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Adopted dog 3y old - fear and lack of interest

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by DenaByte, Oct 13, 2019.


  1. DenaByte

    DenaByte PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone !

    My partner and I adopted a 3-year-old female Cane Corso from a shelter. We do not have access to her past, we do not know who took care of her or what is the reason she was in the shelter. All we know is that she was in an isolator room in a dog clinic for 2 days before being taken from there into the shelter and then into our home.

    She is a gem. After a few days she has now gotten used to us and knows the basics, she knows not to pee / poo inside, only outside when on a walk. She knows she must not beg for food from the table, or steal any for that matter. She knows basic commands like sit and paw. I thought her to lay down and to get up. She got used to her new name, and sort of responds to stay and come.

    Issues are, we are living in an apartment, and buying a house is a few years away still. While Tera(that's what we called her, since none knew her previous name) seems to be having a good time, adapting well to the situation and being a very polite and disciplined dog - her respect towards her owners (us) is crossing the border of simply being scared/afraid of us. I feel like I can see the fear in her eyes still, every time she looks up to us.

    She only gets really excited (wiggle her tail, bounce up and down, swaying left and right with the body) when we get back home from being away for an hour or two (or more, which hasn't happened so far) or when she does not like the food we have served her and she is trying to beg for something else.

    I would like to teach her how to play with her toys and potentially take it to a fetching game. But she shows no interest in playing with toys. None. I have no idea how to excite her into taking interest with a toy, and after she has done that I can start working from there towards a fetch game.

    She seems quite afraid of a lot of things really, apples falling from a tree while we were on a walk ended up in a jump-scare. A return home during night time scared her of her own shadow from the flashlight. Every time a car drives close to the boardwalk she just runs to the other side and keeps looking over her shoulder in almost like a panic state.

    I really want to help this dog feel better, more confident and help her have fun with a fetch / tug game. So I am here for advice / tips on how to handle the situation.
     
  2. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    You do not say how long you have had her but rescue dogs can take a very long time to settle and trust their new owners. It sounds as if you are doing all the right things and it really is time and patience.

    I adopted a collie puppy almost 8 years ago who was approximately 11-12 weeks old. Something pretty traumatic had happened to them during those first important weeks because it took over 2 years before I gained her total trust. She wouldn't play either and in fact she didn't want anything to do with me which was bitterly disappointing as I'd hoped to compete with her in competitive obedience. You just have to be patient and it's no good trying to force attention on them that they don't want. They have to learn to trust you.

    You can eventually teach any dog to play and one of the easiest ways of achieving it is to buy a food pouch/bag with a handle (the sort beloved by agility competitors - look at Paws Trading online). To start with put a big juicy treat on the bag and let her eat it several times and if she's happy to do that then start pulling the bag gently away from her (still with the treat on top) so that she has to start following it. Good luck.
     
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  3. DenaByte

    DenaByte PetForums Newbie

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    Hey Twiggy !

    Thanks for writing back. She has been with us for less than a week, so I really don't expect her to be all over me in excitement and happiness all the time. I am well aware of the adaptation period it takes older and, as you mentioned rescue dogs, this is why I approached her with patience knowing it might take her a long time. Amazingly enough, she is quite disciplined and this really helps us take a giant leap forward.

    I will give her time to adapt fully to us, and this will be a tough task since we are going abroad for 3 days for a wedding, but we can't take her with us so she is staying at grandma's. This will probably shake her faith in us as permanent owners but we will get over it.

    Once again thank you for your answer !
     
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  4. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    Less than a week? I'd not be worrying yet, let her settle, don't pressure her to play or interact if she doesn't want to. I got a very scared collie nearly a year ago and it took him months before he was happy to leave the kitchen and come into the front room with us. It took him over 6 months to not be scared of my brother (who looks after my dogs while I'm at work). He has only now started to not shy away when there's some pressure to do something like training.
    You are asking too much too soon I think. Let her settle, this could take months, and you may find that she comes round on her own.
     
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  5. furlover

    furlover PetForums Junior

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    Less than a week is no time at all. I would allow her to come to you and when she does, make a big fuss of her but on her terms. If she seems at all afraid, back off a little, but not too much. It is not a breed we see much of in the UK, but it sounds as though some unmentionableinpublic had ill treated this girl and she will take months to trust any human.

    If she is already doing all the right things, you are doing well. I have never had a rescue dog, but I have taken on an older dog and the change of home unsettled her. Her eyes followed me everywhere for months.
     
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  6. DenaByte

    DenaByte PetForums Newbie

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    A little update on the situation - she is doing great. She did an oopsie once so we had to scold her but the poor thing took it to heart and she got so scared. I tried to touch her belly since it seemed like it had contractions that were unnatural, but the moment I did that she squealed and moved away. I showed her that I am willing no harm and we got over that, it turns out she was just hungry.

    She trusts us a lot, she is very happy when someone comes home, even if it was for 10minutes away to the grocery store it's as if we were gone for hours. She is that happy. It didn't take her long to adapt to the new environment, and she is trying to play with us but we do not know what games they used to play with her old owner so it's our turn to be taught by her, not the other way around :D. I think she wants to play tug of war as she is constantly opening her mouth looking for something to bite, but she has a plush toy and a plastic toy, none of which she bites much. This leads me to believe that she is looking to bite something that a person is holding. I guess ?

    So, all in all, she is doing great, thank you guys for your support and advice !
     
  7. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    You shouldn't have told her off. If she went indoors it would have been because you didn't take her outside when she needed to toilet; your fault not hers. And one of the basics of dog training is to ignore unwanted behaviour, and reward the good.
     
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  8. DenaByte

    DenaByte PetForums Newbie

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    Not that kind of oopsie, we always take her out at least 3 times a day. No excuses. The oopsie was that she had torn a hole into her sleeping blanket for whatever reason, I guess because we were away for a few hours that night. I understand why she did it, but this behaviour should not be tolerated, it doesn't matter to me since it's her blanket but she must not take her emotions out on stuff like that. Still, she ate her entire bowl of food after that so everything is fine.
     
  9. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    Just a suggestion. Telling your dog off for an event that happened some hours earlier and indeed which was most probably because she was anxious whilst you were out, is rather unfair imo as she will have had no idea why you were cross.

    J
     
  10. DenaByte

    DenaByte PetForums Newbie

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    J,

    I get your point but in this case, she knew exactly what was up. I personally don't condone harsh measures, especially on a dog that has it's own habits and character already, but in this case, she had to know that this was not okay.
     
  11. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    I'm sorry but that's absolute rubbish and totally unfair. If you'd caught her in the act of chewing her bed then a "No leave it" would be acceptable but to expect a dog to know why she was being reprimanded hours later is ridiculous.
     
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  12. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    And please don't mistake her behaviour or body language as an indicator of guilt - she would have been reacting to you and your behaviour when she saw you, not to something she didn't know she had done wrong an hour before.
     
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  13. DenaByte

    DenaByte PetForums Newbie

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    Well like I said, I get your points and understand your concerns, but we'll just have to agree to disagree. Everyone has their own methods and ways of handling different situations. I still stand behind what I did, even if it might look cruel or unfair here in the forums. I love Tera, I care for her, I feed her and give her shelter and warmth. The last thing I want for her is to feel bad after all the hardships she has been through.
     
  14. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Look at positively.com, kikopup and thecanineconsultants.co.uk for some tips on dog psyche and training.

    Punishing any dog (let alone a fearful, Cane Corso with unknown history) could end in tears.

    As has been said, punishing a dog for something it did hours ago, and probably has no association with, will just make the dog fearful of you and more likely to mess or destroy things through anxiety at being left and scared of you coming home.

    Don’t understand how anyone can think this is ok: :(

    “She did an oopsie once so we had to scold her but the poor thing took it to heart and she got so scared.”
     
  15. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    What on earth....
    You not only ‘punished’ your dog for something that was done and dusted (go get a handle on how dogs think) but you ‘punished’ her for being stressed at being left alone.

    How exactly is that going to help her??

    You’ve had really good advice here, which is presumably why you posted in the first place, from people who have shed loads of knowledge, experience and expertise, but you’re really not prepared to take it.

    Your dog may appear unaffected by this (hopefully) single incident but if you continue in this vein then she will never be able to fully trust you.
     
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  16. furlover

    furlover PetForums Junior

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    Just why do you think she had to know what was up? Please clarify because, unless you asked and she said 'Oh yes, I know what I did', I cannot see how you have come to that conclusion.

    I couldn't agree more.

    If you are so knowledgeable, why did you come here and ask for advice? Why are you pointing out that you care for, feed her give her shelter? Do you think she should be grateful?

    When a dog looks guilty when scolded, it is not because he knows what he has done wrong; it is because you are scolding him.
     
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  17. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    PS.
    Ref your thread title.

    It’s not lack of interest.

    It’s lack of willingness to engage with you.
     
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  18. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Oh my is this thread serious? The OP wants a cane corso to play fetch? We are talking a cane corso here, not a labrador.

    The last thing you want to do is scold, tell off.. They really aren't forgiving as a staffy.
     
  19. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    I totally agree with the comments regarding scolding the dog - completely counter-productive, but I hope that OP does not disappear.

    @DenaByte there are lots of very knowledgeable people on here who can offer useful help for your new dog. Please stick around as there is so much to be learned.
     
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