Pup needs therapy!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My dog Pup has behaved rather neurotically since she came back home after being missing for 5 days (and living in a field). She follows me everywhere, at every moment. Literally. As I write she is sitting under the computer next to my feet. Comes with me to the bathroom. Wants to sit or lie on my stomach when I am sitting on the sofa. Closeness is good but... this is a bit much! Any canine psychology ideas as to how to get her to achieve healthy independance once more?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika... K2 would tell you that what you have now is a LAP-dog! (she had to train our two how to be lap dogs... 'cause it isn't in the nature of a 65 lb dog!!)

    How much have you worked with her on obedence training and tricks? That's the best way to break the cycle. Give her some really intensive brain work, and she'll have to go "sleep it off". Once she has them mastered, you can use the commands to shape her behavior....

    Example: Does she have her own little dog-bed or basket or something? (if not, get one) Teach her the command for "go bed". It will take a while to train this, but she should be able to go there and stay there, on command. THEN, when you want to get some work done, put the bed down where she can see you without being on top of you, and... tell her to "go bed".

    You can't teach a dog about negatives. They don't understand that you do NOT want them doing X or Y. They can only be taught what you DO want... and sometimes, it's all in how you put it. Teach them what to do "instead"... replace the unwanted behavior with a "wanted" behavior... dogs love to please. Pup will be more than pleased to learn something new if it really pleases YOU (and if you can relate to her that you are "pleased")
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Ah... it's exactly like dealing with J then :)
    Haven't taught Pup anything. She came to me at 8 years old, perfectly obedient and beautifully trained. Can't teach an old dog new tricks does come to mind but... I could give her a treat if she lies on a cushion, I guess. She doesn't have a basket any more as she didn't use it and so I gave it away. Ha, now she is licking my feet!
    Maybe it will just wear off after a bit....
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks - it just takes a bit more work.

    And... it doesn't need to be a "basket". Dog blanket? old fluffy towel? cute little rug? Anything that is highly portable and "hers".
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I do hope that Pup can get past the anxiety and regains some confidence. Our big boxer came to us with anxiety issues four years ago and still behaves the way Pup is behaving. Well, not all the time but too much of the time. My husband thinks it is sweet and it drives me NUTS. DDD
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I actually often find it fairly easy to teach older dogs, longer attention spans. lol

    This behavior will disappear over time. Nichole went through it with a cat that got out and was gone a few days before she found her. Lasted a few weeks and was gone. Pup is just afraid of losing you again.

    I don't think it would be much different than teaching a child. I'd go about the normal routine and expect from her what you normally would. When she does well, praise her. Maybe a few extra lovies wouldn't hurt either. But getting back into the normal house routine will make her feel secure because she knows what to expect.

    You could practice being "gone" from her and make it positive by like say going out the front door for a few minutes (maybe 3 mins to start with), returning and giving her a treat for being a good girl. Shows her you are coming back, treat makes it even more positive. This was how I had to break Molly of her separation anxiety as a very young dog. And I imagine that is exactly what you're dealing with here. Having been lost from you for so long, she now is having separation anxiety. After a while Molly realized that no matter how long I was gone, I'd come home again.

    So far Maggie is nervous when I leave but not the same anxiety as Molly had......still I make sure to greet her with plenty of affection the moment I come in the door to reassure her. It's just a habit now. lol

    If you have to be gone a long time you can make certain to rub your scent on something she likes, so she can cuddle it while you're away. They also have these "storm" vests that help with anxiety, but since hers is grounded in an actual event I'm not sure how it would work for her.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Others have already given you great advice. And it will get better over time.

    But it is total nonsense that old dog wouldn't learn new tricks. Of course they learn. And teaching new things is a perfect way to take her mind to something. And to be honest, it could be very good for J if he could teach Pup. Children really learn many valuable skills while teaching animals. Mostly things like patience, having to stay positive and not show frustration, when something doesn't work right away etc. So it could be a good idea if you would first learn how to train a dog with positive methods and could later teach J to train Pup. Of course you would need to be right there to help him even later so he wouldn't get frustrated and retaliate to Pup, J is still very young. But training animals have always been very useful exercise for my kids, it taught them a lot, same as horseback riding. You just to be very clear, that animal is not stupid or bad, if they doesn't understand what child wants but child has to find better way to tell it for them.

    But for Pup right now, one useful trick is to make her work for her food. Best way to put a dog to work is give them some nose work. It is really calming for them. For example if her food is not too messy, you could hide a food in small portions around the house. Or use her food as a treat while teaching her to find something you have 'lost.' Or just teach her to follow the trail (maybe hide and seek with J?)
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would teach her little by little to sit on her own. Two feet away, 10 seconds, praise and treat. Four feet away, 20 seconds, praise and treat. Make her wait until you come to her with the treat.

    It sounds as though she was traumatized pretty badly. Just lots of love and let her know that you're there and she's safe. I don't have any other ideas than that...
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your various ideas. Actually, thinking about it, she didn't start doing it until a couple of days after she got back - and maybe I helped create it with all the extra petting and fussing that I and J were giving her, making her dependent in some way? Anyway, I think rewarding her with treats when she sits away seems a good idea and giving her a treat when I come back. Unfortunately (if J's passport turns up in time), we are just about to go away for six weeks... but she goes to stay with a family she knows well and where she seems happy.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It could be too that she will get back to normal all on her own, given a little time. I'm sure that being without you and being lost in a strange place was extremely traumatic for her. She lost you once and now she's determined not to let you out of her sight so it doesn't happen again! She should get over it with time though.

    I adopted my youngest Boston, Trace, from the Humane Society. He had been found sick and injured, wandering around in a State park near here. From his injuries they surmised that he had been thrown out of a moving car and left there to die. When I first got him, he was happy and friendly but very afraid of going outside, especially at night. He was terrified of being abandoned again. I finally got him to walk with me outside on a leash. He would walk a few steps in front of me but at night he would keep turning around constantly to make sure I was still there, that he hadn't been left alone again. It took a while but he finally decided that I wasn't going anywhere and he relaxed about it and stopped worrying. Your little one will too, it will just take a little time to get over it. That had to be a terrifying experience for her!
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Amazing people's cruelty to animals, isn't it? Almost as amazing as our cruelty to each other.

    Pup seems a bit "better" today. She has gone off to sit under the shade of a big horse chestnut tree, below the house...
  12. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I love adopting a dog that is already trained!!! So nice and easy and they just seem to fit right in.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Ha, yes, Jody. It's important to know one's limitations sometimes and my skills set definitely doesn't include puppy training :)
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh - and I forgot to say that it is good to hear that old dogs relish new tricks...