Need some advice about neurotic dog

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by JanO, May 22, 2005.

  1. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm glad this forum is here now.. I need some help with a dog. My dh has a little queensland cross that is about 1 1/2 years old. She's not a bad dog, she's just extreemly neurotic. She barks at "everything", is very nervous around new people, and doesn't seem to have all her eggs in one basket per se'. She's affectionate to us, and has never actually hurt anybody. That's not saying that I trust her enough not to bite at some point in time. I'm really afraid to take her with us to the new house because odds are she's going to be after my nieghbors critters, and my own critters. I've suggested to dh that we should find her a new home, but he want's to keep her. What can I do to get her out of this, if anything? I've never had a dog like this before and to be honest, I don't think I really want one now.
     
  2. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    That's a tough situation. For starters since you can't trust her (whether with critters or people) I wouldn't let her have any free time off leash or out of a SECURE location (probably a kennel or chain :waa: ). If there is an obedience trainer near where you live now or where you are moving I would either take a group class (on leash only) and/or have some private lessons with the trainer. Even if she is obedient for you at home, going to a class can help solidify your status as alpha and get her used to being obedient when distracted. What can possibly be more distracting than a room full of dogs? Does she need more exercise? Most heelers I know need tons of exercise. Just turning her out in the backyard to exercise herself is NOT enough. If you or your DH walk or run take her with you (if you are nervous put a basket muzzle on her). Get her a job! Herding or agility or something to stimulate her mind. Hope you find a workable solution for all of you.
     

  3. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    I agree with GoldenMom. You have what is, arguably, the most driven breed on the planet! It is also one of the most trainable. Find her something to do, then do it A LOT! You might both really enjoy it. If you go online, you might be able to find a herding trainer (the AKC site has links). The one near me charges $25 per lesson using her sheep, then $20 per session for you to come and use her sheep by yourself. You may just find yourself with a first class working dog. By the way, according to a book by Bruce Fogle DVM that I have here, the ACD is the least likely of any breed to accept intruders and new people.
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your dog might do well in agility or flyball.

    If you are worried about how she relates to new people, train her. If she hasn't been obedience trained, start now.

    With her on leash (once she's trained to walk on leash) walk her to someone she knows, give her a cue (I use, "say hello") and have the person give her a treat. Once she is approaching this known person for the treat, have the person lure the dog into a sit before giving the treat. Once trained to this, add a rub on the neck. Later, use a treat 90% of the time, then 75% percent, etc. Do this with all the people she trusts before practicing with a person she doesn't know. she will know when she hears the cue, that you trust this person and she can go to them and get a pet. This is basic socializing.
     
  5. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    My DD has a queensland cross and yes he's pretty neurotic too. I think it's because he's a city dog. He comes to visit his country cousins at "doggie dude ranch" when my daughter goes on a trip. When he leaves, after about a week, he's much calmer and stays that way for a while.

    Everything that's been said is so true. They need stimulation, space to run and to put that mind to work.
     
  6. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh, I agree with everything you all have said. She does seem to be very intelligent, and driven. She loves to play ball, and will even bring it back and set it in your lap if your sitting down. My biggest issue is the barking at everything. I like the idea of her being protective, especially since DH is on the road a lot. But the fact that she barks at every little sound is driving me crazy! :bash: It doesn't matter what it is... if I take a glass out of the cupbord and she hears it close, she's barking like an idiot. Taking her out on a leash is an expierence in itself. She is either trying to run on her hind feet pulling you behind her, or she's behind you because there is something in the big world that has her scared. More often then not it's something stupid like a kid on a bike.

    We are moving in another week to a 6 acres place, so she'll have lots of room to run, and hopfully she won't discover my nieghbors livestock. After we get settled I'll have to see about professional trainning for her. I know that this is DH's dog, but since I'm the one that has to live with her while he's away, I sure need to figure something out fast or I'm going to shoot her out of despiration. I also have a basset hound that is going to give me grief until I get some fences up, but I'm prepared for him. Both of them are going to have to be on tie outs when they aren't in the house at least for a little while. Oh well... :rolleyes: I can't do much about that.

    Thanks for your help
    Jan
     
  7. Oceanrose

    Oceanrose Driftin' Away

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    Jan, take her to a herding trainer to be evaluated. She doesn't need exercise, she needs a JOB. Her barking at everything is nervous energy and her trying to create that job. So is her psycho behavior on lead. If you or your hubby can't get her involved in herding, agility, flyball, or something, let's find someone who can so you don't have to shoot her. She's someone's dream dog for sure. Where are you located?

    Heather
     
  8. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Heather we are moving to W. Washington next week. I haven't had a chance to look for any trainers up there yet, but I assume that there is somebody that can work with her. I really wish I could find a program like that prison in NC? I think it is. From what I've seen, and heard the inmates do a wonderful job with dogs. (My nieghbors brother is in charge of a prison program.)
     
  9. Oceanrose

    Oceanrose Driftin' Away

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    I used to live in Seattle and know some people there. There actually is a prison program up there, but I'd think she'd be an excellent performance dog for someone who really wants to do major agility. She can't do AKC but she can do NADAC and USDAA. There are some great trainers in that area overall that would be willing to help you out whether you want to keep her, or place her with someone.

    Heather

     
  10. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Heather we are going to be south of Olympia. I would love to find somebody that can help. If we can get these problems worked out we'd keep her. I just don't have the knowledge to do it without some assistance. I'd know she would be much happier if she was doing something. I'd be much happier too if she was doing something besides what she's doing now.

    If you can refer me so somebody that would be able to work with her please PM their name and number to me. I'll give them a call as soon as I can after we get up there. Thank you so much.
     
  11. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the dog needs a job. I've been watching the Dog Whisperer on cable and Caeser Milan is amazing. I know he also has videos and a book. Let's see... there was one dog who barked at everything, especially the toaster. He makes it look easy. He put a choke chain on the dog and would give a tug on it when the dog did the unwanted behavior and also make a "tsh" (dissapproval) sound. He would insist the dog look up and make eye contact with him. He says its very important to be the pack leader yourself and give off an air of relaxed confidence. For the neurotic dog who would run back and forth in the backyard until he fell down from exhaustion, he trained him to run on a treadmill, which he said gave the dog a purpose (? Not sure about that one, but it worked).

    Anyway, I'm sure I'm not explaining it very good, but if you can catch the show on TV or find the book or video at the library, it would be a start. Hope the move is going well.

    Peg
    http://www.cookinkids.com
     
  12. Looking4ewes

    Looking4ewes Well-Known Member

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    Also consider what you are feeding the dog. Is the food too high in proten, resulting in excess energy for the exercise provided?
     
  13. mwhit

    mwhit Well-Known Member

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    I do not have experience with this breed of dog, but one thing to remember is that she will likely calm down as she gets older especially if you can get her some training-- 1 1/2 is still basically puppy so there's still hope. My pup (7 months) is also very neurotic-- he barks at everything from blowing leaves to his reflection in the window, but he is learning what 'shut up' means. My older dog was almost 2 before I could trust him to not harass people-- he is now almost six and the best dog I've ever owned-- I'm glad I did not give in to the 'lets get rid of him' thoughts I had. It did take alot of hard work and patience, but be consistent-- do not ignore the behavior sometimes and punish other times-- you need to be very firm to establish that you are the boss! He now knows that if he is not good he will go to his chain-- all I have to do is say 'do you want your chain' and he responds by stopping what he is doing, laying down and looking sad!
     
  14. Kasidy

    Kasidy Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everything the others have said. I have border collies and know how much exercise and mental stimulation herding breeds need.

    But I would like to make a plea for the safety of the dog----I was quite disturbed by your hope that the dog "won't discover the neighbors' livestock" when she is no longer chained up. We are ranchers; in the last 15 years more and more small acreage ranchettes have popped up within a few miles of us. Many people seem to feel that since they are in the country their dogs should be free to run. Since we have cattle and sheep this does not sit well with us!! The first time we try to contact the owners and tell them to keep their dogs penned up. Unfortunately, we can't always determine who the dogs belong to or the owners are in big time denial. So several times my husband (who loves dogs) has had to SS&S. Please make sure this does not happen to your dog. Build a really good fence around the yard to keep her--and the local livestock--safe.
     
  15. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

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    It seems kind of odd to me to have a Queensland barking so much. Was she around other barking dogs at some point in time?

    The good news is you should be able to break her. Queenslands like many herding dogs are bred to be silent workers. So it should be in her nature to be quiet.

    My guess is you need to exercise her while training. She may have too much engery to actually calm down and listen to you. When someone yells and screams for her to be quiet, it just makes her more hyper.

    This is what I do with my Australian Cattle dog mix that is about 1 year old. We go for a long walk (I jog her for short stints since I am not much of a jogger). The walk helps to get some of the energy out. Then when we get back, I let her rest for about 10 minutes. I just rub and massage her (this is very relaxing and calming). After that I work on whatever we need to work on.

    For barking I would try doing whatever it is that makes her bark. For example get someone to knock on the door if that causes her to bark. Then I would correct. A correction is as simple as saying No or my favorite ANK! This breed is so smart it shouldn't take long.

    Now for long term care of the dog, it is just like the others have already told you, she will need a job. Also, queenslands are very smart and independent dogs. That is why many people say they are difficult to train. The truth is they look for strong and stable leaders. If you are going to loose you temper, do it away from the dog. Hit whatever you want, swear all you want, and kick a few things, but don't ever let the dog see you. It sounds wierd, but you can loose their respect quickly.