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Bitten off more than we can chew?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Hawkster, May 1, 2011.

  1. Hawkster

    Hawkster PetForums Junior

    Oct 19, 2010
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    I am hoping someone who has been in a similar situation can offer me some advice. We already have a 9 month old Collie X and for a while we have been thinking about getting a second dog as a companion for her.

    Anyway, we (perhaps stupidly) revisited the rescue centre where we adopted Effy and were introduced to a 6 month old rough collie x (Toffee) who had been returned that day due to some behaviour issues (food / toy aggression and general nervousness of new things). She was fostered that day and spent a week in with some very experienced owners - we visited her at the house and saw a huge change in her, very friendly and more confident, came back when called on a walk, and got on very well with Effy. Her food aggression was still a bit of an issue but we thought it was manageable.

    So to cut a long story short we decided to adopt her last week. We've had her since Wednesday but already have seen her show some other 'issues'. The worst one being chasing cars, which resulted in her almost getting run over. She gets very exciteable (but then she is only 6 months old) and her recall is not so great - she will come back but then stop about 1-2 metres away so you can't actually get hold of her.

    I work from home so although she will not be on her own, I still find the thought of walking both dogs very daunting: I can trust Effy but Toffee gets distracted so easily that I can't trust her not to run off and chase something. We have been using treats to reward her when she does, but she doesn't always respond.

    Ironically, the food aggression thing is something I feel I can cope with as she will back off if you're firm with her.

    I know we have only had her for just under a week, but already we are wondering if we have taken on too much. I don't want to neglect Effy but Toffee really needs one-on-one training which I can't do whilst exercising our other dog. I feel terrible for even considering it, but we're not sure if we should keep her. Luckily, we talked to the fosterers and they are happy to have her back with them and continue the training if we decide we can't do it.

    I feel awful because we knew she had some problems, and we still took her on. I think we just didn't appreciate how hard it can be do train 1 dog whilst not neglecting the other one.

    We have said to ourselves we'll give it til Friday and see how things go. Part of me thinks she will be better off with someone who can dedicate more time to her, and the other part of me thinks it is too soon to know and perhaps we're panicking too early????

    Any advice???? :(
  2. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

    Oct 24, 2008
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    Don't let her off. Get a long line or a lunge line, I use a 50ft lunge, got it off ebay pretty cheap.
    Don't let her off this until she is responding properly. Use a high value treat that you don't give any other time.

    Again, don't let her off. A dog that doesn't have good recall should never be off lead for their safety as well as others, what if she caused a car accident or something?

    Do NOT be firm and make her back off. She needs to learn that you are the food PROVIDER and are not going to make her back off or take it away.
    Make sure ther are NO high value toys or treats left lying around, no bones and only give chews etc when they are seperated.
    Feed them seperately.

    Start off hand feeding her. For a week or so.

    Then put down an empty dish at feed times and when she looks at you, drop one or two peices of dry food into the dish. Continue every time she looks at you until its all been given. Continue for a week or so.

    Then start adding a small handfull and while she is still eating, add a few bits of tasty smelly food ie sausage, cheese etc. Continue for a week or so.

    If she starts being growly, go back a step.

    Eventually she will stop seeing you as a threat to her food etc.

    With regards to high value treats or toy she is guarding, work on the ''leave'' command, and also when you want that thing, offer her something better.

    You have answered that yourself. You knew she had problems. Until friday IS too soon to know.
    Write up a routine so you can spend equal amounts of time with each dog :)
    Lulus mum and CAstbury like this.
  3. CAstbury

    CAstbury PetForums VIP

    Oct 24, 2010
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    When you say Toffee is chasing cars - does that mean she is off the lead? If so - keep her on her lead until her recall is more reliable.

    It takes longer than 1 week for a dog to settle into a new environment - it is very early days but I appreciate that it is a cause of anxiety.

    Is there nobody else who can take Effy for a walk while you take Toffee so that you can do 1 to 1 training with her?

    IMO you are panicking too early but I'm sure someone else will disagree :D

    I took on a rescue dog 3 months ago and although he was pretty laid back it is only now where I feel really comfortable taking him and my 3 Labradors out on my own.

    Feel free to PM if you want any help :)
  4. ClaireandDaisy

    ClaireandDaisy PetForums VIP

    Jul 4, 2010
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    I always get the `what have I done ` feeling about a week after taking in a new dog. I think it`s normal!
    On the brighter side - it gets better from then on.
    Give yourself time, and stop trying so hard. Tackle one thing at a time.
    If it`s the chasing, keep her on lead. If it`s the food, feed her outside on her own. And congratulate yourself on giving one little dog a chance in life. :001_smile:
  5. sailor

    sailor PetForums VIP

    Feb 5, 2010
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    I think you are just panicking abit too early about it all.

    It has been a week and it`s natural to have those daunting feelings so early on, especially with a puppy who has behaviour problems.

    so long as there are no serious problems, where someone/dog is at serious risk, I would give it atleast a month, to allow for the dog to settle and for myself to get into a good routine before I made a decision on whether it really was going to work out.

    I wouldn`t allow her off the lead if she is chasing cars and her recall is that bad.
    I would keep her on a lead when you are with the other dog, and a long line when you are training her 1-1, only letting her off when you feel confident that she will come back.

    I think the best way to stop her from wanting to chase cars is to go sit by a busy road with her, and take a good supply of hotdogs with you :D

    Just 10 minutes a day sat there, teaching her the sit/leave command next to a busy road.

    She sounds like she has alot of energy to burn and she needs some mental stimulation, could you get her involved with flyball/agility etc etc ??
    would be a great way to have 1-1 with her at this and then 1-1 with Effy when you return and Toffee is busy sleeping off all the excitement :D

    If nothing else, I would say, hang in there, give it abit longer than just a week, try to get a good routine with her, where you can concentrate on her training... once youget her training under control , you can then walk them together, it wont always be this hard, just intil you can gain some control and confidence :D
    Well done so far and Good luck for the future !!!
  6. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Aug 11, 2010
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    Firstly 6mths old is a very difficult age for most dogs, a lots going on in their developement. Even dogs that have had a stable home from pup to 6mths, and recalled before, suddenly often start not too. They can start to push at boundaries, and also be going through a fear period, where sights,sounds and situations they again react to with uncertainty and even a level of fear.

    Add to this her unstable situation of being rehomed several times. I notice that you said when first introduced she had been returned that day. If I understand it correctly then in 6mths, with you and she has had at least 4 homes plus the rehoming centre, Where she was born, the home she had when returned, the fosterer and then now you. She could have even have had another one in between. Its not surprising really she has got a few isssues. Also you have only had her a week, it takes several weeks for them to settle properly, in her case likely more with all the upheavals.

    I would not let her off lead at the moment. Instead use either an extendable lead like the flexi giant that has the wide webbing all the way through or even better a long line so you can practice recall training. I personally like to teach recall with a whistle. Starting indoors, have the whistle and high value treats,cheese,chicken,hot dogs any thing liver based, the cheese spread in tubes is good you can get ones with ham in it, but for this use individual treats. Walk around, then whistle each time you do treat her, she should follow you about. After a few sessions of this use it to call her in from the garden, treating when she comes.

    You can then take it outside to teach. With the car situation keep her on a short lead until you get to the park or whereever. Start in a place with fewer distractions, let her roam, and periodically keep calling back with the whistle,treat and send off with go play. Sometimes when she comes back, throw a ball a few times, encouraging her to bring it back. then the send away with go play to let her sniff. Other times, play with a tug perhaps, or call her and run in the opposite direction getting her to play a chase you game another way to get her to come. Keep it varied, keep her guessing what her rewards going to be. Never chase after her (You have the long line now so she cant run off and avoid) Never just give freedom then short lead and home, they get wise to it and avoid as you have found out.
    In this way it should help keep focus on you, keep her interest because she doesnt know what reward it will be and its a way to interact and bond with her.

    Once she gets better, and is coming back consistently, then you can drop the long line, but use it as a drag line this way you can still quickly grab it and use it if need be and maintain control. Finally and when she has been reliable on this for a time you can let her off, start again with lesser distraction and build up.

    In addition to this I would try to do a couple of 10/15 minute sessions a day doing basic training with her mixed with a bit of play.

    With the chasing cars, Is there somewhere you can take her where there is fewer cars and you can get a wide margin away from them? If so pre work on her focus and training by teaching her the watch me command. You should then be able to use it at a distance with traffic, starting on quieter roads with few cars first. Timing is very important, you need to be quick, its no good waiting for her to get into the lunging first. hence the quieter rd with few cars suggestion where they wont be speeding. and ideally as far away as you can possibly get initially. Turn her 180 degrees away from the traffic ideally, this is where the cheese in tubes comes in, most dogs once a bit squeezed out, tend to get a bit obsessive trying to lick more out the tube.
    Alternatively rapid fire treats, whilst keeping her focus and eye contact on you with the "watch me". Cars gone then stop treats until the next one.

    If you think noise is a problem contributing to her problems, you can desensitise her, by using CDs there is on called sounds scary amongst others,
    You start to play it at barely audible level, whilst you are doing training, or playing or relaxed. Then over a period of time (it can be several weeks) as she ignores the sounds and remains calm you then very slowly slightly turn it up bit by bit, so she gradually copes with traffic and other noises.

    Hope this might be of some help and give you some ideas.
  7. brackenhwv

    brackenhwv PetForums Senior

    Mar 28, 2010
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    I have a rescue vizsla, who is now 10, got her when she was 8 from a working home. To cut a long story short, she came with issues different from you, after having a very abused life, but her recall was poor, she would come in to me about 12 -15 ft away then was very scared to come in, and would commando crawl into me , anticipating a hiding so getting her back quickly was nigh impossible as any sudden movement from me would bring on a repitoire of responses, non of them that I wanted. What I did was to keep her on a long line and frequently call her in, I would throw treats to her where she stopped and every time she took a step closer, more treats and lots of Good Girls ! She started coming in closer and closer, slowly realising she wasn't going to get a duffing.bracken now recalls no problem and is a happy dog. It takes time and usually alot longer with recues, you need to have patience , don't feel sorry for them but what has happen in their past can help explain behaviuor that they show. You can do five mins blocks of training in the house, leave your other dog in another room, to do 1-1 on basic obediance. the 'Sit' is the basis of all training so start with that. It took bracken many months to realise she was in a better place, but even today there are some situations that bring on old responses now and again, for example if some one she doen't know moves their hand too quickly close to her she will drop to the ground , whimpering, I just make people aware of this and usually things are fine, so it will take your little guy a good while to feel secure with you so don't give up, it will get better. Good luck
    Sled dog hotel likes this.
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