Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

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Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Fri Feb 10 2017, 15:13

Hi there,

Brand new to the forum! I've read some posts (I particularly love the 'rehab stories') and thought I'd have a go. Just a few days ago we rescued a beautiful Staffie x French Bulldog - she's called Suzie, she's 2 years old and she's an absolute sweetheart. She follows me around everywhere which is adorable but does make me think she might have some abandonment issues / separation anxiety problems.

She's obviously had a loving home at some point in her life, as she's housetrained and knows some basic commands (sit, stay, paw), but the rescue centre we got her from reckons she recently had puppies (and her teats definitely look like like this is the case).

Suzie's great - but she does sometimes get a bit nervous of people, particularly men. A friend came over to say hello last night and she barked at him a lot. We got her to calm down and my friend gave her a treat and she quietened down a lot. She's also barked at 2 men in the street, and a few men at work (I work in a dog-friendly office and she's been snoozing by my side for the past few days). Everyone at work loves her, but I'm concerned that the occasional bark might turn into something more, and want to get it nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

Any ideas much appreciated!
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by -Ian- on Fri Feb 10 2017, 15:45

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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by -Ian- on Fri Feb 10 2017, 15:53

Welcome to the forum from Flo & me Big Grin

It's great that you've decided to post and not just lurk, you'll get far more out of the forum now. Well done on the rescue, Suzie sounds great and can't wait to see some pictures of her.

It's a hard call knowing what's going on behaviour wise with a rescue as normal they don't come with a full history so all you can do is second guess. You could well be right with the anxiety thing but it's early days so she'll need time to adjust and find her feet. With regard the barking at men, is it all men ? she is obviously fine with you so that makes me think it isn't just men. It could be a situation thing or simply the unknown as she is new to your environment.

You did exactly the right thing with your friend and the treats, it's all about building trust and confidence. It is early days so try not to worry too much about the barking just reassure her so that what she barks at isn't viewed as a threat if that makes sense.


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Fri Feb 10 2017, 16:04

Hi Ian and Flo! Thanks for the response. I'm really keen to make the most of this forum (and oo and ahh over all the beautiful Staffies).

It's definitely not all men - it seems to generally be taller/larger men who are a bit noisy (we all know a few of them), but it's hard to generalise. She wasn't too big a fan of a builder in a hard hat and a delivery boy with a big bag and helmet, so who knows? Someone tripped over a phone at work and she barked at that too.

Re: the reassuring her - should I try and introduce her to whoever she is barking at? Let her sniff them/ask them to get on her level, etc. if possible?
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by -Ian- on Fri Feb 10 2017, 16:13

You could do that or simply reassure her that all is ok by petting her and talking in a calm voice. It'll be an interesting first week or so seeing how she settles with some things and perhaps not others Smile


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Mistys Mum on Fri Feb 10 2017, 17:48

Welcome from me and Misty. How lovely to hear of the rescue! We got Misty when she was just over a year old and she would have a meltdown on every walk as she had never been outside on a walk before. She barked at everyone and everything. We have learnt to distract her with the watch me command. Basically when she looks at us she gets a treat. The find it command is good too, we throw food on the ground to stop her focusing on people etc. It's taken us nearly two years and she is still nervous but she is a different dog now, much more confident. When people approach us in the street I quickly feed misty treats so she associates people with food which is definitely a good thing! 

You will definitely get there! Ps she is absolute stunning in your avatars. X


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Fri Feb 10 2017, 18:06

Hi Misty + Mum!

I think we'll start carrying some treats with us then and give it go! What do you recommend as a cheap treat? I hear cheese is good (basically I don't want to use her nice treats for everything - or should I? Happy to be advised).

My only reservation with this is could there a possibility that treating her when she's nervous about someone / something could be seen as rewarding nervousness? Keen not to promote the wrong behaviours.
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Mistys Mum on Fri Feb 10 2017, 19:09

Hiya, 

I would definitely use cheese, basically anything smelly as that gets their attention. Don't worry about rewarding the wrong behaviour. You are rewarding her for looking at you which is a good behaviour. Look at me, here have a treat. She will also like misty learn that when there is something she isn't sure about a quick look at you gets a treat so therefore what she was scared of can't be that scary. Misty now looks at us most of the time when people walk past us and we treat her every time ( she's a very food orientated dog!) 

It Wii take time but it's definitely do able. They are very sensitive souls and do need reassurance. I never leave the house without treats, that would be a recipe for disaster for us!.


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Jenc on Fri Feb 10 2017, 19:39

Hi from me & Katy, well done on rescuing Suzie Big Grin She looks adorable Love Struck Great advice given above, Katy is not overly keen on some men especially wearing hats!


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by -Ian- on Fri Feb 10 2017, 20:58

willsuzie wrote:Hi Misty + Mum!

I think we'll start carrying some treats with us then and give it go! What do you recommend as a cheap treat? I hear cheese is good (basically I don't want to use her nice treats for everything - or should I? Happy to be advised).

My only reservation with this is could there a possibility that treating her when she's nervous about someone / something could be seen as rewarding nervousness? Keen not to promote the wrong behaviours.

Actually I would rate cheese as a really high value treat, dog biscuits are good cheap treats Wink


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by gillybrent on Fri Feb 10 2017, 22:14

Treats, treats, treats! But not necessarily from you... give the treats to whoever she's worried about & as soon as she's quiet & a little calmer ask them to drop the treat on the ground for her.

Once she's happy with that you can try getting them to actually hold the treat for her to take. Above all, make ALL associations with people (men & women) as good as you can, and she'll start to relax a bit.

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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Mia05 on Fri Feb 10 2017, 22:48

Hello id get the person to sit at suzies level hold their palm out with a treat at the same time pay no attention to suzie both you and the person shes going to interact with. as soon as she comes to the persons hand get him to use a soft reassuring voice and you encourage her as well pat suzie let her know all is ok . Also tell the person to be steady and make no sudden movements. May take a few tries but the important thing is to gain her trust. Great advice gillybrent.xxx
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by LizP on Sat Feb 11 2017, 08:00

Hi and welcome from me and mine!

Great advice from everyone already - treats, treats, treats. And importantly let Suzie take her time with everyone she meets. It's much more threatening if someone approaches her, especially if they're towering over her, following her (which can be seen as chasing), and looking (aka staring) at her. If people who worry her squat down, eyes down, and hold a treat for her to come and get she'll find it easier.

Chaos was nervous of a lot of men when we first got him and he will still sometimes have a moment but a few seconds to let him look and a treat always does the trick.


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Mia05 on Sat Feb 11 2017, 08:22

Liz they never forget my o.h was the only man mia first had a liking with strange isn't it
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Sun Feb 12 2017, 00:08

All fantastic advice, thanks guys! We've got two friends coming over tomorrow for lunch - will definitely try this. She's a bit territorial (likes to have a little growl if she sees someone out of the window) so I think I might let her meet them outside (with treats) and get her on a little walk with them. What do you think?

Side note: we bathed her for the first time today. She kept trying to climb out of the tub but with some cheese and prayers we managed to get it done. She now smells fab!
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Mon Feb 13 2017, 14:00

Update: we had some friends over and she was a dream! She loved getting all the attention and ended up falling asleep in my friend's lap.

My OH has started making her treats: peanut butter, coconut oil and cinnamon mixed together and then put into ice cube trays and frozen. She loves them.
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by -Ian- on Mon Feb 13 2017, 15:56

Sounds like she's settling in just fine and with treats like that must be thinking she's landed on all 4 paws with you guys Big Grin


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Mia05 on Mon Feb 13 2017, 23:36

Willsuzie another good treat is natures menu you get beef ,chicken,lamb they are training treats i would also biy mia fish skins to take on walks with me. The higher the content of fish,beef, chicken is more beneficial. I would limit tuna mackarel to 2x a week as well as raw egg. Smile
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by stella on Tue Feb 14 2017, 18:50

hia from me and Sasha  Smile glad to hear Suzie is settling in


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Wed Feb 15 2017, 14:32

Things Suzie LOVES:

- Pig ears
- Beef bones (uncooked)
- Cheese (you guys were right)
- Fish skin

Will try to pop a few photos in soon
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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by willsuzie on Wed Feb 15 2017, 14:33



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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by -Ian- on Thu Feb 16 2017, 01:05

She's adorable Love Struck


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Re: Hello! New dog alert. Advice wanted!

Post by Inez Maria on Wed Apr 05 2017, 19:51

Hiya from me and Vinnie, Suzie looks adorable well done also on rescuing Big Grin


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