Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

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DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by DianeLDL » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:16 pm

Nettle wrote:Diane, take my sympathy as read - I can only type so much and today is a pain day for me too.
Thank you for answering. Sorry you are in a lot of pain today. I really appreciate your answer.
Now then - humans can empathise - dogs can't. Open your empathy box and see that the following is how your dog saw the interaction:

Understand that you frightened your dog witless. He is already scared because he knows the risk of animals coming through the TV screen at him, knows the deadly music that precedes this, knows that only his barking and charging at them keeps them in the screen until they go away.
Does he really thing these animals are going to attack through the TV? He doesn't realize they are not real, even when we change the channel or turn off the TV? There is no animal smell just picture and noise.
Then he gets hold of something and you attack him. Remember that anything in a dog's mouth belongs to the dog. It's not for us to judge whether the item should or shouldn't be valuable to the dog - it is in the mouth so it is valuable. Then you attacked him. Consider your relative sizes a moment.
I realize that he thinks he has found a prize, but most of these things are unhealthy.
The first trainer we had told us (and my husband is better than I on how to grab his jaw and remove the item.
My brother had a dog that had to have emergency surgery to remove tissues that were blocking his intestines and even pulled a branch through the dog's anus.
Isn't it better to prevent problems than to let the dog eat it and then undergo surgery?

I had taught him drop it and take it. It had worked in the past for gummy bears and gum stuck on the carpet. I still do not understand why he wouldn't rather have yummy chicken than a rag.

All he can do to protect himself in that moment of pure terror when his protector attacks him - is bite.

Then you throw a beserker. You roll on the floor making loud savage noises. He needs to send you away before you kill him. His world has imploded.
He does not know that you have done all you have done for him[/quote]
I wasn't on the floor this time (but in the past when I have tripped and fallen) but I was screaming. I had thought that if you scream, then the dog knows you are in pain. I though, obviously wrongly, that he would be concerned not ready to attack.
All he knows is that he is all alone in the world once more and people are attacking him once more. You have a fabulous intellect to think with - he is only a dog. Not just a dog, but a dog with an unknown history which clearly has involved a lot of fear and abuse in his eyes.
You cannot train away fear - you can only give security. You cannot make any sentient being what it isn't: you can only accept what he is. You can't make him into the dog of your dreams and wishes.
Definitely, he does have an unknown history. But, I would have thought that after more than 3 and half years with us that he would trust us and know that we are there to help me not hurt him.
I understand you didn't want him, but he couldn't choose his owner or lifestyle either. Every time you made the effort to understand him and work with him through us, you got a good result. He cannot help any of your health issues, he can't help your life issues. It probably seems as if you are always dancing to someone else's tune, and I sympathise. But if you break all this down and stop being offended, stop taking it all personally, realise you left a petrified dog with no other options, you will I hope get the whole sorry business into proportion.

Where to go from here? Wipe the slate clean. Work with us. Work (yes, again) with him. The deal with dogs is that you DO have to continue training all their lives. That's all dogs. They aren't computers where you punch in a program and press 'go'. Even nice easy dogs like mine have their training reinforced every day and their lives arranged for maximum kindness. That is a big part of why they are easy.

Don't kid yourself that children are easier :wink: dogs don't get into debt, don't take drugs, don't divorce and move back home, don't take up with strange special interest groups. You always know where you are with dogs - they can only be dogs.
Yes, you are right about adult kids. :wink: I was thinking more of young children as I see Sandy more like a two year old and for training, such as learning what the word "no" means or how to ask for something or let you know when a child needs potty or is hungry. I have yet to figure out when Sandy needs to go potty. How many times, I have taken him out, only to stand like a statue, refusing to budge.
Ask Sandy's forgiveness, and forgive yourself too. This is a hiccup, not the end of the world. If it is the shock that sets you back on the right road, then it was worth while. Get the incident into proportion and turn your negative thoughts to positive ones. As a lesson in communication, you listened to it far better than you would have listened to any forum, book or individual trainer. All we have done here is provide the translation from what you thought happened to what really happened.
Nettle, this is a good idea. I have learned a lot, but as you mentioned, I thought that training a dog was like programming a computer. Once they learn something, then they have learned it.
ScarletSci wrote:Diane, I'm sorry that this happened, and that you're so upset by it all. For what it's worth, although it's hard to read, and it must be very hard to admit that at times, you hate your dog - I do commend you for being open about how you feel here. It can't be easy, knowing how we all feel about dogs, to admit to how you're feeling now.
You are right, Scarlet, this was a very difficult thread to start. I feel like a failure and after everyone has been so helpful over the last year.
Training is a lifelong thing, but it gets easier as time goes on, particularly when it's consistent. You also have to really accept what Nettle said about how Sandy didn't choose this life either, hes doing the best he can with what he has got. When you were a nurse, you would have had periodic training updates wouldn't you?
Yes, you are right, I still have to do 30 hours continuing education every two years at least for one more time as I will officially retire in 3 years. :D
It's going to be even slower and harder for you because you travel so much - again, something Sandy didn't choose, and something even the most well-balanced and good natured dog would find very difficult to adjust to. Each time, it's going to set him back. Dogs value security and routine... something he doesn't get much of when you are rarely in the same place for longer than four months. Account for that.
I understand this. This was the lifestyle we had before we got him. It was much easier then. And now with my parents having failing health (mom with dementia), it has added a new dimension to our travels. And, our married son from my first marriage lives in Israel with two young granddaughters. I desperately want to fly to visit with them next year. Since Sandy had been in the shelter more than once, we don't want to put him in a kennel as you mention, that he would have no idea if we will ever show up again. Like young children, dogs have no sense of time. And as you mention in your car ride story, Sandy may think he has been given up for adoption again. Unlike others have mentioned, my parents are too sickly to care for Sandy, and we have no other relatives or friends who could do it. Thus, it means that I will probably have to travel alone and leave my husband with Sandy. Before we got Sandy, both of us could have traveled together.
can promise that Sandy doesn't hate you, isn't ungrateful, isn't spiteful. Dogs don't work that way, and you wouldn't have made the progress you have already if he did. This is the first time he's bitten you in the three and a half years you've had him, isn't it? And I'm sure you see now, with the above explanations, why it made complete sense that he did then. It hurts, of course, but you do have to step back and not take it so personally. Think of the times you've lashed out at someone verbally because you've been upset, angry, or afraid - that's exactly what he did. Forgive him for that, and forgive yourself for provoking it. You can move forward from this.

Although I'm sure he doesn't hate you, I'm sure he can also pick up on your feelings and your frustration with him. Dogs are incredibly attuned to our moods and our facial expressions. He may not understand why, but it'll all contribute to his feelings of insecurity and damage your bond with him.

If I were in your shoes now, I would take a break from him for a few days. Let your husband do all the work with him, and process your hurt and your disappointment. Then I'd be gearing up for a fresh start.
I tend to take a lot of things personally, even from people, not just from Sandy. I am sure that he has picked up on my feelings, too. I have not been affectionate and more cold and matter of fact towards him. And, my husband has been doing most of the interaction with Sandy.
Start focusing on what he can do well. Go back to clicker training, and instead of working on the big goals like counter conditioning, start doing some fun things with him you can do in the house, like trick training, or 101 things to do with a box. Since he's so good at finding things in hotel rooms, use that! Play hide and seek with him, get him fetching certain toys, teach him which toy is which. Something where you can see progress, can enjoy spending time with him, and start building a new relationship with him. It'll also help keep his energy focused in a healthy way, especially while he isn't going for walks much.

What do you think? Please keep us updated, and sending ((((hugs))))
Thanks for the suggestions also from Minkee, Claremarsh (you understand chis), and CarolineLovesDogs.

Most of you repeated what has been said. I agree that I actually think it is nice when Sandy does a leave it and turns to me for a piece of chicken. My husband thinks it is too much and would rather just reward when Sandy gets back in the car.
And Scarlet, thanks for the information about how your dog is when you are with your dad. I guess dogs get jealous just like people. Sandy has seemed more drawn to my husband, but as you explained, it makes sense. I have been hot and cold towards Sand from day one. I am sure he has picked up on it.

It was nice when visiting my parents how Sandy sat with my mom on the couch and let her pet him. :D (I will attach a photo later.) My dad is always yelling at me, mom, and my husband, so Sandy reacts by barking at dad. :lol: And dad doesn't get why Sandy doesn't seem to like him. :wink:

I also as I mentioned above had no idea how dogs view people or other dogs in pain. Thanks for the explanation. I tend to express my pain and other emotions quite openly.

I really wish my husband would learn about the positive training that I have been using. He thinks he knows all about dogs and is not one to take advice easily. In Maine, I took him with us on one of our walks to show how I had learned from all of you. I wish he would use the harness, too. So, Sandy knows that with me it is harness, but daddy lets him be free. Like Jack of Jacksdad, Sandy is a nudist. And he shakes like crazy to get the harness off. It interferes when we take him to the park and drives my husband crazy. But, considering how many times that Sandy plays Houdini, I really think it is necessary. Also, when Sandy goes bezerk when he sees dogs at the park, it is easier to scoop him up with the harness.

And that leaves the other question: any suggestions on how to train Sandy that the animals on TV are not a threat and to just accept them as being "outside"?

Thanks for all the hugs, too. I feel so much better now and ready to try to make our lives with Sandy a much better one for all of us.

)))HUGS((( back to all of you who replied (I am sure I forgot someone including Ari_RR.)
I feel better and more positive. Actually, I hear Sandy outside our door so I will go and take him out and make friends. :D

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by DianeLDL » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:18 pm

CarolineLovesDogs wrote:Hey Diane, I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through:( In Albuquerque though, Dani Weinberg is a big positive reinforcement trainer (clicker trainer) she's certified through Karen Pryor Academy which means she is required to only practice the most modern positive reinforcement training. So could you look into her maybe? https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/Weinberg_Dani
Also please go to the Pet Professional Guild website. I looked up those areas and found some trainers who might match your needs, but I think it would be best if you researched them yourself (as there were quite a few). The Pet Professional Guild is committed to force free training methods and philosophies (but whatever trainer you would choose, obviously research the trainer just to make sure you would like to work with them). http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/PetGuildMembers Good luck!
One Pet Professional Guild member in Albuquerque I found that seems great is this one http://www.pawsitivedog.com/ I have heard many great things about Cricket Mara!
I am thinking of you and hoping you get some relief and harmony in your home!!
Caroline,
Thanks for these referrals. Since we are leaving in a few weeks, I will look them up when we return. Hopefully, I will be able to get back on track while in Maine. We did some nice walks and training there last summer/fall.

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

lucyandbella
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 7:19 pm

Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by lucyandbella » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:42 pm

DianeLDL wrote:
Nettle wrote: Understand that you frightened your dog witless. He is already scared because he knows the risk of animals coming through the TV screen at him, knows the deadly music that precedes this, knows that only his barking and charging at them keeps them in the screen until they go away.
Does he really thing these animals are going to attack through the TV? He doesn't realize they are not real, even when we change the channel or turn off the TV? There is no animal smell just picture and noise.

Bella is fear aggressive toward people, has severe dog aggression, and is neophobic. She is scared of things such as me leaving the cereal box on the counter and her seeing it up on the counter in a different area than I have set it before. That's something so small yet it seriously can mess her up. She growls and barks to the point I'm sure there is someone in my house. Then she hides in her crate for a long time. Something so insignificant, and inanimate, can upset my dog. Sticks or rocks on the sidewalk used to stop her in her tracks, she couldn't even walk by them she was so afraid.

Sometimes I look different (my hood up on a new jacket, my graduation cap and gown) and she growls at me and has even charged me. The other day I was standing in my parents guest bedroom and was hanging up a shirt. Bella suddenly came down the hall way and only saw me when she was mere feet away. You think she could smell it was me, you think she would see it was me. She instead visibly became frightened and started to growl. I spoke her name and she finally started to realize it was me. I set down the shirt and hanger and used her "check it out" command while standing completely still and not directly facing her so she would be comfortable enough to approach and check that it was indeed me. She instead decided to hide in her crate and wouldn't come near me for a few hours. Nothing has ever happened to this dog. Nothing. She was never abused. I got her as a puppy. She is a mix of bad genes and poor socialization as a very young puppy. She is a million times better than she used to be, but she is always a little anxious and is easily frightened. And once and awhile something just really gets her, like the shirt hanging situation.

Don't underestimate what fear can do. I am afraid of spiders. I took and entomology class and we had to view dead spiders under dissecting microscope. I moved the spider with tweezers while looking through the microscope...its legs moved and I shrieked and jumped away from the table. :oops: I was so embarrassed. I knew it was dead. I even moved the darn thing myself! But my fear of spiders is so great that as soon as it moved I reacted.

ScarletSci
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:44 pm

Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by ScarletSci » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:04 pm

This is going to get complicated, because generally I think people don't give animals of all species enough credit for their intelligence, but on the other hand, people also seem to expect a lot of reasoning ability from their pets! So remember that science is still young in this area, and only just getting to the point where we have scientific evidence supporting things most animal lovers have known for a long time. For example, a couple of years ago the University of Bristol (my university, as it happens ;-)) published a paper supporting their hypothesis that even chickens can feel empathy. There was a recent publication that proved that when dogs look at the faces of their owners, the same neurochemicals are released in their brains as we get when we see the face of a loved one (Links available on request).

So bear with me Diane - because on the one hand, I do think that some dogs can experience empathy. Or something like it. But just as humans can be either very good, or very bad, at both experiencing and demonstrating empathy, often affected by how well they have been nurtured, you'll get similar variations in how good different individual animals are at it.

Tied into empathy is something called theory of mind. Theory of mind basically means that you're able to understand that another human being has mental states different from your own, but you are able to put yourself 'in their shoes' based on your own experiences, and a conclusion that they also experience similar moods, feelings, and experiences. This is higher level cognition, and we so far can't demonstrate that animals are able to do this. Deficits in ToM are implicated in things like autism. I'm sure you've come across ToM in your time as a nurse.
DianeLDL wrote:I wasn't on the floor this time (but in the past when I have tripped and fallen) but I was screaming. I had thought that if you scream, then the dog knows you are in pain. I though, obviously wrongly, that he would be concerned not ready to attack.
Does it make more sense now though, after the above explanations? He was already in a highly aroused and anxious state, and he has no way of knowing that screams = "she is in pain", he just hears loud and terrifying noises. Since you had just been physically grappling with him, working in tandem with your OH, for all he knows, that scream could signal another attack was about to happen. He doesn't have the frontal lobe processing and reasoning capabilities that we have, so even if he were able to feel empathy and realise that something was wrong with you, he wouldn't, at that point, be in a state to handle that, when his own system is already in full on fight or flight mode.

Some dogs seem to understand when we are upset or in pain, and even seem to provide comfort. This is why they can make great therapy dogs. But just as plenty of people would not be able to do nursing, or care work, or many dogs can't work as PAT therapy dogs, that doesn't mean all of us or all of them can. To assume he should know is to assume he has full theory of mind, is capable of empathy, and is capable of prioritising your hurt over his own. Do you see that that is expecting quite a lot from him?
DianeLDL wrote: Does he really thing these animals are going to attack through the TV? He doesn't realize they are not real, even when we change the channel or turn off the TV? There is no animal smell just picture and noise.
You know from his reactions and the fact he gets so worked up that he sees them as a real threat. Again, he doesn't have the frontal lobe reasoning and self-control to be able to analyse the fact that there's no scent to go along with the images and sounds, then leap to the conclusion that therefore, they are an illusion, and not something to be afraid of. Nature doesn't deal with illusions. We're not very good at spotting illusions ourselves, or at talking ourselves out of irrational fears - even when we know full well that they are irrational. A dog just doesn't have that kind of mental equipment for that kind of complex reasoning.
DianeLDL wrote:I realize that he thinks he has found a prize, but most of these things are unhealthy.
The first trainer we had told us (and my husband is better than I on how to grab his jaw and remove the item.
My brother had a dog that had to have emergency surgery to remove tissues that were blocking his intestines and even pulled a branch through the dog's anus.
Isn't it better to prevent problems than to let the dog eat it and then undergo surgery?
In an ideal world, yes. But you have to weigh the risks and the probabilities, and in a worse case scenario, accept that if you feel you have no other choice but to grapple with him, then you are likely to get a bite as a result. However, it's unlikely that he would have tried to swallow the rag, cleaning chemicals don't taste that appealing! And you didn't even it let it get that far.. you were determined to fight him for the rag before it had even come to the possibility that he might try to swallow it.

You started out well, trying to swap it, to distract him - but him already being on high gear and high anxiety, he would have spotted immediately that you wanted to take it from him, and he was in no mood to give it up. He also probably wasn't in any fit state to go for food - he was already too stressed to want treats. In your shoes, I would have feigned complete disinterest in the rag. Kept an eye with pheripheral vision, but pretended to be distracted by something else until he either calmed down, or lost interest in the rag - because I have something much more interesting and exciting over here!! He saw a confrontation coming, and you gave it to him! He handled it the only way a dog like him can.
DianeLDL wrote:I had taught him drop it and take it. It had worked in the past for gummy bears and gum stuck on the carpet. I still do not understand why he wouldn't rather have yummy chicken than a rag.
In Sandy's shoes, I wouldn't want no flamin' chicken right then either. I'm worked up, there are scary animals on the TV, my owner looks annoyed with me, and now they both want to take away my rag. I want to rip the hell out of this rag right now and relieve some of this tension and anxiety that is sky high in my system. It's in my mouth, it's MINE, and now they're both bearing down on me... ****!

Why was a rag so important to you? It doesn't make sense that you wanted it back so badly, when a rag is a rag is a rag. If we can't figure out your motivations, how do expect to figure out Sandy's? I don't know why my parrot would rather have some pasta than a strawberry, it's just his personal taste, and it often depends on his mood - just as what I want to do or eat or play on a particular day is different depending on what kind of day it's been and how my mood is. It doesn't matter why, you just have to accept that some things he'll find easier to swap for than others, some things he won't want to give up at all... but a dogs attention span is pretty short. With some other things around to compete for his attention, and no grappling confrontation, I imagine he'd have been bored of that rag within about 15 minutes.
DianeLDL wrote:Definitely, he does have an unknown history. But, I would have thought that after more than 3 and half years with us that he would trust us and know that we are there to help me not hurt him.
This is, again, you taking it too personally. You're a nurse, you know that behavioural patterns in humans are predominately laid down during childhood, and impacted by childhood experiences. That they are not easy to change, even for humans, and may never be fully overridden, just adjusted to. You also understand how adrenaline affects the nervous system, and the fight or flight response. Those are automatic, and those instincts were triggered in Sandy before you'd even got to the rag part of the night. You said he was already highly aroused by the TV, and was looking for a fight. Adrenaline, Diane, adrenaline.

For him to understand that you wouldn't hurt him requires those reasoning skills I mentioned earlier. Can the trust between you be improved? For sure. But any dog, no matter what it's previous experiences, will bite when the threshold has been reached, and you already know that Sandy is fear aggressive and prone to resource guarding, and will react to protect himself. He may not WANT to turn that on you, but when you're trying to physically fight him for this object, you're the one that has lost control. You pushed him far too far. You've also admitted to having used bad trainers, or negative techniques, in the past. This isn't to blame you, or make you feel bad, but you have to understand that those things can affect that trust you've been trying to build over three and a half years. That positive reinforcement has been inconsistent, and you've had to chop and change different techniques, applying some in Maine, some where you are now, different ones in hotels, and times where you've restrained him to watch TV or when in hotel rooms. Truth is the poor guy probably has no idea what to expect from you. You can't blame him for that.
Nettle wrote:Where to go from here? Wipe the slate clean. Work with us. Work (yes, again) with him. The deal with dogs is that you DO have to continue training all their lives. That's all dogs. They aren't computers where you punch in a program and press 'go'. Even nice easy dogs like mine have their training reinforced every day and their lives arranged for maximum kindness. That is a big part of why they are easy.
{quote="DianeLDL"]Nettle, this is a good idea. I have learned a lot, but as you mentioned, I thought that training a dog was like programming a computer. Once they learn something, then they have learned it.[/quote]

But you know better now! Especially when put into perspective that you have to have updates every two years, even after your many years experience. Learning is lifelong for all animals, dogs are no exception to rule. There will also be personality differences that no amount of training will overcome. You can't train a cat to be a dog, you can't programme a dog to be good at every area you'd like them to be good at. As Nettle so rightly says, "work with the dog that's in front of you". Don't forget that as a first time pet owner your learning curve has been just as steep as Sandy's has been, and you have the benefit of verbal and written communication, and a big, fabulous human brain! ;-)

I'll give you another example from my dogs today. Jack is my mum's spoiled 8 year old boy. He is less confident, despite being raised well since he was a pup. Pixie is 17 months old, very bright, very confident. Jack is excellent at playing fetch, watching where the object will go, finding it if he loses it, catching things in his mouth, and predicting which direction a football will go in, based on your foot position when you go to kick it. Constantly adjusting his movements to account for changes in your own movements. I swear, if he were human, he'd be a physicist. Pixie, on the other hand, is hopeless. If you go to throw something for her, she'll be on high alert, but won't watch where your hands go, won't watch the ball as it travels, will lose it in the garden, and hunt for ages in a very unsystematic way, often giving up before she finds it. If she does find it, she's more likely to either keep it in her mouth and want to play chase, or drop it long before she gets back to you, and doesn't understand if you point and tell her to find it. Jack knows how to follow a pointing motion, and will do a proper zig zag search, without being trained. He uses his nose more as well. He's just a natural at it, Pixie isn't.. at all! Bless her.

Could she learn if I worked hard to teach her to retrieve? Sure. She's a gun dog, and I will break it down into steps for her. But she'll probably never be as natural at it as Jack, or as motivated to do it as he is. They're just wired differently. She'd rather play tug, while he'd never dream of playing tug, and would give it up immediately if I got hold of it (or to her if she tells him to!) Different dogs with different personality types.

After this attempt to teach her to retrieve and to search in the garden today, both dogs had a lot of toys in the living room. Jack was on the sofa next to me, resource guarding both the toy in his mouth, and me, from her. Eyeballing her. Because she will push him out of the way to get to me, and she will take toys from him, because she's a spoiled madam. I knew his body language long before he emitted a low growl, he was giving her the side eye, his body was tense, and he was very still.Her body language was saying she wanted his toy, and she wanted his spot on the sofa next to me. This is where experience comes in to play, and the things you will learn as you get to know Sandy better, and accept that all dogs, no matter how "good", have their limits. Now neither dog would want to bite me, and would be horrified if they ever did. But if I just sat there and let that building confrontation between them escalate, I could very easily get bitten by accident as Jack snaps at her, or as she goes for his toy, or if she'd jumped in my lap as she often does and Jack had decided that enough was enough. My face would have been entirely too close for comfort in that position, and I immediately changed things to de-escalate the situation. Even my soft, soppy spaniels which have never been abused and I've raised since puppyhood could have hurt me badly today, had I not seen the signals that they were gearing up to confront each other right on top of me, and dealt with it before it got that far. If they had, it wouldn't have been their fault.

This is why getting in the middle of a dog fight is dangerous, why others on the board like Judy have experienced redirected aggression when a dog is highly agitated and frustrated. A dog bite isn't personal, even though it feels that way! It's a "get away, I will fight" signal. It can happen accidentally if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is why we advise never to get into a confrontation with a resource guarding dog, and to be careful taking things from a dog, even if you know it well and it's never bitten before.

I'm afraid I can't help when it comes to desensitising Sandy to the TV, but someone (I forgot who, and it's late, I'm sorry!) upthread gave a detailed plan which sounded good to me.

DianeLDL wrote:Thanks for all the hugs, too. I feel so much better now and ready to try to make our lives with Sandy a much better one for all of us.
I feel better and more positive. Actually, I hear Sandy outside our door so I will go and take him out and make friends. :D
Really glad to hear this hon! I really do understand your frustration and your hurt, I'm a highly sensitive person too, and that's no bad thing! You can use that to your advantage. To get through everything you've been through shows you also have strength and courage, you can get through this too, and turn things around. We'll all still be here for you, every step of they way as well. 8)

DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by DianeLDL » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:09 pm

lucyandbella wrote:Bella is fear aggressive toward people, has severe dog aggression, and is neophobic. Something so insignificant, and inanimate, can upset my dog. Sticks or rocks on the sidewalk used to stop her in her tracks, she couldn't even walk by them she was so afraid.
Sandy has a fear of grates in the road or sidewalk to drain water. I can understand because some if the holes are large enough to catch his foot. I am glad that Bella isn't in Albuquerque. All new housing including ours has rocks and stones instead of grass as part of water conservation. Bella wouldnt be able to walk in our yard. :wink: That is why when it gets very hot outside (90-100 F) and no shade, we have to take Sandy to the park. And he is fear aggressive towards other dogs, people with hoodies. Like you mentioned, the first time OH wore a jacket with a hoody, Sandy growled at him until OH spoke and he knew it was him.
Don't underestimate what fear can do. I am afraid of spiders. I took and entomology class and we had to view dead spiders under dissecting microscope. I moved the spider with tweezers while looking through the microscope...its legs moved and I shrieked and jumped away from the table. :oops: I was so embarrassed. I knew it was dead. I even moved the darn thing myself! But my fear of spiders is so great that as soon as it moved I reacted.
I hear you in the fear of spiders. As I am 7 years older than my sister, I used to have her kill my spiders. :D
My problem in lab in high school was having to look at fruit flies under the microscope. I got a lab partner who didn't are, and just went with what he said the thing looked like. And here in Albuquerque, we have scorpions...ugh. I had no problems with chemistry labs or microbiology labs. But, the worst was dissecting the same cat for two months... :mrgreen:

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by DianeLDL » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:06 pm

ScarletSci,

You must be a behaviorist or scientist.

As my husband has to describe things to those who have been in the military using military terms, your use of medical terms and the brain helps me a lot.

Yes, I am not only a nurse (although medically retired but keep my license active just to keep my brain learning), I have also been studying lately about the different parts of the brain and their functions. I realize that animals don't have the ability to think like we do. But, when it involves our dog, my emotions take over my logic.

I understand well, the fight or flight mechanism which is why I had a feeling that Sandy was already aroused by the TV animals. I get too emotional and often miss the signs as you described with Jack and Pixie with you on the couch. I am not that experienced in animal behavior to have picked that up.

As to the rag, we have had this fear of Sandy picking up things that we do not want him to have. There were chemicals on the rag which is what got me upset. Also, my husband is always trying to get Sandy to drop things like a stone he picked up in the back yard. OH could easily have been bitten. Sandy picked up a stone in the dark so I didn't see it until I heard the crunch of him eating it. We have had bad experiences, too. He picked up and ate a cooked chicken neck and had bloody bowels. Once, he ate cooked stead and developed bloody diarrhea and was on antibiotics for 10 days.

He has a very sensitive stomach and often we know that when he doesn't eat his treats, it means he will be vomiting. He actually vomited half his usual kibble and cooked chicken today right after he ate. We know when he gets into the position with his but in the air and chest on the floor to expect vomiting,

So, perhaps due to his sensitive stomach, we worry too much about what he puts into his mouth.

So, once right after we got him, he grabbed a tissue or lens cleaner, and my husband got it out if his mouth but also got his finger bitten to the bone. There was so much blood that Sandy who us sandy colored was actually pink from all the blood. So, I guess it has happened before, but that was when he had been with us only a couple of months. Now, in hotel rooms, all trash cans go into the bathroom where the door is kept closed. Tissue boxes are removed from dispensers that he can reach. It is like having to move things out of a baby's reach or off a counter for dogs who counter surf.

We have a large collection of stuffed animals that we do NOT want Sandy to have. He grabbed one by the ear right off our bed soon after we got him and thankfully, he dropped the poor baby bear without incident. After that, Sandy was banned from the bedroom. Also, as I explained earlier, it is the only place OH and I can kiss and be intimate without being attacked.

He also gets jealous for attention. As I mentioned, I was trying to talk with my mom on the phone in the kitchen, and Sandy was humping my leg, biting my shoes, all for attention. Yes, he is a spoiled brat who constantly needs attention. He will sit on Oh's lap on his chair, and as soon as he gets up, Sandy comes to me. If I have my ipad on my lap, Sandy will bark at me as if to say "get that thing off your lap, I am more important".

So, it is no wonder, we leave him alone in the living room and watch TV, read, talk on the phone, kiss, etc. in the bedroom that is off limits to Sandy.

So, what you are saying is next time, just let him run around and play with whatever and he will eventually tire of it and drop it on his own. Sandy loves to have us chase him with his toys. He will let us throw his stuffed bone, but he will not bring it back to us. He begins to run and makes a game of chase me and see if you can get it. Then, if we do get a hand on it, we turn it into a game of tug. Sometimes, we will get it back and throw it again for him to get. (He has never caught anything in mid-air. Sometimes, we just let go and let him have it.

So, perhaps, in this instance, if we had turned it into a game, we may have been able to defuse the situation and lower his cortisol levels.

You mention how Jack will look to see where thing are thrown and go after them. Sandy does with his stuffed bone and with his ball. Never getting it in the air. But, if we throw food on the floor, we have to point it out to him.

I tried the box thing with treats and kibble in it. He cannot figure out how to get at them. He will stand on the box top and not realize he has to get off to lift it up. So, I end up having to get him to move and open the box for him so he can find the treats.

Amy has wrapped treats in paper, but I fear that he will eat the paper. If we don't vacuum regularly, he will eat the dust bunnies off the floor. I have put his treats (Zukes) mixed with kibble in the ball that they need to turn to get them out. I have to turn it upside down for Sandy or he just stares at it. The same with the Tornado. I have to help him move the arms to get to each level and find the treats. Makes me wonder if his nose is that good or not. His hearing is excellent. And he knows the FedEx and UPS trucks and even if we aren't getting a package, he goes to the front door and jumps up and down to let us know the truck is there.

I have played drop it and take it using the same type of ball in the living room. I get into a stance so he knows I will throw it and he watches. But often, he will run after the thrown ball with the other one still in his mouth and try and figure out how to put both in his chihuahua mouth. Or he ends up playing soccer with the one he can't pick up.

I just wish that there would be some way to stop his fear of animals on TV. It is frustrating as much for us as it is for him. Nothing like running around looking for the remote and rushing to put on mute and change the station.

As to using a leash to keep him in bed in the hotel room, it is often the only way to keep him from running to the door, especially when he sniffs another dog, or after my husband's feet until he gets his shoes and socks off and under the covers. We don't usually do it for the TV, though. We have had calls from the front desk of noise so to keep Sandy from getting close to the door and barking we have resorted to it. Once he is calm and sleeping, we remove it. He has full access to his bed and water bowl, too.

I can understand the fears of being in different rooms during traveling, but we usually try to stay in the same hotels so he recognizes them and the people working there. He knows the sound of a key in the door. And we play in the room and let him explore it. (That is how he has found all kinds of stuff in the floors.) Actually, one if the places on the way to my parents, doesn't even charge a pet fee. The night clerk considers him a comforter dog. :D

Well, it is late, and I have to take Sandy out for his last evening potty. But, you get the picture.

If anyone has any ideas in how to defuse the TV animal situation, please let me know. I hadn't realized until we got Sandy how many commercials and TV shows use animals. I have flipped to five stations only to find an animal on each one whether commercial or show. Needless to say, we no longer watch Animal Planet. :lol:

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by ScarletSci » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:01 am

:D I'm a psychologist-in-training :wink: Meaning still a (mature) student. Hoping to become a psychologist in the long term. But also a support worker, who grew up in a house full of animals, with animal lover parents who were in the business for a long time, who taught me a lot. Experience gained from observation, trial and error, and I'm certain the odd bite because of mistakes I'd made.

To give you hope, I'll tell you about my parrot. I got him when he was 4 months old, and he'd been reared by his parents in an aviary. I was doing work experience at Rode Bird Gardens in Bath for my National Diploma in animal care, and they'd recently bought him into a back room, in a small cage, because he was old enough to be sold. He wasn't tamed, and screamed the place down whenever anyone came into the room. I talked softly to him when I had to go in there, and slowly, he began to respond to me. Quieting down, and eyeing me. But he would freak out if anyone got closer to him. I was there for three weeks altogether, and towards the end of that time, he would let me come to the cage, without freaking out. He seemed drawn to me, and I so wanted to comfort him. He still wouldn't let anyone else as close to him.

By the end of my time there, I'd fallen for him, and I really didn't want to leave him there. The manager of the gardens saw the bond we were building, and happened to know my parents well from when they'd been in the bird trade. I begged my dad for him, and they negotiated that I could have him for £150, instead of the £500 odd he was worth.

But it took a long, long time to tame him. It took weeks before he would take food from my hand through the cage bars, several bites and screaming fits when I cleaned out his cage and things like that; and a lot of tears from me, thinking he'd never let me touch him.

Keep in mind that a parrot can crush a childs finger bone with a bite.. they have the strength to crack walnuts, a bite hurts. But he only bit because he was scared, and he didn't want to be scared. It took six months of me patiently sitting next to his cage, talking to him, feeding him bits through the cage bars, playing music and singing along, building a bond of trust with him before he finally let me touch his head. It was only the briefest of touches before he backed away, sort of alarmed, but it was wonderful to finally make that progress.

Fast forward 13 years, a few more bites, and a lot of quality time later; and he's silly tame with me. He can't get enough head scratches, tummy tickles, fuss, and cuddles. I can't remember the last time he bit me, even when I've had to restrain him at the vets for claw trimming, which he hates with a passion. If he does, it's a gentle warning nip, not a proper bite. He knows I'll back off and respect his mood and his space, and I'm much better at reading his body language to know when he wants a cuddle or not. But I'm the only one who can really handle him, he'll only accept head touches from a couple of other people, and even that is rare. Parrots do tend to pair bond though.

My mum's Hahn's Macaw on the other hand, hates me with a passion, and would kill me if he wasn't a tiny bird and can't get to me. He lunges at me to warn me off! I gave him a slice of pasta today, fully expecting him to take the chance to nip me instead, and was so surprised when he took he gently. I think he was surprised too, because he dropped the pasta and retreated to the other end of the cage, and just eyed me for a while! So maybe there's hope there.... you never know! That's why you need to have patience, and to keep taking a step back and not take it too personally. Things can, and do, change.

I'm saying all this because Oscar, my parrot, and I, have a fantastic relationship now. The bites are long in the past, and I understand that although they hurt and upset me greatly at the time, it was worth persevering through it, because he's such a joy, and so soft with me now. It seems like an impossible task when you've been trying for so long, but that all fades away when you reach those breakthrough moments. If you're patient, and consistent, and constantly observing and learning more, you'll get so much further than you ever imagined you would.

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by ClareMarsh » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:53 am

DianeLDL wrote:Thanks for the suggestions also from Minkee, Claremarsh (you understand chis), and CarolineLovesDogs.
I think breed is interesting and relevant in training but I think the individual dog itself is far more important and that it's too easy to get hung up on what a breed should or shouldn't do.

I do have two chis, they even share the same mother but they are very different dogs requiring different handling and training. Where Ted is "thinky", takes his time, is pretty much unphased by anything and thinks a lot about whether what you're asking him to do make sense before he does it, Ella is "flighty", races around, is skittish around new things but pretty much instantly responds to being asked to do something. Whilst some of this will change with Ella's age she is totally different to how Ted was at her age. So whilst I already thought understanding the dog itself is more important than understanding the breed I am even more of that opinion now :D
Proud owner of Ted and baby Ella
My blog about Ted http://tinkerwolf.com/
Ted's Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Tinkerwolf
Ted's You Tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTedVids

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by minkee » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:39 am

Some ideas on how to manage the TV situation

1) Listen using headphones (you can get wireless ones that can plug into most TVs, you can also use 2 sets of headphones at once if you both want to watch)
2) Watch TV on a laptop or tablet device instead of a TV on a wall
3) Teach Sandy to use a crate, and cover the crate so he cannot see out (make it his safe, cozy den)
4) Buy some books and read instead!
5) Listen to the radio stories or audio books instead (I LOVE audio books!)

Those are just off the top of my head. That's how to manage the situation, it won't change how Sandy feels about it. If any of those sound like do-able long term solutions then great. If you also want to train Sandy to feel better about it, you will have to do one or more of the above for as long as it takes to get Sandy to feel comfortable with the TV animals.

While you train, you want him to NEVER be in a situation where he feels like he has to bark and shout at the TV. You want him to learn to feel safe, so he must ALWAYS feel safe about the TV from now on, otherwise he won't learn to trust it. It doesn't even matter WHY he's scared of it, or what he thinks is going to happen. All that matters is we know that he thinks the TV is terrifying!

The way to train him is very, very simple, but still hard work, and will be a long progress. You can only go at Sandy's pace, which will undoubtedly feel incredibly slow! but stick with it.

We will start with pictures, then slowly add sound. So make sure the TV is MUTED!

1) Start with either a recording of an animal on the TV or a video on your PC (or laptop), no sound, and have Sandy as far away from it as possible. If he reacts badly when he sees the animal even from there, find a way to take him even further away from it.

2) Once Sandy can see the image (perhaps just have it on a still instead of playing if it's hard to start), and NOT react, give him some wonderful treats. Keep giving them all the while he's looking at the TV.

3) If he relaxes and looks at you, that's great! Once he's comfortable with an animal being on the TV, still, from a big distance, you're ready to raise the criteria. You can move closer, or play a very short section of the video (no sound yet!) Once he's comfortable with that, you can raise the criteria again.

4) Always make it super easy for him to get it right. The more he get it right, the easier he'll find it and the sooner he will learn. So when you raise one criteria, reduce the others (eg. if you decide to move closer, don't let the video play. If you want to play the video, move further away again.)

5) Don't do too much at once. It's better to do one 30 second session where he never ever reacts, than to do one 5 minute session where he does great but gets over-aroused by the end and barks at the TV.

How does that sound? It works by changing Sandy's emotional response to the TV. He begins to think "Oh boy! I get real nice things when those animals appear!" instead of "AAAAAARRRRGGHHH!!!!" like he does now. So even though it's just chicken (or whatever treat he likes best) it really tells him a lot about how he should be feeling. And by never pushing him too far he begins to learn he never has to feel "Arrgh!" again.

Do you like watching videos? I have a couple that demonstrate this theory of Desensitisation and Counter-conditioning. They're DS/CCing different things (blowing in a dogs face and knocking at the door, instead of dogs on TV) but the idea behind it is just the same. I realise that you won't be able to watch these when Sandy is around! but I will link them all the same, incase they're useful for you.

Dr Sophia Yin - http://drsophiayin.com/videos/entry/cou ... ng_in_face

Kikopup - Lots of barking at the start of this video! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA

I also wonder if you could find videos of some really calm and relaxed dogs, they might be a good point to start Sandy's DS/CC with, rather than exciting leaping animals. I thought something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfRrBH_beX8 but it does have a LOT of animals on.

Another thing to bear in mind is that sometimes training has a 'knock on' effect. So if you managed the TV situation, and instead focused on DS/CC with dogs and animals outside on walks, he would slowly be better with the TV just as he relaxes more in general. This is another thing that's down to the individual dog, though.

Does that help? Let us know if you have any questions

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by minkee » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:00 am

Also, LucyandBella, that was a brilliant example of why it doesn't matter WHY they find a thing scary, or how silly we might think the fear is, it doesn't make the fear any less real, or debilitating, or just plain terrifying for whoever is experiencing it.

Also, Diane, I think Clare made a really great point about getting your husband on board with the training to help you with YOUR legitimate fear of Sandy. It may not be the way he's always done it, but Sandy is a new dog and it doesn't hurt to try.

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by DianeLDL » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Scarlet Sci,

Very interesting and what patience you have. I definitely lack patience for anything. I don't know if it is my ADHD or just something I learned growing up. My dad has never had patience and is even worse now. My mom has dementia and dad still yells at her if she isn't fast enough or whatever the situation. So my expectations of overnight success is unrealistic. I know it intellectually, yet hard to put into practice.

In Judaism, I am learning that God will put people and situations in our lives to learn something and help our spiritual growth. I am thinking that Sandy is in my life to teach me patience and learn to understand animals, especially dogs.

We had a dog when I was in high school, but he was my brother's responsibility. But, all my life I have had a real fear of dogs. Kind of like my fear of spiders. As a child, I remember running for my life from a dog who caught up with me and jumped on me while I was standing in the middle of the street screaming in terror. Thankfully, one of the neighbors got the dog off me, and knew where he lived. But, that fear must still be with me. So, an incident like Sandy biting me brought back those childhood memories. And, I am sure it affects the way I interact with Sandy.

My husband on the other hand never remembers not having a dog. He even was a dog handler in the US Marines. So, to him having a dog is as natural as brushing ones teeth. He grew up partly on a farm and later on a ranch, so horses are second nature to him, too. I learned to ride and never had any fear of horses. My sister had a horse that she kept in a stable at the house behind us, and I would help her with him and ride him. I even rode a horse in Israel.

I have never been comfortable with cats either. I believe that it may be because they are sneaky and can surprise you in an instant. And, I never wanted to have a mouse on my pillow either. :lol: But, dogs have been beyond my understand and have always elicited fear in me. So, I know this must be somehow being communicated to Sandy. I know he must sense this and is probably part of my hot and cold reactions to him, and why it has been easy for me to want to get rid of him at times.

My husband was amazed once when we were visiting my parents, and he had Sandy out on the leash in front of the house, my cousin from Virginia drove up, and she wouldn't even get out of her car until Sandy was back in his crate in our car. She also had a bad experience with a dog as a child and has never gotten over it.

So, as a psychologist in training, you can understand how our fears can color our perceptions of dogs or other animals. By the way, I would be scared to death of any bird, parrot or otherwise. Part of my fears stem from not understanding animals and part due to my experiences.

So, I now am realizing that this has colored my views of Sandy and how I relate with him. Also, as has been mentioned, I tend to take attacks personally.

So, thanks for your input as it helps explain my feelings and projections.

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by DianeLDL » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:28 pm

Minkee,

You have some good ideas. I will check them out an respond more fully when I have a chance later.

Just want to mention, that one day I was watching a video of dogs on my iPad. I think it was from this forum, and had to turn the sound off as Sandy was reacting poorly to it.

I have to go now, but will get back and reread your suggestions. And as you also quoted from LucyandBella, i do need to get my husband onboard. That will be hard as he thinks he knows everything. :lol:

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by Sweetie's Human » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:59 pm

Hi Diane,

I'm sorry for you, OH and Sandy to find yourselves in this situation. I'm sure it can't have been easy to start this thread but I'm really glad you did. It's become a great resource for anyone else going through something similar - and I'm sure many people are. It takes courage to admit our own faults, rather than just finding them in others, and I reckon you're well on the way to resolving some of Sandy's issues simply by being as receptive as you are to everyone's advice. The whole tone of your posts has changed over two days from despair to positivity. As you say, it will be ongoing but I do think it will get easier as time goes on if you continue to put in the effort you already are.

And remind your husband of the saying "happy wife, happy life" :lol:

Hugs

ScarletSci
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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by ScarletSci » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:04 pm

I'm seconding what Sweetie's human has said! You said earlier that admitting this made you feel like a failure. I hope you can see now that the last thing anyone could accuse you of being is a failure. You're human, under a lot of pressure from things that are out of your control, and dealing with a difficult situation you don't have a lot of previous experience with.

But you reached out for help and picked yourself up in the space of a day. Not the actions of a failure in any book that I know! :wink:

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Re: Sandy has me at the end of my rope-HELP!

Post by gwd » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:07 pm

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues ... 147-1.html

Btw, Dianne, I have the same problem. The cc has worked brilliantly when my dogs are separated but sadly, I still have issues when they're in the room together. Both of them feed off each other and my results have not been as great. Both boy dog and baby girl even have commercials that are particularly 'bad' and they'll alert on the TV at the opening phrase or music on the commercial.......... well before the first dog even appears on the screen. Baby girl can be sound asleep and when she hears, 'here boy' which is the first spoken word on the trifexis commercial she'll leap up and start growling..........a few seconds later that beagle in the clear tube shows up on the TV.

Having a TV reactive dog isn't fun............... heck, even pharmaceutical adverts use dogs.
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