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    googs9999's Avatar
    googs9999 Posts: 2, Reputation: 0
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    #1

    Sep 14, 2007, 06:02 AM
    Dogs terrified, when lamb is being barbequed
    My dog Max 11, a terrier mix runs around barking in a state of panic when he gets a whiff of lamb being barbequed. It's the same behaviour he exibits when thunder occurs. We got Max from the pound when he was about 8 months old, the pound figured he had been lost and on his own for at least 2 months. So he has a history that we know nothing about. We also have a Schnotty by the name of Austin 4 (Schnauzer Scotty mix) who has been taught by Max to fear the smell of lamb as well. He doesn't run around barking, he worse about it than Max, he runs crying, yelping hiding and shaking.
    Is there anything I can do to get them to understand that there is no danger with regards to the smell of lamb. We don't cook lamb anymore, its not worth the insanity but we have neighbours who do and I don't have any control over them. They even had a problem when I lit the barbecue two weeks after we had cooked lamb. I have searched the internet and found absolutely nothing about dogs fearing the smell of cooking lamb.

    Cheers,
    Brenda
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #2

    Sep 14, 2007, 06:18 AM
    How long has he done this? If it is only recently, I fail to see it being something from over 10 years ago. More likely something bad happened when you were barbecuing lamb. He could have gotten splattered with grease, gotten burned trying to steal it, or did you punish him for trying to steal? Try to think of anything negative that he could connect with the lamb? Do you barbecue other things? Do you cook lamb inside?
    pawsdogdaycare's Avatar
    pawsdogdaycare Posts: 92, Reputation: 5
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    #3

    Sep 14, 2007, 06:19 AM
    Ok,
    First and foremost the dog does not fear the smell of lamb... The dog may have a negative association with the smell but there is no instinctual reason for a dog to fear cooking lambs meat..
    Secondly I am sure that this behavior has been reinforced by you the parents in coddling the fearful dog during these situations further reinforcing the behavior and essentially giving a reward for the behavior he is showing at the time (fear),
    Thirdly every time after the initial situation that you went to cook lamb your personal anxiety level went up as you expected the dog to react negatively, both dogs picked up on your personal heightened anxiety level and this further escalated the situation.. As both the humans and the dogs began to feed off each others stress...

    If you would like your dog to get along with the BBQ, then leash the dog and first walk him to the grill.. (key to this being for you the human to remain completely unemotional) have the emotion of a professional card player... nothing that he can feed off.. just a walk in the local park... If he reacts negatively place him or her in the sit or down position and have someone slowly move the grill towards him.. again don't get emotionally involved in the situation, if he freaks stop and wait for him to calm... (not by cooing or patting or babying, but just by waiting) then move the grill closer until he can tolerate it in his presence..

    If he does not react to the grill... just have someone leash him around 10 feet from the grill and begin your cooking... If the smell upsets him, don't feed into it.. just hold him in the area and wait for him to calm... or break out a tennis ball or something else that will hold his interest and play with that while the cook is on.. the goal is to get him to basically understand that there is nothing to the grill or the smell and it is routine...

    Not trying to be rude.. but it is important to understand that we as people can inadvertently reward negative behaviors and associations... and attribute it to the dog
    googs9999's Avatar
    googs9999 Posts: 2, Reputation: 0
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    #4

    Sep 14, 2007, 08:58 AM
    I have personally cooked lamb twice, neither time did the dog get hurt or punished for anything. Yes Max has had this fear for as long as we've had him. Starting with neighbours cooking lamb. While he was in our backyard. He has no reaction to us barbequing anything else. The dog starts running around barking, smelling the air after investigation we have found out that lamb was being cooked. So blaming this on me is kind of silly since I don't have prior knowledge to lamb being cooked so it would be impossible.

    One of the responses to my question, asked questions the other made assumptions. You shouldn't assume that I've done anything to create or cultivate this irrational fear in my dog.

    When Max starts the behaviour I attach the leash to the dog and bring him in the home attached to a table leg giving no attention for his irrational behaviour as for Austin he'll be outside in the backyard by himself and come running yelping into the house, he hides under a bed somewhere upstairs. How do I influence that behaviour?

    So much for expert advice, didn't realize asking a question on this site that I would leave me insulted.
    pawsdogdaycare's Avatar
    pawsdogdaycare Posts: 92, Reputation: 5
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    #5

    Sep 14, 2007, 09:21 AM
    Dogs do things for a reason, not just out of the blue... for a yin there is a yang... and so forth... look closely into what you are or are not doing.. There is something or a trigger that is making this happen... one dog did not teach another dog to be scared of the BBQ GRILL WHILE LAMB IS ON...
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #6

    Sep 14, 2007, 09:50 AM
    I hope you stick around. Everybody is free to post here as long as they avoid personal attacks and a few other rules. I often don't agree with many of the other posts here. Even if they didn't apply to you, Paws did make some good points.

    I guess I was wrong about the over 10 years ago. Something terrible must have happened in his first 8 months when somebody was cooking lamb. You can never discount early socialization especially the first 12 weeks. It could have been accidental. I was on the phone and didn't see my Lab Peggy stealing a hot dog bun off the stove. Later I did see the terrible burn on her lip. I don't remember her ever showing fear of the stove or hot dogs and buns either.

    You could try conditioning him out of his fear as suggested. With such a long established behavior, it may not be worth while. I wouldn't push him too hard. If it doesn't work, what you are doing may be as good as anything.
    bushg's Avatar
    bushg Posts: 3,433, Reputation: 596
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    #7

    Sep 14, 2007, 10:40 AM
    One dog did not teach another dog to be scared of the BBQ GRILL WHILE LAMB IS ON...
    __________________
    Paws do you really think that the dogs in a household together, do not pick up on each others behavior ?
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #8

    Sep 14, 2007, 10:47 AM
    Lamb might have a smell like burnt hair. A possibility that the dog was involved in a fire. Mind you, this is only a hunch.
    pawsdogdaycare's Avatar
    pawsdogdaycare Posts: 92, Reputation: 5
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    #9

    Sep 14, 2007, 11:37 AM
    I don't believe that they train each other or teach each other behaviors.. I do believe that they pick up on anxiety from humans in a given situation and this conditions a response.. A good example of this would be an electric fence, I have 5 dogs one of which an Aussie is a digger and escape artist.. Now I put the fence in about 6 inches of the ground all the way around the perimeter.. Over the course of the next week each dog touched it numerous times before figuring out this was a bad idea.. Now because they are conditioned to it.. I leave it off and none will still go near the wire... I can actually cut a piece of wire from the spool and wrap it around things I don't want them to touch.. flower beds, baby cactus plants etc.. And they through their previous experience are conditioned to believe that the wire will shock them.. even though it is connected to nothing on both ends. The point is that each dog had to touch the fence to learn that it is uncomfortable.. It was not a matter of one dog touching and they others observing this behavior and making the decision that this was bad...
    Now with a few hours of effort over the course of a couple weeks and some (cheeze it's or cheese nip's) I could easily recondition them to the fact that the fence has no meaning and they would readily forget this lesson and have no fear of it..
    bushg's Avatar
    bushg Posts: 3,433, Reputation: 596
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    #10

    Sep 14, 2007, 02:01 PM
    Paws my mom takes in strays she took in a pregnant dog. This dog would hunker low and acted strange, very submissive around other dogs and people. But on the other hand she would kick another female dogs a$$. She had 4 puppies these puppies acted just like her. Another for instance I have 2 dogs and my 1 female is a stuborn little girl. I'll call her and she will come but when she see the back door open she knows it's potty time and runs & hides. Sometimes she will run right out, he'll go right out with her. Or if we are going to play with him he'll go out with out her.They are not left out long and usually I stand on the back porch and watch them till they are finished. Now my little male in the last month or so has been starting this crap. My feeling is he is picking up on her behavior. Well I have news for both of their rear ends they will go out when mommy says so. His behavior is what makes me think he is picking up on what she does. Before she came to my home she was left in the back most of the day, the rescue said, because the owners didn't or wouldn't potty train her. He on the other hand was never let out to pee and pee'd and poo'd on the floors, couch's,beds, etc... SO this is my reasoning for thinking that they pick up on each other's behaviors.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #11

    Sep 14, 2007, 02:03 PM
    Paws you are right that dogs can't teach or train each other in the way you describe, and they do react to human anxiety. However, bushg is right. Dogs do, in a sense, teach each other, on a more basic level. They do react to another dog's behavior, anxiety, or aggression (or whatever emotional or learned response is occurring at the time) as well. If Max has exhibited this anxious behavior from the start and Austin was brought in later, he is simply reacting to Max's anxiety.

    Googs, this certainly is a head scratcher. I have never experienced such a "violent" reaction to cooking of a particular food. It very well may be that this stems from a bad experience early in his puppyhood. As frustrating as this is, I don't think it is something that is easily redirected. You can't successfully desensitize a dog to anything that happens only on occasion. It needs to be done through repetition and consistency. And, I have never heard of anyone able to recondition a dog with such a violent reaction to an odor. For the occasional time that lamb is being cooked by you or your neighbors, I would suggest either doing what you are currently doing, or place them both in a safe room (or crates if you have them crate trained) far enough away from the cooking, with kongs (treat toys that you can purchase from any pet store) filled with their favorite treat, closing the door to that area to minimize the odor, immediately prior to your cooking the lamb. As for the neighbors cooking, well, that is a tough one to time but you might want to do the same thing. Get them sealed off from the odor as much as possible, until the cooking is completed.
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #12

    Sep 14, 2007, 08:45 PM
    Actually, I read an article recently (and, of course, now can't find it!) where some researchers did a test where one dog was trained to get a treat by stepping on a lever. They put that dog (sometimes carrying a ball and sometimes not) in with other untrained dogs, and found out that more of the untrained dogs would try and get the treat by stepping on the lever when the trained dog didn't have the ball than when it did. (When the dog didn't have the ball, the other dogs would be more likely to use their mouths to work the lever.) The conclusion that the researchers drew was that the dogs watching the dog without the ball reasoned that there was a significance to using the paw to work the lever, and copied that action. So it appears that dogs can learn from each other.
    MrPippin's Avatar
    MrPippin Posts: 87, Reputation: 17
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    #13

    Sep 15, 2007, 05:34 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by RubyPitbull
    googs, this certainly is a head scratcher. I have never experienced such a "violent" reaction to cooking of a particular food.
    Maybe Max saw lightning strike and kill a lamb. Would account for the fact it is the smell of cooking lamb and thunder that sets off his fear.

    Best to try and re-train him that both are harmless. This is not easy with thunder. My 5 year old Sheppard Jack flunked cop school because he ran and hid when thunder was present. He acted the same way on 4th of July or to gun fire. But I have made improvements by not coddling him during storms and by bringing him outside with the rest of us to watch the fireworks. Now he has gotten to a point that he just pants and looks at me when thunder starts. He still has issues, but he is under control during the storm.
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    chiahuahualover Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #14

    Nov 3, 2007, 02:45 PM
    We just had a recent situation while grilling lamb on the barbecue. We thought it was just a coincidence that that dog got really nervous when the lamb was grilling. She goes crazy (stands on her hind legs and sniffs the air, she shakes, her tail is between her legs, she paces back and fourth, she acts unconsolable). She doesn't have any history to being exposed to anything out of the ordinary, but now whenever we turn on the barbecue an cook lamb she acts peculiar.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,794, Reputation: 5427
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    #15

    Nov 3, 2007, 03:09 PM
    Regarding the question about a dog training other dogs: The book I'm currently reading is a true story, Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote. Ted had rescued a skinny Lab mix while white-water rafting in southern Utah and brought the young dog to his home in Kelly, Wyoming. Some time later, since dogs aren't leashed in that small town, Ted installed a dog door so Merle could come and go freely, and had to actually demonstrate to Merle how to crawl in and out. Merle's dog friends, Zula and Jack, came over to visit, and Merle proceeded to show them how to use the doggy door.

    My cats teach each other behaviors, so I would guess it is the same with dogs, squirrels, elephants, etc.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #16

    Nov 3, 2007, 05:51 PM
    I found one report puzzling, but figured who knows. Now a second one? Could it be these dogs suffered a burn sometime in the past and barbecued lamb smells enough like burned dog to bring back painful memories?
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #17

    Nov 3, 2007, 06:35 PM
    I'm going to stick my nose out on this one. Does lamb smell like singed hair? Not having them side by side. Maybe?
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #18

    Nov 4, 2007, 05:55 AM
    Very strange. I was thinking along the same lines KISS. There are a lot of chows out there that are lamb based and I have never known of a dog that will turn it's nose up to it. So, maybe there is a component within the odor of lamb while it is cooking that certain dogs are more sensitive to than others. We can speculate until the end of time on what exactly it may be that is triggering these reactions. Maybe someone who knows the answer will see this thread.
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    skydog Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #19

    Nov 14, 2007, 12:34 PM
    OK, I just googled dogs fearing the smell of cooked lamb and came up with this blog. The reason being, I came home last evening with our two mini wire hair dachsies Cosmo and Olivia and as soon as we got to the front door Cosmo would not enter the house, although Olivia would without reservation. When we finally coaxed Cosmo in he began tail tucking ears down and wimpering (very unusual behavior for him). Olivia was her normal self. Both are from the same litter and have never experienced anything traumatic. The only thing different in the house was that a leg of lamb was being cooked in the oven.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #20

    Nov 14, 2007, 01:12 PM
    Very interesting. I have poked around a little on this and I found a reference to an article in the AKC Family Dog Magazine on the subject. I haven't managed to track it down. If somebody else does, please post it here.

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