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Canine Behavior/attachment anxiety

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Question
Is there such a thing as attachment anxiety? I came up with this term because we recently adopted a dog from the rescue league who seem to have the opposite of seperation anxiety. He love all new people and dogs to such an extent he gets overly excited - jumps and whines. He is a great dog at home. Good with our children and us. Gets plenty of exercise but still seems a bit aloft after he's been around anyone for more than a short period of time. He's great when he's left home alone uncrated, but if given a chance he'll run away when a door is open. Do you think this is just a matter of time? Any suggestions to help us bond better? We are very affectionate and give him free run of the house. He came from a foster home where he was kept in a spare bedroom and only allowed in a small fenced yard.

Answer
You didn't indicate how old this dog is, what breed or breeds you believe the dog to be, or if he has had any obedience training.

Without knowing any specifics of your dog, it sounds like a happy and social dog who is lacking manners and obedience skills. I would encourage you to get him into an obedience class. Any time a dog comes into a new home, even if the dog has a set of basic skills, I encourage the owners to take the dog to an obedience class or do obedience training at home. It's a great opportunity to refresh the skills for the dog, and to build the bond and trust and communication between owner and dog.

If he's already awesome at the basics such as Sit, Lay Down, Drop It, Leave It, Stay, Come and Walking on Leash, then I would encourage you to take a Tricks class or an intermediate class. Or get some private training at your home just to reinforce those skills and to work on specifics such as bolting out doors (or rather, NOT bolting out doors...). The dog needs to have the foundation skills of Sit and Stay in order to easily work on his door bolting skills. Below is a link to a couple videos of me working on these skills to give you an idea of how you can practice such a thing. The first thing is to pick a clear spot that has both a visual and tactile clarity for the dog that you can declare to be the spot where you want him when the door opens. You may use a doorway, carpet vs. hard floor, sit on stairs, or put a mat or dog bed in the space for the dog to sit on. In my videos, I'm using the area rug (I don't want the dogs on the hard floor) and I even go so far in one of the videos as to use a specif pattern feature on the rug as a "I want you behind this line". I guide the dog to that spot and ask for a Sit, then move toward the door and back, rewarding the dog for remaining seated. Then we reset and do it again. I build up to actually getting to the door, then jiggling the handle, then cracking the door, then opening it a bit, then opening it wide and standing there for several seconds, then me moving through the door, then me moving through the door and out of sight... It's just an intro video, but the goal is to work up to the point where you can tell the dog to Stay while you open the door and go get the mail and return, or even build up to the point you can chat with someone in the front yard without the dog joining you unless you call them to you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2rsPQoeQJs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yVnDZPthe4

Also, brain exercise is equally as important (if not more so) as physical exercise. Just as children can play for hours and still be ready to play some more, but studying a difficult subject can exhaust them in just 30 minutes... dogs are the same way. Dogs can run and chase and play fetch for hours and still be ready to play more. But some good brain exercise can wear them out in 20-30 minutes. So don't forget to be giving him some mental exercise. This can be obedience (just make sure it's fun and not all work), or it can be food puzzle toys such as stuffed Kongs or Kong Wobblers or various puzzle toys you can find now on Amazon or in local stores (see link below for suggestions), it can be setting up hide-and-seek games in the house with his kibble. It can be doing K9 Nose work which is a new-ish sport that is based on the same training that narcotics and explosives sniffing dogs do (both my dogs absolutely LOVE this sport). You can take a class for this or you can buy a book to teach you how to play scent games at home with your dog (see link below). With obedience and mental activity, and some specific training for your dog's specific proclivities (such as bolting out the door), I expect you can guide him to be a great dog, since he's clearly sociable and comfortable with your kids and others whom he meets.

Search "puzzle toys for dogs" on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Dpets&field-keywor

The Canine Kingdom of Scent: Fun Activities Using Your Dog's Natural Instincts
http://www.amazon.com/Canine-Kingdom-Scent-Activities-Instincts/dp/1929242727/re

Good luck. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.

Jody, APDT
Los Angeles Behaviorist
http://GoodDog-DogTraining.com

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT

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IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com/ If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.

Experience

I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

Organizations
I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications
http://NutzAboutMutz.com ; http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

Education/Credentials
I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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