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Old October 29th, 2017, 11:18 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Exclamation Noise Anxiety-Laughing Guests

Hi there!

Iím a new member seeking help with my 1.5 year old rescue, Gracie. She seems to be a greyhound schnauzer mix and has been with us for just over a year. She is a genius of a dog with tricks, but her high energy seems to translate into anxiety.

She will whine excessively after seeing a dog/person theough the window, which we donít know how to correct. But that isnít the bigger issue, what I need help with is her meeting new people. She is very friendly and social, and it almost always only takes her a few minutes to warm up to a new guest. But when I decide to take her to a family gathering, itís different.

Early this year, 5 months after her adoption, I took her to a gathering at my aunts house. My goal was to socialize her and not leave her at home all alone for hours. The problem wasnít with my family, they hadnít met Gracie before but she warmed up to all of them quickly and they were considerate of her. But the family of my cousins wife werenít respectful at all and it caused problems.

They were very loud, laughing and clapping hysterically at times, and I noticed it was making Gracie anxious. She started barking anytime they started laughing, and at one point one of the women was standing and started clapping and Gracie jumped on her. Gracie did not lunge, I was right beside her and saw that she wasnít being aggressive at all, but more of a helpless gesture.

After seeing how uncomfortable Gracie was, I removed her from the area after the women ignored my plea to quiet down. I decided not to take her to large gatherings after this, but she does well with smaller ones. Itís just that now if thereís any loud sounds like laughing or clapping being made by several people at once, she will get anxious and eventually bark (when I say bark, itís never a bark at a person, but more in the general direction and she looks around a lot).

I want to take her to the Christmas gathering this year, but I want to do as much as I can to prepare her. Loudness canít be avoided with such a large group (family of 20-25), so I want to know what else I could do. Iím not really able to desensitize because i donít have access to a group of strangers to help. I know that exercise could help in calming her before the gathering, but not sure to what extent. What other methods could help? I donít want to avoid taking her forever.

Finallly, I would just like to clarify that my concern is not for any family friends, but more for Gracie. She is not aggressive at all in her nature, and to me itís clearly to do with fear of sudden loud noises. I donít want her fear to escalate and for ignorant guests to think her barking is aggression.

Thank you so much to any advice that could be given! ❤️

Valentina
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  #2  
Old October 30th, 2017, 07:52 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Location: edmonton - canada
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Please try not to take this the wrong way, but why are you expecting humans to appease your dog? She's in a comfort zone, and you're letting her stay within it.

What you're dealing with is called insecurity, and by removing the dog from the situation, you're going to nourish (reinforce) that insecurity and it's going to make it worse. Next time, try putting a leash on the dog, walk her around and get her to meet everyone. Show the dog that it's nothing to be concerned about, see if you can get people to interact with her when the noise is happening.

It's the same with dogs that are unsure of noises like thunder. I'll leash the dog and take it for a walk - show the dog that it's not something to be concerned about.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 08:40 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Thank you for replying Rhynes.

Im sorry if I made it seem that I want people to appease to her, which isnít exactly what I was trying to say. I wanted more cooperation, so that she wouldnít be as stressed in these situations. I understand that it is insecurity, a fear of the unknown noise. My point was that I would ideally like for her to be slowly introduced to the extent of the noise that happens in a social setting. Not avoid the noise altogether, but just not have it all at once.

She was introduced to each person, and she was fine after that. She was completely comfortable with the children and adults stepping around her, and she was even comfortable enough to sleep. But once there was an eruption of laughter (as a result of Christmas activities) she would spark up and start barking. Like I said, it didnít appear to me (although Iím not a professional so I canít be sure) that she was reacting to the people but more to the noise itself. She was on a leash during this time, after I noticed her signs of stress for the first time. However, despite my slackness with the leash, she was still tense and each outburst made her even more anxious. Maybe it wasnít the right decision to take her away to a quieter part of the house, but it seemed to be the only rational choice.

Ideally, I would have liked for the louder people to pet her during the noise and see if that would calm her, but like I said they werenít very interested in helping me. So to conclude, I want to know if there is an alternate way to soothe her and help her through her stress without support from others.

And a final note, I was told by a member of my family to leave her off the leash and let her roam, but after trying that she still reacted in the same way :/.

Once again, thank you for the advice.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 09:14 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/rev...reyhounds.html


Greyhounds don't like loud sounds , they're very sensitive sweet dogs . You can't expect people to tone it down for your dog .
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  #5  
Old October 30th, 2017, 09:38 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: edmonton - canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingdog View Post
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/rev...reyhounds.html
Greyhounds don't like loud sounds , they're very sensitive sweet dogs . You can't expect people to tone it down for your dog .
No offense, but alot of the information on that site is simply wrong. It's in the way they are raised. I've owned 2 purebred Minpins in the last 6 years, and nothing written about them is correct.
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/rev...pinschers.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Valeartiste View Post
Thank you for replying Rhynes.

Im sorry if I made it seem that I want people to appease to her, which isnít exactly what I was trying to say. I wanted more cooperation, so that she wouldnít be as stressed in these situations. I understand that it is insecurity, a fear of the unknown noise. My point was that I would ideally like for her to be slowly introduced to the extent of the noise that happens in a social setting. Not avoid the noise altogether, but just not have it all at once.

She was introduced to each person, and she was fine after that. She was completely comfortable with the children and adults stepping around her, and she was even comfortable enough to sleep. But once there was an eruption of laughter (as a result of Christmas activities) she would spark up and start barking. Like I said, it didnít appear to me (although Iím not a professional so I canít be sure) that she was reacting to the people but more to the noise itself. She was on a leash during this time, after I noticed her signs of stress for the first time. However, despite my slackness with the leash, she was still tense and each outburst made her even more anxious. Maybe it wasnít the right decision to take her away to a quieter part of the house, but it seemed to be the only rational choice.

Ideally, I would have liked for the louder people to pet her during the noise and see if that would calm her, but like I said they werenít very interested in helping me. So to conclude, I want to know if there is an alternate way to soothe her and help her through her stress without support from others.

And a final note, I was told by a member of my family to leave her off the leash and let her roam, but after trying that she still reacted in the same way :/.

Once again, thank you for the advice.
If people are petting her when she's worked up or anxious, that's negative reinforcement - not positive. Offer affection only when she's calm and relaxed, that's the state you want to reward. You mention loose leash, tighten up the leash a bit so she can feel you - but you need to remain calm and relaxed - she needs a leader.

So, if she's anxious, leash her and take her for a good walk. Don't think of it as removing the dog from the situation, get her out for exercise. Desensitizing is what you're looking to do when it comes to noise reaction. Whenever you know you'll be in a noisy environment, exercise the dog before you go.

Take the dog into noisy places, let the dog stress out - but in the end, see if you can find people that will give her treats and show affection. End every negative on a positive note - that's what positive reinforcement is supposed to be.

What's her daily routine like? How much exercise does she get? How much mental stimulation does she get? How much interaction does she get with people and dogs? My last 2 minpins were reactive for the first couple of weeks, then they ran the dog park like they owned it.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 09:10 PM
Valeartiste Valeartiste is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 5
Rhynes,

Thanks so much for that advice. I realize now that what I thought was positive reinforcement wasnít actually that. I will try to have a more firm grip on the leash next time as well.

I did take her on a 30 minute walk when I removed her last time and it might have calmed her down, but I will make sure to exercise her much more before taking her into a stressful situation.

Her daily routine is rather relaxed during most of the day until I get home. She does well and sleeps through most of the day. We have a vigorous exercise session (fetch, biking, etc. )in the afternoon until she is completely drained and goes for a nap. We do training as a part of her daily routine everyday, and trick training a few times a week.

Unfortunately, she doesnít get enough mental stimulation through interaction with other dogs. She loves dogs but I have found that she didnít have the best reaction to the dog park. She ignored the dogs and roamed on her own, which was surprising considering she will try to play with dogs we meet on walks. I do think it may be that sheís only gone 4 times, because we donít live near any (we also only go to dog parks that are safely fenced, which not all of them are).

Because she is a rescue, she did come with an uncertainty of people. She used to cower in fear of men but has come a long way and will greet more strangers on walks.

We live near a busy road and she used to be nervous around the large trucks or buses that would pass by, but now we are able to walk along that street without a problem. We desensitized her to the loud noises, which is what we are trying to accomplish with her Ďsudden loud noises from peopleí fear.

And just another thing to add, because she does have high energy and is exercised a lot for over an hour, she has built up a high endurance. If she hasnít been exercised before going out (Iíve made that mistake before by walking her before vigorous exercise) she will react to the environment negatively. For example, whining at dogs from inside the car. She is much calmer after exercising, but is that the only way to prevent such reactions? Could you recommend alternatives or reinforcements of calm behaviour?

Also, do you have experience with dog socialization groups? I have seen online that there are places that you can go to sign your dog up for socialization sessions. Do you have any knowledge on this (like particular businesses) and would you reccomend it?
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