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Hi guys. This is my first time posting on this forum, and it is also my first time having a dog at home!
I always had cats before (please don't hate :eek:) but my husband is allergic to cats, so we decided to adopt a pup about a year after getting married.
Two weeks ago we found Jack at a local rescue: he was described as a chihuahua mix on his paperwork, but he looks like a Parson Russell Terrier, I would say maybe even purebred. Who knows! He is about 3 years old and 17 lbs at the moment. The strange thing is that his personality does not fit the active personality of Russell Terriers! He is very shy, we believe because he was abused in the past. He took time to warm up to us, but he's finally comfortable with hanging out with us, even sleeping ON us. Sometimes when my husband comes back from work, after being out all day, he'll act scared at first until he gets more used to him again. He also sleeps a loooot.
It's been challenging figuring Jack out. He seems completely uninterested in toys. I got him a ball, a rope, and a squeaky plush toy. When he heard the squeaky toy the first time, he went crazy! He started wagging his tail and walking around in circles, and I threw the toy for him and he ran after it and grabbed it. After that, he let the toy down and went away. Most of the time he'll react to the squeaky noise, but he won't do anything about it but moan and stare. I have tried acting silly with the toy, throwing it around and going after it, hiding it from him, chasing him, nothing. He just seems clueless at what to do.
We bought him two types of bones, a big bacon flavored one, and small peanut butter flavored bones. He has shown interest in the big one, and has chewed some of it, but most of the time he ignores both bones. Weird thing, he doesn't seem to like peanut butter! I thought all dogs loved it...:eyeroll:
I take him on 20 min walks every day, sometimes twice a day. He seems to like his walks. I have also started teaching him sit and down, and he seems to be getting it. It just takes a lot of effort on our part.
I work from home, so many times I have to be on the computer and he will lay down close to me, but it just seems to me like he's bored. I don't know what to do to keep him entertained. I got him a kong toy an he likes eating his wet food from it, but I can't have him eating wet food all day. He also won't chase or chew the kong toy.
Last night I had to go to school, and he was left in his kennel for about 3 hours. He has a big kennel because my husband thought a small kennel would be cruel. So he has enough space for a big bed and his plates and some walking. We always put a pee pad in there just in case he needs it, but he has never gone potty in the kennel. When I came back from class, he had destroyed the pee pad in tiny little pieces, his food plate ended up inside his water plate with water splashed everywhere, and his bed had been moved from its usual spot. I really don't know why he went so crazy, I'm assuming out of boredom or anxiety, but I don't know what to put in his kennel for him not to be so bored! He just won't touch the toys.
He enjoys chasing flies in the backyard, but so far that's all I've noticed him do that resembles playing. Sometimes my husband will chase him around the house and he seems to enjoy that, but when I do it, it never works. And I'm the one who spends most of the day with him.
Today I've been stuck working all day. My husband took him on a quick walk early before his work, but other than that, he's been laying down all day, and I just don't know what to do to make him have more fun.
I would really appreciate someone with more doggie experience to give us some tips on how to be able to play with Jack, and also work on basic commands. We want him to be a happy pup!


Thank you.
 

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How long have you had him? It can take a while for them to adjust.

Shaping with a clicker or marker word can increase confidence, and once he begins playing let him 'win' a lot to start.

Shaping is a system where you have a goal in mind such as touching a box. To do this you put the box in an area with few distractions then wait for a desired behavior to mark and treat such as interest in the box. You go in baby steps: interest in the box, a step towards the box ect... The dog is in control of the activity so there is little to no stress. Karen Pryor has an excellent website with positive based training tips.
 

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Hi Chas. We've had him for 17 days now. So would you recommend that I leave the toy lying around and mark with a word every time he shows interest in it?

He also does this funny thing where he'll crawl around the floor, and then jump up and "clap" with his front paws. He seems very excited and stares at me after. I can only assume this means he wants to play, but I don't know how.

To add some more, today he started doing the clapping, so I grabbed the squeaky toy, hid it behind me and made it squeak. His ears went up right away. I ran to the other side of the house and then back, with him chasing me. We did this about three times and then I threw the toy for him to get it, but that's when he stopped being interested. I wonder if he's just not interested in playing on his own, and just wants to chase people... lol :ponder:
 

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TBh he sounds like quite a happy normal dog (except the overly shy/nervous bit which he will grow out of with yous treating him so well). He is just settling in so
give him time. Its good that he has you to himself all day but most dogs just laze around during the day so I wouldn't be too worried.

Lots of tlc and continue to do everything that your doing now and he will be fine.

My partners parents have 2 jack russels and the older one (now 8 but ive known him since a pup) has never been one for playing loads. He sounds very similar to your fella.

If he enjoys his walks do you think you could take him on slightly longer walks to bond outside with him a bit more? Could you allow him off leash and see if he maybe plays a little more outside?

In regards to locking him in his kennel, do you have an enclosed space/garden that he could roam around instead. You don't know his past so maybe being locked into a place is something he has bad experience of?!
 

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Hi Chas. We've had him for 17 days now. So would you recommend that I leave the toy lying around and mark with a word every time he shows interest in it?

He also does this funny thing where he'll crawl around the floor, and then jump up and "clap" with his front paws. He seems very excited and stares at me after. I can only assume this means he wants to play, but I don't know how.

To add some more, today he started doing the clapping, so I grabbed the squeaky toy, hid it behind me and made it squeak. His ears went up right away. I ran to the other side of the house and then back, with him chasing me. We did this about three times and then I threw the toy for him to get it, but that's when he stopped being interested. I wonder if he's just not interested in playing on his own, and just wants to chase people... lol :ponder:
Yep! You can pretty much do anything with shaping. 17 days isn't long for a shy dog to settle in. Sounds like you've found a game he likes! You could drop the toy as you run and see if he shows interest?
 

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Thanks for the help, guys. Jack is doing great at home, he mostly follows me around all day. I don't want him to develop anxiety, but it seems to be going that way. I feed him by his kennel every day, yesterday I put treats in there for him to eat because he had gone in on his own, but he still gets anxious if I put him in there with the door closed. I hope that slowly he gets more accustomed to it. We never use it as a punishment tool, so he shouldn't associate it with something bad, but I think he's only gone in there once in the last week of his own wish, all the other times when I have to leave the house, I have to put him in there myself. It doesn't seem to me like he sees it as his "den" for protection and alone time.

Another update, yesterday was our first vet visit! He was terrified of the male vet, he peed everywhere! So right now I really want to try and get him to socialize more. He seems completely comfortable in our house, even in the backyard on his own. Our backyard faces a side of the road where a lot of people walk by with their dogs, and Jack starts barking every time, and doesn't act scared. It's when he's actually face-to-face with someone, or someone approaches him, that he tries to flee and acts terrified. It seems to be like he would be such an excellent pup if it wasn't for his fear of people!

Any tips on that? I've read that slowly socializing him more should work, but we don't have a lot of people that we can invite over just for that. Would taking him to PetCo or parks with people help or make him more fearful?
 

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With dogs that get scared around other people, you want to take it really slow. Going to a store with lots of people would possibly be way too overwhelming for him. Instead, you want to take it slow, and make every interaction a positive one. You're going to want to start with maybe just one friend, and at a distance, and slowly work on getting the dog closer to the friend, giving treats the whole time for calmness, and backing away any time he gets fearful. And this is only a really basic overview--I'm not experienced in this area. I just know taking him to a pet store would be way too much all at once.
 

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but it just seems to me like he's bored
Lets take a look at the breed...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parson_Russell_Terrier

These are pretty high energy dogs that require mental stimulation, 20 minute walk every day won't cut it. They were designed for hunting, love chasing prey. Personally, I like to nourish the different breed personalities - my Pin is a vermin dog - so we let him hunt. A found mouse is a dead mouse, he hasn't figured out gophers but will spend two hours chasing them from hole to hole. He loves it - and doesn't need to "win". He doesn't get all messed up when he loses.

If you don't want to nourish hunting, then what is a good analogy for a hunt? Many dogs excel in active sports, many dogs can excel in a fake hunt. Mental stimulation goes beyond a kong full of food.
 

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Lets take a look at the breed...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parson_Russell_Terrier

These are pretty high energy dogs that require mental stimulation, 20 minute walk every day won't cut it. They were designed for hunting, love chasing prey. Personally, I like to nourish the different breed personalities - my Pin is a vermin dog - so we let him hunt. A found mouse is a dead mouse, he hasn't figured out gophers but will spend two hours chasing them from hole to hole. He loves it - and doesn't need to "win". He doesn't get all messed up when he loses.

If you don't want to nourish hunting, then what is a good analogy for a hunt? Many dogs excel in active sports, many dogs can excel in a fake hunt. Mental stimulation goes beyond a kong full of food.

At the same time if the dog is already overwhelmed by people and new scenery, I wouldn't recommend upping the walk time until the dog was mentally adjusted a bit more. I have a German Shepard X Basenji and while she likes swimming she's just not a very active dog at all. When I got her (age 2) she mostly slept in her crate...she was hyper attentive to people rather than fear driven but honestly doing short walks/runs was the best thing for her in the beginning. She took about a year before she was really active and at 10, she's now slowing down.

It may be just me, but I would never force a dog to exercise based on breed standard, especially in the case of an abused/neglected dog. You need to let them lead. My dog was in a crate for a year and a half of her life. She didn't know how to be a dog. It took her 2 years to learn how to play fetch, which most german shepards do on instinct. Don't underestimate what damage to a dog's psyce can do.

One of the things that I like to do with her is a "treasure hunt" where I put her kibble around a room and let her "find" it. At first I put it in very obvious places and then as time went on I made it harder. Still is one of her favorite games.
 

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So I took some of your advice with me and we bought Jack a fake raccoon, tied it to a stick with invisible thread, and tried to get him to follow it. It worked! He went crazy and ran around the backyard chasing the raccoon that my husband was pulling. We've been taking the raccoon out daily for him to chase for short periods of time, and he seems to get excited every time.

I will try the treasure hunt too, seems like a fun idea! I first have to find a treat that he really loves though. hehe
 

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So I took some of your advice with me and we bought Jack a fake raccoon, tied it to a stick with invisible thread, and tried to get him to follow it. It worked! He went crazy and ran around the backyard chasing the raccoon that my husband was pulling. We've been taking the raccoon out daily for him to chase for short periods of time, and he seems to get excited every time.

I will try the treasure hunt too, seems like a fun idea! I first have to find a treat that he really loves though. hehe
 

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You can actually do the treasure hunt as part of the puppy's meal and just use your regular food, if you do a feed type that works for hiding. Working for their food isa great way to "exercise" pup's mind!
 

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I have 2 JRTs and exercise can never be overdone with them. We can be out for an hour or so, stop for a drink (or a quick cuddle on the grass!) and they will go for another hour. I can't remember ever seeing my boy even panting.

One of our favourite at home games is putting the toys away. We started this after trying a treat hunt but my two aren't food driven so we ended up collecting treats from various places. We literally scatter their toys around the house and garden (weather permitting, we live in England) and the dogs will run around and bring them back to the toy bin. Nelson pretty much had it down by the time he was 6 months old, Poppy is good now but it took her a bit longer. They are super intelligent and have learnt individual names for each toy, which makes the game last longer as you can tell them to get something specific.

It's a great way to get them tired out and keep them mentally stimulated - which this breed REALLY needs. We've tried a few things to keep them occupied and this is the only thing that they've really taken to.

I would recommend giving it a go to anyone. It does mean they tidy up after themselves as well, so no more tripping over stray tennis balls!
 

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That sounds like fun, but the issue here is that Jack seems totally uninterested in toys. It kind of sucks because we wanted a pup that would fetch and play with us, but he just lays down and stares at us.

As an update with the raccoon toy, on the third day he looked interested but stopped chasing it. Now, he doesn't even pay attention to it when we take it out. We act silly, throw it around, but he just stares.

We have a small ball and a frisbee too. Me and my husband started going to the backyard with Jack and throwing the ball to each other and acting like we were having lots of fun, but he completely ignores us every time.

I found a treat that he likes a lot, just plain ol' chicken boiled with some broth. I cut it into little pieces and he seems to like it. I am trying to do clicker training, and he seems to get SIT, but that's it. He won't lay down, even to follow my hand with the treat, he won't turn, he won't stay. I've been trying to teach him a good recall, but again, even when I have the chicken, he takes his sweet time to come to me, and he doesn't come every time.

I am seriously starting to think he just doesn't want to follow our directions, or he is just very stubborn. It is very frustrating. I really don't know how to teach him anything because even though he likes the chicken (and it's the only treat he still eats after three days, when we've tried about 6 other treats before and all of those were ignored the day after) he won't do much for it.

I have lowered the amount of food I am giving him because I thought I was overfeeding him and that's why he wouldn't do much for the treats, but it is still the same. Toys cannot be used as a reward because, again, he is completely uninterested in them. He won't even touch them.

What can we do? Should we just seek the help of a professional trainer???
 
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