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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all!
My partner and I have just adopted a 2 year old dog that had been shot by his breeders when he was a puppy. His elbow was shattered and the bullet is still in his ribs. He has spent the last year and 8 months or so with his foster parents, who had a 3 acre yard and 3 other dogs for him to play with, and we took him home 2 nights ago. He is roughly 40 pounds, looks like he could be a pit catahoula mix, has the cracked glass eyes. He is gorgeous.
I have been working on PR training with him with a clicker since my work schedule is pretty flexible, but my partner is gone a bit longer and has less time to bond with him.
My partner takes care of him in the morning, including his first walk of the day. This morning they were out walking and an unleashed German shepherd ran over and started barking at our pup, Jack. Jack got very frightened and tried to run, then slipped out of his collar (and leash obviously) and ran to our backdoor. He was yelping as if he'd been hurt, but the other dog didn't touch him. My partner got to him and tried to touch him, which resulted in Jack snapping at him and continuing to yelp(did not break the skin). I heard the yelping and ran downstairs, opened the back door to see both of them lying there with Jack still yelping/whimpering and looking scared. I got them both inside and my partner was upset and sat down on the floor. Jack was also clearly shaken but was ok with me.
When my partner tried to pet anywhere other than Jack's head immediately after, Jack seemed nervous, and once nipped at him again.
Jack also sometimes howls when I am coming back inside from being at work for a bit (I make stops at home a couple times a day for various things) and hasn't been eating his dry food. (I have been feeding him some chicken and cat food during our training, so he is still eating) he also hasn't pooped yet.
He is very responsive to our training sessions and we seem to be bonding quite well.
I would love to hear folks'opinions and thoughts on what to do here.
My plan is to get my partner to work with him more with PR so the dog will associate him with positivity instead of that fearful incident.
We have a crate (got it last night) I'm trying to get him used to it, also, but right now he is still not wanting to have the door shut so I'm still working on his comfort.
 

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Hi, and welcome do Dog Forum.

It does take time for a dog to settle in and bond, from a few days to a few months, so worrying about bonding after just a couple of days is a bit premature. Took my dog months to decide he could trust us, and probably a year before he truly accepted both of us completely. That your dog was already smart enough to run back to your house after only a couple of days, instead of just running away, is an excellent sign that he's figuring things out. Having your partner do things with him will certainly help, but you might always be his favorite human, regardless. Or he may change allegiance, you just never know. Dogs do seem to pick their favorites, and not much changes their mind.

Dogs will snap when they're frightened, so I don't think your partner or you should take this personally. Really, it's early days yet -- just be patient, make the time he spends with both of you fun, and he'll be fine I'm sure.

Although, if he hasn't pooped after two days I'd start considering a vet visit. Sometimes dogs do hesitate when arriving at a new home, but 48 hours is a bit long I think. Certainly by the third day he should have been pooping, if he's been eating and drinking.
 

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Like Dia said, your pup was terrified and terrified animals will snap. Even the most loving loyal dog will do this, it's not you, and there's nothing wrong with him for doing it. He's an animal, not a person, and he was clearly scared out of his fuzzy little mind. :( It's possible there was a little pain too mixed in, from his old injuries. It can take a couple of WEEKS for a dog to completely settle down and be comfortable, and you haven't had him long. Give him space, let him shake himself down and figure things out. If necessary just let him alone entirely and let him relax if he's still stressed out.

On the bright side instead of running away he ran TO your house for safety and security; he knows where home is and who will protect him. This deserves re-emphasis!
 

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If he didn't break skin, he didn't mean to break skin. Dogs are good at biting.

He was extremely upset and lashed out. It happens. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone, he was frightened and wanted to make the scary go away. Very likely, his previous owner didn't respect his signals or growls, so he learned that you have to go with snapping first thing.

You can work with that. Fearfuldogs.com has a lot of great information on working with fearful dogs. Generally speaking, it's just going slow, respecting his signals and keeping everything positive at all times. Don't even use "no", just prevent and redirect unwanted behavior and reward good behavior. It'll take time, but he'll get there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to all three of you for responding.
Yes, on our 5-7 walks a day I have been teaching him "go home" towards the end of our walks, and at this point he is going directly towards our back door. He is very smart and taking the PR training very well.
I will give him some food tonight (he hasn't been eating except for the chicken and a few hot dog pieces during trainings, so maybe not enough fiber) that has more fiber (boiled sweet potato, maybe brown rice?) and if he hasn't pooped tomorrow we will take him to the vet.
Good points about the not breaking skin. He is a very sweet boy, just anxious and scared of his new surroundings.
Amaryllis, thank you for the link, I'll check that out.
My partner has a processing disorder so sometimes takes things harder than other folks. Maybe I'll give him some treats, too. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update:
I was feeling increasingly worried as I took Jack to the pet store to pic out toys and we brought home a kong chew and the squeaky rope kong. Then I put peanut butter I the kong and gave it to him and he looked like I'd just scolded him or something! What dog doesn't like peanut butter????
So then as I'm cooking dinner for myself, I also cooked some brown rice,boiled sweet potato, and chicken and mashed it all together and put some in a bowl... It was a hit!!!
He is apparently really into it. That makes me feel better. At least he's eating something other than training chicken pieces.
Maybe now he'll poop!
 

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ArtemisOwl,

Congrats on your new dog and welcome to the Dog Forum! This place can be a lifesaver.

So glad that your dog is enjoying a lovely dinner tonight. I hope that he starts to settle down. Just continue to remind yourself and your partner than your new dog's stress hormones are through the roof right now. He just needs a lot of time, patience, and space to unwind and begin to calm down. This article is a terrific read:

Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

And, I'd highly recommend Patricia McConnell's book: "Love Has No Age Limit." It's very readable and filled with practical tips.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, one more update:
Partner and I just walked Jack together and while my partner had the leash, Jack went into the street and just stopped. My partner went over to him and jack rolled over onto his back.my partner patted his tummy very gently and then Jack peed a bit.
He is inside now licking himself. Any more thoughts on this behavior?
Thanks so much, Susan Lynn, I will check those out!
 

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I think you may have to slow down with the physical contact unless it's on his own terms. Rolling on his back and peeing suggests he is stressed and nervous, so I'd just give him time to settle in.

Make sure he has a safe space to retreat to if he feels threatened, a nice cosy bed in the corner somewhere hidden away and if he's in there do not approach him just leave him be.

The German Shepherd has probably sent his stress levels into overdrive and being in a new place with new people, and being petted when he isn't comfortable is just proving to be too much for him.

Just give him space and time, don't overwhelm him with visitors or anything like that just let him settle in.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you for your response. We are keeping him inside mostly again and he is getting more comfortable.
He doesn't seem to mind any physical contact when he is at home, but the vet REALLY stressed him out, unfortunately. The good news at the vet was that the vet said that Jack seemed healthy, his gums looked good, wasn't dehydrated, heart and lungs sounded good. It went downhill after that, but he recommended just waiting, not stressing Jack out any further, and giving him benedryl for the itching, which we have been doing.
We have a crate for him now that he has willingly gone into when he wanted a comfortable place and we dont force him to interact with anyone.
It's good to know that his behavior can be explained, as I have never seen a dog get so stressed by walks.
Any other advice about the walks? He frequently gets nervous and stops walking, and sits down, won't budge.
What I have been doing is switch directions when he does this and use the "lets go!" Command in a direction he isn't protesting. He usually gets going again. If he doesn't I change to a different direction until he gets moving again, and I give him praise when he moves.
Please let me know if you have any more advice!
 

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Ok, one more update:
Partner and I just walked Jack together and while my partner had the leash, Jack went into the street and just stopped. My partner went over to him and jack rolled over onto his back.my partner patted his tummy very gently and then Jack peed a bit.
He is inside now licking himself. Any more thoughts on this behavior?
Thanks so much, Susan Lynn, I will check those out!
ArtemisOwl,

I'd like to go back to this incident. I feel like your dog is very stressed and sending off lots of signals that he needs space but you and your partner are misreading his body language. There's a HUGE difference between a very relaxed and happy dog rolling over for a belly rub and a frightened dog that is going into a submissive position because he's overwhelmed and doing everything he can to appease whoever is upsetting him, whether human or canine.

Because you and your partner are new to this, it seems like you are encroaching on your dog's space while he's desperately wants to be left alone. For a frightened dog, it's either flight-or-fight. I'd like to recommend that you read through a few threads about canine body language:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/growling-86338/

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/calming-signals-10084/


This, in particular, would be a very good article to read:

Understanding Dog Growling and Dog Language - Whole Dog Journal Article

This poster would also be helpful to review:

http://www.maplewooddog.com/MDT/Resources/Articles/Communication-Handling-Articles/SYFearBodyLanguagePoster.pdf


At this point, I'd suggest just backing off. Your dog needs at least a few days to decompress.
 

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It's good to know that his behavior can be explained, as I have never seen a dog get so stressed by walks.
Any other advice about the walks? He frequently gets nervous and stops walking, and sits down, won't budge.
What I have been doing is switch directions when he does this and use the "lets go!" Command in a direction he isn't protesting. He usually gets going again. If he doesn't I change to a different direction until he gets moving again, and I give him praise when he moves.
Please let me know if you have any more advice!
Hi ArtemisOwl,

I've given you a lot to read, but again, as I read through your comments, I'm struck by how much your dog is shutting down in fear. I would suggest really limiting these walks for now. Do you have a backyard where he can eliminate and get some exercise? He sounds paralyzed in fear and that's why he's planting himself down and won't move. Again, I feel like you might be focusing a bit too much on teaching him commands and not really attending to the root causes of his anxiety. I might suggest that you work with a behaviorist who can evaluate his behavior firsthand and give you help with counter-conditioning.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fwiw I think that my partner trying to "comfort" Jack when he is clearly stressed is misplaced.
on our walks if he stops and looks stressed I just try to encourage him a different direction whereas my partner hugs him to try to make him feel better or something. Probably why Jack bit him.
Like I said, he has a processing disorder, and although he's had dogs his entire life I don't think he can really read them very well. We are trying to work on that but it's like everything he knows is wrong. His family kind of treats dogs like small humans and they don't train them or anything so that's what he's used to.
But you're right I am new to this! And I am very interested in counter conditioning.
Thank you for all the resources you are giving me. I'm so grateful for this forum. My partner is very stressed right now and is kind of acting like the dog is too much for him up even though it's mostly me taking care of him except first thing in the morning. Any help we get is appreciated.
Jack and I just played fetch in the house and he had a great time! he was excited, ears perky, tail middle-high and wagging excitedly, chasing the ball as soon as I threw it and bringing it back, occasionally distracted by the cat's food... It was a good play session!
Thanks again for the fearful dogs link. I have been reading it the last couple of days thanks to the wonderful people on this forum.
 

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This forum is a life-saver. As much as you love dogs, sometimes, you just need to rant to fellow dog-lovers who totally understand where you're coming from. SusanLynn has given you phenomenal links, and I hope things progress smoothly. Also, here at the DF we are very into pictures... :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi ArtemisOwl,

I've given you a lot to read, but again, as I read through your comments, I'm struck by how much your dog is shutting down in fear. I would suggest really limiting these walks for now. Do you have a backyard where he can eliminate and get some exercise? He sounds paralyzed in fear and that's why he's planting himself down and won't move. Again, I feel like you might be focusing a bit too much on teaching him commands and not really attending to the root causes of his anxiety. I might suggest that you work with a behaviorist who can evaluate his behavior firsthand and give you help with counter-conditioning.
We don't have a yard, unfortunately, and he must be on a leash all the time outside. He doesn't mind the leash but certain areas of outside make him stop. Other times closer to our back door his tail is higher and wags. When he is getting stressed his tail tucks lower and sometimes is between his legs.
Hmmm. Alright. I am going to read more about the counter conditioning and am definitely chewing on everything you've said. Thank you.
 

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image.jpg
This forum is a life-saver. As much as you love dogs, sometimes, you just need to rant to fellow dog-lovers who totally understand where you're coming from. SusanLynn has given you phenomenal links, and I hope things progress smoothly. Also, here at the DF we are very into pictures... :D
Yes, thank you to everyone here. Here's a pic of my boy taking a snooze on the couch after our play session!
 

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Thanks again, SusanLynn, for pointing that out. Now that I'm thinking about it I think his fosters were also misreading his behavior. Here's the back story of the adoption: I was volunteering for the animal rescue here and looking for a pup to take home. We didn't want a small dog, so our choices were basically a blind cocker, Jack, and a very active Great Dane.
About Jack's foster's, They said he "loved" being at adoption days at the pet store, because he loved the cold floor. When I saw him he was lying on the tile floor and not moving unless he had to. He refused any and all treats I had with me. He would lay there and let people to pet him, which is why my partner liked him. (I originally had my eye on the outgoing, confident but sweet, activity partner type Great Dane who was leash trained) my partner likes a lazier dog and wanted to get Jack. So we visited Jack at his foster's. The yard was huge and we got to play with Jack around his foster pup siblings and he took the treats, though he was easily distracted and obviously undisciplined.
I saw that he was kind of wild that day but trainable and food-motivated and so it seemed ok to move to the next step, for him to visit our home and meet our cat. He walked around but stayed close to his foster mom, who had had him since he was a puppy, almost 2 years. He was obviously not aggressive, and was submissive to the cat, so we said we would adopt him when we came back from traveling.
So when he was refusing treats he was obviously stressed. He was only taking treats at our house because his foster mom was there, I'm guessing, and the cat freaked him out. I still kind of think about the Dane and how different he would be than Jack. I still kind of think Jack's foster's should have just kept him after 2 years, as this is such a shock to the poor guy.
It doesn't help that my partner has a really hard time handling stress and has been shutting down over it several times this week. I hope I'm doing the right thing.
 
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