2nd fear period

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Kiwidog
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:50 pm

2nd fear period

Post by Kiwidog » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:20 pm

First I just want to thank all of you who post such wise advice on this site! It has saved me asking loads more questions as I can generally find what I need by doing a keyword search.

I do have a question today, however. Our 6 month old border collie cross came to live with us at about 8 weeks. She was from a farm and had been living outside with some other puppies. So I am guessing this is why when she came to live in our house she would react to any new box, bag or other object that came into the house. But generally she got over her fear of these pretty quickly (she generally growled and or barked at the new object).

Because of an incident yesterday I think she may be entering her 2nd fear period. Although it is winter here we got the woodfired BBQ out yesterday to cook a roast. The BBQ usually sits on the corner of small deck at the back of the house and is covered up with sacking. Luna is often out there sniffing around and has never paid any attention to it before. However, when it went out on the lawn yesterday and had smoke pouring out of it Luna went crazy growling and barking. She would not calm down, and my usual trick of putting treats near it failed (she ate the treats but immediately went back to barking).

She was so wound up (even after some time out to sleep in her crate) that later on when she knocked over the guitar she also barked madly at that. Once the BBQ had cooled down enough to move it back to its normal place (but not covered) she saw it there and again barked at it. This morning at 6am when I put her outside to go toilet she had to see if it was still there, and then bark at it again.

At 7am I covered it up so when she went out again she looked at it and gave a little woof but was fine. Now she has walked past it several times and is cool about it again.

After such a stressful day yesterday (for all of us!) I expected her to be on high alert today. She is - growled and barked at a parked boat on our walk this morning (which we have passed many a time and she has never noticed it) but that was all. She barked at "nothing" while inside the house and our usual trick of "quiet" (with a treat when she is) didn't work.

Sorry, long explanation preceding my question...which is..how do I deal with the BBQ? Likely it won't come out again until the weather is warmer but do I wait till then and hope she is over her fear period (I think this must be what is happening) or do I uncover it in a week or so and leave it in its usual place and hope that she realises it is the same unthreatening thing that she has never previously minded.

thank you in advance for your wise words!

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JudyN
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Re: 2nd fear period

Post by JudyN » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:04 am

Oh bless her, they're such sensitive souls at times!

I would keep everything calm, with no unexpected new experiences as far as possible, till she seems back to normal. Then if possible, I think I would gradually move the BBQ a short distance at a time to where you would want to use it, and uncover it gradually - a bit more exposed each time. Of course, it could be the smoke, and/or the smell that upsets her, in which case I'd keep her in the house where she can't see it, and do something fun/give her treats while someone else fires it up for a short time. Or you could take her for a walk while it's burning so she just gets a hint of the smell when she gets home.

I've no idea what timescale this would involve but personally, if necessary, I would forget about BBQs for this summer and think of the long term.

Is she getting all the mental/physical stimulation she needs? A dog who isn't is likely to be more unsettled, twitchy and stressed in general.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Kiwidog
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: 2nd fear period

Post by Kiwidog » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:18 am

Thanks for your reply JudyN.

I think what may happen is that in the weekends she gets overtired and then oversensitive. Generally she is more barky on the weekends because of this but yesterday was a whole new level!.

I work from home so during the week we have a great routine. I take her for a half hour walk with training (ie sitting before crossing the roads, touch training if she gets distracted) before I start work at 9 and she generally sleeps for much of the morning and plays with her tennis balls by herself. I also do some short training sessions with her - quiet, stay, leave, it's yer choice type games etc. Lunchtime I take her for a short sniffy walk around a large garden. In the afternoons she snoozes and or plays and then when my children get home from school (3pm) she's pretty excitable and wants to play with them. it's really hard from this point onwards to get her to have another nap, and if I put her in her crate she starts barking (I can put her in the crate when the boys aren't home and she is fine). We either take her to the beach around 5 for another run around or take her to the park and throw tennis balls for her. We also do some more training with her in the evening and sometimes play hide and seek. Bed at 9 till about 6am ,then back to bed till 7am. Once or twice a week she has a runaround with older dogs.

In the weekends she comes with me to watch the children play sport. She also goes for a walk and we do more training. A walk or two on Sundays. But I think mostly the problem is that by Sunday she is overtired as she finds it so hard to sleep when the kids and their friends are in the house. We have a small house and her crate is in the lounge (the children's bedrooms are off one side of the lounge and ours is off the other side so she can always hear us - it's not a house where you can hide away easily from each other!). I wonder if I should put her crate in our room on the weekends and shut the door so she gets some peace? I haven't so far as I thought being away from the lounge might make her feel isolated!

I do need to get another kong for her as she has lost hers. I got her a Nina Ottosson game but it's way too advanced so while she has worked out how to open the drawers she hasn't worked out that if the bones on top are facing a certain way the drawers are locked...I keep trying to show her but she won't look at what i am doing as she is busy trying to open the drawers with her teeth!

She spends a lot of time herding her tennis balls and can get quite focused on this but if i take them away and put them up high she accepts that.

I will leave the BBQ for a while and then do as you suggested and see if she reacts.

BTW I tried the 101 ways with a box and she seemed pretty underwhelmed by the whole thing.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can make things better for Luna's weekends and improve her routine.

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Nettle
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Re: 2nd fear period

Post by Nettle » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:53 am

I agree with finding her a Safe Space while home is full of visiting kids, as this is not fear period but collie stress hormones, and they take a while, even longer than with non-herders, to dissipate. Practice before you need to have her in there for real so she gets used to the new regime. Leave her in there with plenty to do that is peaceful (kong etc) and start with short times building up to longer. Leave a radio on low so noises outside are muffled.

Many collies fixate on smoke to the point that they challenge aircraft that are leaving contrails, and smoking chimneys. So i would suggest you work actively to de-sensitise to smoke, starting very small and short times eg with a candle snuffed out, and build up to the barbie. It would be useful to have the barbie out where she can see it but not have it in use until her smoke desensitising is complete.

She was actually brilliant to calm down so quickly. Many collies and their crosses would not have.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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Shalista
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Re: 2nd fear period

Post by Shalista » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:33 am

Oh lordy she sounds just like my bax but probably amped up even more then he was O.o (bless collies).

nothing productive to say just that my terrier came from a similar upbringing (Backyard with not much to do) and EVERYTHING new merited losing his very last marbles over. he was inconsolable for days when my dad got out the lawnmower.

hes now 4 and pretty damn good with these kinds of things but any sudden movements still freak him out (a dropped pan, the baby gate falling, a bag falling off the table) so be prepared for dealing with LESSER freak outs.... but possibly still minor ones for awhile. he recovers pretty quickly now, especially if i come over to the fallen object with him and talk to him for awhile until he gets up the fortitude to come take a sniff.
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

Kiwidog
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: 2nd fear period

Post by Kiwidog » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:27 pm

Thanks Shalista and Nettle
Will work on the safe space crate in our room on weekends and after school too so she can have some down time.

I realised last night when I found her licking the bbq tools that hang off the side of the bbq that it must have been the smoke as JudyN suggested and you confirmed today Nettle! So I will try that with the candle.

I have one other question - as I mentioned I have been doing the "quiet" command when she barks at noises, people at the door etc and giving her a treat when she is. But on another post about another dog someone suggested just giving treats when the dog reacts to a noise without making them be quiet. Does anyone have any thoughts on which works better when the aim is to have her not react to every sound?

thanks!

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Shalista
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Re: 2nd fear period

Post by Shalista » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:10 pm

ive had mixed success quieting barking. for the most part now when he barks i call him over (which inadvertently quiets him) and then he gets a cookie. lately hes even heard a noise and then come running for the cookie even before he barks! PROGRESS!

highly recommend a treat pot by your fav veg spot. for me its my computer. im ALWAYS on my computer so i keep a bowl of potatoe chips (dont ask) on my desk and when he barks i can just call him over without having to stand up.

i also recommend the crate to. Bax has His Room when im away that has a white noise machine, my bed for snoozing, and puppy pads, and according to my downstairs neighbors he DOESNT BARK while hes in there for 8hrs out of the day. he also doesnt bark there when we sleep at night. so, sanctity of the crate is not to be underestimated.
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

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