05-10-2013, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Arlington, VA
Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I say go for it, if you have a lot of patience and can commit to using positive only methods. (Plus, that face! How can you resist?)
My dog was very, very fearful when I got him. He didn't bite, either, he just completely shut down and went to sleep. He barely left the couch the first 2 weeks I had him. He wouldn't look at my face, wouldn't play, was hand shy and if I gave a command, like "sit", he would curl up into a ball of misery.
So, we implemented a rule: if the dog asks for attention, he gets it, immediately, but no one could give him attention if he didn't ask for it. I started giving him treats for everything: responding to his name, looking in my direction, moving one step in my direction. Treats rained from the sky on my dog. Now Kabota follows me around, asks for attention, asks for play and is confident in every room of the house.
I didn't train any commands for 6 weeks. When I started training commands, I used hand gestures instead of words. I trained in very short sessions, just a few minutes, and I always started and ended on something he knew, like his name. Using a clicker really moved things along. The clicker allowed him to understand exactly what I wanted and that allowed Kabota to really enjoy training, instead of being frustrated. Now, he knows sit, down, up, stay, wait, speak, spin, back up and play dead.
I worked on playing by rubbing his toys with hot dogs and treating any interest he displayed in them, even just looking at them. Now we play a game I call "running around like loons", which involves chasing each other, playing tug and rolling around on the floor.
Just be aware, these things take time. There were many times I despaired of ever reaching Kabota. It was 6 months before he wagged his tail. I'd say I only started seeing the "real Kabota" about a year after I got him. But, Kabota was 3-5 years old when I got him, and he was treated very poorly, whereas your dog is very young and just isn't used to people.