Need Help With A Five Year Old Rescue Dog

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

  1. tugidq64 Experienced Member

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  2. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I am having a problem with my kennel rescue dog again. He is getting better on the leash, though I think that now he needs to work on some leash manners. He is still hard to impossible to get in the car or the crate. What I am most concerned with at the moment is that except for the room he stays in he won't come inside. He stands at the back door like he wants to come in but he won't co he can run into the downstairs room he stays in. He won't come into the room with me and the computer or the kitchen etc. With the rainy season coming up fast it is terrible to see him just standing at the door but it is getting to cold for me to keep the door open. I was wondering if anyone has run into this before and what to do. He is happy outside but I can't always come out so or keep my other dog out. It isn't fair to my other dog. I would welcome any suggestions.
    Thank you. Debby and Cayden
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  3. MaryK Honored Member

    Poor boy, he's obviously previously had really bad experiences when he's attempted to come into a house .

    What I would try is to leave a 'trail' of really, really, really high value treats from the door to inside the first room, don't try at this stage to get him right into other parts of the house, like the computer room. Just get him inside, make a HUGE fuss of him, treat yet again, use your clicker or marker word, and also have a really comfy bed of some sort for him to lay on.

    It may take a while, hard to say, as he's obviously terrified of coming right in, so don't rush, even though that's hard not to do with the rainy season about to start, relax and 'take it easy'. The Hare and the Tortoise method, slow and easy wins the race. It may help to move out of sight, but still watching, when you first lay a trail of high value treats - make them REALLY high value - as without you 'there' he may come in more easily, thinking it's 'safer' than with a human standing right there. Because even though you love him and care, that's not always been the case and for him 'human standing there, maybe I'm going to get hit or something' which is probably what's happened in the past if he attempted to enter the house.

    Then once he's got confidence and is coming inside, again take it easier one baby step at a time, use the same technique to get him into the next room. Allow him to feel comfortable doing that and 'rinse and repeat' until he's feeling secure and knows he's actually WANTED inside and not about to be punished.

    I had a rescue dog who was the same and I did find out, through others, that the dog was kicked and beaten if he attempted to come inside the house. Dogs don't forget that kind of treatment and of course, even though you, like myself, wanted our dogs inside, the awful memories take a while to erase.

    But it will be a 'slow and easy' exercise, you cannot rush it when a dogs had a bad past.
  4. brody_smom Experienced Member

    How is he with you? Are you able to pet him, scratch his ears, rub his belly, etc.? I think the key to helping these fearful dogs overcome their fears is by finding some thing that gives them pleasure or contentment. I don't know how much time you have on a daily basis to just wait on this dog (don't know if you ever mentioned his name, is it Cayden?), but I think this is what you need to do. If you have the time to sit outside with him, doing whatever that thing is that makes him content, then moving him gradually closer to the open door, as he feels comfortable. I don't have time to re-read all the posts on this thread, but if you are not using a clicker with him, I would highly recommend you start. It really helps them "know" what they are doing that is earning them the pleasurable experience, and gives them the power to make the decision to do that thing. Have you watched those kikopup videos? If not, this is a good one to start with:
    Rather than using food as a bribe or a lure to get him to go where you want him to go, use the food as a reward for making tiny steps in the right direction, letting the movement be his idea, not yours.
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  5. MaryK Honored Member

    I would like to just comment on Brody's Mom's post about using food as a 'lure' - in this instance luring will help, then use treats/clicker and cuddles as praise, once the dog has got confident enough to come into the house. A highly afraid dog will not always respond to just cuddles, they need a lure in certain situations, sometimes with no human in sight, just discreetly watching. By using a lure/food he IS making the decision himself to walk into the house. Whereas using food as a 'treat' when he does come in, is actually removing the choice, he feels you, not him, is making the decision. In this instance, HE needs to make up his own mind, so he feels in control. Luring isn't bribing, it's a way to get the dog to do something which in the past has brought about real fear, like entering the house, which I suspect this doggy has been seriously punished for doing in the past. He doesn't at this point understand that he will receive cuddles and food for coming inside, all he thinks is 'heck this person has been kind to me but hey in the past I got beaten for coming in the house. Is this person going to do this too?" Dog do not generalize! Just because you can cuddle and pat them, spend hours chatting to them in one situation, doesn't mean they will carry that through in another situation. It's like the cue 'stay' - when a dog first learns 'stay' it will do so quite easily in his/her own home - but ask that same dog (or a puppy) to 'stay' in a different environment and he/she will totally forget all the treats and cuddles, until it's very firmly implanted into their minds.

    Like with training a dog who's not afraid, you LURE them first, then click/reward/praise when they achieve what it is you desire. After a while, once the cue is firmly in their minds, you can stop using treats, though it never hurts to give the odd treat at times:)

    Apologizes to Brody's Mom, but having had experience with this type of behavior, I can say that 'luring' is quite often the only way to start to gain the dog's confidence to make the move inside the house. Also, catching a stray dog, which I have done quite often, especially those who are afraid of humans, you 'lure' them with food. Once caught you use more food as a reward, along with cuddles where possible.

    I totally agree though with making as much fuss as possible of the dog and just sitting, talking quietly etc.:) That's always grand.
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  6. jackienmutts Honored Member

    You never said how he's doing, what you've been doing so far, no mention of any progress, so it's hard to know how things are going - but here's my two cents.

    I totally agree with what Mary has said above. I'd make a trail of the most yummy thing that dog could ever imagine (chicken, beef, hot dogs, liver, cheese, a mix of all of it? - something good, not packaged treats) all the way from outside into the house - you can clean up the floor later - and go away. Let him make his own decision to follow that trail inside (and if he makes it in, whatever you do, don't close the door and trap him in there - give him an out!). He'll be rewarded for every step he takes. It may take him quite a while, he may not accomplish this monumental accomplishment in one session, it may take many. Many. MANY. Every step he takes in the right direction will be huge for him. But every step he takes, and is rewarded for (by those wonderful treats he finds on that trail - and make those treats close together, inches if you have to), he'll gain confidence. Don't worry about how long it takes him. It will take as long as it takes. He's a dog - a living, breathing, thinking, feeling being - not a machine who can be fixed quickly.

    Once he does make it inside, I'd keep it very quiet and relaxed, no big deal. A nice quiet ohh, good boy, and a treat - then quietly go back to something (maybe reading), but something quiet. No big deal. And keep repeating the scenario. Just because he does it once, doesn't mean the next day it's smooth sailing. Just place the treats a little bit farther apart - but repeat, repeat, repeat. Something obviously has scared him terribly. Mary's right, he could have been beaten for going inside, or it may have been something as simple as a car backfiring or a horrid noise he heard once at your house right as he started to go in, that scared the tar out of him, and now that association is there. His mind and the way he feels needs to be changed - and there's no hurrying that. Changing emotions and fears is a slow process. It takes time and patience and loads of hard work. It can be a long haul - or it can happen quickly (in the big scheme of life). Every dog is different.

    Again - bring all your patience to the table, and go as slow as your pup needs to go. Any faster and he could backslide.
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  7. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I agree with much of what Mary said. She has lots of experience in dealing with fearful dogs, and has been a great encouragement to me in working with my own fearful boy. However, I have spent the past several months doing a great deal of reading and have found some great resources. My suggestions come from the perspective of Shaping as an alternative to Luring, and giving the fearful dog the option of approaching at his own pace. Many renowned trainers prefer shaping over luring for most of their training. (Patricia McConnell , I think, has a great blog article about using shaping with fear-aggressive dogs to give them confidence. I will try to find it.) Most trainers agree it isn't recommended to have a stranger offer your dog food if he is afraid of them, but to reward the dog yourself for making any calm movements toward the stranger. Luring the dog toward the thing they are afraid of, whether it's a person or a vacuum cleaner or a doorway, doesn't change their attitude towards it. I asked Debby about whether he enjoyed time with her and/or physical touch as an alternative to food rewards, as I find Brody to be very receptive to this in times when he is fearful/reactive and I don't have food on hand. She didn't say what, if any, training she had been doing since her last post, so I don't know if he is responding at all to food as a reward. He doesn't seem to have overcome any of his earlier problems, other than fear of the leash, but she didn't say what she had done that worked with that issue.
  8. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Sorry, the author was Pamela Dennison, not Patricia McConnell. Here's the link:
    It doesn't specifically talk about how to use shaping to overcome fear of objects, although she does say she did use it for several dogs with agility equipment fears. The main point is how it gives the dog confidence. The kikopup video that I linked earlier, however, does specifically say that she was not luring the dog toward the area that she was afraid of, as it could actually compound the fear. She just clicked and treated for baby steps forward, not reinforcing her for going backwards each time as a dog might do if left to it's own to eat a trail of food. The trainer also used calming touch to help relax the dog.

    I am really interested to hear from Debby about what she has been doing with her dog that has worked, and what hasn't worked. It is very valuable to reassess our training plan or method if we aren't making progress. That's one of the steps that Jean Cote stresses in his videos as well.
  9. MaryK Honored Member

    Thank you:)

    Luring is not the reward, quite right, but the REWARD comes when you click/treat and praise, although as Jackie has so rightly said, in this circumstance, over praising can be frightening to the dog.

    Sorry, not sure where a stranger offering food is applicable, this is about getting a dog inside a house inhabited by people who are already caring for him. Or have I missed something?

    All dogs are different and whether this dog would respond to being touched, as he's already afraid of coming into the house, is something to keep in mind.

    Please tugidq64 respond to our posts. It really does help if we all know where you're at in other areas. What kind of response you've had to other issues etc. and what you've been doing to achieve those responses if any.
  10. MaryK Honored Member

    Agility work, and fear of obstacles in same, is a very different scenario to fear of entering a house . Please keep that in mind, as most reputable agility clubs do not allow a very fearful dog into the arena, causes too much grief all round.

    In some instances, you can use a click/treat for every step forward, but not always. It does depend on the dog's reaction, I've had dogs run a mile rather than take that first baby step forward, and that's when luring with a trail of foodie goodies gets them motivated. But it can take many, many MANY tries, before they will make that first step.

    All dogs are different. A good trainer will observe and watch the dog's body language in ALL situations, not just the one(s) specifically needing work.
  11. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I hope the OP chimes in soon, as we are left to speculate on her training methods. She stated back in early August that the dog is fine in the house, but the doorways seem to be the issue. Much like he was fine on leash, but hated it when the leash was brought near him. Makes you wonder what these particular objects represent in his mind. She also said he liked being touched and groomed, but was waiting to be able to get him in the car to go to an obedience class before starting any training.

    If I had this dog, based on what we know of his history, I would be spending all the time I could just being with him and getting him used to me, getting him to trust me and see me as the source of only good things. Brody still has a long way to go in terms of his trustworthiness in certain situations, but I know he trusts me. I have been there with him to help him work out his fears of many things, to give him the verbal praise, the pats on the chest, the ear scratches as well as the food. The more time I spend playing with him outside in the midst of all the sounds he used to be so reactive to, the easier it gets for him to, if not ignore them, at least not be fearful of or distracted by them. I love the "check it out" exercise that Emily Larlham teaches. I was really skeptical at first about it, but we have used it with so many things on our walks and runs, and Brody responds really well.
  12. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I am sorry if I haven't replied before this. My replies to my question are supposed to be forwarded to my e mail and only the first one from Mary was so I thought that was the only one. i finally have had time today to go on the website.
    I have had visitors all week.
    Anyways, Cayden has been improving. I try to put him on a leash daily and take him through doorways and gates.
    I followed all your suggestions to get him to like the leash. I put treats around it and even wore it around my neck.
    I treat him for putting the harness on and when I snap on the leash. All I have to do is call my other dog and they both come running. I walk him around the yard with my other dog too. Now that he is getting used to the leash I may start leash training so he won't pull so hard. I am not sure where to start though. He is getting used to coming when I call his name. We have a big fenced in yard that he can run and play in. I do use a clicker for the getting on of the leash and the going through doorways. He does let me pet him and cuddle him, in fact, he is pushing my other dog out of the way so he can get all the loving. Last night, I was brushing him.

    I have had trainers tell me to lure him with a trail of treats and another who has said to click him when he moves toward the house, crate or car. I kind of use some of both ways. I don't know with to use more of. I am not having much luck with the crate or car. He still is a long way to being comfortable with either. He will go into his room in the house but not the kitchen much. I think it might be all the noises in the kitchen. Mostly, I just leave him outside and let him decide to come in. I was just wondering how to get him to come in the house more during bad weather.
    I have had a trainer recommend meds for him but of course that would mean a car ride. Trainers are giving me conflicting advice. One even said to lift him in and cuddle him when in there.

    Thank you Brody's Mom. I have looked at Emily Lampdon's videos. Thank you Jackie Mutts for your advice too
    Thank you Mary K I appreciate all the advice and will use it all.

    Debby Cayden
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  13. brody_smom Experienced Member

    The trick with leash training is to not let him pull at all. When the leash goes tight, you stop dead and do not move forward. Wait until he turns and looks at you, then call him toward you using a kissy noise or pat your leg, treat him when he is at your side, then move forward. If he stays at your side, you can click and treat again, very frequently at the beginning, then less often as he begins to catch on that good things happen when he is right beside you. If he does a lot of "yo-yoing" where he goes to the end of his leash then comes back for a treat, then stop giving him a treat for that. Forward movement becomes the reward. You would only click/treat for him choosing to stay at your side.

    Another method is to change direction when the leash goes tight. Once he follows you, if he stays at your side, click and treat. If he goes right back to a tight leash, change again, right away. You can give a little warning, like say "this way!", before you change direction, but don't yank on the leash or jerk it at all, just the natural pressure of the movement away from him will send the message. Sometimes using a front-clip harness or head halter can be a big help with the dogs that really like to pull. kikopup also has videos for loose-leash walking. There are many other good trainer on YouTube, just search "loose-leash walking".

    I wouldn't necessarily say that the advice you are getting is conflicting, as long as the methods are positive. Some things work better with some dogs than others. Many of the various techniques such as luring, capturing and shaping behaviors can be used in combination, not just exclusively. What you did with the leash was a combination which resulted in him becoming desensitized to it. If the trainers start mentioning things like flooding or prong collars, then you have a conflict. If the suggestions are all using gentle exercises that give the dog a choice in moving toward or away from their trigger, then you are probably okay.

    Lifting him into the car and cuddling with him might be fine as long as he was not stressed by it. I forget how big he is, but if you or your husband could carry him close to the car and feed him treats for staying calm, then you may be able to very gradually move closer and closer until you could sit inside with him. You would have to pay very close attention to his behavior and stop when he is showing any signs of fear, going back to the spot where he was still comfortable. This would be similar to how people counter-condition dogs to having their claws trimmed.

    There are some over the counter meds you can buy that won't require a trip to the vet. Rescue Remedy is one, but there are others that are more specific to things like thunder storms. You can buy these at most pet supply stores. Even if they only work well enough to be able to get him to the vet for a more potent drug, it might be worth a try.
  14. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    To be more specific on what I have been doing- I have been putting a thunder shirt on him which has helped a lot.
    I have been walking around the yard throwing treats with him at my side to gain his trust, besides sitting with him brushing him, and petting him. I have been teaching him to wait before walking though doorways and looking back to me when he has gone though, he has learned ow to sit and is working on down. is progress is slow but steady.
    I still have to work more on the car and the crate. I will try to trail of treats to help him be more o.k. with inside.
    I am in no hurry but want him to feel comfortable during the bad weather. thank you for the advice.
    Debby and Caydeb
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  15. tugidq64 Experienced Member

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  16. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Is Cayden happy when he is inside? Is it just crossing the threshold into the house that is the problem, or is it being inside the house? Is he able to access the room where he sleeps through a different doorway? I guess I am a little confused about what the actual behavior is that you are having trouble with. Maybe you can try to describe a little more exactly what the set up is, what he does and what you do. You will get better advice if your descriptions are more specific. You said he stands outside and won't come in, but what is his body language like? Does he seem really timid, fearful or just confused?
  17. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    I will try to be more specific. I w could draw you a diagram of my house. We have a back door that opens out to a big back yard. My husband put up a fence so he can go out to the yard without a leash on. When we open the back door the two dogs sleep in a downstairs room that is across from the back door and they can just run out. If you turn left there is a small computer room off a small hallway and then further down the hallway is the kitchen. I was talking about the fact that he will not walk into the kitchen much or the computer room. Most times he will only go into is room downstairs if Sydney (my other dog) does. Then they will run in. Sydney will go anywhere in the house. Most times he stands outside and won't come in only if Sydney is going to the downstairs room. If she goes in the office or the kitchen he will not follow her. I haven't been making him.
    My concern is that soon it will get to be rainy weather and he still may not want to come in.
    His body language is a timid but he will stand out there and cock is head back and forth so I think a little confused to. I hope this makes it a little clearer.
    Debby and Cayden:unsure:
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  18. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Let me see if I understand. The room where the dogs sleep is on the ground floor and has a door that opens to the back yard. The kitchen and office are down the hall from this room. Cayden will go out the door without any problem, but won't come in unless Sydney comes in first. He won't go down the hall to the kitchen or office at all, even if Sydney does. What if you had Sydney on leash and kept Cayden off leash. Then you could lead her slowly into the house, and click and treat him if he chose to follow her. If you keep walking her around on leash and treating him for following her, then you can start gradually moving toward the hall and see if he will come. If not, at least you have him in the house and out of the wet weather. You can let him choose to venture down on his own when he is ready, or start working on the method from the kikopup video with the dog who was afraid to go in the kitchen.
  19. MaryK Honored Member

    Cayden cocking his head is showing that's he's interested, but if the rest of his body language is still 'timid' i.e. slightly crouched down, ears back (though that's not usual with head cocking) he's still unsure/afraid of the rest of the house.

    If your hallway is very narrow/small that may also be putting him off coming into the computer room and kitchen. It may feel to him 'claustrophobic'. especially if your ceiling height is also low/standard size. I would lay a trail of super extra special goodies for him to follow, at his own pace, then as he progresses forward which he will with time, maybe a LOT of time, reward him quietly and just go about your normal business and if he runs back out - don't panic or chase him - just rinse and repeat.

    With the wet season coming. Is the room he's coming into water proof? If so, I wouldn't worry too much, as at least he's coming into the dry. As I said, rescue dogs with issues can take years, not months or weeks, to over come their issues. I cannot stress enough to allow time to work it's magic. Baby steps, patience, love and time are the best things for dogs, rescue or otherwise (non rescues dogs can have issues too) who have issues.

    That he's responding to your is excellent. A rescue dog can take YEARS literally, to over come their issues. Unfortunately they cannot tell us what has made them so afraid of things which to other dogs are normal and definitely normal to us, we have to just read their body language, observe and watch - observing a dog is one of the most important things to learn when working with any dog, rescue or otherwise, as they do not speak English.

    With the car, that can be a long haul, very long haul. Is it the back of the car he's having problems with? Some dogs, my late dog Tiger Lily and also my current puppy Leaf both dislike(d) the back seat. Just as some humans dislike traveling in the back seat, so do some dogs.

    What I do with a dog who doesn't like the car is to feed them in the car - when it's parked of course - allow them to walk around it plenty and also just sit in the car doors open, treats in hand and call, or better yet whistle if you can, the dog and let them decide if they wish to get into the car. Please do NOT try to force Cayden into the car, that will not help, not saying you have though:)

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