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  1. #1
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Default Puppyhood Reversion...

    Just curious if anyone else has experienced this. I brought Wiley home at 8 weeks. Went to the Vet the next day for a checkup & to get his shots started. Began to socialize him immediately after the Rabies vaccination. Began obedience training at 4 months... level 1... then level 2... then CGC training... then a tricks class. Had him neutered just after 26 months, as he had started to show some signs of dog aggression... and it was time. No change in behavior for the first 6 months after neutering... then, a fairly dramatic change. It seems a lot of his behaviors from puppyhood have re-emerged.

    Wiley was a very shy puppy with a soft temperament. When I first took him to puppy play, he would cower in the corner. It took me several weeks of luring him out into the room with treats before he would start interacting with other dogs (usually MUCH smaller). He's always been great at playing with smaller dogs. With bigger dogs, it's been hit & miss.

    Anyways, on to present-day... a lot of that shy, soft temperament he had as a pup has returned. Nowadays, if we're out on a walk & he encounters an aggressive dog, he typically wants nothing to do with it (a good thing!)... though not always. He's a bit lazier these days & is still a very picky eater, but overall, he's pretty calm. What I've found interesting is that he now wants to play... ALL THE TIME. Whenever it's time for a walk, as soon as I grab his leash & harness, he immediately goes for one of his toys & brings it to me... wanting to play. Chasing him around the house for 15-20 minutes only makes it worse, so playtime it is... And then several times on our walks, he'll suddenly get in the mood to play again... look up at me... nudge me... try to take the leash in his mouth... play growling... etc. He NEVER played this much as a puppy, so now that he's just turned 3 years old, it's been quite the surprise. I've also noted that when I take him to the mall (usually once or twice a week), he gets overwhelmed more easily when a crowd gathers around him (which occurs frequently), so I try to keep him moving before the crowd forms. He's still bulletproof around kids... and great with about 99.5% of adults.

    Also of note is that he starts to freak out on any car trip over 20 minutes. He's been acclimated to the truck from day one... on trips short and long... never an issue. Nowadays, as soon as we get past 15-20 minutes, he gets really nervous... panting & drooling all over the place. Took him on a camping trip to Mammoth in July... he was fine once we got there, but was a nervous wreck all the way there & all the way back. We had to drive home with towels over our arms (the drooling), & the sheet in the back of the truck cab was completely soaked.

    He also does not handle changes/interruptions to the "routine" as well as he used to. Again, he gets very nervous. I've always tried to vary our evening walks... never the same route/place two evenings in a row. Am going to try taking him more/different places more often, & see if I can get him to "go with the flow" a little more. I realize Pyrs are "creatures of habit", but I've always taken him anywhere & everywhere. Would like to continue to do that without him freaking out.

    Are these behaviors fairly normal, or has my Pyr acquired my neurotic tendencies?

    Overall, he's still a happy-go-lucky Pyr... and still stubborn as hell... THAT has not changed. I think he's a picky eater because he gets treats from so many of the neighbors & tries to hold out for the "good stuff" at home. At 3 years old, his weight is holding in the 95-98 lb range... still on the lean side, but since both sire & dam were from working lines, it doesn't surprise me that he'd be on the leaner side. At least he's healthy... that's what matters.

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    From your description, Wiley has been a little bit high-strung since he was a puppy. Now that he's heading into full maturity, he's showing more of the higher strung side of him. He's from working lines and thus he could have more of the work ethics side of him kicking in.

    Keep in mind, instinctively, pyrs would not relish excited environment. Excitement within a herd is usually not good news. Sheep herds do not get excited unless they are spooked - excitement leads to panic, a bad thing for guardian pyrs. So, if you apply that to your everyday world with Wiley, the people that surround Wiley at the mall do so in an excited state - understandably, that can make Wiley uncomfortable.

    Similarly, car rides to a place that is not Wiley's usual everyday haunts could be stressful because of the unknown. For that you might try using a Thundershirt to see if it helps. Thundershirt does not work with every dog for every situation. But it doesn't cost too much so if it doesn't work it wouldn't be breaking the bank. My Bro developed full on car and storm anxiety at about 7-8 years old. Prior to that he was fine. I used a Thundershirt on him and it helped with the storm anxiety but it didn't work at all for the car anxiety. I got lucky and got his Thundershirt 50% off and so it was only a $20 investment.

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Jewel... I'd say you pretty much nailed it. He's great with people... but when 8-12 people crowd around to pet him, he sometimes gets a little overwhelmed... tho not always. But on less-crowded evenings at the mall, if no one comes up to pet him, he'll start walking into stores to say Hi! to people & GET someone to pet him. Same thing when I take him to the Auto Mall... if salesmen are outside, he automatically pulls me over so that he can say Hi to them. So he DOES have a need for attention... tho that need has limits.

    The constant desire to play, and the anxiety in the truck are totally new developments tho... and quite surprising. Like I said, he NEVER played this much as a puppy... and now it's EVERY time before a walk... and many times DURING a walk.

    His anxiety in the truck really caught me off-guard, given how many long trips he's been on & how well-traveled he is... never a problem in the past. He's still fine most of the time on trips around town, but after about 20 minutes or so, heading to a new destination, the drooling & panting commence. Will keep an eye out for a thundershirt... thanks for the tip!

    But yea... I think his "work ethic" is definitely kicking in... at nighttime, he is definitely on-guard... the slightest noise outside sets him off. I've had to resort to closing the windows at night in an attempt to cut down on the barking (and preserve the peace in the neighborhood).
    Last edited by slick61; 10-22-2017 at 10:53 AM. Reason: omission

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Christi's Avatar

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    Nice to see you here Slick, I noticed that with Apollo as he got older he became afraid of stuff. Used to be fireworks didn't phase him, not so much anymore. Now we have valium in the house so that he can be medicated as needed when things get to loud. I also noticed that he doesn't like the car much anymore, but I think that is connected to his being neutered. We brought him straight home from surgery so that tainted his enjoyment of the car, we are now taking the dogs for a weekly drive, and stopping to get cheeseburgers while we are out.

    I agree with Jewels take on the people issue, just be glad he will still interact nicely with people, Apollo acts like he wants to eat the faces off of them. He can no longer go where people are.

    I think the playfulness is just to engage you. Apollo remains fairly playful. He likes a game of tug with his rope, and still plays our modified game of fetch.

    Apollo has always been a creature of habit, and has never been comfortable with change. For walks I always let him choose the route. Roxy will go with the flow and is most comfortable following his lead.

    My one caution would be if you see he is overwhelmed with places, it may not do you or him any favors to increase them to get him to go with the flow. Anxiety is something I have to deal with consistently and pushing them beyond a limit will not get you the results you are looking for. One thing I have had to do is learn early signs of anxiety and remove the dogs from the source immediately. I would add that by him showing signs of nervousness you need to consider how important trust is with a Pyr, pushing him could harm that trust.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Christi- yea, I think a lot of it has to do with his neutering... but it was just so odd... no change in behavior for the first 6 months afterward, then... WHAM... dramatic change. It seemed like a lot of his puppyhood shyness returned, tho he's still great with people. It's only when the group gets large (8+ people) that he seems to get a little nervous... and I always keep an eye out for that. At home, I think he still sees the neighborhood as part of his flock. All the neighbors know Wiley... & if they're outside... he HAS to go say hi to them & get his pets (tho I think he's REALLY doing it for treats!) Wiley gets a minimum of 4 walks a day... 3 around the neighborhood, & 1 "outing".

    If we're out at a restaurant somewhere, Wiley always makes himself as conspicuous as possible... positioning himself right in the main flow of traffic so that people will stop & pet him.

    I remember bringing him home from the Vet after neutering... he looked so pitiful when I went in to get him... his eyes were just... vacant. Got him into the truck ok, but he was whining all the way home... banging into things with the cone. Could not get him OUT of the truck when we got back home... had to get a neighbor to help me, & then he trotted right down the ramp. Not much bladder control the first evening... he was so out of it.

    The truck thing is weird tho. We go out somewhere in the truck EVERY evening. I never take him the same place two evenings in a row, & he seems fine with that. It's just when the ride is over 15-20 minutes that he gets nervous. When we went camping in Mammoth in July (5+ hours each way), he was a wreck all the way there & all the way back... but was fine the whole time we were there... even on day trips of an hour or more each way. Am going to try taking him on some hikes on the weekend that are about 30 minutes from home... see if I can gradually increase the distance... AND his comfort zone. Taking him to Palm Springs in a few weeks... will be a good test to see how he's doing... can't leave him home alone, & would rather not leave him with the sitter (whom he's going to the following week).

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Itís not uncommon for old anxieties to worsen or for new anxieties to develop when they reach mental maturity. It makes sense - some of the things I thought were fun when I was younger now scare the daylights out of me.

    Both of mine developed adult onset anxiety in one form or another. Sebastian became frightened of storms right around the same time he started to lose his tolerance of new dogs - right around the age of 2 1/2. Chester always had nervous tics, but his anxiety exploded not long after the one year anniversary of him following us home, which would have made him somewhere around two years old.

    As for car rides, they make Sebastian nervous, too, despite him having ridden in the car nearly every day his first two years of life. I canít speak for Wiley, but with Sebastian, I feel like itís a control issue. He likes having some say in whatís happening around him, and that doesnít happen in the car. He also doesnít understand traffic lights, and gets really antsy when weíre first in line at a red light.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    I think there's some truth to that (control issue)... and it's probably one of the reasons why Wiley prefers John over me... when out for a walk, John tends to let Wiley have a LOT more freedom. As for other dogs, Wiley's fine with dogs he's known since he was a pup... less so with other dogs he's never met... so your statement on that also rings true. Luckily, he's still as sociable as ever when out in public... I'm thankful for that... and hope it holds! When we're in the truck at a red light, Wiley usually just gets bored since we're not moving & lays down in back. But as soon as we start moving, he's up again!

  8. #8
    Puppy (New Member)

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    It sounds like he is acting like a teenager. Pyrs develop out of their "puppy" phase much slower than many dogs it can take up to 4 years before they adopt their full adult nature.
    It sounds an awful like my 2 year old puppy, just remember to keep your training up with him and he will learn, right now it may be partially testing boundaries,
    like a teen might <3

    Also it seems like he is working thought being scared of things. This may be an option to help, it isnt for everyone but I have had GREAT sucess working with animals and fear.

    Working with rescue horses, I applied a few things to my pyr and that has helped him get over "fearing" everything . Big ol chicken that he is.

    I find has worked with every animal I have worked with even a very gun shy horse that we had adopted that was afraid of everything after bring beaten including his own shadow!

    Technique:
    If your dog is showing fear of something NOT DANGEROUS or LIVING. We don't want him getting hurt or biting. Cornered is not the feeling were after here.
    Don't do this in his bed or safe area EVER.

    First put your dog in the middle of the room in case he tries to jump, or flee he wont get hurt, I recommend two people until your dog gets use to this.
    One to hold him another to work with him, and the object.

    Now hold him here and reassure him. Keep the object in sight.

    Bring the object to him SLOWLY, if he start to try and escape pause wait a moment and stop there. Till he calms down (if you like treats this is a good treat spot for calming and for petting too)
    approach again, never retreat, but dont push him too hard ease him into this.

    Offer to let them smell it, often he will just stare away, because they are spooked sometimes they are willing to smell and this is good!
    During this time it is important you show emotion to your dog, show him your confident, happy, and not worried at all.
    If your showing anger, fear or doubt this WILL NOT WORK!
    Show them that they are being silly, its just a piece of paper and its ok! REALLY!

    Touch it to you first while your next to them, show them it wont hurt you.
    After he sees its ok for you, then rub it onto them. Slowly keeping them safe and secure, so they don't bolt away at this point, which they may try, if they do pause, and slow down let them ease into it.
    Keep working them until they relax, then start petting them with the object.
    As they start to relax, it doesn't have to be completely but at least the fight or fly fear is gone, timid is still ok but do it again the next day if they are still timid.

    1 he knows you didn't hurt him even when he was scared, and on a side note neither did that silly vacuum!
    2 he had been through this before and knows it wont hurt, but its still kinda scary for now, if this is done each time he is scared
    eventually he will come to you when frightened for reassurance.
    3 he knows your there and your not afraid so why should he be this is what we are working for

    The most important thing if he gets scared, stop for a moment let him adjust, but don't EVER let him get hurt or run scared as this would defeat the purpose of this training.

    A little history for example: Keep in mind this was a very extreme situation your puppy is not, so it should be quiet a bit easier. <3
    When I was 16 my father adopted a horse, that had been beaten and abused, this horse was mean and would try to kill any MAN that walked into his are,
    boys, kids, women all just fine, but the person who had beaten him had been a man.

    We rode him home, it was a 17 mile walk and he was VERY tired (so was I, as I did a lot of walking myself).
    Now we didn't ride him that far because it was a good idea, it was asking a bit much of this animal who was very clearly exhausted.
    However at the time it was the only way to safely transport him, as trailoring at this point wasn't an option the horse might have killed himself literally trying to get into a tailor.
    The horse had been out to pasture for the last 5 years, almost wild. He was literally scared of his own shadow, dogs , men, cardboard, saddles, squirlls etc...
    I was the only one who could approach when we first met him, and with some training that changed.
    however by the time we got home, he was too tired to fight my dad coming up and petting his neck, this was the first day no man had been able to touch him in almost 5 years.
    But because he was too tired to run away, and I alone could hold him there, my father could approach the still terrified horse, very wide horsie eyes indeed!
    After a good bath I gave him and my dad pet his neck a while he starte dto relax, so my father left. I fed him treats and washed him down and put him away for the evening.

    The next day:
    He jumped a little and layed his ears back and got a little huffy at first when we went back out, but after about 3 hours of work the next day my father was able to go out and put
    a lead on him and pet him, with a little help from me.

    After about a week, my dad could saddle him, given this was the only man he was accepting at first, and things continued to progress over the month or two his training took,
    but with more training and after many countless hours of reassuring he grew out of his fears and was scared of almost nothing.

    The key is to approach ANYTHING your pet is spooked by and teach them, it wont hurt you.

    By the time my horse had been trained we was working security at public festivals in California for security with thousands of people around.
    You could shoot a rifle off his back for hunting, or take him to a fireworks show and nothing and I mean nothing I ever saw spooked him any more.
    When he retired he went to work with children with disabilities in his last years very happy because he still loved kids!

    He learned to trust me, you could fire a gun from his back, have a drunk man slap his butt and he would look at you, but he got to be "bomb proof" and we took advantage.

    ___
    My dog gets tackled by about 10 kids every day as they get off the school bus, goes to fireworks at the beach, greets animals with joy, because I teach him,
    there is nothing to be scared of, I got you and he trusts that is the case, and it is.

    --
    Now if done incorrectly, and you let your dog run, they will see you as someone who is bringing scary things to them, and trying to hurt them.
    So it is of the upmost importance you show them you'll keep them safe, and they can trust you.

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