I decided to join this community after adopting a 7 months old pembroke who was rescued along with around 15other dogs from a breeder who kept tons of dogs in a truck all the time and traveled the country to breed them and sell the pups...
She is my first dog and I am absolutely in love with her! Despite the fact that I am still struggling with potty training and she is still very skittish of the city and all its noises and movements. Getting better though!
I have 2 unrelated things I need help with:
- My dog bites her tail (yes, she has one) and legs A LOT. I am very concerned about it... My vet has told me to wait it out for now as it may be a bad habit, but I am afraid it might be allergies? What can I do to help? Fleas and other parasites as pretty much ruled out, she does not scratch elsewhere, has a flea collar and was treated against fleas at her foster home.
- She is afraid of children. She will back up and look scared when they come to pet her, and once she attempted to take a chomp at a kid who came up to her before I could warn. How can I help her get over this issue? She is not going to coexist with small kids, at least not anytime soon, but there are lots of kids at the park and I don't want her to be a safety hazard...
Thanks in advance for your help!
These will take some time....she didn't get the proper socialization as a pup. Don't have time for more now but will answer some later.
Thank-you...for helping this pup out:) Don't "push" things slow is the best with a rescue:)
For the socialization, keep taking the pup out to different places, just getting her familiar with her "new world outside the truck" and make sure you keep her on leash, not loose... In time she'll figure out people come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Once she is more relaxed in general ( may take a month or so ) and formed a strong bond with you, you can have a well behaved child offer a treat on their open palm. No petting unless the dog seems to want more interaction. When I adopted my 6 month old Miniature Dachshund, she barked and growled at all children. We were standing outside the Library to socialize with anyone coming out and willing to pet her when I first saw this behavior.... . We made it a point to go to the local playground once or twice a week and sit on a bench. Children would come up and I would engage them in conversation about the dog ( she's shy, we just adopted her, she does not know children are friendly.... etc) without any direct contact. This gave her a chance to get comfortable with their approach and vicinity. Later, I would have a calm one offer a treat, and so we slowly built on success. Now she LOOOOVES all children, except those on roller-skates or skateboards :-D Of course also correct for any barking, grumbling or growling to people in general.
For the skin, if she had fleas before, she may still have inflammation and itching from past bites. Keep the Vet involved, as there are too many possible variables to this picture to be able to assess it here. I would not use a flea collar, as the dog is constantly breathing in the stuff around its neck and, personally, I don't find this healthy. You may try to add a good dog supplement to the diet, many a specific for the skin. . Happy you gave her a chance to a better life, it may take a bit to work out the kinks, but it will be worth it. I've adopted many dogs and, when a new dog comes in, regardless of age, I take the same precautions with it that I would take with any young puppy and I do this for at least six months.
If you can find an obedience class where they use positive methods, this will help both of you as well, but I would wait a month or two so she gets used to other things first. Best wishes.
Thank you both for your help!
She has only been with me for a few days so of course I know things will take time. She is already doing so much better and adapting very quickly, I'm so proud of her.
Thank you Anna for your tips about children, I wil lbe sure to sit at a bench near the area kids play and reassure her. She has never growled at anyone and doesn't bark, she just shies away, and like I said, tried to nip once. I hope she will understand kids mean her no harm soon!
As for her skin condition, I am currently adding salmon oil to her food, I hope this helps. I have done it in the past for my cat with skin issues and it worked like magic. I will keep the vet in the loop for sure and take her back if the itching persists.
Concerning the flea collar, my vet has stressed that it is VERY important. Here in Spain there is a real risk of leishmaniosis for dogs, and it is highly suggested they wear a collar that protects from all sorts of bugs at all times. The one she has is the most reputable brand here, it's called "Scalibor", a collar lasts 6 months. It works through friction according to my vet, not vapors, and it's totally odorless (as far as I can tell at least). I'm sure you are right, it's probably not extremely healthy for her, but surely it's better than running the risk of a life threatening, uncurable disease, don't you think?
If there is another way to protect her efficiently from this though I would love to know.
I am looking into an obedience class but I don't like the ones close to my home... I see them in the park sometimes and it seems very punishing and stressful... Not something I'd enjoy I think. I check the website and the teacher is an ex military dog trainer, I don't think his methods would be good on a shy dog like my Sun.
supervise the children very carefully. Teach them how to approach a dog after asking owner's permission.
avoid foods with corn, a common canine allergen. When we switched to raw meat, the biting and itching sores went away,
John is right about the children. Also, in your situation, avoid toddlers altogether because toddlers really cannot follow directions and both infants and toddlers naturally grab onto things, including dogs.... I would also tell the children to come up to the dog one at a time, so the dog was not overwhelmed. Mine is now pretty much "bomb proof", except, as noted, for roller-skates and skate boards.
I always view children coming up to my dogs as the most important time to protect my dog. If the child does something scary and gets bit or knocked over the dog is always blamed. So I don't hesitate to be very assertive.
Thank you all for your suggestions. I have been taking her to the children's area of the park every day to sit down at a safe distance. She seems much more relaxed now and quite likes to observe them, but I still don't let them close.
Still don't know what to do about her tail though... :( She is seeing a vet today for blood work/poop analysis since I got her recently, I'll ask my vet about it again.
"My dog bites her tail (yes, she has one) and legs A LOT." Based on what you say about the horrors of her first seven months, I'd guess this is a neurosis. Be patient. Dogs can get over this kind of thing with love, attention, and distraction. Take her for a walk, pick her up and put her on the sofa with you and pet her a lot, throw a ball, whatEVER you can think of to give her something else to do. Confined to a cage, a dog can develop habits like this out of lack of anything else to do. Give her something else to do. It will take time.
Toddlers can be scary for dogs because their flailing and their erratic stride look vaguely threatening. Here's a trick: put your eyes down at the level of the dog's and look at the child.
Got the picture?
Don't push it. In time Pooch may overcome her natural diffidence. If not, there's no law that says she simply HAS to socialize with children. Tell the kids and their parents to keep their hands away.
If the biting of the tail and legs is NOT due to an allergy, but just a way to use up nervous energy, as Vick suggests, then you can try to redirect that energy to a favorite toy. I like the Black Kong because it's made for hard chewers and quite safe. I have two sizes, the medium and the large and, whenever my Corgi gets excited, he goes for it and carries it or tosses it around. It's his way of dealing with excitement, he does not otherwise play with it. You can smear the inside with some food flavor, just to give it a more appealing scent in th beginning. Avoiding dog foods with corn, as John suggests, can't hurt either.
BTW "redirecting" is a training technique where you teach a new behavior (new habit) to take the place of the older, unwanted one.
Corn, absolutely. Also consider that one of the commonest allergens for dogs is beef. Try taking her off beef-based dog food & treats, and also don't give rawhide (i.e., beef hide) chews. Fish can also be allergenic for dogs. With an allergic greyhound, I had good luck with lamb and chicken-based products, corn-free. Also, does she get into grass around the house? Once I had a Dobe that was allergic to bermudagrass. Corgis have a lot more hair between them and the ground, so that would be low on my list of suspects...but it's not impossible. Personally, though, from what you've said I'd sure put psychological issues high on the list, yet work a two-pronged approach, redirecting energy and also trying to find the least unsettling food possible.
We adopted our rescue (Tenby) when he was 6 months. He is the most loving, sweet and crazy corgi, we love him. But all rescues come with baggage and it takes awhile to over come the issues. Tenby is now 8 and has over come so much. But he still has a few quirks. We call him our free spirited wild child.
I wish we would have had all these great suggestion and help when we adopted Tenby. I still learn so much every time I am here.