Foster pup - best way to shape him up?

*blackrose

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#1
Sherman is obviously in not-so-good condition. Physically, he's a mess, mentally, he doesn't really know much, the poor guy. I was just curious if anyone had any ideas regarding the best way to get him back in to tip top shape. (Aside from the medical care he is receiving, anyway.)

All adolescent, growing pups seem really gangly, but he looks...funny. He has SUPER huge paws (like, his feet are the size of Abrams' feet), ears, and tail, but the rest of him is kind of scrawny. I'll have to get a video of him pacing around, as it just seems like his movement is off, too. (Could just be because he's super uncoordinated.) Considering his body condition, it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't quite get the nutrients he needed as a young pup and that has thrown off his growth. Besides feeding him a balanced, quality food, is there anything else I could be doing to help him out with that?

On that note, any idea on how much I should be feeding him? He's 30 pounds right now, and should probably be around 40-45. (No idea how old he is. The shelter said 8-10 months, I say 5 months, the vet put his age as 9 months on his paperwork, but no way is he that old.) Right now he's getting 3 cups of food a day (split in to three meals), 475kcal/cup. I don't want to OVER feed him, even though we're trying to get weight on him, but I don't want to under feed him either. Abrams ate 4 cups of food a day as a growing pup, so I figured 3 cups would be alright for this guy?

Another question I had was in regards to his....mental capabilities. This is not the brightest pup. As in, he has no problem solving ability and just kind of bumbles around. He is VERY food motivated (obviously) so I stuffed a bone with some treats for him earlier, and he didn't know what to do with it. He doesn't really know how to settle (he just paces and paces and paces), or occupy himself, or even play with a toy for more than just a minute or so. He LOVES to fetch the legless Cuz, but even that he'll just kind of stop halfway through and wander off. Are there any easy, mentally stimulating exercises I can work with him on to help him...learn mental skills, for lack of better word? I know he's a baby and is going to have some variation of ADD, but he's kind of...extreme. I don't ever remember any of my pups being quite like this.

He's already grasped he's not allowed on the sofa, that if he sits he gets treats (although he doesn't know what "sit" means), and if he goes into his kennel he gets awesome food/chews, so he is beginning to make some associations, he just isn't very adept at it. If that makes sense. His problem solving skills are just...not there.

Picture of him falling asleep (not on the couch, the good boy) while I type this:

<3
 

SpringerLover

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#4
He is really cute! I've been following his story, and I'm glad Abrams seems to be doing better with him!

I came to the conclusion with Gabby that she couldn't function mentally because she didn't have enough nutrients for it. I really, really, think that her poor nutrition/health made it very difficult bordering on impossible for her to learn. She learns like a normal dog now. She didn't for months and months.

Also, B vitamins are great for helping nerve function. And cheap too.
 

Fran101

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As for the inability to settle, I would just chock that up to the fact that he's in a home, he has been cooped up...just kind of sensory overload kind of thing? I have no personal experience but I've heard of foster people of shelter dogs describing the same thing. If I was placing bets, I would say he will grow out of it as he gets used to the place.

Sateen balls are what we usually give dogs that need to put on weight

1 lb cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
1 and 1/3 cups Total cereal
1 and 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 raw egg
6 Tablespoons wheat germ
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons unsulfured molasses
Pinch of salt

I would add some fish/salmon oil if you have any, it should help with the coat! It's not A LOT of food, it's just high in fat and should put weight on him!

Merlin was kind of a butterfly chaser as a puppy. For him it was just, not being a nag and setting him up for success. Short training sessions, frequently. He was always pretty good at tricks but the impulse control...not so much. Things like Look at me, touch etc.. maybe crate games?

He is adorable <3 I so hope it works out and he finds a great home
 
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#7
For now, I would probably just let him get his breath and bearings and not expect much out of him training-wise. Good nutrition, let him learn he's safe and warm and has enough to eat. Keep as much of a routine as you can for him.
 

meepitsmeagan

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#8
Since he is SO new and such, I wouldn't be trying to do much for training.

That being said, I can't stand dogs who pace and don't really like to kennel all the time. I would buy a cheap x-pen or do tethering to help him learn. :)

No input on anything else!
 

*blackrose

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#9
Thanks for all of the input, guys!

I'm not really planning to do any formal training with him (outside of just enforcing house rules) any time soon, I just wasn't sure if there was something I *should* be doing to help him develop. But if letting him be is the best thing, and just focusing on his physical health, then that's what we'll do. I will look in to B vitamins and fish oil. I'll be going grocery shopping Tuesday and can pick some up!

His pacing could certainly be due in part to sensory overload, but it just seems so....aimless? He doesn't really focus on anything, he just paces in circles. Reminds me of a dog stuck in a kennel just sort of going back and forth without any real purpose. He just walks a circle in the house around our little kitchen half wall, plodding along. He is starting to settle, though, like that picture from last night shows.

He crates beautifully, which is probably in part due to him spending so much time in a crate/kennel he doesn't know anything else :)(), but I'm happy he does such a good job because it makes rotating him with Abrams a breeze instead of a giant pain in the rear. We're trying to stick to as much of a routine as possible. It pretty much is just a repeating cycle of crate/yard/house, with the beginning of the crate cycle being when his meal is due. Then he naps, then we have playtime in the yard, social time in the house, then meal time and nap time in the crate again.
 
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#10
If he was kenneled most of the time, the pacing might really BE a stereotypic behavior. Like, he really might not know what else to do with himself, like those dogs who pace in kennels because there isn't anything else to do and now it's all he know HOW to do, kwim? It's nice for him to be around other dogs so he can learn how to do dog things, even if they aren't mingling he can at least see Abrams doing stuff.
 

Southpaw

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#11
Cajun did nothing but pace when we got her. Didn't stop unless she was crated. I think she spent the majority of her time crated with her previous owner. For dogs that are used to just being kenneled I guess at first that's really all they know to do. It took probably a good month before that behavior diminished.

His mental capabilities sound about the same as Cajun's were too lol and that's also something that just got better with tike, as we did more training and she was exposed to more puzzles etc.
 

*blackrose

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#12
I'm already noticing improvements with him. He mostly understands marrow bones stuffed with treats, now, instead of just giving it a chew and immediately shutting down when the treat did not pop out and say EAT ME. (Kongs are still foreign to him.) He actually tried to play with Cynder this morning (did a puppy zoomie for about 5 seconds) instead of just spacing out and pacing in the yard. Progress. :)
 

DJEtzel

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#14
If he was kenneled most of the time, the pacing might really BE a stereotypic behavior. Like, he really might not know what else to do with himself, like those dogs who pace in kennels because there isn't anything else to do and now it's all he know HOW to do, kwim? It's nice for him to be around other dogs so he can learn how to do dog things, even if they aren't mingling he can at least see Abrams doing stuff.
I definitely agree with this.

He reminds me so much of a foster I had about two years ago, Bennett! I have been following your posts on facebook because of the similarities... they're seriously the same puppy! Hope he's doing better soon.. I don't know how bad his mange is, but Bennett bled anytime he was touched and couldn't walk in the grass without cutting his feet open for a few weeks. :(



 

*blackrose

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His mange is bad, but not quite that bad. He's been bleeding on his head, but so far not anywhere else. I'm hoping to start him on mitaban dips this week, as soon as I can get some ordered.

I've given him two medicated bathes since I've had him and that's helped give him some relief, but he's in pretty bad shape.

Histamine has finally accepted him. She now stalks him and chases him like she does with the other dogs, and doesn't hide in the bedroom when he's in the house. Lol
 

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