Dog Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello.

I just adopted a 1 1/2 year old mix on Thursday. I knew he was fearful going in but I wasn't quite prepared for just exactly how terrified. He has found his safe haven on my bed which is fine by me, but he won't do anything else. I have given him food and water there as I don't want him to dehydrate here in FL. He has warmed up to me and trusts me as he's eaten out of my hand. I gave him some wet food the other night and I put him at the bowl, he finally stood up at the end to make sure he didn't miss a bit.

My biggest worry is going outside. He's 35 lbs. and it's taxing having to carry him to the elevator and down several times a day. Thankfully he did indicate at 1:30 this morning that he needed to go out as opposed to my just taking him and he stood to do his business but then laid right down in the grass. I try gently pulling on the leash but it's to no avail. I don't want to drag him but I also don't want him to think this is normal behavior either.

The story given was that there were four dogs in the home and they had to surrender two due to a move. Then of course he was in the shelter for almost a week in a cage with two other dogs. He seems to be recovering just fine from the neutering but doesn't really seek attention from me, or do much of anything else as stated above. He will lift his head up if I put my hand out to pet him, so he is looking for comfort. I fell in love with him from the start and am just very frustrated and sad.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
You might try when you take him out to keep a bag of boiled chicken shredded on hand. Most dogs love the stuff and it usually doesn't upset tummies either. I would use the chicken as a means to get him interested and see if that works. He might put on some weight so you might also want to cut down on his regular food.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I can't make it to the store tonight anymore but will definitely go first thing in the morning. He could stand to put on some weight too but I understand what you're saying :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I have a similiar problem, but I took Maya outside once, and the next day when I came nearby her with a leash she was shaking violently so I leaved her alone. Outside she was just laying and not doing nothing and if I tried to approach her she went into bushes and I had to take her out of there :(

I completely understand your frustration. Now I'm waiting for behaviorist to help me do something with because I don't know what to do with her. I wish you best luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks. While he loves the chicken, he's not interested in being lured by anything outside. Even when I praise him after doing his business. He walks some, so we are making progress but he's still pretty scared. I have to carry him to the elevator and he'll walk off downstairs and then just try and run. I let him lead at this point with gentle tugs to slow down. Getting him to go where I want is not happening yet and I certainly don't want to drag him so I usually end up carrying him back from wherever we are to the elevator. Once we get upstairs he's in a huge hurry to get back inside and practically runs to the door.

Inside he still just stays in the bed. I did force him to eat out of the bowl the other night. He wasn't happy and I didn't restrict him forcefully. I just sat next to him so he had to stand at the dish. At first he just laid down and pushed the bowl away. Last night he did drink water there but I think he was more trying to get the piece of food that fell in out lol. Mostly I'm still giving it to him in the bed because he can too easily get dehydrated here.

On the other hand he's more alert watching me as I move around and making the littlest indication he wants me to pet him. I know though that he senses my feelings as much as I try not to be frustrated. It's just so sad but I know I can't prove to him to trust me anymore than I already am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
906 Posts
Have you checked the fearfuldogs.com site? There is lots of good information there.

I've had my fearful dog for 5.5 years, and he has chosen the bedroom/bed as his 'safe' place, so when he's at home he spends 95% of his time there - usually only coming out for walks/treats. He doesn't like it when we change things in the rest of the house (which I do kind of regularly, cause I'm just that way), so he likes to stay in the bedroom. Nine months ago, we got a new couch set, which inspired him to stay in the bedroom even more. Finally, in the last few weeks he's decided the new couch isn't so bad after all, and he'll voluntarily come out and spend time snuggling with me. I did do some work with him to encourage him to do that, but I didn't push really hard.

It sounds like you are doing all the right things, and your dog is already responding. I think it'll just take time and patience for him to come around. About the treat thing - the first couple of years I had Boone, I got a lot of advice about using treats to help him, but he didn't really seem interested in treats. However, as he learned to trust us, he also got a lot more interested in the treats. I think it helped him to learn to trust us, even if he wasn't always interested. So if I were you, I would keep offering the treats, and see where he is in a few weeks or months.

And, finally, most dogs do respond more quickly than Boone. He isn't fearful because he was abused or neglected, he's fearful because he is from a multi-generation feral dog group and wariness of humans and unrecognised objects seems to be in his DNA. Most domestic dogs aren't quite so focused on self-protection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
He does like his treats in his safe place just not as an enticement to move from there :) And I've been giving him a little people food here and there but that's the biggest habit I don't want to fall into so it's not been tons.

Unfortunately I don't know his history but that's no matter. Thanks so much Dia for your kind words, they're very helpful! This is my first experience with so much fear and while it's a big part of the reason I got him, I had no clue to what depths it would run. I will definitely check out the site.

We're having a bad morning as they're testing fire alarms and I've just been lying with him but it's time for me to start work. I'm right here and talk to him and get up several times and lift his head telling him he's a good boy, loved and oh so cute while scratching right at the base of his ears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
906 Posts
He does like his treats in his safe place just not as an enticement to move from there :) And I've been giving him a little people food here and there but that's the biggest habit I don't want to fall into so it's not been tons.
I wouldn't worry about getting into a bad habit with food, people or any other kind. When I first got Boone, he turned his nose up at almost everything except chicken, and he'd even turn that down with distressing regularity. But as he's grown to trust and bond with us, he's become much less discriminatory in terms of what he'll happily accept.

Anyway, here's how I get Boone to do things he needs encouragement to do. Let's say he didn't want to get off the bed. Or even move much. I'd get his very best favorite treat, and I'd give him a piece where he lay. Then I'd put another peace a few inches away, so he had to stretch for it. When he grabbed it, I'd prasie and give him another treat! Then I'd move it a little farther away, so maybe he had to shift his body to reach it -- praise and treat some more. But what if I moved one a little too far away, and he just looked at it? I have two tricks for that:
1. Lay a trail from where he is to the farthest away treat.
2. Ignore him. He knows its there, and he knows how to get it. This tends to work better a little farther into the process.

Eventually, the treat he has to get is at the very edge of the bed, right? Then, I'd put the next one on the floor -- but I'd make it really worth his while, a pile of them! And when he jumped down to get the treats, I'd just be so happy and impressed! (I used the word "Brave" for my dog a lot, I think even if they don't understand the words, they understand the intent; being 'brave' is different than, for instance, sitting on command).

The last step, jumping down off the bed, might take a little longer; he doesn't have to succeed the first time you try it. You might even try leaving the treat there and going away; he might decide it's worth the risk if you aren't actually watching. Or perhaps have a mid-step, a stool or something so he can reach the treat from the bed. When you've got him jumping off the bed (and back up) without hesitation, start moving the goalposts, so he's a little farther away toward the door when he gets the treat.

I used essentially that procedure to get Boone on to the couches, I also used a leash to indicate I wanted him to come up. The purpose wasn't to drag or force him up, but only advise him that was the next step in the process. This may or may not be a good idea for your dog.

This really will take a while, though I can't say how long. (Boone was anywhere from a week to two weeks, using this method, but I'm not extremely scheduled, so I'd work on it for five or 10 minutes every few days). The point is to make it really rewarding to make an effort, while making it as safe as possible. He learns its safe to stretch his nose out for the chicken, so it is easier to make the effort to shift his body. It was safe to shift his body, so it's easier to crawl forward a few inches. It was safe to crawl a few inches, so its easier to go right to the edge of the bed.

Unfortunately I don't know his history but that's no matter. Thanks so much Dia for your kind words, they're very helpful! This is my first experience with so much fear and while it's a big part of the reason I got him, I had no clue to what depths it would run.
It will be so worth it, when he's learned to trust you. :)

I will definitely check out the site.
I found it very helpful, but will admit I sometimes have challenged Boone a little bit more than the site generally recommends.

We're having a bad morning as they're testing fire alarms and I've just been lying with him but it's time for me to start work. I'm right here and talk to him and get up several times and lift his head telling him he's a good boy, loved and oh so cute while scratching right at the base of his ears.
I'd say he's got the right owner. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank you again Dia, you're doing wonders for my ego! LOL. I have owned cats for the last 20 odd years. We always had dogs growing up but I never had to deal with the hard stuff as that fell to my parents so totally different ball of wax.

I have tried baiting but not very hard so I'll keep trying. He definitely won't do anything if I'm looking at him. Just the way he turns his head away when he knows I'm watching seems like he's still measuring how much he can trust me. He just has this way of turning his head that makes it so look like he's sticking his nose in the air like he's too good for me lol. He will eat out of my hand though so I just have to be a bit more patient.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top