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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like I've mentioned this before in some of my other post, but have tried many suggestions and I still can't get our rescued chorkie, Levi, to play. We've had him almost 2 months now and he still seems uninterested in play. The housebreaking is done, he hasn't had an accident in 3 weeks, but he still seems unsure about what to do with toys. He will sometimes sniff at them or even pick them up and put them back down, but if you try to play with him, he seems scared or he just looks at you like you've lost your mind (maybe I have, haha!) I have found that he will play with a laser pointer for a few minutes, but he loses interest quickly. The reason I worry, is that I'm afraid he's not getting enough exercise/stimulation. Training as a mental stimulation is not going well because he is not food motivated and he also doesn't like to be "positioned". Example: when I try to get him to sit, he just stares at me and if I try to move him into a sit, he backs away and won't let me touch him. I guess what I'm asking is how long do you think it will take before he starts feeling comfortable enough to play and engage in training? He was in a dog hoarding situation until he was year or so old and he'd been with a foster mom for about 6 months. They think he's between one and two. Oh, he will engage with bugs, frogs, stuff outside. He loves to chase grasshoppers, but we've tried tying one of his toys to a string and moving it, but he looks at us like, "yeah, I see that string and I know you're the one making it move, booooorrrrrriiiiinnnggg"
 

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2 months is not very long for a dog with that history...
Relax and be relaxed.
Skip all non-necessary training.
Don't "position" your dog at all unless you must (ie. Is that a tick on your belly? Then yep, you'll probably need to be hands on).
Try different treats (you've probably done this, just saying...)
Try dropping or throwing treats--some dogs find the literally "in your face" the hand-positions of treat training quite intimidating.
Try to give your dog plenty of opportunity to "just be a dog", exploring his world on his own terms, making choices his way.
Give him time.
Mine was like yours--meh for toys, meh for treats, then terrified of treats, wouldn't play either. Been there, done that. He fetches and tugs now--I use a toy with food inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2 months is not very long for a dog with that history...
Relax and be relaxed.
Skip all non-necessary training."


Thanks Artdog, I've wondered about just skipping training for another few months, but so many articles say, "train, train, train from day one":eyeroll:, but I've just felt in my heart that Levi's not yet ready for that. He's such a sweet boy, loves to be cuddled and scratched, but always seems either confused or scared when I try any training stuff with him. We are also still working on him not being leery of my husband, so maybe time is the answer.
 

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2 months is not very long for a dog with that history...
Relax and be relaxed.
Skip all non-necessary training."


Thanks Artdog, I've wondered about just skipping training for another few months, but so many articles say, "train, train, train from day one":eyeroll:, but I've just felt in my heart that Levi's not yet ready for that. He's such a sweet boy, loves to be cuddled and scratched, but always seems either confused or scared when I try any training stuff with him. We are also still working on him not being leery of my husband, so maybe time is the answer.
Oh gosh, trust your instincts.
Fun comes in all sorts of forms.
Pressure (from trying to hard) comes in all sorts of forms. Most rescues need to learn stuff almost instantly, like "don't eat the cat", and "don't drag your owner across the street in front of a truck", "don't pee on the furniture", so lots of stuff that needs to be worked on right away, but aside from those necessities, the rest is window dressing.
Training can be a fun bonding experience, but for a new dog, all that attention can be overwhelming especially when most modern training emphasizes eye-contact. I dropped looking for eye-contact for several months--now he gives me lazer-beams.
Here's a good read for a dog like yours,
Kelso's story-puppy mill foster dog. Kelso - Rescue Resources & Dogs for Adoption - BC Boards
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh gosh, trust your instincts.
I dropped looking for eye-contact for several months--now he gives me lazer-beams.
Here's a good read for a dog like yours,
Kelso's story-puppy mill foster dog. Kelso - Rescue Resources & Dogs for Adoption - BC Boards
Gosh Kelso's story makes me want to slap somebody around (i.e. the people that did that to him). I don't think Levi's situation was quite that bad. The hoarder lady had about twenty some odd dogs. They were fed and kept somewhat clean, just no vet care or socialization.

I have noticed that Levi doesn't like a lot of eye contact. He'll seek out your eyes for just a second, but if you continue to look straight at him he'll turn his head. He does wag his tail for me and he gets very excited when I get home from work.

We're mainly working on him not being leery of my husband right now. It's funny, it's almost like Levi is trying to protect me from my husband, Mark. He will growl softly anytime Mark is up and moving around, but if I'm not at home Levi doesn't do that. He'll even come sit on the couch with Mark when I'm at work (Mark works from home). We've wondered if the dog hoarder lady was being abused by a man and that Levi is trying to warn me when Mark's moving. Like he's saying, "Hey, just letting you know the big guy is on the move, so you can keep an eye on him." It's really kind of strange. In the last few days though we've seen some progress there. Less growling. Levi will now take a treat directly from Mark rather than Mark having to drop in on the ground.

My last dog was very shy and she had also come from a hoarding situation, but she was only 8 months old when we got her, so her problems were not as ingrained as Levi's are.
 

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I post the 'kelso' story, as things were REALLY bad, and kelso was REALLY messed up, but is now in a permanent home, playing fetch with a soccer ball.... I wish I'd read that story while I was dealing with Sonic's 'weirdo' phase.
Sonic doesn't growl at my husband except playing tug--yay! So can't help you there.
It does sound like you both have good instincts on how to move forward, so as I say to my dog when he's looking too excited, just chill, you're probably all doing fine.
My cats (adopted) took nine months to start acting like normal cats (and they came from good people that unfortunately let their dog chase the cats); they are still skittish with my guy, so they are not over it yet, but more than a year later, still changing, still bonding, still gaining confidence.
 
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