Ok....for those of you who have been following this poor dogs saga......
For the past week my husband has worked with Piper several hours a day, playing ball, sitting, petting.....any contact we could get. About 3 days ago Piper seemed to distance himself even more. It has become very frustrating, but we keep our patience because we believe in this dog.
Due to severely cold weather that has moved in, we decided that we HAD to get him in the house. My husband cornered Piper very easily and Piper eventually just laid down. After petting him and giving some assurance, he picked Piper up and was going to carry him into the house. This is the first time he had tried this. Piper was ok in his arms until he got to the gate where Piper became frightened and urinated on my husband. I'm assuming this is another sign of fear.
He let the dog down to go and change clothes. He tried to give it another shot but once again when he got to the gate, Piper starts squirming in his arms. It's hard to hold a 100 lb dog like that. He's out there now - going to try again. It's going to be 22 degrees tonight so we have to get him inside.
We still haven't seen any signs of agression unless we just don't know what to look for. All we see is fear - but like common loons, we get dumb-founded with this dog - paying no regard that he could fear bite. My husband would rather get bitten, I think, than know that he didn't 'try' with this dog. Yeah, some times we have no sense.
I am afraid that by 'forcing' him to come inside it may make him even more fearful. I'm kind of stuck because I don't want to scare the dog, but I don't want him out in the weather.
Any suggestions on what is best in this situation? Thanks guys!
Since it's going to be so cold, I'd say bring him in if at all possible. Just be preparred in case he should bite.
I might suggest that it would be just Piper and your Husband involved. Keep any other pets or people away. Once he's in just have your Husband sit with him and keep him company without making any demands. Have some food or treats ready just in case that interests him, but don't force him to take it. He will not want to feel cornered in.
You're going through the exact same thing I went through with my Chow. It really takes some time and patience. Once Piper comes to trust you, it will be a very strong bond. He will more than likely only be reseptive to you and your family.
nix the choke chain. when it is tightening around the dogs neck as you are trying to drag the dog inside it is probably causing him to panic. forcing a dog to do something that it is fearful of is only going to increase the fear. you need to come up with something positive to get him over his fears. the fact that this dog has no trust established with you is only going to make the process harder. if it were me i think i would get the dog in the house anyway i could then get a proper nylon collar on him, tight enough not to choke him but not too loose so he could slip his head thru it and attach the leash and leave it on him 24/7. only walk him with the leash and grab some human food, like vienna sausages or roast beef and use that to entice him back in to the house. allow yourself lots of time. if the dog is that fearful you may want to seek out the assistance of drugs to help with this process.
Did you try just putting the collar and leash on and just letting him drag it around for awhile? Maybe he could get used to it that way. Or put it on before feeding him dinner, so he associates it with something good. Maybe feed him his dinner close to the door and slowly move it closer and closer to the house until its through the door. I know that wont work in a day and its already cold out, but thats all I got. Sorry. Good luck.
Scout, we haven't used the choke chain yet. I was just too scared taht it would make things worse. I just couldn't see dragging that dog around.
We never were able to get him inside. DH can pick him up in his arms with no problems, but the closer he gets to the gate the worse the dog squirms and as I said - it's hard to hold a scared, squirming 100 lb dog. I just don't know any other options at this point and tomorrow night is going to be even colder.
We have not put a leash on him and just let him drag it around yet.....I had never even thought of that. I do know that once he realizes there is a leash/collar on him is when he literally loses all control, so we haven't tried that since the day we got him. Maybe allowing him to drag it around at his own pace will make him more accustomed to it. It's worth a try.
We have tried placing the food bowl closer to the door (gate) . Once it reaches a certain point, he refuses to eat. After 3 days, we feared that he may think we were starving him, which would make him more leary of us, so we gave the food back. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do.
It's nearly midnight now and we are still trying to come up with a creative plan to get him inside. I'll keep everyone updates and thanks to all of you for your posts. Every comment and suggestion is appreciated.
In what position is your husband trying to carry the dog? Is the dog horizontal or vertical? Argus used to have a thing about new stairs. Long story, short--I was able to carry her by wrapping my arms around her under her front legs and just letting her back feet dangle. She's 57 pounds. However, I couldn't carry her horizontally because I couldn't hold onto her when she freaked out.
Do you try to carry him like a lamb? Scooping him up, right arm behind backlegs and left around the chest? Have a second person in front with bacon grease smear on the nose. As a matter of fact, Smear bacon grease on his lips, and then pick him up, lamb style. With a horse, they use "twitches", not nice, but beats a broken leg. Get the beast so distracted he doesn't notice he is taken in. For that matter LURE him w/ bacon grease on a toy. don't be nervous or melodramatic in any of these actions, he is a pack animal, if you are nervous, he is.
He was carrying Piper horizontally. He was afraid that if he carried him vertically, it would make it easier for Piper to snap at his face, if the dog decided to.
The bacon grease is an excellent idea! I'm gonna give that a try.
As for tonight, we were unsuccessful at getting him inside. We made a huge pile of straw and fluffed it up and he went and laid on that. He will not use his dog house - I guess because once again, he would have to go through another door.
What has your vet said? I guess you have no idea why he is afraid of doors, gates? My one dog Champ has a fear of sewer grates, it sounds weird, but we had such a hard time taking him for walks until we figured it out. If we try to walk him anywhere near a grate, he freezes and digs in with his back paws and won't move. So we have to avoid grates and sewer covers at all costs or he flips out. Definitely try again to get him in the house, even if he pees on your husband, tell your husband to bring him inside then go change, you need to get him inside. Once he's inside and you pamper him and give him some space and time to explore, maybe he'll relax a little and decide he likes it better inside. He is afraid of something, and being outside in the cold all the time because of his fears is probably only adding to his discomfort. My heart goes out to your hubby and you for trying so hard, I know it must be very sad and frustrating. Keep trying, you have to show him he has nothing to fear but you may have to force him to do some things first, like make him come inside. Good Luck!!
I'm going to guess that it is the same thing that spooks horses. It is dark, it is unknown, it is there. Remember they have edged vision because they don't see color. Dark looks real dark to them. Lines are more pronounced in contrast, and MUCH scarier. To make more use of the dog house, face it to your front door. Get a big bag of Mother Hubbard tiny bone cookies. I use these all the time. Once I left a bitch for breeding w/ a dog trainer. The dog refused to go in the crate. W/O thinking, the trainer pitched a cookie in the crate the dog went in, she locked the door, no arguement at tal at tal...I thought that was the smartest thing I've ever seen. I was such a control freak that the dog must do what I say....It is a dog. Discussion is not an issue. You want the dog somewhere throw the cookie there. In they go/ out they go. I train pups out this way too. I throw the cookie, yell out and good dog as their butt passes the door, then shut the door. Funny too, how they get "lost" on the way in, but if I have food in my hand they cannot get in the kennel fast enough.
whoever wrote the tip about leaving the collar and leash on is spot on. if he only wears it when he is under duress, then obviously he will tense whenever you put it on. my only fear is that it would get caught on something, but it sounds like you have a real close eye on him:). i'm so sorry that it is cold and miserable out there, it must be so frustrating, especially when you just want him to come in and be safe and warm. i wish i had some fabulous suggestion for you, but i don't. just try to hang in there, be patient and hopefully piper will come around. you have three years of misery to work through before he can.
This idea, would probably take a bit longer but might be the least scary. If you can get a harness on him, I would say, put him on a retractable leash and put hit somewhat close to the fence, 10 feet or so away. Let him chill for 20 minutes to an hour and then shorten the leash a bit maybe 5 feet. Again let him chill for a while and then, try to move the leash away farther and continue until you are past the gate and that way, he feels that you are not pushing him but that he is doing it himself. I am not sure how much time you have to do this but it may help. You might also just have to have someone leading him on a leash and, I would say harness, so he doesn't feel like you choking him, and also have someone behind and try to coaks(sp?) him to the person in front but having someone behind so that he can't backtrack. I think that if he is this scared of you now, forcing him through the fence(gently of course) is not really going to be that detrimental to him.