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Nothing very exciting to report today -- Kelso seems to have hit a sort of plateau and is not moving forward in such leaps and bounds. Of course I knew that this would happen, so am not at all concerned. I am just happy that he has gotten to this point.

 

I am now blocking off the laundry room when I am home so that he has to be in a little bit closer proximity to the rest of us and cannot hide all the time. I sort of hate to do it, as I want him to have choices, but if I continue to let him hide I think that it may slow down his progress. I want him to get used to being around the pack and learn that even though we move and make noise we are not dangerous. I don't push him into interaction, but hope that by watching us he will eventually want to join in. He lies with one paw crossed over the other, which is so cute!

 

He spent his first day outside with the other dogs while I was at work today, with no problems.

 

He also will now reach just slightly toward me if I am petting him and stop, and that's such a cool thing!

 

I am going to arrange for his neuter soon. I worry about it -- that getting him there and leaving him at the vet, even though I will take him to my personal vet and know he will be treated carefully, will further traumatize him and cause a setback. But at the same time I know it needs to be done.

D'Elle

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A sedative might be a good idea................or then again, might frighten him because he will feel weird. I don't think I want to chance that.

 

I have thought about waiting until he is more stable before neutering him. but on the other hand maybe it is better to get the trauma (if it is one) out of the way early on, and not risk a big setback after he has made a whole lot of progress.

 

There could be an argument made for either option.....it's impossible to know for sure what is the right thing to do, I suppose.

D'Elle

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A sedative might be a good idea................or then again, might frighten him because he will feel weird. I don't think I want to chance that.

 

I have thought about waiting until he is more stable before neutering him. but on the other hand maybe it is better to get the trauma (if it is one) out of the way early on, and not risk a big setback after he has made a whole lot of progress.

 

There could be an argument made for either option.....it's impossible to know for sure what is the right thing to do, I suppose.

D'Elle

 

2 thirds of ours are done already without an specific trauma. The red merle who is so frightened and is probably the dog in the crate in the new video I found was scared but, was greatful to come home. He recognized it as a safe place.

 

I'm also interested in you saying kelso drinks normally to less. Our drink like they may never see water again. It's improving but, for the first few days it was incredible.

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I am now blocking off the laundry room when I am home so that he has to be in a little bit closer proximity to the rest of us and cannot hide all the time. I sort of hate to do it, as I want him to have choices, but if I continue to let him hide I think that it may slow down his progress. I want him to get used to being around the pack and learn that even though we move and make noise we are not dangerous. I don't push him into interaction, but hope that by watching us he will eventually want to join in. He lies with one paw crossed over the other, which is so cute!D'Elle

This makes me think so much of our Bute. He came into our home from the kennel at 11 weeks of age and promptly got "strange" with everyone except me. So many people tried to make friends in non-threatening ways (at home, at dog class, on socialization trips). They kept it low-key and one-on-one, but he didn't show any improvement (he'd sneak up behind to get the treat they held behind their backs).

 

Finally, I realized we were going no place fast (or slow), and just handed his leash over to anyone available and walked off (this was at dog class, so all was safe). Bingo! While it was going a bit out of his comfort zone, he was also having to rely on the work folks had done to "make friends" and let him know they weren't a threat - and just deal with it. Of course, he was ready for it and we just had to quit enabling the behaviors of avoidance. Where he had been a clinging vine with me, as soon as I left him leashed to someone else, he would sit on that person's feet until I returned. And, viola! Next meeting, he actually initiated going over to other people and "checking them out" and letting them pet him gently.

 

I think you are doing a wonderful job - taking it easy and one step at a time, and now you are expecting him to deal with little things. I am sure he will continue making progress under your care!

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A sedative might be a good idea................or then again, might frighten him because he will feel weird. I don't think I want to chance that.

I suppose sedative may have been a poor word choice; I was thinking more along the lines of the feel good meds (like Xanax), which is why I said not ace, which certainly could scare a scared dog even more. Any of the mood altering meds that are used to help with phobias was what I had in mind because they make the dog feel *good,* and those good feelings are then used to help modify behavior (in the case of anxiety or phobias; for a better description you can search some of Melanie's discussions of using Xanax on Solo to help him with overall anxiety and thunderphobia). Anyway, obviously it's your call, but if you really want to neuter him sooner than later, I think this approach could work, if your vet is willing to cooperate.

 

J.

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Learning to trust a human being is trickier for Kelso. I have been periodically going into the laundry room and sitting on the floor with him, petting him and sometimes talking to him. Tonight when I left he actually followed me into the kitchen a ways, so I sat down on the living room floor with the other 3 dogs, petting them. Kelso stood for a long time in the kitchen watching. You could see him thinking it over, taking one tentative step toward the living room, then retreating. Finally he turned and retreated to the laundry room, but after only a few moments he reappeared, lying down in the kitchen just outside the laundry room where he could continue to watch us.

 

Last fall I had a semi-feral foster dog and it was a rather interesting experience. It was unfortunate that he was so emaciated they almost didn't neuter him, but fortunate for me because he would eat anything I offered. At first, he'd start salivating (from stress) if I even entered the room he was in. After about a week of being the 'magic treat lady' he would venture out of my office and hide behind a piece of furniture to watch us, especially if we were playing with Daisy. Within a week of that, he had learned how to sit and lay down while remaining 6 ft away from me. It took a couple of months before I could touch him without his skin flinching, but by the time he left my house, he trusted us 100%. He did hit a couple of road blocks along the way, like being in the car, going outside on a leash and going into new places, that comes with the territory. There will be good days and bad days, but always remember where he started out... that will keep you going!

 

Good luck! I'm glad you're posting this story here!

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There will be good days and bad days, but always remember where he started out... that will keep you going!

 

Good luck! I'm glad you're posting this story here!

 

Thank you for that, DaisyDuke, it was well timed and just what I needed tonight. Kelso can now walk pretty much normally and can trot and although I have not seen it I bet he could run if he wanted to. And now he is using all of his energy attempting to avoid me. I know this is another stage, and I am not discouraged, just acknowledging once again that this is a long road to be on.

 

Tonight it took a half hour and patience and some fancy footwork on my part just to get him into the house. Until tonight he came in just fine with the other dogs. One or two steps forward and one back, is what we seem to be doing these days.

 

I am now spending as much time as I can both morning and evening sitting on the kitchen floor next to him, eating my meals, reading a book, or just hanging out. Not the most comfortable place for me to hang out but he won't come to where I am, so I go to him. He tolerates my presence, although he has yet to initiate any contact. He will let me pet him once he is inside (outside, now, he won't let me near him), and I think that he is enjoying the petting although he won't admit it to me. ;)

 

The poor guy, he just doesn't know what to do with it, with me, with life.How can he trust when he has never even known what it is to trust anyone in his life? He doesn't know that trust exists. I feel so bad for him at times, but I really focus my energy on noticing the positive improvements he has made. He eats normally, can trot around, and is acting like a dog at least, even if a frightened and confused one. That beats all heck out of where he was 2 weeks ago.

D'Elle

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How about hand feeding him? It might be a way to reinforce the idea that good things come from you. And highly portable, too.

 

In fact I'd try getting a treat pouch filling it with a mix of high value treats and his kibble and just wearing it all the time so you can offer him a reward whenever he shows interest in you.

 

If he won't come up to you at first, just drop it near you and ignore him. Eventually he'll probably pause to watch and see if you've got more and you can build on that. The more he hangs out near you, the more he is rewarded.

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How about hand feeding him? It might be a way to reinforce the idea that good things come from you. And highly portable, too.

 

In fact I'd try getting a treat pouch filling it with a mix of high value treats and his kibble and just wearing it all the time so you can offer him a reward whenever he shows interest in you.

 

If he won't come up to you at first, just drop it near you and ignore him. Eventually he'll probably pause to watch and see if you've got more and you can build on that. The more he hangs out near you, the more he is rewarded.

You know, maybe that is a good idea. At first, he would only eat from my hand (as long as I was not looking at him or moving or making noise), so it was progress to get him to eat from a bowl. But maybe now I should try only feeding him by hand again just so that he will be more willing to be around me. My fear is that he simply won't eat enough if I do that, but I can give it a try and find out for a few days. He isn't skinny, so if he doesn't get enough to eat for three days or so it won't really hurt him.

D'Elle

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I agree with the hand feeding. I used Cash's daily meals to get him used to my hands near him. That was a tough one for him. I had little bits of kibble in one hand and basically had to start with my other hand a little bit lower and further away from him, just so he'd get used to an out stretched hand. I also had to sit low on the ground (hunching) and turn my face away or keep my eyes down for the first little while. Over the span of a few months I was able to make touch an enjoyable experience, but mainly focused on collar handling as that was a huge issue for him.

 

At first, I also had issues with Cash coming inside the house, which sucked because it was October and we had gotten a cold spell. I did actually have to prop the door open and go where he couldn't see me. I would make sure he got a great food reward when he came in to reinforce coming in the house. Again, he was about 10lbs under weight (should have been a 35-40lb dog) so all the extra food did him wonders.

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I have wonderful news to report today!

 

My two dogs are crazy about playing with toys. Jester is fanatically addicted to fetching anything at all that can be thrown, and Kit has her own version of fitting in to the game. Most of the time we do this outdoors, with a ball or frisbee, where the most exercise can be had on the acre that I own. But if I get home too late from work or, like last night, it is too windy and dusty to make outdoor play fun, we play in the house with a squeaky toy. Jester goes nuts in the house -- it seems that it is for some reason even more fun for him indoors. I had not played with my dogs indoors since Kelso came, fearing that it would scare him because it gets so manic and they run into furniture and walls and create chaos. But last night I decided to give it a try. And guess what --I think it was a breakthrough for Kelso!!

 

Kelso just watched at first, but within a couple of minutes he was irresistably drawn into the fray and came out of the kitchen to join in! It was amazing to see this dog tracking the toy rapidly back and forth, moving his whole upper body, as I waved it around before throwing it, pretending to throw it here, then throwing it there. He was excited! He was happy!! He was acting like a border collie! It is the first time I have ever seen him truly interested in anything! He even chased the toy, although when he got to it he didn't know what to do next and Jes always gently took it away to return it to me. There were no tensions whatever between the dogs (mine always play very politely with others), and Kelso enjoyed himself.

 

It was just amazing to see this dog with his eyes really focused, tail and ears up and showing the first glimmer I have seen yet of that wonderful border collie intensity. Best of all, at one point I held the toy in front of him and moved it around and he grabbed it and actually gently tugged on it for a couple of seconds! I made sure I never moved toward him; I did not even look directly at him, just at the toy. But for a couple of seconds there, he played with me!! :D

 

Afterward, Kelso ventured out to explore the house all on his own -- another first -- going into rooms that he had never shown curiosity about before. And after that he lay down in the kitchen only a foot from the living room instead of retreating all the way into the laundry room again.

 

Of course, indoor play is now going to be an at least twice-daily thing from now on. We played again this morning, and Kelso again joined in, and again tugged with me just briefly. My dogs of course think that the extra play is great. Their total enthusiasm is very instrumental in getting Kelso involved. I am hopeful that I might have found a way to make major progress with Kelso. Although he is still just as intent on avoiding direct contact with me, I think that the joy and exercise that the play brings will go a long way toward creating the relaxation that he needs to begin to understand that human beings can be a good thing for dogs.

 

I am now going to make sure that if another person comes to the house, there is indoor play with a squeaky toy involved each time. It may make a big difference in his attitude toward people.

Cheers,

D'Elle

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Although I do not want to get my hopes up too high, I am thinking that the squeaky toy play just may be the way to Kelso's heart, at least for now. Since we started playing with the toy, Kelso's behavior has changed in some significant ways. He now comes readily into the house most of the time, and explores rooms other than the kitchen, always under my watchful eye since he is not housebroken yet. He sometimes responds with a look toward me when I speak his name. And best of all, he is now hanging out in the living room, lying next to my chair!! :D

He still will not approach me, and avoids all touch the same as he has all along, but I am very encouraged. (And very happy that I no longer need to hang out sitting on the kitchen floor all evening! )

He is losing some weight, but building his muscle mass still has a long way to go. I am looking forward ever so much to the time when (hopefully) he will join in the play outdoors, because that's where he will get the exercise he needs to get in shape.

Interestingly enough, Kelso is a silent dog. I have yet to hear him make any kind of vocalization whatever.

As of today he has been with me for 3 weeks. I think he has worked incredibly hard and made amazing progress.

D'Elle

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It's really nice to hear all these great updates and read about Kelso's progress. A lot has happened for him in three weeks!

 

Very best wishes!

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