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Hans Again With Fear

Discussion in 'Senior Dobermans' started by Ingrid H, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    So Hans is 8. He rode in my truck with me to work every day, rode to places to walk and explore, and was always eager to jump into any car or truck for a ride. Now in addition to being completely freaked out about the smoke detector or the bulkhead door slamming, he won't get in the car. Not getting in the car started after several trips to the vet to have a mass removed from his anal region and other trips to see if there was anything wrong with him that would cause fear. He will not get in the car. The last time I got him into the car I physically made him do it. I wasn't mad or nervous- nothing bad. But I want to make it better for him.

    Today I tried again and he just laid down on the grass and wouldn't budge except to get more distance from the car. I figured I would try baiting him into the car with a leftover sausage. Same thing with the laying down and shutting down. Then I thought we should do baby steps. He clearly wanted the sausage, so I broke it up into smaller pieces to reward him for every little step he took closer to the car. I got him to take 4 steps closer before I ran out of sausage. In the afternoon I did another session with the other leftover sausage I had and tried again with the baby steps. That time it went faster. He never laid down and he actually got a piece off the seat of the car.


    I think I'm taking the right approach but would welcome any suggestions. I never saw this problem coming. Maybe it is age related? Is anyone for a geriatric Doberman forum where we can discuss aging issues, show off grey hairs and lumps? An 8 and up section for our senior babies?
     
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  2. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Could he be not getting in because of actual pain when getting in? That's always my first thought with a sudden change in an older dog. Java got nervous getting in our vehicles for a bit because she irritated some arthritis in her spine a year or so ago when she jumped once and caused a long ordeal of not being able to walk afterwards until it healed.
     
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  3. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I don't think so. He's been thoroughly checked out and will not hesitate to jump over steps to get into or out of the house. I really think it's mental.
     
    • Empathetic Empathetic x 4
  4. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Aww poor Hans... :( It does sound like he's relating something unpleasant with the cars so maybe those trips to the vet are a trigger. It sounds like you're taking exactly the right approach and that's the way we had to do it with Boris too when we first got him.
    That's actually a great idea!
     
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  5. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Make it so! LOL
     
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  6. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    He was getting regular car rides NOT just going to the vet, so I wonder if this is an old age Dobie thing? A seniors section is a great idea.

    I'll tell you my immediate thought in case it has any value. Upon reading about the bum issue I did wonder, of all the bad associations a dog can make by going to the vet, something with his nether regions would be extra memorable. It was probably a painful recovery as well...I'm sure he still had to potty like usual despite the pain. It's not like being able to rest an injured leg by not walking. From a human standpoint just think about how many physical exams we miss just to avoid the awkwardness of the exam, never mind any physical discomfort.

    Poor Hans. I hope others have some ideas too.
     
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  7. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I'll have to see if I can remember exactly how but I'd like that too since our first generation is entering that age group.
     
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  8. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    It's sad to say that it's going to be a small group, but I know of some Dobes that could have been in an 8+ group.
     
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  9. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I know and it both breaks my heart and scares me.

    Here is the new forum.
    Senior Dobermans
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I think it's a great idea. Buddy is 9 1/2 and will definitely be in there!

    I think it sounds like a mental thing with Hans too. Those smoke detectors are annoying for a reason, but annoying nonetheless! That tone may have really freaked him out. I don't know about you, but there have been a few situations in my life that forever changed me too. Things I was never afraid of, suddenly changed. I think it can happen at any age, not just our special seniors.

    If I remember right, Cesar would go in a car with a hatchback (like my Equinox) via the back door (the second row) and entice them in through the back hatch. Kind of like making a circle. The dog goes in the back hatch as you entice from the side door. I think he had them just go right through and not without stopping until the dog was comfortable enough to stay in the car.
     
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  11. GennyB

    GennyB Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    So is fear the only symptom? No other dementia/alzheimer type symptoms? I think in dogs it is called canine dysfunction syndrome. Some of the things to look for is a fear of everyday things, change in sleep patterns, restlessness and there are several more. Can't remember them all off the top of my head.
    Not saying this is the problem but just a possibility. Could be a whole host of things including anything from pain to the sad news I got with Greta.
     
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  12. bomary

    bomary Hot Topics Subscriber

    So sorry to hear your baby is having struggles. I hope it gets worked out soon, and that all is well health-wise. Poor guy (and you...I know you're worried.) What a great idea for senior forum...glad it's "a thing" now.
    Sorry I'm no help...Jax and I are still "new kids on the block," but I sure hope you find something that works. Hugs to Hans...and you.
     
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  13. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    If he doesn't have an injury of some kind I say he gets in the car, no babying him, you must be the one in charge. What ever fear it is he is having he will get over it.
     
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  14. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    Have is eyes checked if no other injuries are present. One of our dogs has depth perseption problems but he he still has to load and unload in the van. He will figure it out. I have to park in the exact same spot so he can get in ok.
     
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  15. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Yes, fear is the only symptom. He has a very long memory and a low pain threshold. I accidentally pinched his ear putting his prong collar on about 5 months ago and he's only now almost completely recovered from that.

    We had another training session today. He jumped in the car once and only laid down on the grass once. It's progress so I'm pleased.
     
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  16. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    That's a great start!
     
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  17. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Just catching up on this thread. Great to hear there's been some progress.
    Hopefully with repeated exposure to the car, if you can daily, I'm sure he'll come around. What's he like in someone else's truck/car? Have you tried that? If he's associating your car with the vets then I wonder what he would be like with a different vehicle? It would be interesting to find out.

    Also, you said he loved travelling with you in the truck. Are you keeping him in the same position in the car as you did the truck? I.e...boot, back seat, front seat.....?
     
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  18. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I hope so... I've sold the truck but have 2 cars. The one he went to the vet in started out being the more difficult, but now the other car is just as bad. I have a barrier between the front seat and back seat and have tried the front and back. I didn't get to do a session today because of my work hours, but I'll try again tomorrow.
    And I discovered a display at work that has a picture of a pup that looks a lot like Kobi! It's a dog dish display with a bunch of dogs on it, and a black Doberman with natural ears is on it :)
     
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  19. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Ok, I would continue to encourage him inside the car as much as possible. It's not unusual for them to show anxious behaviours when they reach their senior years.
    I remember by first boy, Jake became a little 'jumpy' in his late senior years. We knew that his senses were obviously less acute and he couldn't see, hear or smell as well as he used to. It must be frightening for them as previously they would of sailed through different situations but with age and deterioration there comes apprehension. It's only to be expected.


    Keep us updated, @Ingrid H. Oh, and that's awesome to hear about your display at work :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
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  20. Ingrid H

    Ingrid H Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I'm so happy to announce Hans' progress today! I've been working with him a few times per week on getting in the car. Last time we worked on it (yesterday), he put on the brakes about 40 feet from the car, shut down once, and never got in the car. I was using sliced hot dogs for motivation, and each try was faster and closer to getting in. Today I used sliced chicken tenders. He got in on the first try! He hesitated, but he jumped in after I tossed a piece of chicken into the car. Pretty soon he was jumping in to wait for his chicken reward. I reintroduced the command "get in" as he was getting in. I can't wait to get home from work tomorrow to do it again! A ride will not be far off :)
     
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