Tuesday, October 9, 2012

12 Weeks - Soap Box Derby

Last Saturday (the 29th), Maddie and I picked up our friends, Ginsey and Fire, and headed to Atlanta for a city exposure for the puppies.  Our friend, Tracy and her new doberman puppy named Ivy, told us about a Soap Box Derby in her old neighborhood that would be great for getting the puppies around people, children, crowds, live music, and other weird sights.
And for the record, Tracy had no say in having Ivy's ears done.  The breeder had the entire litter done before they went to their new homes.  Ivy comes from fantastic working lines which was important to Tracy so she had to accept the ears as is.
Maddie and Ivy seemed to hit it off and we are hoping they might make good playmates as they continue to grow.
Ivy is only two weeks younger than Maddie and their parents are the same size so we are hoping they will stay evenly matched as the months pass by.
As promised, there was lots of weird stuff to be seen and lots of people.
 This little girl was very interested in Maddie. Maddie was mostly too busy to pay her much attention, but she gently tasted a finger.
Fire found her Box car and was able to pose with it.
We then headed to lunch and sat out on a patio so the pups could watch and hear the traffic pass by.
It the past, I have had mostly greyhounds that were bold and accepted all the new noises and sights.  They were just born that way.  I find that fascinating and the racing greyhound illustrates this better than any other dog because most racing greyhounds live similar lives.  You can have a hundred greyhounds born, raised, and trained on a good farm yet some will still be fearful or shy.  Some have low prey drives while others are very high.  Some dogs are born very bold.  Others are middle of the road.
Maddie so far appears to be mostly bold, but I want to do everything I can to maintain that and introducing her to everything imaginable in the first 3 months is the best way to do that.  We even listen to CDs of thunderstorms, fireworks, gunshots, trains, motorcycles, and so on.

I can't help but wonder wonder if Reagan had been introduced to all the things Maddie has in her first three months if Reagan would have turned out differently.  I do think there might be a genetic component to phobias or that it is at least something they are born with.  In my experience, phobias do not develop from a bad experience so it seems more likely that there are wires crossed in the brain that make them more prone to phobias..  They just develop with no rhyme or reason.... but your best shot at preventing a phobia is to work on it before it happens and create positive associations.... so that is what I am doing with Maddie.


What Remains Now said...

Looks like such a fun day. Funny what you say about fears. My Freedom is so bold in all things, but thunder and fireworks really throw her off. She heads right to the bathroom and nestles in.

cleptogrey said...

it does make a difference exposing maddie to every and anything thing. that's exactly what we did w/ felix as a pup and he's "rock solid". from what i have observed volunteering w/ our local rescue group it's really here and there that one runs into a track dog that's as rock solid.from my observations some of it is the owner, some of it is the innate tempermanet of the dog.

jcp said...

That's great advice on working on how to work on phobias. Looks like you guys are having a great time!

K-Koira said...

I had Koira from 8 weeks old and did a lot of training and exposure with her, but she still developed a noise phobia of large trucks. I can't pinpoint any incident that would have caused the fear, it just developed, and continued to get worse despite doing all the training that was suggested to me with her.

Out of interest (and maybe I missed you talking about this), did you ever think about or actually try using medication to help Regean with her phobia?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

K-Koira, Reagan is medicated. BuSpar helps a lot with her phobia to engines and motors. But does nothing for her terror of traveling in a vehicle. Didn't have much success with Xanax... gave her the munchies big time. Prozac didn't help either.

That is why I think some dogs are just born prone to phobias and that they would probably develop them no matter what you do.

Although we have so far avoided a storm phobia with Reagan... but that is because we counter condition it... which isn't something you can do or want to do for every single possible noise out there.

OH and another thing... its not always loud noises which you could sort of attribute to being a bad experience (I can understand not liking loud noises), but Reagan has phobias to really small, nothing noises as well. Like if you are at an agility trial and people are parking their cars, unloading, getting out, etc. You will hear the random thuds of car doors closing in the background. Its a totally nothing, unnoticed by everyone else noise... but it turns Reagan inside out.

houndstooth said...

I had never heard about fear stages before we got Kuster, but since then, I've learned more about them, and it's a bit fascinating to me. We've worked really hard with him to avoid any of those things, and so far, his "fears" have been rather minor and short-lived.

As far as Greyhounds and noises go, we've been lucky. But last year at Dewey, Bunny and I were walking past a beer delivery truck, and a keg or something dropped inside it, and it was a loud noise. It definitely scared her and I worried a lot, because she became prone to a lot of shaking after loud noises immediately afterwards. I remember feeling a horrible sense of panic, but over time is has lessened a lot, fortunately. There's still one sound, gunshots, that will upset her, but I can't say that I completely blame her. It hasn't become a debilitating fear, she's able to keep going and shake it off, which is a relief. It's also not a sound that we're likely to hear a lot in everyday life. I agree with you, in any case, that some Greyhounds are more prone to fear issues genetically.

Ximena said...

I definitely agree with you. There's a big role that genetics play and sometimes no amount of socialization can quell what is, essentially, ingrained.

In the puppy classes I assist in, we see a LOT of reactive puppies. Some who make huge progress over 6 weeks and others who struggle all the way through. Probably will the rest of their lives. Most of time, we blame the owners. "They're not doing enough" -- and that's often true. But sometimes, a person has to wonder if it really is a "wires crossed" type of thing.

I think that having a dog with huge fears previous to Maddie definitely helps keep you motivated to do socialization. :) I know of another person who had a very aggressive dog in the past and she's incredibly dedicated to making sure that her new puppy turns out nothing like it -- so far as she can control, anyway.

Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

Puppies are so darned cute. It doesn't really matter what they do. I've now had one shy/reserved greyhound, one "sensitive" greyhound and one fearless and bold. It's funny how different they can all be.

Christie said...

Ok, I have a weird question - is that a bag of poop tied to the back of your vehicle in the last picture?

By the way - love the blog. I've gotten a lot of great info that I have either used for my own dogs or passed along to others.

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

What CD do you have for scary noises? I would like to get a good one since we are out of thunderstorm and fireworks season now.

By the way, I am insanely jealous of how warm it looks down there. I am wearing my winter coat and Summit is wearing a light sweater on morning walks now. House training a puppy in the cold is going to suck!

Team Zero Gravity said...

Looks like a great day and it was a great idea. Because my Rio (not a greyhound) was such a shy, fearful puppy, I did even more ocialization with Blaze. But he's a different dog--more like your Maddie. Bold and adventureous. I have fostered shy greyhounds and seen them start to blossom. And I fostered a true spook and it was very clear that his wires were crossed. He actually wasn't even what I would call shy, but more anxious all the time. He was not noise/storm phobic at all. He never tucked his tail, but he would shake when he was overly anxious (such as being approached to have a leash put on him--EVEN when doing it slowly but calmly with your body turned sideway, eyes down and very non threatening). He ws also overly anxious at doorways. I believe so much of the fear and shyness is genetic. You can overcome much of it, but it's still a component of the dog's personality. Rio is still a shy dog, BUT due to me doing so much with her and taking her so many places and exposing her to so many new things (even as an adult), she processes through it. It's fascinating to watch. She even got over her fear of children when she was around the age 3-4 with the help of lots of exposure and watching Blaze interact happily with children. She now actually likes kids whereas before she was afraid of them. Dogs are pretty amazing!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Yes, its a poop bag. We were responsible dog owners, but didn't want it in the car with us. :-)