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Old 02-12-2005, 01:53 AM
yohan520 yohan520 is offline
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Default Getting acquainted with a dog from a shelter

Our family recently acquired a very friendly dog from an animal shelter. She's about 2 years old and have no idea as to the history of the animal.

Ever since I first met her when I got back from the college for the weekend, I've been trying to teach her basic tricks like sit, but the problem is that she gets too excited. When I have a treat in my hand, she only looks at the treat and is too distracted to listen. When I try to push her rear end down gently, she just ends up lying down and rolling over trying to look cute and hopefully get that tasty award. It's as if my words go in one ear and out the other. In her attempt to impress me, she's crawled, rolled over, and done lot's of different tricks, but what good is it if she can't do it on command?

Because I'm in college and she's staying at home with my parents, I only get to see her once or twice a week, not to mention that she's barely gotten into the house and still seems to be settling in. After all, it hasn't even been a week since we adopted her. Am I being too ambitious in trying to teach her tricks when I've barely just met her? Should I wait a certain period before I can start to teach her? If not, what can I do to get her attention?

Sorry to bring up so many new questions, but I really want what's best for the dog. Any suggestions as to how we can make her feel at home? Will it take time before she will realize that she will be staying with us for good? I just can't stop thinking that she might have trust issues if some family decided to abandon her- Any thoughts would be appericiated- thanks :-)
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Old 02-12-2005, 05:35 AM
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I'm sure others here will give you great advice, but from my own expeience it can be quite overwhelming to bring a resuce dog into a new environment. You don't know what's happened to them before, what can trigger their anxieties and it will take some time for them to settle and aquaint themselves with their new home, "pack" (you and your folks) etc....

Personally I would keep it simple - don't try and do too much for the first few weeks. Make sure your dog understands it is safe with you, will awlays be kept dry, warm, fed etc in its new environment, stick to a routine as much as possible for meal-times, walks etc and train some really key basics, like sit, stay, come etc - only in short bursts though.
Your dog may not know what's 'right and wrong' in the usual sense - with Bonnie (my rescue dog) - who can get very very upset if told off, we used positive reenforcement techniques such that good/correct behaviour was always praised, whereas bad just ignored, and also the 'nothing-is-free' technique -- such that you dog learns to 'earn' its treats and praise for being obidient, even by something as simple as sitting to be petted. I found it really helps the dog focus on you.

Well done for taking a resuce dog, its so rewarding to see their confidence grow. I'm sure you and your family will have great times together and your dog will love you for giving it a second chance. Be patient though! My father told me it took him a year to settle his rescue dog fully, with Bonnie its been about six months now but she is a totally different dog to the one I picked up last summer. She still has 'moments' occasionally but they are becoming fewer and farther between and I wouldn't be without her!
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:59 AM
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AndrewF AndrewF is offline
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Have you tried not using a treat? If it's making her too excited, perhaps just getting her to sit and then give her lots of praise is the answer - and when you're done training, then you can give her a few treats.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:07 AM
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Martine Martine is offline
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Misha was not rescued from a shelter, but she was quite an old pup to be in a petshop and the more time we've spent with her, the more we have realised she has some 'history', although we can only guess how she was treated. She can suddenly freak out at the most unexpected occassions and can get really anxious and upset if she hears raised voices. At first it would take her all day to recover but have noticed that after 6 weeks of love and reassurance her confidence is growing. I was working away for week dsays during the first four weeks and I do think my disapperances and reappearances unsettled her a bit, but maybe it confuses their sense of who is in their pack? I'm sure your dog will settle down just needs time. Misha's big 'comforter' is to have a bath, it always seems to make her feel secure....she practically falls asleep standing up...but not sure that would work for all dogs .She learnt to sit and come easily but we didn't try it straight away. Good luck, be great to see some pictures of your new friend on the site.
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Old 02-12-2005, 02:18 PM
yohan520 yohan520 is offline
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She gets really easily intimidated. Whenever I get close to her to push her rear end down for the "sit" command, she backs away and ends up lying down or rolling over. I'd get frustrated at her if she wasn't so cute :-p

Here are some pictures that I posted while trying to figure out what breed she could be-


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Old 02-12-2005, 03:00 PM
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She's beautiful - what a sweet face, those ears look so expresive! Misha wouldn't let me push her rear at all at first, just cringed away but the second week she got more confident and let me, especially when she realised I had a treat in my hand, then she got the hang of it and tried sitting every 2 secs and staring at me appealingly, as they do .................
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:28 PM
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Hey Victor did that... and bad. The first week I thought omg what have I done..I am too old to do this dog..this dog is a.d.d active..oh lord I am tired will this dog ever ever ever stop! It took time, it took a lot of walks, it took some strong but gentle discipline, it took not giving up..and now I look up at him and his eyes go all melty and soften..He is falling in love with me..he is now answering my requests with good behavior because he knows he is pleasing me. I know that someone had teased him into a frenzy and when he got going he overstimulated, we took play in little doses..he had to learn to be gentle and not bite to hard, I bled a litttle from a bit or two...always in play, not on purpose, one night I wrapped him up in a sheet until he couldn't move, he was over the top and bouncing off the walls, he was exhausted, but couldn't sleep, i rocked him and he was alseep in five minutes.
Sometimes he will react to certain people,(he has done this three times) like he is going to run away as soon as he smells or hears them. Somebody scared him. i know he came liking bubblegum, and he always perked up when he heard a specific truck engine. I have tried to put myself in his place and take it one day at a time. I don't know if any of this helps, but it is what we have been thru. i have had Vic since last april. He was 5 months old when I got him and it took awhile for me to fall in love with him too, but I did.
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