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Old 10-28-2008, 02:41 AM
v-girl v-girl is offline
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Default excessive barking/anxiety

Hi I'm new here and I am going to try and give the short version of my problem.

I have 5 dogs, husky/lab mixes, a mother, a father and 3 pups from the same litter who are almost 10 months old. We had orginially kept 2 of the puppies, but one came back who was being abused. Basically they were beating, kicking, yelling and leaving her locked in a room or a crate for God only knows how long.

She had no problem taking to us as she rememebered us, as we would visit her ( and the rest of the litter) every couple of months. She is seperated from the other dogs right now, as we are introducing her to our pack slowly. She has bonded with her brother so she is able to play with him and have some doggie time.

My real problem is that because she has been locked in a room for hours upon end, she has learn to bark just as long. I have been able to break her of it in the house (most of the time) by treating her when she was quiet. My husband has broke her of this in the car as he takes her to work most of the time. I know I'm dealing with some high anxiety issues, but there are many times she will bark non-stop and the treat method won't work, because she never stops until someone is in range.

The three main cases of this barking is when I am out back with other dogs playing. I believe this is just her wanting to join in. But again she won't stop until I come in. And when I walk the other dogs,(which I walk one at a time) she jumps on the counter or table to watch me and she will bark almost the whole time I am gone. So not only am I gone, I'm taking one of the dogs.

The third scernio is at one of our jobs where we do outside work on a lake. She is good on a cable. When she is with just my husband he has to stay within eys sight, or she will start to bark until she sees him again. But if we are both there and in sight, she will bark nonstop until one of us is close and sometimes that doesn't even stop her.

I know that the boyfriend did the abuse, along with their 3-year old child (she's terrified of children) and that the girlfriend was the one who took care of her and was her safety net. She is quite bonded to both my husband and me. After about a month of being with us she has started to relax and actually take a nap during the day. Before she was just bouncing off the walls all day long.

We have had her now for just over 2 months. Since I know I can not break her anxiety in a day or two and still must walk all the dogs (if anyone owns a Siberian Husky, you know this is a must. lol) I have read all about the practicing to walk out the door and then walk back in over and over, but I still must leave her to walk the dogs. I really don't know what I can do, due to her fear and anxiety of crates and rooms. Giving her a chew treat or toy doesn't help because she drops it the minute I walk out the door then picks it back up when I walk in.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can help make her feel more secure, while still being able to take care of all of my dogs? The best I've come up with is having my husband taking her during the day so I could walk other dogs while she is gone. Then practice leaving with her in the evening. She is never left alone except when I walk the other dogs or sometimes when I am in the yard. Either she is home with me or at work with my husband.

Sorry to go on and on, I'm just trying to give as much info as possible. Also there are no behaviorist in our area or trainers. We are out in the boonies. So I'm on my own with this one. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:03 PM
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Kayla Kayla is offline
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First of all HUGE kudos to you for putting the time and commitment into solving the problem as you are correct this won't be solved over night.

This is actually a problem much over my experince level but we have some fantastic trainers on here and I'm sure they will be able to give you much more useful advice then I.

One thing I can say helped me in combination with the training I was putting into my reactive dog was rescue remedy. It is a natural herb you can buy in a liqiud bottle form and is used to curb anxiety. Some dogs it works with on the first use but some dogs need to be absorbing it daily for awhile before noticable effects are seen. It's not a fix all but in combination with a treatment plan it can be very effective. I'm specifically thinking perhaps to curb the excessive anxiety barking even when you are around.

Continue to reward her when she is calm, it will regardless take time, but I know someone else on here can give you a practical training plan to follow. It should go without saying but punishment would be very counter productive to your progress.

Best of Luck
Kayla
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:22 PM
v-girl v-girl is offline
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Thank you for your reply. I had heard of rescue remedy, but had forgotten about it. I'll be picking some up this weekend to try it out. The father is a bit on the anxious side also and could use a drop or two. lol Hell, I'd probably try it myself. lol

Thanks again.

And if anyone else has anything they could suggest, I'm all ears.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:07 PM
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Romy Romy is offline
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Is it at all possible to walk two of them at once? We fostered a german shepherd with severe anxiety problems, and while trying to find a way to work through them found that every time she was left alone, it got worse. No matter how much progress we had made, if we went over her threshold of being alone she would regress further than she had been before. It got so bad that she would throw up and have explosive diarrhea if we walked out of the room and she couldn't follow, and she bit through a glass and wood door to follow our car down the road as we drove away. In the end it was so severe for her that she either needed to be put down or find a home where she was never alone, which thank goodness was able to happen (she lives with a homebound older couple).

The desensitizing to leaving cues are really good. I would almost take it a step further, and get her a really great kong and stuff it with tons of marvelous things. At this point do not give it to her when you are actually leaving because you don't want it to become one of the cues that you are going to disappear. What I would do is give it to her a few minutes before you start the desensitizing, like grabbing your keys, coat, opening and closing the door, etc. The hope is that the treat will occupy her attention, and not only desensitize her to the leaving cues, but change her perception of them to be more positive. Then, when she is finally ready for you to stand outside the door for 20 seconds and come right back in, she will have something nice to occupy her while that is happening instead of obsessing about the fact that you are out of sight.

Rescue remedy is a really good idea!

If you can't take her along on the walks with the other dogs, maybe taking her first and getting her to be as exhausted as possible will help. Exercise releases endorphins that relieve anxiety and stress. I think it would be really good for her to go individually with the other four though. The extra exercise and sunshine for an anxious dog like her would be a good thing.

Oh, and my dog's trainer gives rescue remedy to her husband because he has anxiety, it actually worked much better than all the meds the doctors were trying out on him!
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:29 PM
v-girl v-girl is offline
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Thanks Romy. Believe me if I could walk her with another dog I would. But I am still working with her on a leash, sometimes she can be really bonkers. (She was never trained on a leash).

I taped her yesterday while I walked another dog for half and hour and diescovered something very interesting. While after 5 minutes, she did start barking and howling, there were long pauses inbetween. And she looked like she really only got worried a couple of times. Even though I know she has some anxiety issues, her body language was very relaxed and calm and she looked like she was just trying to get someone's attention. She maybe only got worried a couple of times, but other than that she really was fine and very much in control of herself. lol

Now usually I walk all 4 of them, one after another, so then there is probably much more anxiety that builds up. But she has really come such a long way in just 2 months compared to when we first got her. Yes, we still have a ways to go but watching that video really showed me such tremendous progress and was such a comfort to my spirit, knowing all this girl has been through when she left our nest.

Thanks for all of you help and my husband is bringing home some rescue remedy tonight. I'm sure that we will all be using it!! lol
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