Help for terrified puppy

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by alix, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. alix New Member

    We have a baby gate door so that the dogs do not go up and down the stairs alone. My husband last night carried both to bring them down, and he tripped, and injured himself badly, we did think he had broken hip, but he is fine. While falling, of course there was a lot of noise, plus, he must have hold the babies very tightly to protect them. Sunny was terrified, and automatically peed on him, but other than that, they are fine. Since this happened, Sunny is hiding from him, he is terrified to be near him, but, oddly, at night he slept all night with his head on my husband’s pillow, which is unusual, since he normally sleeps around my feet. I figured that’s a good sign, that he is no longer scared of him. This morning is the same as last night, when he hears my husband’s limping footsteps, he hides under my desk. He wouldn’t even go to eat, because the bowl is close to him, I had to bring it under the desk so that he eats it. So far my hubby talking to him with soft loving voice has not helped, nor trying to give him treats.
    In an hour I am taking him to the clinic, I wasn't comfortable living the pups alone, so I asked my neighbour in doggysitting, hope that works out fine. On top of everything else, in 7 minutes, 11:00 am, Carnaval starts here that will last for 1 week, 1 week of parads, fireworks, loud music from the street etc. this will surely not help on an already terrified baby :dogsad:

    Any suggestions?

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Not long after we got Ellie as a wee pup, Jan's Mum had left a cup of tea on the floor near her feet. Ellie somehow, while trying to jump up to Jan's Mum, landed her foot in the hot drink. She yelped, and instantly associated the feeling with Jan's Mum, and wouldn't go anywhere near her for two or three days. But it did resolve itself after that.

    If it were me, I wouldn't start to talk in a more soft voice, as that may just confirm to the dog that something drastic has changed. As hard as it might seem, I would try to continue on as normal. The dog will come around in time, I'm sure of it.

    Another thing that might be worth trying is for your husband to sit on the floor at the dog's height a little more than usual, so that there are more opportunities for the dog to move closely to him. I had to do this when Ellie became fearful of my height. Though I wouldn't interact for a day or so, just let the dog build its confidence back up again by letting it move around closely to your husband.
  3. alix New Member

    OK, will suggest that to him. I wonder if he will also associate the noise coming from outside with this. He just looks like he is being punished, he is accepting me, but is being very causious :(
  4. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Sure, the extra noise isn't going to help, but again, just try to keep everything as normal as possible.
  5. Jean Cote Administrator

    You are going to have to do some damage control.

    For the next few days or week, make sure that your husband does not reprimand the dogs for anything, you can do it. Then ask him to keep treats in his pockets and to throw them treats while he walks around the house. He can even get the dogs to follow him while he walks up and down the steps and give them treats for it.

    Once they figure out that he is no threat, they'll stop hiding from him. They're just a little scared right now.
  6. alix New Member

    thanks, I will try that. At the moment the noise from the carnaval is making things worst, he is not even taking treats :( I am so very sad to see him like this, I won't even go for walks for couple of days, because it is really party outside. I will cook liver tonight, to add few pieces in his dog food, normally the smell of the liver cooking drives him nuts, hope it works :dogsad:
  7. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I know it might seem hard but try to remain upbeat. Dogs are forgivers and if you remain upbeat, he will follow your lead soon enough...
  8. bipa New Member

    Alix, you're actually dealing with a couple of problems here that are inter-related in terms of provoking fear and anxiety. The traumatic event of falling down the stairs has already placed your pup into an anxious state. If that was all that was going on, then after a few days of going about life as if nothing had happened, it probably would have passed. But now the anxiety is being reinforced by the constant noise from the street, along with totally random firecrackers and other loud startling noises. Unfortunately, given how long Carnival lasts, your pup could end up in a non-stop state of fear and anxiety for the next week. Not good.

    After the first traumatic event of falling down the stairs, your dog's body produced glucocorticoids, which are like stress hormones. They place the dog into a heightened state of alert, and stay in the body for the next few days before gradually tapering off and going back to normal levels, assuming nothing else happens to scare the dog. It is a survival mechanism that all animals and humans have. But if there's another frightening incident soon after the first, then the levels are actually bumped up even higher. The dog becomes even jumpier, and may react to things that didn't bother him before. The "clock" is reset, and it takes an even longer period of subsequent peace and quiet for the hormones to go back to normal levels. After Carnival is over, it will take at least a week of quiet time for the hormone levels to settle down.

    Excercise is one way of helping a dog reduce stress. I don't mean training, because in such a state of heightened alertness and fear, most dogs can't learn or even really focus. Would it be possible for you to take a break and drive out of the city for the dogs to enjoy a romp in the woods? Somewhere quiet and peaceful, where the dogs might be able to relax a bit? A really long, tiring walk is a great stress buster, assuming nothing happens during the walk to raise anxiety levels.

    Another thing that might help is calling your vet and asking for D.A.P. which stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromones. It comes in a spray, and can sometimes help calm an anxious puppy by mimicking the pheromone that the mother dog produces to calm and reassure her puppies. If your vet doesn't carry it, then he may have Bach Blüten which is a homeopathic flower remedy. My vet carries it, so you should find it easily.

    Watch and find out where in the house your dog seems most comfortable. Is it under the bed? Then leave the bedroom door open. Is it behind or under the sofa? Maybe move his crate right next to the sofa. What you want to try and do is create or provide a "safe place" where your dog might be able to feel a little more secure. Whatever you do, don't shut the dog into a crate, because that will create a negative association with the crate which is the last thing you want. Some dogs will keep moving from place to place when they are nervous, others will find a corner and curl up and just shiver. Let your dog express his fear freely, and as long as he isn't howling and upsetting the neighbours, or damaging objects around the house, then just ignore him.

    It is very important that you show through your body language that everything is fine, normal, that there's nothing to worry about. That means no excessive cuddling or petting. If your dog is actively showing fear then the best thing you can do to reassure him is to simply go about your daily routine as normally as possible. Put his dog dish back where it was. When he's hungry enough, he'll go back to it. Missing a meal or two won't hurt him, and hunger can be a major motivator in combatting fear. Obviously keep an eye on his food intake, and if it lasts for too long where the health of the puppy is questioned then do something. Maybe get your husband to hand feed the pup a few meals.

    Best case scenario is that after seeing you act all normal over the next few days, the dog will start to learn and accept that nothing bad is happening and that he can ignore the strange noises coming from outside. For longer-term desensitizing, you can get audio CDs of fireworks and loud noises to begin the process. You start by playing the CDs very quietly, at a low enough threshold that the dog isn't bothered. Then over a long period of time you slowly and gradually increase the volume so the dog gets used to it. Definitely something I would recommend to get the dog prepared for next year's Carnival, or even for Silvester.

    Most importantly, YOU have to relax! The dog will look for cues from your body language. Make sure you're giving him the right message. :dogsmile:

  9. luna may New Member

    Wow there... Did you guys ever think about being dog psichologists? You really understand the way they think! :dogblink:
  10. alix New Member

    Thanks Bipa, and wow.
    I know I should relax, as he might feel my anxiety. The reason I am so stressed is, my previous dog at this age experienced a trauma, a 2 year old boy hitting her head with a bone, the actual fear passed, but throuhout her entire life she remained agressive towards children.
    Today it is the big day of Carneval, tomorrow the noise will be less, but Saturday and Sunday it will be even worse. I called the vet, and they closed at noon, and she advised me that tomorrow she will be open, and they normally deal with only cases of pets stressed from the noise. I wonder if the pharmacy could provide medication if it doesn't improve? I will wait till tomorrow, if nothing works.
    So far, he has he is most comfortable at his usual place, beside my comupter in his bed. I succeeded to have some excitement over his favorite toy, and now he has cuttled with it and sleeping quitly. your idea of a drive and walks is good, I need to get out of NRW to do that, so I will schedual a nice weekend out probably.
    basically now I am dealing with 2 male problems, baby's anxiety, and hubby's phisical pain and guilt of what happened :dogph34r:
  11. marieke New Member

    Aaw, the poor little smite... I'm glad your husband is okay (-ish) though. Think you got some great advice already so I'm just wishing you luck with it.
  12. luna may New Member

    I agree with Marieke- she sort of spoke up for me ;)
  13. luna may New Member

    ...And Luna's official spokeswoman." :LOL:
  14. emmasmamma Guest

    If you have trouble getting into the vet, I know our local chain pet store has the pheromones for relieving stress, You might try your local pet store. I both your husband and dogs feel better soon!
  15. marieke New Member

    :doglaugh: that's gonna be my new signature!

    We could easily be soulmates.
  16. bipa New Member

    Sorry Alix, but I can't help you with your husband. You could try posting on TT and asking for advice there. I'm sure BadDoggie would be able to come up with some memorable comments and suggestions. :dogtongue2:
  17. alix New Member

    Thanks everyone for being there, it all has been helpful for my moral. I am sure that Sunny will be fine soon. Hmmm hubby being a German I think he will get totally massacered on TT :msngiggle:
  18. emmasmamma Guest

    It must be the week for falling down stairs! I spent the afternoon in the ER with my daughter fell down the stairs trying to keep from stepping on her roomates cat. She dislocated her shoulder which had to be reduced and has to wear asling for 6 weeks, but the good news is the cat is fine.:dogwub:
  19. alix New Member

    :yipi::yipi::yipi:Baby is back to normal, in fact, last night he played with us for so long, never done that much before. I am so relieved. Cannot say the same for husband though, he was feeling better, went to help his friend to cut some trees, and fell from the tree :msncry: maybe we can start husband training lessons:dogmad:
  20. bipa New Member

    Training Hubby:

    Step 1: get collar and leash
    Step 2: get creative :dogph34r:
    Step 3: ...Hubby just told me to stop at step 2 and leave it there :dogtongue2:
    he says there's no way he's gonna go out and climb trees when he's got a creative wife at home :dognowink:

    /end training lesson

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