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Old 12-13-2009, 07:49 PM
Biz Biz is offline
Pit Lab Mix
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ohio
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Smile Hesitant Puppy and Strange Habits

Hello! I'm new to the forum. I have a 10 month old puppy whom I rescued from a shelter about four months ago. His name is Corbin and he's a Pit-Lab mix. He's also probably the strangest dog I've ever encountered. Corbin is very.... I don't know if the word is skittish or hesitant, but he's a really big scaredy-cat. Fortunately, he's also one of the sweetest dogs you'll ever meet so it all evens out, but his habits from being so scared all the time are very strange and sometimes very inconvenient.
In a few weeks I'll be headed home for Christmas break from school. Corbin and I will brave the 12 hour drive, and then spend the next month or so at home. I'm excited because normally I live in an apartment, but at home there's a big backyard and Corbin and my parents' dog, Ty (chocolate lab) get along extremely well. The thing is, Corbin doesn't roam in the backyard and, actually, he won't walk on the grass. I would attribute this to he and I usually walking on sidewalks, but I take him to the grassy park near my house and he roams free and he also does fine at the dirt-lot dog park down the street.
My issue is that if Corbin doesn't go on the grass in the backyard he'll poop on the gravel footpaths, which, needless to say, bothers my parents a lot. I'll be walking him regularly when I'm home, of course, but I'd really like to be able to let him in the backyard and not feel like I need to go out every few hours and walk him to the grass to use the bathroom. I'd love some suggestions for how to encourage him to run around more in the backyard. Thanks very much.

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Old 12-13-2009, 09:19 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: western Wa
Posts: 22,020

You could feed him on the edge of the gravel where he's comfortable, but put his bowl on the grass. Then the next time, move the bowl a few feet into the grass, and then a little more. You can even take some higher value tid bits...real chicken, hot dog or steak and sprinkle them around in the grass. Then get one of his favorite toys and incorportate that into the game. Turn the grass into a really super place to be and he should get accustomed to it. It sounds like he was probably a little under socialized as a younger puppy and he needs some serious attempts at catch-up. Get him exposed to as many new places, people, friendly dogs as possible, without frightening him. The experiences need to be pleasant. When he poops/pees where you take him, on the leash, (so you can control where he goes) be sure to praise AND give a high value treat immediately upon finishing. Get him in the habit of going in the designated area. And then later, maybe he'll go there on his own if it's a very rewarding place to go.

He's sweet now. He's a puppy. But a scared dog can be a very dangerous dog later on. He needs lots of confidence building....obedience training using positive methods, no harshness, games like tug of war (but you need to have rules in place. You can search here for a thread on tug or Google) There are other interactive games designed to build confidence. You can google that too. Lots of good associations with things. Don't react in a coddling way if he is scared because although a little comfort is one thing, too much of a fuss can reinforce that and it can become more problematic.

Good luck.
"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

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Old 12-13-2009, 09:34 PM
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Chewperz. Chewperz. is offline
All Dog All Day
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 4

Usually you just coax the dog. Every time he puts 1 paw on the grass, treat.
Takes another step=Treat. Sooner or later you can then throw a ball, once he makes a couple steps for it, treat. You get the idea. I usually do this for training when it comes to my dogs and the pack dogs.
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:58 AM
PINK PINK is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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This reminds me of my dog that doesn't like stepping on wet roads, floors. I remember when he was tugging me for his daily walk, and when he saw the road was wet, I couldn't make him step from the door.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:33 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Mitten State
Posts: 630

Treat him like a younger puppy. Go into the yard with him, on leash. Bring him to the place you want him to go in and just walk back and forth in the area until he does his business. If you have a "sample" of his poop, put it in this area to give him the idea. When he goes, treat and praise. After he goes, play with for a few minutes.

As the above poster said, do not coddle fearful behavior. When he acts fearful, ignore the fear and put him through his known obedience skills. It will make him more confident if he sees that you are confident.
Forever Home: A Guide to ReHoming the Rescued Dog, from Wild Rose Press
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puppy, scared, strange, training

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