Hello and Help

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Hello and Help

This is a discussion on Hello and Help within the Introductions forums, part of the DogForum Community Welcome category; Hey guys. I'm Erica. I'm a Vet Tech student (graduating in 2012). I'm 23 and my lovely wonderful boyfriend and I just adopted a 6 ...

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Old 02-19-2011, 11:29 PM
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Hello and Help

Hey guys. I'm Erica. I'm a Vet Tech student (graduating in 2012). I'm 23 and my lovely wonderful boyfriend and I just adopted a 6 month old dog this morning.

So the rescue we adopted Codex "Codi" from didn't have much information about him. He's a Heinz 57 mix but we suspect spaniel/terrier (20 inches). What they did know was that his first three months on the street landed him in a rescue in Ohio on death row. Homeward Bound adopted him from there... and I adopted him from them. He had Mange (as did is two brothers) but he's being medicated and is starting to get his hair back already. On to the trouble.

He's very skittish. He hates new place... hates the stairs... hates doors... hates coming inside... wants to run and jump our back yard fence, cowers when we approach him, submissive pees, and generally shows no interest in warming up to us. Once we carry him down the stairs and into the house and into the office he's happy to lay at our feet. But then wont move from what ever spot we put him in. This is his first time ever away from his two brothers so I'm trying to be very patient with him. I'm worried however. He hasn't really been drinking... he scarfed down his dinner though ((I'm feeding Nutro Max Puppy (3/4 cup) and Purina Pro Plan wet food (1/2 can... about 2.75 Oz). Also he hasn't pooped yet. My boyfriend and I walked him for an hour and a half and he still didn't go. Mind you it's 25 degrees fahrenheit here in MN so we were all freezing including Codi.

My boyfriend is very frustrated (understandably) and I'm just worried. Has anyone dealt with a dog that's this scared before? Can anyone give me advice?
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:43 PM
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First you have to just take a couple deep breaths and calm down. You just got him this morning. It is perfectly normal for him to be scared and upset and not eating and or drinking like you would normally expect. Also most dogs get upset stomachs after a move to a new home. Just give him time to adjust. Don't push him to hard and let him get used to his new surroundings. I'm sure he will come around you just have to be patient. You might have to work with him a bit more if he doesn't adjust to his new environment as quickly as normal but if you stick around here there are many very helpful members who can help you through this.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:39 AM
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Ok. So this morning he took a gigantic pee and then an average sized poop. This is progress. He apparently did better with the stairs. I'm still worried though. I'm just hoping that this wasn't a really bad idea.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:24 AM
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That's encouraging, how is he doing today?
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:30 PM
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Hi Erica and welcome to you and Codi. Sounds like you've had a pretty fraught start to your relationship but, as Esme says, be patient - you've not had him long. I think the main thing you can do is not worry (at least not so early on). I've learnt that dogs are incredibly sensitive to our energy and if you're fretting he will pick that up. Reassure yourselves (and him) that you're giving this lovely dog a happy and secure home, be calm but also clear about the boundaries you're setting for him.

Keep us posted on progress. Good luck to all three of you.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:19 PM
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welcome to the forum, and ditto the others, take some deep breaths, you haven't had him for very long.
this:

Quote:
jump our back yard fence, cowers when we approach him, submissive pees, and generally shows no interest in warming up to us. Once we carry him down the stairs and into the house and into the office he's happy to lay at our feet. But then wont move from what ever spot we put him in.
sounds to me like he is actually shutting down (learned helplessness) he doesn't know that he has any other options so he lays in one spot. it is a fear response. though we know that you and your boyfriend are trying to help him, it will take quite a bit of time for you to convince him of it.

the first thing i would recommend doing is giving cody a "safe" space to be in. a little used room like an extra bathroom or something along those lines, or an x-pen in a corner could work for this, in the space you will want to make your life easier by covering the floor with paper or pads so that when he does go, it will be easier to clean up. you will also want to put a crate, preferably a covered one with a bed inside, and a bowl of water as well as some toys and chewies... this will be cody's "base" his space to go to "escape" and his place to be when you cannot supervise/interact with him.

keep all of your interactions short, and low key, speak softly, move slowly, don't look directly at him or stand fully facing him. use his meals to your advantage. toss his kibble to him at whatever distance he needs to be in order to eat it... and slowly decrease the distance, but alwasy moving at his pace.

over time he will associate you and your BF with good things, and he will start to warm up to you.

i would highly recommend one of these:


and you might find this thread helpful

https://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior...signals-10084/

again, use calming signals to your advantage, first, respect them ie if the dog is doing them, you might need to stop/back up what you are doing until he is comfy, second you can mimic them ie a nice, obvious yawn and head turn when you approach might let him know that you mean no harm, third you can reward the dog for them, when you see him trying to come toward you, but stopping to sniff the ground, you can toss him some of his meal and let him know that calming himself is a good thing.

another vid that might help you

counter conditioning is a term you should start getting familiar with. it is very likely that your dog will need quite a bit of it when dogs are afraid/uncomfortable they go into fight or flight mode, from the sounds of it, your dog is tending toward "flight", but the principles of CC apply to either, so even though the dog in this video is in "fight" mode, he is still reacting to fear. are you familiar with clicker training? this is another tool that you will find helpful in dealing with a fearful dog.

you are not alone. my dog behaved similarly to yours when i brought him home. it takes time, patience, and compassion, but IMO and IME it is well worth the reward of building that bond with your dog. good luck, and we are here for advice and support



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Last edited by fawkese1; 02-21-2011 at 05:21 PM.
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