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Our rescue dogs shutdown


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We have 2 rescue dogs,Pebbles and Bam Bam,they came from a family that mistreated them and didnt take good care of them.They didnt do any training at all and pretty much ignored them.

 

We have had them for nine months,when we first got them we couldnt get them to come to us at all,especially if you had anything in your hand.Now we can get them to come to us as long as we are in the backyard.And both have become very loving towards us and always excited to see us.

 

Pebbles the female has fear agression problems with other people and other dogs,but with us she is fine.Not sure how to go about resolving this.

 

Bam Bam the male if we let him out of the back yard he takes off and acts like he cant hear.He is a great dog with no other problems except is shy with other people and when trying to train him for recall sometimes he comes but mostly just keeps going and acts like he doesnt hear us.He will look back and just keep going.He always comes back but when is is good and ready.

 

They are both so much better then when we first got them but still have a way to go, I guess my question is do we just give them more time and keep working with them? And will they ever forget what happened to them with their previouse owners?

 

We are going to keep them no matter what but it would be so nice if we could get them to be well mannered and dedicated like most Border Collies are.

 

We wish we could get a professional trainer but living in Southern Utah not many available,we are loving owners but will be the first to admit we are not trainers.

 

Any advice on this would be really appreciated or if you have any other questions for us let us know.

 

Thank you ( Sorry this got kinda long)

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They are both so much better then when we first got them but still have a way to go, I guess my question is do we just give them more time and keep working with them?

 

Yes, I recommend giving them more time, and yes, keep working with them. But babysteps, babysteps!! And if they make progress but then regress, start over from a point where they are comfortable and be as patient as you can be.

 

And will they ever forget what happened to them with their previouse owners?

 

I guess there is really no way to know. I would imagine that the memories are in their brains and will always be there. I doubt they "forget", but I've found that my rescue dogs have been able to move on from their pasts and thrive in their new lives. I have one in particular, Maddie, who I think is still affected by the way her former owners treated her, but for the most part she is a bright and happy girl. She is very soft when it comes to training, but I've found that she loves to be trained as long as I take it slow and keep it very rewarding.

 

Any advice on this would be really appreciated or if you have any other questions for us let us know.

 

Based on what you describe, I would probably try two things. First, I would try to build food motivation in each of them in separate training sessions. I've found that with a dog that is fearful/shut down, if you can teach the dog to eat while experiencing anxiety, you can start to build a bridge that can help you bring the dog back to a place of more confidence. Eventually the behaviors themselves - once they are learned and loved by the dog - can take the place of the food rewards.

 

Once the dogs have some food motivation, I would try some clicker training. In particular, I would use free shaping games to get their synapses firing and bring them "out of their heads", so to speak.

 

After that, I would use the clicker to train recalls and basic manners.

 

Hope that helps!

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Pebbles the female has fear agression problems with other people and other dogs,but with us she is fine.Not sure how to go about resolving this.

 

My boy (3 yr male, adopted near the end of August) behaved like both the female and male you desribe. He was fearfully aggressive to mostly strange people, but also other male dogs...and did not have a recall. Given the chance, he would run around the yard and back into the garage to hide. He also exhibited levels of anxiety all the time (heavy breathing without physical exertion). He was a nervous nelly, so to speak. After six months, I'm glad to say he is a new boy.

 

Root Bear has given you some really good advice. We were helped immensely by "Control Unleashed" and i like the books by Patricia McConnell for dealing with these flighty dogs. So, i take it that this all is referred to as "builiding food motivation" in the dog. I agree that it is very effective in reconditioning anxious dogs and turning around their anxiety based behaviors and patterns.

 

One last point: having "something" in your hand needs to be something really good--moist, real and tasty.

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On the recall, I recommend Really Reliable Recall by Leslie Nelson. I heard about this DVD and booklet on this board and it's work on my dogs like a charm, I can't say enough good things about it. Just simple stuff and practice, practice, practice. I've been using this on our rescue, Jinx, since day one and after nearly three months his recall is quite impressive.

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