I am out of my depth and so is my vet....

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by mctraill, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. mctraill

    mctraill New Member

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    Hi
    I am out of my depth here and so is my vet so you guy's are my only hope.

    Last friday I was out walking my dog when a hot air ballon came over head, it was quite low about the height of a 2 storey house thats all, when my dog saw it she freaked out, started panicking, she even made her feet bleed she was that bad, she took a layer off the nail so when I looked at them her nail was like a graze you get on your knee, if that makes sense.

    I cant get her out of the house now to walk or even to go into the back yard to potty no matter how much I try and coax her out with treats, she runs out potties and then runs back and thats after about 30 minutes all the time she is looking up. Even in the house she wont stay in any room that has a ceiling fan even if it isnt switched on, she hides under the table or in the closet, she wont eat as her dish is in the open. The vet says I should carry on as normal and ignore her, she says that I should tempt her out with treats and praise her, but none of it is working, my vet says she doesnt know what to do as she hasnt come across this before.

    Do any of you have any advice for me?

    Many Thanks
     
  2. Julie

    Julie Are You Blowing Me Off?

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    personally I would put her food dish in a spot that she feels safe eating. Give her a quiet safe spot to sleep and carry on....
    Don't baby her, or reinforce her fears.
    I assume she wasn't overly fearful before the hot air balloon, so when she starts feeling safe again, I hope she returns to "normal".... I bet she will !
     
  3. mctraill

    mctraill New Member

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    The other reason I am worried is becuase we are going on vacation this coming weekend for a week and she is suppose to be going to kennels at the petsmart hotel. I have spoken to them they say not to worry they will take care of her, she goes there on a regular basis to doggie day camp.

    She was not like tihs before, I am hoping she just got a scare and like you say she will move on.
     
  4. puppylover2007

    puppylover2007 New Member

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    mm sounds like what happened to you pup would be the same thing is what would happen after someone ( child or adult) has something tramatic to them.. ( ie a terrible car accident, a bump in the dark etc) and she has yet to get over it. coming from a person who has had alot of life changing things happen, i would honestly suggest that you comfort ( not baby) her when she has fears, make her feel that she has someone to count on. she needs to know it is ok, she knows you are momma she knows YOU would not hurt her, she knows YOU would not harm her, but, that hot air balloon sure sounds like it did something to her...

    my only advise is to keep reassuring her as you would a child with nightmares kinda thing and she will get thru it just fine. good luck
     
  5. Buddy'sParents

    Buddy'sParents *Finding My Inner Fila*

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    You have to be careful with this as you don't want to reinforce the behaviors she is exhibiting. Rewarding her for normal behavior is good, but babying her is not.

    I agree with Julie in that it is something that will get worked out in time. Best of luck to you.
     
  6. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    Act like there's nothing to worry about. Don't change any of your daily activities. You can also try something called "Rescue Remedy" to help calm her down so that she can see everything is ok.
     
  7. kidsanddogs

    kidsanddogs New Member

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    The first time my collie saw a helium balloon he freaked and was terrified. It was overhead as was your hot air balloon. I took him home and then went to the party store and bought a helium balloon, and brought it home. I let it go in the room where we hang out and it just floated up by the ceiling.

    Over the next few days, Bailey finally realized that it was harmless and he began to ignore it. I left it there a long time, long enough to desensitize him. I don't know if this would work for your little guy, but it worked for me so I thought I'd share it with you. I hope things get better real soon.
     
  8. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Oh poor baby :(

    You will have to take baby steps with her.

    You need to reassure her that she is safe, and put a positive twist on going out.

    You need to make sure you praise the GOOD/WANTED behaviour and totally IGNORE the BAD/UNWANTED behaviour.

    So anytime she goes out, even for a second, treat, praise - but don't overwhelm.

    It will be a long slow process.....

    You could start with the fans in the house - is it the noise she doesn't like? Would she go in the room if music was playing over the noise? Over a few days/weeks you could reduce the volume of the music - constantly praising?

    Just an idea.....

    Have you tried just leaving the door open, and sitting outside yourself? Just sit on a chair near the door, read a book, be 100% calm and unresponsive.

    Sit near the door... if she comes to see where you are, you could praise..... up the stakes over the days/weeks.

    If her nose touches you - praise....

    Move the chair away a few inches... same again - praise if she comes near.. then praise if she comes out...

    These are just ideas off the top of my head....... they might not work!!!

    Just keep consitant and make sure you are the calm relaxed person she can trust to keep cool when she is nervous.

    And be PATIENT - don't expect an over night miracle.......
     
  9. Lissa

    Lissa New Member

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    I am so sorry that your dog was scared like this. IMO, you cannot do enough desensitization on this. The same thing happened to our last dog and she never recovered (but we knew nothing about training or behaviour)... She become hypersensitive after her hot air balloon experience (became fearful of anything in the sky and all "loud" noises) - it was heartbreaking.

    All I can suggest is finding something that your dog adores - whether its a certain game, toy, food or another dog - and use it to distract and reward your dog for calm behaviour. Sometimes another dog can be the best "tool" to help a dog through something fearful.
    Like Dizzy suggests, I would also start with the fans since it seems she is has a similar fear of them now. With Dodger, I'd put the fan on the ground and turn it into a shaping exercise (then I'd work up to having it suspended above him etc...)
    With extremely fearful dogs it can help to train a flawless attention command - you almost want them to have "blinders" on to the world when you ask for it. With my last dog, being able to get her attention even when she was terrified kept her under control (no pulling, choking or slipping collars) and made it less traumatic (because she didn't have any injuries or bad memories about being on-leash with me around her triggers).
    What happens during and after your dog sees her trigger is just as important as the work you do to desensitize her. My last dog made all sorts of negative associations with normal things that just happened to be around when she heard/saw a hot air balloon. You really need to be aware of your dog, yourself and the environment.

    Good luck and keep is posted!
     
  10. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    The helium balloon thing is a good idea! Worth a shot.

    When you've got a fearful dog, distractions are your best friend . . . get her busy chasing or playing with a favorite toy, gnawing on a favorite treat, etc., and gradually work your way toward the door to the great outdoors. It may take a few days or so, but work your way over the threshold and outside with her. The first few times she'll no doubt panic and run right back in. When that happens, don't make a big deal out of it, just go on out yourself for a few minutes and act like you're doing something then go back in and don't acknowledge that she ran. The more normal you can make the outdoors appear to her the better and the sooner she'll get over her fright.
     
  11. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Poor puppy! As the owner of a very panic-prone dog, I sympathize.

    One of the hardest things I had to get Meg over was her reaction to the electric fence at our barn. She refused to cross a particular barrier on the way out to the fields after she touched the fence. What ended up working was turning it into a clicker game (Meg was already clicker trained, and very interested in it.

    What I ended up doing was going towards the limit of her comfort (so for your dog, maybe just to the inside of your door?). I would stand just a bit closer to the "danger zone" than she was, and as soon as she even leaned in the direction I wanted her to go in, I would click her and toss the treat backwards (away from the scary). So she basically got two rewards for being brave - the treat, and I was releasing her and letting her move away from what was scary. That also set her up to drive back towards me and the scary spot to get her next click/treat/run back. It only took a couple of clicks before she 'got' the game, and started to drive back a little further.

    It did take several sessions, but she now will happily go past the scary area into her favorite hunting/hiking/swimming areas beyond it. I think it worked for us because there was no forcing (if I tried to drag her, she just got more scared and shut down), no luring (she wouldn't step forward over the line for steak), and no reassurance (which just seems to reinforce her fears). I'm not sure if it would work for your dog, but as I said, it worked for us.

    Good luck to both of you.
     

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