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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, and thank you for helping others with advice and resources.
It was suggested to me earlier that it maybe best for our new pup if we give him back to his fosters.
Some backstory: we brought him home Tuesday and today is Sunday. He is doing better inside but has started chewing on things like my artist tape and my boyfriend's tevas, but not the kong I bought him no matter what I stuff it with??
Anyway, he lays around on the couch most of the time, loves to jump into bed with us at night, loves treats and takes well to operant/pr conditioning, but he is pretty fearful. He was with his fosters foreclose to two years after being found as a puppy limping around with a bullet wound, shattered elbow. So I understand that he needs time to adjust after that long.
His behavior right now is active but maybe bored inside, sleeps a lot, participates in training for 3-5 min at a time, plays fetch inside with active stance, ears up, tail up and wagging, joyfully pouncing on the ball and bringing it to me.
But when we go outside the house he gets more fearful. Walks are punctuated with stops where he sits and won't budge, sometimes lying down. We get past that by going back or a different direction from the one that was stressing him out.he frequently stops to sniff the ground and other dogs poop on the ground (nobody down here picks up after their dogs). Sometimes we jog together and he is ok for a bit until he stops again and we have to change directions. With my partner he is more fearful and bit him one morning after being very, very frightened of an off leash shepherd barking at him and slipping out of his collar. Our dog ran home to get away from the shepherd and my partner touched him cowering at the door and was bitten, but not hard.
He was so stressed he didn't poop for 4 days after getting him, but has now started to eliminate. Also with my partner holding the lead he has stopped and lay down in the street, belly up, and my partner walked over and touched him, and the dog peed. He was very frightened and we took him inside. Frequently the dog does better if the lead is with me instead of my partner who has no experience walking dogs.
When we were told to bring him to the vet because he hadn't pooped, I did and he was so terrified there that he cowered in the corner of the room and bit the vet, tried to bite me. That was Friday and he is better today.
What does everyone think? I have received a lot of resources (thank you) here, but when it was suggested that it might be better to give him back I didn't know what to think. Thoughts?
 

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It could take months. I would hold off taking him out for walks until he is settled. If he has to go out for potty breaks outside your home , then stick to a limited area.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We are going out of town in a few weeks. We were planning on taking him to my partner's paretns'house to hang out with them and their dogs while we were gone but now I'm really not sure that will work out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He follows me all around the house, or my partner if I'm sleeping or something. If he is sleeping and I get up from the couch and go to use the bathroom, for example, he usually gets up and follows me. My foster and other dogs didn't do that. They were comfortable and secure in lying around. His foster mom said he does that with her, just wants to be near her. Is this likely a dog with an attachment issue..?
 

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We are going out of town in a few weeks. We were planning on taking him to my partner's paretns'house to hang out with them and their dogs while we were gone but now I'm really not sure that will work out.

Based on what you've told us, I don't think this sounds like it will be a good idea for this dog. I'm not sure if you said if you'd seen the fearfuldogs.com site on your other thread.

Fearful dogs don't usually handle change well.
 

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This dog sounds like he is going to need A LOT of time, sensitivity, and structure. I agree with @Grabby that going away and leaving him at a new place wouldn't be in his best interest. If he was mine I would be in contact with a good positive method trainer and behaviourist. I would go slow, have a lot of high value treats on hand and most of all be patient. I too have a fearful dog, though not as bad, and it's taken the 2 years that I've owned her (got her at 8 weeks) to trust me and bond to me. Fearful dogs take time. If you aren't ready then it would be best for both of you to return him to rescue.
 
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
:(It's getting frustrating for me because my partner is supposed to take care of him (walk, feed, pet) in the morning but this morning he just called upstairs like "he won't walk with me." So I got up and went downstairs but they'd already gone out. When I met them around the front, Jack was sitting down and my partner was hugging/holding him. I could tell that Jack had "frozen" and my partner was trying to "comfort" him to get him moving, but I was like oh lord. Stop that. A. It's rewarding his fear response, B. He doesn't need or want to be touched when he's that scared.
But I didn't say anything then. I made a kissy sound and called Jack from different area and he got moving again.We walked a bit and he'd stop on occasion so id just call him from another direction in the community yard area and he'd usually come if my partner moved. At one point I just took the leash because my partner was just standing there and expecting him to move and it was early and I had a headache.
When the dog was stopped again my partner reached out to "comfort" him and I said "don't touch him. When he's stopping it's because he's scared and scared dogs don't want you in their space like that. It's like when you're really upset and you don't want anyone touching you."
My partner got upset and went inside, but Jack finally peed, so that's good.
We are going to be out of town in a couple of weeks, then again for over a week in October.
I'm really thinking this might not work.:(
 

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While I agree that fearful dogs usually don't do well with change, when I had to leave mine with my parents for half a year with their older dog he really gained a ton of confidence from their dog. But that's incredibly risky and HIGHLY depends on the personality of his parents' dogs, so it's not really a suggestion but an option that's not impossible.

You got him from a rescue, right? Where I'm from most rescues (and some shelters) will do like a two week trial period to make sure that the dog's personality matches well with the owners, since you can't really know while you're at the shelter or the first day home. There's nothing wrong with taking him back. That's the most important thing to know I guess. You're not failing the dog. If this is a dog that needs one soft presence individual to bond with that stays home all the time, then it's better for that dog to get that opportunity than trying to make him fit in a home that doesn't work. On top of that, it's going to be very stressful (more than it already is) if your dog refuses to bond to your partner. It'll create animosity between you two which, ultimately, the dog will feel and he'll act out even more.
If you do take him back maybe tell the rescue/shelter workers the type of lifestyle you have so you could adopt another one? I haven't really read any of your other posts dealing with this, so I'm not sure what all you've tried aside from this thread.

OR

If it's doable you could really work with this dog and alter your lifestyle to accommodate him for a while. I don't know about your work/social/family/etc life or how flexible it is, so this is just more like a second option if you have absolutely fallen in love with this dog and can't live without him. I think it's important to have both options in writing because, although we assume you've thought about how to make it work and have been/are trying, it can get overwhelming when everyone is telling you to get rid of him.

Either way you'll make the right decision for you and your family. Keep us updated though! :D
 

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@ArtemisOwl, have you looked at the fearfuldogs.com website? It's been recommended more than once.

Your statement that your husband was rewarding the fearful behavior indicates that you are not familiar with how to handle a fearful dog. You can not reinforce fear. Your husband should not have been forcing physical interaction but your statement is incorrect. I don't mean to sound harsh or critical. Not everyone is fluent in dog behavior, even when they've owned dogs for years. Fearful dogs are a whole different level of behavior modification and careful interactions designed to prevent flooding.

Honestly, my opinion is this dog should be returned. He needs someone experienced with fearful dogs. I again do not recommend you leave him with family while you are out of town. Every new situation this dog is placed in, without the right training and help, will make him more fearful and less adoptable. He may not be adoptable anyway but don't make set him up for something he's not able to deal with at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Grabby,
I've been looking at the fearful dogs website over the weekend.
��
It didn't seem to match his behavior at home to me. He isn't afraid of people like the dogs on that website. He is afraid when he is outside but he still goes to people when he sees them walking outside. But I understand what you're saying.
But I agree with you that he should be returned, for a number of reasons. He and my partner simply aren't compatible. Sadly, his fosters claim to know nothing about his behavior and claim that he is a "normal" dog, that the only thing out of the ordinary about him is his limp. When I asked the woman who runs the rescue, she had no advice, either, and clearly knows very little about this behavior. We are in a very small, working class town and most people here aren't going to be very knowledgable about dogs or will have the Cesar Milan approach.
I don't think i can even have a dog with my partner at this point. We aren't dog compatible. He wants a lazy dog who just wants to play fetch whenever you feel like playing with him or belly rubs whenever you feel like touching him, and I want an activity partner who is trainable and confident and wants to go on long hikes and camping trips. I think it would take a long time for Jack to be ok with all the smells and new environments on a camping trip or backpacking.
Maybe we can find a dog that meets all that criteria but I doubt it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think this article might be pertinent to the conversation:

Myth of reinforcing fear | Fearful Dogs

ArtemisOwl, you've got a big decision to make, and I appreciate that you reaching out and gathering as much information as you can. Good luck to you all!
Thank you so much for that. I believed as it said in the article, that the behavior, not the fear itself, would be reinforced and I didn't know it had been debunked.

And for some reason I didn't see this "getting started" section of the website. I'd been looking at resources, the blog, force free training, pretty much everything BUT getting started and didn't find it all that helpful. So thanks again.
I will look at it more over lunch.
 

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If you truly feel as though Jack is better off with his former foster, there is no shame in taking him back there.

However, I would encourage his foster family to look into helping him (maybe even show them this thread, or your other one!) and urge them not to adopt him out to anyone until his issues have been addressed. I don't think it sounds like he is beyond help, but in the wrong home this story could have a very tragic ending and they need to be very aware of that.

I also don't think it sounds like you and your partner can't find a dog that suits you both. As long as you were dedicated to giving the dog the majority of the exercise and training, it's totally possible for your partner to just be there for the snuggling and occasional games of fetch. But I do think that confidence is key here, especially as your partner seems to have a lot to learn about dog behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just reached out to the foster. She said this:
"I understand,i feel that ARK really needs to work on moving their dogs faster,having a dog in foster care for over 2years in the same home is too traumatic for them when its time to rehome,its easier for them when coming from a shelter cuz there isnt that bond formed with a single family,he will prob need to be placed in different living environments to get him accustomed to change,poor thing,I dont wanna step on anyones toes at ARK so can you please call Joy down at ARK today so they can take him back and they can decide what the best thing would be to do as far as placement,i think if hes with us for a while then allow him to stay in different homes so he can be exposed to different living situations would benefit him,thank you so much for all that you tried to do with him"
It seems like being bounced around would be terrible for him. The fosters don't understand how fearful he is.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you truly feel as though Jack is better off with his former foster, there is no shame in taking him back there.

However, I would encourage his foster family to look into helping him (maybe even show them this thread, or your other one!) and urge them not to adopt him out to anyone until his issues have been addressed. I don't think it sounds like he is beyond help, but in the wrong home this story could have a very tragic ending and they need to be very aware of that.

I also don't think it sounds like you and your partner can't find a dog that suits you both. As long as you were dedicated to giving the dog the majority of the exercise and training, it's totally possible for your partner to just be there for the snuggling and occasional games of fetch. But I do think that confidence is key here, especially as your partner seems to have a lot to learn about dog behavior.
I will speak to the manager at the rescue and also the foster about what I've learned here and what might be best for Jack. Any more advice about what he might need is welcome. I don't think he's beyond help, either. But I think if he keeps getting bounced around it might end up really bad for him. I don't know.
 

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Agreed. The town where we live is really macho and they mostly want tough dogs with spiked collars to guard things. There is a huge stray problem because people don't fix their pets, and people let their wnimals run free off leash all day. It's bizarre. It doesn't make for a good time.
 

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If you truly feel as though Jack is better off with his former foster, there is no shame in taking him back there.

However, I would encourage his foster family to look into helping him (maybe even show them this thread, or your other one!) and urge them not to adopt him out to anyone until his issues have been addressed. I don't think it sounds like he is beyond help, but in the wrong home this story could have a very tragic ending and they need to be very aware of that.

I also don't think it sounds like you and your partner can't find a dog that suits you both. As long as you were dedicated to giving the dog the majority of the exercise and training, it's totally possible for your partner to just be there for the snuggling and occasional games of fetch. But I do think that confidence is key here, especially as your partner seems to have a lot to learn about dog behavior.
I totally agree with this. My husband loves our dog, and he will take him for quick walks, but I'm the primary care provider. I do most of the walking and training, and all of the brushing, cleaning, clipping, etc. And that's okay. Kabota needs as many people to love him as possible, anything else those people do is icing on the cake.

For the record, Kabota was exactly like your dog and it took a year for him to really come out of his shell. It's mostly just being patient and buying stock in treats.
 

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I'm dedicated to being the dog mom, that would be ok with me. However I don't think a fearful dog is good for me and my partner together, and a dog doesn't deserve to be so stressed about his environment and one of his owners. My partner tried to walk him this morning and at first couldn't even get him out the door. He lacks the patience for this kind of pup. I don't lack patience for the dog, I lack the patience for my partner. :p
We can't provide what he needs and it's bad for all of us.
 

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:(It's getting frustrating for me because my partner is supposed to take care of him (walk, feed, pet) in the morning but this morning he just called upstairs like "he won't walk with me." So I got up and went downstairs but they'd already gone out. When I met them around the front, Jack was sitting down and my partner was hugging/holding him. I could tell that Jack had "frozen" and my partner was trying to "comfort" him to get him moving, but I was like oh lord. Stop that. A. It's rewarding his fear response, B. He doesn't need or want to be touched when he's that scared.
But I didn't say anything then. I made a kissy sound and called Jack from different area and he got moving again.We walked a bit and he'd stop on occasion so id just call him from another direction in the community yard area and he'd usually come if my partner moved. At one point I just took the leash because my partner was just standing there and expecting him to move and it was early and I had a headache.
When the dog was stopped again my partner reached out to "comfort" him and I said "don't touch him. When he's stopping it's because he's scared and scared dogs don't want you in their space like that. It's like when you're really upset and you don't want anyone touching you."
My partner got upset and went inside, but Jack finally peed, so that's good.
We are going to be out of town in a couple of weeks, then again for over a week in October.
I'm really thinking this might not work.:(

Stop trying to take him on walks, you are stressing him out, and might be eroding his trust in you since you are forcing him to do what he fears. Doing that is called flooding and can cause the dog to shut down which it sounds like Jack may be starting to do.

What you can do is take him out in the front on leash, right by the front door so that he knows he can retreat where he feels safe, when there start giving him high value treats, petting him, and playing with him if he'll play. Let him sniff and explore that area as far as he wants to go. Stay there in your front yard till he's confident and happily exploring then move to the edge of where he is comfortable and stay there letting him explore the new area he's able to get to, feeding him those high value treats, petting him and playing with him, till he's comfortable with his new bit of territory, then again move to the edge of the area and start again. It'll take time but it will keep him from being to stressed out to learn that he's safe and has nothing to fear.

If he was comfortable receiving hugs from y'all, and he was comforted by it, it would be perfectly alright to hug him when he was afraid, but from what you describe he's feeling further trapped by it so it's not good to comfort him by doing that. You cannot reward fear and you cannot reinforce it, if the dog is comforted by doing something then doing it calmly is fine, you teach them that they are safe and that they do not have to be afraid, BUT the dog has to be comforted by what you are doing and enjoy it or it will not work. If he likes pets, and calms down when they are offered then it's fine to pet him, if he's shying away, going belly up with tail tucked, lip licking, or yawning, then he's finding them stressful or frightening and they should not be offered.

Is there any way the foster could take him back for the week you are gone? That'd be the ideal situation for Jake, second best would be to have a pet sitter, who's familiar with fearful dogs, to come in and care for him. If you use the pet sitter then make sure they come a few times before you leave so that Jake is familiar with the person, arm them with supper yummy treats and have them spend time doing things Jake loves. If you simply have to leave him with with the parents then have him spend a few days, first with you there, then without, with them, then have him spend maybe a weekend, so that you can see how it goes.
 
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