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A little BG... I got this dog back in Feb right before the pandemic. He is a mixed Terrier n was about 6 months old when I got him (small bread about 13 lbs). I found him online and the rescue org I got him from, I think, happened to be very shady but nonetheless I brought him home at first sight. I couldn't leave him with those ppl anymore once I saw the dog's interactions with their rep. From day one I could tell he had a lot of issues and wasn't a normal pup. I have raised 4 healthy, well adjusted pups in my life but nothing in my experience in training dogs prepared me for this challenge.
Doc was very skittish, ran away from everything, hid behind the couch all day, would have to be dragged out to go to the bathroom, not food driven, scared of anything and everything including his own shadow (literally, no joke!), when outside a leaf could blow by and he would get scared and try to run off, and a whole host of other issues. After two weeks of having him to adjust to his new environment I made our first appointment to his vet and expressed my concerns about Doc's behavior to him. Unfortunately, for reasons I can not understand, I wasn't taken seriously and he prescribed some probiotics for him and said to give him time to which I complied. A week later, at our regular routine walk at our park, his leash slipped through my fingers and he ran off and was lost for 27 hours at a huge park with tons of predators and coyotes. I spend the entire 27 hours searching for him and by the grace of god he was found by some bikers on the trails and returned to me. Since then I have chipped and tagged him and have changed my tactics to prevent him from slipping through my fingers which can be exhausting since you constantly have to anticipate the dogs moves and act accordingly. I tether him to me with a leash around my waste for most of the day now. I have researched and applied all the self help that is available online about dogs like this and to the point I can tell, I am doing everything I should be doing for cases like this. Unfortunately, none of these efforts have paid off and after almost 8 months of being in my care, Doc is still very much afraid of me to a point that he pees and on occasions poops on himself when I go near him.
Two weeks ago, even with all the changes in my tactics and trying to anticipate every step ahead, he ran off again. Same issue. He was in the back seat of the car when we got home to our garage. I opened the door and put his leash on him and by the time I tried to reach around my waste to tether him, his leash slipped again and he ran off for another 20 some hours. Luckily some folks had seen him loose the next day and had called animal control who got him and I was reunited with him again.
In all fairness, he has made some small progress. He doesn't spend that much time hiding behind the couch and actually plays with the other dog (a small Chihuahua) in our HH. He has also been socialized with the dog park buddies he sees every day and looks and seems happy around them. There have been a lot of first in his life over the last few months, including being interested in scent again, marking his spot, and keeping his tail up for most of our walks. Something he didn't do for a long time after I got him. Back then all he wanted to do was to do his business and get back in hiding behind the couch.
I have created a routine for him and he goes to the office with me on daily basis and sleeps under my desk still tethered to me. If I take him off me to go use the bathroom, for example, he goes into hiding again behind the couch in the office. I'm the only person who feeds him and takes care of him yet he still won't eat while I'm in the room and I have to leave the room with his food and close the door for him to feel safe to eat. And if I walk in the room whether he is eating or playing with the other dog, he goes into hiding again.
Now obviously, I don't take this personal and try to have a perspective on things, however it has taken its toll on me. Everything with this dog is a chore. Not only I don't get any of the satisfactions of owning a pup or feel the love and the warmth affection of having a companion, simple tasks such as eating or taking him outside for a walk are constant pains because of his lack of trust in me. To this day, I still have to move the couch every time I want to get to him or feed him or anything. In addition, his flight instinct is still very strong and every chance he gets he will run away from me (even when tethered). I'm afraid, it's only a matter of time before another accident happens and he runs away again. BTW, these are not playfull run aways or wanting to pee on every bush in the neighborhood run aways. Docs is genuinely afraid of me and runs away as if his life depends on it. It is very demoralizing to me. I have never even raised my voice on him, not even once.
I have my theories as to what may have happened to him in his first six months of his developmental stage for him to behave this way. However those are just that, theories. Some of the alarming behavior I have noticed which leads me to my theories include, barfing or pooping where he sleeps, or walking back into his own poop when he's done. Of course this is out of fear. When he finishes pooping he looks up at me as if he has done something wrong and walks back a step or two into his poop. I have also noticed that a couple of times when he got sick, he threw up on our bed where he sleeps with me at night. It's not that he got sick or threw up but the fact that after he did it he was comfortable sleeping in the same spot. Dogs typically don't barf or poop where they sleep. Instead they try to find a corner or another spot. But he is so afraid that he won't get out of bed to do that. BTW on the bed he is under the covers the whole night, very much like hiding behind the couch. It's his safe spot.
He has no aggressive issues and is a very sweet boy. I would like to bond with him through training basics but for a dog who is constantly running away from you even when tethered to you it's pointless exercise.
My most concern is that he will run away again and this time I won't be as lucky. Also, all I wanted was to have a puppy and this was certainly more than I had bargained for. This doesn't mean that I will give up on him or will give him up. on the contrary, I'm seeking out solutions. I don't give up on things. Specially not on abused dogs.
So I am reaching out... if anyone has any suggestions, can recommend a book, trainer/behaviorist, anything at this point, I am all ears as I have run out of ammunition in this fight. I look forward to the community's responses. Thank you!
 

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That's pretty horrible sounding. Your dog must have gone through hell before he got to you and it sounds like you're doing everything you can.

This might be worth a trip back to the vet (one that will take you seriously). It sounds like the dog has severe anxiety issues. I'm just about the last person who would ever tell you to medicate a dog but in this case it might be necessary as part of the solution.

I would also contact a professional dog rehab center/trainer and let them take a look. Be careful when you choose and do your homework though. There are a lot of hacks in this world.

Good luck.
 

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I agree with @dogslife .Medication, just to take the edge off his anxiety, might give your relationship a jump start. It can't be nice for him either, living with that sort of stress.

What is he like with other people (different gender, different size etc)?

There is also something else you can try. You said you have to move the couch to get him - are you handling him to get him out? Because I'd suggest you don't, in fact I'd also try having him not tethered to you, provided you can set up an area in your home and yard that is escape proof. You might need to set up some temporary fencing. Only do this if you can be 100% sure he can't escape. Then, for the next two weeks or so, I'd suggest you ignore him. Completely. Not even eye contact, because to a dog, direct eye contact is very intimidating. Also, position yourself so you are never between your dog and his safe place (bed etc) or escape route (door from the room). Your only involvement will be putting down food and walking away, and opening the door to your fenced garden to let him out to toilet.

Then you can try taking some lovely treats and tossing them past him, so he has to go away from you to get them. I realise that sounds counterintuitive but it helps him build a positive conditioned emotional response (google +CER for the science if you are interested) without having to get too close. It also means he doesn't have to get too close to you, which could make him feel quite conflicted - he wants the treat but has to approach a scary person to get it. A highly stressed dog won't take treats so if he isn't interested, it's too soon. Go back to ignoring him and try again a few days later.

After a number of days of doing that, put one of the treats on the floor, about 18 inches from your feet. See what he does. If he darts in, takes the treat, and goes off, then he isn't ready yet for this stage. So, as with anything in dog training, go back to the previous step for a bit longer.

When he takes the treat from the floor and eats it there, do that for a few days. Still no eye contact.

Once he has been taking the treat from the floor happily for a number of days, offer one from your hand, but again see how he reacts. Any lack if confidence (taking it and stepping back) again is a sign he isn't ready, so back up a step for longer. And still no eye contact.

Once he is comfortable taking treats from your hand (and I mean really comfortable) you can try petting him, but using the five second rule.

Stroke him for five seconds (some dogs prefer you avoid the head) then stop. Only if he initiates further contact by nudging you or similar, continue for another five seconds then stop again. Continue only for as long as he keeps asking. That gives him control and in turn that will build his confidence around you because he knows he can make it stop at any time.

Expect this to take weeks, or even months depending on the dog. But don't be tempted to rush it, take it at his pace.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree with @dogslife .Medication, just to take the edge off his anxiety, might give your relationship a jump start. It can't be nice for him either, living with that sort of stress.

What is he like with other people (different gender, different size etc)?

There is also something else you can try. You said you have to move the couch to get him - are you handling him to get him out? Because I'd suggest you don't, in fact I'd also try having him not tethered to you, provided you can set up an area in your home and yard that is escape proof. You might need to set up some temporary fencing. Only do this if you can be 100% sure he can't escape. Then, for the next two weeks or so, I'd suggest you ignore him. Completely. Not even eye contact, because to a dog, direct eye contact is very intimidating. Also, position yourself so you are never between your dog and his safe place (bed etc) or escape route (door from the room). Your only involvement will be putting down food and walking away, and opening the door to your fenced garden to let him out to toilet.

Then you can try taking some lovely treats and tossing them past him, so he has to go away from you to get them. I realise that sounds counterintuitive but it helps him build a positive conditioned emotional response (google +CER for the science if you are interested) without having to get too close. It also means he doesn't have to get too close to you, which could make him feel quite conflicted - he wants the treat but has to approach a scary person to get it. A highly stressed dog won't take treats so if he isn't interested, it's too soon. Go back to ignoring him and try again a few days later.

After a number of days of doing that, put one of the treats on the floor, about 18 inches from your feet. See what he does. If he darts in, takes the treat, and goes off, then he isn't ready yet for this stage. So, as with anything in dog training, go back to the previous step for a bit longer.

When he takes the treat from the floor and eats it there, do that for a few days. Still no eye contact.

Once he has been taking the treat from the floor happily for a number of days, offer one from your hand, but again see how he reacts. Any lack if confidence (taking it and stepping back) again is a sign he isn't ready, so back up a step for longer. And still no eye contact.

Once he is comfortable taking treats from your hand (and I mean really comfortable) you can try petting him, but using the five second rule.

Stroke him for five seconds (some dogs prefer you avoid the head) then stop. Only if he initiates further contact by nudging you or similar, continue for another five seconds then stop again. Continue only for as long as he keeps asking. That gives him control and in turn that will build his confidence around you because he knows he can make it stop at any time.

Expect this to take weeks, or even months depending on the dog. But don't be tempted to rush it, take it at his pace.
Thank you, those are all good suggestions. I will try to employ most of them. The first one might be difficult to do logistically. But I like your idea of throwing the treat away from me. It does make sense.
As for your question - at first he was afraid of anyone and everyone. Gradually he became more accepting of women, even strange women, than men. He has warmed up to friendly strange men. Yet he still hesitates n pulls away when I reach for him. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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That's pretty horrible sounding. Your dog must have gone through hell before he got to you and it sounds like you're doing everything you can.

This might be worth a trip back to the vet (one that will take you seriously). It sounds like the dog has severe anxiety issues. I'm just about the last person who would ever tell you to medicate a dog but in this case it might be necessary as part of the solution.

I would also contact a professional dog rehab center/trainer and let them take a look. Be careful when you choose and do your homework though. There are a lot of hacks in this world.

Good luck.
Yes, I agree about the medicine. One of the main reasons I agreed with his vet's argument was that Doc is young and he might rebound. However it's been 8 months now and although small progress has been made most of the problematic behavior still remains.
 

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Yet he still hesitates n pulls away when I reach for him.
Handling may have been an unpleasant experience for him in the past - please try to find a way to ignore him so that you don't contribute any more to the problem.
 

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Could you try to coax your pup out from behind the couch on her own? Like without reaching for her? Try a really tasty treat or once she is more comfortable with you giving her treats. Maybe a super tasty treat like (dog safe, no spices) beef jerky. Not to say she won't resist, i'm just hoping it might work for you. I'm really hoping things improve for you two. Let us know!
 

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Handling may have been an unpleasant experience for him in the past - please try to find a way to ignore him so that you don't contribute any more to the problem.
Believe me I have tried ignoring him for a day or two. He stays behind the couch and if I don't take him out to go potty, will do his business there too. He won't even come out to eat or drink. So after a couple of days of ignoring him, I get worried about him and will go back to reaching for him behind the couch again. I have never seen anything like this. I have tried to tempt him with Hot Dogs, Chicken, Beef (you name it)... He will not come out voluntarily. Whatever it is, his fear instinct is much more stronger than what I'm offering.
 

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his fear instinct is much more stronger than what I'm offering.
Exactly.

So, as suggested, maybe this is one of these times that medication could help.

And if there is any way at all you could remove yourself from contact - even if that means using a room where he has a safe place to hide, and it is ok for him to toilet, and you just quietly go in and clean up and put down food and water, I think that would help.
 

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Sorry about that.
I just was wondering if she has a pen or a crate? Something covered to mimic a den to feel safe in?

Edit: Just saw above post
 

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Could you try to coax your pup out from behind the couch on her own? Like without reaching for her? Try a really tasty treat or once she is more comfortable with you giving her treats. Maybe a super tasty treat like (dog safe, no spices) beef jerky. Not to say she won't resist, i'm just hoping it might work for you. I'm really hoping things improve for you two. Let us know!
Yes, I wish he would come out for treats. The reality is he won’t. Easier said than done to coax a dog to come out when they get this afraid when you walk in the room. Thanks!
 

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Sorry about that.
I just was wondering if she has a pen or a crate? Something covered to mimic a den to feel safe in?

Edit: Just saw above post
I know exactly what you mean. And thought about the same thing weeks after I got him. My instincts tell me that maybe when he was a puppy, he was crated for long periods in addition to everything else he went through. That could explains him being ok w being covered in his own feces. So we got him a small crate and set it up in our living room next to the couch. He still goes behind the couch.
 

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Yes, I wish he would come out for treats. The reality is he won’t. Easier said than done to coax a dog to come out when they get this afraid when you walk in the room. Thanks!
This is exactly the reason why I suggest throwing treats away behind him. Trying to coax him with treats puts him in a very conflicted position - even if he really wants the treats, he has to approach the scary person to get them.
 

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I have received the following reply from Doc's vet this am. Am I overreacting that he has brought up euthanasia even as an option for a 15 months old pup with issues? He only has seen Doc, one time, back in Feb for a 10 minutes initial visit. And furthermore, by "rehoming" is he insinuating that I may be the problem? I'm fuming this morning. Am I reading too much into this?
"Thank you for your email. My heart goes out to you. You are dealing with a significant issue. Since you have already indicated that you are not interested in either rehoming or euthanasia, I think that Doc is in need of specialized help. My recommendation would be a veterinary behavior specialist. The specialist I refer to is -----------------------. I have attached his website below."
 

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I have received the following reply from Doc's vet this am. Am I overreacting that he has brought up euthanasia even as an option for a 15 months old pup with issues? He only has seen Doc, one time, back in Feb for a 10 minutes initial visit. And furthermore, by "rehoming" is he insinuating that I may be the problem? I'm fuming this morning. Am I reading too much into this?
"Thank you for your email. My heart goes out to you. You are dealing with a significant issue. Since you have already indicated that you are not interested in either rehoming or euthanasia, I think that Doc is in need of specialized help. My recommendation would be a veterinary behavior specialist. The specialist I refer to is -----------------------. I have attached his website below."
You are not overreacting in my mind! That's awful! I'm horrified. But I wouldn't take the rehoming personally. I would still want to work with him though. I'm stepping out because this over my head, sorry I should have kept quiet, I just really hope for you and Doc and felt bad. I don't know the sitch and am not a pro in the field at all, but I believe with a long journey of following the advice here, you can make a improvement. A nice safe room like Joanne said seems like the best answer. It will be a long process, but imagine when you change this dog's life with your love 😚

I would look into the behavioral specialist though if it still seems like too much of a challenge for you. I'm still hoping for you!
 

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I know exactly what you mean. And thought about the same thing weeks after I got him. My instincts tell me that maybe when he was a puppy, he was crated for long periods in addition to everything else he went through. That could explains him being ok w being covered in his own feces. So we got him a small crate and set it up in our living room next to the couch. He still goes behind the couch.
My thoughts as well. Poor guy 😔 Well if you don't have a room, can you keep him set up behind the couch, like maybe a blanket draped above to make a roof? And follow Johanne's instructions?
 

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It may be that specialist help is needed and I don't think you should rule that out.

If you want to pm me and @LMMB the specialist's website, we would be happy to give out views.
 

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I have received the following reply from Doc's vet this am. Am I overreacting that he has brought up euthanasia even as an option for a 15 months old pup with issues? He only has seen Doc, one time, back in Feb for a 10 minutes initial visit. And furthermore, by "rehoming" is he insinuating that I may be the problem? I'm fuming this morning. Am I reading too much into this?
"Thank you for your email. My heart goes out to you. You are dealing with a significant issue. Since you have already indicated that you are not interested in either rehoming or euthanasia, I think that Doc is in need of specialized help. My recommendation would be a veterinary behavior specialist. The specialist I refer to is -----------------------. I have attached his website below."
I don't think the vet is suggesting for a moment that you're the problem - more likely thinking along the lines that you're in waaaay over your head here.

I agree with @JoanneF . This dog needs you to completely ignore him. If behind the couch is his safe space, let him be. For however long it takes. Leave him with food and water, clean up his mess, read a children's book and/or sing nursery rhymes to him, but do not approach him - no eye contact, no petting, no walks, no trying to lure him out from behind the couch - just leave him. So what if he doesn't leave the safety of the couch for a fortnight? Take this at his pace and stop trying to force it.

He puts me in mind of a breeding dog/bitch from a puppy mill. They need extraordinary amounts of patience, skill and perseverance to pull them through and rehabilitate. Such dogs often benefit from having a good, stable, confident canine role model to help them see that the Big Scary Human isn't that scary at all - in fact, some rescues refuse to re-home such dogs unless there is a spayed/neutered dog already resident because the dog is that important to their rehabilitation.

For dogs who are as broken as he sounds, as terrified as he is, euthanasia can be a blessed release. No more fear, no more pain, no more being covered in his own feces (he's not OK with that, btw, just probably used to it), just peace.
 
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A little BG... I got this dog back in Feb right before the pandemic. He is a mixed Terrier n was about 6 months old when I got him (small bread about 13 lbs). I found him online and the rescue org I got him from, I think, happened to be very shady but nonetheless I brought him home at first sight. I couldn't leave him with those ppl anymore once I saw the dog's interactions with their rep. From day one I could tell he had a lot of issues and wasn't a normal pup. I have raised 4 healthy, well adjusted pups in my life but nothing in my experience in training dogs prepared me for this challenge.
Doc was very skittish, ran away from everything, hid behind the couch all day, would have to be dragged out to go to the bathroom, not food driven, scared of anything and everything including his own shadow (literally, no joke!), when outside a leaf could blow by and he would get scared and try to run off, and a whole host of other issues. After two weeks of having him to adjust to his new environment I made our first appointment to his vet and expressed my concerns about Doc's behavior to him. Unfortunately, for reasons I can not understand, I wasn't taken seriously and he prescribed some probiotics for him and said to give him time to which I complied. A week later, at our regular routine walk at our park, his leash slipped through my fingers and he ran off and was lost for 27 hours at a huge park with tons of predators and coyotes. I spend the entire 27 hours searching for him and by the grace of god he was found by some bikers on the trails and returned to me. Since then I have chipped and tagged him and have changed my tactics to prevent him from slipping through my fingers which can be exhausting since you constantly have to anticipate the dogs moves and act accordingly. I tether him to me with a leash around my waste for most of the day now. I have researched and applied all the self help that is available online about dogs like this and to the point I can tell, I am doing everything I should be doing for cases like this. Unfortunately, none of these efforts have paid off and after almost 8 months of being in my care, Doc is still very much afraid of me to a point that he pees and on occasions poops on himself when I go near him.
Two weeks ago, even with all the changes in my tactics and trying to anticipate every step ahead, he ran off again. Same issue. He was in the back seat of the car when we got home to our garage. I opened the door and put his leash on him and by the time I tried to reach around my waste to tether him, his leash slipped again and he ran off for another 20 some hours. Luckily some folks had seen him loose the next day and had called animal control who got him and I was reunited with him again.
In all fairness, he has made some small progress. He doesn't spend that much time hiding behind the couch and actually plays with the other dog (a small Chihuahua) in our HH. He has also been socialized with the dog park buddies he sees every day and looks and seems happy around them. There have been a lot of first in his life over the last few months, including being interested in scent again, marking his spot, and keeping his tail up for most of our walks. Something he didn't do for a long time after I got him. Back then all he wanted to do was to do his business and get back in hiding behind the couch.
I have created a routine for him and he goes to the office with me on daily basis and sleeps under my desk still tethered to me. If I take him off me to go use the bathroom, for example, he goes into hiding again behind the couch in the office. I'm the only person who feeds him and takes care of him yet he still won't eat while I'm in the room and I have to leave the room with his food and close the door for him to feel safe to eat. And if I walk in the room whether he is eating or playing with the other dog, he goes into hiding again.
Now obviously, I don't take this personal and try to have a perspective on things, however it has taken its toll on me. Everything with this dog is a chore. Not only I don't get any of the satisfactions of owning a pup or feel the love and the warmth affection of having a companion, simple tasks such as eating or taking him outside for a walk are constant pains because of his lack of trust in me. To this day, I still have to move the couch every time I want to get to him or feed him or anything. In addition, his flight instinct is still very strong and every chance he gets he will run away from me (even when tethered). I'm afraid, it's only a matter of time before another accident happens and he runs away again. BTW, these are not playfull run aways or wanting to pee on every bush in the neighborhood run aways. Docs is genuinely afraid of me and runs away as if his life depends on it. It is very demoralizing to me. I have never even raised my voice on him, not even once.
I have my theories as to what may have happened to him in his first six months of his developmental stage for him to behave this way. However those are just that, theories. Some of the alarming behavior I have noticed which leads me to my theories include, barfing or pooping where he sleeps, or walking back into his own poop when he's done. Of course this is out of fear. When he finishes pooping he looks up at me as if he has done something wrong and walks back a step or two into his poop. I have also noticed that a couple of times when he got sick, he threw up on our bed where he sleeps with me at night. It's not that he got sick or threw up but the fact that after he did it he was comfortable sleeping in the same spot. Dogs typically don't barf or poop where they sleep. Instead they try to find a corner or another spot. But he is so afraid that he won't get out of bed to do that. BTW on the bed he is under the covers the whole night, very much like hiding behind the couch. It's his safe spot.
He has no aggressive issues and is a very sweet boy. I would like to bond with him through training basics but for a dog who is constantly running away from you even when tethered to you it's pointless exercise.
My most concern is that he will run away again and this time I won't be as lucky. Also, all I wanted was to have a puppy and this was certainly more than I had bargained for. This doesn't mean that I will give up on him or will give him up. on the contrary, I'm seeking out solutions. I don't give up on things. Specially not on abused dogs.
So I am reaching out... if anyone has any suggestions, can recommend a book, trainer/behaviorist, anything at this point, I am all ears as I have run out of ammunition in this fight. I look forward to the community's responses. Thank you!
A little BG... I got this dog back in Feb right before the pandemic. He is a mixed Terrier n was about 6 months old when I got him (small bread about 13 lbs). I found him online and the rescue org I got him from, I think, happened to be very shady but nonetheless I brought him home at first sight. I couldn't leave him with those ppl anymore once I saw the dog's interactions with their rep. From day one I could tell he had a lot of issues and wasn't a normal pup. I have raised 4 healthy, well adjusted pups in my life but nothing in my experience in training dogs prepared me for this challenge.
Doc was very skittish, ran away from everything, hid behind the couch all day, would have to be dragged out to go to the bathroom, not food driven, scared of anything and everything including his own shadow (literally, no joke!), when outside a leaf could blow by and he would get scared and try to run off, and a whole host of other issues. After two weeks of having him to adjust to his new environment I made our first appointment to his vet and expressed my concerns about Doc's behavior to him. Unfortunately, for reasons I can not understand, I wasn't taken seriously and he prescribed some probiotics for him and said to give him time to which I complied. A week later, at our regular routine walk at our park, his leash slipped through my fingers and he ran off and was lost for 27 hours at a huge park with tons of predators and coyotes. I spend the entire 27 hours searching for him and by the grace of god he was found by some bikers on the trails and returned to me. Since then I have chipped and tagged him and have changed my tactics to prevent him from slipping through my fingers which can be exhausting since you constantly have to anticipate the dogs moves and act accordingly. I tether him to me with a leash around my waste for most of the day now. I have researched and applied all the self help that is available online about dogs like this and to the point I can tell, I am doing everything I should be doing for cases like this. Unfortunately, none of these efforts have paid off and after almost 8 months of being in my care, Doc is still very much afraid of me to a point that he pees and on occasions poops on himself when I go near him.
Two weeks ago, even with all the changes in my tactics and trying to anticipate every step ahead, he ran off again. Same issue. He was in the back seat of the car when we got home to our garage. I opened the door and put his leash on him and by the time I tried to reach around my waste to tether him, his leash slipped again and he ran off for another 20 some hours. Luckily some folks had seen him loose the next day and had called animal control who got him and I was reunited with him again.
In all fairness, he has made some small progress. He doesn't spend that much time hiding behind the couch and actually plays with the other dog (a small Chihuahua) in our HH. He has also been socialized with the dog park buddies he sees every day and looks and seems happy around them. There have been a lot of first in his life over the last few months, including being interested in scent again, marking his spot, and keeping his tail up for most of our walks. Something he didn't do for a long time after I got him. Back then all he wanted to do was to do his business and get back in hiding behind the couch.
I have created a routine for him and he goes to the office with me on daily basis and sleeps under my desk still tethered to me. If I take him off me to go use the bathroom, for example, he goes into hiding again behind the couch in the office. I'm the only person who feeds him and takes care of him yet he still won't eat while I'm in the room and I have to leave the room with his food and close the door for him to feel safe to eat. And if I walk in the room whether he is eating or playing with the other dog, he goes into hiding again.
Now obviously, I don't take this personal and try to have a perspective on things, however it has taken its toll on me. Everything with this dog is a chore. Not only I don't get any of the satisfactions of owning a pup or feel the love and the warmth affection of having a companion, simple tasks such as eating or taking him outside for a walk are constant pains because of his lack of trust in me. To this day, I still have to move the couch every time I want to get to him or feed him or anything. In addition, his flight instinct is still very strong and every chance he gets he will run away from me (even when tethered). I'm afraid, it's only a matter of time before another accident happens and he runs away again. BTW, these are not playfull run aways or wanting to pee on every bush in the neighborhood run aways. Docs is genuinely afraid of me and runs away as if his life depends on it. It is very demoralizing to me. I have never even raised my voice on him, not even once.
I have my theories as to what may have happened to him in his first six months of his developmental stage for him to behave this way. However those are just that, theories. Some of the alarming behavior I have noticed which leads me to my theories include, barfing or pooping where he sleeps, or walking back into his own poop when he's done. Of course this is out of fear. When he finishes pooping he looks up at me as if he has done something wrong and walks back a step or two into his poop. I have also noticed that a couple of times when he got sick, he threw up on our bed where he sleeps with me at night. It's not that he got sick or threw up but the fact that after he did it he was comfortable sleeping in the same spot. Dogs typically don't barf or poop where they sleep. Instead they try to find a corner or another spot. But he is so afraid that he won't get out of bed to do that. BTW on the bed he is under the covers the whole night, very much like hiding behind the couch. It's his safe spot.
He has no aggressive issues and is a very sweet boy. I would like to bond with him through training basics but for a dog who is constantly running away from you even when tethered to you it's pointless exercise.
My most concern is that he will run away again and this time I won't be as lucky. Also, all I wanted was to have a puppy and this was certainly more than I had bargained for. This doesn't mean that I will give up on him or will give him up. on the contrary, I'm seeking out solutions. I don't give up on things. Specially not on abused dogs.
So I am reaching out... if anyone has any suggestions, can recommend a book, trainer/behaviorist, anything at this point, I am all ears as I have run out of ammunition in this fight. I look forward to the community's responses. Thank you!
It sounds to me like he's a puppy mill dog. There's have a widow of opportunity for major socialization. If that age window is missed, you get what you have, a very fearful dog.
I had one similar to yours, but not quite as bad. It took me years to "turn her into a dog." I started reading anything and everything I could about the dog's mind. Training books didn't help. You need to understand what makes them tick, then you can capitalize on their instincts. If he plays with other dogs, use that to your advantage. Him having friends is good. You can pay attention to them with food and toys with him near. Over time, he will see the other dog/s have no issues and are getting really great things from you.
I read the book "The Cautious Canine". It's a very thin book, but packed with helpful tips for a dog like him.
 

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I have received the following reply from Doc's vet this am. Am I overreacting that he has brought up euthanasia even as an option for a 15 months old pup with issues? He only has seen Doc, one time, back in Feb for a 10 minutes initial visit. And furthermore, by "rehoming" is he insinuating that I may be the problem? I'm fuming this morning. Am I reading too much into this?
"Thank you for your email. My heart goes out to you. You are dealing with a significant issue. Since you have already indicated that you are not interested in either rehoming or euthanasia, I think that Doc is in need of specialized help. My recommendation would be a veterinary behavior specialist. The specialist I refer to is -----------------------. I have attached his website below."
I think he gave you good advice. To me, as a neutral 3rd party, the points about re-homing and euthanasia are just thoughts that would be on a vet's check list. It might not be sensitive for him to have mentioned it without talking to you personally, but I don't think it was intended to be anything personal.

What he DID say, however, and I think it's worth listening to that, is that the dog needs specialized help. He's recommending a veterinary behaviour specialist and had given you a name to call. I would call that number.
 
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