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    Thread: Dog PTSD

    1. #1
      House Broken
      amandalmw's Avatar
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      Dog PTSD

      So the title might be a but dramatic, but that's the best way I can describe what's going on with Stig. About a month ago I posted about a man who was in our back yard (post can be found here). Basically I let him outside and followed right behind him, heard him growling and barking (which he never did), and there was a man in our backyard. The man jumped over our retaining wall after telling me he was looking for lizards with his son.

      Ever since then EVERY TIME Stig hears someone behind our house (there's a greenbelt area where kids play all the time) he starts to bark and growl. He NEVER did this before that man was in our backyard. He's also barked and growled at the pest control man who was here a few weeks ago, and has now started barking and growling at people he sees on our walks. Today we were in our car and waiting to turn when he saw a 10ish year old boy waiting to cross the road. He then started freaking out in the car...barking and growling, until we drove away. This is becoming a huge issue. Like I said before he never did any of this before the incident happened. I really have no idea what to do about this, and it makes me sad. I don't want people thinking he's scary and aggressive, especially children! I don't think he would do anything, I just think he thinks he needs to protect me. When he does this I tell him in a calm voice that everything's ok but he's a dog and doesn't understand me.

      I'm thinking we need to get some professional help with this issue, but any thoughts or tips would be appreciated!

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      zd262's Avatar
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      I completely believe that dog PTSD exists. Our house was broken into three times while our lab was home alone, and who knows what happened during that time. Afterwards she started to shake uncontrollably at random times.

      No advice really, we used doggy prozac once in awhile. Mostly just wanted to send good thoughts that you're able to figure this out.

    3. The Following User Says Thank You to zd262 For This Useful Post:

      amandalmw (08-26-2015)

    4. #3
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      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      Since this is a dog forum I read Put to Sleep for the first three letters. Glad I was wrong.

      I believe PTSD exists as well. Stig is just at the age where dogs tend to come into themselves, assert themselves, become emotionally more mature and self confident. But Stig got a fright that may have warped the coming of age for him. Certainly barking at a kid while Stig is in your own car is extreme over reaction if it's from fear or aggression. And unpleasant if it's excitement.

      I really think you should consider calling in some professional behavioural help and nip this in the bud. Leslie McDevitt's book, "Control Unleashed" might help but it sounds bit much for an owner to attempt on their own and risk screwing up. At the very least more training classes might help re-establish you as the one he looks to for back up and reassurance instead of taking on the responsibility for dealing on his own. That's what the book helps with but classes would enhance it.

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      amandalmw (08-26-2015)

    6. #4
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      poor pup. I would get some professional help ASAP before things get worse. The sooner you start counter conditioning the better. Find a qualified, experienced and educated professional that uses positive training techniques to help your boy trust humans (strangers) again.

    7. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Tanya For This Useful Post:

      amandalmw (08-26-2015), Annette47 (08-26-2015), barry581 (08-26-2015), Blackboy98 (08-26-2015), Charlotte K. (08-26-2015), Labradorks (08-26-2015), Maxx&Emma (08-26-2015)

    8. #5
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      I wasn't there to witness exactly what happened, so I'm certainly not judging you at all. I agree with tanya, and behaviorist will be able to watch exactly what's happening. The first thing I find people do, and the first natural thing people do is to say "what is it" and then pet him and reinforce "it's okay" "it's alright" while petting and talking. This reinforces the behavior as good - unintentionally. Again, I wasn't there to see how things played out.

      A lot of people in classes tend to have this attitude that barking is bad. Barking should be corrected - they aren't necessarily wrong. But I feel like there are certain types of barking - like barking for attention or frustration.

      For example, my boy knows that if someone steps on our driveway it's okay for him to bark. If someone is at the side of the house, it's okay to bark...and if he hears a noise in the night, I won't discipline him for barking. I like to think that our family structure is really sound in our home. The way that I handle these situations is fairly simple. After he barks, I give him a simple thank you. He knows that this means he has done his "job", and he can be quiet, I will handle the situation from here.

    9. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to xracer4844 For This Useful Post:

      barry581 (08-26-2015), Maxx&Emma (08-27-2015), Tanya (08-27-2015)

    10. #6
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      Thank you all for your kind words! I have reached out to a dog trainer so we can nip this in the bud. I keep trying to figure out if there's some common thing about these people he doesn't feel comfortable around, but I can't figure it out. He's fine when we go to the dog park. I think he enjoys going there from the attention of the people just as much as playing with the other dogs.

    11. #7
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      Kelly's Avatar
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      Wow, that's rather scary.

    12. #8
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      Wow, that's rather scary. I don't trust people even if he says they were looking for lizards. Honestly, I'd trust your dog's instinct about the guy in the back yard. He may now feel like he needs to be overprotective. The trainer should help. I'd want to keep the protective part of him but directed appropriately.

      My lab years ago protected me from a rapist who was trying to break into my apartment to lay in wait. The guy was apparently casing the apartments. My upstairs neighbor saw the guy by my window as he was alerted by my dog's very unusual barking. I found out years later there was a rapist casing the entire neighborhood and had already raped 3 women. My neighbor confirmed that was the guy he saw.

    13. #9
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      Sorry for the double post.

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