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Heeler-mystery-dog cross. Mother was a working queensland heeler, father a mystery dog in the night. I am guessing, based on her build and hunting instincts (she has a heck of a good nose), that the dad was probably something along the line of a german pointer or catahoula.

Smartest dog I've ever known -- she's spooky scary smart. (And I come from a background of owning and working with heelers and aussies and the like.) Also extremely high energy. Very sensitive, soft, wants to please. Extremely athletic -- not only is she the smartest dog I've ever worked with, she's also easily the most athletic. When she runs, she looks like she's flying. She hurtles over fallen trees like she has wings. She stops so quick she slides like a cutting horse. She runs literal circles around my quad when I'm doing 15-20mph. I've clocked her at 30mph -- she was running out in front of a quad and I had the quad going flat out trying to keep up with her. She can run for miles and miles without getting winded.

(Notably, she listens really well even when running hard, and she loves to run -- nice trait for a dog I'd like to use for squirrel hunting and tracking. She has great recall even when she's going flat out after a bunny or squirrel or raccoon.)

And she was six months old two days ago. She's not a big dog, either. Maybe forty pounds, with long legs.

I LOVE this dog. She's basically obedience trained already, allowing for typical puppy impulsiveness and a normal lack of attention span. She has a really good nose and tracking instincts. She's SO smart. I'm thinking I'll start her on hunting squirrels as soon as the grey squirrel season starts here (on the 31st). Also want to teach her to hunt for elk antlers as they sell for $$$ and we are in the middle of elk central here. Might try to get involved with the local search and rescue groups, too. She really does have the nose for it.

Here's my problem: She's a wuss! I know some of that is "puppy" and some of that is me being used to heelers (she does NOT act like a heeler at all). However, sometimes she's just over the top wimpy.

She was running downhill a few days ago, stepped wrong, and landed chin first. I thought she'd broken her neck because she didn't even try to get up -- she just lay motionless, yelping like she'd been skinned alive. Scared the daylights out of me because she wouldn't move for a couple of minutes. She was totally fine other than a nickle sized scrape on her chin.

Another example: she stepped on a prickly pear today, and had a cactus spine in her foot. Okay, yeah, it hurts, but you'd have thought she'd broken her leg by the way she cried. She wouldn't even try to walk. Most other dogs, by her age, in this country, learn to pull cactus spines out of their feet with their teeth pretty darn quickly, because cactus is everywhere.

Every cat on the place has her completely intimidated. I've seen her cower on the ground screaming because a cat reached through a fence and whacked her on the nose. I couldn't even find a scratch.

So ... anything I can do to toughen her up a bit? Just basic confidence building exercises or something else -- anyone have any tips? I don't expect her to be crazy tough, and I know she's still very much a puppy, but good grief. :facepalm: It's embarrassing when your dog flings herself to the ground and screams like she was dying over a cactus spine. Seriously?
 

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LOL! Love the pup for what it's GOOD qualities are!

On the other hand, confidence-building training wouldn't hurt! Find something the dog is good at and have the dog do it OFTEN, with lots of praise and treats. Sounds like she'd be a good human tracker, something that can come in handy.

Mon
 

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yes just love her work with her lotsa long walks (runs, whatever it is that you do outside with her- 1;1 time) this will all build her confidence.... she will grow up and it will get better, but keep it positive...
 

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The stupid dogs will run until there foot pads are raw. That's also a stupid husband that will let them do such.

I like what I here of her, "she's spooky scary smart".

We are all in this for the long haul.
 

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If you plan on squirrel or rabbit hunt with it take a 22 rifle or .410 out on a slow day and shoot it to see how it reacts to the noise. That will tell you how sensitive it is to loud noises like a gun.
 

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Wall, if it were my dog I'd have to keep it under my wing while it passed through the scary stuff. When she knows she will be saved from harm, cured of hurt, and kept close, trust and courage will grow. Cured of hurt means instant response & distraction from the owie, like rubbing your arm to take the pain away from getting a shot. Keep her smiling and she'll toughen up. It can be hell to have a stoic dog.

And if she has bat ears I'd be careful not to shoot a gun close by - it can damage hearing from a single exposure and kill one of their most exceptional senses. Heelers are apt to go deaf in old age often enough. They don't have that flap over the ear drum and any strong percussive sound (hammering) can really affect them - and it hurts.
 

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Don’t get too concerned. Setters can be very sensitive. If it is her nature, then it is in her nature. As for shooting, have someone get quite far away and shoot off a gun while she is eating. She should stop, alert, then go back to eating. Do this every time she eats and move closer just a couple of feet so until the gun can go off right next to her and she accepts it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
She has flop ears.

She's fine around guns. Loud noises in general don't bother her.

She's not a anxious or overly fearful dog per se, just a major drama queen when it comes to anything painful. I suspect she would be a fearful dog if she was treated harshly or had nervous owners, but that's not a problem with us. ;-)
 

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You have a precocious puppy, but she is still a puppy. You have to allow her to be a puppy sometimes, even when other times she seems more mature for her age. She is sensitive, and clearly she is physically sensitive as well. I don't think you can decide what is a big enough owie for someone else -- especially not another species! She's not a wuss. She's a puppy.
 

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I must agree with Snoozy, i.e. "...she's not a wuss. She's a puppy..."

Let her be that puppy, feeling her pain as she needs to without your making some big deal over it. (The way I did my pup when she got hurt, was to flip her over, rub my hands all over her to make sure she was not badly hurt and to let her know I cared then walk away. The one time she was badly hurt, I doctored it and then walked away.) As smart as your pup is, the more mature she gets and the more experiences she has, the better she will handle the painful situations. Just don't make a big fuss about her "wussy behaviors"!
 

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Wonder if she's getting her fun on and then WHAP! "Waahhhh, I didn't think THAT was going to happen..." because she IS a smarter than average dog. No expectation no disappointment.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wonder if she's getting her fun on and then WHAP! "Waahhhh, I didn't think THAT was going to happen..." because she IS a smarter than average dog. No expectation no disappointment.
This. This describes her perfectly.

She's so athletic that she's physically capable of doing way more than most dogs her age, but I think she lacks the experience to recognize potential hazards and to know what her limits are. And then when she does get hurt, it's a shock. WAAAAH. I have to keep reminding myself that she's a puppy.

She tried to dive through a barb wire fence today and scratched herself. By the noises she made, you'd have thought she was skinned alive. Then she realized my other dog was leaving her behind (other dog was chasing a bunny) and she picked herself up and took off running again.

She learned about not snapping at meat bees the hard way today too. She's got a fat lip now. :facepalm: Flies are tasty, but meat bees bite back.
 

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Cygnet, now your puppy is sounding like my Karakachan when she was a puppy....she jumped off a rather high retainer wall when she was only 8 weeks old. She did this twice (landing on her head once and on her chest once); then decided to walk around it. ROFL Puppies can be wonderfully courageous and inexperienced! Sounds like your dog feels its pain and learns from its experiences. Great dog!
 

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LOL. I call this "puppy overreaction" Every time one gets a little boo boo or is scared, you would think they were sounding their death cry.

I do have to giggle at my 5 month old puppy Pearl. You know how human kids will get a cut and cry harder before you even touch it? Yep. Today Pearl was trying to play with Cammy's newborn puppies and Cammy snapped at her. Nicked her just a teeny bit on the nose, so it was bleeding looking much worse than it really was. From the way she cried, she was telling me a tall tale about how mean old Cammy had bit her nose clean off. And when I went to look at it? Oh boy! The closer I tried to look at it the louder she cried. I finally just grabbed her and wiped it clean with a baby wipe. Every time she knew I was trying to see it she would cry as loud as dogly possible. But then she fell asleep and I cleaned it out better and she didn't even notice until I scratched her ears and told her what a silly baby she was. She proceeded to tell me she was in horrible pain.

Puppies. Lol
 
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