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Worried about Harlem...

Next week I'll be having a couple of training sessions with Harlem. I'm getting worried about him, his anxiety just seems to be getting worse. I didn't realise he had anxiety until our 12 month assessment back in October or November. One of the things we were working on then was finding out why he wouldn't stop pooing in our local shopping centre. When I walked him through the front doors, the trainer remarked that he was licking and yawning - both signs of stress. I knew right there that he suffers from anxiety a fair bit. The licking happens all the time, we thought it was just a Pavlov's dog sort of thing.

Since then I've done a bit of research about signs of stress in dogs. Shaking - like dogs do when they're wet - out of context is a sign. He does that all the time both in and out of harness.

I noticed he doesn't seem to like the noise and crowds in shopping centres. Actually, he doesn't like crowds much at all. Some days he seems okay working through a crowd, other days it's like he's completely forgotten how to do it. He'll stop dead behind someone and when I tell him to 'find the way' he'll just stand there. Other times he'll try to barge through people.

Going 'under' is oddly inconsistent. He'll do it on busses and trains except this one part of my trip to work. He just refuses to go under. I can figure out why.

I've been working on 'come' with him using food, he won't even come from the back of the yard if I have food. He won't poo on lead - with or without a bag.

Recently, he's also started dropping his speed to almost standstill without any obvious reason at all - though, when I saw the vet the other week (checking to see if his eyes and ears are all good) she said that within 18 months of any injury or operation a dog (or anyone, really) will develop arthritis. Maybe that's what is happening and he's just getting sore and distracted. I might have to get him x-rayed again.

Anyway, his behaviour is giving me anxiety. I don't go into the shopping centre after work now because I get anxious and I think he senses that and also gets anxious. Hopefully, the trainer will be able to help me figure it out.


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