| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:06 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:32 pm 
Offline
Level 7 Vegan
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:21 pm
Posts: 1499
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Some of you may remember that when we adopted Orion last August, he was a very very timid, hand shy, sensitive dog. At the time we suspected past abuse, but it's probably at least partly due to the general Sheltie skittishness.

Over the last year he's made amazing progress with me and Wally, and we have an amazing bond. When I get out of the bedroom every morning, Orion is waiting for me at the door, bows, does a little happy dance and then cuddles in my lap for an hour while I eat breakfast. When I take a shower he waits on the bathroom mat. When I'm working from home he curls up at my feet. He's well trained, happily performs tricks and is just so, so sweet and trusting with us.

It all changes when we step out of the house, though. We've done lost of effort to get him used to other people and other dogs, but... We've taken him to the park 3 times a day every day, let him meet all the dogs we cross and whatever people are willing, we've taken him to cafe terrasses and small house parties, always with plenty of praise and treats for showing some curiosity towards another living creature, reassuing voices and a safe space (under mommy's chair). But he still acts like all he wants is to be left alone and go home.

Yesterday we were at a barbecue at our neighbor's place and brought Orion. The neighbors have an easy-going golden retriever (Sam) that Orion has known since puppyhood. He's playful and mellowed down even more since getting neutered. Well, that's not enough for Orion to feel comfortable around him. The party ended when Orion snapped at Sam for no apparent reason (he was sitting on a couch next to me, Sam was coming to sniff my hand and get petted). Earlier on in the day, Orion snapped at the other dog present (Chopper), also a dog that he has known for a long time. This tiny dog wanted to play with Orion and put both paws on his back, at which point Orion snarled and put his teeth around Chopper's paw in an absolutely not playful manner.
These were the only incidents of the afternoon, and Orion didn't feel particularly uncomfortable (or we would have taken him home), but he still mostly stayed away from other people and from the dogs, preferring to cling to me or Wally. I know that he'll never be a Golden Retriever, but still, it breaks my heart that he can't seem to be able to enjoy himself in social situations, to play with another dog or be curious of anyone. People kept trying to pet him and feed him, and he was just so shy. Punctuated with the fact that people kept repeating "That shy dog? He's a rescue." "Oh...."

Is there any chance that my pup will ever stop being that weirdo who prefers to run and hide and snaps if you get in his personal space, and bloom into a more confident, playful dog? Am I just getting ahead of myself, and it's still early after adoption to see these kinds of results? It just makes me sad for him. We don't know that many people with really mellow and well adjusted dogs that could teach Orion how to interact - many times at the park he ends up being bullied.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:55 am 
Offline
Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:34 am
Posts: 2445
aelle wrote:

It all changes when we step out of the house, though. We've done lost of effort to get him used to other people and other dogs, but... We've taken him to the park 3 times a day every day, let him meet all the dogs we cross and whatever people are willing, we've taken him to cafe terrasses and small house parties, always with plenty of praise and treats for showing some curiosity towards another living creature, reassuring voices and a safe space (under mommy's chair). But he still acts like all he wants is to be left alone and go home.


I never had a dog, and all I know is what I see on tv from the dog-whisperer, so my thoughts about it are based on that tv-show.

I've heard that when a dog is tense, the owner should ignore that. By giving the dog attention or trying to calm him down, you kind of confirm that there is a good reason to be tense.

So, I"m thinking that if Orion feels scared and you let him hide under your chair, you confirm his feeling that the situation is that scary or dangerous that he needs to hide? What I see on tv is that a short yank on the collar can help to snap the dog out of the fixation on a situation.

Maybe that something like that will change things with Orion?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:03 am 
Offline
Level 7 Vegan
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:21 pm
Posts: 1499
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Veg_Eric wrote:
aelle wrote:

It all changes when we step out of the house, though. We've done lost of effort to get him used to other people and other dogs, but... We've taken him to the park 3 times a day every day, let him meet all the dogs we cross and whatever people are willing, we've taken him to cafe terrasses and small house parties, always with plenty of praise and treats for showing some curiosity towards another living creature, reassuring voices and a safe space (under mommy's chair). But he still acts like all he wants is to be left alone and go home.


I never had a dog, and all I know is what I see on tv from the dog-whisperer, so my thoughts about it are based on that tv-show.

I've heard that when a dog is tense, the owner should ignore that. By giving the dog attention or trying to calm him down, you kind of confirm that there is a good reason to be tense.

So, I"m thinking that if Orion feels scared and you let him hide under your chair, you confirm his feeling that the situation is that scary or dangerous that he needs to hide? What I see on tv is that a short yank on the collar can help to snap the dog out of the fixation on a situation.

Maybe that something like that will change things with Orion?



Hey, thanks for the comment.
Orion is my first dog so I don't know if flooding works in some cases (that's what it's called when you immerse a dog in an environment that scares them with no possible escape), but I know that it doesn't help Orion. He had this fear of the shower, and showers are kinda all or nothing - water can't be 50% wet. Well, when he gets a shower he just completely shuts down, tail tucked and ears down, completely catatonic, won't react to anything from a hand waved in front of his face to a delicious treat under his nose, and definitely not to a yank or a kick. It's like life has been blown out of him and he's just an empty shell of a dog. I don't want to make him go through that if I don't have to. I'm fixing the shower issue by letting him go in the bathroom of his own volition, giving him positive reinforcement for going in the bathroom, sniffing the showerhead, for accepting water on his paws, stuff like that. Over the months it has helped.

That said, you're right that I should be careful about when I'm giving him attention in these situations. Maybe he should be getting extra attention for being open and curious, and just be removed from the environment with no fuss if he starts to get scared, so that the fear can't be reinforced one way or the other? The problem with that, is that if we only took him out at times where we'd be ready to to leave the minute he gets upset, he would receive a lot less of these opportunities.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:34 am 
Offline
Chard Martyr
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:49 pm
Posts: 9636
Location: SW Desert, USA
Here's the thing- my dog was a rescue, fearful, untrusting, all of that... it took YEARS (I cannot capitalize, bold, italicize that enough) for her to be super normal most of the time around me, and I didn't do anything but be consistent with and love her and feed her.

She displayed fearful aggression- the vet explained that due to her not understanding social cues (my words now; I don't remember her exact words) she would aggress in an attempt to scare the other dog, because the other dog/situation was really scaring her. The whole thing scared me and I was terrified I'd never be able to have people over and that my dog would never have friends.

I had to get my floors redone. We took her to doggy daycare. The first two days- "failure." She couldn't be around other dogs. Slowly, they put her in with the little ones... got used to those, mixed in some medium sized dogs, got used to those, moved her in with the medium dogs, and so forth. She looks forward to daycare every week- I still take her once a week for socialization purposes. That being said, when we're in the waiting room and she's on a leash, with me, she acts crazypants again! Even toward a dog who is also waiting to go in that she plays with all day inside! She will bark, growl, lunge at him/her.

So, what I've learned (sorry this was longer than intended):
1. It takes YEARS. Honestly. It can. I wanted to give up so many times- my vet helped me understand that she wasn't mean aggressive, just fearful. Took probably two years for her to fully trust me, and we still have issues of submissive urination at times; she just reverts back to her old, fearful self.
2. Your pup might have been uncomfortable because you were there and he was feeling protective (like mine does with me, when on a leash. Once she's out of my sight at daycare, she's a totally different dog- I've made them take pictures to prove it to me!) Certain situations make dogs act differently; we can't see/sense everything that they can.
3. Even when I take my pup to the dog park (oh, we can go now, right? She gets along with other dogs now?) no... she sniffs around the edges, not wanting to interact with the others. The one time she did interact with another dog, it was a miracle- I spoke with the owner and it turns out that they play together at daycare!

But now I can have people over, we've had numerous successes, and she's so much happier in general. So what if it's an ordeal to take her on a walk (she still reacts when we see other dogs, and not in a fun way), and she still gets protectively weird when she's on a leash, when I'm around, but the successes outweigh those things. She no longer hides under tables or urinates all of the time out of fear. Thunderstorms are another nightmare, but that's a different topic for a different day....

Good luck!

(Oh, I just realize that this might sound like I'm saying you should take your dog to daycare. That's not what I'm saying at all, it's just a big part of my dog's life, so I'm using it in examples. But it has helped her quite a bit.)
ALSO- my vet said that positive reinforcement training is best (especially for my fearful rescue dog.) So, painfully slow as all that may be, well done.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:58 pm 
Offline
Wears Durian Helmet
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:27 pm
Posts: 810
Location: asheville
Veg_Eric wrote:
I never had a dog, and all I know is what I see on tv from the dog-whisperer, so my thoughts about it are based on that tv-show.

I've heard that when a dog is tense, the owner should ignore that. By giving the dog attention or trying to calm him down, you kind of confirm that there is a good reason to be tense.

So, I"m thinking that if Orion feels scared and you let him hide under your chair, you confirm his feeling that the situation is that scary or dangerous that he needs to hide? What I see on tv is that a short yank on the collar can help to snap the dog out of the fixation on a situation.

Maybe that something like that will change things with Orion?

IMO that is the wrong way to deal with the situation. Snapping a leash is going to an uncomfortable and fearful dog even more uncomfortable and fearful.

The truth is, some dogs just don't enjoy the company of other dogs. Some dogs only want to be playful with people. I had a dog (a collie/sheltie mix actually) growing up that only wanted to play with us and also never liked any toys. That was normal for her. Every dog is different. But that said you should continue to expose Orion to people and try to at least make him feel comfortable. Gentle comforting is not a bad thing. The dog should feel comfortable and forcing him into a situation isn't going to do that. Easing up to situations and constantly bringing him places probably will although sometimes with shelter dogs it takes them a LONG time. He may never go trotting up to a stranger for pets but he probably will get more comfortable in social situations especially if he can have the comfort of being with you.

Another suggestion I have which you may already do is just let him sit around near you and let him do all the initiating with other people. It may take a while and requires patience and may upset people that they can't go running up to the cute doggie and pet it but it will make your dog more comfortable.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:27 pm 
Offline
Should Write a Goddam Book Already
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:51 am
Posts: 1000
Location: RI
I too have a rescue sheltie. 45 lbs of sheltie! Not fat, just a giant sheltie. We've had him for about a year. He came with some serious issues and after a year still isn't totally settled in and normal like our other dog. He gets scared easily and will growl and rarely snap when he is nervous. He is also a "velcro" dog, especially around me and is very protective of me. I think you just should give him time, don't worry if he doesn't want to play with other dogs too much, and continue to give positive reinforcement when you see behaviors you like. Who knows what these dogs went through before they came to us. Just continue to be patient with him and don't force too much on him. It seems to me, since we are at about our 1 year mark that it takes a lot of time for these poor pooches to really settle in, relax, and realize they finally found their forever home.

Oh, and my other dog - a german shepherd mix - when she goes to the dog park she goes and sits next to the people and waits to be petted - she could care less about the dogs! She just prefers people and we just let her be. Now that we have the sheltie though they play together - but it took her a while to "learn" to play with him - she didn't know or feel comfortable to play with the dogs at the dog park.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:08 am 
Offline
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:30 pm
Posts: 1850
Location: Vancouver, BC
My two rescue dogs are kind of nutty. They both go to daycare once a week just for socialization and every so often also go to the dog park--Sunny loves chasing dogs at the dog park, but could care less about the dogs at daycare and spends most of the time trying to get pets from the owner while Neil loves to romp around at daycare, but spends the time at the dog park totally ignoring the other dogs and wanders off to sniff the bushes and trees.

I've had Sunny for about two and a half years and when I first adopted her (totally shy and fearful), I never thought that she'd be the kind of dog who loved strangers or was great with other dogs. And while that made me sad, I learned to accept her for who she was. I had no idea what kind of situation she was in prior to the humane society, so the most I could do was slowly expose her to new things (like you've been doing with Orion) and positively reinforce good behavior. She's on medication for her anxiety (and probably will be for the rest of her life), but in the time that I've had her, she's progressed by leaps and bounds, so there's definitely hope, but it definitely takes time and like tank said, every dog is different.

I've found Nicole Wilde and Patricia McConnell's books to be especially helpful.

Ganbatte!

_________________
"I love this banana bread." Jacques Derrida


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:08 pm 
Offline
Dying from Nooch Lung
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:30 pm
Posts: 3245
Location: Almost Boston
Some dogs love all other dogs. Some dogs only like little dogs, or calm dogs, or fluffy dogs. Some dogs don't like any other dogs. Even if you conquer the fear issues, you may find that your dog just prefers to not play with other dogs.

When Orion snapped at the golden, he may have been resource guarding you ("This is my human, back off please."). Or he may also have jumped on the couch because he was seeking a safe space to get away from the dog, and when the golden came over and put his face near, Orion felt trapped and reacted out of fear. When he snapped at the little dog, it was probably because he was not comfortable with the other dog putting paws on his back. A lot of rambunctious dogs do that in play, but most dogs see that as quite rude and it can be frightening for an insecure dog.

If he seems very uncomfortable, it's best to just remove him from the situation before he feels like he has to tell the other dog off with a snap or bite. He might not be ready to be loose in a yard or house with other dogs. You could do a lot of walking with dogs on leash, with the other dogs far enough away that they can't touch him. Reward him with treats and praise for being calm in the presence of another dog. If he seems interested in the other dog, let him sniff for a few seconds and then continue walking. But don't push any interactions. It may be that he never becomes best friends with other dogs, and you'll just have to get used to having a loner puppy. I know plenty of dogs who will never be able to go to a dog park and romp around, but they still lead happy, fulfilled lives.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:26 pm 
Offline
Baking In The Flavor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:51 pm
Posts: 186
My dog is the weird loner kid too! I wish I had advice to offer you, but I'm hoping to learn something from this thread too. My dog hates other dogs. We have to keep him away from other dogs when we're outside, because otherwise Nico barks like crazy and tries to snap at them. He doesn't like a lot of people either though...so I guess it's not just a dog problem. He loves cats though, go figure.

_________________
http://veganawakening.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:03 pm 
Offline
Saggy Butt

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:47 pm
Posts: 286
my (rescued) dog just doesnt like being around other dogs. actually, most of the time she just ignores them. but if other dogs come up to her she does not like that. we've tried a lot of things for several years to "socialize" her, to no avail. the way we deal with it now is just trying to keep her away or at least keep a very close eye on her around other dogs. she has snapped at other dogs and i just dont feel comfortable having her in that kind of situation - for her sake or the other dogs'. she LOVES being around people, so we socialize her and bring her around as much as possible, but we do try to avoid it if there will be other dogs in off-leash situations.

and really, im pretty sure the reason she acts this way is that she's convinced she's a person.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:24 pm 
Offline
Nailed to the V

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 587
Location: West LA
My dog is also a weird loner kid. It's hard for me to accept that she won't be running around with other dogs at the park or swimming at the dog beach with other dogs. However, I'm trying to accept that she is happy with her life and doesn't need dog friends if she doesn't want to have them.

That said, she is very food motivated and will accept bribes to be nice to other dogs. I will continue to bribe her in the hopes that one day she will be able to be with other dogs without risk of nipping them.

_________________
http://veggielawyer.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When your dog is the weird loner kid
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:59 pm 
Offline
Memorized Veganomicon
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 5:02 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Los Angeles
My dog is a loner dog as well. She just has always been that way, and has never really like to play (even with toys) in general. I call her a grouchy old lady, haha.

_________________
I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members. - Groucho Marx


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer