Poor Foster Doggie

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by mewzard, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. mewzard Experienced Member

    I just need somewhere to write how sad i am for my foster. This boy must have been through SO much before he came to us. he's been here 3 weeks and is still so stressed. I'm not expecting him to become a happy jolly soul overnight, but it's just so sad to see him constantly waiting for the next blow.

    He's calmed down a little - enough to show that he is not a fan of car journeys having gone from happily jumping in the boot to now refusing and frothing at the mouth.

    He is such a sweetie, loves to cuddle and sit with you. This is about the only time he relaxes as i think he knows you can't sneak up on him. He's slept 20mins in 13hours today, every noise and rustle makes him bolt up to a sitting position and then it takes him 5 or more minutes to lay down again.

    He wouldn't even pass me in the kitchen this morning whilst i was drying up, he was eyeing the towel, following its every move to make sure he could avoid it.
    People are just sooo cruel...:cry:

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, oh that breaks my heart, oh huge hugs to you Mewzard, for helping this poor lil dog! He is in good hands now, oh, but i know this has to be breaking a big heart like yours....

    My dog was a lot like that, too at first. really sad. We gave him a kennel, and whenever he was in there, we left him be. We didn't even look at him, if he was in there. We had blankets and toys and treats in there, it was his lil "safety zone". We left the door open,and he went in whenever he wanted to, and we tried hard not to stare at him. (it was hard for us not to)

    Have you tried offering him some slow blinks, and yawns? and occasional deep slow sighs?
    that works for my dog anyway.

    I know you are doing everything you can. I know he is a lucky dog to have landed with you, Mewzard.
    Will he lick dabs of peanut butter off of your hands?
    sure sounds like a really sweet dog...GOOD LUCK MEWZARD! HUGS TO YOU.
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    i wonder, if you turned on like, some "white noise"
    like a tv set or radio not tuned to any channel, just soft, low volume static........

    or even a tv set turned on to some boring monotone channel, to sort of drown out other noises?

    Or an overhead exhaust fan, some kind of soft lil humming noise, to cover other noises a bit?

    or, heck, would that make this dog feel worse?
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Mewzard, i know you know more about how to help this dog, than i do, but, i wonder if this *might* be worth a try? hope i don't annoy you, i just feel bad about he can't relax.

  5. mewzard Experienced Member

    He licks skin obsessively, i have no idea why. he's a little oddball in that he likes the human contact, seeks it really, but is worried he is going to get hurt. It's hard to have rules, like no butting in when i'm fussing Oka, without him thinking that i am going to hurt him. I'm going to contact the center to see if they think he need anxiety medicine but another avenue i have been noticing is possible joint soreness.

    He has a crate, i can't give him toys as he just destroys them instantly, he has a chew but always takes Oka's; so they do this swapping thing. He's not fussed about going in there by himself but will go in if i tell him to. (actually Oka sleeps in there more than him in the day, but i can't exclude her from it.)

    I don't think he has much in dog cues to be honest. I mean if Oka is attempting to calm him down, and not succeeding - i don't have much chance... I've been trying doggy massage but he's not keen on it. My other foster-people have suggested a body wrap which is like a big bandage wrapped round them... may see if i can find one in the chemist tomorrow. Deep/heavy breathing freaks him out, found that out with my kid pretending to be darth vader O_o - he grumbled at him but didn't make any moves. Hats freak him out, arms raised, anything flappy, loud sounds unexpected noises all = barking or flight response.
  6. mewzard Experienced Member

    Oh thanks for the video! I may give this a go tomorrow when the kids are out. He is sooo food obessed (obviously had periods of time without any food) i can't imagine that i'll get more that 2 of these calmness periods in the day but we can see.

    Not annoying at all, i feel for him so badly too. I haven't had to deal with this amount of stress in a dog yet and it's a little frightening to feel a bit out of my depth!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    NAH, not heavy breathing, :ROFLMAO: THAT would indicate anxiety.

    try some occasional deep sloooow sighs. Like ONE isolated deep slow sigh.

    Often, if i give one, in a moment, Buddy replies back with a deep slow soft sigh......dogs are very tuned into breathing patterns. It's a cue we can often spot our dogs "saying" right before they nod off to sleep, is that deep slow sigh. "I'm relaxed, let's all calm down" kinda thing.

    it is a calming signal. My dog was as much of a hot mess as any dog i've heard of, but even he understood his own language. My human language, nope, not so much!:rolleyes:
    but HIS, yes, yes, he knew what i said if i used HIS (doggie) language, even though he was a basket case.

    dogs, even messed up dogs, still understand basics of doggie language.
    it's worth a shot. Like, no staring at this dog, (threatening) and DO yawn at him now and then, and glance at him, offer him overly obvious sloooow blinks.

    he will know what you said. "calm down". it's worth a try?

  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //"I haven't had to deal with this amount of stress in a dog yet and it's a little frightening to feel a bit out of my depth!"//

    Mewzard, i understand, it'd have to be overwhelming for anyone, especially a big hearted dog lover like you. I think you will do as well as anyone can, you hang in there, you know you are trying your best. If you make a mistake, thing is, dogs do give us another chance.

    I bet you and this dog do find a way to connect, to reach each other, i bet you will, and i bet it will be a most lovely moment, and a very heartwarming moment. I believe in you, Mewzard, and i think your love of dogs will help you find some way to convey to this dog, "you are safe, calm down".
    if you can only get him calm for one minute at first, hey, that's a start. Maybe next day, two minutes, and next day, five minutes. You can do it, Mewzard!!!
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    GOOD LUCK on the "capturing calmness" exercises, who knows? this lil nervous dog might be a lil einstein in there, and will catch right on! dogs are always sooooooo observant about eggggzactly WHAT they were doing to get a prize...
    This lil dog might "get it" right off the bat, who knows?

    You might want to use an inkpen, or a soft mouth-made noise,
    instead of loud clicker, maybe.
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    You might want to start teaching NewDog to "go to your mat"
    so Oka can have her time, too!?:rolleyes:
  11. bekah1001 Honored Member

    That's awesome that you are fostering a dog. Sorry I can't help you :(
    mewzard likes this.
  12. Anneke Honored Member

    Oooh this takes me back... Your foster sounds so much like my Shane, when I first got him:( I remember dropping a pan, about two weeks after we got him. The noise freaked him out so badly, I had to start all over with building his trust in me.

    He will learn, but it will take time. He just needs someone like you, to show him not all humans are out to get him. From what you write about him, it sounds like he is willing to bond with humans, but his behaviour is still a reflex. A behaviour that has become so much a habit(out of neccessity, i guess) that it became a reflex.

    Ugh my hart bleeds every time I see or hear about dogs like this:cry: I know how messed up these dogs are, emotionally, and how long it takes to get them to lead a close to normal life.
    And funny enough, how much they crave human love...
    mewzard, bekah1001 and tigerlily46514 like this.
  13. mewzard Experienced Member

    This is exactly it!

    It is pure reflex. As far as i can tell his life so far is thus: in a home (possibly beaten), dumped, fended for himself, put in pound, rescued to kennels (dog shelter), there a long while, then brought to our centers kennels, then came to me. He is 4...
    He has had no choice but to rely on his instincts.

    He is sweet to all humans, though a little wary of noisy kids. I think some of his behaviour is fear of being left or dumped somewhere.

    We have been working on day-to-day commands, and "crate" is one of them. He learns better by doing at the moment so i'm holding off on the active clicker lessons. He's too worried about not getting the food to be able to think about what he is doing.but he has learn alot without us really trying.
    bekah1001 and Anneke like this.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    i found myself thinking of you, Mewzard, and of this poor dog, off/on, even since i read it...sure is a heart-breaker. but, i'm really glad, as hard as it is on you, Mewzard, that this dog is with YOU.
    mewzard and Anneke like this.
  15. mewzard Experienced Member

    Aww shucks! thanks Tigerlily. xxxx

    I was saying to my partner this evening that who ever ends up adopting him is going to have to be *extremely* special to take him... or he will be back in a flash. Part of me thinks i should just keep him, but he needs a home without kids really. He's ok with mine because they know what not to do but he would be happier without them.

    He howled and barked at the postman today, i think he spent too long at the door for his liking :rolleyes:
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  16. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    lol, i bet the dog will make new custom of always howling/barking at the postman. the barking worked after all----> the postman left, right?:ROFLMAO:

    NewDog probably saw the postman leaving as a "victory", he successfully protected his home from an intruder.
    What is this dog's name??

    Yes, i bet you are right, i bet whoever takes on this dog, should be someone knowledgeable about dogs with issues, and 'up for the challenge'. There are ppl who prefer dogs with issues, and feel great compassion for such dogs.

    but don't forget, if you can rehome this dog, that opens up your arms to continue rehabbing and rehoming more dogs, and if this dog stays with you, well, that's great too, but it might slow you down on helping to rehome lots of dogs...tough decision. Good luck.
  17. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Do be careful with prospective owners, as people tend to just feel sorry for timid dogs and want to adopt them to "save" them, or love the fear away. These people often actually hinder timid dogs, because they coddle them instead of trying to increase their confidence.

    He sounds like my Zekers, a total lover but just lives in a really scary world(to him).
    What a gorgeous dog your foster boy is!!! Love the colors in his coat, just beautiful.

    Kikopup's handling shyness videos are great too.
    Try to make scary things a sign of greatness--like, always wearing hats at feeding time.
    Sounds like tough love, but try to ignore his fear of loud noises, raised arms, etc. Randomly walk through the house and raise your arms, without looking at him or walking towards him. If he gets scared, just ignore it, act as if nothing unusual has happened. Random people coming around and raising their arms is an everyday occurrence, didn't you know? ;) Lol! Don't react to his fear, just ignore it so he isn't reinforced--I got scared, new mom looked at me/seemed concerned/came to me/etc, I have a reason to be scared. If you ignore it, instead he thinks, "I got scared, nothing happened, no one else is scared...must not be that scary." The next time, and the next time, and the next time, he'll probably still be scared. But the next time, he might not. Same with loud noises. You might randomly drop a pan or something, and just go about like nothing happened.
    Of course, you don't want to bombard him with scariness all at once. One step at a time. But eventually, you could flail your arms about and sing, "Dinner time, dinner time!" (or something cheery, lol), put a hat on, and then feed him. And do it every meal time for a few weeks, until he gets all excited when you flail your arms and put on a hat. Then when he's okay with that, you could bang pots around or something else loud right before meal time. Loud scary noises mean I'm fixing to EAT, YAY!!! Loud scary noises eventually just become loud noises that mean a meal is coming.
    Of course, it does take lots of time...and you are only fostering him. So, it's up to you as to how much work you want to do with him.

    But, this is basically the approach I've had with Z. He can come to me if he's scared, but I don't encourage him to. If he's not okay with something, he doesn't have to be, there's always tomorrow to try again. Everything is done at his pace. But, I do try to make scary things a sign of good things, to re-train his brain to think that "scary" things are the sign of good things, and therefore must be good. I don't try to bombard him with scariness, but we do approach scariness one step at a time. Like a puzzle, we work on each piece individually, slowly building sections of the puzzle. If it gets tough and we're stumped, we move to another section and come back to the tough part later when we're better prepared for it.

    Good luck with your sweet foster pup. :) I know you have a tough decision to make.
    mewzard and tigerlily46514 like this.
  18. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    great post, Tx!!
  19. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Thanks Tigerlily! :X3:
  20. mewzard Experienced Member

    Thanks Tx, we are just bumbling along as normal, It's 1/2 term so the kids are home and playing making noise. I do do, alot of that though it's great to hear i'm doing the right thing!!

    I keep him till someone wants him, though whether that is in 2 day or a year is anyones guess, i feel a duty to help him just becuase its horrible for him to live with. Also i don't like living with it!
    Funny you should say about his coat, It's so much nicer in person (and that picture) It's written up as "black" and that makes them harder to adopt!

    Yup, this in hindsight was my otherhalfs fault, he let him sit up on the sofa and stare at him walking away from the house.:mad: He has been given strict intructions to take his head out of his computer game for 30 seconds :LOL:. If FD is on the floor he doesn't make an issue.

    My troubles with putting his name here is, if coupled with Oka's, it's going to be easy for someone to search for...i'm not sure i want potential adopters reading any of this :) So we can call him ... Ken ...
    tigerlily46514 likes this.

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