Our rescue seems untrainable- Has severe emotional issues

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Our rescue seems untrainable- Has severe emotional issues

This is a discussion on Our rescue seems untrainable- Has severe emotional issues within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I'll organize the facts here first: -Dog was found on the streets in April -Mid sized black Lab beagle mix, approx 3-5 years old -Has ...

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Old 09-24-2016, 09:27 AM
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Our rescue seems untrainable- Has severe emotional issues

I'll organize the facts here first:
-Dog was found on the streets in April
-Mid sized black Lab beagle mix, approx 3-5 years old
-Has had proper checkups and veterinary care since day 1
-when found Dog was neutered but not chipped- someone abandoned it or it ran away

Main problems:
-Pees in the house even though he's house trained
-Cannot be crate trained- has broken out of 5 successively stronger crates within mere hours
-Miserable animal: always depressed. Does nothing playful or fun, exhibits no dog like behavior.
-Extreme submissiveness- wont even eat food unless led to the bowl and forced to eat
-Crippling separation anxiety: cannot be left alone- freaks out, is visibly depressed, pees everywhere.


Where do I start with this dog? My roommate brought him home a few months ago and if I'm being honest, I truly can't stand the stupid thing. BUT, I am a fair person and I believe animals deserve a shot, and he and the dog are clearly attached to one another so I'm asking for advice here.

Part of the problem is that my roommate is categorically incapable of admitting how many issues this dog has- he is inconsistent in training it and he imagines progress where there is, in fact, none.

I don't know what happened to this thing before we found it but from its behavior my only guess is that it was on the front lines of Vietnam. I've never seen such a traumatized animal. It's been in a stable loving environment for 4 months now and there has been very little change in this demeanor.

The dog can't be left alone or it pees everywhere. Sometimes it's ok, most of the time it's not. Sometimes it even pees if my roommate goes upstairs for 15 minutes to take a shower. It's getting ridiculous and it's causing serious $$ damage to our house.

Urinalysis showed that the dog had crystals in its urine- most likely from poor diet/development on the streets- but it's been on a special diet for 2 months. The last urine sample was clean, but this dog still pisses in the house when left alone. Sometimes we will have it on a walk where it pees it's heart out, then go home, leave the room for a few minutes, and walk back to a puddle of piss. The problem is no longer medical and it is not due to lack of opportunity.


You know how dog people imagine that their dog waits for them at home when they leave? That is literally true with this dog. When my roommate leaves the dog will sit and stare at the door while slumped over like it just watched it's family get murdered. It will do this FOR HOURS. It is unhealthy.

This is what I'm trying to get at- the dog is completely codependent. It literally cannot move, eat, breathe, do ANYTHING if my roommate isn't within eyesight. I wonder if maybe malnutrition took a toll on its brain as well. I know labs aren't a relatively smart breed, but it's been 4 months and this dog barely responds to its own name. It's scared of literally everything.

I think part of the codependent issue may come from my roommate working from home. He is generally home A LOT- so it makes sense that coupled with the dog's underlying issues, he is used to having him around.

However, its not functional to be a slave to your dog. You can't have a dog in your house that can't be left alone for 15 minutes. It's not an infant.

My questions are:
-What might he be doing to encourage this dog's codependence
-How can this dog get some self confidence and be OK on its own
-What is there left for us to do in terms of stopping the peeing in the house
-How can I bring up the option with my very stubborn roommate that this dog might not be for us?

He gets a lot of advice from people but guess what- they don't live in this house!

If I can draw a parallel, to me, a 20-something adopting this dog is like a 20-something adopting a special needs child. It's nice to give it a home, and maybe the dog is trainable, but there are issues here that are beyond behavioral and I just don't think we are equipped to deal with it.

Any advice appreciated- sorry for the extended rant.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:44 AM
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Sometimes we will have it on a walk where it pees it's heart out, then go home, leave the room for a few minutes, and walk back to a puddle of piss.
I would go to another vet and ask for a second opinion.
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Old 09-24-2016, 10:29 AM
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we did this twice already- 3 vets total
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Old 09-24-2016, 10:37 AM
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Honestly, I would think about behavioral medication - probably an SSRI like Prozac.

Sounds like this dog has been through a lot and is still under constant stress. That's not fair to the dog and you may need pharmaceutical intervention to help him out mentally before your roommate gets anywhere with training.

In the meantime, look into belly bands or even adult diapers if the dog will wear them. It's not ideal, but for the short term while you guys sort out meds and work on building his confidence and house training it will save your home at least.

Another thing, once you get a belly band on him, go though the house with a black light and enzymatic cleaner like Natures Miracle. You may have to go through a few times, but if you get rid of the urine the home will appear to be less of a bathroom to the dog.
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:37 AM
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Poor baby. Sounds like he's had a very rough life and I applaud you for caring so much.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:01 AM
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This was my rescue dog 100%.
When I first got her, it was crippling. She broke out of every crate I got her. If I left her for 5 minutes she would break down my door, have diarrhea everywhere she was so upset, shred my bed, throw up out of anxiety, one day she got so upset I went to class she chewed off all her toenails and was bleeding all over my bed...
I was in way over my head when I got her, my life revolved around her.
It's been a year and a half that I've had her now, and it's gotten LOADS better. Don't get me wrong. She still has separation anxiety and barks if I go outside for 30 seconds. Even if someone else is in the house with her, she panics when I leave. But it's manageable now and she's my best friend.

First, I HAD to crate her. I didn't have a choice. I still do. I got her crate and zip tied every side of it to where there was no way for her to get out. I bought a primo pad to put inside because she will chew up any bed or blanket to shreds that I put in there. So she has a large crate zip tied, with a primo pad, and her favorite bone in there (although she doesn't touch a toy or bone if I'm gone, I still put it in there though). It was miserable for a while and I felt awful and she would howl all day, but now she sleeps in there all day when I'm gone!! She can even stay out in the house usually if theres another dog here to keep her company.

Put the pup in the crate with a kong when your home... just for a bit. So they learn that the crate is not a horrible place they go only when you leave. NEVER let them out of the crate when barking or whining!!!! Only when calm and laying down. I would put my dog in her crate 6 times a day for about 15 mins each (or however long it took her to calm down) while I was sitting next to the crate without looking at her. When she calmed down, I would let her out. She slowly desensitized to it.

I also had her on medication (prozac.. prescribed by my vet) while I was training with her. Training for separation anxiety takes a lot of work though. Desensitizing them to you picking up your keys, putting on your shoes, etc. Then leaving them for 1 second, a minute, a couple minutes, and slowly increasing time. But you can't rush this and it takes months. You have to come back in BEFORE they start to panic. Even if thats 1 second!! Youtube this... there's lots of stuff on it.

Lastly, tell your roommate to ignore the dog 30 mins before leaving, and 30 minutes after coming home. This means no eye contact, nothing. This SUCKS but it teaches them that it's not a big deal for you to leave and come home. If you make a big deal out of something, your dog will see it as a big deal.

Seriously youtube videos. Don't lose hope for this pup! Mine was a mess but she's my entire world now. And finally, she does not rule my life!!!! She's much more independent. Will even go sleep in the living room all night while I'm in my room Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions. Best of luck!!
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by PoppyKenna View Post
Honestly, I would think about behavioral medication - probably an SSRI like Prozac.

Sounds like this dog has been through a lot and is still under constant stress. That's not fair to the dog and you may need pharmaceutical intervention to help him out mentally before your roommate gets anywhere with training.

In the meantime, look into belly bands or even adult diapers if the dog will wear them. It's not ideal, but for the short term while you guys sort out meds and work on building his confidence and house training it will save your home at least.

Another thing, once you get a belly band on him, go though the house with a black light and enzymatic cleaner like Natures Miracle. You may have to go through a few times, but if you get rid of the urine the home will appear to be less of a bathroom to the dog.
Keep in mind that medication should be used for training ONLY. It is not a long term solution!!!!! It is meant to be used only for them to be calm enough for you to desensitize and train them. My pup was on it for about 5 months.
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:39 AM
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I'm asking for advice here.
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Originally Posted by PTSDog View Post

He gets a lot of advice from people but guess what- they don't live in this house!
It sounds like you are waiting to hear what you want to hear.
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we did this twice already- 3 vets total
And what did the 3 vets recommend?
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I truly can't stand the stupid thing.
I think that is the problem.

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he is inconsistent in training it
If you are in this together, perhaps you could point out to him the alleged inconsistencies and try to help.
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I know labs aren't a relatively smart breed
What?
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:35 AM
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You'll likely never know what the dog went through during it's life, was it beaten, mistreated...

Do you know anyone else with a good, balanced dog that you can bring into your home once in a while? The best help is a mentor dog that yours can trust - that's likely what it needs right now. Sounds like the dog is scared of the world.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:03 AM
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If you can't stand the dog, please do it a favor and find someone who cares. This broke my heart.
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