Help with Sadie
As a few of you may be aware, i rescued Sadie in may 2012, she is a troubled soul, and we have come a long way with her, but she has suddenly started to display some worrying behaviour, she is an extremely nervous and jumpy with people, but absolutely dotes on me and Ruby, in the last couple of weeks there has been quite a bit of activity going on indoors what with christmas and guests and family, (she,s used to just me and Ruby and the odd visitor) and at the moment i have my daughter and partner staying with my young two year old grandson. Sitting on the sofa with Ruby and Sadie, with laptop, my daughter comes over and squats to chat to Ruby and Sadie, and Sadie starts to growl at her, katie my daughter softly tells her to schh, starts to talk to me, and Sadie is getting more upset over this, as katie stands, Sadie lurches towards her barking almost in an aggressive way, which has happened in similar situations, and always when she,s on the sofa, or when people walk through the door, i just don,t know whats got into her, this is a dog that is so timid and shy, obviously this has raised a few issues and concerns, as Sadie is very nervous with tots about, and i know she won,t tolerate being pulled around, so i,am very careful when my grandsons are about, any advice how to deal with Sadie on this matter, should i discipline her, i don,t want to cause her any more problems, or do i need to get expert advice on this, family seem to compare her to Ruby, who is laid back and chilled, Sadie will cower if anybody different trys to approach her and pet her, my son and daughter are both animal lovers, and they quite often joke and call her Psyco Sadie, but seriously i am worried, i won,t give up on Sadie, i rescued her, and i will do all i can to help her. Karen, Ruby and Sadie :(
No, do not discipline her.
I think you probably have a couple of issues -- one is that you have a very stressed dog because there are a lot of strange new people around, including small children that she may not be comfortable with (common issue with rescues that were poorly socialised in their background). Then you seem to also have a bit of fear aggression and guarding.
I think you are right to look for advice.
I think Sadie would perhaps be happier with somewhere quiet to retreat to, and certainly I would suggest not putting her into a situation that triggers this behaviour (eg not have people come up and sit with her there at least for now; keep children well away; perhaps set up a crate, covered with a blanket or similar to create a little enclosed den, inside a puppy xpen, with water and some toys, where she can go if children are going to be in the same room).
Then yes: I would get expert help. Anytime you have a reactive dog and children around, this is not a good mix and you do want to have help to learn more about why she is doing this and how best to manage and stop it. A good behaviourist needs to be there in your home to assess the triggers and advise. I'd only work with a APDT trainer (the UK doesn't seem to have any CCPDT trainers, oddly!). Here are APDT qualified trainers in Kent:
First, I want to say thank you for rescuing Sadie. She is so lucky to have a home where she is loved. I can't possibly give you any advice on how to help her overcome her fears as, for me, normal puppy training is hard in and of itself! But I do agree with Karlin, expert advise may be what you need. As you say, she is a troubled soul and I believe that even though she has the love and security of your home, she needs to learn the trust that it brings with it. It will take time and from all you have said about Sadie, I feel certain that you are willing to do whatever it takes to bring her to that conclusion.
I would start by getting stressful situations under control. Children are way too much, and if she's afraid it is dangerous to both her and the children for them to be interacting.
If something is upsetting her I would defuse the situation: have your daughter step away until sadie feels safe, then have your daughter try to approach again slowly, while talking. Or take the opportunity for a potty break, and getting everyone off the sofa. You can try to return as a group (with your daughter) in a few minutes.
I would set up a "safe place" for her, where she can always go if she wants to be left alone (children, visitors, etc can't violate her space), and also train her to go the this space while you greet visitors, and then invite her over to meet them once you have said hello, taken their coats, etc.
But do seek expert help, they will be far better attuned to her background, the setting of your home, and the situations that are most stressful for her.
Thank you everyone for your advice, i feel so much for reading your suggestions, my gut instinct was telling me not to discipline her, obviously because of her history, but knew i had to act on this issue before it becomes a real problem, karlin thank you for the link, which i will enquire about, i really do feel that Sadie would benefit guidance from a behaviourist, she really is a sweet girl, who is desperate to be loved, which of course she is,and when i walk her its just the most amazing thing to see,she runs and runs and runs,and is so happy she bounces, i,ve just made a bit of a breakthrough with her, and she has started to play a little, she honestly really had no idea, once again thank you all for your input, and i will let you know her progress. Many thanks Karen, Ruby and Sadie :thmbsup: