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New Rescue Dog, Need some advice


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I just adopted a new dog on Friday, and unfortunately for my sanity, I had fallen in love with one who has some pretty difficult issues. I know some of this will improve as he settles in, but some of it is going to take some major work, and I'm prepared to put in as much time as necessary to help him learn to live in the world. I've already sent an email to a behaviorist, so if his problems are severe enough that I can't handle them on my own, I'll have help.

 

Bodhi is a ~16 month old ACD/BC mix. With that, of course, comes a 200 doggie IQ and enough energy to power a small town. He does have a great "off switch". When I'm relaxing and Maggie (ACD/Rottie) is resting, he'll lay down and rest too, so he's actually a surprisingly good apartment dog for his mix. On the other hand, I'm not sure he is capable of being tired, but I'm trying.

 

Unfortunately, for such a great dog, he's had a rough past. When he was about 6 months old, he was attacked by his neighbor's dog. I don't know all the details of the attack, but I know he needed some stitches afterwards. To make matters worse, his previous owner was so terrified that she kept Bodhi completely isolated until he made it to rescue 6-8 weeks ago. He never got to meet any more dogs, met few people, and got no exercise. If you guessed that this isn't the best way to raise a puppy, you guessed right. Here are the major issues right now...

 

1) He has no idea how to act around other dogs, and when another one gets anywhere near him, he's way over his threshold from either fear or excitement (hard to tell sometimes). He'll start barking/screaming when the other dog gets within 20 feet or so. He has a very loud, piercing bark, and that's not pleasant for anyone. I've had one successful introduction to a random dog on the street, but I'm not sure what caused it to work. I usually just try to avoid other dogs for now until I figure out what to do. I'm planning to introduce Bodhi to the calm, well behaved dogs I know, but unfortunately I only know a few of those, and I think he needs a lot more practice than that. This issue is made much worse by living in a building where dogs are allowed, and right next to a popular park. Helping him with this is absolutely priority #1, for his happiness and my sanity.

 

1b) Maggie has gotten very protective over him. If another dog scares Bodhi, she tries to chase the other dog off. Without Bodhi around, Maggie is very dog friendly, but she won't tolerate anyone scaring her new brother. Maggie has shown some protective behavior with me 3 times, when other dogs have acted aggressively near me, but it's much easier to deal with 1 protective dog by herself than one protective dog and one dog having a panic attack. Maggie hasn't shown any actual aggression, and if she gets to the dog she doesn't attack. She's just trying to make it leave. For now, because of Bodhi's bathroom problem (below), they get walks together, but Bodhi gets his bathroom breaks by himself so I don't have to stop and wait anywhere with both of them.

 

2) Bodhi is housebroken, but needs a little work. The big problem is he might not go at all when we go out, even if we're out for an hour. He drinks more water than Maggie despite being 10 pounds lighter, so I can't imagine he's ever incapable of going. This would only be a minor problem if I had a place to let him wait 10 minutes without encountering other dogs. As it is, I can't wait for him to go with Maggie around, and this is making life difficult. He did have one accident yesterday, which I'll take the blame for, but it was less than 2 hours after a 1 hour walk where he didn't go at all. I'm considering just treating him as a puppy and trying to shape his bathroom habits into what I want (aka like Maggie, who goes straight from the door to the nearest grass and gets it done). There are dozens of potty training strategies though, and I'm not sure which would work best in his case.

 

3) He's displaying some signs of OCD, or some other repetitive type of behavior. He'll spin in circles, especially when he's stressed or confused. It appears that he may be trying to play with his shadow, which would make sense for a dog who had been isolated. Each time he spins past the shadow, he'll snap or bark at it. I'm hoping that this is going to fade away as he gets comfortable in his new home, and his stress level decreases with increased socialization.

 

4) (General version of 1) The entire world is new to him, so outside my condo, he's always overstimulated, and within an inch of his threshold. A moving bag might set him off. He's made a giant step towards loose leash walking, but he won't be able to get there until he calms down. When there aren't dogs around, he's pretty clearly just extremely excited. He wants to see everything, and he wants to see it all right this second. He needs his exercise and I'd really like giving him that exercise to be a pleasant experience, so if there's anything I can do to help raise his comfort level more quickly, that would be great.

 

So I've obviously got a few issues to deal with, but Bodhi has shown me signs of being an absolutely amazing dog once he gets through all of this. Any advice on how to make his transition into his new home easy on him and help him get over his past would be very much appreciated. I know most of it is just socialization, but it's hard to socialize a dog who tries to deafen everyone within 3 blocks when he gets pushed over the edge.

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Alright socializing any dog can be very difficult especially when they are intent on making you deaf. First get a Halti or soft muzzle. This was you are not just protecting yourself but someone elses dog it will also help curb that barking. I started with my first dog (who was a kelpie/pitbull or staffy mix, extremely stocky and strong and dog aggressive) with just walking around the outside of the park. She did get a little better but I found the aggression remained because the fence was seperating them. So I would start with maybe a couple of dogs you know that won't even look at him but rather ignore him. Him on a Halti or soft muzzle walk around them (no fence in between) and reward for calm behaviour. You may have to start a distance away, if the dog approaches I just held the lead twice as tight and down a little bit, so the head is pointing downwards slightly, if he goes to bite the dog quickly turn his head away. If he just sniffs and is being good then turn and walk away and reward him. Then go back and repeat. If he is scared he has to know he can leave so don't make him stay. If it is excitement the Halti will help a bit.

 

Of course this take repitition but I got to the point with my dog I could let her play with other dogs just watch her with dominant dogs.

 

As for them protecting each other I would walk them seperately until Bodhi has some doggy manners. You don't want to ruin what socialization Maggie has.

For potty training I would just start from a puppy. Make sure you take him out every so often especially after a drink or food. If he soils inside tell him no and remove him to outside. He will pick it up. :rolleyes:

 

Unfortunately the OCD behaviours are from the complete lack of stimulation and you may find they are built into his character now, so just stop them from happening. If he starts to obsess snap him out of it and get his attention. Management is your best option for those behaviours. You may find a difference when he settles but I do doubt that.

 

I think general training sessions at home would be great for him, that way you can go out by yourselves and practice his new behaviours while at the park. It gives him something to think about, but he may settle down after a routine of him getting exercised regularly. Just ask for controlled behaviour occassionally to get his attention and calm him down. I would be excited too if I had never been exercised! Take it in small steps, I would probably work on his over stimulation outside before doing his dog issues. You can't teach him to be social if he is overwhelmed from his environment. Good Luck! He sounds like he has fantastic drive, take it as a positive thing! He is so lucky to have a new home he just needs time. I am currently doing this with our foster border collie. Except she is terrified, but at a recent agility trial I managed to get her tail up and get her to focus and sit for me ( the only behaviours she knows, like you I had to start with toilet training) and she even jumped up at someone for a cuddle! I was sooooo proud of her!!! And we have only had her for a month so it will happen all in good time.

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poor poor boy, what a horrible start in life and great on you for taking him on

 

My Mia is quite a lot like that, I can tell you it takes time but you will see progress

 

At the moment it is 100 times worse for you because you dont know him or understand when things are going to kick off, things will be easier once you know and bond with him - to that end I would totaly recomend clicker training so you can understand a little about how his mind works and you can spend time enjoying him

 

You have had him for such a short time everything is a big deal just now - I would sloooooow right down. Do you have a yard?? I would spend a few days only in that so he gets used to you and your home, then really try walks seperate, it is difficult to try and control two dogs while you are trying to deal with a dog who is having a reaction - I know, because of a nightmare with my neighbours and the police I have to walk my dogs together!

 

Try and keep his stress levels low - so if you see a dog in the distance turn around and walk away - for just now - before he gets a chance to react

Even better if you see another dog, give him something yummy like a treat and walk away - its a double reward, food and to make the dog go away

 

I totaly recomend getting Control Unleashed or Click to calm to get some ideas of exercises to help him out

 

After a week or so if he is being a little more relaxed walking with you then you can bring other dogs into the mix - go to the park but stop outside at a big enought distance that he knows there are dogs there but dosent react, feed him his dinner then go home. Every day take a step closer

 

 

Just take it easy, poor boy he is stressed, everything is new, he dosent know you!

 

Later you can work with Maggie, keeping her calm. Ben is a little protective of Mia but it is great when a stray comes up to us I can send him off to 'say hello' and this gives Mia the time to see the dog is friendly so she can greet it

 

He also helps with onlead dogs, one thing Mia REALLY has problems with is onlead dogs being walked, if the dog is stopped and on a loose lead she is fine - so I get Ben to say hellp and the owners stop and that lets Mia approach and interact

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I'm sure you will get much better advice from this forum than I can offer, but I found Patricia McConnell's booklet, "Feisty Fido," very helpful. My five-year-old border collie rescue also lunges and barks at other dogs on the path, so I know what you're going through (in my case, it's more excitement than fear, but the book addresses both issues.)

After the first time Zorro laid me flat in his efforts to charge another dog, I started using a head halter. We later graduated to a chest harness (I use Easy Walk) which gives good control and doesn't bother the dog as much as the head halter did. Good luck! People who take in problem dogs have already reserved their place in heaven, IMO.

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Ment to add

With the OCD behaviour you can try teaching a differnet behaviour

Mia was a fence pacer, every time she started pacing I took her in and gave her treats in her crate. To start with I had to take her in on a house line, then lured her, then called her, now she brings herself in whenever she has the desire to pace

 

Chasing shadows can be a problem because it is so self rewarding. So he might be doing something a bit bad - chewing the table, and a shadow pops up, he chases, shadow goes 'hmmm mibby if I chew the table some more the shadows will come back?!'

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Thanks for the input. I'm trying to find a controlled place where I can introduce him to new dogs without having to worry too much about the noise. If I can find a place, I want to get him comfortable there and then start working on meetings. I do know a couple of very relaxed and well behaved dogs to start with. Bodhi has shown no signs of aggression at all. If a new dog gets to close, he freezes in place and screams his head off. That's when Maggie gets protective of him. I'll look into getting a Halti and trying your greeting method. It seems like it could work well for him.

 

As for them protecting each other I would walk them seperately until Bodhi has some doggy manners. You don't want to ruin what socialization Maggie has.

For potty training I would just start from a puppy. Make sure you take him out every so often especially after a drink or food. If he soils inside tell him no and remove him to outside. He will pick it up. :rolleyes:

 

I haven't yet had Maggie's protectiveness be a problem while we're moving. It's only while waiting for Bodhi to do his business that she decides to be a guard dog. Right now I'm walking them together, and if Bodhi doesn't go, Maggie goes inside to wait. If Bodhi still doesn't go, he gets treated like a puppy. He isn't allowed out of his crate without constant supervision, and is taken back out in an hour. I'm not trying to use the crate as a punishment, I just want to make sure that if he has another accident, I'm there to catch it and get him outside ASAP. I don't think the problem is directly that he isn't housebroken, it's more that he doesn't know that there's any kind of time limit once he gets outside, and he either doesn't give me a signal when he needs to go or I don't recognize his signal. For the next few months, at least, he wont' have access to a fenced yard so he has to learn to go while on the leash, and to do it in some reasonable amount of time. I'll settle for 10-15 minutes right now. I can't wait 2 hours each time I think he needs to go. He's getting some fancy Australian cheddar as his potty training treat, so maybe that will motivate his ACD side! :D

 

Unfortunately the OCD behaviours are from the complete lack of stimulation and you may find they are built into his character now, so just stop them from happening. If he starts to obsess snap him out of it and get his attention. Management is your best option for those behaviours. You may find a difference when he settles but I do doubt that.

 

I've been trying to distract him when I see it happening. I'll work harder on that, and reward him for stopping more heavily.

 

 

I think general training sessions at home would be great for him, that way you can go out by yourselves and practice his new behaviours while at the park. It gives him something to think about, but he may settle down after a routine of him getting exercised regularly. Just ask for controlled behaviour occassionally to get his attention and calm him down. I would be excited too if I had never been exercised! Take it in small steps, I would probably work on his over stimulation outside before doing his dog issues. You can't teach him to be social if he is overwhelmed from his environment. Good Luck! He sounds like he has fantastic drive, take it as a positive thing! He is so lucky to have a new home he just needs time. I am currently doing this with our foster border collie. Except she is terrified, but at a recent agility trial I managed to get her tail up and get her to focus and sit for me ( the only behaviours she knows, like you I had to start with toilet training) and she even jumped up at someone for a cuddle! I was sooooo proud of her!!! And we have only had her for a month so it will happen all in good time.

 

I've been doing a bit of training each day. We're really on the basics, but he learns extremely quickly. Today, we practiced sit and down, and worked from taking treats gently through leave it. Leave it isn't solid yet, but the foundation is there. I'll try taking new behaviors outside and see if I can get him to be calm and focus. He's much more food oriented than Maggie, and hasn't yet shown the stubborn streak that she had from day 1. I see what you're saying about the environmental issues coming before the dog issues, but the dog issues are much more severe. If I could get his dog issues down to the level of his squirrel issues or his bird issues, things would be much easier. On the other hand, if I can get him to ignore the blowing leaves and grocery bags but he still has a panic attack when a dog comes within 50 feet, I won't have my high frequency hearing much longer. He does have great focus and drive, and I can see him loving flyball, agility, and frisbee. He just has to be able to keep his head around other dogs and in new places. I know he'll get there, I just hope he can do most of his rehabilitation quietly! :D

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Hi. Your dog sounds very similiar to my rescue. Below, I have copied (from another topic) my experiences with my reactive dog.

 

In retrospect, the biggest mistake that I made was overfacing my dog by putting her in classes too soon. With these dogs, you want to minimize exposure to their triggers for 2 reasons 1) don't allow them to practice bad behavior and 2) to allow the stress hormones in their blood stream to return to baseline levels. After a period of several weeks (my behaviorist called it the "cocoon" period), you g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y start exposing the dog to its triggers (while rewarding profusely) under (hopefully) controlled conditions.

 

At this point, allowing your dog to interact with strange dogs is a big mistake.

 

Also, I probably wouldn't walk both of your dogs at the same time. Your normal dog will start to feed off of your reactive dog.

 

You can PM me if you have any questions.

________________________________________________________________________________________

I obtained my BC from the county animal shelter. She had been picked-up as a stray from a rural area and based on her body condition, she had been on her own for awhile. The county vet estimated that she was 1.5 years old. So, her history is completely unknown. Three days after coming home, she developed a terrible upper respiratory infection (think green snot, fever, etc) and had to be isolated from other dogs, including my resident dog for 6 weeks. During that time, while walking her around the neighborhood, I noticed that her body language was very up, when she saw dogs in the distance. However, her introduction to my dog, who is great with other dogs, was actually very uneventful, although she did hid behind a chair in my spare room (with the door open) for the first 24 hours after the intro.

 

The fear aggression manifested in group obedience and agility classes. There was much growling, lunging, etc . The obedience instructor wanted me to "flatten her". Although I consider this person a friend, I never went back to her class. I pulled my dog from both group classes. I later learned that she scared people in the classes.

 

Her trigger was dogs (but not her "sister"). Especially medium sized and large dogs. Any sort of frontal approach or eye contact made her go ballistic.

 

When walking thru the neighborhood, she knew where every dog lived and she would start looking for the dogs behind the fences even if they weren't there.

 

The strange thing was that it took hours for her to come back to earth after an encounter with a strange dog. And these weren't physical encounters, they were visual. She would pant and be agitated for hours after seeing a strange dog. For awhile, I had toyed with the idea of consulting with the DVM behaviorist and finally did after a bizarrre incident. On the way to a class (this was after months of private lessons), we had stopped at a local park. On the trail, we encountered a man walking 2 small white dogs. I told the man to keep his distance and ofcourse the damn dogs were on flexis. One of the dogs approached my dog and barked at her from maybe 2 feet away--only barked at her, no physical contact. She sat down, looked terrified, didn't make a sound. We walked back to the car and I put her inside. She sat on the back seat and just started growling. At nothing. After we drive to class, she blew up at the first dog that we saw, the dog was about 30-40 feet away and wasn't even looking at her. I contacted the DVM behaviorist the next day.

 

In the early days, she growled a lot, but never made eye contact with me while doing so--actually she would go out of her way not to look at me.

 

The behaviorist came to my house and observed her alone, and with my other dog, and we talked for 2.5-3 hours. The dog was diagnosed with moderate generialized anxiety disorder. The vet prescribed prozac. The prozac was by no means a cure all, but it did help her come down to earth faster after seeing another dog. Instead of being wild eyed and panting for hours after an "encounter", it was minutes, so it gave us a window for learning.

 

The first thing that we did was to minimize her exposure to her "triggers" (strange dogs ), so her stress hormones could dissipate and to allow time for the prozac to reach therapeutic levels. During this time, I rewarded (with food) relaxed behaviors. Basically, she was rewarded for what we called her happy expression (ears up, soft eye contact with me, relaxed facial muscles) and later this was put on command. We started in a quiet room in my house, moved to my backyard, and then gradually went on the road. At the same time, if she saw a dog (there were visual encounters with dogs that I just couldn't control), I would say "dog" and then shove peanut butter or baby food in her face, no matter what she was doing, even if she was acting-out. Yes, I know that it seems like its rewarding bad behavior, but it's really changing negative associations (dogs) to positive associations (PEANUT BUTTER!!). During this time, I intentionally exposed her to dogs at great distances (initally a neighborhood block away), while saying "dog", shoving food in her face, and then doing a 180 and walking away. Over time, we moved closer to the strange dogs.

 

This whole process took about a year and is still ongoing. Now, she can participate in group classes, herding clinics, walk thru Petsmart, etc without exploding. And if she starts to react, I can stop it by saying "dog". To give you an example how this works, a few days ago I was walking down the street with her and a dog behind a fence started barking at her. She barked once and started to lunge. I said "dog" in a happy voice and she self-interupted the lunge, looked at me, and then started boucing up and down with her tail wagging, so I gave her a treat. This also works, if I don't have food in my pocket. Because I've changed the negative association to a positive association using a bridge (the word "dog").

 

Over time her generialized anxiety has decreased. She is less clingy with me. Her respiration is more normal (she was always panting), and she sleeps more soundly. Several months ago, I tried to wean her off the prozac, but wasn't able to because she started having random episodes of anxiety (panting in the car) and reactivity. I may try again this summer.

 

So, that's the story. The process has been expensive and time consuming--obviously not something that many people would be willing or able to do. As I said, I don't know her history. She was 1.5 years old when I got her and I've had her for just over 2 years.

 

BTW, even with all her barking, growling, and lunging, she never harmed another dog. During her bad times, we had several encounters with loose dogs and her response was always silent terror--she would sit in one spot and look like she was being raped. I've read that this is pretty typical for fear-aggressive dogs, the show is designed to maintain space, but once the boundary is breached, the dog just gives up.

 

I don't know what went wrong with her, if she had a bad experience, was poorly socialiazed, if her first owner(s) screwed up, and/ or she has bad genes. I'm guessing that it is a combination of all of the above. I will say that panic disorder tends to run in human families and there is very definately a biochemical component. There is no reason to believe that dogs are any different.

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Thanks for the input. I'm trying to find a controlled place where I can introduce him to new dogs without having to worry too much about the noise. If I can find a place, I want to get him comfortable there and then start working on meetings. I do know a couple of very relaxed and well behaved dogs to start with. Bodhi has shown no signs of aggression at all. If a new dog gets to close, he freezes in place and screams his head off. That's when Maggie gets protective of him. I'll look into getting a Halti and trying your greeting method. It seems like it could work well for him.

I haven't yet had Maggie's protectiveness be a problem while we're moving. It's only while waiting for Bodhi to do his business that she decides to be a guard dog. Right now I'm walking them together, and if Bodhi doesn't go, Maggie goes inside to wait. If Bodhi still doesn't go, he gets treated like a puppy. He isn't allowed out of his crate without constant supervision, and is taken back out in an hour. I'm not trying to use the crate as a punishment, I just want to make sure that if he has another accident, I'm there to catch it and get him outside ASAP. I don't think the problem is directly that he isn't housebroken, it's more that he doesn't know that there's any kind of time limit once he gets outside, and he either doesn't give me a signal when he needs to go or I don't recognize his signal. For the next few months, at least, he wont' have access to a fenced yard so he has to learn to go while on the leash, and to do it in some reasonable amount of time. I'll settle for 10-15 minutes right now. I can't wait 2 hours each time I think he needs to go. He's getting some fancy Australian cheddar as his potty training treat, so maybe that will motivate his ACD side! :rolleyes:

I've been trying to distract him when I see it happening. I'll work harder on that, and reward him for stopping more heavily.

I've been doing a bit of training each day. We're really on the basics, but he learns extremely quickly. Today, we practiced sit and down, and worked from taking treats gently through leave it. Leave it isn't solid yet, but the foundation is there. I'll try taking new behaviors outside and see if I can get him to be calm and focus. He's much more food oriented than Maggie, and hasn't yet shown the stubborn streak that she had from day 1. I see what you're saying about the environmental issues coming before the dog issues, but the dog issues are much more severe. If I could get his dog issues down to the level of his squirrel issues or his bird issues, things would be much easier. On the other hand, if I can get him to ignore the blowing leaves and grocery bags but he still has a panic attack when a dog comes within 50 feet, I won't have my high frequency hearing much longer. He does have great focus and drive, and I can see him loving flyball, agility, and frisbee. He just has to be able to keep his head around other dogs and in new places. I know he'll get there, I just hope he can do most of his rehabilitation quietly! :D

 

FANTASTIC! You have made a great start. Just keep on top of the obsession behaviours and remember to with socialization that he doesn't have to ever "like" the dogs he just has to learn he won't die if they are close. He has to learn not to obsess on how close they are and learn he can check where they are and what they are doing but he still needs to be calm and listen to you. Maybe stay at home for a couple of weeks and mentally stimulate him at home then try going out every couple of days just up the street or around a block where you know there isn't any dogs. Introduce the dogs slowly and at a great distance. The Halti just allowed you to re focus him and it may help calm him slightly, he just seems to get so overwhelmed he can no longer control himself. I wouldn't let him make any noise at home so he knows generally noise is unacceptable, that might help you get rid of the noise he makes when stressed. Let us know how you go!

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Thanks everyone, for all the great information. Just reading that other people have gotten dogs through similar issues really makes me feel a lot better. Unfortunately I don't have a yard, and right now I live in a relatively large building with lots of other people and maybe a dozen other dogs. I hope to be moving to a place with a yard as soon as June or July, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna need to go outside before then. :D I've been taking him down the stairs instead of the elevator, which should eliminate a lot of surprises and let me get out of the building without going through the main part of the lobby if necessary.

 

Once I'm outside, I'm right across the street from a large park, and there are always lots of people and dogs passing by. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to ease him into the world, except by being careful of my timing and choice of doors. I can quickly get to a quieter area, if I'm lucky enough to get out the door and around the corner without incident. Staying off of the busier streets will make encounters with other dogs rare, but every once in a while I'll run into one around a corner. Any long walks will have to be with both dogs, just because I'm not sure my feet will take double the miles I do with Maggie. I'll just have to stick to taking longer walks late enough at night that not many people/dogs are out. I've been working with Maggie on managing her prey drive, so separate daytime walks for each dog will let me make sure they're both making progress.

 

It is a bit difficult trying to get a head start on his issues when he's so new here. I'm working on building trust with him by making sure something good happens any time he comes around me, and it seems to be working. Just a few minutes ago he came over to sit by me. This is the first time he's come over just to sit next to me, rather than pushing his way in for a treat or ear scratch. It's also the first time he's let me give him a belly rub. Things do seem to be going in the right direction. He's just curled up at my feet right now, probably dreaming about something squeaky. Fortunately I'd spent at least 6 hours with him on 2 different days before he came home, so I wasn't a total stranger. Maggie was there for about half of that, so they had a head start on friendship too.

 

I was doing some clicker training with Maggie until I lost the clicker. I just bought a couple more of them, so I can start up again. I can definitely see the power of it, after teaching her the basics of skateboarding in about 15 minutes. So far I've been doing short, low pressure training sessions with both Maggie and Bodhi every hour or two throughout the day, and keeping treats with me at all times for occasional 30 second sessions in between. I'm being careful to watch for frustration in the new guy, but I haven't seen the slightest hint of it yet. Still, to be safe, I'm keeping things fun and easy for now.

 

Since my last post, we've had two walks. The first walk was just Bodhi, and I had hoped that 36 degrees and rain would keep other dogs inside. No such luck. There were so many out walking that you'd have thought it was a perfect summer day. We managed to avoid all of the other dogs but two. He barked at the first dog from half a block away, but I'm not going to complain. It was a normal dog bark, and he only did it twice. I'll take that any day over 2 minutes of high pitched screaming/yipping. I can certainly live with 2 barks per dog for now, if I can get him there. The second dog was even better. I started drilling him on sit and watch me, and he focused on me long enough that I don't think he even noticed the other dog pass us just across the street. This feels like huge progress from this morning. Walk 2 with both dogs was pretty uneventful, except for Bodhi deciding to poop on the sidewalk while we waited for a light to change :D At least it was outside, right? We only ran into one other dog on the walk, and that was right at the end. The other dog passed within 10 feet of us, and Bodhi let a few high pitched barks go, but then calmed down enough that I could have a brief conversation with the other dog's owner from 20 feet away. Since Bodhi was (mostly) calm, Maggie just reverted to her normal behavior (aka, "YAY a dog!!! Can I meet it? I bet it wants to play with me! YAY!"). Overall, today feels like quite a success except for cleaning up pee in every room of my condo, and that was just from one accident. He started peeing, I said no, he took off running and didn't stop peeing. I'm glad I rescued the 29 pound herding mutt instead of the Pyr/Newfie mix who probably causes small earthquakes when he jumps!

 

I'm heading to the library tomorrow to look for the book recommendations you guys have given, and may pick up anything else that looks even remotely relevant. Anything they don't have, I'll order from Amazon soon, so if you have any more training books you like, let me know. Thanks again for all the tips and advice in here. I've started redirecting him to his crate when he spins, and I'm going to be trying a lot more of the things you mentioned. It's funny, I've never thought of him as a problem dog. He's a dog, and he's definitely got some problems, but I don't see who he is today. I see the dog he has the potential to be. Whichever way you look at it, this is him:

panda3.jpg

panda1.jpg

 

Oh, by the way, he may not just be ACD/BC. He may be ACD/BC/Parrot. When he copied Maggie's play growl, I thought he was just trying to communicate since he's socially broken. Earlier today he tried to imitate the sound of the siren on a fire truck that drove by. :rolleyes: This behavior is definitely getting reinforced.

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Awesome!!! Any little difference is success. Just make a huge fuss of him when he is so calm and he will catch on. He will get used to being walked it just takes time. You may notice he will calm down just by you walking him each day so he can get used to it. And he is ADORABLE. My instructor has a dog that is a spitting image and she's the most highly titled dog at our club in agility.

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He's adjusting so quickly now that I almost wonder if I needed to worry at all. This morning, 2 dogs came from behind some cars, and I hadn't even seen them coming. He saw them first, and just barked once. Even better, it was a normal bark, not a screamy one. I got him to focus on me and ignore the other dogs, and he calmed right down. He's definitely getting more comfortable with me, though he's a long way from being like Maggie. I wonder if he's starting to trust me to protect him from scary dogs, since he hasn't had a bad encounter with any of the dozens he's seen since he got here. I wonder if the bark is just saying "Dad! Protect me from that one!". He's also gone from terrified of the stairs to excited about them in only 4 tries. The first time, he cowered against the wall until I took the first step down, before he very cautiously came and put one paw on the step. He followed me down 6 flights like that. Now, he wants to run full speed.

 

Interestingly, he seems to be completely aware of his back legs. Twice now, I've seen him balance on his front two legs, lift both of his back legs up at the same time, and turn himself around. Earlier today, he rushed ahead on the stairs and I called him back. Instead of turning around and walking up, he just backed right up as if it was the totally natural way to go up stairs. He didn't even look behind to see where anything was, he just did it. I see a lot of fun tricks coming out of this.

 

He's starting to catch on to the potty training, and know he's supposed to do it outside. Last night, he started to pee in my bedroom, then ran to the front door, then came to get me to tell me he needed to go out. While I really appreciate his good intentions, I would have been much happier if he had at least stopped peeing before he ran through the bedroom, down the hall, through the dining room, to the entryway, and back to the living room. :rolleyes: It's hard to treat such an obviously smart dog like an 8 week old puppy, but I'll get the hang of it.

 

Thanks for the compliments on him and the votes of confidence. I was pretty worried the first couple of days whether I'm experienced enough with dogs to really help him, but now that things are starting to improve I'm feeling so much better. Maggie came from a shelter and had her share of issues, but they were nowhere near this bad and she was quiet about them. It's working out well that I got him the night I started a my spring vacation, so I can really devote almost 24 hours a day to him right now. I'm still going to head to the library and grab some books just in case, but I feel like all the advice here has really led me in the right direction.

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There's a lot of awesome advice here, I just suggest you consider that he needs consistency and time to learn to trust you and know what is expected...its OK to take it slow if you need to.

 

I have found the Control Unleashed exercises can be really helpful for dogs who are fearful of other dogs...do you know if anyone has that kind of class near you? Where do you live?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, Bodhi has been here 16 days now, so I thought it was time for an update. He's well on his way to losing the problem part of being a problem dog. Potty training seems to be almost done, and he's got commands to pee and poop. He's had one accident in the last week, and it was while I was checking the temperature to see if I needed a jacket to take him outside. Oops.

 

The potty training problem may have been a blessing in disguise. For a while I was taking him outside 10+ times a day. All those walks, even if most of them were just a few minutes, really got him comfortable with things. He learned that being calm and watching me got him treats, especially with other dogs around. At this point, any fear issues he has left are easy to deal with because he's immediately looking to me to handle things, and not even watching the other dog. He's not quite ready to actually meet new dogs yet, but I'm definitely starting to see excitement replacing fear. I never would have guessed he could adjust so fast. Today, we walked for over an hour, including walking through a very busy park. It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and people and dogs are everywhere. Bodhi didn't make a sound. No whining about birds or squirrels, no barking about other dogs, nothing. I won't say it's easy quite yet to keep his focus on me and away from scary or overstimulating things, but it's possible. I feel like being able to keep him calm in any situation is a huge step towards him keeping himself calm, and it won't be long at all until I can stop worrying about things and he can be a normal dog.

 

So thanks for all the advice, everyone. It really gave me a push in the right direction, and I'm lucky enough to have a dog with a sponge for a brain, so he totally soaks up knowledge and new experiences. I was a little worried for a while, but at this point it's obvious that Bodhi is going to be just fine.

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