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Rescue - Very Lazy BC Mix

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Hey everyone,



I have a rescue BC Mix (we think bc/aussie) named Kaze. She is about 1 year and 8 months old and probably the laziest and most uninterested dog I have ever met!


She will run with me for about 3 blocks but then she gives up and would rather walk instead. I've taken her hiking and she does fine but she gets bored after a while.


She is also not very into toys, bones, or food toys. She will lick her soft plush toys with squeakers and then line them up in her bed around the edges. She doesn't like fetch either!


It took her over a week to start chewing on a cow rib bone that I gave her. Even now it is still mostly intact after a few weeks. I gave her a cheese filled bone (cheese is her favorite) and it also took her at least a week to start on it! The only food toy she is interested in is this disc top that gives her pieces of kibble when she nudges it. I tried giving her some new food toys and she is bored by them.


She loves going to the dog park more than anything and she enjoys running around. She will interact with other dogs but she is not great at instigating play time with them. Many of the dogs are a little too aggressive for her so she just lays down and submits a lot of the time.

In terms of treats, she will eat them but I cannot use them to food train her. She isn't interested in working for food at all.


Essentially, I am a new BC owner. I've always grown up with Corgis. She seems pretty content and I try to interact with her with toys, but she just seeks affirmation from me instead. She also will not touch her food until after I go to bed because she seems to know I won't be able to pay attention to her then. Is this something that rescues tend to do?


It seems very abnormal for a BC from all the research I have done that she would be so lazy so consistently.


I am posting this because I just want her to be very happy and make sure she is happy! Any advice on rescues, BCs, ideas or toys I have not tried are all welcome.



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How long has it been since you adopted her and what's her background? I'm wondering if she may still be rather shut down.


When I adopted Bodhi he was about a month out from having been picked up as a stray. He wasn't doing too well on his own and was well on the way to starving. Then he was shutting down in the shelter before he was pulled by a rescue where he was for 2 weeks.


He was still very, very tentative when I adopted him, and still very thin. He didn't know how to play with other dogs, with toys or with people. My older border collie mix was very patient, treated him like a puppy and taught him how to be with dogs and what do do with toys. I taught him how to interact with people and other things he could do with toys. He came around pretty quickly, but I was seeing him offer new behaviors for a full six months after I adopted him. It took him 3 1/2 years to figure out what a ball was for, though it wasn't something I actively tried to tech the entire time. I'd pretty much given up. Now he's as ball crazy as any normal border collie. :lol:


He's also a very laid back dog by nature, much more than the average border collie. Hard to say how much of that's because of his early life.


So, it's possible Kaze just needs more time to come into herself. She will be who and what she is, but you may not see that for a while yet.

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Thanks for the thoughts!

I adopted her in January of this year.

In terms of her background:


She was a little under 1 year old when she was picked up in Kentucky and thrown into a shelter. A rescue organization from MN that brings all their dogs up from the south found her and decided to bring her up for adoption because she was up for being euthanized in the near future.


When she was found in Kentucky she actually was micro-chipped with information. However all of the owner's contact information was invalid. She is not hand or foot shy, but completely people shy. She likes other dogs, all animals (including cats and bunnies), and kids. She is very afraid of guys; especially guys with beards and deep voices. At first she was also terrified to go on a 15 ft chain at work (she comes to work with me!). However we have slowly gotten over that and now she has no problems.


She is more accepting of women who have another dog with them and will take to them more quickly.

I definitely understand she just may be a more timid and quiet BC and that is absolutely fine! I just want to make sure I am not missing anything (in particular with a bc) that you folks might be noticing.

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If it's not a health issue, you might try a flirt pole (lure stick). I had a dog that wasn't interested in balls, frisbees, or any kind of fetch. She never got excited about playing, till I found the flirt pole. I started with a small squeaky toy on some twine to see if she was interested, she was. Then I attached it to a pole and she loved it. So, I broke down and bought one and kept replacing as she wore them out.

My latest rescue, a BC, also loves, loves the flirt pole. The only negative is watching the lawn divots fly because she turns on a dime.


On not being food motivated, I think it was on this site, where I saw something about liverwurst being pretty irresistible?


When I adopted my first rescue, the foster told me it's not unusual to take at least six months before you see their true personalty. So, like GentleLake said, she may just need more time.


It's wonderful Kaze found someone who worries about her happiness. Thanks for adopting.

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...It's wonderful Kaze found someone who worries about her happiness. Thanks for adopting.


That sums it up for me and, I'm sure, just about everyone here.


All good advice given so far. Also, remember that each dog is a personality of their own. Some dogs are never treat-oriented, or toy-oriented, or really active unless it's a situation that they find stimulating for activity.


Very best wishes!


PS - I prefer to think of it as "laid-back" rather than "lazy".

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Thanks for the tips!

My vet insisted on doing a full blood work up when I brought her in for a "shelter check" after I first adopted her. She said she has seen a lot of things come up in dogs brought up from KY so we went through all of that and everything checked out fine. We've been back a few times for various odds and ends and the vet has stayed pretty up to date. We did a blood work test last time and everything checked out well.

Thanks for the advice on the flirt pole! I will give that a shot and see. She does like watching fast moving objects; she just doesn't chase or do much in reactions. I have been very fascinated by how inquisitive and watchful she is.

Fair point on using the term lazy. I guess I went for that one because when she does eat if I am awake she will sometimes actually drag her bowl across the floor with her paw and eat out of it lying down. That or she will just crawl along the floor until she can get to the bowl. I've never seen a dog do that before! Her legs are so long that she will just kind of paw out for things as she wants them but often times if she can't reach them she just stares at them instead of getting up to get them.

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You have probably tried these things but they are some that get my lazy lethargic dog excited and active:


Hikes in the mountains/new trails/new parks

Swimming in lakes/rivers/creeks/sprinklers/his pool

Training with a trainer/agility/group training

Going to stores that allow dogs

Getting our second dog Artoo

Giving him a job (he is responsible for removing our socks from our feet at the end of the day haha)


Also he once had giardia and that made him extra lethargic, it's very hard to catch on a fecal exam from what the vet told me... So there is the possibility of that. Have you always fed her the same food ? Could she have food or environmental allergies?


Could we get some pictures!! :)

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She may still be pretty shut down. Even eating from a lying down position reads a little more "trying to disappear into the ground" than "too lazy to stand up and eat", unless there's an underlying medical issue. I'd try a DAP collar or diffuser too, and see if that helps her relax and open up at all. I don't think they're magic cure-alls, but we've had some success with using them with Gabe during stressful times and helps him take the edge off a little. Maybe just let her chill a little and see what things she enjoys, and use that to start helping her feel more comfortable and open up.

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First, kudos to you for rescuing a dog. Would love to see a photo. :-)


I occasionally foster BCs and had one that was EXTREMELY shut down. She came from a puppy mill where the dogs were kept in groups, not socialized and when they were fed, the kibble was just thrown on the ground for everyone to fight over. If the 'breeder' wanted to catch one, he would use a long pole with a hook on the end to grab the collar and drag them out.


What you are describing reminds very much of some of the behaviors this foster had. Just take it slow with her, lots of reinforcement and experiences that help build trust.


And the advice about giardia - that test requires a specific type of screening since giardia is not usually picked up on a normal fecal. That is if you want to cover all the medical bases.


Best of luck with her in the future.

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You have had good advice so far. She definitely sounds to me like a dog who has learned that it is advantageous to be invisible. This is most likely from her background, which likely involved neglect and/or outright abuse. It will take time for her to come out of her shell. Having fostered several very shut down dogs I know that it sometimes takes a lot longer than you think it will.


All of the suggestions above are good things to try. I will also add that it is important to remember to love her and accept her just as she is without being ambitious for her. If she feels fully supported and accepted as she is it will help her to come out of her shell. It could take many more months or it could even take years, and she may never be a super lively outgoing dog. But in time she will probably be less shut down than she is now. I have never seen a shut down dog NOT become more lively if given enough time and the right atmosphere, so take hope. Just give her time.


And, try liverwurst, baked chicken, stinky cheese, anything at all to get her interested in treats. Try doing come training with her at mealtimes before you feed her. If you can get her interested in learning a few behaviors for treats that will help.

She is a lucky dog to have you.

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Think about getting her a doggy friend to play with, just every now and then. Gibbs is very good w/shy, even shut down dogs. They really seem to respond to him. Wish we were closer, we could give it a try.


If you have a trainer you trust, (and I mean really really trust to read a dog's behavior/personality) see if they might have a recommendation or two for a good play date.


If your dog is shutting down at the dog park, I'd leave with her. And all of my border colllies, (Gibbs is my 4th) have been much better with one other dog at a time than with several. It seems like there's just too much stimulation with a bunch of dogs running around.


Good luck - with time and patience, she will come out and you might be pleasantly surprised.


Ruth and Gibbs

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Good to know on the treat suggestions and giardia. We just came back from a weeks of hiking in Montana so I will get her checked for that.

We do already have a few pup friends she loves and is completely comfortable with! I have had them come to our house to play with her and then we have gone to her house to play as well. It does help with her meeting new people for sure!

Pics to come in a minute. I've been struggling with the uploader for the past 20 minutes.

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This is the only one it will let me upload for some reason.

Her back paws have the same marking as her front paws.

She's a big girl! She stands about 1 1/2 feet high at her shoulders. Her back (from the back of her neck to the beginning of her tail) is almost 2 feet in length. She weighs 58 lbs.


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In addition to the blood work, I suggest a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation preferably by a rehab or sports vet. Based on an xray and very visible misalignment of my rescue (of unknown background) BC's pelvis, she likely received a very hard blow (hit by a car? kicked? ) to one side of her pelvis before I acquired her

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I occasionally foster BCs and had one that was EXTREMELY shut down. She came from a puppy mill where the dogs were kept in groups, not socialized and when they were fed, the kibble was just thrown on the ground for everyone to fight over. If the 'breeder' wanted to catch one, he would use a long pole with a hook on the end to grab the collar and drag them out.


Yes, the Sprakers dog. Truly horrific situation. Glen Highland Farms still has a couple of them I think, the ones that were the worst shut down and having trouble learning to interact with good people in the world. :(:angry:

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