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Old October 30th, 2017, 12:18 AM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Exclamation Noise Anxiety-Laughing Guests

Hi there!

Iím a new member seeking help with my 1.5 year old rescue, Gracie. She seems to be a greyhound schnauzer mix and has been with us for just over a year. She is a genius of a dog with tricks, but her high energy seems to translate into anxiety.

She will whine excessively after seeing a dog/person theough the window, which we donít know how to correct. But that isnít the bigger issue, what I need help with is her meeting new people. She is very friendly and social, and it almost always only takes her a few minutes to warm up to a new guest. But when I decide to take her to a family gathering, itís different.

Early this year, 5 months after her adoption, I took her to a gathering at my aunts house. My goal was to socialize her and not leave her at home all alone for hours. The problem wasnít with my family, they hadnít met Gracie before but she warmed up to all of them quickly and they were considerate of her. But the family of my cousins wife werenít respectful at all and it caused problems.

They were very loud, laughing and clapping hysterically at times, and I noticed it was making Gracie anxious. She started barking anytime they started laughing, and at one point one of the women was standing and started clapping and Gracie jumped on her. Gracie did not lunge, I was right beside her and saw that she wasnít being aggressive at all, but more of a helpless gesture.

After seeing how uncomfortable Gracie was, I removed her from the area after the women ignored my plea to quiet down. I decided not to take her to large gatherings after this, but she does well with smaller ones. Itís just that now if thereís any loud sounds like laughing or clapping being made by several people at once, she will get anxious and eventually bark (when I say bark, itís never a bark at a person, but more in the general direction and she looks around a lot).

I want to take her to the Christmas gathering this year, but I want to do as much as I can to prepare her. Loudness canít be avoided with such a large group (family of 20-25), so I want to know what else I could do. Iím not really able to desensitize because i donít have access to a group of strangers to help. I know that exercise could help in calming her before the gathering, but not sure to what extent. What other methods could help? I donít want to avoid taking her forever.

Finallly, I would just like to clarify that my concern is not for any family friends, but more for Gracie. She is not aggressive at all in her nature, and to me itís clearly to do with fear of sudden loud noises. I donít want her fear to escalate and for ignorant guests to think her barking is aggression.

Thank you so much to any advice that could be given! ❤️

Valentina
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  #2  
Old October 30th, 2017, 08:52 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Please try not to take this the wrong way, but why are you expecting humans to appease your dog? She's in a comfort zone, and you're letting her stay within it.

What you're dealing with is called insecurity, and by removing the dog from the situation, you're going to nourish (reinforce) that insecurity and it's going to make it worse. Next time, try putting a leash on the dog, walk her around and get her to meet everyone. Show the dog that it's nothing to be concerned about, see if you can get people to interact with her when the noise is happening.

It's the same with dogs that are unsure of noises like thunder. I'll leash the dog and take it for a walk - show the dog that it's not something to be concerned about.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 09:40 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Thank you for replying Rhynes.

Im sorry if I made it seem that I want people to appease to her, which isnít exactly what I was trying to say. I wanted more cooperation, so that she wouldnít be as stressed in these situations. I understand that it is insecurity, a fear of the unknown noise. My point was that I would ideally like for her to be slowly introduced to the extent of the noise that happens in a social setting. Not avoid the noise altogether, but just not have it all at once.

She was introduced to each person, and she was fine after that. She was completely comfortable with the children and adults stepping around her, and she was even comfortable enough to sleep. But once there was an eruption of laughter (as a result of Christmas activities) she would spark up and start barking. Like I said, it didnít appear to me (although Iím not a professional so I canít be sure) that she was reacting to the people but more to the noise itself. She was on a leash during this time, after I noticed her signs of stress for the first time. However, despite my slackness with the leash, she was still tense and each outburst made her even more anxious. Maybe it wasnít the right decision to take her away to a quieter part of the house, but it seemed to be the only rational choice.

Ideally, I would have liked for the louder people to pet her during the noise and see if that would calm her, but like I said they werenít very interested in helping me. So to conclude, I want to know if there is an alternate way to soothe her and help her through her stress without support from others.

And a final note, I was told by a member of my family to leave her off the leash and let her roam, but after trying that she still reacted in the same way :/.

Once again, thank you for the advice.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 10:14 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/rev...reyhounds.html


Greyhounds don't like loud sounds , they're very sensitive sweet dogs . You can't expect people to tone it down for your dog .
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  #5  
Old October 30th, 2017, 10:38 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingdog View Post
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/rev...reyhounds.html
Greyhounds don't like loud sounds , they're very sensitive sweet dogs . You can't expect people to tone it down for your dog .
No offense, but alot of the information on that site is simply wrong. It's in the way they are raised. I've owned 2 purebred Minpins in the last 6 years, and nothing written about them is correct.
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/rev...pinschers.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Valeartiste View Post
Thank you for replying Rhynes.

Im sorry if I made it seem that I want people to appease to her, which isnít exactly what I was trying to say. I wanted more cooperation, so that she wouldnít be as stressed in these situations. I understand that it is insecurity, a fear of the unknown noise. My point was that I would ideally like for her to be slowly introduced to the extent of the noise that happens in a social setting. Not avoid the noise altogether, but just not have it all at once.

She was introduced to each person, and she was fine after that. She was completely comfortable with the children and adults stepping around her, and she was even comfortable enough to sleep. But once there was an eruption of laughter (as a result of Christmas activities) she would spark up and start barking. Like I said, it didnít appear to me (although Iím not a professional so I canít be sure) that she was reacting to the people but more to the noise itself. She was on a leash during this time, after I noticed her signs of stress for the first time. However, despite my slackness with the leash, she was still tense and each outburst made her even more anxious. Maybe it wasnít the right decision to take her away to a quieter part of the house, but it seemed to be the only rational choice.

Ideally, I would have liked for the louder people to pet her during the noise and see if that would calm her, but like I said they werenít very interested in helping me. So to conclude, I want to know if there is an alternate way to soothe her and help her through her stress without support from others.

And a final note, I was told by a member of my family to leave her off the leash and let her roam, but after trying that she still reacted in the same way :/.

Once again, thank you for the advice.
If people are petting her when she's worked up or anxious, that's negative reinforcement - not positive. Offer affection only when she's calm and relaxed, that's the state you want to reward. You mention loose leash, tighten up the leash a bit so she can feel you - but you need to remain calm and relaxed - she needs a leader.

So, if she's anxious, leash her and take her for a good walk. Don't think of it as removing the dog from the situation, get her out for exercise. Desensitizing is what you're looking to do when it comes to noise reaction. Whenever you know you'll be in a noisy environment, exercise the dog before you go.

Take the dog into noisy places, let the dog stress out - but in the end, see if you can find people that will give her treats and show affection. End every negative on a positive note - that's what positive reinforcement is supposed to be.

What's her daily routine like? How much exercise does she get? How much mental stimulation does she get? How much interaction does she get with people and dogs? My last 2 minpins were reactive for the first couple of weeks, then they ran the dog park like they owned it.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 10:10 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Rhynes,

Thanks so much for that advice. I realize now that what I thought was positive reinforcement wasnít actually that. I will try to have a more firm grip on the leash next time as well.

I did take her on a 30 minute walk when I removed her last time and it might have calmed her down, but I will make sure to exercise her much more before taking her into a stressful situation.

Her daily routine is rather relaxed during most of the day until I get home. She does well and sleeps through most of the day. We have a vigorous exercise session (fetch, biking, etc. )in the afternoon until she is completely drained and goes for a nap. We do training as a part of her daily routine everyday, and trick training a few times a week.

Unfortunately, she doesnít get enough mental stimulation through interaction with other dogs. She loves dogs but I have found that she didnít have the best reaction to the dog park. She ignored the dogs and roamed on her own, which was surprising considering she will try to play with dogs we meet on walks. I do think it may be that sheís only gone 4 times, because we donít live near any (we also only go to dog parks that are safely fenced, which not all of them are).

Because she is a rescue, she did come with an uncertainty of people. She used to cower in fear of men but has come a long way and will greet more strangers on walks.

We live near a busy road and she used to be nervous around the large trucks or buses that would pass by, but now we are able to walk along that street without a problem. We desensitized her to the loud noises, which is what we are trying to accomplish with her Ďsudden loud noises from peopleí fear.

And just another thing to add, because she does have high energy and is exercised a lot for over an hour, she has built up a high endurance. If she hasnít been exercised before going out (Iíve made that mistake before by walking her before vigorous exercise) she will react to the environment negatively. For example, whining at dogs from inside the car. She is much calmer after exercising, but is that the only way to prevent such reactions? Could you recommend alternatives or reinforcements of calm behaviour?

Also, do you have experience with dog socialization groups? I have seen online that there are places that you can go to sign your dog up for socialization sessions. Do you have any knowledge on this (like particular businesses) and would you reccomend it?
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 10:54 AM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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When you take her for a walk, do you use a harness or a leash? When you're biking with the dog running beside you, I suspect she's not reactive?

Try an experiment. Do you have an ipod or phone that you can load up with your favorite music? Use headphones, and play some music that you enjoy, get in the zone so to speak - and take the dog for a walk. Forget that you have a dog at the end of the leash, ignore the dog. See how she reacts around noises and such when you're distracted.

Male aggression is one of the best example of insecurity, and generally driven by humans - but not all the time. I spend alot of time in off leash parks, no fences or borders. One day, came around a blind turn, and spotted a lady with a black lab. As soon as she seen me, she leashed the dog and pulled back - painting a big target on me. She was insecure over what the dog would do to me, and at the same time - now the dog is in protect mode. I love working with these dogs on the spot, if the owners are willing.

Do you know anyone with an easy going and confident dog that you can borrow once in a while, a dog that can get along with yours? I find a confident mentor dog is the fastest and easiest way to instill confidence in dogs. My minpin is confident, and I find when we're off leash, insecure dogs tend to follow him. Even dogs that are nervous around people will follow his confidence to me. If you have the opportunity, take her and a mentor dog into a crowded environment - when she sees the mentor isn't afraid, you'll see changes in her.

I have no experience with social groups, but I can't see them being a bad thing. How about a good daycare once in a while? A place where she can hang out with dogs, be monitored etc.
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 11:49 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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She is walked with a harness with a clip on the front that prevents pulling. She walks really well, and the leash is slack on our walks. She isnít leash reactive, but I find there are exceptions sometimes. She is just high energy and she gets excited when seeing other dogs on walks. She will whine and tug towards the dogs, and if i donít let her greet the dog she will start growling.

I believe this is because of her built up energy that turns negative through the tension on the leash, so I try to get her to sit before greeting. This is why I exercise her before walks, so she doesnít become as excitable. When sheís on the bike, she is more focused on keeping up with me so she will glance over at dogs passing by but she wonít get distracted. With walking itís hard to keep her attention on me because she doesnít respond to rewards in the outside environment. She wonít take even the juiciest of treats because nothing is more interesting than greeting the dog. I donít believe that itís coming from any tension in me because we will be walking and she will be relaxed, but I donít even notice the dog or person until I see her perk up and get worked up on her own.

I would say that in all of the dogs that I know, she is the most confident. She isnít exactly outgoing but she definitely isnít very fearful, which is why the noise problem with groups of people is a little surprising (but not very because it is a loud, unexpected noise after all). I have taken her to a crowded street festival, and she did beautifully. Her tail was up, ears werenít back, and she was walking beside me without a problem.

Iíll be looking into dog daycare, because I think that more healthy relationships with other dog would be good for her. She can be mentally stimulated through interaction and the added exercise would be beneficial as well.

Could you provide advice on the growling issue? Sheís never tried to bite and doesnít show aggression, and Iíve read itís becausd of leash tension and not aggression. What else could I do to prevent the pulling and excitement build up?
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Old November 4th, 2017, 02:41 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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I would love to see a photo of your dog , I am trying to picture what she would looks like .
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Old November 4th, 2017, 10:12 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Hey! Of course, Iíll share some photos! She is a pretty unique dog to me. By the way, we donít actually know her mix because sheís a rescue. She is medium sized, about 25 pounds.

She has a schnauzer face and coat, except that she has red undertones under the grey top of her hair. She also doesnít shed, like a schnauzer, and she has the terrier energy.

She is mellow inside and loves to sleep, just like a greyhound. She has much longer legs than any schnauzer Iíve seen, and we have one in the family. She is lightning fast (other people are mesmerized by her speed) just like a greyhound as well. And finally, her ears look and fold in the same way a greyhoundís ears do, and I donít know any other breed with the same ears. They are also red.

Here is a link to her Google site (her photos are captioned):


https://sites.google.com/view/graciephotos/home


Hope you find her as adorable as I do!
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Old November 5th, 2017, 08:27 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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OMG ! She is very adorable ! My dog loves to dig too I, was told he part mini poodle and terrier .
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  #12  
Old November 5th, 2017, 08:56 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valeartiste View Post
She is walked with a harness with a clip on the front that prevents pulling. She walks really well, and the leash is slack on our walks. She isn’t leash reactive, but I find there are exceptions sometimes. She is just high energy and she gets excited when seeing other dogs on walks. She will whine and tug towards the dogs, and if i don’t let her greet the dog she will start growling.

I believe this is because of her built up energy that turns negative through the tension on the leash, so I try to get her to sit before greeting. This is why I exercise her before walks, so she doesn’t become as excitable. When she’s on the bike, she is more focused on keeping up with me so she will glance over at dogs passing by but she won’t get distracted. With walking it’s hard to keep her attention on me because she doesn’t respond to rewards in the outside environment. She won’t take even the juiciest of treats because nothing is more interesting than greeting the dog. I don’t believe that it’s coming from any tension in me because we will be walking and she will be relaxed, but I don’t even notice the dog or person until I see her perk up and get worked up on her own.

I would say that in all of the dogs that I know, she is the most confident. She isn’t exactly outgoing but she definitely isn’t very fearful, which is why the noise problem with groups of people is a little surprising (but not very because it is a loud, unexpected noise after all). I have taken her to a crowded street festival, and she did beautifully. Her tail was up, ears weren’t back, and she was walking beside me without a problem.

I’ll be looking into dog daycare, because I think that more healthy relationships with other dog would be good for her. She can be mentally stimulated through interaction and the added exercise would be beneficial as well.

Could you provide advice on the growling issue? She’s never tried to bite and doesn’t show aggression, and I’ve read it’s becausd of leash tension and not aggression. What else could I do to prevent the pulling and excitement build up?
Try a regular leash and collar. I find many of these gimmick leashes and harnesses will cause more frustration in the dog than anything. It's like prong collars, not a big fan but there's a time and place - but I find most people use them wrong. Too tight and actually frustrate the dog.

It sounds like you're on the right path, daycare should have a positive effect on the dog. See if she changes on a regular leash and collar, post back either way. Try not to reward negative and try to turn every negative into a positive.
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