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Hi fellow dog lovers! I posted this in the puppy forum, but didn't get any comments so wondering if this might be a better place? Mods, please feel free to move. :)

I'm new to the GR Forum (thanks for the warm welcome into the community I've already received in the New Member thread!), but would love your thoughts and comments on my sweet Teddy's anxiety.

Teddy is a generally nervous dog, wary of noises and new experiences or objects. He's nearly 11 months old and was born in rescue and lived in a wonderful foster home the first part of his life. He was socialized with other dogs, and at adoption events, but probably didn't have much one on one time. We adopted him when he was about 8 months old and for the first couple weeks he had very difficult separation anxiety. He would try to destroy the kennel, drool excessively, and was unable to self-sooth. We quickly learned that new experiences were scary for him.

We worked on crate training, de-sensitizing him to departure clues, practiced coming and going extensively (to show him we would return)and gave him a delicious Kong upon every departure. With routine and consistency he completely improved after just a few weeks. Now he goes right in the kennel, eats his Kong, and calms nicely (we watch him on remote cameras), which you know is HUGE (if you have ever experienced SA).

However, when we return, he seems anxious to me. We keep greetings low key, he goes right outside to potty, and then we get in a nice long walk (weather permitting) or play fetch inside and practice training to burn some mental energy. However, Teddy pants constantly (prior to exercise) and also yawns. If I move around the house, he follows and will lie down in one place and stop panting, but the minute I'm up, he's up and panting again. On weekends, or when we are home for a stretch of time, I do not notice this anxious behavior. It's almost as though the anxiety has now begun in the evening when we've returned, even though he seems fine now when we leave.

Since we adopted him, I've been working on generally building his confidence. We are in a basic class together, and I hope to get him into an intro to Rally course after that. And I'm trying to expose him to new places and things (I took him to a local pet boutique and he was so scared his legs shook and wanted to stand by the door). We'll have to take it slow...

Could all of this be related to his second fear period? Is it because he has pent up energy in the evenings after being crated all day? He's not a high energy pup, but he's an adolescent. Anyone else have similar experiences? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Oh, and here's my sweet guy:

 
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Wendy
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Sorry, not going to be much help, except bumping your thread. Sounds like you have done an amazing job with sweet Teddy. He definitely landed in the right home! Has his schedule stayed the same, since you got him? He does seem stressed with the panting and yawning.
My daughter's dog does that when the smoke detector goes off and for an hour, he's stuck like glue to you

With your love and patience, I'm sure it will get better. You can see his beautiful soul, through his eyes
 

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I also think you are doing an amazing job with Teddy and picking up on his subtle anxiety cues. I think Rally-O could be great fun. Another confidence builder is agility.

Is there a reason you still need to crate him all day? That is a lot of time to spend in a crate. Once he's housetrained, you could try giving him a bigger area and see how he does.

Another idea to engage him in a game all dogs seem to love : nosework. You can start by playing the find-it game using food or treats and gradually increase the difficulty. This can be done in the house in the evenings working his brain in addition to his regular exercise. This is a game that Chance absolutely loves. Another confidence builder.

I really don't know about the 2nd fear period.

Teddy has such a sweet face - I can see why you love him.
 

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Hi there - Teddy is a very handsome boy.
Perhaps the anxiety could be because you've been away all day, and when you return he is anxious that you're going to go away again. Same for when you get up, he thinks you're leaving. I'd imagine its all still stemming from his previous separation anxiety. You are doing all the right things to help him so I don't have any further advice, I think it will just take time and patience for it to go away completely.

We rescued a very anxious boy too. He whined non-stop for a couple of months, constantly panting too. Its now 14 months on and he is a whole lot better, but he's certainly not perfect and in certain situations he's a nervous wreck. For a long time we felt so bad that he was missing out on fun days out, new beaches, new friends etc, but then we realised that it wasn't a fun day for him because he was so anxious, he is much happier sticking to the same walking route every day, so that's what we do for him.

All you can do is your best to continue to reassure Teddy and give him confidence. Don't be disheartened, its still quite early days and it sounds like you have come a long way already. Wouldn't you love to be able to just talk to them and say "I'm here, stop being so silly!!" :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think you've done a wonderful job with him!

Is the panting and yawning always BEFORE exercise? What is your routine when you walk in the door?
Thank you so much for the response and kind words! Yes, he often pants, yawns, etc. before exercise. It's like when we get home he becomes excited, but also nervous that we will leave again.

As far as routine, we walk in the door, calming say hi and he sits pretty patiently and waits to get out of the crate. We let him out immediately and say "time to go outside" and he runs out the back door to our fenced in yard along with his furry brother, Duncan. When they come in, my husband and I change from our work clothes and take them for a walk. While we move around the house from the kitchen to our upstairs bedroom he pants the whole way. Same with as we prepare for the walk, gather the leashes, the dog waste bags, etc. Then we typically do a 45 minute walk and come back home where our two pups take a breather and then have dinner.

I guess it could be exited panting? Like "yay you're home! Yay it's walk time!" We've had many dogs through our house through fostering and I just haven't noticed the panting in other dogs. However, he does have a fuller coat than many other dogs we have experience with. Maybe panting is common in goldens?

Thanks again for the response!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I also think you are doing an amazing job with Teddy and picking up on his subtle anxiety cues. I think Rally-O could be great fun. Another confidence builder is agility.

Is there a reason you still need to crate him all day? That is a lot of time to spend in a crate. Once he's housetrained, you could try giving him a bigger area and see how he does.

Another idea to engage him in a game all dogs seem to love : nosework. You can start by playing the find-it game using food or treats and gradually increase the difficulty. This can be done in the house in the evenings working his brain in addition to his regular exercise. This is a game that Chance absolutely loves. Another confidence builder.

I really don't know about the 2nd fear period.

Teddy has such a sweet face - I can see why you love him.
You are so kind! We find him to be one of the sweeter-natured dogs we have ever had. He's a goofy puppy in many ways still and has soft expressions :) I must say, the golden in your signature is gorgeous!

We have tried leaving Teddy uncrated and we experienced quite a bit of destruction. As in, the legs of our family room coffee table completely chewed up! After that, we thought it might be a good idea (for his safety and our sanity) to work on the crate for a few months. I'd like to transition away from it eventually over time, as he grows more mature, more comfortable, and as we grow more comfortable with leaving him and our other dog, Duncan, to be left alone together unattended. Right now, Teddy is a playful adolescent and Duncan (a basset/lab mix) is a 4 year old, mellow and tolerant older brother. I like to be able to control their interactions to keep Duncan from getting overwhelmed and to make sure their relationship stays happy, as it is now!

Love the nose work idea! Teddy is part beagle mix on his mother's side and I think he would love that! Thanks for the suggestion!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi there - Teddy is a very handsome boy.
Perhaps the anxiety could be because you've been away all day, and when you return he is anxious that you're going to go away again. Same for when you get up, he thinks you're leaving. I'd imagine its all still stemming from his previous separation anxiety. You are doing all the right things to help him so I don't have any further advice, I think it will just take time and patience for it to go away completely.

We rescued a very anxious boy too. He whined non-stop for a couple of months, constantly panting too. Its now 14 months on and he is a whole lot better, but he's certainly not perfect and in certain situations he's a nervous wreck. For a long time we felt so bad that he was missing out on fun days out, new beaches, new friends etc, but then we realised that it wasn't a fun day for him because he was so anxious, he is much happier sticking to the same walking route every day, so that's what we do for him.

All you can do is your best to continue to reassure Teddy and give him confidence. Don't be disheartened, its still quite early days and it sounds like you have come a long way already. Wouldn't you love to be able to just talk to them and say "I'm here, stop being so silly!!" :)
Goodness your response was so helpful and reassuring, thank you! Anxious dogs can be challenging in a whole other way than really confident, head-strong pups. Our last foster was incredibly confident, nothing phased him, and then we adopted Teddy and he is the other side of the spectrum.

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with your pup. Like you, we try to integrate our dogs into our lives as much as possible - whether that is taking them to our friends' houses to romp with other dogs, taking them to the lake or on errands, etc. Our other pup, Duncan, is incredibly outgoing and happy go lucky - he takes all of it in stride.

You make a good point about being conscientious that Teddy may just prefer more of a routine and less new experiences. I'm hoping to find a balance of introducing him to things gradually over time. We attend a weekly playgroup that he attended even before we adopted him - he knows the place, the other dogs, and the people and he LOVES it. It's familiar and fun. So I have hope that over time I can help him see more places like that.

It sounds like the panting is nothing to be overly concerned about, we'll hope for improvement over time and with confidence.

I cannot thank each of you enough for caring enough to respond and for the thoughtful words. What a great community!

Duncan, Teddy, and I say thanks!
 

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Now that you describe it-sounds like it to me. What's that song, 'Anticipation'? They are such creatures of habit and know what's coming next. My dogs are the same way. They know, when it's walk time!
 

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Now that you describe it-sounds like it to me. What's that song, 'Anticipation'? They are such creatures of habit and know what's coming next. My dogs are the same way. They know, when it's walk time!
Haha! Yes, I think that's the song! Maybe I should sing it for him as we get ready for our walk! :) On second thought, nobody wants that!

Thanks for your insights here! It's useful to talk about this with other experienced dog folks. By the way, that puppy you have as your profile picture! What a cutie!!!
 
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If you are concerned about anxiety issues, pay close attention to what his body language is 'saying'. Have a good look at him, form a mental image, of what he looks like when is happy, relaxed, or playing with his buddy - loose body language, tail moving freely, ears perhaps up and forward, or relaxed, lips loose, and 'natural', then compare it to the situations that have you questioning whether he is anxious or just perhaps, excited. An anxious dog may have his ears back, or held tight against the head, lips pulled tight, creases in the corner of his mouth, perhaps panting or his mouth may be shut, his tongue may flick up over his nose, and he may turn his head away from whatever is stressing him. Tail may be down, or even tucked, and there will be tension in his body.
Some dogs respond to anxiety/stress by 'slowing down', moving more slowly, as if reluctant to move forward, or trying to 'tune' the world out, while others will 'speed up', 'prancing' on walks, become 'hyper' alert, are easily distracted and unable to attend to known cues. Depending on their level of anxiety, they may even refuse to eat treats, or take them 'hard', grab them from your hand, when they usually take them nicely/gently.

Bless you for adopting him, he sounds like a real sweetheart. He hasn't really been with you that long, it can take some time for a rehomed dog to truly settle in, and 'trust'/believe that they are home. Understand that, if he was not well socialized, given plenty of opportunities to experience and create positive associations with the 'real world', in the foster home, when you take him out on walks, so much of what he is experiencing is so new to him, and for a dog 'new' can be a bit scary. If this is the case with him, take along some treats, and slowly introduce him to new places and environments.

All in all, for many rescued and rehomed dogs, time, patience and understanding on our part goes a long ways to resolving many of the 'bumps' we experience on our journeys with them.
 

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I completely understand about not being comfortable leaving Teddy uncrated yet. That makes good sense. The table legs being destroyed is bad but if he chewed on something else, he could ingest something really bad. I personally know of a tragic case where a young dog chewed and ingested part of the carpet including some carpet tacks. It required surgery and was quite serious.

Also, supervising the level of activity for Duncan's sake is also good thinking. Many years ago, we got a puppy when my older dog was 5. My 5 year old was just not "into" the puppy and I needed to give him some peace for him to keep his sanity.

I think having Duncan as a calm, balanced "older brother" will help Teddy too.

The Golden in my signature picture is my Chance - the love of my life. That picture was taken this past summer a few days before his 10th birthday.
 

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Thank you for sharing your personal experience with your pup. Like you, we try to integrate our dogs into our lives as much as possible - whether that is taking them to our friends' houses to romp with other dogs, taking them to the lake or on errands, etc. Our other pup, Duncan, is incredibly outgoing and happy go lucky - he takes all of it in stride.

You make a good point about being conscientious that Teddy may just prefer more of a routine and less new experiences. I'm hoping to find a balance of introducing him to things gradually over time. We attend a weekly playgroup that he attended even before we adopted him - he knows the place, the other dogs, and the people and he LOVES it. It's familiar and fun. So I have hope that over time I can help him see more places like that.
I fully understand that feeling, as our other dog is such a confident, outgoing dog, and LOVES new places and new things, so it did take a while to come around to the fact that our adopted boy was different. Honestly it sounds like you are doing an amazing job with him, and well done for fostering others too. Do you have pics of your fur babies?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you are concerned about anxiety issues, pay close attention to what his body language is 'saying'. Have a good look at him, form a mental image, of what he looks like when is happy, relaxed, or playing with his buddy - loose body language, tail moving freely, ears perhaps up and forward, or relaxed, lips loose, and 'natural', then compare it to the situations that have you questioning whether he is anxious or just perhaps, excited. An anxious dog may have his ears back, or held tight against the head, lips pulled tight, creases in the corner of his mouth, perhaps panting or his mouth may be shut, his tongue may flick up over his nose, and he may turn his head away from whatever is stressing him. Tail may be down, or even tucked, and there will be tension in his body.
Some dogs respond to anxiety/stress by 'slowing down', moving more slowly, as if reluctant to move forward, or trying to 'tune' the world out, while others will 'speed up', 'prancing' on walks, become 'hyper' alert, are easily distracted and unable to attend to known cues. Depending on their level of anxiety, they may even refuse to eat treats, or take them 'hard', grab them from your hand, when they usually take them nicely/gently.

Bless you for adopting him, he sounds like a real sweetheart. He hasn't really been with you that long, it can take some time for a rehomed dog to truly settle in, and 'trust'/believe that they are home. Understand that, if he was not well socialized, given plenty of opportunities to experience and create positive associations with the 'real world', in the foster home, when you take him out on walks, so much of what he is experiencing is so new to him, and for a dog 'new' can be a bit scary. If this is the case with him, take along some treats, and slowly introduce him to new places and environments.

All in all, for many rescued and rehomed dogs, time, patience and understanding on our part goes a long ways to resolving many of the 'bumps' we experience on our journeys with them.
Charliethree, this was some really, really great advice! Can't thank you enough. I'm starting to try and pay more attention to his 'natural' language or his body language when I know he is more excited ("time for a walk") than stressed. I'm guessing he must pant a lot when excited, as well as when stressed. Because last night when we came in to let him out of the crate he perked up, wagged his tail, and then started panting. Same behavior when he saw me grab the leash for his walk.

I had read a lot about dogs panting when anxious or worried (and I think he does that too), but I'm starting to see that this panting at times might just be more out of anticipation than worry.

Also great advice about how dogs react differently to a stressful situation. I had never really thought about this, but it's almost like a revelation now! Our Cooper, my first dog (a belgian shepherd/rottweiler/malamute mix who passed away last year) was a very anxious dog when we adopted him. However, his stress manifested in the "slowing down" way you describe. He became very, very mellow. Almost like he was shutting down. Slow movements or no movement at all. He overcame a lot in the two years before cancer took him, but was like this a lot at first, which baffled me because he was a young dog. Teddy on the other hand is totally opposite, "hyper alert" as you describe, cannot focus and generally pinging off the walls when stressed. Gosh, can't thank you enough because it makes more sense in my mind now and I have a better idea of what to look for with Teddy.
Thank you so so much!

P.S. The quote in your signature is one of my favorites! We hung that saying in our house and we have put up photos of all our past foster dogs around it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I completely understand about not being comfortable leaving Teddy uncrated yet. That makes good sense. The table legs being destroyed is bad but if he chewed on something else, he could ingest something really bad. I personally know of a tragic case where a young dog chewed and ingested part of the carpet including some carpet tacks. It required surgery and was quite serious.

Also, supervising the level of activity for Duncan's sake is also good thinking. Many years ago, we got a puppy when my older dog was 5. My 5 year old was just not "into" the puppy and I needed to give him some peace for him to keep his sanity.

I think having Duncan as a calm, balanced "older brother" will help Teddy too.

The Golden in my signature picture is my Chance - the love of my life. That picture was taken this past summer a few days before his 10th birthday.
Chance is gorgeous! I know exactly what you mean when you say "the love of my life." I call that a "heart dog." My very first dog, Cooper, a Shepherd mix, was mine. I never knew how deep and meaningful a relationship with a dog could be before we adopted him. He inspired me every day and it was because of him that we started volunteering with rescue, that I learned how much training could be, and how passionate I was about dog education! Basically he changed my life! It was so hard when we lost him to hemagiosarcoma last year, very unexpectedly. Now we have Teddy (and Duncan who was around with Cooper) and I sometimes think Coop sent him to me for a little comfort.

Chance and his name remind me of the dog Chance from the movie "Homeward Bound." :) I always thought he was the most loyal, kind dog and it sounds like the real Chance may have found you! :)
 
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I fully understand that feeling, as our other dog is such a confident, outgoing dog, and LOVES new places and new things, so it did take a while to come around to the fact that our adopted boy was different. Honestly it sounds like you are doing an amazing job with him, and well done for fostering others too. Do you have pics of your fur babies?
I sometimes think Duncan, our confident one, really does help Teddy. Maybe you have experienced the same thing! Teddy seems more comfortable when he is around, which I love. But I'm also trying to make sure Teddy gets one on one time so he develops some of that confidence independently. You're right though, understanding each dog's unique personality and catering to that is really important and I'll remember that advice! Sometimes it's easy just to think about what we'd like for them!

Here's a couple more photos of my boys:

Teddy's older brother, Duncan McPiggles, the Basset/Labrador Retriever:



And sweet Teddy the golden mix:

 

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If you haven't read it, the book: Calming Signals: On Talking Terms with Dogs by Turid Rugaas, provides the 'basics' of dog body language, how dogs communicate, there is so much more to dog behavior and 'why' dogs behave the way they do, and it is fascinating.
Well worth taking the time to investigate and learn - especially when living with (and/or working with) rescued dogs.
 

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Panting

Hi there
We have had lovely Kobi in our lives since he was 8 weeks old. He is now almost 5. He is definitely the most laid back dog I have ever had, AND he pants more than most other dogs I have had.
I never thought of it as an anxiety symptom. Good luck with your pup....I would echo that you seem to be doing a fabulous job with him.
best
Gildalilly
 

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Handling an anxious or fearful dog can be quite challenging. Making him feel secure at home, such as you've done, is a very big deal. It can take a dog up to a year to feel truly "at home" so don't stop with all you're doing.

If it turns out that even with all your good work, he doesn't ever lose the anxiety, you may need to do more than what you are doing. He may need some specialized handling and training.

If you are Facebook, apply to join a group call "Fearful Dogs." https://www.facebook.com/groups/fearfuldogs/ It is run by a woman named Debbie Jacobs. She's opinionated but very knowledgable. Once you're in the group, read all the documents attached to it. It's a good community of people who give support and share success stories about their special pooches. If you don't do FB, you might check out Debbie's books. She really knows her stuff regarding fearful dogs. There is a lot an owner can do.

Best wishes. He's a beautiful boy!
 

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Hi there
We have had lovely Kobi in our lives since he was 8 weeks old. He is now almost 5. He is definitely the most laid back dog I have ever had, AND he pants more than most other dogs I have had.
I never thought of it as an anxiety symptom. Good luck with your pup....I would echo that you seem to be doing a fabulous job with him.
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Gildalilly
That's interesting you say that about the panting. Teddy is a dog that pants much more generally than any dog we have ever had.

When he wakes up in the morning, he is pacing around the bed, wagging his tail and already panting. Is panting a more common trait because of the thicker fur?

Thanks so much Gildalilly! Kobi sounds fabulous - we've always loved our laid back dogs!!
 
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