I Herd That!

Raising a pup to become a dog always has it’s challenges.  Apparently, raising a big pup has BIG challenges.   This week we are dealing with one of Molly’s.

Before we brought a Great Pyrenees sheepdog into our home, I did a fair amount of reading on the breed.  Since having her, I have taken Molly to the vet’s three times and have asked about any specific issues with this breed.  I spoke to people who have Pyrs, as has Dan. (Apparently, they are quite a popular dog!).   For all of our research, neither of us came across anything noting that since herding dogs are so intuned to their environment, they are particularly sensitive to loud sounds. 

Since Dan and I are both relatively quiet, this sensitivity to sound has not been an issue – until now

A few days ago, Molly and I started daily walks.  On Monday, we were walking across an open area across the street when there was a loud BANG.  It sounded like a gunshot.  Molly freaked out!  We turned back and came out of the park and she calmed down so we went on to walk around the neighbourhood, keeping to the sidewalks.  The bigger, and louder vehicles bothered her but she seemed to manage once such vehicles were past us. 

That night, our new nextdoor  neighbour put up a basketball net for his two young sons.  They were exuberant and well LOUD.  It was early in the evening and Molly seemed okay.  She did coming flying into the house and spent the evening laying beside Dan on the sofa, but she seemed okay.  She wasn’t.

Yesterday, Molly was terrified of going outside.  I had to drag her out.  She would run to the gate and peek around a cedar to the basketball net nextdoor.   I brought her lunch outside, thinking that would distract her.  She was too scared to eat.  Dan and I took her for a walk in the park across the street and she was fine.  We had her on an  extendable leash and she raced  and leapt around, ears flopping – having a ball!  We came back home, came into the yard, and she was terrified.  It was a brutal day.

Molly’s rough day. 😢

This morning, Molly was slightly better.  I got her to come outside to do her business and to come back in to eat her breakfast.   I turned to Google and read a few articles about dogs who are terrified (terrorized) by loud sounds.   One thing that sounded promising was that dogs find the smell of Vanilla calming.   I rubbed a bit on my left  hand and let Molly sniff at it.  She immediately, and noticeably became calmer. 

I put on her leash and took her out for a walk.  She was stressed getting out the door and across the yard but she was fine once we were on the other side of the gate.  We walked around the block, came to the back of the house through the back alley (where I knew Dan was chatting with a friend).  Molly was excited to see them, and was happy to be fussed over by both of them.  We resumed our walk and went through the park and back.  Molly was a bit hesitant about a small tractor working in the park, but she dealt with it.  

On our return home, she balked at the gate but she came in without too much of a battle.  I unclipped her leash at the gate and came into the house.  Molly followed within a few seconds.   I sprayed Molly’s kennel, stuffed elephant, her blanket, and the carpet in the porch with diluted vanilla.    It seemed to calm her considerably – until her favorite human stopped in unexpectedly.

Chilling out in her Vanilla scented kennel.

Our granddaughter Genie was passing through from Winnipeg, on her way to Calgary, and she was fortunately allowed a few hours stop in Regina.    She managed a few minutes to come by.   Molly was beside herself (and on top of Genie) the entire time.

When Genie had to leave, Molly bounced out the door with her and walked her to the gate.     She barely glanced at the dreaded basketball net. 👍

A month for the Calgary Stampede and the Edmonton Exhibition and the The North American Midway will be in Regina for a few days – with Molly’s favourite human!

We seem to be heading for a gradual recovery, but if anyone has any suggestions for dealing with our fearful pup, I would love to hear them.  This is thunderstorm season in Saskatchewan and The Weather Channel has a warning for tonight. 😳🌩️⚡

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day!💞

29 thoughts on “I Herd That!

  1. Oh, my. I feel for Molly and you. We have only had 3 noise reactive dogs, and each was different. We turn to Whole Dog Journal as our source of dealing with behaviors that are damaging to dog and humans. They have a positive training approach, with good advice from reputable trainers, and often specific to the breed. I have not heard of the vanilla scent approach, but I know aromas can be helpful to humans so it makes sense.

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  2. I will check that out! Thank you so much. I know some scents are very detrimental to dogs. I got a eucalyptus plant one year, put it in the front yard, and Kat would get into a huge funk every time we touched it and forgot to wash our hands before going near us. A lot of sites seemed to agree with the vanilla so I gave it a shot. 🙂

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  3. Wow, I feel bad for Molly learning to deal with the loud sounds of her world but she should adjust in time. It’s wonderful that you found out about the vanilla, I love vanilla too! The Midway photo is nice, looks like fun, you guys should go!

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  4. Awww that’s so sweet! I like those little carnivals for the people watching experience. All sizes, shapes and colors, just like an airport! My hometown has a carnival like that every August, sans Covid.

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  5. Regina has a fairly sizeable ex – nothing like the Calgary Stampede of course. I think after Regina they are going to Toronto, so that will be pretty sizeable.

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  6. I hope so, too! I looked up dog therapists here and they only work on dogs over 6 months old. A puppy trainer might be able to help. Thank you for the suggestions.

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  7. Oh, Anne, my heart goes out to you and Molly. My dog is terrified of thunder storms and fireworks, so I know what you are going through. I hope you can find something to help Molly.

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  8. Thank you, Mags. I think Molly is easing back into it. We had a couple of walks yesterday and one this morning so she is getting more comfortable with street noise. We talked to the boys next door yesterday and I think she is starting to connect them to the basketball net. She loved sitting up against the fence connecting our yards and ‘visiting’ with them when they first moved in. We still haven’t had a thunderstorm so will see how that goes. We are generally able to avoid fireworks as they are usually set off in the big park across the city from us. I feel for your little dog. 💞

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  9. Great news! Good idea talking to the boys. Molly is so smart I feel she will catch on and do well. I am glad you can avoid fireworks. It is the 4th of July here this weekend and I am dreading the fireworks. You amaze me how well you are doing with Molly’s training. ❤

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  10. She seems to be doing much better today. I was just out watering our garden and she was in and out – mostly out the entire time. It is the 1st of July (not nearly as over the top as your 4th but we do have fireworks across the city from us). I hope your pup will be ok. We’ll see how well I do with Molly when she is as big as me. 😯 I think she will always be stubborn, just hope she is smart enough not to drag me somewhere I don’t want to go. 😂

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  11. I too hope she is smart enough not to drag you somewhere you don’t want to go. Glad she is doing better. Chancy I will do our best to get through the noise of fireworks. Hoping they won’t be as bad this year since everything is so costly. They said on the news fireworks sales are way down from precious years.

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  12. I was out watering our garden and when I came in, it poured for half an hour. Best rain we have had in months. I just had to prime the pump I guess. Still no lightening though and my plants are sure needing it.

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  13. Happy you had rain. They have some in our forecast but the radar looks as if it will go around where I live. I will water soon if we get no rain.

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  14. She is gradually getting there. She wouldn’t go into the park across the street yesterday, but I took her around the block and came at it from the other side and she was fine. Will see how it goes today. She is out and about in our yard just fine now. 😉

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