Doc won't go in the basement

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Postby babyreba » August 8th, 2006, 6:28 pm

Brought Doc home today, and he's as stressed as you could expect, being dumped by his owners and all . . . he's doing fine, all things considered, but I have a dilemma. He will not go into my basement, at all. It's a finished basement, tile floor, laundry machine, my desk, a cushioned bench, a couple of windows up high that let in a bit of light, and I had set it up as a temporary office so I could spend time with him down there while he was here. I figured that I would set his crate up down there so he'd be separated by both a crate and a door from my dogs while I'm at work.

The only problem is that he will not go into the basement at all. He lowers his head and wags his tail really fast like he's scared then runs to the back door and kind of cowers down, like he's afraid I'm going to force him down there. And he will not budget. So naturally, I haven't done so and he is now upstairs in the living room in Tucker's crate for the moment.

I really kind of need him to be willing to go down there, as I can't trust him to play nice with my dogs (especially Reba, who has already made a lot of noise about his arrival here), and I know he has a history of crate busting . . . I've tried coaxing him with cheese and rawhides, both of which he loves . . . I've tried leashing him and leading him down, but no dice. I had hoped he'd sleep down there tonight, but now I need to come up with a Plan B till I figure out how to get him down those stairs.

Any thoughts? All I can figure is that his former owner did put his crate down there and kept him there when he was at work, so Doc must associate the basement with being left alone . . .
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Postby pocketpit » August 8th, 2006, 7:41 pm

Could it be the flooring? Kade abhors tile and other types of slick flooring to the point that he'll refuse any attempts to coax him on it. If pressed he becomes anxious (he hates displeasing us) and has on occasion even started to drool due to the conflict he faces.
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Postby babyreba » August 8th, 2006, 9:33 pm

i got him in by taking him in my back door after a walk, finally. he's confined safely away from my dogs. i was very concerned i wouldn't ever get him down there!

the poor dog is so stressed, who knows what's going on in his head right now.

i need to go out and get some valerian root or something for him, he's really unhappy right now. :(
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Postby a-bull » August 8th, 2006, 10:06 pm

Awww, that's a bummer. It's always so sad to see how stressed they really are about all the changes in their lives, but how at the same time they try so desperately to hide it and adapt.

Does he do flights of stairs? My guy can't see well, so he behaves like that at staircases because he wants to go down but he can't. :(
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Postby Purple » August 8th, 2006, 10:10 pm

That is tough. Hopefully with a little time and continuity he will adapt and relax.
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Postby mnp13 » August 8th, 2006, 10:49 pm

Put the leash on him and confidently walk down the stairs. Don't coddle or lure him, just walk. He'll follow, just keep walking.
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Postby julie k » August 9th, 2006, 12:02 am

Yes, put a leash on. Hold the leash right next to his collar so he doesn't have room to back away from you.
But, also, explain to him what you want, which is to put one foot (after another) on the stairs. Bridge/reinforce/praise each step.
If he has a panic attack, stop and let him, but don't give him any more leash. Just wait until he gets over it and then start over again, asking for a foot on the next stair.

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Postby JCleve86 » August 9th, 2006, 12:06 am

Our dogs were PETRIFIED of the stairs when we moved into our apartments. We had been in a rambler before, so they'd not seen more than a step or two at a time...and our apartments are 2nd story only (garages on the first "floor"). They could go up *okay* but going down was another story. For Bosco, who is the braver of the two, just having a bunch of treats and praising the hell out of him for each step taken worked...in under a day he was going up and down stairs no problem. Molly, OTOH, wouldn't budge. Treats be damned.

Finally, we got frustrated (she NEEDED to get out to go potty) so we just drug her down the stairs...and praised her and told her how good she was while doing it. lol...sounds awful but it worked too...she only had to be half drug down the stairs once or twice more.

You could always try grabbing a spare neighborhood cat to let Doc chase down the stairs. :|

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Postby babyreba » August 9th, 2006, 11:07 am

i had tried the leash and walking confidently down the stairs and he bolted in the other direction, nearly pulling me off my feet. after spending more time with him last night and this morning, i am certain that he was not afraid to go down the stairs . . . he's actually not afraid of anything that i have noticed. in his former home, the crate was in the basement, and as far as i can figure, they must not have spent any time with him down there and probably just used the basement as a place to leave the dog when no one was home.

so i think he was anticipating being put in a crate in a strange basement and left alone.

so i took him through the back door into the basement last night, and after i got him to stop looking for an escape route, i got a book, laid down on the cushioned bench, and hung out with him and read for an hour or so. he settled down on the rug next to me and went to sleep. i then put him in his crate for an hour, went upstairs, and came back down and let him out and hung out with him again for about half an hour. lather, rinse, repeat.

this morning the basement has been all about hanging out without crating. we got up at 6:30, i took him out to play on the springpole, then i fed him down there, watered him there, took him in and out of the back door, up and down the basement stairs, played with him down there.

he's now going up and down, in and out willingly though with some suspicion.

thus, i don't think it was fear he was showing so much as a conditioned aversion to the basement!

thank GOD!! :D
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Postby mnp13 » August 9th, 2006, 11:15 am

Great work!!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » August 9th, 2006, 1:18 pm

Good job!!! :rock:
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Postby a-bull » August 9th, 2006, 1:28 pm

Good stuff~great job!! :clap:
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Postby JCleve86 » August 9th, 2006, 3:18 pm

I'll...uh...fourth everyone else. Nice work! And good for Doc...goofball that he is. Man how I would LOVE to get that dog into weight pull...oh and his harness could have one of those red crosses...you know, for "Doc." Okay...anywho...
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Postby a-bull » August 9th, 2006, 3:39 pm

. . . oh, and PICTURES, (or did I miss them)? :oops:
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Postby cheekymunkee » August 9th, 2006, 4:13 pm

a-bull wrote:. . . oh, and PICTURES, (or did I miss them)? :oops:


Here are some on this thread. He is a cutie pants!!

http://www.pitbulltalk.com/viewtopic.php?t=4231
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Postby a-bull » August 9th, 2006, 4:31 pm

Ohhhhhh him!!! Oh he looks like SUCH a sweetheart!

You had people pm'ing you with interest in him in the other thread. Any luck???
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Postby babyreba » August 9th, 2006, 4:37 pm

Hoyden PM'd me, and I told her to pass my email addy to her friend, but I haven't heard from him yet.

As for other folks, nothing really suitable. Jaystreets and I PM'd a bit, but he and I both agreed that Doc is probably more high-maintenance than is suitable for him and his family . . .

So nothing solid yet.
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Postby a-bull » August 9th, 2006, 5:23 pm

Well, you keep up the good work in the meantime. Sounds like you're doing a nice job with him. :)
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Postby lipshipsattitude » August 9th, 2006, 8:03 pm

pocketpit wrote:Could it be the flooring? Kade abhors tile and other types of slick flooring to the point that he'll refuse any attempts to coax him on it. If pressed he becomes anxious (he hates displeasing us) and has on occasion even started to drool due to the conflict he faces.


That or the stairs. Rory WOULD NOT walk up or down stairs that you can see through. You know the ones that have spaces inbetween the steps instead of solid backing? I dont know how better to explain them. She also didnt like balconies or railings that you could see through or down below, I had to carry her when we visited a hotel on a road trip. When we got home I pracitced at my bf's work. I would get her favorite toy and haull ass up the stairs calling her in a play type manner. Man I went up and down those stairs so many times but eventually she wanted to get to me bad enough and go over her fear
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Postby mnp13 » August 9th, 2006, 9:57 pm

lipshipsattitude wrote: When we got home I pracitced at my bf's work. I would get her favorite toy and haull fanny up the stairs calling her in a play type manner. Man I went up and down those stairs so many times but eventually she wanted to get to me bad enough and go over her fear


good work on that one!
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