Hi. You guys have helped me a few times before with my dog, and I'm hoping you can again.
Sophie was rescued at 9 mo from a domestic-violence situation. Man didn't like the dog (or women either, apparently) and took to a kill shelter. The rescue people said they didn't think she had been abused, but based on her behavior, we now are pretty sure she was.
So recently I finally caught her on the couch (which she lies on ALL the time when we're gone despite this being against the rules; drives me nuts b/c she'll never ever even try to get on the couch when we're home, and I can never actually catch her still there so I can scold her).
Well, since I actually caught her and could give immediate feedback, I took her collar, led her to the couch, and scolded her harshly (nothing physical at all). But it just broke my heart, b/c when I did that, she shrank down to about half-size, ears plastered back, trembling head to tail (I'm not kidding), and ran away the second I was done.
She is quite smart so I know there's no problem learning commands, but when anyone in the family says to her cheerfully: Sohpie, Come. She turns and runs the other direction (clearly thinking something bad is going to happen). It's almost comical. Even if we just call to her in a cheerful, chatty tone or make encouraging noises, she won't come. (unless she hears us opening the door to take her outside).
She learned "sit" and "down" really fast and has come a LONG way on other behavior and anxiety issues (we've had her 9 months) but I'm not sure how to even start on this one. She is not particularly food-motivated (I can't find anything small that she likes) although that doesn't stop her from eating our dinner off the counter once in a while! (LOL)
Any of you with more expertise than me have suggestions? We hope to hire a behaviorist in the spring to work on her dog-agression and might ask them about this, but I was hoping someone here could give me some ideas sooner. Our couches are getting pretty hairy!
Hi, my suggestion is to take treats and a long line, a 20' - 30' leash, hook it to her collar, and let her wander, or walk away. when she is a small distance away call her, gently us the leash to guide her to you, and give her a treat, Just say come once, and when she starts to head in your direction calmly praise, not high pitch just calm voice. Nothing negative with your recall, and be patient, she will come around.
I have a rescue who is now 11 years old. A trainer/behaviorist I took her to when I got her said it takes twice as long to overcome the abuse as it did to inflict it. Looks like you have another 9 months to go.
With this dog I would not do any sort of yelling even if it is just a raised voice. It is clear this dog is sensitive to it. If you don't want her on the furniture crate her or confine her while you are gone. Leave her with a peanut butter treat filled kong to divert her attention but don't "scold" her as I think this could more damage.
With the recall you have to find out what motivates her. Does she like toys? balls? Hotdogs? I would experiment to find out what turns her on. Then use that in your recall. Even if it's just to call her to you to go outside.
I think this dog would benefit from dog obedience classes even if it's private lessons to start. Sooner rather than later would be best.
This is what I would do, I would start with the dog in a room with the door closed. and anytime the dog looked at me, I would throw treats to it. I would also look up clicker training. this will work a lot better if you know how to mark behavior. I then would up the anty, and wait for her to do anything else like wag her tail, take a step towards you, whine. anything. and reward. keep upin the anty till she comes. The whole idea behind this is to teach her. that being animated is not going to get her hurt, but food. An abused dog, usually does not know why it is being abused. they just know that when they, move, bark, nip, lay down.....yada yada yada. they get hurt. So they quit offering behaviors. well we need to teach that it is okay to offer behaviors. in this case the recall. I would not even start with a leash on an abused dog. Most abusers weapon of choice is a leash and collar. I would just start with the very, very basics. So if I want the dog to come to me. anything that the dog offers in my direction, even barking or tail wagging or looking, i would reward.
Also when you ask sophie to come. you need to move away from her. that way she will chase you.
***Edited By: gunny on 11/22/2006 9:15:43 PM*** Reason: s
Also, keep in mind that she may not have been abused, but just is very sensitve. I have a dog who is a rescue, we are pretty sure that he was a abuse case, and I have a dog who was not abused, but both respond with the same behaviors when they are unsure or scared. just because a dog shrinks back and runs away doesn't mean that the dog was abused, it can mean that the dog has soft or weak nerves. Reguardless if your dog was truely abused or not, DO NOT play into her fear behaviors by trying to comfort her, that will only make it worse, just ignore her and let her work through it. Than praise her when she is relaxed again.
So I totally agree that scolding isn't the way to go given her reaction. The LAST thing I want to do is traumatize her further. I like the idea of calling her to come when we take her outside, except we taught her that when we say "Go Pee?" we will take her outside, so I hate to change the command now.
I definitely can see that it will take more time, and I have to admit, she has come a long way since we got her. We were able to ultimately stop the diaper-chewing-spreading-thru-house, the pooping/peeing in the basement, she's not pulling on the leash nearly as bad, we got her thru a summer of treatment for heartworm, she no longer follows me from room to room and has connected with everyone else in the family. She just turned out to be a dog with a lot more needs that I understood when we got her; I had done a lot of reading and searching, but I still wasn't prepared for some of the reality. So all in all, I'm really delighted at how much better it is now with her than at first.
We unfortunately can't really do formal training yet--she needs private work b/c of the dog agression and we're not going to have money or time for that until the spring (work, baby, etc).
I agree with everyone else. When you took her back to the couch to scold her harshly, She does not know why you are angry. If she gets on the couch and you see just lead her" off" calmly.You have to get this dog to trust you. I have a dog that was like yours is. It took alot of time and patience, and now shes a happy, confident girl and we have a strong bond. She use to do the same thing, run in the opposite direction when I called.Now when I call she comes running as fast as she can like "what fun thing are we going to do now" Make everything positive for her.
OK, thanks for all the suggestions. GSD girl--really interesting about about abuse vs. just being really nervous. Hadn't thought of that. I like gunny's suggestions about rewarding any animation, movement. I think that would work with Sophie and makes logical sense to me.
But what treats to use? I think she would respond to actual little pieces of meat (uck--I'm a vegetarian!) but I've been nervous b/c we were told never to give her table food b/c she has a sensitive stomach. We gave her a bone that had the tiniest bit of fat on it and she ended up having diarrhea all over the house. That was NOT our best night.
You may try to use cheese as a treat. She will only get this treat when you call her. I don't recommend giving her a treat from your plate when you are eating. This tends to cause the begging behavior. But if you give it to her when you are just working with her it should be ok.
Try a little cheese and watch to see if it upsets her stomach. You can use dog treats from the store too.
When you can afford, going to a trainer would be a good idea. Hope all of this helps.
This has been an informative thread for me. We recently adopted an 11 month old German Shepherd who is afraid of everything, especially men and kids.
It just broke my heart the other night when I threw a treat up in the air to him and he ran, yelping and cowered under the kitchen table as if he was going to be hit, so I'm always looking for new ways that we can work on trust with him. He's the sweetest thing and he's bonding more with me than with anyone else because I'm at home with him all day, and he's starting to come around with my son because my son spoils him rotten, but my husband works a lot and doesn't have the opportunity to interact with him as much.
I'm going to have my husband use some of these suggestions when he interacts with our dog, hopefully with time we can show him that he's going to be okay.
You know Merico, that's something I never thought of. My husband calls the dog and he looks like a deer caught in headlights and makes a beeline for the table to hide.
We've also had issues with submissive urination when the dog is around my husband (the dog urinating, not my husband lols), but it was especially prominent the first week. It's still there and still going on, but not as frequent.
I am certainly no expert - but I did have a dog who was abused....
In regards to the couch... booby trap it... let the couch do the scolding... put tin foil on the couch, or something that makes noise when he gets up there. He won't like the feel or sound of it when he gets up there. He'll get the idea that he doesn't belong up there without you being involved.
I agree with Gunny that rewarding him for any animation is a good idea. Cheese, carrots, slices of cooked potato... whatever you can find that works
Lucy was abused and terrified of everything when I adopted her. She is still nervous, but nothing like she used to be, we also used a lot of different training methods with her. She responded the best to TTouch, bodywrapping, and clicker training. Bodywrapping alone has worked miracles with her. I would locate a trainer that uses these methods and ask questions.
If she was hit or abused when called to come, she probably wont respond to that, use a different word like here or front and give her a treat EVERYTIME for the next 2 weeks and Never scold her or use an angry voice even if you have to call her for 15 minutes, use a high pitched happy voice, and repeat it fast, like, Here here here here etc. and when she comes give her a treat and let her go back to playing, also dont call her to "come" if its time to go in the crate just go get her and hook a leash to her, you dont want calling her to you to mean the fun ends or you are going to leave. You want to make it so coming to you when called is the best thing in her world. After she realizes good things happen when she comes her recall should be pretty reliable.
Do NOT use a happy voice with this dog. One of the worst things you can ever do to a dog is lie to it. It sounds like the old owner would call the dog using a deceptively happy tone and then abuse the dog or administer some kind of punishment. That is lying to a dog and it teaches them to NEVER trust a person calling them in that manner. You need to overcome this. Your dog has been trained that the word come and a happy voice mean danger and uncertainty. You have to think up a specific tone of voice (not a happy, high-pitched one) to use just when you are giving the dog a command. If you use a neutral tone or a very low pitch it will help. Horse people will know what I'm talking about. Horses respond to a very low pitched voice a lot better than a shrill one and many can be calmed down from being absolutely terrified by hearing their owner's voice being used in a calm, low pitch. Raise the pitch and you raise the adrenaline. Start from scratch by putting a leash on the dog and teach it to sit as if it were a young puppy and use the new tone of voice. You want to completely retrain this dog to know that when you use that particular tone you are speaking to the dog. Make no sudden movements. If the dog gets scared speak calmly in a low tone of voice until the dog calms down. Use a phrase like "good dog" every time the dog responds favorably and use lots of treats. The dog will start to realize that you are not going to talk nicely and then hurt it-you can be trusted. Your voice will not be the same as the old owner's and you will use different words. The thing that you will need more than anything else is a lot of patience.
upbeat repetetive tones make the dog want to come, a low voice is similiar to a growl in dog speak, when correcting a dog you always use low gutteral tones so why would you use that to get a dog to come to you?
I dont understand your theory behind that, care to explain?
even if the dog was abused, dogs live in the moment, if you a different word in an upbeat tone and ALWAYS praise and treat, you will see results
I have used this method with great success on many dogs puppies and adults and rescues.
Wow. Lots of good suggestions. Did I mention the vet did a cxr and saw a piece of shot in her shoulder? Dog only with this couple 7 months but sad how much damage was done. On the other hand, she has come SO far that I am a lot more hopeful than I would have been last year. Lorrix, I will tell you things DO get better, though it sounds like you have the same problem.
So now everyone in the house is banned from scolding her. I try to say "come" sometimes when I'm doing other cheerful, happy things with her, but it makes sense to use a different word so I'll try that.
Still working on treats. Dogs can eat carrots?? Like, a little piece of raw carrot? She just doesn't seem interested in any food (except when she ate the entire pan of cornbread I made, some corndogs my husband had heated up, and a sandwich; maybe I should do some baking for her. LOL)
What IS TTouch and bodywrapping? I know about clicker training.
The other thing is that she used to follow me from room to room in the house. I was glad she got over that but now she just spends most/all of her time up in our bedroom which makes me a little sad.