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Discussion Starter #1
bubba the pug...my little rescue from almost a year ago.

his history was not fun for him...and we've kind of wrestled with some fears, like aluminum foil....things like that...

when we got him, he had been kept in a garage....cabled to a crate with a piece of plywood as his bed....and his anus had been bleached....very jumpy, scared, fearful little guy....little by little, we have worked on each and every one of them....some more successful than others, like the foil...

we cured that one by putting food on it...seems food is his weakness....
and, over time, while he still jumps at bravo tv commercials and some others...he's actually starting to become a real dog.

until.

last week we had to put our nichi to sleep.....she didn't live with us. she lived with honey's mom....but bubba knows her, since they go to the groomer together every five weeks...and she comes over to visit....they are not roomies, like malia is to him, but he knew her.

of course we were crying....and i think there might be a connection....

both of my dogs are walked at least three times per day....even if it is around the block, but mostly 1/2 mile per walk....simply because they need the exercise plus, he was afraid to pee outside....when we first got him.

when it's not hot, we can walk five or six times a day...and he loved it.

until last week....

these grates are for water run off...they are not manhole covers...we live in seattle and normally you would see these next to the curb so that water runs down them to the sewer. in my neighbourhood, they are in the middle of the street, about thirty feed apart all over the neighbourhood.

he stops dead. leans 75 degrees, defying gravity and digs his claws into the street.

can't pull him because he's a pug....and a collapsing trachea is something to watch out for....

not so good on a harness because he is a puller...although not as bad as he used to be....

suggestions?

i have picked him up and held him....on the grate...i've walked backwards leaving a food trail toward the grate.....

i have stopped and coaxed him toward the grate....

so far, not much is working..he gets this look in his eyes and just freaks....stops dead...digs in...
 

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I've never had to deal with this sort of stuff but generally dogs just focus on something and it's hard to get them to unfocus on it, did you try a halter and make the dog look away from it? he might get used it more that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've never had to deal with this sort of stuff but generally dogs just focus on something and it's hard to get them to unfocus on it, did you try a halter and make the dog look away from it? he might get used it more that way.
we've done halters...but this one is a gulper and a puller and you name it, he's afraid of it.

i did get him to successfully walk around the block today...we're going on short, more frequent walks so as not to overwhelm him....

plus, there is more equilibrium in the home, and i truly believe that had something to do with it.

if anyone ever says that dogs don't pick up on our stuff....let me introduce you to my liddle friend.
 

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he stops dead. leans 75 degrees, defying gravity and digs his claws into the street.

can't pull him because he's a pug....and a collapsing trachea is something to watch out for....

not so good on a harness because he is a puller...although not as bad as he used to be....

suggestions?

i have picked him up and held him....on the grate...i've walked backwards leaving a food trail toward the grate.....

i have stopped and coaxed him toward the grate....

so far, not much is working..he gets this look in his eyes and just freaks....stops dead...digs in...
I'm not sure what the problem is. Is he afraid of it? Do you want him not to be? What kind of problem is it causing that he is fearful of it? Is there a reason you can't just walk around it staying several feet away?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not sure what the problem is. Is he afraid of it? Do you want him not to be? What kind of problem is it causing that he is fearful of it? Is there a reason you can't just walk around it staying several feet away?
the grates are in the middle of the street. there is plenty of room on either side...and there are sidewalks, which is what we walk on, unless we're crossing the street.

i would rather he not be afraid, but let's face it...with a fearful dog....i've chosen to pick my battles carefully....

only reason we did anything about the aluminum foil is because it is part of daily use and it was scaring the crap out of him....

i'd rather not use a halter....since he's about 95% there with not pulling....and, no, i don't use CM's methods LOL

he will stop several feet away ...it's not as if i'm trying to get him to walk on or near them.......it's not necessary to walk on them....

i just want him to get past them....he'll stop ten feet away on the sidewalk...these grates are nowhere near him.
 

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So as I understand it, he won't go by the even on the sidewalk when the grates are in the middle of the street. What about if you walk up into the yards to be further away from the grates? THere should be some distance away you could get him to walk by them. Gradually, over time, you should be able to walk closer and closer as he becomes more accustomed to them.

What happens if you pick him up before he "freezes" and carry him past them on the sidewalk?
 

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I can relate to this, but with the opposite problem.

We had a frenchie years ago and we have those water drain off things on the curbs of the streets, about every 3-4 houses. Well, she saw a kitty run across a yard and disappear down one. She went nuts! We thought it was funny and let her run over and peer down the drain to see if she could find the cat.

Bad idea.

For the rest of her life (no exaggeration), she wanted to veer over and peer down EVERY storm drain to see if there might be a kitty in it. It made walking her a real pain.

Nothing we tried could deter her from wanting to investigate EVERY DRAIN on EVERY walk. No advice but just wanted to say that I feel your pain. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
oh, i'm sorry for laughing, bdb.....i'm feelin' ya...i really am...i put my ipod on...and we're cruisin', malia and i and bubba and suddenly...dead stop...it's unnerving LOL

bill....when i walk him on the sidewalk away from the grates, we are at least fifteen feet to the side...he will dead stop and lean, against gravity....south of the grates.....so fifteen feet either way...any further in....and i would be on someone's property....these are fairly wide streets....

i have picked him up in his frozen condition and you can imagine him frozen by nitrogen....his feet are still digging into the street that is now below him....his legs are akimbo....his face is frozen in fear....

i have taken him, that way, over to the grate and sat down with him on my lap and pieces of chicken....

i am now taking him out by himself and only around the block, not the usual mile or half mile....so as not to overwhelm him....if he walks by one because he 'forgets' to be afraid, i say nothing.....if he stops, we then take bridal steps if that makes sense.....one step and stop...one step and stop..until he's past it...

i'm hoping this works....i've never had this problem before...he's not aggressive...he's just scared of everything...we've had to desensitise him to so many things...

but then again. what could we possibly expect from a dog who lived in a garage for his first two years...so i guess this is yet another one to add to the list.
 

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bill....when i walk him on the sidewalk away from the grates, we are at least fifteen feet to the side...he will dead stop and lean, against gravity....south of the grates.....so fifteen feet either way...any further in....and i would be on someone's property....these are fairly wide streets....
Cool, continue to do that. Don't try to take him closer, just walk by as if there was nothing to be afraid of (which there isn't.)

i have picked him up in his frozen condition and you can imagine him frozen by nitrogen....his feet are still digging into the street that is now below him....his legs are akimbo....his face is frozen in fear..
If you are going to try picking him up, do it before he reaches his panic stage. Once he is frozen, its too late.

i have taken him, that way, over to the grate and sat down with him on my lap and pieces of chicken....
Don't force him any closer to the grate than he absolutely has to go. MAYBE sometime off in the future, you can just walk a little closer to the grate without making any big deal out of it. WIthout him even noticing he is getting closer but this is at least a few months down the road.

i am now taking him out by himself and only around the block, not the usual mile or half mile....so as not to overwhelm him....if he walks by one because he 'forgets' to be afraid, i say nothing.....
THIS is when you should praise and treat as if there is no tomorrow. Make a real big deal out of it. Let him know in no uncertain terms he just did something magnificient.

if he stops, we then take bridal steps if that makes sense.....one step and stop...one step and stop..until he's past it...
Cool and if he does it without making a real big fuss, praise and treat as you make progress past it. You want him to learn that good things happen to him every time he passes by one of these grates.

i'm hoping this works....i've never had this problem before...he's not aggressive...he's just scared of everything...we've had to desensitise him to so many things...
Follow the methods I just listed and it will work. What you are doing now just needs a little tweaking. It's important to know when to treat and when not to. You don't offer treats as a bribe to get him to do something he is not doing, particularly if he is not doing it because he is terrified. You can't teach him not to be afraid. You can only show him over time that there is no reason to be afraid.

You reward when he does what he is supposed to only if it's not perfect. If he is pulling to the side but still walking by, great! Praise and treat when he does. He is fighting his fear and winning when he does. Let him learn that walking by a grate creates good things. VERY VERY gadually over a long time you can walk closer and closer go the grate and he will be over it. This will be a long process.

but then again. what could we possibly expect from a dog who lived in a garage for his first two years...so i guess this is yet another one to add to the list.
You can expect him to gradually overcome his fear and learn that walking by a grate is a positive thing and causes good things to happen.

Keep us posted on progress cause there will be progress. :smile:
 

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I know exactly the grates you are talking about. They are here in Portland.

Is there any type of treat that Bubba goes crazy for? I would always walk with a bait bag full of treats. Whenever he walks past a grate (whether he notices or does not) I would do tons of treats and praise. Or maybe before you get to a grate get him fixated on a treat while walking by. Once your past, then tons of praise and a treat. Maybe then that one time would turn into two times, then into three times, etc...

Just my thoughts....:smile:

ETA: Bill and I were posting at the same time. Yeah! What he said. LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ok. i will definitely try picking him up before rigor mortis sets in.....that sounds good.

ok. i will do this....

i see now the distinction between bribing and rewarding.....that's more clear to me now....we were bribing...not rewarding....ok.

believe me..he's come a long way......we are down to single fears rather than bundles of fears....

i had taken to putting him back in his kennel thinking he might feel safer....would you recommend that? or is there no reason to put him in his kennel, since it has nothing to
do with this particular fear?
 

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i had taken to putting him back in his kennel thinking he might feel safer....would you recommend that? or is there no reason to put him in his kennel, since it has nothing to
do with this particular fear?
I'm not clear, are you bringing him home from the walk and putting him in the kennel?
I wouldn't recommend making a big deal of it in any way. Just do the training (praise/treat) RFD mentioned but when he freaks out over something, I would try to move onto acting as though nothing happened and not spend too much time comforting, as you don't want to reinforce the fear... It's like telling him "you're right that was scary how can I help you feel better."
-Bryan
 

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i had taken to putting him back in his kennel thinking he might feel safer....would you recommend that? or is there no reason to put him in his kennel, since it has nothing to
do with this particular fear?
This crate thing is new to me. Explain the crate problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I'm not clear, are you bringing him home from the walk and putting him in the kennel?
I wouldn't recommend making a big deal of it in any way. Just do the training (praise/treat) RFD mentioned but when he freaks out over something, I would try to move onto acting as though nothing happened and not spend too much time comforting, as you don't want to reinforce the fear... It's like telling him "you're right that was scary how can I help you feel better."
-Bryan
if he walks right by the grate and hasn't reacted at all....we just keep on walking.....i agree with that...

if he stops....we do that bridal step i described before....i coax him past, telling him how brave he is and once he's past it....(this part is different because before i coaxed him past with food)...now, once he's past it, i praise and treat....that seems to be working better....

doing it this way, i think he'll be fine soon...he is, however, a smart little bugger....so food driven...sometimes i swear he actually thinks...should i stop to get a treat? :) i know he isn't but it seems that way.

This crate thing is new to me. Explain the crate problem.
as to the crate? we used to have him sleep in his crate.....because when we got him at two, he was not housetrained....and once he was, he slept in the bed....

so it would be at night time.

this is not the first time we've used the crate at night for him....and we'll do it for a week or so and it seems to comfort him. it's not for punitive measures at all.

the only other time we use it is when we're not home, because he eats the house contents
 

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if he walks right by the grate and hasn't reacted at all....we just keep on walking.....i agree with that...
This is an important time you need to praise and treat. Anytime he performs a behavior you want repeated, you reward. Rewarded behaviors are always repeated. You can praise and treat without stopping walking.

if he stops....we do that bridal step i described before....i coax him past, telling him how brave he is and once he's past it....(this part is different because before i coaxed him past with food)...now, once he's past it, i praise and treat....that seems to be working better....
Cool

Doing it this way, i think he'll be fine soon...he is, however, a smart little bugger....so food driven...sometimes i swear he actually thinks...should i stop to get a treat? :) i know he isn't but it seems that way.
Another reason to praise and treat even if he doesn't stop.

this is not the first time we've used the crate at night for him....and we'll do it for a week or so and it seems to comfort him. it's not for punitive measures at all.
Why not leave the crate door open and let him enter and leave when he wants to?

the only other time we use it is when we're not home, because he eats the house contents
Yes, a good use of the crate. Continue using it for that purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is an important time you need to praise and treat. Anytime he performs a behavior you want repeated, you reward. Rewarded behaviors are always repeated. You can praise and treat without stopping walking.

we did and he did better....i'm becoming most dextrous....we stop after we've passed the grate, treat and praise. it's going to be fine after a few more times.

Why not leave the crate door open and let him enter and leave when he wants to?
we do and he doesn't. but it's a moo point now because he's back in the bed.

we are going to begin kenneling both dogs since they've started keeping us up at night..... malia has started jumping on and off the bed and it ceased to be fun the first night and he can't be trusted not to eat the contents of the bedroom unless he's either crated or in bed with us.

i'm going out today to get a bigger one, so both of them fit. i don't like it when my dogs are left alone, so the larger size is for my comfort...:)

Yes, a good use of the crate. Continue using it for that purpose.
otay.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
update.

some grates he walks by and no reaction at all.

some he stops before even i can see them. he's in it for the food, i swear..this is a smart little boy.

if i switch sides and i walk next to the grate and say come on bubba...he trots right by, sits down and waits for his reward.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Could it be something other than the grates....or do you know for sure that it is? It sounds like your making progress....great progress! :smile:
it could be his dog died last week and we cried and right after that, he became afraid....

it could be his favourite cooking show has bright ads...

with this dog it could be anything.

i'm pretty sure, this time, it's the water running under the grates and something spooked him, maybe sasquatch....

he can now smell a grate thirty feet away, knowing there is food.

the food distracts him, which i presume is the point...he doesn't get any...i just get in front of him....give him a click click with my tongue and he smells the food and trots right past the grate.

i think a few more days or a few weeks and he'll be fine again .....with that, at least...then he'll find something else to be afraid of...and we'll just start again.

he's not been with us for a year yet....i think it will take a little longer for this guy to feel truly safe.
 
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