Scared Vizsla, frustrated dad. - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Scared Vizsla, frustrated dad.


I have a 1 year old female that all of a sudden acts scared of me (by way of shaking) and then will be my BFF as if nothing ever happened. For whatever reason, it is worse in the evening. I'm kind of at my wits end and don't know what to do about it. I've taken her out of her normal routine to overly coddling her (which I'm afraid in reinforcing the behavior).

She's spoiled rotten with a loving family of a wife, 3yr daughter and 6yr son, so please save any judgement, but I do believe something had to have happened along the way and I can't pinpoint it to a traumatic event in context to the recent time that it has become worse. My knee jerk reaction was my son, but he's loving with Frances. It is me she's acting afraid of.

Training was really a breeze, was firm but never heavy handed. However, the last thing we could not break was jumping up. I finally got a collar for it with beep, buzz and shock. She graduated up to a jolt twice over a period of a week and that fixed it. Since then, a beep or buzz is all it took and then subsequently removed the collar all together. Maybe a few months later, she was picking that behavior up again and I brought the collar out. She knew exactly what it was and coward down as I put it back on. That said, she never received any jolt (wasn't necessary) and this was weeks ago.

Anyway, here we are today, weeks out from the re-intro of the collar, and it seems to be worse over the past 3 or 4 days. She went with us on a trip over Thanksgiving and everything was great. She goes with me to the office every morning, a completely happy, secure dog. I understand Vizslas are very sensitive dogs, but I cannot pinpoint any one thing and if I can't pinpoint the trauma, I don't know how to fix or remove the trigger. She acts is if she's been abused, but has an amazing life, so it's hard not to take personally or be really frustrated. Any insight would be helpful as I have a lot of years left with her and hate to see her so anxious.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 02:15 PM
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Hi Tate,

If you were the one who put the e collar on and instituted the shock, then she's likely associated you with the shock (instead of associating the jumping behavior and the shock). Uh,'s part of the reason e collars need to be used very carefully (if at all) so the dog associates the zap with their behavior and not with you...especially with V's who are so sensitive.

The fix here is to get rid of the e collar (use more traditional and time intensive training methods that are positive instead of negative) and then redouble your efforts at her experiencing you as the kind, loving dad you things like feeding her (even out of your hand a little), hiking her, and really reinforcing her relaxing around you and feeling OK. But beware, once they get something like this in their little red heads, it takes awhile to get many months, so have patience.

I agree with you that cuddling when she is having a flash back isn't a good idea b/c it reinforces her anxiety, you should just ignore her when she is like that.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Gingerling,

Thanks for the response. I told my wife yesterday that we should just get rid of the collar altogether. I was also told to use a lot of caution when I got it, and we did. Perhaps two jolts was two too much.

That said, the reason I'm scratching my head is because the collar was re-intro'd weeks ago and taken back off. There was a period of "normal Frances" over the past week and a half or so and just started this nervous shaking a few days ago. She'll come up to me (even acting nervous), then she'll be completely fine.

One other thing I didn't mention was that it only happens in the kitchen/living room- nowhere else does she behave this way. I don't know if it's the beep of the mircrowave or the beep on the fireplace when we turn on that's in proxy of her and may have a similar sound to the collar from weeks back.

At any rate, I'll try the things you suggested. But how do I reinforce positivity to her while she's having her episode, without it coddling/reinforcing that behavior? Do I just leave her alone until she snaps out of it?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 03:04 PM
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It's not so much the time lapse since the e collar as much as it is the strength of the association, especially if there are beeps and braps that remind her of the warning before she got zapped. So, these noises trigger the association that both the zap is imminent and you're about to hurt her..even if thats' not accurate. One of my favorite songs..don't laugh, KC and the Sunshine Band "Shake your booty" (C'mon, I asked you not to laugh..)...and it starts with a tone that is exactly like the front door bell, and AJ always looks up and runs to the door. Same thing.

It helps if you can minimize the other similar sounding beeps, but when she gets a flashback, I'd leave her alone, its too late then to address it as she cannot process either her response nor your intervention. But, if you redouble your efforts to be seen as the good guy instead of the zapper, eventually that prior association will wear off.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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That makes a lot of sense. There was an option to turn the beep off on the microwave, not on the fireplace, however. Played a little fetch with her in the living room (which we do outside only) and she seemed totally fine. Maybe doing fun stuff in there for a while might help with that.

Anyway, I'll report back on progress in a month or two. Thanks for the help; was a little nervous putting this out there.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:23 PM
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Fun is recreational. Learning new tricks is another one they often advise related to pups with some anxieties, just as focus games and agility. Due to her tender age i would be careful about agility yet, but something to keep in your your back pocket for later on if needed. The aim is to rebuild that confidence and the trust in you and desensitize her from the association she has developed.
Yes, please check back, always a very difficult topic, we all make mistakes with our dogs and it is great to see people willing to a admit, just as do the extra steps to undo the harm they unintentionally caused.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:45 PM
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Nervous? Not with us, we're all family.

If you can eliminate as much as possible, like the microwave beep..that would help. You want to extinguish her reaction by first avoiding all contact with the negative stimulus, and then slowly reintroducing it with a positive association. And ignore her (and her anxiety reaction) when she flashes back. Have patience, this will take a few months.

The time it takes is the other side of their exquisite sensitivity, sometimes they over react and get it wrong. You need to walk it back for her.

Hang in there..
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 09:32 PM
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Not going to debate e-collar vs no e-collar. With that said if you do plan to use the e-collar I highly recommend professional training. At about 1-years old, with our male V, we brought in a highly trained professional to do 8-one hour sessions onsite with our V. He took several sessions just to get him acclimated to the e-collar before he even started the recall training, etc. It's been highly effective for off leash activity. However, we do not use it for behavioral methods.

So as ginerling stated, you may want to discontinue its use for behavioral use, at least until you get passed this fear stage and find a reputable professional that can train you V with its use IMHO.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 04:48 PM
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Almost guarantee it is the "beeps" from any source. Our beloved Vizlsa Sadie reacted in a very similar way to beeps from Microwave, Certain TV theme music, Cash register beeps, Whistle at Olympic Swim Event, etc. We never exposed her to an eCollar, but as she was an older rescue we have no idea what happened in her previous life. Any beep in the house would send her off to her "safe place" in the garage for an hour or more. If we tried to keep her in the house after a "beep" she would shake/shiver, try to climb on our heads, and look around with wide eyes. Needless to say we never let time run out on the appliances or turned the signal beep off completely.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 09:08 PM
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This is the reason, I don't care for using the beep as a warning. So many things in our everyday life beep. We never know which dogs will have a problem with it, until they have a problem.
I use the beep/vibration button, for a dog to look my direction. I teach look with treats, so there is never a negative association. I started doing this, because I have a bad habit of leaving my whistle at home.
I also do not nick a dog with ecollar, if it's touching a person, or another dog. You never want the nick to be associated with with those things.
You can use ecollar training to enforce sit, here, and down. If you do whoa training, it can also be transferred over to collar pressure. All this is trained without the ecollar at first. The ecollar is only a added layer of training.

In your post, you say a Jolt. I hope you are over exaggerating the amout of pressure, you are putting on your dog. They should NOT be receiving a jolt. Your pup should have been worked on lead, with the lowest level possible.

Instead of throwing the collar away. I would leave the collar turned Off. Have someone else put it on the dog, and go do something fun. Repeat a few days a week. Once the dog has a good association with the collar. Then sell it.
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