Spooky Foster

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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 4:14 pm

So I picked up my new foster dog today. She is very cute, very tiny, but very spooky. She slinks around instead of walks, and will flatten herself to the ground and run if something scares her. I just made an appointment for an evaluation with a trainer on Thursday. But until then I need some suggestions.

She will not walk if she is scared. This includes into other rooms, or up the stairs. With Wally if he is being stubborn I just keep walking and he has to follow (on leash). Can you do this with a spooky dog? I don't want to scare her anymore. Her previous foster mom had been carrying her into places that she was afraid to walk into, which I don't exactly agree with. So suggestions on how to handle this until our appointment on Thursday would be greatly appreciated. Dominant dogs I can do, but this is my first spook!

Her background:
She was a stray who alluded the police and the ACO for almost 2 months. She ended up being caught by a bunch of young boys who were sledding and she decided to join them. She was in a foster home for about 3 months. Though she bonded pretty well with the foster mom, she was afraid of her ADHD son (I saw this today, it was so sad, he just walks into the room and she will hide under or behind something, it makes him VERY sad . . . I'm glad that he could snuggle with Wally today). But she was continuously attacked and yelled at by one of her chihuahuas and was afraid of her ChowX. Recently she had regressed to the point where she refused to come out of her crate unless all of the other dogs, and the son, were out of the room. So she came to live with me in hopes of upping her confidence so that she can be adopted out.

I look forward to our appointment on Thursday, but tips on how to deal with this until then will be GREATLY appreciated.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby ellie@ny » April 2nd, 2006, 4:23 pm

I wish you luck with her!!!I hope she will turn around!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 2nd, 2006, 4:25 pm

When do we get a picture?
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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 4:28 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:When do we get a picture?

I'll dig up some of her old ones and post them in the Rescue section tonight. I'll try to get some new ones this week.
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Postby a-bull » April 2nd, 2006, 4:33 pm

I bet she'll come around. Spooky can be worked with. :) Sounds like a quieter home with just one well adjusted dog like Wally is just what she needs. She needs to get use to one new thing at a time.

I think carrying her where she is uncomfortable going is a bad plan. She needs to come around on her own at her own pace, and forcing her can just make things worse.

As she develops a comraderie with Wally and realizes he won't hurt her, she will probably venture out and follow his lead . . . but it will probably take alot of time---time for her to realize things are always safe and predictible.

Once she gets use to the ordinary, then you can work with things that make her nervous, such as kids, etc.

Try not to fawn over her when she's spooked. Try to act like stuff is just no big deal.

Have you read Paticia McConnell's "The Cautious Canine??" I'd send you my copy, but my cat peed on it last month. Check it out if you can---very helpful for "cautious canines."
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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 4:40 pm

a-bull wrote:Have you read Paticia McConnell's "The Cautious Canine??" I'd send you my copy, but my cat peed on it last month. Check it out if you can---very helpful for "cautious canines."

:hysterical:

My problem is that she's afraid to go places where I NEED her to go. Like she's afraid to walk back into the house after we go out. And she's currently afraid of going into the front hallway, but I need to walk her through there so I can get her up the steps to put her in the crate (too big to move and carry downstairs with my bad back, so moving it is not an option).

What's the best way to deal with that, other than to let her explore a bit more once all of my clients have come and gone (currently she's only been offleash in my office).
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby a-bull » April 2nd, 2006, 5:40 pm

Treats, treats, treats!! I know some of these new fangled dog trainers don't like to use treats to train, (no offense if there are any new fangled's on here!), but I think a little classical conditioning will work that through.

Patricia McConnell's book gives you desensitizing lessons, which are good for things that just plumb terrify her---like maybe kids or aliens or such---but her fear of just going from room to room sounds like less of a genuine fear and more of just a gneral skittishness . . . so enticing treats should encourage her.

Is she treat oriented?? (I probably should have asked that first) . . .
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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 5:47 pm

She will not take treats from my hand just yet, but if I put one on the floor she will eat it. So maybe I'll do a little Hansel and Grettle routine and lure her places.

Thanks!!


The good news is she FINALLY has relaxed. She is asleep at my feet on a blanket, just a foot away from Wally. I think she already has a crush on him :)
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby a-bull » April 2nd, 2006, 6:00 pm

Who doesn't have a crush on Wally? I know I do.

Yup, just drop the treats as you lead the way, or if she needs to go somewhere you're not headed, such as in her crate, just chuck the treats in 'til she enters on her own---unless you can both fit in the crate. :wink: Great news that treats encourage her. I've seen some that are so skittish, that even though they want the treat, they just can't even bring themselves to feel safe eating it---so sounds like your girl will be fine. :)

Eventually you'll be able to offer the treats less & less.

With skittish dogs, you want to use primarily positive reinforcement.

Sounds like she's already coming along!! :clap:
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Postby mnp13 » April 2nd, 2006, 6:12 pm

Put her food dish in the hallway she's afraid of, or make a 'trail' of food through different areas. She will see that good things happen everywhere.

For the shyness, I'd let her come around.

Can you spin her on leash to get her to follow you? I used to do this with horses. You make a few circles and then suddenly go straight. Does she know heel?
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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 7:04 pm

mnp13 wrote:Put her food dish in the hallway she's afraid of, or make a 'trail' of food through different areas. She will see that good things happen everywhere.

For the shyness, I'd let her come around.

Can you spin her on leash to get her to follow you? I used to do this with horses. You make a few circles and then suddenly go straight. Does she know heel?

I was just about to feed her in her crate, but I can close off the hallway and feed her there instead, thanks for the idea!

Unfortunately she backs up and freezes so the circle won't work. But she did walk out the back door when I made Wally walk out with her, so maybe that's the trick, always have a Wally around :)
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby a-bull » April 2nd, 2006, 7:10 pm

They learn very quickly if there is another well-adjusted dog around.

Maybe you should rent out the Wallster.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » April 2nd, 2006, 8:05 pm

When I had one like that, what finally worked was for me to square my shoulders, stand up straight, and just go with her on leash. She started to balk, and I just kept going, with a "lets go". She was like "finally, you have it all under control! Not saying it WILL work for you, it is just what worked for me. And I should add this happened after I had her a year.

So at first, calling her through the scary place instead of dragging her may help. You go to the other end of the hall, or go in the house and call her to you. Then the destination is a secure place, rather than an unknown.

She hated raised voices her whole life though. Even if I was yelling at the computer screen, she would slink under something and hide.

She will come out of her shell. Just be patience.
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Postby Purple » April 2nd, 2006, 8:10 pm

A suggestion had when we got Dexter....let them get to know a little of the house at a time, like maybe just one or two rooms at a time. It will happen Lys, it took Dex nine months..... :)
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Postby Malli » April 2nd, 2006, 8:59 pm

what about some training for confidence??

I agree, its helpful to have a well behaved level headed dog around to set example :)

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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 9:46 pm

Purple wrote:A suggestion had when we got Dexter....let them get to know a little of the house at a time, like maybe just one or two rooms at a time. It will happen Lys, it took Dex nine months..... :)

9 months?! How may rooms do you have in your house?
:wink:
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Postby SisMorphine » April 2nd, 2006, 9:48 pm

Malli wrote:what about some training for confidence??

Yup that's what we'll be doing starting Thursday. I've just only ever dealt with a-hole dominant dogs. This is a big difference. I just want to be sure that I don't mess her up more before I get her to the trainer on Thursday.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby panda » April 2nd, 2006, 10:01 pm

SisMorphine wrote:She will not take treats from my hand just yet, but if I put one on the floor she will eat it. So maybe I'll do a little Hansel and Grettle routine and lure her places.

Thanks!!


The good news is she FINALLY has relaxed. She is asleep at my feet on a blanket, just a foot away from Wally. I think she already has a crush on him :)


Great news on the recent development.

I have done exactly what you've described here with the treats for many of my foster puppies when they are so shy/scared/fearful and it seems to work. Opie was afraid of the stairs for the first week he was here and then one day he decided if all the other dogs were going to keep going up there he would try it too. I think your new baby will follow your Wally and that should help tremendously.

Good luck
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Postby Purple » April 3rd, 2006, 9:59 am

SisMorphine wrote:
Purple wrote:A suggestion had when we got Dexter....let them get to know a little of the house at a time, like maybe just one or two rooms at a time. It will happen Lys, it took Dex nine months..... :)

9 months?! How may rooms do you have in your house?
:wink:


It was a suggestion! We didn't actually do it!! LMAO!!!!...and we have 9 1/2 rooms in the gouse!
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Postby Malli » April 3rd, 2006, 12:03 pm

Oh I think I read the training bit :oops: oopsie

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