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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All

We got Tiara from K9 Dubai around a month back. All is well so far, though she seems very submissive and anxious in general. However, she does everything we ask for - standing still for a bath, walks well, follows fairly well off leash, no real tantrum. She was in the shelter for the last 30 months and before that in a family fpr 3 years which wasnt very nice to her (the shelter said she had a electric collar)

Our questions to ensure she stays happy
a. She seems quite scared of me (stays away sometimes, though comes if i call her), though she clearly sees me as pack leader etc. Maybe I am too strict with her cause I have read all about establishing yourself as pack leader while the rest of the family basically cooes to her :) However, she comes to me for a cuddle etc, licks me and walks well only with me. e.g. I read that you dont coddle them as soon as you come in the house (she runs up excited and wagging) but wait 2 minutes before you pet them. Apart from that, I play with her, train her and take her for regular walks so there is a bond, though i feel i need to gain her trust. She did get scared a couple of times, and scampered away as she thought i was catching her but I was only petting her. Also, I do all the unpleasant stuff like bathing, brushing, grooming so... Any ideas on how to gain her trust and get her to not be scared of me

b. I got her a kong wobbler for her mental stimulation which she totally refuses to play with. She seems scared and wont touch it with her paw or nose. I fed her kibbles in the open bottom base for a week (she ate), and in the upturned top of the wobbler (ate) but when I put them together with kibbles or treats she wont touch it. I tried luring her with treats every time she touched it, put cheese on top but she just licks it. Any thoughts on how to make her play for her food.


Maneesh
 

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30 months in a shelter? Oh gosh, that's brutal on a dog. They often develop depression and other issues and definitely need time to socialize and feel safe after going through that.

It sounds like she is well-trained, lucky you. :) However, there's no need to show dominance. And gosh, if she comes to you when you come home, yay! Don't 'wait 2 minutes', pet her. Give her lots of love, she's had a hard life. Help her forget the past.
 

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Please leave off with the "pack leader" mentality with this dog. While I am not against the theory in it's entirety and in every situation, this is DEFINITELY a situation that you do not need dominance theory.

Positive reinforcement is the best thing you can do for this dog. If she does something correct, treat her. Whether it be in affection, treats, toys -- whatever makes her happiest (and it might be a different reward for different situations).

I would keep her on a long leash (like 10-20 feet) until she reliably comes to you everytime with no hesitation. Right now it sounds like she still has some nervousness with you -- so work on upping her confidence in you before letting her off leash.

She probably "walks so well" on the leash with you because she's still frightened of you. When I got my rescue she was EXTREMELY well behaved on leash because she was nervous of me, as she became more confident her manners got a bit worse, so I then started using positive reinforcement to get her to behave the way I wanted her to on leash without her being nervous. Now she's again great on the leash -- but in a confident manner. When on leash does she look at you a lot? Constantly checking on where your body is and what you're doing? That's more likely nervousness as she's hyper aware of you and your space.

As for the playing with food -- this is where you can definitely see her lack of confidence. Her nervousness of the wobbler is understandable as it's new and different. I would start by instead using an original kong toy and feed her food out of that. Get her comfortable with that level of "play" and work up to the wobbler. When you start to introduce the wobbler, don't use her regular dog food, but instead use REALLY high value treats.

It sounds like you have a really sweet girl onyour hands who has gone through a tough life so far -- shower her with love and affection and let her gain confidence in her new surroundings. Give her time to adapt, and use positive reinforcement with her training. You'll end up with a lovely pet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, these points seem right. We had got a highly recommended trainer and she taught us a good recall method. It sort of works with her but always if we run away from her (she will follow).

She didn't walk well with me in the starting, I had to teach her with treats at the hip and ask her to heel so I feel she enjoys the walks but probably doesn't like to be 'cornered' in our apartment. I have also started running with her but small distances as I have restarted running after 2 years, she does better than me though!

I like the idea of not being the dominant pack leader anyways. Thanks for the tip on the wobbler ... let me use the kong for now

I guess... give her time :)
 

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Thanks, these points seem right. We had got a highly recommended trainer and she taught us a good recall method. It sort of works with her but always if we run away from her (she will follow).

She didn't walk well with me in the starting, I had to teach her with treats at the hip and ask her to heel so I feel she enjoys the walks but probably doesn't like to be 'cornered' in our apartment. I have also started running with her but small distances as I have restarted running after 2 years, she does better than me though!

I like the idea of not being the dominant pack leader anyways. Thanks for the tip on the wobbler ... let me use the kong for now

I guess... give her time :)
I'm glad that you are going to stop trying to assert dominance to be the pack leader :thumbsup: Here's two threads that explain why dominace is not needed and can be bad.
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/
http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...rge-dominance-aversive-training-tools-160418/

It sounds like you are off to a great start with her and she's going to have an awesome home with you and your family:)

With the Kong wobbler it might be the motion or the noise that is scaring her. I'd try using very high value treats like little pieces of hot dog, sit on the floor before her on the a carpet if you have one so that the sound of the kong is muffled, let her watch as you put the small hot dog piece in the kong and cover it with the top, and show her how moving the kong gets the hot dog to fall out. Let her eat the hot dog when it comes out, then repeat the process a few times. On the final time put the treat in the kong like before but put the kong in front of her and wait, see if she'll move it herself. A tip is if she's looking wary when you move the kong and it rocks back into place you can move it and feed her a treat, but let it be lower value then the hot dogs, you want the Kong to be the giver of the high value treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One more Q

I was training on 'down' command. She responded well but doesn't face me directly (sort of sideways). I think this is because I have practiced picking her up (in case of emergency) which she dislikes though submits silently. Any thoughts?

I do want to be able to pick her up because she is an anxious dog and there may be situations where she needs to be simply picked up and rescued e.g. she is very scared of other dogs so its always a little tense on walks

One option - dont pick her up till she trusts me completely.
Second option - pick her up and feed her high value treats (which is what I do) till she tolerates it

Given she is 6 and nearly 3 in a shelter, i think she comes with a lot of baggage. Hard to break through

On the upside, she gave me hero's welcome when i came home after a week! man was that worth it!
 

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One more Q

I was training on 'down' command. She responded well but doesn't face me directly (sort of sideways). I think this is because I have practiced picking her up (in case of emergency) which she dislikes though submits silently. Any thoughts?

I do want to be able to pick her up because she is an anxious dog and there may be situations where she needs to be simply picked up and rescued e.g. she is very scared of other dogs so its always a little tense on walks

One option - dont pick her up till she trusts me completely.
Second option - pick her up and feed her high value treats (which is what I do) till she tolerates it

Given she is 6 and nearly 3 in a shelter, i think she comes with a lot of baggage. Hard to break through

On the upside, she gave me hero's welcome when i came home after a week! man was that worth it!

I'd not pick her up right now unless you absolutely have to, BUT work on getting her to tolerate you picking her up. Do that by breaking up the process of her being picked up into very small steps, and work each step until she's happy with it. The first step might be putting your hand under her as you would if you were going to pick her up, then removing your hand and giving her a treat. Next might be applying a bit of pressure to where your hands are positioned. Then lifting her a little putting her down and giving her lots of treats, sort of like a jackpot.

Go at her speed so that she's good with each one before moving on to the next. I'd break the treats up into pea sized pieces and make sure they are very high value, something like real meat, hot dogs, cheese, or bits of cooked egg would work best.

That's so great that she's so happy to see you! :D
 

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One more Q

I was training on 'down' command. She responded well but doesn't face me directly (sort of sideways). I think this is because I have practiced picking her up (in case of emergency) which she dislikes though submits silently. Any thoughts?

I do want to be able to pick her up because she is an anxious dog and there may be situations where she needs to be simply picked up and rescued e.g. she is very scared of other dogs so its always a little tense on walks

One option - dont pick her up till she trusts me completely.
Second option - pick her up and feed her high value treats (which is what I do) till she tolerates it

Given she is 6 and nearly 3 in a shelter, i think she comes with a lot of baggage. Hard to break through

On the upside, she gave me hero's welcome when i came home after a week! man was that worth it!
I think I would skip training for at least six months. Give this dog a chance to understand there is now some stability in her life, and she can count on you every day. Once you build the relationship with her, the training part will be so much less stressful for her, but relationships are always built on trust, and that must be earned over a period of time. You just can't rush some things, much as we would like to. Nothing worthwhile happens quickly.
 
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