Serious problem - dog terrified

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by groovymcawesome, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. groovymcawesome

    groovymcawesome New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Have two mutts. They're both siblings, 1 year old. One is fine. The other's terrified of everything. He's gotten used to remotes, phones, etc...Little things.

    Where I'm having serious problems is with baths and clipping his nails. Anything where he has to be restrained. Wouldn't be that big a problem if he wasn't 70 lbs. He's very strong. I'm also strong, so he cannot escape, but he'll try to the point he's really going to injure himself.

    I'm very good to my dogs. I don't hit them in any way, but I'm not one of the "kill 'em with kindness" people. I'm the boss in my house. I'm very stern, but fair. I've raised three EXTREMELY well behaved dogs that love me to death. Including this one. And I've trained them very fast with my methods.

    But whenever it's bath time or time to clip his nails, he panics. He struggled so hard to get away once that he crapped himself. In the past, I've held panicky dogs in the bath until they stopped fighting and realized they weren't going to die. They usually get used to it pretty quickly.

    Tonight was the last straw. I was sitting on the floor getting ready to clip his nails. As soon as he saw the clippers he ran. I grabbed him and made him sit, while I just tried to touch his feet with them to get him used to them. He started struggling and doing everything within his power to get away. Didn't work, but for one hour (not an exaggeration) he fought me. One hour straight. He didn't once pause to catch his breath.

    How do I get him to loosen the hell up? I've never beat him or hurt him (though he's tempted me) so he shouldn't be scared of that. I'm at my wit's end.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    Well, first of all, I'd recommend that you loosen up and forget the need to dominate and be stern with your animals. I'm sure he can totally feel your blood just at the boiling point under the surface. That right there can make your dog frightened and uneasy, distrustful. He'll tend to trust you more with frightening things like clipping nails if instead of trying to tackle the situation by force, restraint etc, you condition the dogs to nail clipping or anything which is frightening to them. It can take days or weeks but you'll have a trusting animal who will not struggle to avoid these things.

    Anytime you want to teach your dog something, you'll get a lot further by creating an enjoyable time associated with whatever you're doing. Nail clipping is not fun for a dog, sometimes it hurts.... so if you can make it the best you can, you'll have much more success.

    What I would suggest is that you sit down in a relaxed manner along side the dog and give a treat, a belly rub...something he likes. Play a little gentle game. Have the clippers sitting on the coffee table where he can see them. (now that he's so freaked out, this is going to take you longer than if you hadn't used such force before) Later in the day, do the same thing, only hold the clippers. Don't do anything to him with the clippers. If he runs off, forget it. Don't do anything. Wait till he comes over for a treat.

    Now your treat will need to be something stupendous. A bowl of ice cream would be fun and just give him a small spoonful whenever he is Ok with the sight of the clippers. When he is comfortable with that, touch his nails, stroke his toes with your fingers only. Keep giving him small spoonfuls of ice cream as long as he's staying and letting you do this. Praise, using a happy, playful, party time voice. Then advance to trying to touch one nail, tap one nail and praise like crazy if he's Ok with it. If not, go back to the previous stage. Do this for a few days, maybe adding one, then another few nails...tap, tap, scrape. No clipping yet. When he's comfortable and relaxed with that....it might take a few days or more, then try clipping the tiniest token of the end of one nail. Praise and treat big time. Don't do anymore till the next day. End on a good note where he's successful and happy. It's better to have long nails and take your time conditioning him to this than to have short nails NOW and have a frightened, distrustful dog. Good luck. Let us know how you do, if you decide to do it this way rather than by restraint and force. That always will tend to frighten an animal. Best wishes.
     
  3. SummerRiot

    SummerRiot Dog Show Addict

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    8,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    we have three puppies in the house.. and some fish
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    For the bath issue.. Riot, my pup, used to be scared of bath time, he'd wimper, howl, bark, squirm, splash me, try jumping out, push all of the shampoo bottles over in his efforts to get out. I eventually taught him the word "bath" and he'll now jump in and stand there - NO restraint needed for a bath.

    All you have to do is have patience!!!!!!! If your dog is food oriented and motivated, reward them as SOON as they are near the bath, then gradually make it so they are in the same room as the bath, then touching the bath, and then finally in the bath tub.
    Its Always baby steps with dogs. Since they can not actually speak English, its harder to explain things to them in our language. If you stop and try to give them body cues that they will understand, they will listen and speak back(in body cues).

    When Riot was first getting used to having a bath, i'd treat him whenever he'd stand still and be quiet. So, he soon realized that it was great fun to be in the bath... Now I can't get him away from water. hes in lakes, streams, ponds, the bath, tries to get in the sink.. lol

    Its all in patience.

    Try and get the dog used to it when you AREN'T actually intending to bath him. Maybe, while your in the shower, have the dog in the room with you with the door shut, so they can see that you aren't dying in the shower either. :)
     
  4. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    Great advice Summer riot.

    Anytime you're in a power struggle with your dog, you get no where, as you found out after an hour of fighting with your dog. You make a dog fear and distrust you that way. If you turn your thinking around from thinking you have to be this big boss, dominating, forcing, coercing, struggling....turn it to, "how can I make it so the dog thinks it's his idea, so that the dog is motivated to meet me half way?" Dog's and humans work together...always have. One cannot have dominion over the other and have a complete workable, trusting, bonded relationship.

    They deserve respect, just as you would if an adult human being were afraid of getting their nails clipped, would you hold them down and force them or would you have a talk or show them that it was OK and safe? We have a different language than dogs but they still deserve our utmost respect and patience because it's not their fault that they don't understand our language and our human ways. This isn't something they do in nature, clipping nails, so we have to show them carefully and slowly until they understand. And for them to listen, they have to feel safe and trust us. Forceably holding a dog down and dominating them causes them to shut down and become defensive. This is natural for them.

    I do hope you can change your thinking so that you won't have stumbling blocks along the way. Most things go along fine for you because dogs are weaker and we can easily over power them in most ways. But that is not the way to have the best bond with your dog. I encourage you to learn new ways of interacting with your babies.

    Here's something that is most effective. It is a gentle and fun way of teaching your dogs anything. It talks about shaping behavior, modifying and conditioning behavior without any force or punishment of any kind. It works. It makes for a very happy relationship between dog and owner. I highly recommend that you study this over. Even if you don't use a clicker, the method is very effective.

    http://www.dogpatch.org/obed/obpage4.cfm

    Best wishes.
     
  5. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    One dog
    Great advice has been given here to help you help your dog.

    One thing to keep in mind, there could be something going on in this dog's brain which is not allowing him to "snap out of it", once he is in a panicked state. I've only dealt with one dog, which did something similar. He was a rescue dog with a slightly misshaped skull. I don't know if he was born that way or not. His eyes were "normal", but without extensive and expensive tests by an expert, who knows what was going on inside of this dog's brain?

    I don't know if your dog had any trauma to his brain during birth or when he was young. But, I would not rule this out.

    Just an observation, I don't know what you can do with this information, but if your dog is not snapping out of these panic attacks, I would not recommend continuing to restrain him based on what you've already told us.

    I'm sorry you and your dog are going through this.:(
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2005
  6. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    Wow Angelique. That would be terrible. Well, then if you go really gradually, (say....take 2-4 weeks conditioning him) without any restraint and he still doesn't make any progress, you might consult a vet about this. Let us know. You're in my thoughts.
     
  7. groovymcawesome

    groovymcawesome New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for some of the advice. I'll give most of it a shot. I'm still going to be firm with him, as dogs crave discipline. Just like kids. When we're struggling, I remain calm. I just don't let him go, because at that point he's won, and he'll begin to learn that he can get away if he just fights long enough. When they're in a pack, the alpha dog will grab the back of their neck until they submit. Treats don't really help. He doesn't pay attention to them when he's scared. I guess we'll just be having nail clipping time every night, whether we trim them or not. Bath time too.
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    Won? Is this war? If you let him go away and motivate him to return, he'll feel that he CAN get away and feel more secure. When you corner an animal, you put him into his fight or flight drive....on an extreme defensive and you never reach the animal mentally. Dealing with our animals shouldn't be a power struggle for who is the stronger. That's counter productive to say the least.

    Of course he can't pay attention or learn anything. When in fight or flight mode, a dog's ability to think, using his conscious part of his brain doesn't work. He's on pure instinct at that point. His brain is operating at the level of the autonomic nervous system.

    I've had dogs for close to 45 years and trained for about 30..... various breeds, now a "strong willed" Doberman and I've never had that philosophy about them. Discipline yes, harshness or force, no. Discipline means teaching. It does not mean intimidating. And by your actions, your dog is freaking out.

    I have done pretty extensive study and research of wolf and dog behavior in school as well as independently for a very long time as well as steady, practical experience.

    Wolves don't do a lot of the things people think they do. These misconceptions are based on old, disproven, unscientifically done studies of wolves in captivity. Also, domestic dogs are not wolves. And we are not dogs or wolves.

    I guarentee you, barring any medical problems that if you go about it the way I described, you will over come your dog's fears.

    I did exactly this method with a dog who would not only react with fear, but became downright vicious,(in his defensiveness) attacking, biting, absolutely "vicious." The reasons for his extreme reaction were because he was handled the same way you're handling your dogs...held down, forced, spoken "firmly" to when the dog was clearly frightened. In three days time, I had this dog tolerating clipping all the nails. Dogs learn, like all mammals do, using scientific learning theory.

    By use of this philosophy of gentle handling, conditioning, all three of my dogs, my Doberman and two Chihuahuas have their nails trimmed with an electric Dremel...noisy and vibrating. And they look forward to the treats and sit nicely to have their nails filed. (don't try a Dremel without full instructions) I never once have associated anything negative or forceful with this procedure. I have never had trouble clipping any one of dogs' nails or bathing them....posting ears with tape, expressing anal glands, cleaning ears, brushing teeth or anything else. My dogs trust me completely and are never put on the defensive. They know that nothing I do to them is associated with fear or pain.

    I strongly recommend you look into another way of communicating with your dog. Obviously, your being the forceful "alpha" isn't working very well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2005
  9. Fran27

    Fran27 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Messages:
    10,641
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Jersey
    You forget one detail though... we're not dogs. And the dogs know it. So using strength to get what you want doesn't make the dog respect you, it makes them fear you.
     
  10. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    One dog
    Aside from the fact that your dog may have a problem with his brain...

    I have a found a few things to be true:

    Dogs and kids don't crave discipline. They need structure, security, and boundries in addition to compassion, love, and meeting their basic "pysical" survival needs.

    Dogs who were raised in their home environment, (not addopted at an older age), were either advertantly or inadvertantly "conditioned" into their behavior problems by someone who didn't take into consideration that the dog may be a little more sensitive than most dogs.

    Dogs do not trust "unstable" leaders who exert force upon them for being afraid. If you're frustrated or angry, (which you obviously are), the dog can "read" this in your facial expressions and demeanor, even if you think you are being calm. This dog does not trust you.

    Leaders don't get into "power" struggles with subordinates. The fact that you wrestled this dog for an hour, only proved to the dog that you are not a leader.

    Bottom line for me, is rehome the dog to someone who understands how to treat a dog properly, instead of venting and dominating him because you've had a bad day and just may be a bit of a control freak.

    I hope your paying attention to this post because people who come here looking for the "OK" to abuse their dogs under the "guise" of training will soon be ignored.

    Are you paying attention yet? Or should I hold you down on the floor and trim your toenails, until you cry "UNCLE!".

    Have a nice day! :)
     
  11. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    23,932
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Home Page:
    I agree with everything that has been posted here and I hope you take it into consideration. Pinning your dog down does nothing but teaches him to be fearful of you and causes more problems in the future. If you can get him to do it of his own accord you've both won. And that's really what you want isn't it?
     
  12. groovymcawesome

    groovymcawesome New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes. Won. If he struggles to get away, and as a result doesn't have to get his nails cut, he'll keep doing it. The dog is not scared of me, as he's always by my side. He lies down next to me. He rolls over on his back when we play, which he wouldn't do if he didn't totally trust me. This is the only issue we have. Dogs do not know the difference between their owners and an alpha dog in a pack. They do not reason. They test you to find their limits. Just like children. Some take longer than others, but they eventually get it.

    When I tell my dog to sit so I can clip his nails, he's going to sit and let me do it. And then he'll be rewarded.

    I realize that some dogs react a little differently, so I'll adjust slightly. But it won't be all sunshine, roses and ice cream. Dogs do crave discipline. Discipline shows that you care. Discipline is what happens when they break their boundaries or rules. I'm firm, but I don't slam my dog to the ground as some of you are suggesting.

    To the schmuck that recommended I rehome the dog because we're having one training issue, come back to earth and get a life. My dogs probably live better lives than you do. They're treated with respect and love, but they're not babied. And as a result, they're the most well behaved dogs you'll ever see. You may need to open your eyes sometime to see that your technique may not be the only one to work.

    And to call me unstable, when you know nothing of me, real mature. I keep my cool when training my dogs. Being firm with them and being mean to them is different and they know the difference.

    I've owned many great dogs, and I'll own many more. I'll probably have to adjust a few techniques with this one, and I realize that. I'll take a little of the info I've gotten here and try it, but I won't bribe them, because then they've trained you. I've gotta give it to your dogs, Angelique, because they've trained you well.

    I love my dogs, but I don't worship them. And that appears to be a line that some don't know how to draw on this board. Thanks for some of the info, but I don't think I'll be back. I'll go other routes.
     
  13. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    23,932
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Home Page:
    so you are getting the nails done with your method?

    And how's that going?

    nobody is suggesting that. you are asking for advice and you are getting some good advice from some people who know dogs very well. I hope you will consider it.

    Angelique is not the one here unable to cut her dogs nails. She gives good advice. I don't think you abuse your dogs but I think you need to be more open to other options. Especially positive reinforcement training. And especially since your method doens't seem to be working. You just get your dog more and more worked up. Have you ever worked with animals that need to be rehabilitated? What your dog is going through is similar to that. You need to start slow. Build confidence in the clippers and use a good, strong reward system.

    that unfortunate. most of us here do consider our dogs a part of our family. When you have that kind of relationship things seem to work out. I hope you find the answers you are looking for and I hope your dog gets what he needs too.
     
  14. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    23,932
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Home Page:
  15. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    One dog
    My dogs are all adopted from shelters. They have been adult dogs with a lot of problems, My new gal came to me, terrified of everything and aggressive to boot. She was abused with harsh "training" by someone who clearly didn't know what they were doing.

    I do not use clicker training, treats, or harsh corrections to rehabilitate the dogs I work with. I use dog psychology and body language to communicate who I am and what I want from them. My dogs all have clear boundries and respect me.

    I've been working with dogs since I was nine years old. I rehabilitate dogs who have been messed up in their home environment and work with owners so they may better understand how their dog thinks and reads our body language.

    My goal is to try and keep the dog within their home environment, unless I feel that environment is deltrimental to the dog, or someone could be bitten.

    I support the work of Cesar Millan, which often makes me unpopular. But Cesar knows what he is doing, and reads dogs very well.

    I don't think you came here to get advice, but to find support for the way you treat your dog.

    But hey, what do I know?

    I may be a schmuck, but I'm no whimp.:cool:
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    May I introduce to you.....Angelique. Ta da....:D

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    One dog
     
  18. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    LOL. Whips work.

    My hair is a little shorter too and I carry a martini in one hand and a hand grenade in the other and I'm about to run out of estrogen. :eek:
     

Share This Page