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Old 12-30-2004, 06:24 AM
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Default Over-excited outside sometimes & won't play!

Hi - I'm new to this forum and wonder if anyone has similar experience with a resure dog? Bonnie is an 18 month old GSD cross (the cross is with a Podenca, a greyhound-like hunting/sight hound) and came from a rescue shelter where she'd been for around a year.

She has an excellent temprament - especially indoors and in enclosed spaces - and responds well to commands. However I've noticed that in wide open spaces she can seems to get 'over excited' - incessantly sniffing every shrub/bush/tree/rock and darting around randomly - maybe quite normal but it seems to cause her a bit of stress/panting and sometimes crazy sprinting. The other day she decided to jump into a local lake and paddle around - and seemed to be having fun for a minute or so then suddenly seemed to 'spook' and started panting and charging.

She will come back on command and has learned to sit at my feet to calm herself - I'm wondering if it is some kind of 'overload' with her having been kenneled at the shelter (in a concrete/wire enclosure with little stimulation other than daily walks) for so long and having little 'outside world' exposure?

I say this because she is much better on lanes and trails where there is an obvious direction to follow and doesnt get quite so excited - although sniffs like a bloodhound still!
She will walk well to heel on-leash and sometimes after she has had a 'crazy' she seems relieved that I "take charge" and heel-walk her back to the car or home.

We are in quite a remote area and can walk for miles without seeing other people or cars -- and if she sees something she will often stare/bark -- apparently to warn me -- however if we start off somewhere busy (like in a town) she will take all the distrations in her stride and not be fussed.

Another thing I've found is that she doesn't seem to know how to play -- no interest whatsoever in fetching/tugging/playing ball (she sits and watches me intently encouraging her and then gives a look whch says "why would I want to do that?") -- although she does have a soft toy which she seems to like carrying around in her mouth! She also loves chewing bones/rope -- things she can do alone lying in the sun -- although she is quite social and will often check up what I'm doing periodically then return...

I'm thinking that its probably down to lack of puppyhood experience/socialisation -- and hopefully that will come with time and by continued exposure to all kinds of different situations - taking her whereever I go.... the situation is managable but I'm hoping that with time and effort she'll become calmer when outside in wide open spaces -- or at least manage her exictment a little more

This is in total contrast to my Dad's GSD-greyhound cross (in England), who loves to fetch and will otherwise trot a few feet around him anywhere off leash! --although I think his dog was only at his local rescue center for a month or so and was older - around 2

Any comments/thoughts/advice gratefully received.... thanks in advance
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Old 12-30-2004, 08:17 AM
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It sounds like you've got Bonnie figured out. I would warn that you need to be watchful when she's off leash and make sure you reinforce her recall response positively and often since she's got some sighthound blood.

She will get calmer as time goes by and she matures - she's not fully adult yet, and you're right on the money about all the new sights, smells and opportunities compared to being kennelled in a shelter.

She'll eventually figure out how she likes to play. My Bear never would fetch. He'd go get anything I asked him to, but if I threw something and told him to get it, he'd just look at me with a look that said, "if you wanted it, why'd you throw it away; get it yourself, silly." He loved to play tag, though.

Just keep doing what you're doing. It sounds like you've found a wonderful companion and Bonnie's got a wonderful life!
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Old 01-07-2005, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the reassurance Renee.

She's getting there -- and you're right about care off the leash. She has always come back - but sometimes if she's "on a mission" she'll rush back - as she knows she should - then zoom right off again unless I tell her 'stay' or grab her quick! It's as if she's saying "yeah right I've done your thing like a good girl... now back to my fun!"

For safety I often use a long flexi-lead.. if she gets too excited whilst being allowed to roam on it (eg seeing a bird or such) my arm gets a hard pull!

I was also getting a bit concerned about her neck - on leash she would sometimes be fine but occasionally pull so hard as to make herself pant/cough.... it was as if the fascinating sights and smells were worth "fighting" for..... by chance I met someone with an almost idenentical dog the other day and they mentioned they had similar problems and their vet had suggested a harness instead of a regular neck collar - and it was working.

I've copied the idea and had the same result - a total transformation - and no neck strain for Bonnie. She walks near perfectly to heel and won't pull hard on a lose leash now -- and gets home a lot calmer.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 01-07-2005, 06:45 PM
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Halters are wonderful things! I use them sometimes with mine, although they've gotten good about not pulling now. Of course, they get their running time in out in the pastures so when it's leash time that means we're going somewhere in the car - then maybe to the Dog Food Store!
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Stupid is the most notoriously incurable and contagious disease known to mankind. If you find yourself in close proximity to someone infected with stupid, walk away as soon as said infection is noted.


There are few things more nauseating than pure obedience. ~ Kvothe

***8206;"silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation."
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Old 01-07-2005, 09:25 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is online now
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I'm a proud foster mom of serveral dogs throughout the past and I'd like to first of all say Kudos to you for adopting a rescue dog!
It is common for dogs who've lived a great deal of time in a kennel/at a shelter not to know how to play. Some dogs never learn how to play like a 'normal' dog does, but given time most learn how; they adapt quickly.
Quote:
I'm wondering if it is some kind of 'overload' with her having been kenneled at the shelter (in a concrete/wire enclosure with little stimulation other than daily walks) for so long and having little 'outside world' exposure?
It sounds like you've hit the nail on the head. Maybe not so much as an overload, but think of it as a kid in a candy store wanting to try ALL of the candy at once. Lots of dogs I personally know that are rescued did this, and calmed down once they 'got over it' or 'took everything in'
It seems like she is still young at heart as well and will take to socailization now, instead of being fearful of everything unknown. Sounds like Bonnie's got a great owner and a great life ahead of her (with you).

I'll second what Renee said. Sounds like you've got Bonnie all figured out


Just a little word of caution to Everybody:
head halters and retractable leashes can = disaster. there was a thing on the news this morning at 6 where a owner is trying to sue the Halti head halter company for not putting that warning on the box/tag of the purchased item. The man was walking his dog through the park with a retratcable leash and a head halter when a larger dog appeared and spooked his dog. The dog ran full force away, but was stopped by the leash that was snapped to the head halter. Snapped the dogs neck they said.
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Old 01-08-2005, 11:03 AM
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Scary footnote there, Brattina!

The only halters I use are the ones that go over the shoulders and around the chest - you know, just the standard configuration. I like those because they DON'T actually involve the neck and put the pull on the chest and shoulders.

I've always thought those retractable leads were a bit "iffy" too. They just give a dog too much opportunity to build so much momentum that they can't be stopped without hurting themselves or whoever is holding the lead.
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In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. ~Buddha

Stupid is the most notoriously incurable and contagious disease known to mankind. If you find yourself in close proximity to someone infected with stupid, walk away as soon as said infection is noted.


There are few things more nauseating than pure obedience. ~ Kvothe

***8206;"silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation."
Rumi
Be a god. Know when to shut up.


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Old 01-08-2005, 05:02 PM
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Likewise, the harness I'm using for 'at heel' training is a padded 'body' (shoulders/chest) one - not a head one. Its also got an adapter you can use to secure into a seat belt buckle if you dog rides in the back seat of your car - stops them flying forward if you brake suddenly...

Good point about the flexi-lead too -- I've been using one to teach recall etc and to allow a bit of freedom -- but you do have to watch you dog doesn't sprint the length of it or wrap around trees, posts, other people !! etc which could cause you both pain when they hit the end of the line!
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Old 01-09-2005, 01:44 PM
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I shudder at the thought of a Fila on a retractable lead! All that comes to mind is something that would make a good cartoon!
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In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. ~Buddha

Stupid is the most notoriously incurable and contagious disease known to mankind. If you find yourself in close proximity to someone infected with stupid, walk away as soon as said infection is noted.


There are few things more nauseating than pure obedience. ~ Kvothe

***8206;"silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation."
Rumi
Be a god. Know when to shut up.


Good Kharma Tags
Felurian
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