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  #101  
Old 22.10.2019, 00:30
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Again, spent hours crying and started wondering: do people also ask parents on the street if their kids are ok if they are crying? Do people send letters accusing parents of mistreatment?
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  #102  
Old 22.10.2019, 01:11
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Hello, RedSoloCup

I am deeply touched by your message as I also have a reactive dog.

Mine is an 8 months old Weimaraner with half of the size of your girl (he's "only" 30 kgs) and when he pulls, he pulls....

Hehe 30kgs is 30kgs no matter how you slice it. This pulling against you is not easy to manage! I love Weims and their big ears and ghosty eyes. Please give him some pets from me.

I have no miracle recipe to tell you but I wanted to share my experience so you know you are not alone out there.

We got our baby boy when he was 2 months old from a farm in Germany. He was the sweetest little boy but already full of energy and extremely brave - not shy at all as you described yours. He loves people and other dogs since he was a tiny baby.

We attended puppy school and on the last day he freaked out. He didn't pay attention to anything, wanted to play the whole time and I was so scared that I left the class CRYING. The trainer, who also owns a Weimaraner, told me that it would be the first of many days that I would cry as Weimaraners are a constant challenge.

This I have also heard.. a very rewarding but challenging breed of dog!

After puppy school, we changed to another trainer closer to our house and he was progressing tremendously well. We were doing social walk classes on Saturday and the obligatory classes during the week. We were on fire with his training!!! Walking on lead was a problem but he was progressing quite well with everything else.

Then, the horror. One morning we woke up and took him to quick pee outside and when he reached for something on the floor he started screaming in pain and couldn't walk anymore. To resume this horrible period, he was diagnosed with Discospondylitis, meaning 2 months of treatment, without any exercise, inside the apartment and no training. We live on the third floor and he refuses to do his things inside the apartment, so we were carrying him up and down every three hours to do his business, he wouldn't eat from his bowl so we had to feed him, and he would wake up every hour screaming in pain. I must say that if we were in doubt at the time of our marriage, it absolutely brought us together.

After this horrible period, we went back to training with our previous trainer and we didn't connect anymore. Carioca, our dog, was showing already reactiveness and her approach to the issue didn't make us comfortable. So we changed to our third dog trainer!!!!

Wow at everything, but good on you that you changed when you weren't comfortable! It makes all the difference to Carioca that you feel comfy with the guidance given by your trainer!

We were back to basics, everything from step one, but now with a 20 kgs dog instead of a little puppy. During the first month of this new beginning, which was absolutely tiring, I wrote a letter to every neighbor explaining the situation and asking for patience as we were trying to do our best. With a box of chocolate They were ALL very nice to us and extremely worried about him, always asking whether he was getting better and so on. Nevertheless, we had two big issues with neighbors:

1) our dog is used to be alone at home for 30 min to 1 hour since he came to us. After he got sick, and I dropped everything to be by his side, he was not one second alone for two whole months. One night we decided to go for dinner - we needed some time off - and we were checking on him on camera. We could see that he was oscillating between quiet times watching tv to barking moments. We were away for 2 hours in total but always checking on the camera. We came home and everything was peaceful until the morning after. We've known our next-door neighbors since before we moved in here and we get along quite well. The next morning he texted me about something and added: "Oh, btw, the neighbors complained about Carioca." I asked who it was and he told me that the neighbors upstairs - who also have a dog that HATES our dog - came to ask if he was ok because someone else called them complaining. I couldn't quite understand the whole thing until I got a letter from my mailbox being extremely passive-aggressive saying we were not respecting animal welfare, acusing us of leaving him alone THE WHOLE DAY at home without food and water and threatening to call the police next time this would happen. It took me a while to figure out who it was, and it is a neighbor from another building across the street. Our apartment is all glassed so she can see straight in our kitchen. Needless to say, I spent the whole day crying and stressed because, sorry for my french, WTF?!?!?! We left him two hours, he has food, water, treats, he had a peanut butter kong with him, a/c on the whole time, tv on and we could check on camera that he was not freaking out the whole time. After I calmed myself down and had a loooong therapy session, I wrote a letter back explaining the whole situation and inviting her for a walk with us so she could get to know us better and understand how we are raising our dog. For weeks every time our dog used to barks - she would pop out of her window and looks straight into our apartment. Now he barely barks anymore - we use a "time out" technique (happy to share) and she finally left us alone.

I am careful not to generalize the Swiss, because I would not like to be generalized as an American.. you know.. Trump and all.. but I find, in my personal experience, the communication here is a result of

a. Not being appropriately acquainted. As in you didn't go out of your way to express nice words with your neighbors so they treat you as they would a Fremd or stranger living close by.

b. Not picking up on social cues. This is BIG for me. For example my husband who is Swiss would say to me "Do you go with the dogs?" but insisted I could answer yes or no for their last walk of the night... to me it was passive aggressive in that I wanted him to say.. I am lazy I don't feel like it, can you please go out! Asking me if I will do something or not is him quietly saying he would appreciate if I did it as he doesn't want to. Meanwhile back in American land I am like whaaaaaaaaaat?! The question was not a question, it was an order. If I were to ask him the same thing, I would say go out with the dogs and fertig.. this little phrase "Do you go with the dogs" caused us so much stress!!

c. Not exposing yourself to let other people know the kind of people you are. The Swiss know their rules and standards are a bit particular and perfectionistic. My husband complains ALL the time about small things.. it is like he is genetically programmed to say "Lach mir doch am arse" und "WAS IST LOS?!?!" They know all of the rules are a lot, but more than that, they want to see that you take them, their country, and their way, seriously. I cannot generalize all Swiss people, for everyone I can say is like this, there is a counter example. I don't know how to explain it but once I explain to my neighbors why I didn't do something.. either through ignorance or because I just was not aware there was a rule to be referenced or to handle a certain situation, they are as soft as marshmallows for any other misgivings. They are extemely tolerant when you open up to them about a problem in your household and will miraculously put up with things that previously caused them to complain. They just need a frame of reference to understand you and your sincerity I guess. I guess it takes some vulnerability on behalf of me, the outsider, to explain how I see things and why it didn't line up and then the "aha" moment comes and we reach a higher understanding.

It seems like this was your experience. And trust me I have spent many dollars on therapy after feeling gaslit or otherwise like I was in the twilight zone for being faced with false accusations and being accused of animal cruelty when I would never


2) The second situation happened with our neighbor from the first floor. We have no garden in our building except a shared one on the street that is super small but helpfull when is 9 pm and our dog needs a quick pee. So one day, after I trained my dog the whole day, including forest walk (we go every day, btw), I was exhausted and took him for the last pee of the day. Suddenly a guy in skateboard comes and scares Carioca that immediately starts barking. I was there in that situation trying to calm him down and then a head pops out of a window - "Why do you ALWAYS take your dog here?" I froze. I was already stressed out with the whole thing plus the neighbor from across the street, I didn't need anyone inside my own building complaining now. I answered that it was the closest patch of grass close to home. And he told me: go to a forest. Again, 9 pm. So I said I was sorry and asked if bothered him that I took my dog there. He said that no. He was just concerned about my dog because he seemed stressed. And there I was again EXPLAINING my life and my dog's life to a stranger.

Yes, I understand you here. Feeling like you have to explain yourself subconsciously can make you feel wrong or guilty. I was walking around here feeling like a criminal for choosing my dog because she didn't go with the program, because she wasn't conforming to accepted social standards of "dogness." It was a mind*uck for me.. no other way to put it. I would feel so much shame if my dog even barked and it contributed HEAVILY to my own anxiety and neuroticism. I had to let go of the feeling of needing to impress the Swiss and instead adopt a need to explain, state my issues or reasons, and move on.. it is hard to do and for some reason subtle blows in CH have hurt more than the more overt gestures I am used to back home.

Again, spent hours crying and started wondering: do people also ask parents on the street if their kids are ok if they are crying? Do people send letters accusing parents of mistreatment?

I felt the same, and was so careful to defend myself against dangerous assertions. Not to compare my dog to a child as though they are the same in level of societal value, but I shared your feelings MANY times.

Anyway.... We of course by this point realized we would have problems and wanted to be somehow protected. So now we don't only have a camera at home but we RECORD every single thing inside this house. We joke that by now we are reality show stars somewhere in China (the could service is hosted there apparently).

On top of that, we went to Tierspital him with him to get a check-up and by our surprise, there was a behavioral vet accompanying the consultation - Dr. Bräm. She came to our house to check on him, because he hates the vet (no wonder, he had to go there so many times for two months). She prescribed a natural pill for anxiety, pet remedy diffuser, and feromone spray whenever we leave the house with him on a bandana. I must say that it was a great and very helpful consultation. We just didn't accept her suggestion of medicaments. I must point out that our dog does not show signs of aggression. He is a extremely playful big puppy.

This is very cool. We hope for a similar consult. Our Hundehort carer report that my pup is insecure, but a cuddly bear and is welcome by her place any time. She says she needs to build her confidence, so I need to build mine. My dog is a hybrid of I want to play with you.... but I don't know about you and confusion in a dog's mind can trigger aggression.

By now he still is very reactive when sees another dog on the street but is getting better. I believe is something related to puberty, plus his reactiveness, plus the breed itself.

Yes, I think it is the same for my girl. Having a young dog is not easy.. especially here in Switzerland when it is a large breed.

All that to say, you are not alone out there. If you need to talk, to share experiences, grab a coffee or whatever, we are here
Thanks for the offer, I will gladly take you up on that. Like a support group for reactive dog owners that are foreign to Switzerland so have to navigate the world of neighbors and their opinions too. It is funny how all of my contacts here have arisen out of a misunderstanding, but nonetheless I prefer a country that is overly concerned with animal welfare than one that is not at all bothered. I always tell myself, that animals cannot speak and even when I am upset at assumptions, opinions and perceptions I must clarify the situation and my dogs behavior with them.. the ones who are concerned. Being that pups can't talk, I guess the only voice they may have ARE concerned neighbors.. when they feel we as owners are not up to snuff.

So make my coffee an espresso and thank you for your post because I can totally relate!!!
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  #103  
Old 22.10.2019, 01:25
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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You're new here, right?
;-)
omg now to think of it I can only imagine the unsolicited advice parents must get I am curious if there is a thread on this!!
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  #104  
Old 22.10.2019, 13:10
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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You're new here, right?
;-)


I am here for 4 years already but it was the first time I experienced such things. It was a big surprise. And just for the record, my neighbors who complained are Swiss and the second one British, so no stereotypes here. It could come from everywhere ;-) Now I say that I cannot wait to have kids and be flooded by unsolicited advice hahahaha
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  #105  
Old 23.10.2019, 16:00
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Axel (11 month old GSD) and I were walking through the forest - marked as a red path and a bit wet and slippery so I had him at the end of his lead when going down a particular slope so he couldn't pull me down as his pace is a bit quicker than mine.

I could hear a couple of women talking as we came to a sharp bend so called out I was coming towards them with my dog. Next thing this black fluffy puppy who looked like she was a GSD mix about 4 or 5 months old came running around the corner and practically ran straight into him. She had a collar on that looked far too tight at the end of what must have been about 15 metres of string not even a proper lead! One of the women ran in front of the puppy squatted down and shouted straight in Axel's face and then jabbed her arm even closer as if blocking a blow or doing a rugby haka! I thought she was going to hit him. Apparently her trainer had told her that she should protect the puppy against other dogs by showing dominance to frighten the other dog.

I told her that her trainer was a fool, that I had Axel under control (although it took a few seconds for me to get to the bottom of the slope and get him in hand) and that she did that to the wrong dog she would end up getting bitten. Axel wasn't being aggressive in any way to the puppy and it is lucky for her that he is so placid. Our old Malinois cross would not have just stood there if she had done that to him especially if he thought she was threatening me. He was very protective. I don't think he would have bitten but he would have barked very ferociously.

Seems to me, especially in Switzerland there are more bad trainers than good who I wouldn't even trust with a goldfish. Do you even need qualifications to call yourself a dog trainer! Axel wasn't being aggressive in any way to the puppy. Just say he had nipped her when she stuck her arm in his face, whose fault would it have been?
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  #106  
Old 24.10.2019, 16:17
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Axel (11 month old GSD) and I were walking through the forest - marked as a red path and a bit wet and slippery so I had him at the end of his lead when going down a particular slope so he couldn't pull me down as his pace is a bit quicker than mine.

I could hear a couple of women talking as we came to a sharp bend so called out I was coming towards them with my dog. Next thing this black fluffy puppy who looked like she was a GSD mix about 4 or 5 months old came running around the corner and practically ran straight into him. She had a collar on that looked far too tight at the end of what must have been about 15 metres of string not even a proper lead! One of the women ran in front of the puppy squatted down and shouted straight in Axel's face and then jabbed her arm even closer as if blocking a blow or doing a rugby haka! I thought she was going to hit him. Apparently her trainer had told her that she should protect the puppy against other dogs by showing dominance to frighten the other dog.

I told her that her trainer was a fool, that I had Axel under control (although it took a few seconds for me to get to the bottom of the slope and get him in hand) and that she did that to the wrong dog she would end up getting bitten. Axel wasn't being aggressive in any way to the puppy and it is lucky for her that he is so placid. Our old Malinois cross would not have just stood there if she had done that to him especially if he thought she was threatening me. He was very protective. I don't think he would have bitten but he would have barked very ferociously.

Seems to me, especially in Switzerland there are more bad trainers than good who I wouldn't even trust with a goldfish. Do you even need qualifications to call yourself a dog trainer! Axel wasn't being aggressive in any way to the puppy. Just say he had nipped her when she stuck her arm in his face, whose fault would it have been?
I have unfortunately come across a lot of very bad trainers in Switzerland. When my current pup (first pup in Switzerland) was four months old our local training school wanted her to be capable of heeling in a twenty mètre circle weaving in and out of other dogs and handlers. This was in a mixed puppy/adolescent class. You can imagine the chaos. I had my super stressed puppy on a harness and was trying my best to calm her. I was told she would be impossible to train and that I should look into a chain collar and lead. Some more very stressful exercises were proposed ... I looked at my husband and said “No way, we have to find someone else.”

Quite honestly the lady I go to is the only French speaking one worth paying in a half hour driving radius from our house. Judging by the fact that some of her clients come from more than an hour away, well ...
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  #107  
Old 24.10.2019, 16:22
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

I'm sorry you faced such kind of problems.... That's really hard sometimes to overcome it and still enjoy your life.
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  #108  
Old 24.10.2019, 17:12
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

'Dog trainer' is not a protected title, nor is there one specific educational path.

An exception would be for the cantons with mandatory training classes, many/most also have a certification or permit process for trainers offering those courses.

(The ZH List I courses, for example. See Chapter 15 of the ZH HUV for a the requirements to teach those courses:
http://www2.zhlex.zh.ch/appl/zhlex_r.nsf/WebView/E48B9BBCD265C018C125768E0046C127/$File/554.51_25.11.09_67.pdf )

But even if the title does not automatically mean that a trainer followed a specific education program, many serious trainers do indeed pursue coursework, certification programs, further education. One example would be the Certodog program, there are several others in Switzerland and many elsewhere.

Many, if not most, trainers I have run into list their education and qualifications on their websites. If you are considering working with a trainer, do a bit of research - what do those qualifications actually mean? What do those educational programs tell me about this trainers' philosophy and methods?

Key is finding a serious trainer with apropriate education, background, and experience, whose ideas mesh with yours, who 'clicks' with you and more importantly your dog, who respects you as an equal partner in this endeavor - and who is able to control the class, setting each dog/owner up for success.

A trainer needs to not only know the subject thoroughly, but also has to be able to convey information in ways each class member can understand, to motivate each individual.

Unfortunately there are folks out there who have set themselves up as trainers who do not seem to be up to the mark.

For those looking for a trainer:

Try to get personal recommendations. Stop other dog walkers you meet out and about, ask who they train with. And of course, ask for recomendations here.

Always attend a few lessons with a trainer, first without your dog simply to observe and then a 'Schnupper' lesson with your dog, before signing up for a series of classes. Make sure the fit is right.

And for those new to dog ownership, who might not have not read much on training philosophy and canine behavioral science yet, it would be a good idea to take along a friend who has some experience. Sad to say, but some of the... ahem... trainers to whom I would not entrust a potted plant... can sound plausible to the inexperienced. And by the time one learns that the approach is wrong for one's dog - even dangerous - the damage might be done.

And it should go without saying, but as this is so very important I'll say it anyway: There is absolutely no place for pain, fear, stress, pressure in dog training. If at anytime a trainer puts you or your dog in a position that feels wrong to you - leave the class.

I firmly believe that training is a life-long activity, a way to continually reinforce your bond with your dog. A good trainer, a supportive and fun Hundeschule, is a treasure.
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Old 24.10.2019, 18:43
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Completely agree with MC. I interviewed half a dozen trainers to find the right one for Axel and am really lucky to have found a super trainer in the Luzern area who will travel to us. Annemarie only believes in positive training,her English is excellent and, importantly, Axel really likes her.



I looked at websites, Facebook pages and sat in on a few classes in my search for a trainer who was the right fit. I asked them what they would do in certain circumstances, what is their view on X and I asked to speak to a client who had a similar dog to mine. The problem is I have a big black and somewhat boisterous German Shepherd and a lot of trainers wanted to control his size by being rough and domineering. Yes, he is a big dog but he is the most sensitive, sweet and cuddly dog I have ever had. He was actually really upset by the woman who yelled in his face yesterday.
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Old 25.10.2019, 16:03
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Totally agree about the trainers. Only if we had wasted a bit more time researching.... We started with one, changed to the second because the classes were in German and my husband speaks close to zero, moved to the third one because we had weird feedback about reactiveness, and now we are going back to the first one who owns a Weimaraner. It is really hard to find a fit. I can totally say that when the third trainers handed us the Junghundkurs certificate was not because we were done with the classes but because she gave up on us.
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Old 25.10.2019, 16:42
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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So, I have been in Switzerland for almost 3 years. I have two dogs. A rescue from the states and a Great Dane from a breeder in Germany. I have taken dog training classes in the USA, I have completed the Junghundkurse and my dog trainer is confident in my abilities. I follow all laws, have my dogs leashed, walk them separately to train out different issues, but if together under close control.

This is a bit about my Great Dane. Going in, I think I made a mistake in choosing a dog with her temperament. I met her when she was potato size and could curl up in my arms. Both my husband and I went to the breeder and met her whole litter when she was small. I noticed that she would yelp if my husband tried to reach for her, but I thought ok it is a puppy and a small pup experiencing unknown grabbing hands probably has reason to help. Anyway, I was of course smitten with the pup and even moreso after she fell asleep on me. We agreed after exchanging questions with the breeder about this pup and at 13 weeks she came back with us.

Now, when she was a younger dog, she would sniff other dogs, play with other dogs, gets along fine with my 4 and a half year old mutt. She goes to dog daycare and has a Great Dane friend and some Livestock Guardian friends.. as the people there only allow her with the big dogs. She does great. They said they can see the progress she makes in training and that she has good dog manners.

She is around 15 months old. She has surpassed the standards for her race as a bitch. The minimum race requirement is around 45kg at 18 months. She is 60 kgs and 33 inches at the shoulder.. the vet says she is still growing. This is of course, ok to me, but for my husband unexpected as she was the last and smallest puppy in the litter. Stupid logic, because any dog person knows size in a litter is not determinant of adult size, the genetics of the lines ARE. Her mother was about 70kg and the father in the 95kg range so no shocker here. The mother was also on sight and we saw her size and the breeder indicated to expect her to match her relative's size, but he couldn't really say how big she would get. All ok. I even asked for the inbreeding co-efficients because I didn't want a dog with high inbreeding.. she has less than 1% at 0.83.. so a few common ancestors, but nothing alarming..

My problem is that around sexual maturity, before her first heat and thereafter, she has become an absolute nightmare. Her temperament beforehand was shy and reserved. I did as the breeder instructed and took her to places, showed her dogs, let her interact, minimized her excerise as indicated when owning a giant breed. I have worked with my trainer who is lovely, really a nice person and 100% on my side as far as responsible ownership goes but says maybe I flooded her with too many experiences, that this exposure stuff is old school dog management and we now know that less is more. The trainer is right, at least in my dogs case.

I KNOW I am 100000% responsible for my dogs and their behavior, BUT I do remember mentioning to the breeder that she was shy, very shy, and was told to give it time. I have owned several large dogs and a few giant breed dogs growing up and I have never had one with such a skiddish temperament. She used to react to plastic bags blowing in the street, leaves, little robot lawn mowers, and so on. She is always stopping, looking behind her, just on guard all the time until she gets in the groove of the walk..

I have come to know that my dog has the potential for aggression, as all dogs do, but most of her reactivity is barrier frustration. But with over 60kg of lunging "puppy" you cannot communicate that to passers by on the road, and I have stopped trying to do so. It is more important that I control my dog.

She was on a harness, and with education on head collars, safety, and dog neck anatomy, we went to a harness and Halti combo, whereby she has the chance to choose a correct choice and when she does not, or goes over threshold I will force her out of the situation by guiding her with the Halti on a double clipping leash. Then then trainer and I decided the Halti was peanuts due to her size and so I switched recently to a leather Dogmatic. It has given me much more control, but she has a funny head or snout and so I have modified the clip underneath with the Halti attachment to keep it back so she cannot chew. Per the instructions it says the collar is too big if she can get the loop in her mouth, but it is not too big and the size down would be too small.. so far I am happy with it I guess.

So now it has been advised that perhaps I flooded my pup when she was young with too many experiences. Before I met my trainer we tried out different groups until I got the recommendation for the trainer we use now. Her serious education began around 8 or 9 months and she had a few lessons at 5 months before this. So I feel like I failed my dog in some way, by not taking her when she was younger which I am really sad about.

So anyway, she is a monster on leash. She cannot handle seeing any dogs. She got a bit better, but her behavior is scary. She is baying, barking, screaming, making noises I have never heard before. We have moved towns, so we live out in the middle of nowhere, but we are in an apartment and today my husband had both dogs and my Dane started to react because they were in tight quarters with the neighbors' dog, as they were entering and he was trying to get into the garage.. we have to pass through a series of doors.

We don't know which dog truly made contact with their dog, but that dog had to get 4 stitches, and will have a vet bill, which we will of course take care of. My dogs or dog have been reported to the vet office, also fine, the vet must do this. My trainer basically told me to relax as I have proof of having trained my dogs, am not a first time dog owner, have complied with the laws, have never had any incidents whilst the dogs have been under my care.

I am frustrated because I feel like I've done EVERYTHING I could and yet, I still have a reactive dog. Sometimes it is a joykill to even be out with her, and people look at you like you're crazy to have such a big and "dangerous" dog. I am certainly not an owner that would choose a breed of dog based on its "street cred" or any nonsense like that. I have enjoyed the Danes I have been around, and my dog, in house, is one of the most empathetic and loving dogs i have ever owned. She has separation anxiety and is a velcro pup, but I knew going in this could be the case given the clinginess of the breed.

I am just upset at the situation, myself, all. I know in the dog world it is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS the owner and so on and so fourth. I have never blamed anyone for my dog's behavior, but there have always been things about her temperament that were a bit off, to me, since she was a pup. My other dog was a wild street rescue, serial wild animal killer, reactive, and so on when I rescued him at 9 months, but I made a reformed dog out of him.

My dane has had some problems, hormonally, after her first heat the reactivity worsened and she is now in the stages of a pseudopregnancy which I have treated with Galastop. We wait to see what her next heat cycle is like, and if this happens again we will spay her to prevent Pyro and the like. Her hormonal imbalance is perhaps also reason for her behavior, but I never wanted to take her sex organs from her as a giant breed she needs these to regulate growth so the goal was if they needed to go to take them out well after 2 years.

Some more information is that we had her thyroid tested, ALL panels, not just the typical 3 and they all came back normal. She has no pain, she is healthy, except for the pseudopregnancy she eats like a huge family at a buffet. She has a completely raw diet, with a BARF vitamin, veg on the side, bones from the butcher, suppenhuhne, liver, and extra virgin olive oil. The dog eats better and more than anyone in the house. My other dog, he is eating a limited ingredient whole food diet from a health company in Germany, as he cannot tolerate raw due to living a hard life of malnutrition. Literally this has been the only food to give him proper stools, not to TMI.

Anyway, I love my dogs, but I am sad for my neighbors. There is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Giant Schnauzer that all live in our complex, but my dog is of course the scariest, or was because of her size... now that she has been in an altercation, makes a shit show when seeing another dog, she is living up to this shit stereotype. I am sad for my neighbors, because I don't ever want to be the cause of a child or an adult acquiring a fear of dogs. Insurance aside, taking responsibility aside, I consider myself an ambassador for large dogs. I have nothing against the small ones, but I myself would never own a little one. Given how I've grown up, it is just my preference.. I guess the exceptions being Shar Peis, Corgis (Pembroke), and a Cattle dog... but I specifically picked a mastiff type dog like my girl because they are large, but low to moderate energy.

She is pretty lazy and will roll around in the grass or sit when she has had enough. Meanwhile, my mixed breed dog is a hunting dog and he will hike with you all day. He is not allowed off because he is a little bit of a murderer of small animals. As a hound, I really cant fault him if he follows his nose, so we just do that on the long leash because he likes to pick up scents. He is around 38-40kgs, smaller but has different energy requirements. With him I can walk the whole village and he is going up until we get home where he can curl up and nap. I knew I wasn't cut out for a high energy dog, so chose accordingly.

Our apartment is large, 130 square meters. We have an elevator and we are at the grass in less than 2 minutes. Still, we have been looking for a house, but at this point I pretty much have nothing to say to my husband, because he has been disrespectful to me, to the dogs, to my concerns, and has really had his foot in my ass because he is supporting us while I look for work. As you know Switzerland it is not easy, I am 31 now and have had a small job, but nothing to shake at. I am at B2 level German and it is my desire to teach, as there are a shortage of teachers here but this requires C2 German and it will take me another year to reach this goal.. which I am absolutely broken up about... because I feel like a geriatric entering training for the workforce at 32.. I must take this route or I will be stuck in the service industry at McDonalds and Burger King. Both of which I apply to and patiently await at least a 30% job. I am not arrogant and have no illusions about my lack of marketability here and I would clean toilets, but even those jobs are not easy to get.. I am also learning to drive so am dependent on the SBB.

So this is why the dogs were important to me. Switzerland is a beautiful and lovely country, full of lovely people I am sure of it. However, as a foreigner, with a less than stellar marriage and having moved away from my original Dorf to one with less than 2,000 inhabitants.. my dogs are all that I have. I have taken great pride in training them, in giving them the nutrition they need, the socialization they need, the training they need. No expense is spared. I would say on my Dane pup alone we have spent upward of 10,000 CHF and I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't care that I can't go on spontaneous vacations, that I cannot spend nights out without prior arrangement, that I cannot leave her alone for any period of time, that I cannot even leave her outside of a Coop or Volg.

In hindsight would I have agreed to live my life like this? Probably not. Do I feel at times like a prisoner to my dog? Of course. Has this caused me stress and anxiety, of course? I am not the Mother Theresa of emotions. I am a staunch believer in the whole Lilo and Stitch mantra "Ohana means family.. nobody gets left behind." So the suggestion of rehoming my dogs is just met with defensiveness and dismissal on my part. Baring any health or financial tragedies, I cannot just throw my dogs back to the wild. I also want to add that my breeder is responsible and of course would take my Dane back no questions asked.. but to me it is still throwing her to the wild.

So now I am awake, I have to walk my dog. Somehow I feel like a criminal for owning her, like we are an imposition upon our environment, like I am an irresponsible dog owner. Having a reactive dog is not for the faint of heart, and if I could go back in time I would have taken a professional with me to help choose the best puppy out of what would have been available. I just now feel like I have raised a little (well very big puppy) into an unruly (giant) teenage monster and I feel like a shit owner despite the reassurances from my trainer. My husband doesn't take any of this seriously.. but that is par for the course as he has refused to hop aboard the theory or SKN courses offered here. Talking to him is like talking to a rock anyway, so I now work exclusively with my trainer and confide my feelings into my therapist.

Anyway, I am at my wit's end.. with Switzerland, with my neighbors, with my dogs, just with all of it. Later today we will give them to the Hundehort because I just need a break. I'm going to hit up Volg, get some wine, flowers, dog treats, and go try to talk to my neighbors to see exactly what happened. I have begun muzzle training with my dog, but the largest Baskerville muzzle size 6 doesn't even fit anymore with her head harness. and when she is under my control the head harness is more important than any muzzle because with the control it offers I can prevent her accessing any dog.. I fear even with a muzzle she can do a lot of harm just if she jumps on someone or some dog.... and I am still not certain which of my dogs actually bit. Not only this, but I do not feel my dog is made safer by use of a muzzle that cannot fit whilst she is in her Dogmatic. The Halti, she can slip out of it--we have sized up and the one that actually fits she can just back out and you cannot see it through the basket muzzle before it happens.

The last option, and I mean the very last, is to put her on medication. My trainer has good contact with a vet behaviorist so I trust my dog would be in good hands. My trainer and I have talked about this, but we have, so far, thought she does not need it because she has made SOME progress.. it is just slow moving like in millimeters and of course it is NOT linear.

I know at this point I am rambling. The saddest thing is that my dog is uncomfortable and maybe she doesn't even know or understand why.. I know my dog is not being difficult just because, something inside of her is not right and at least I as a human can KNOW why I feel bad, but maybe she cannot... and it is like watching your best friend have a complete panic attack or meltdown and you can't do anything but redirect them..

I just need some solid advice on what to do, how to process my feelings around this, how to protect my dogs, navigate the stand off with my husband and so on. My trainer is not worried about my ability to pass the Wessentest and is 100% on my side. Has offered to talk to anyone who needs extra reassurance and knows I have gone above and beyond to do the best I can for my pups..

If you made it this far, thank you for reading.
Where the book about your husband ?
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  #112  
Old 26.10.2019, 17:18
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

RSC, a book that might be of interest to you:

Canine Aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindness and compassion, by Tracey McLennan
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/178...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The author talks about how she worked towards rehabilitating her bull mastiff - from a seriously dog-aggressive dog to one who loved to be with other dogs.

Back in day the author was a regular poster on the old Dogpages forum (sadly the forum is now defunct - and very much missed. How I could use that supportive sounding board now with Robin!) and on the forum I followed her journey with her dog in real time, so to speak. She is an amazing owner, and Calgacus' story is an inspiration. She consulted experts, distills down her process of determining what did and did not work with her dog, she offers common-sense, real-life, practical advice. Well worth reading.

Another read that might be of interest is this blog from an experienced GSD owner who rescued and helped Shadow, a very traumatized, very difficult dog, on his long road to rehabilitation:
http://www.druidalegsd.karoo.net/shadow.htm

The author was also a Dogpages poster - she was a great source of information and support as I was wrestling with Hooligan's fear reactivity around that time. (Again, how I miss Dogpages!)

Hope you are starting to see the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel - with everything you have on your plate.
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  #113  
Old 03.12.2019, 15:17
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Hi Everyone,

I am so pleasantly overwhelmed with the outpouring of support I have gotten concerning this thread. I am soft as shit, so I have a few tears.. but to each and every one of you who has reached out to me, even the criticisms and jabs, I appreciate it to the utmost degree.

I did not realise how multifaceted this situation was or continues to be. It is a hell of a lot to contend with. I had to take some time away from the internet to really focus on my dogs, my marriage, and my trajectory within this country.

I have much to update soon, so please do not feel that I took the advice given and ran away. I will have enough time to write in depth about all that has happened and measures I have taken regarding my pup in a few days.

One thing I have learned in all of this is that shame is a toxic feeling. It stifles growth and creates embarrassment in reaching out to other people who can help in many ways.. be it through listening, giving advice, or sharing a similar experience.. all of it goes a long way.

I will update this post again in hopes that it helps another person and also to show those who have so thoughtfully decided to comment in this thread the results of things we are currently undertaking.


Thanks again,
RSC

PS: is there a reason I can no longer thank posts? Am I just EF illiterate??

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  #114  
Old 03.12.2019, 15:35
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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PS: is there a reason I can no longer thank posts? Am I just EF illiterate??
No, it's not you, just that the posts you're looking at are all more than two weeks old, after which time thanks and groans are no longer possible.

Edit: It actually seems to be 15 days. For more info about this and other stuff see here https://www.englishforum.ch/forum-su...explained.html

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  #115  
Old 03.12.2019, 17:00
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

This is so weird..... I was just wondering a few hours ago how you were getting on!!
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Old 03.12.2019, 17:04
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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I did not realise how multifaceted this situation was or continues to be. It is a hell of a lot to contend with. I had to take some time away from the internet to really focus on my dogs, my marriage, and my trajectory within this country.

[...]

One thing I have learned in all of this is that shame is a toxic feeling. It stifles growth and creates embarrassment in reaching out to other people who can help in many ways.. be it through listening, giving advice, or sharing a similar experience.. all of it goes a long way.
This totally resonates with me. Living abroad is TOUGH and so is marriage. Add in a doggie that’s a bit difficult and I find it magnifies the situation so much. I just went through a rough patch myself, not anything like what you’re facing, but echoes of it...it’s not easy when you feel shamed by everyone because your dog isn’t “behaving” and add in some cultural and/or family tensions and it’s a really difficult experience.

Hugs to you and hope you are finding your way out—with help and support—of your difficult moment.
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  #117  
Old 03.12.2019, 18:36
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

I am aware that this is the pet corner and this may not be the kind of answer you seek.

Reading your original post gives the impression that your life is extremely imbalanced right now. Although I have no dogs, I have been there and I know what it feels like and looks like.

I'm not saying this is going to make the problem go away, but you need to focus your obsession on something else. Put the energy you spent writing this post into learning German. Find a marriage therapist. Find a way to meet more people here - other dog enthusiasts, through language or exercise classes, etc.

I know people who spend the amount of time, money and energy on their dogs that you do. I don't know if my friends are representative or not, but they all have bad marriages - not sure if it's a cause or an effect; probably a bit of both. The men in the relationships always seem to feel resentful about the dogs. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't have dogs or that you should neglect them, but maybe perhaps try and introduce some more balance - an objective outsider such as a therapist could be helpful with this.

Good luck with it all!
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  #118  
Old 04.12.2019, 16:29
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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I am aware that this is the pet corner and this may not be the kind of answer you seek.

Reading your original post gives the impression that your life is extremely imbalanced right now. Although I have no dogs, I have been there and I know what it feels like and looks like.

I'm not saying this is going to make the problem go away, but you need to focus your obsession on something else. Put the energy you spent writing this post into learning German. Find a marriage therapist. Find a way to meet more people here - other dog enthusiasts, through language or exercise classes, etc.

I know people who spend the amount of time, money and energy on their dogs that you do. I don't know if my friends are representative or not, but they all have bad marriages - not sure if it's a cause or an effect; probably a bit of both. The men in the relationships always seem to feel resentful about the dogs. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't have dogs or that you should neglect them, but maybe perhaps try and introduce some more balance - an objective outsider such as a therapist could be helpful with this.

Good luck with it all!
by far the best advice in the whole thread (not that other are not good)... sometimes a different perspective is priceless
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  #119  
Old 05.12.2019, 10:28
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Totally agree about the trainers. Only if we had wasted a bit more time researching.... We started with one, changed to the second because the classes were in German and my husband speaks close to zero, moved to the third one because we had weird feedback about reactiveness, and now we are going back to the first one who owns a Weimaraner. It is really hard to find a fit. I can totally say that when the third trainers handed us the Junghundkurs certificate was not because we were done with the classes but because she gave up on us.
I totally get you here. My trainer already told me she would not give me the certificate until we really got it together. That is why I liked her. She even suggested giving up the dog if I was not willing to fully commit. I do think, in general, that a lot of trainers are not used to problem cases. The error is always on the side of the handler instead of perhaps the dog and its genetic predisposition.

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Where the book about your husband ?
Can you please tell me what you mean?

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RSC, a book that might be of interest to you:

Canine Aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindness and compassion, by Tracey McLennan
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/178...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The author talks about how she worked towards rehabilitating her bull mastiff - from a seriously dog-aggressive dog to one who loved to be with other dogs.

Back in day the author was a regular poster on the old Dogpages forum (sadly the forum is now defunct - and very much missed. How I could use that supportive sounding board now with Robin!) and on the forum I followed her journey with her dog in real time, so to speak. She is an amazing owner, and Calgacus' story is an inspiration. She consulted experts, distills down her process of determining what did and did not work with her dog, she offers common-sense, real-life, practical advice. Well worth reading.

Another read that might be of interest is this blog from an experienced GSD owner who rescued and helped Shadow, a very traumatized, very difficult dog, on his long road to rehabilitation:
http://www.druidalegsd.karoo.net/shadow.htm

The author was also a Dogpages poster - she was a great source of information and support as I was wrestling with Hooligan's fear reactivity around that time. (Again, how I miss Dogpages!)

Hope you are starting to see the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel - with everything you have on your plate.
Melloncollie, thank you for the suggested readings. I will check these out for sure. I did not know of Dogpages, but now I miss it too knowing it provided such a wealth of knowledge.

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No, it's not you, just that the posts you're looking at are all more than two weeks old, after which time thanks and groans are no longer possible.

Edit: It actually seems to be 15 days. For more info about this and other stuff see here https://www.englishforum.ch/forum-su...explained.html
Duly noted. Thanks.

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This is so weird..... I was just wondering a few hours ago how you were getting on!!
So I posted in the nick of time

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This totally resonates with me. Living abroad is TOUGH and so is marriage. Add in a doggie that’s a bit difficult and I find it magnifies the situation so much. I just went through a rough patch myself, not anything like what you’re facing, but echoes of it...it’s not easy when you feel shamed by everyone because your dog isn’t “behaving” and add in some cultural and/or family tensions and it’s a really difficult experience.

Hugs to you and hope you are finding your way out—with help and support—of your difficult moment.
Yes, living abroad is a crazy experience. Your problems are uniquely your own. You are maladjusted, but you are preaching to a choir that is already settled here. They do not understand why you are complaining or why you are feeling a certain way. This way of being, in my small village, is all that they have known. It is similar to where I come from.. people would have a hard time relating to why you feel so sidelined.

This, coupled with the impulse to assimilate heavily here, is extremely hard for me. Here so much is subtle and not directly expressed. There are so many rules and even when you follow them there is a traditional way of doing something you may not be privy to. Still.. I feel like "When in Rome.." you have to get on the way the people get on here. Still you can have the best intentions and they are lost in translation.


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I am aware that this is the pet corner and this may not be the kind of answer you seek.

Reading your original post gives the impression that your life is extremely imbalanced right now. Although I have no dogs, I have been there and I know what it feels like and looks like.

I'm not saying this is going to make the problem go away, but you need to focus your obsession on something else. Put the energy you spent writing this post into learning German. Find a marriage therapist. Find a way to meet more people here - other dog enthusiasts, through language or exercise classes, etc.

I know people who spend the amount of time, money and energy on their dogs that you do. I don't know if my friends are representative or not, but they all have bad marriages - not sure if it's a cause or an effect; probably a bit of both. The men in the relationships always seem to feel resentful about the dogs. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't have dogs or that you should neglect them, but maybe perhaps try and introduce some more balance - an objective outsider such as a therapist could be helpful with this.

Good luck with it all!
I think there is something to be said for what you have said. I did focus more on my animals and check out of my marriage. I am probably a crazy dog lady spinster hiding under the auspices of a marriage. I have such a stubborn husband, who is Swiss and used to a soft style of communicating. When I am direct with him he is pissed. He shuts down, does not talk and so on. I cannot control him, but I can control myself and by extension my dogs. I picked them up as a hobby and passion. I did not expect him to become the slave for my dogs, as I knew most responsibility rested on my shoulders.. but I expected to do 80 to 90 percent and for him to do 20 to 10 percent to come full circle.

Now that I understand more about Swiss Baby Boomers, I can try to see his perspective more. He had a very traditional upbringing where the mother did everything. I always saw two parents working.. cleaning lady.. and so on. It was hard for me not to interpret his habits as intentionally offensive or dismissive of me. I really have to tell him when something needs to be cleaned or taken care of.. which I do not like.

I am seeking a marriage counsellor also, because I want to give my marriage a fair shot. Between us is quite the age difference and to me it feels like my methods or way of handling life and doing things are often dismissed because I am "still a child" I am 31.5 years on this earth! Been paying taxes too long to get talked to like that.. And while it is a small satisfaction to watch someone with egg on their face and saying "I told you so," when you hitch up your wagon to someone else's wagon you are a unit and you suffer the consequences, however unintended, of their behavior. Sometimes I wish my husband was an "accepts advice" person versus the type of person that needs to touch fire to know that it is hot.


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by far the best advice in the whole thread (not that other are not good)... sometimes a different perspective is priceless
Absolutely.. other perspectives are very much needed in situations like this. Especially in this country, with how isolated everything is. You are hard pressed to find people who give it to you straight.
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  #120  
Old 05.12.2019, 10:54
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

As a small update, I saw Dr. Bräm who is PHENOMENAL. She is the kind of doctor that will tell you not use the title and to call her Maya. She is super chill, and actually half American like me (but we both are boycotting America because of Captian Cheeto aka Trump).

So my dog definitely has a problem. She has a genetic predisposition to anxiety and fear. She is just super thin skinned. We are trying Gabapentin for now.. Because she is 62kgs.. (now probably 64kgs due to having her own Thanksgiving Turkey ) and still basically a puppy, she has to take a lot of this medication... 600mgs twice a day and up to three times a day if this does not improve her reactivity.

Once I have a better estimation of how my dog responds to this medication, I will do a write up to summarise everything I have gone through to get to this point. I was staunchly against giving dogs "happy pills" or "people pills" and luckily I never owned a dog that needed this type of intervention before. Now I can admit and accept that I am acting in the best interest of my girl.. and not "taking the lazy way out." You cannot out train a genetic predisposition.. its THERE.. and you can only accept and manage it..

My dog is so big that sometimes when she is resting or squatting to piss she looks like a person in a dog costume. She is easily taller than me at 5 feet 3 inches when she stands up on her hind legs.

She is special needs and huge. I chose medication to allow her to integrate into the world because rehoming her would be irresponsible and have a poor outcome for her. The type of person she needs paired with the type of environment she MUST have would not be easy to come by. And not to make a person out of a dog, but to me you cannot just throw away your pets when they do not turn out the way you want so long as they are not dangerous. They are, in a way, like children. She and her "dog brother" are my family, so I have to see them through as long as it is possible.

If this medication helps her to be in the world observing it instead of suffering from it I would be eternally grateful. Dog or human, it is hard to watch the one you love struggle through the most mundane of experiences.

Here is hoping that something goes well for us in Switzerland.. for once!
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