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I'm starting to think my dog is untrainable

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Blue22, Feb 22, 2014.


  1. Blue22

    Blue22 PetForums Newbie

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    My dog's name is Lexi. She's a three year old Boxer/Pit/Bull dog. My family and I rescued her in October of 2012. We aren't sure what the extent of her abuse was (we just know that she was used to breed pit bull mixes that were used as training dummies for fighting dogs) but as a result, she's extremely jumpy, disobedient, scared by any sudden noise or movement (I can't even sneeze without her jumping on me and barking), doesn't respond well to house guests, and the only person in my family that she trusts completely is me (and that's another problem as she's very territorial and overprotective)

    In addition, house training appears to be impossible. I have her on a strict walking schedule. she goes out to use the bathroom at least three times a day. Sometimes she'll try to drag me back to the house (especially when it's raining or snowing) but we aren't allowed to go back until she at least pees. However, this doesn't stop her from peeing in the dining room either late at late or early in the morning when everyone in the house is asleep. There doesn't seem to be a pattern for this. Sometimes she'll do it every night for 3 nights to a week. Sometimes she'll go months without doing it.

    Things get even worse when everyone in the house has to leave for school/work. She absolutely hates her crate. It never fails, when we get home, her training pad will be torn to shreds, the cage is in a different spot than where I had it, and she's gone #1 and #2 everywhere (or vomit, as was the case tonight). No matter how long we're gone, we always come home to a mess and she's often covered in it as well. You don't have to be a genius to know that spending all day lying in your own waste is unhealthy and sure enough, when I was giving her a bath last night, I noticed what I thought was a poop stain on her upper chest that wouldn't come out. Upon further inspection I noticed a red bump under the fur (where the stain is) that my mom thinks looks like a sore. I'm totally at a loss now. I'm taking her to the vet of course but I don't know what to do from there. If it came from her spending the day wallowing in her own crap, then it'll just come back again if we manage to get rid of it. I'm at a loss. The odd nervous behavior I could live with if that was her only problem. But the house training is becoming a huge problem, especially now that it's affecting her health. Is there anything that'll guarantee that she'll at least stop going to the bathroom in her crate? She's a good dog, extremely lovable once you get to know her. She's treated like royalty when everyone is home. And as far as her anxiety goes, we have managed to make a lot of progress since we've had her. It's just her separation anxiety and crate training that's a problem.
     
    #1 Blue22, Feb 22, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  2. Old Shep

    Old Shep PetForums VIP

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    You're kidding, right?

    This is some kind of wind up, isn't it?


    Because if it's for real you are incredibly ignorant of even the basic needs of a dog. Any dog. Let alone a rescue with such a horrible start in life.

    Of you " rescued" her from a re homing centre they deserve to be shut down for placing such a dog with someone so inexperienced and quite frankly, completely insensitive to the needs of a dog.


    HOWEVER, of you are for real, stick around. You WILL learn something. But it'll take much more time, commitment and patience than you have shown so far.
     
  3. Blue22

    Blue22 PetForums Newbie

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    Well you're not helping me or Lexi by being a snarky jerk about it so please say something that's actually helpful or don't bother saying anything. Instead of being condescending, how about you tell me what I'm doing wrong.
     
  4. Old Shep

    Old Shep PetForums VIP

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    For a start.


    3 toilet walk a day is an absolute joke!

    You need to take her out at least hourly to begin with.

    You CANNOt leave her in a crate all day!! No wonder she messes
     
  5. Blue22

    Blue22 PetForums Newbie

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    I've been given different opinions on both of these things. But the general consensus I've gotten regarding the walking is that doing it every single hour is unnecessary. As for the crate, I'm also constantly told that dogs aren't supposed to hate their crates. I'd be more than happy to not put her in one but then the separation anxiety kicks in and by the time we get home, she's made a complete and utter mess of whatever room we left her in (in fact our upstairs bathroom no longer has a carpet because of that) I love this dog to death and I'd be more than happy to follow whatever kind of advice you have to offer but please try not to be such an ass about it.
     
  6. BoredomBusters

    BoredomBusters PetForums VIP

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    This is not a house training problem, this is a separation disorder that needs to be addressed by a behaviourist. If she is messing through stress at being left alone you won't fix it with house training alone - and the more you leave her alone to mess in her crate the harder it will be to teach her to go outside.

    Dogs who mess in the 'den' have lost all inhibitions and are incredible difficult to teach the discrimination needed to become fully house trained.

    Along with the other problems you mention she sounds like a very anxious and insecure girl, and really if you don't know how to move forward with her professional help is needed.

    It's great that people are on forums to help out, but you will get lots of different opinions from people who haven't met you or your dog and many have no dog training or behaviour qualifications or background. You really need to get some professional help.
     
  7. Sarahliz100

    Sarahliz100 PetForums VIP

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    She sounds pretty stressed out.

    With regards to the crate - dogs can love their crates, but they need to be carefully introduced to them for it to be a positive place for them to be. It sounds like your dog isn't happy in hers.

    Is she in it the entire working day? No lunch time walk? If so to be honest I think that's a long time for a dog to be crated, even one who loves their crate. From the sound of how your dog is when you get back it sounds like she's in quite a state in there.

    I think you would probably benefit from some professional input given that it sounds like she has a number of issues.

    In the meantime can you arrange for family/a friend/a dogwalker to take her out for a while during the day?
    Does she have things like stuffed kongs to work on during the day (although she might be too stressed to eat them)?
    You could try an adaptil diffuser - it's like one of those plug in air fresheners but releases calming pheromones. You can buy from the internet/pet shops/vets. It might help take the edge off her anxiety.

    I think it will be difficult to work on getting her better in her crate if you are having to leave her in it for long periods when she's distressed. Can you "dog proof" a room to leave her in whilst you work on getting her happier in her crate?

    I really would seek out some professional help. Your dog doesn't sound happy, and it can't be nice for you to see her like this. You say you're taking her to the vets - ask them to refer you to an appropriate behaviouralist.

    Hope things get better
     
  8. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

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    I agree, this sounds more like separation issues than regular house training issues to me. If she's never been house trained and is going in the house when she's not left then I would think taking her out more regularly would help then but it's unlikely to stop her toileting when left if it's separation anxiety.

    An adult dog shouldn't need out every hour but while house training it's a good idea to take them out that often, just to ensure they have next to no chance to get it wrong much the same as you would a puppy.

    To be honest though, with the problems you're having in other areas I think a thorough vet check and referral to a behaviourist would be the way to go.
     
  9. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    Well done you for taking on such a difficult dog and sticking with her for so long, but it does sound as if you have gone as far as you can go with your own knowledge of her, and proper professional help is needed. Do be careful who you entrust your dog too though. Where abouts are you and maybe someone on here could recommend a good one

    Does the rescue know of the problems you've had? Maybe she didn't show these issues so much in a kennel environment because they are linked mainly to SA. It might be worth just telling them, so that they are more careful in their rehoming policy
     
    #9 rona, Feb 22, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  10. Tails and Trails

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    The harder option is to take a breath, clear your mind of snap judgements, then re-read the post, and consider from any possible angles aside from ones own preconceptions.
    If you had done this, you might detect some clues, such as maybe the OP is in America? Considering she stated pit bull x boxer. And maybe if this is so, did you know in America, it is common and standard advice and practice to leave dogs in crates all day when people are working? This is wrong, and often comes up as a cultural divide between brits and yanks. Try being a brit and saying this on an american dog forum. Then again, the clues may not equal this. But then if one reads and considers carefully again, one will maybe see, as you noted yourself, an inexperienced person that has possibly been given a dog by a rescue she wasnt suited to?
    And if one re-reads and considers again, one could ask onesself how can someone not be showing commitment if they have chosen to come on an advice forum to deal with the extreme and testing problems her dog is showing, instead of simply sending him back to a rescue to have a worse life?

    Now, you may say i may be wrong about all these things. But here is the key, i read the post, paused, considered ALL the possible angles and conclusions, including the conclusion you made, then VOIDED myself of my emotionally driven agendas, and THEN figured it may be better to approach the post calmly and objectively, just in case the OP is genuine, caring, yet just ignorant (ignorant means actual meaning of lacking knowledge, not the common derogatory meaning), so i ought to be careful and ensure i dont make a poor dog suffer more by driving a caring woman into further despair that prompts her to stick her dog back into kennels.

    Or you could just chose to do the really easy option that takes 5 seconds of processing and .000005 of ones mental capacity. I could understand why one would do that, it involves practically no energy whatsoever.
     
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  11. freddyfrog

    freddyfrog PetForums Newbie

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    Hello
    firstly, this is a great site and by reading thru the various threads and by sorting out the informative answers it will help and you will see you are not alone and you dog can get helped for the majority of the time. Not all the time though.

    Your little rescue dog, sounds like it has come from a home where they just wanted rid, she is displaying all the problems that most badly homed rescue dogs have. it is nothing unusual.

    Expectations and your reactions to behaviour play a big part as well, a perfect well behaved dog like seen on a film or the majority of people own on this site are hard to find. all the dogs we have had, a hong kong rescue street dog, 2 cyprus rescue dogs, 1 greek rescue dog and 2 uk rescue dogs and 2 pedigree uk puppies, have all had issues. I have never owned a perfect dog. Some chew, some pull, some chase cats and rabbits, some bark, some are more lively, some role in poo etc etc.

    patience and not over reacting ( this is the hardest part) is a must, talk to your vet, other dog owners when out walking, this forum. all dogs are trainable to a degree so hang on in there.
     
  12. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Really? I’m IN the US and this is brand new information to me...
    In the US people crate dogs, people leave dogs with free roam of the house, people leave dogs in fenced-in yards, people leave dogs in garages, people leave dogs with a combination of options via dog doors, people take their dogs to doggy day care or hire dog walkers, people leave dogs chained up (new laws are making this last option illegal in many areas). There is no set “common” practice that I am aware of, but I’m impressed that someone who doesn’t even live in this country knows exactly what is common practice here ;) :D



    Blue, I think you’re right on the separation anxiety, but really with issues of this magnitude, you really need to get a professional involved. We can offer suggestions for the SA, but your best bet is going to be to have someone come in and evaluate Lexi in person, and then give you advice that is specific to you, Lexi, and your personal situation. Doggie day-care may be an option for her, a dog walker, depending on what is available in your area... I know you say she only trusts you, but there are some professionals out there who are really good and you may be pleasantly surprised.
    Where are you located? Maybe we can make some suggestions for who to look up for help?
     
  13. Tails and Trails

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    Sigh....

    okay, i think you missed the point of the message, its not about me trying to be an "expert" about someone else's country for any negative purposes of my own. It was about reading between the lines to try and understand the poster so as not treating them so judgmentally and rudely.

    And, um, I did say in my post where i had obtained that information.
    Did you not "see" that bit?
    Actually, your post kind of chimes with the message i was trying to impart, in that it is the easier, quicker, less energetic, less thoughtful way to merely read a post thru the immediate prism of ones own agenda, per-judgements, etc, etc.

    So yes, I apologize if "common" was the wrong word?
    Maybe i should have said 'more acceptable' as per the american based dog forums encountered? (where british people got rounded on by nearly everyone on the site as being totally out of order when they criticized all day crating)
    But then i was more inspired by applying kindness to the OP and trying to encourage others on here to show some support and compassion, so we dont play our parts in driving another poor dog back into kennels. Thus it never crossed my mind that i was on a mission to slate an entire country, but if that one sidetracked line is all people want to focus on......

    .....personally, I hoped people would have 'got that' and then built me up with some support and encouragement, just how I asked others to build up support and encouragement for the OP... :(
     
    #13 Tails and Trails, Feb 22, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  14. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    I don’t know what your deal is with trying to be the forum’s moral compass but it’s becoming a “thanks but no thanks” thing for me at least. We have mods thanks, and they do a darned good job all things considered.
    It’s also annoying to keep getting informational threads derailed with lectures of how you should post according to Tails and Trails. It’s a forum. People are different and will post differently. Get over it.
    The OP has a serious dog issue going on. He/she needs serious help with Lexi, specific advice for his/her specific problem, not a derailed thread.

    So with that, I’m going to do my part to try to keep this on topic, hoping you will too ;)
     
    lorilu and ellenlouisepascoe like this.
  15. canuckjill

    canuckjill PetForums VIP

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    Hi maybe you need to start from the very beginning like with an 8 week old pup. When I bought a 2 yr old kennel dog thats what I had to do. Upon waking out for a pee, after eating out to toilet, after play in the house out to toilet. I do kennel/crate this dog when I go out but you have to start with making the crate/kennel a nice place feed him in there, give him a treat in there with the door open. If you leave close the door but start with small amounts of time and work yourself up. Only a couple of my dogs are crated the rest are loose in my house, but they all use the crates to sleep in when they want undisturbed time, the door is open they opt to use it. It will take time but when he/she realizes you will come back and its not a punishment I'm sure you'll see an improvement. Separation anxiety is a real issue and maybe you can work on that with advise from people on here or a behaviourist I really don't have much experience there sorry. Maybe start with when someone else is home you leave for a few minutes and work up the time your gone, while your gone the other house member can talk and calm the dog? I wish you luck and admire the fact that you are trying for this rescue pooch not an easy task. I hope to keep reading from you on improvements and advise you recieve..Jill
     
  16. Old Shep

    Old Shep PetForums VIP

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    I stand by what I said in my original reply to is. This is a totally appalling situation.

    1. The dog has come from a very abusive situation where she was used to breed fodder for dog fighting. How much worse of a start could a dog have?

    2. She was apparently rescued. This infers she came from a rescue centre and as the poster has clearly very limited experience of dealing with even "normal" dogs, it's shameful that any rescue centre would deem it acceptable to re home such a dog to such an inexperienced owner (this is what I mean by ignorant. It is not a term of abuse, it's a statement of fact)

    3. Any dog, let alone one that has clearly not been toilet trained, needs toileted more than 3 times a day. That is preposterous! Who only lets their dogs wee or poo 3 times a day???!

    4. She states the dog is "lying all day in her own waste". ALL DAY?!! To keep a dog confined to a crate all day is inhumane and cruel! This is compounded by the fact that the dog appears to be crated all night too! Can you imagine the anguish of an intelligent, sentient animal being confined like that for hours and hours on end?

    5. I intentionally did not mention in detail all the psychological damage this poor dog appears to have, because it appears to be a really really desperate situation.


    One that to me appeared to be so extreme I suspected it was made up.
     
  17. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    We had an old Staffy girl who began this type of behaviour overnight. Pacing, panting and even panicking, for what reason we never really knew. She seemed to be unable to deal with us going to sleep and was fine during the day. Still some form of separation anxiety, in our vet's opinion.

    We tried lots of things with her, including valium, Zantac and Zylkene, but nothing worked.

    In the end, on a whim, I bought a Thundershirt and a Sleeptherapy spray from the Avon catalogue!

    It worked. We sprayed all her beds liberally and she wore the Thundershirt every night and began sleeping again.

    Although Thundershirts aren't cheap, the manufacturers offer a full refund within forty days if the shirt doesn't work for your dog.

    I know you say to take her out to the loo three times a day, but how much exercise does she get daily in the forms of walks?
     
  18. PennyGSD

    PennyGSD PetForums Senior

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    I have no advice I'm afraid as I'm not an expert - but just wanted to wish you every luck in solving this. sounds like you really want to get to the bottom of it and make your home a better place for this poor dog.

    I actually hit the 'report post' button on a certain post, before I changed my mind as I see you appear to be a strong enough character to let a certain snarky poster's snap judgement wash over you. Not everyone is born knowing everything, and posting on here for help is certainly a step in the right direction. At least you've realised you don't know how to fix it.

    Do come back and let us know how you get on?
     
  19. canuckjill

    canuckjill PetForums VIP

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    back on topic, lets just leave it be now...Thanks..both have had there say
     
  20. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Blue22, I took the liberty of summarizing the specific advice you’ve gotten so far so you don’t have to wade through us forumites having our argumentative moments :)

    Plus sometimes the advice gets overwhelming, hopefully this will make it less so.

    Basically:
    - nervous/anxious dog with probable separation anxiety. Thundershirts, pheromones etc., can help take some of the edge off the general anxiety.
    - reteach the crate as a pleasant place. Try not to leave her in there until it does become a pleasant place.
    - get professional help.

    Good luck and let us know how things go!
     
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