Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

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Nettle
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by Nettle » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:28 am

Yes: that lovely meaty smell when a bag of kibble is opened (that has vanished by the time the sack is half empty) is specially manufactured and added last thing before the bag is sealed. It then comes out through the dog's skin as a pungent smell.

Mine go their whole lives without baths. If they roll in something obnoxious, they get spot-washed.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

anniep
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by anniep » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:09 pm

Thanks for all this, and sorry I haven't checked in to get everyone's replies for a while. More internet issues - the joys of moving out of the suburbs!

I've bought a rather large baby bath, and will try to introduce Ziggy to this very slowly, as I think we'll EVENTUALLY have to bath him, but the dry shampoos sound like a great idea for now. I'll look into that today. Ziggy is so much calmer now than when he arrived that's he's almost unrecognizable from the anxious little dog we brought home, but I don't want to push things too far too fast and risk all the progress we've made.

At some stage we will also have to trim the long hair from around his eyes - but again we'll wait as long as we can. The combination of a nervous dog and scissors makes ME very nervous!

Overall, though, Ziggy has settled in amazingly and is now the most affectionate little dog. He seems very keen on routine, so we're trying to do certain things he likes at the same time each day (he likes to jump onto our laps when we sit on the front deck for coffee in the mornings, so we've made it a habit to do this - which has benefits for us as well!) He seems to get "peopled-out" by the end of the day, though, and sometimes just takes himself off to bed, and it's good he's worked out he can do this.

Still a stand-off with the cat, though - but they seem happy each with their own territory so we'll leave it that way for a bit longer.

Thanks again for all your advice - it's made a huge difference!

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Nettle
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by Nettle » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:24 am

Use this time to de-sensitise him to the scissors before you need to use them on him. Do this in very slow stages.

Day 1 Show him scissors at a distance, reward, put scissors away.
repeat day 2 leave scissors where he can see them
Leave scissors in view when he is fed
Bring scissors closer NOT TOO CLOSE reward put scissors in view
Make snippy sounds with scissors well away from him.

Day by day stage by stage get so you can bring scissors close, touch him on sides, touch him all over, hold scissors close, making snippy sounds, rewarding well after each stage, not pushing to next stage on same day, going back a stage if he shows unease. To the same timescale but not at the same time, get him used to having his eyebrows touched, first fleetingly, working up to getting hold as you would for trimming.

First time you trim ONE SNIP and loads of rewards. Doesn't matter if he looks odd. Do this properly and he will be fine with trimming.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

anniep
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:15 am

Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by anniep » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:59 pm

Thanks, Nettle. Great advice. I'll give it a try - Ziggy seems much more trusting of us now (makes sense - he had no idea who were were or what our intentions were at first!), so hopefully if we do this very slowly we'll be able to get him used to the scissors before we actually need to trim him.

JoanneF
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by JoanneF » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:16 am

I'm new to the forum so I realise things may have moved on in the last few weeks but I do have a couple of grooming tips.

First one - can you train him to rest his chin in your non-dominant hand? Start with holding a treat in your non dominant hand and as he comes for it, when he touches with his nose, release the treat. Progress to adding a cue word, like touch. Then ask for a touch without holding a treat in that hand, when he does it reward with the other hand. Gradually ask for longer spells of touch before rewarding. The idea is that if he can rest his chin on your non dominant hand, you can eventually trim him using your dominant hand, while he stays still.

The other one is easier! For general grooming, smear some wet dog food or squeezy cheese over an easily cleaned surface (like your refrigerator door). He will stay in place to lick it off while you groom him (apart from his face).

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:36 am

JoanneF wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:16 am
The other one is easier! For general grooming, smear some wet dog food or squeezy cheese over an easily cleaned surface (like your refrigerator door). He will stay in place to lick it off while you groom him (apart from his face).
This one works well for getting them used to baths too, I can vouch for that!

anniep
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by anniep » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:30 pm

Thanks for this advice, JoanneF and Lotsaquestions. I'll certainly try these grooming tips. I have been working on getting Ziggy used to the scissors, and we seem to be making good progress, so I'll try the same process with the baby bath. I'll also try the food on the fridge trick!

I'm feeling a bit less confident than I was, though, as we seem to have had a few hiccups in the past few days. While most of the time Ziggy is affectionate and seems happy and relaxed, he has growled and snapped at me a few times - usually I can think of a reason, such as that I'm trying to secure him into the car seat and he feels crowded in, but sometimes there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason.

And he has "bitten" my husband a couple of times when he's been petting him - he has made contact with his teeth but hasn't done any damage, so I'm really not sure what his intention was, but it has my husband quite spooked. Fortunately, as he's such a small dog it would be difficult for him to do much damage, but it does make me concerned about how far we've actually come. Still, baby steps, I guess...

JoanneF
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by JoanneF » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:11 am

Someone said earlier in the thread, two steps forward and one step back ...

Regarding nipping your husband, two things come to mind (and they are both relevant, it's not an either/or).

Could your husband have somehow touched a sore bit?

And it's possible in his past that his warning signals that he is unhappy have been ignored. Someone said earlier that the growl is good because he is communicating that he is unhappy. And that is absolutely right. But dogs whose growls are disregarded eventually bypass them, because there is no point if they think we are going to disregard or ignore them.

Dogs normally give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. But like I said, if the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them and he may go straight to the bite.

May I ask, how are you getting on with the 5 second petting rule? If things are going well, it can be easy to forget. If your husband was using that at the time, it may be that you need to strip it right back and not pet him at all until he actively seeks physical touch.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:57 am

Just to add aswell stressors stack. So if he's been getting worse for a few days, it could be that something has stressed him out and he's not been able to 'wind down' from it. With most dogs they recover from things quite quickly, but sensitive dogs might need a bit of time basically doing nothing. No walks (unless they are totally not stressed by them), no grooming, just playing if they want to, some puzzle games, basically anything that makes them happy and relaxed.

Dogs do relapse, but the progress isn't lost. Just step back a bit and see how he does in a day or so. Then if you think there are triggers (looming over to strap him in) then make sure you have some treats handy whenever you need to clip him in and do it one bit at a time. With hubby he could do the 5 second rule, or even interact with Ziggy in a different way for a little while. Tricks to build Ziggy's confidence without any pressure of being petted. My own dog is shy with some people because he isn't a fan of being stroked, so he tends to stay away from strangers. However if said stranger asked him to do a trick, even if its just 'sit' he turns into Mr Confident because all pressure has gone.

JoanneF
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Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by JoanneF » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:39 am

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:57 am
Just to add aswell stressors stack.
Oh yes, good catch!

anniep
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:15 am

Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by anniep » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:01 pm

Again, thanks for the advice. It's quite possible we were trying to move too quickly with Ziggy because things seemed to be going so well. We'd certainly relaxed the 5 second rule, so we'll go back to that and try to watch for the signals that Ziggy is getting overwhelmed.

Since he became a bit more unpredictable (at least to us) again we have been leaving him to his own devices again a bit more, and he seems more relaxed, so maybe we were unintentionally crowding him. We'll try a few very quiet days, but I think I'll stick with the afternoon walks as we rarely meet anyone else and he seems to really enjoy them. They also seem to help him settle better at night.

One thing I haven't mentioned here (as I thought it was probably an expression of stress/anxiety and would ease over time) is that constantly Ziggy licks and chews at his paws and legs (and sometimes other parts of his body). This is probably why I was trying to hurry things along a bit, especially with grooming, because we've had a week of constant rain and that, combined with the licking, has meant the fur on Ziggy's legs is getting quite matted. I can't imagine taking him to a professional groomer, so I have been trying to get him used to the scissors and the brush as much as possible. While there's been some progress, maybe I was trying too hard and stressing Ziggy out. Again, I'll try slowing things down again...

Thanks again for the advice - it sounds as though I just need to relax a bit more! :lol:

JoanneF
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:37 am

Re: Seeking advice: very anxious small rescue dog

Post by JoanneF » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:04 am

Licking and chewing could be related to anxiety but they could also be caused by itching. A grain free food might help if that is the cause.

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