Speaking Of "untrainable"....!

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by threenorns, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. threenorns Well-Known Member

    my bff adopted Laddie, a purebred plott hound, from a shelter in florida. she has two other dogs - a purebred chocolate lab she's had from a puppy (one owner only) and a mixed GSD/golden retriever.

    gauge is the lab and he's as smart as dandy - show him once or twice and he's got the trick.

    abby is the mixed - she's a senior and smart, too, but not as smart as gauge and dandy (or else she has a much better sense of dignity).

    laddie is .... well, he ain't the sharpest knife in the block.

    all the dogs are on raw food diet - laddie is eating 5 - 6 meals *per day* totalling about six POUNDS of meat and bone. i didn't believe it but i have seen it with my own eyes and he's still a xylophone. we just reviewed the photos from when she first got him to how he is now - he's put on nearly 10lbs and still you can see every rib when you look down from the top. the only difference is that his head looks more proportionate, he's got curvature to his chest and butt, and his pelvis bones aren't jutting out like the old grey mare's. he's got a curious ligature scar on his neck around the back - we can't decide if it was an ingrown collar or if he spent far too much time fighting a tether. he's also immaculately toilet-trained but "sit" doesn't work - he just hovers his butt over the ground.

    other peculiarities: if he can get them, he will drink every drop of coffee, orange juice, and beer. if you let him off the lead, kiss him goodbye - the only way to get him back is to set the lab loose (gauge catches up to him in a split second and then herds him back to where he sees the car because if he sees an open car door, he's jumping in - doesn't matter whose). he can also walk up on his back legs like a human - he'll stand up on his back legs and walk the length of the counter to see if there's anything interesting. he follows his mum around like a lost little duckling and always has to have his little piggie (the remnants of the stuffed toy my bff gave him when he first arrived).

    the thing is, we can SEE he's smart - but holy hannah, try to get him to learn something (anything!) and it's like beating on a brick wall with a nerf hammer! we're thinking he's too hyperfocussed on the food and likely either was starved for a very long time or else food was used as a sort of blunt weapon ("that's it - bed without your dinner!" kinda thing).

    anybody have any ideas how we can reduce his obsession about food and maybe reduce his tunnel vision thing?
    MaryK likes this.

  2. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I would start with tricks that involve movement such as right circle, left circle go step on a target. That sort of thing that doesn't involve stationary behaviors, but he gets to earn the treat.
    Does he seek out attention in the house? I would try to call him when he looks like he is about to come anyway and reward him with petting.
    Use the treats like an afterthought. Oh you did such a good job you get petting and praise ...oh and by they way here's a cookie too.
    He may not be ready for it, but you can try holding the treat and letting him have it when he leaves it alone.
    Try using some low value treats like carrots or something that he wants but has less interest in.
    Try having treats in your pocket all the time and giving them when he lays down on his own. I would also give him a treat for anything in the direction of relaxation (standing still even for a second, etc.)
    For sit I would lore him and reward tiny increments. Some dogs have a harder time with sit and down but keep trying and he will surprise you.

    I hope this helps!
    southerngirl, MaryK and Dogster like this.
  3. blacknym Experienced Member

    Good suggestions there!

    Tell your friend good luck and that I think she Is awesome.
    southerngirl, MaryK and threenorns like this.
  4. MaryK Honored Member

    First thank you friend from me for rescuing this chap.:)(y)

    Good advice given by srdogtrainer. Also am wondering with the sit if he has anything amiss physically (due to obviously some terrible past treatment) which causes him to 'hover', it maybe painful for him to fully sit.

    I also think once he's back to a good normal weight, he could well become less obsessed with food and simmer down a little.
    threenorns and southerngirl like this.
  5. threenorns Well-Known Member

    well, we tried with the lower value food - frozen fish, which he was not too arsed about - and it really did work! we worked the circle right and circle left with the fish and when it came to beef time, he was definitely not as hyper about it. still not sure if he's actually getting it or just humoring us, lol.

    the sit thing - his butt bones were pretty bare when he first got here, so that could explain a lot.

    this was taken when he was being transported up from florida near the end of november - this is the atlanta, georgia transfer point (the lady is the lovely driver who brought him to the ohio/michigan border):

    [[IMG]

    you can see his butt-bones, you can see where his tail switches to his spine, you can see his ribs, his head looks far too large for his body, his chest has nothing there, and his legs are just little sticks.

    and this is him today:

    [IMG]

    and yeah - one of his favouritest things in the whole. wide. world. is to rest his chin on the diningroom table and "eyeball" your food: even the spinach (which he didn't eat - he just licked off the ranch dressing)! no, his tail wasn't cropped - it's wagging too fast for the camera to catch.

    but even with all this weight he's put on, if you stand and look straight down at him, you can count every vertebra and every rib! so he needs probably about another 5lbs or so. (no, no worms - he's on revolution as slow-kill treatment for heartworm that maybe he has, maybe he doesn't, since test results couldn't seem to agree; but since he's from florida, he's probably positive).
    MaryK, Dogster and southerngirl like this.
  6. blacknym Experienced Member

    What a sweety! He will get better health and mentally with time. :)
    MaryK and threenorns like this.
  7. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Awww, glad to here he is doing better. Yeah, maybe hold off on the sit for now. You could probably work on down on a really comfy dog bed or when he is just tired anyway. You could work on rest your chin in a specified spot, since he seems to be a natural at that anyway.
    MaryK likes this.
  8. southerngirl Honored Member

    Oh wow he is a gorgeous boy. I'm glad he's put on weight and is close to being the right weight.
    MaryK likes this.
  9. threenorns Well-Known Member

    DING DING DING DING DING!!!!!

    and we have a winner!!!!!

    tonight, my bff and her roomie were sitting watching TV in laddie's suite (he has to be kept upstairs and has the full run of the floor bec for some reason, Abigail, the King Shepherd/yellow lab mix (purebred on both sides - it was one of those "oops" things) has taken a deep loathing to him, no matter how submissive he is. they're not sure what that's about but it could be bec she is very old (9yrs old, which is old for a dog her size) or it could be just "something" - there's absolutely no problem with gage, the chocolate lab, he and laddie adore romping around for hours so maybe abby is jealous bec she can't romp like that due to arthritis? who knows.

    anyway, they were all having their family time and my bff said "jamie - pass me the smokes, please?" and before he could move, laddie got up, grabbed the pack and brought it her! they were gob-smacked! heaped on the praise, then just to make sure, she had him take it back to jamie - which he did. jamie said thank you, now take it back to mummy - which he did. no problems at all and he didn't put one dent in the pack; he's got a very gentle mouth.

    so they had the big fiesta over that, telling him what a grand boy he is, and after he calmed down from that and laid back down on his bed, he was given the nummy treat reward.

    this is the *very first time* he has done something on his own initiative and she's had him and been working with him since november!

    that tip about using movement tricks and dialling back the treats and so on was ***pure gold***.
    Dice Smith, MaryK, blacknym and 2 others like this.
  10. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Wow! Sounds like they got themselves a smart dog there! Isn't that funny how things work out. I think all dogs are smart but for some it just takes them longer to 'get it' at first!

    Tell your friends to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
    and give Laddie some EXTRA SNUGGLES!!!!
    MaryK, Dogster and threenorns like this.
  11. threenorns Well-Known Member

    given his condition, his lack of leash manners, his habit of counter- and table-surfing, his massively overgrown nails, the way he cowers when someone (even a child) shouts or rattles a paper, and that horrible, horrible scar on his neck, i told her my opinion is he's a very bright dog from whom nothing had been asked except to "STFU OUT THERE!!!!! SHUT IT!!!!!".

    told her imo it's amazing he is responding this quickly after less than 6months (and not only that, but it took me about ten minutes to teach him circle right and left when he'd only met me twice in his life). compared his brain to a car that's been left sitting in the barn for years - it takes a long time to get the motor to turn over but once it does, look out!
    Dice Smith, MaryK and blacknym like this.
  12. blacknym Experienced Member

    That is amazing news!!! I'm so happy he seems to be opening up. :D
    MaryK likes this.
  13. stretch New Member

    He sounds like a hound. Work more on retrieving, also on searching for things. (find mommy, find keys...) As for the sit, possibly he has a back problem and can't sit all the way down, it may be painful. Greyhounds don't sit. My niece's chihuahua has improper structure and it is painful for her to sit. If he will lay down for you, consider that sitting may be painful.

    A dog from his apparent background is usually shut down, so it's not surprising that it's taking six months to train him anything. He is going to be a wonderful dog.
  14. MaryK Honored Member

    He's doing so well!!!!!!!!!! Yes, stretch is right, a dog who's been so abused is usually shut down and it does take longer to train them. Once they 'open up' they seem to 'race ahead'. I had a GS who had had a terrible start to life, he was 'slow' at first but once he recovered physically he started to open up and then went ahead by leaps and bounds - LOL literally at times!!!!!!!
  15. threenorns Well-Known Member

    lol - yep - he's opening up all right! he's opening a real can of whup-ass. he's definitely a hound - he's a purebred Plott Hound, from the look of him - top corner left is the photo from the pet shelter listing (he was in the Defuniak shelter in Walton County, Florida), the big one is after i had some fun with it cause i hated how depressed he looked, and bottom corner left is him with his mummy (in North Bay, Ontario).

    christmas laddie.jpg
    MaryK likes this.
  16. brody_smom Experienced Member

    What a beauty. Before we adopted Brody, I had been searching Petfinders for a couple of months and I was surprised at the number of purebred and mixed hounds in our area (southern BC). When I went to our local SPCA, they had just received delivery of 4 hounds from a few hundred miles up north. When I asked about it, they said that it was quite common for hound owners to just let their dogs go at the end of hunting season, or if they ran off ( which hounds are prone to do if they catch a scent of something) they didn't bother to find them. So sad. They get treated like a tool or something disposable, rather than a living being with something to contribute to the world.
    MaryK and Dice Smith like this.
  17. blacknym Experienced Member

    He is looking good!
    MaryK likes this.
  18. Dice Smith Well-Known Member

    Wow he looks amazing!!! Your friend is wonderful for adopting him and spending all this time working with him! I agree with you, after all that time neglected I'm actually shocked he's made so much progress in only six months. That totally speaks to the beauty of dogs and an amazing owner who is willing to move heaven and earth for them. :love:
    MaryK likes this.
  19. MaryK Honored Member

    Brody's Mom, that is so sad, just don't understand anyone doing that to a dog:cry:

    Dice, he sure does look amazing! After just six months woweeeeeeee!!!!:D

    Love the photos, he's absolutely adorable, and so very, very pleased to know he's opening up and responding to all the love, patience and kind training he's receiving from your friend. Dogs are truly amazing animals.:love:(y)

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