Need Help With A Five Year Old Rescue Dog

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tugidq64, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Ok - I'm assuming (bad to do, I know - but trying to figure things out from what's posted) you're putting the leash down someplace outside, with treats, and walking away (that's excellent). And he's outside, too. I'm also assuming he's fine with you petting him? That's one big question I have - does he like you petting him when the leash isn't involved? And does he like being with your other dog? There could be all kinds of things going on here. Maybe he's terrified of the leash, maybe something in that fenced area of your yard where you take him terrified him, maybe your other dog terrified him, maybe .. maybe .. maybe. So - many questions to be answered, first. IF - he's fine with you, and fine with your other dog, and fine with the yard, and fine with the leash as long as it's on the ground, then .... maybe sit down with a bunch of treats, and the leash by you (on the ground) and treat for coming around the leash. Be really patient. Wait him out. Then touch the leash and treat for coming around, and keep upping the ante over time - it may take days and days, and many many sessions. Baby steps. BUT - gotta find out answers to those other questions first.
    Mutt, brodys_mom and southerngirl like this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I think when we adopt a dog it takes a while for them to show their true colors. One trainer told me it was like having house guests who stay longer than 2 weeks: for the first week or so, they are polite and tidy, help out with chores, etc.. Then they relax and start leaving dirty laundry lying around, don't wash up after themselves... You get the idea. This was true for Brody. The dog we met in the shelter was different from the dog in our house a couple weeks later. This is when you start to see what you are really dealing with. Your dog has a pretty long history before coming to you, and a sad one at that. He is going to take tons of patience, because his previous life doesn't resemble anything like what "normal" should be for a dog. Maybe it will take a few weeks or more before you can even take him on a walk outside your yard, but can you train him? Work on some basic obedience, throw in a couple of simple tricks to build a bond with him and boost his self-confidence. Maybe once he gets more comfortable with you, you can hang the leash around your neck, just to get him used to it being in the same area with you. Then start holding it in your hand when you feed him treats, until eventually you can feed him a treat with one hand and clip it on him with the other, even just for a moment. I think as long as you are working with him and he is getting mental and physical exercise, going for walks is not a big deal, especially since you have a yard to play in. If you were in an apartment this would be a problem.
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  3. sara Moderator

    His fear of you with the leash is likely because you made him deal with it before he was ready. You might have been perfectly gentle. But his fear has increased to include you with the leash. And that sucks but it's not your fault. Personally for now, I would quit with the leash training. At least in any way involving him. Maybe put the leash on your other dog and give him treats and throw a couple treats close to the new dog as well, but dont even look at him right now when you have the leash in your hand. Poor guy, he really does have alot to overcome. I've had an extremely fearful dog too... she made me cry most nights for a very long time. She certainly did get better. But it took me lowering my expectations and setting a very strong routine. She did the same thing at the same time every day, until she knew what to expect and when... then she started asking :)
  4. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    he does like me to pet him, even brush him. Right now he is lying beside my feet in the computer room. He loves to play with Sydney and they seem to get along o.k. they sleep in the same room. One problem is that I have another dog who can be aggressive, but she is kept seperate from the other dogs. I don't think she is the problem, though she has barked at him twice since he has been here. he follows me everywhere. I think we pushed him to far to fast.
    If I could only get him in the car I could take him to an obedience class though I am not sure he is ready.
    jackienmutts likes this.
  5. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Ok - since he's really comfortable with you and your other dog (that's great!), and he doesn't like the idea of the leash on him, maybe you start "wearing" the leash on you around the house. Drape it around your neck, tie it around your waist, etc, for a while (I know, not a good fashion look, but we won't call the fashion police! :LOL:) so he gets used to seeing that leash as "part of you", and doesn't so much have an "uh-oh" feeling when he sees it. Maybe keep treats on you, in your pocket, etc, and if you see him so much as glancing at it, just treat him. Do that for a number of days, so he starts associating the leash with treats and relaxes around it, then make your next move. Sit down on the floor, maybe have it draped around your neck, call him to you, and try to even move the clip part to him, then remove. Click/treat. Move really slowly, only as fast as he can. Bad feelings/associations do disappear, just give him time. You're right, you might have have pushed him too far, too fast - so now, just step way back and give him all the time he needs. Only take the tiniest of baby steps. Taking tiny tiny baby steps will still get you both where you want and need to go.

    Remember, if this guy spent years living in a kennel, it's like a kid being shuttered away in a room for years - you can't expect them to just step out and know how to get along on the "outside". He's gonna figure it all out with your help. Yes, a class would be good - but not now. He's not ready for a class. Not yet. He's gotta figure out how to live at your house first. Again - baby steps. Take your time. Think about that kid shuttered away, now they're out - gotta go to school, gotta catch up. Whoa..... not too fast. Right? He's taking so much in, learing how to live with you, your other dogs, your family, learning the ways of living like a normal dog. It will all come in time.
    brodys_mom and southerngirl like this.
  6. MaryK Honored Member

    First, don't give up on your boy. As Jackie said, he's been 'in prison' for y his entire life and that five years would seem like 500 to us!

    Also re-read Jackie's post she's given you fantastic advice and has had wonderful success with very reactive dogs - reactive can be anything untoward not just aggression.

    This is an 'unusual' way to get a terrified dog to accept a leash, yes you do have to 'think laterally' at times, but it did work with a friend of mine who came and ask advice about her rescue dog.

    What I did, when all else seemed to be failing, was to 'wear' the leash around my neck - like a scarf - and just walk around, have a cuppa, chat etc. sitting on the floor. O.K. so it looked weird, new type of accessory? But, after a while her dog got very curious about this 'thing' around my neck. I let the dog check it out, sniff etc. without making any real 'fuss'. It would have smelt strongly of dog as it was one of my dogs leads. Off trotted the dog, then back again. I rinsed and repeated this several times over the next few days. Then, when the dog had almost lost interest, i.e. wasn't running away in a blue fit, took it from my neck and just laid it on the floor. Again, same thing, the dog came up sniffed, backed away, came back etc. etc. It was then that I just GENTLY dropped a treat by the lead. Again rinse and repeat. In the end her dog got to 'know' the leash and we proceeded as Jackie has described so well in her post.

    With crates, I don't use them, but I would say one thing PLEASE NEVER PUT YOUR BOY INTO A CRATE WHEN HE'S DONE SOMETHING WRONG!!!!!!!!! Crates and mats are 'quiet areas' not a punishment area for a dog.

    And with your boy that crate may just bear a bit too big a resemblance to the 'prison' he's been in for five very long years. Mutts advice is excellent on the crate.

    Get him some good chew toys, Deer Antlers are fantastic. My young puppy has them, took her a few sniffs and she ignored it for a while, but now LOL put it up high and she'll get it down and chew away peaceful for quite some time. She's actually right here now chewing on it. Kong toys are also terrific, and maybe even a soft toy, some dogs love them.

    Please take it very, very slowly, almost at full stop speed with this boy. He's absolutely terrified of this whole new big world, and needs very patient, gentle handling, don't rush anything, it may take a long time and then again, with your love and help, he may suddenly make a quantum leap forward.

    Jackie has said to use your other dog as a teacher and this is really excellent advice. My new puppy was very timid, having been rescued from an 'abusive environment'. She was placed in a foster home, while all the legal stuff was gone through, and then came to me. Her foster Mom (who's a real sweetie) worked purely on socializing Leaf, step number one of course. So when I got Leaf she new nothing about lead walking (I was warned). My older boy (who's 13 years young) is excellent at loose lead walking, heeling etc. So I used him to 'teach' Leaf. On her second walk (she wasn't afraid to leads and collars so please note that) she was walking along as if she'd been doing it all her life! So definitely use your older dog to help this newbie learn 'the ropes'. Dogs themselves are amazing teachers! I've seen it happen time and time again.

    Good luck pack a heap of patience and remember one baby step, even just half a step, at a time. Not too much either, one area which is the most important first, then onto the next. You need to gain his confidence and trust before he'll really 'get' anything. Once you do, I'm with Jackie, my bet's on the dog!
    brodys_mom likes this.
  7. Mutt Experienced Member

    I'd just put the leash somewhere in your house (where the dog can ser it) and don't give the leash any attention. Let the dog go on his own pace.

    From what I understand your yard is fenced? Untill the leash problem is finished I wouldn't go on walks outside the yard or obdience training.
    Do some games to give your dog more confidence (hide treats and let her search for them), give him a safe heaven and built up a bond with him.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  8. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    Thank you all for your advice and encouragement. :) this website is great! This is actually the third dog my husband and i have rescued from the kennel up in the mountains. One was adopted, the other is in a foster home and we are trying with the third. He doesn't get 24/7 attention, (which I am kind of concerned about) because i have two other dogs but he actually has a life. We didn't know how much rescue people do until we did it!
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  9. brody_smom Experienced Member

    What kind of kennel is it? Have the animals been seized by some authority, or do you just go and get them somehow? Are the dogs being bred for some reason, or are the owners just careless?
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  10. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    We have some friends that live up in mountains that had a terrier that they were keeping outside 24/7 all summer because my friend was allergic, so i helped them out be taking the terrier. That terrier came from a kennel down the road so my husband and i walked down to see her brother and sisters. We were disgusted with the way they were being kept. I knew i had to get them out. They were being kept inside the kennel in a run most of the time. The only attention they would get was when they were fed. They had been like this for five years. I contacted rescue groups around our area to help. One said that they would take the dogs sight unseen. They have been great!
    it took me about a year to get them out. We had to talk the owner in adopting them out, and family stuff for us came up.
    Finally, this summer we started making trips over to take them 10 hours back to Whatcom county where we live. We got all three. I think the owner were careless. They were o.k. breeders at onc time but they got old and sick, and had to many dogs to deal with. they weren't very proactive to help the dogs. In fact, one of there dogs was pregnant and three out of four of her puppies died of the cold. They just didn't have a clue. It is so sad, that people do this to dogs and don't even know it.
    The three dogs I rescued are part border collie/irish terrier so they were just put aside, because they weren't pure breed.
    I have only had three dogs in my life. My fear aggressive dog took me years to help.
    I added these terriers because they need a place to call home and a family to love them. I still have to keep my reactive dog separate from them , though she will walk with them. I am debating whether this is fair to the last dog since i can't give him 100% attention. My reactive dog has been very good about this whole situation. I just want to be fair to all. My husband helps me a lot. Right now he has the first terrier at work with him.
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  11. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Well, thank you so much for what you have done so far for these dogs. Getting them out of that situation is a major big deal! I have a fear aggressive dog myself and know how all-consuming that can be. Add another one with some serious issues, and you have no time to yourself at all anymore. (You're not far from me, actually. I am just over the border in Canada, in Abbotsford, BC. ) There are so many rescue organizations in WA. Are any of them able to help you at this point?
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  12. Mutt Experienced Member

    Big tumbs up for you (y) I always find it admiring when people help out a dog (animal) out those kinds of situations!
    Only you can decide what is best for your dog.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  13. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I can still give the dog to a rescue group here. they still are trying to adopt the sister. They have already adopted one.
    <My problem is that the foster homes have to hurry the dogs so much, They have to have them ride in a car, walk on a leash soon etc. Then they take them to shows before they are ready.. I understand they have to because they have to find homes for these dogs as soon as possible. also there is a problem with the other fosters they have. sometimes.
    Sometimes the dogs aren't so nice to each other. i feel responsible for the dogs and I don't know whether I can have them hurried this way. I also like that my little terrier has someone to play with, but I have to think of the dog first.
    i was thinking of owner fostering him and putting his details and picture out places. I am conflicted about it. I wish there were positive rescues around. The more time that passes he is getting comfortable at our house.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  14. brody_smom Experienced Member

    That's too bad. It can't be good for the dogs who are already stressed to be pushed into even more situations that are new and scary like that. I guess the thing for you to decide then is whether what you are able to provide for this dog is better than what anyone else can do for him. If you can afford to be patient and let him come around when he is ready, then that is going to make training him a whole lot easier down the road. Pushing him before he is ready could result in set backs that may be very difficult to overcome.
    southerngirl likes this.
  15. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I thought he was your dog, but it sounds to me like you're only fostering him - is this correct? Yes, rescues deal with so many dogs, they do basically have to "rush" dogs in and out. The faster they find homes, the more dogs they can get out of the pounds/shelter system before .. it's too late. As much as the fosters would love to spend loads of time rehabbing each and every dog, they just can't, they don't have time. And you're right - the longer this dog spends with you, the more comfortable he's going to get - he's going to think he lives there. If you truly aren't going to keep him, then start getting his picture out there, get him to adoption events, or start working with a rescue group who will get him out there, so his forever family can find him. You still may end up having him for quite a while - but he deserves to be "up for adoption" if that's the end goal.
    passion4pups and brodys_mom like this.
  16. passion4pups Active Member

    Try smaller steps in this case then. Sitting on the floor with a HUGE bag of treats, have the leash behind your back. Hopefully he will know it's there, but will be move drawn to be near you or the treats and won't worry about the "mean nasty leash" behind your back. Just leave it there, for the first few sessions I wouldn't move it at all, just give him lots praise and treats for each time he comes to you no matter if it's a slow wary approach or not. After each time he comes near you to grab some loving or a treat, "release" him to find a toy or throw a ball. Then call him back. Do this in 10 to 15 minute sessions as many times as you can for the first day , just keeping the leash on the floor behind your back. Next day, Move the position of the leash, still behind you, but a little off to the side, more in view , but not a threat to him yet. Again repeat the praise, treats, game. Next day move the leash beside you and repeat the sessions or praise treat game. Next day in front of you still on the floor and not in your hand, and again praise, treat, game. next day, leash in your lap. Praise , treat, game. Essentially what you are trying to do is desensitize him from the leash and try and incorporate the leash with good things. Do not actually handle the leash or hold it near his collar to clip it on until you really think there is no fear of the leash anymore. As many have said here, sometimes it is very slow going with some rescues if they have had a really rough start. You never know , he may associate the leash with going back to a bad place . . . he probably was led into the shelter on a leash and left there originally. At the shelter he was probably led outside to a fun place a few times a day to eliminate and get fresh air , but was led right back to his kennel when that was all done.
    Baby steps. Make the leash a good thing, help him to associate it with everything good. you could try leaving it on the floor and placing his food dish next to it at feeding time as well. Maybe add a couple spoonful's of yummy, smelly canned food on top of his other food to entice him to take his dinner next to the leash.

    There is tons of great advice in the posts above. But as others have said, may be a slow road. Be patient. he will come around in time. He just may need more than your average dog.

    One question I just thought of . . . I did not see mentioned that your new dog is particularly food motivated . . .maybe treats are not the way to go . . . . maybe you need another motivator besides treats? Is there a toy or ball or game he seems particularly drawn to or does he seem to soak up and covet your attention?
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  17. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    quote="jackienmutts, post: 66839, member: 6409"]I thought he was your dog, but it sounds to me like you're only fostering him - is this correct? Yes, rescues deal with so many dogs, they do basically have to "rush" dogs in and out. The faster they find homes, the more dogs they can get out of the pounds/shelter system before .. it's too late. As much as the fosters would love to spend loads of time rehabbing each and every dog, they just can't, they don't have time. And you're right - the longer this dog spends with you, the more comfortable he's going to get - he's going to think he lives there. If you truly aren't going to keep him, then start getting his picture out there, get him to adoption events, or start working with a rescue group who will get him out there, so his forever family can find him. You still may end up having him for quite a while - but he deserves to be "up for adoption" if that's the end goal.[/quote]
    brodys_mom likes this.
  18. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    He is our dog at this moment. He belongs to no foster organization. The only fosters I have found use adversive methods of training the dogs and rush them to get them to a new home. I don't want to do that to him. He won't even get in the car without being forced so it would be hard for me to take him to adoption events. I think he may have found his forever family. I don't know if we are the best home for him, but I know we will do the best we can for him. He will be in a family and home that loves him.

    That was a good idea about hanging the leash around my neck. He still is really apprehensive about going over barriers, (gates etc.) Any ideas? I have begun crate training, he will go get the treats but he won't stay in.

    thank you all for your help. You are have such good ideas.
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  19. brody_smom Experienced Member

    If you are doing the best you can for him, and giving him a family that loves him, then he can't do any better than that. You are going to learn so much about dogs, and you will grow so much as a trainer, that you will become the best home for him.

    I would suggest you spend some time watching Emily Larlham's videos. Her YouTube name is kikopup, but she also has a website called Dogmantics Dog Training. She has lots of great videos on fearful dogs, and she shows you some general techniques in dealing with specific fears by gradually moving closer and closer as the dog becomes comfortable. Many things that people describe don't really make sense until you actually see it, so it's worth your time to watch a great trainer in action. She also has dvds for sale, but it takes a while to get those in the mail, at least it did here in Canada.
    southerngirl likes this.
  20. southerngirl Honored Member

    If you are doing the best you can for him than you are the perfect family for him.
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