How should I handle this?

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HappyPuppy
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How should I handle this?

Postby HappyPuppy » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:07 pm

Poor sweet, sensitive (soft) Ruby takes it personally when my neighbor, who is her primary dog sitter (maybe 4 times a year) goes aggro and screams at her family... She still lives at home at 55 and since menopause has gotten worse and more frequent with her rages: screaming, breaking things, cops being called multiple times a year, etc. I've told her to get counseling and move out but it won't happen. But I'll find Ruby cowering on the bathroom floor and right now she just climbed under me to get under my desk as I type... I sometimes coddle and pet her and other times I ignore her but I'm wondering what might be the ideal way to deal with Ruby's reaction to this. It breaks my heart and I've told my neighbor that it upsets Ruby when she hears the screeching screaming but that obviously doesn't change anything. Is there a general protocol for this type of thing?

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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby Curly_07 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:27 pm

Here that's considered a disturbance and if you speaking to her didn't help her cool it down, the cops will.

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HappyPuppy
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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby HappyPuppy » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:48 pm

I hear ya - Ruby has refused a bully stick before during an 'episode'. Yes, I have a soft dog but it pisses me off that she gets so upset over just overhearing this nonsense!! I ALMOST called the cops today, esp. when the dad left and the mom was left home alone to take it all by herself but it happens so frequently that I'm not sure what it would do.......... Not cool - and I fear for Ruby that somethign will come up when dogsitting (longest is 10 days) but the only time I boarded Ruby, she lost 5 lbs and half of her fur to stress... :(

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AllisonPitbullLvr
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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:36 pm

Maybe "throw a party" whenever the neighbor is losing it? You'll have to did something high value enough but try to get as far away from the noise as possible and stuff her full of tuna or something?

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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby HappyPuppy » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:44 am

I shouldn't have to do this! And I'm getting madder at the increasing frequency - Ruby loves this woman and when she or her mother of similar voice have it out, Ruby takes it personally. She won't play fetch or eat a bully stick but instead scurries inside - makes me sad. I was afraid of the warnings to coddle a fearful dog and making things worse (altho Ruby is not at all a fearful dog). Will work on trying to sooth her more when it happens again. This is my only 'friend' who can watch Ruby on the rare occasions that we can't take her with us - and living next door makes it really easy for her to spend nights here so Ruby can stay at home but, man, I dread some new family episode coming up while we're gone..... :twisted:

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chinchi_&_chupa
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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby chinchi_&_chupa » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:07 pm

Maybe take a video of how it affects Ruby next time so you can show her. Surely she cares for Ruby or Ruby wouldn't like her, right? Maybe seeing exactly how it affects Ruby will open her eyes to how bad that kind of stuff really is, for everyone involved.

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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby Amie » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:17 pm

You shouldn't have to do it, but you do. :dunno:

Have cans of meat (chicken or fish) at the ready. Every time you start hearing the noise, open a can and give Ruby the whole can.

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jamielvsaustin
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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby jamielvsaustin » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:25 pm

HappyPuppy wrote: I was afraid of the warnings to coddle a fearful dog and making things worse (altho Ruby is not at all a fearful dog). Will work on trying to sooth her more when it happens again.


I'm pretty sure it's MissKitty that explains the flaw in this. If I remember correctly you can't reinforce an emotion, only a behavior. So, so long as Ruby isn't tearing down your curtains and you're coddling her there's nothing you can "reinforce". If cuddling and petting and sweat talking make her feel better in this situation-then by all means-do what you can to make her feel better.

I really like the idea of the video tape. This way not only can your neighbors see what they're doing to Ruby they can really see the severity of their fights. Maybe they'll be embarrassed enough to rein it in or seek help. Perhaps they don't realize how loud they're being.

If I knew my neighbors could hear me and Austin fight (even if it doesn't happen often) I'd be mortified.

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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby mtlu » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:23 pm

I can relate to this very much because Molly is sound sensitive and also soft in temperament. Our previous upstairs neighbors were very noisy (their dog would chase their two cats) and despite many notes and conversations, they could not alter their behavior and we could not do anything during the day to help Molly when she was home alone. Our main tool for distraction was a spoon of peanut butter which worked but at the same time, who knows how many "events" happened during the day when we were gone? The end result is that Molly continues to be sound sensitive but the new neighbors are much quieter (thank goodness the children are at school all day).

In the past few weeks, there was a lot of construction in my neighborhood with new sewer lines being installed. A few mornings, the sound was really bad (jackhammering, drilling and whatnot) and Molly was really stressed as I was getting ready to leave for work. So, I turned the radio on a bit too loud and I gave her a specific massage. Molly's stress was exhibited by shaking - and I HATE seeing that.

I put both hands at the base of her neck and moved them very slowly down her back to the base of her tail. There is zero pressure in the touch, no pulling of the skin, it is simply the lightest, slowest touch possible. Each pass took about 10 seconds (yes, count out one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, etc) down the length of her back. I did about eight (maybe ten) passes but by the third one, she had already stopped shaking.

Give this a try with Ruby, especially if food or toys do not work (and that means she is way over threshold if she is not accepting even super high value food). If Ruby will not stay still for ten seconds, start off by gently stroking her along the spine, from neck to tail, with the BACK of one hand. Using the back of the hand is a Tellington Touch method which is the least invasive touch (for lack of a better word) you can give. It is useful mainly for dogs who are new to being touched, massaged or a dog you don't know well - but it may be helpful for you to start with Ruby with this method. As she starts to calm down, you can try the long, slow touch with both hands.

The point of the gentle, 10-second long passes I gave Molly was to provide her a super calming stimulus to try to counter her reaction to the noise outside. If you want to time it, doing ten slow passes still takes less than 2 minutes so it's not much time to invest. Repeating this every time the neighbors fire up can add up to conditioning a response for Ruby to calm herself. How many times you have to do this depends on Ruby and whether or not you are there to help Ruby every time the neighbors go at it.

In our situation with Molly, there were many times where we were not there to help her so I cannot say we succeeded in desensitizing and re-conditioning her response to certain noises but at the same time, I consider it worth the effort to help her every time I am home and something happens.

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Re: How should I handle this?

Postby PITtsburgher » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:33 pm

Like Jamie said, fear is an emotion so giving her food and comfort will not make her more fearful. It's good to comfort and distract her. I would approach this like a dog with thunderstorm anxiety - put the TV/radio/fan on, put her in a more soundproof part of the house, give her delicious (like really delicious - baby food or cream cheese) treats to distract her. I believe they even make earmuffs for dogs to block sound.


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