Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

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reneegavin
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:10 am

Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

Post by reneegavin » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:27 am

We got a shy, sweet rescue dog 3 days ago. 2 days ago, my 12 year old daughters 11 and 12 yo cousins walked in, quietly said "Hello" to her and let her sniff them, then went upstairs to my dd's reoom. The dog was fine. However, her one cousin came down when she was sleeping, and the dog started going crazy, barking. I was shocked, because it was the first time we heard her bark! We came up to her and told her to stop, and she did. When they were leaving, she barked again. The next day, they came over again, stood by the door, said "Hi Summer", quietly again, and let her sniff them. Her tail was wagging, and she licked their hand. When they went upstairs, she started barking at them again. A few minutes later, I went upstaris and gave them a treat to give her when they came down. Summer followed me up. I told the one cousin to hold out the treat and let her come for it. Summer got within about a foot, sniffing, then backed up and started barking. My husband came in and firmly said "No", and she left the room and stopped. When the other cousin stood up, she started to growl. I said "No", and she stopped, but her body was shaking slightly. We then took her downstairs and gated her in the kitchen until they left.
The main thing I wanted from this rescue dog was one that my daughter didn't have to be afraid of and was good with kids, because my dd has different friends over often. She is 12. The rescue said this dog LOVES kids, and she does love my daughter. She does show some signs of separation issues. Should I be crating her more often or following the NILF rules? Aside of this and a major obsession with squirrels, chipmunks, birds, etc.., she is a wonderful pet. Great with us, although still a bit timid. If called, she will usually stop a foot or two short of us, and although she always wants to be in the some room with us, she always lays a distance away. I don't know if I should be showering her with affection or ignoring her. She really did and does seem submissive, although she has started to dart through doors. When corrected, she immediately stops doing something wrong (except for the animal chasing). Trustable loose in the house as long as we are home. Any advice? Should I be concerned?

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

Post by Fundog » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:33 pm

These things take time. You haven't had her long at all, and she needs time to adjust (several weeks at least!). You have no idea what her history is, and although she may have presented a certain way for the rescue, something different may manifest in her new home-- as you are seeing. She probably will be fine with your daughter's friends, eventually. But try not to expect too much too soon. The best thing to do for now is to not force the dog to greet new visitors, or to accept treats from them. Instead just admit your daughter's friends, let them go up to play, and have them pretty much ignore the dog for now. NILIF style of discipline is not really necessary. Just give her plenty of time and space, and especially put her bed in an out of the way quiet place, and ensure that no one disturbs her or approaches her when she is resting.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

reneegavin
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:10 am

Re: Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

Post by reneegavin » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:39 pm

So, how should I react if she does bark at them again?

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

Post by Fundog » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:14 pm

The best thing to do is to prevent the barking in the first place: When the other children are about to go upstairs to play, or are getting ready to leave, put a leash on the dog and lead her into another room, where you can practice "watch me" while shoveling tasty tidbits into her mouth as she sits there looking at you. Chances are good the children will be able to come and go without her even noticing.

If you miss the opportunity and she does start barking, put a leash on her and calmly lead her out of the room/out of the area. You don't need to say anything-- just lead her away. The reason she is barking is because the movement of the children is making her nervous, and the barking is her way of expressing that. So you simply take her away from what is making her uncomfortable. This will help immensely in strengthening your bond with her, and in strengthening her trust in you. It is vital that she knows she can trust you to keep her safe, and to not force her into uncomfortable situations.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

reneegavin
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:10 am

Re: Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

Post by reneegavin » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:07 pm

Thanks Fundog...I now need to have her on a leash whenever anyone comes over, because she jumped over a baby gate and out the front door as I was leaving yesterday! I will have her come sit by me and try to do "watch me", but when she gets nervous, she tends not to want to eat. She responds well to a gentle "Uh-uh" when doing something wrong, so hopefully, if she's seated next to me and she gets nervous and starts to bark, that's all it will take. These cousins tend to be over A LOT. They also sleep here somewhat often. My daughter is an only child, so I like to allow kids to come over as much as possible, that's why I need to help Summer adapt to the flow of visitors! She does well with people and other dogs outside on walks (although she is a tad timid). She just seems to get high strung in the house.
There is also a basic training course starting tomorrow nearby. I think I am going to enroll her. Right now, she is sociable with other animals, and I want to keep it that way since we plan on getting another dog within the next year. I also think it will help her bond with us and help my daughter to control her.

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Shy, timid rescue dog barking at daughter's cousins

Post by Fundog » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:59 pm

Okay, that not wanting to eat when nervous is pretty common to 99% of dogs. However, there is a "threshold" of reactivity: the minimum distance from an upsetting thing at which a dog is not bothered, and does not react. They can accept treats at this distance, so that's where you start. You can gradually close that distance over time, as your dog improves and becomes more comfortable with certain situations, until one day you find the dog can be right up to the "scary" thing without reacting. And what a joyous moment it is, too! :wink:
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

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