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Haven't posted or viewed this forum for a long time, so firstly, WOW, what a much better smarter look this site now has!

 

OK now onto my problem.

 

To save going into the history of my problem, I tried to find my previous thread started at the bigging of the year but couldn't find it, maybe its me not knowing my way around this new system.

 

Anyway, a little history first.

 

Some of you may recall i have 'Sam', who i got from a working sheep farmer in North Wales at 6 weeks old.

 

Sam is the pup of 2 working dogs on the farm, the farmer had 4 working dogs, 2 male and 2 female.

 

Sam is fine, never been a problem, he's a really great very energetic but easy going dog.

 

The farmer was a nice chap, lives on his own, i keep in touch with him, and drop in to see him when i'm in the area. Once whilst on his farm he joked about did i want one of his other dogs, a long haired female who was up in the hills and wouldn't come to him when called......he said she had been beaten before he got her....

 

I said id speak to my wife, when i texted him to confirm that we would take her, he said he would wait a while until after the lambing season to see if she comes around as he apparently paid a lot of money for her and she came from a strong working bloodline....

 

Then, almost a year on, he texted me to tell me that i could have her, her name is 'Nel'.

 

When we collected her he told us that she may smell because she's been eating sheep!

 

Her breath smelled terrible, she had horrible smelly burps, and she was covered in sheep poo!

 

We bathed her the night we got her, had to empty and refill the bath due to her being so dirty.

 

Anyway, sorry for the long post, now for the problems.

 

We got Nel around January/February time, and she was very scared initially, she wouldn't go outside, not even the back garden.

 

I discovered she was scared of the dog lead/chain.....when you called her she would lie on her back and pee everywhere all over the floor...

 

She has come along a lot, she is now very confident, she now comes to me when called, she is between 3-4 but acts like a puppy, turns around on her back and lets you rub her belly and acts all silly and hyperactive and tries to jump up at me and kiss me etc., (which i don't mind)

 

I've managed to get her out of the house on walks, i call Sam outside the front door off the lead and she followed 'off the lead' and i then have to put the lead on her when outside. I find the best time to take her out is around Midnight, when its very quiet, as the slightest of noises she still gets really scared and frightened.

 

She also runs off the lead, recalls to me when called and given 'two sharp whistles' (Sam was taught this and she obviously has learned from Sam).

 

However, she has some bad habits that we can't get her out of!

 

1. She has a terrible destructive nature, she has chewed our newish (around 2-3 years old) leather couch!

2. Due to her chewing nature we realised we couldn't leave her to run the house when we were out so put her in the kitchen, she has now chewed all the kitchen units! She also goes through all the food cupboards and chews the packaging of everything and all the food ends up over the floor! This causes severe problems for us due to the constant cleaning up required.

3. If we want to watch TV she sits on the floor in front of me with her head slightly lowered with her eyes 'fixed' constantly on me staring at me! If i tell her to go and lay down, she will go to the edge of the room, circle around, and come back to me immediately and do the same again! She seems to exhibit severe compulsive behaviour.

 

Since she has become more confident, she has started showing a lot of interest in our rabbits during cleaning times. We place the rabbits in a run, and she runs around the edge with her head lowered and lays down next to them with eyes fixed for hours on end.....

 

I would be grateful for some advise on how to stop her chewing and destructive behaviour.

 

Sam runs miles with me on my mountain bike through fields, has never been a problem with him being destructive, but Nel can't because she will bolt if a noise or gunshot is heard. She won't go to the toilet on the lead, only off the lead, and when i take her out off the lead so she can go to the toilet (the fields next to our house) she will do the toilet and run straight back to the house again).

 

I can't seem to find anything to stimulate Nel, because any instructions/commands given and she runs away with tail between her legs...and she won't play with ball or any kind of games...

 

Sorry for the long post - Please help!

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Hi BCSam,

 

I my self have no real experience with a dog like Nel, but I will offer some very basic advice. I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in, too.

 

First of all, have you tried crating Nel when you are unable to supervise her? This would eliminate the destructive behaviour.

 

Crating may also help when you are trying to watch TV and she is bothering you.

 

When you crate her, you could/should provide her with something to keep her busy at least for a period of time. Have you tried a stuffed yummy kong or other food releasing toy? How about a chew toy? Ice cubes frozen with kibble in them?

 

Also keep in mind that Nel may not learn the same way that Sam did. So, you need to treat her as an "individual" and perhaps change some of your training techniques. Have you found anything that motivates her? Food? A tug toy? Praise & petting? For instance Daisy will work for food. Devon could care less if you hung a steak in front of him. But he will work for his frisbee or a ball.

 

I know that there was a discussion on the boards about your rabbits and Sam a while ago. But I will just note here again, that allowing Nel to fixate on the rabbits is not good for her or the rabbits.

 

Thank you for taking Nel in and working with her. (Pictures?)

 

Best wishes!

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I'll second the suggestion about getting Nel a crate. Since she is a fearful dog, she might really like having her own safe and cozy den, and it might help her relax. It would certainly help save your house from nervous chewing. A roomy wire crate (28 inches by 42 inches, say), comfy (soft fleece covered mattress, say), cover the top and three sides of the crate with a blanket, and inside the crate have good things to chew like bully sticks, and especially enticing treats. I'm looking for a thread on crate training; I'm sure there are good ones on here and I will look some more.

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I agree about the crating completely - this principle will apply to everything else she does that you don't appreciate; don't let her engage in activities you don't want her doing. So don't let her out when you are cleaning the rabbits. Don't leave her loose to chew up your house. Etc.

 

For her leash phobia, I'd suggest letting her drag a light line all the time when you are present - don't use it for anything, just let her get used to it. Every time you pick it up or touch it, reward her with something (high value food maybe?) so she pairs the lead with something positive. Outside, you might let her drag a long line, so that you can maintain control without giving into her leash phobia. Over time, you can gradually shorten it, as she becomes more comfortable.

 

As for the training, this is where strictly positive reinforcement will be invaluable. If she is afraid to follow commands, let her exhibit behaviours that you like, catch them and reward them. This makes it very positive, puts very little pressure on her, and allows her the freedom to offer you things you like without her worrying that she will be punished for what she is offering. A clicker is handy for this, but if you don't use a clicker, a verbal marker will work as well. So the next time she approaches you and sits politely, quietly tell her "yes!" and reward her. Dogs will continue to offer a behaviour that gets them something they want (a reward). This could eventually work for the staring at you - every time she turns her head away from you to relax, even for a second, mark it and reward it. Soon she will start offering it more regularly, and you can start rewarding only for longer and longer intervals of looking away from you. It will ideally eventually become a habit for her to look away, which will lead to her relaxing for longer periods. This is good for you both, as it sounds like she really doesn't know how to relax at all.

 

When I got TWooie, he offered me nothing, ever, because he was much too worried that he would do something I didn't like. It took a few months, but not too long ago he walked over to me, sat down, and lifted a paw for me in exchange for a liver brownie. This is what I consider a HUGE success for TWoo - offering a behaviour! It was also the gateway to offering further behaviours, as he was so pleased with the positive reception he got from me (and the resultant reward for him). Turns out TWoo knows quite a few tricks that remained undiscovered for many months, because he was afraid to offer them. Most recently I discovered that if you pretend to kick him, he thinks this is a funny game where he "attacks" my pants and then gets the zoomies. For a dog who is so afraid of hands, this is definitely weird, but I'll take it :)

 

Sorry to go into yet another TWoo melty-gushy moment, but I just want to empathize with your problems by describing the challenges TWoo has presented, because he has not been a super easy dog to bring around either. It takes time, and it takes patience, and it take some work, but it's incredibly rewarding. My friend Dove calls TWooie my "Feel-Good Dog" because every time we break through another one of his weird little walls, it's a success that makes us all feel fantastic. It can be the same for Nel!

 

RDM

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If you click on the right hand icon by the search function, you can selectively search for CRATE TRAINING in the title. That pulls up quite a few threads here. Also, here are a few links on crate training an adult dog:

 

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1694&S=1

 

http://www.ehow.com/how_2306028_crate-train-adult-dog.html

 

The main thing is take it slowly, make it all good -- treats, chews, etc.

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Hi All, thank you for your replies.

 

We purchased a crate shortly after getting Nel when she chewed our leather suite!

 

We used it for a few months but had several problems, one was getting her in it, you can't handle nel by the colour or control her by hand, as she will wet....she is literally that nervous.

 

So we had to throw food into the crate to get her in it.....

 

Then we had the problem of her wetting inside the crate over the quilt and soft furnishings that we put in it for her and it was just so much work that we thought we would use the kitchen instead, the flooring is tiled and therefore easy to clean, however now she has started eating/chewing the kitchen cupboards!

 

However, she has definetely shown improvement and you can tell that she trusts me now, i've just been playing with her on the floor after we came back from our walk and she was going crazy with me on the floor, rolling around on her back with her feet up in the air, and even licking/kissing my face, and then getting so excited and started pawing my in the face, but gently.

 

Sam and her have actually started snapping at each other and fighting, they both seem very possessive and don't like seeing the other one getting close to me, so i had to put Sam in the kitchen for 10 minutes whilst i gave Nel so 'my time'....

 

Daisy Doodle, i'll post some pictures of Nel up in the next day or so.

 

Regarding the lead/leash, its not so much of a problem once the lead is on her, its getting the lead on her. It can't be done inside the house because she turns over and wets, or won't come to you if she senses its walk time as she knows when you intend to put the lead on her, thats why i have to let her run out of the house and then call her back and put the lead on her in the front garden, she still turns over on her back but at least its a lot cleaner that way!

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Regarding the lead/leash, its not so much of a problem once the lead is on her, its getting the lead on her. It can't be done inside the house because she turns over and wets, or won't come to you if she senses its walk time as she knows when you intend to put the lead on her, thats why i have to let her run out of the house and then call her back and put the lead on her in the front garden, she still turns over on her back but at least its a lot cleaner that way!

 

This is why I suggested doing this: (quoting myself)

 

For her leash phobia, I'd suggest letting her drag a light line all the time when you are present - don't use it for anything, just let her get used to it. Every time you pick it up or touch it, reward her with something (high value food maybe?) so she pairs the lead with something positive. Outside, you might let her drag a long line, so that you can maintain control without giving into her leash phobia. Over time, you can gradually shorten it, as she becomes more comfortable.

 

The idea is to make it so that you can snap the lead on her anywhere without worrying about her rolling over and wetting. It's nice that you've found a way to avoid her submissive pee making a mess on the floor, but wouldn't you rather make the leash a positive thing rather and not have her pee at all? Dealing with the problem rather than the fallout of the problem is going to be a lot more useful in the long run.

 

As for her peeing in the crate - remove the bedding and she can't pee on it. She'll be fine without it for a while as she builds up some confidence!

 

RDM

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Sorry for soundings so thick, however how do i get the line onto her without her turning over and peeing?

 

Also she is a scavenger in the house and eats anything and everything, she doesn't even chew her food, she literally swallows everything you give her immediately without even chewing (bones included),however when out of the house she shows NO interest in food of any type at all, she is to nervous.

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I'd just put the leash on like normal, but then don't take it off - she just wears it around the house and figures out that it isn't a big deal. It doesn't need to be a long one, just an 3 foot lightweight line with a snap on the end to attach to her collar would be fine for now.

 

She may be a bit nervous of it at first, but just ignore it and she'll figure out that it isn't something bad. Then you can start working your hands near it while offering high value food.

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I'm a bit late here, but Nel sounds a bit like my (ex-) foster Cai. He was "impossible" to leash walk when he arrived and hated a collar so he came with a harness. As others have already suggested, I attached a leash and left it on him for a couple of days. The big step forward was to use a leash coupler when walking. The power of example is strong and my female, Senneca, had no patience for his rolling over, so he quickly discovered that it was better to trot alongside her than let her drag him along on his back. As he gained confidence, his submissive peeing diminished -- though he still did it occasionally when he got adopted.

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Sorry for soundings so thick, however how do i get the line onto her without her turning over and peeing?

You might just have to deal with the turning over and peeing thing to get the line on her at first. But then you *leave* it on her (short and lightweight so it doesn't catch on anything in the house or outside and hang her up, which could frighten her even more) and just let her get used to having a leash/line on.

 

J.

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Also she is a scavenger in the house and eats anything and everything, she doesn't even chew her food, she literally swallows everything you give her immediately without even chewing (bones included),however when out of the house she shows NO interest in food of any type at all, she is to nervous.

 

 

For dogs that inhale their food -- I have seen plastic food bowls that have 'bumps' molded into the bowl area. The idea is to spread the food out a bit and the dog has to eat around the bumps, therefore slower eating. Sorry, I have forgotten where I saw these bowls.

 

The other idea I have heard about is to put rocks in the bowl. I am leery of this technique since I can picture an impatient dog trying to swallow a rock. The rocks would have to be large enough, but not too large.

 

Do you think Nel is eating so fast because she is afraid someone/another dog will come and get her food? Would her behavior change if you fed her in a room by herself?

 

Jovi

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