.

Thanks again!:D

Lucky Rescue September 6th, 2003 10:21 AM

NEVER give treats or praise when she acting fearful. Personally, I would have her sit - this gives her something to do, whereas the word "calm" does not give her a clear picture of what you want. You might have her "sit" first, and then "calm". At first, give her the treat after she is calm for about 3 seconds. As time goes on, she has to sit and be calm for 10 seconds to get the treat, and so on....until you no longer need treats. Just take one baby step at a time.

I am horrified at this "trainer's" suggestion of correcting her for being fearful. This is the worst thing you could do. Your dog is not being "bad". She is traumatized, stressed and afraid. The analogy Carina made about being punished for fear is right on the money!

Your dog may never be the bravest dog in the world, but with patience and consistancy, she should vastly improve. She is only a puppy and CAN learn that she has nothing to fear.
Nothing can be accomplished until she learns to trust you and to know that you will not put her in any danger!

OH, and thanks for saving this girl!:)

Carina September 6th, 2003 05:30 PM

When she gets fearful, you can make her sit and put on a happy tone of voice...oh you silly dog, nothing to be scared of...good sit...don't make a big deal, just tell her how silly she is and ignore it. As she comes to trust you, she'll learn to follow your lead in how to react to things too.

I think you should call the HS and tell them that this trainer is WAY off base in her knowlege of handling fearful dogs! That was ridiculously bad advice. There is definitely a place for prong collars with SOME dogs in SOME situations. Fear/fear aggressiveness is never one of those situations though.

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