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#1 Old 02-22-2006, 02:38 PM
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I just wanted to know if anyone had some ideas on my 5yo bassett. we got her from a rescue about a yr ago. she was a puppy mill breeder (her belly hangs to the floor) but they were trying to make a mini bassett so she only weighs about 25lbs. well, we have some major socialization issues that we just can't seem to help her with. my mom gave me her dog so they could be buddies, bc the dog just doesn't want to have too much to do with us. she is either outside or in her kennel. we've tried giving her a room and sectioning her off. she will run under whatever she can to hide or just lay flat and basically hyperventilate. everyone says that we are doing such a wonderful thing in giving her a home that is better than the mill, but i worry about her living in fear all the time. i know that i wouldn't want to live in a house full of spiders all day. i would leave her outside (where she seems the most content) but then we have to hunt her down to get her in if the weather is bad or it is night time. I don't think it is right to leave a dog out all day anyway. but, per the vet, we have tied her to us, tried food rewards..she has no idea what to do with toys..and we took my mum's dog in hopes that she might take ideas from her, but it doesn't look like that will happen. I don't want her to panick more when our children get older and there is even more noise and ruckous in the house. we had a shining moment about 6mths ago where she would even come when we called her name, but it has been downhill from there. she won't even go on walks anymore bc of the people we see on the street. Thanks for any ideas!
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#2 Old 02-22-2006, 05:18 PM
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Hi sararie, I went through the same situation with a junkyard dog I found. He didn't want anything to do with humans or even other dogs. Just making eye contact would send him running under the bed.



Here's what I did: I put him on a long leash and took him for a walk every day. I stayed as far away as possible, didn't talk and didn't even look at him. The idea was to pretend that he's not "my dog" and instead he's free to do whatever he wants. This made him feel more confident (especially being outside), and eventually he got used to me being around. A few weeks later we were best buds forever!



With skittish dogs, I think the more attention you give them, the more they'll freak out. So my advice is to ignore her but try to be in the same room with her at all times. She'll eventually realize that you're kinda cool, and once she gets her bearings straight she'll want to be your friend.



P.S. It was nearly a year later before my pooch got used to other people (friends, neighbors, family). To this day he still freaks out about strangers, but there's not much I can do about that.
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#3 Old 02-22-2006, 06:51 PM
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that is about how we have been doing it. I just want to make sure that I am doing all that I can so she leads a good life. She is with mostly me..in the same room anyway. For awhile she slept in our bedroom, but we found that she wouldn't even get off of her pillow to go out to potty. so, we got her a little place to stay in the living room. she panics even when there is someone way down the street. she crouches down and hyperventilates. I just feel so bad for her. I think it is my hubby she is terrified of at home.
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#4 Old 02-22-2006, 10:54 PM
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You know what I do when there's a super shy dog at the shelter... I tie them to me and ignore them. One end of the leash is attached to their collar and the other is tied to my belt loop. They can hide and cower all they want, but they go everywhere I go and do everything I do while I'm there. Meanwhile I ignore them and do everything I would normally do without a dog attached to my hip.



Keep in mind that some of the things we do as humans can be percieved as threatening to a nervous dog. The short list includes: direct eye contact, standing over a dog, petting on top of the head, hugging, walking directly towards a dog, using a deep voice, scolding...

The opposites of these can be percieved as welcoming and friendly: flirtive glances, blinking, licking your lips, sitting down on the ground, petting the chest, walking towards them at an angle with eyes down, using a soft voice or a happy voice...
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#5 Old 02-23-2006, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

You know what I do when there's a super shy dog at the shelter... I tie them to me and ignore them. One end of the leash is attached to their collar and the other is tied to my belt loop. They can hide and cower all they want, but they go everywhere I go and do everything I do while I'm there. Meanwhile I ignore them and do everything I would normally do without a dog attached to my hip.

I think this is a great idea. I also like Sararie's suggestion of walks.

Dogs are pack animals and packs travel. Walking your dog with you in front and in charge shows them that you are the alpha of the pack. A lot of submissive dogs find this reassuring and can actually gain a great deal of confidence from it. It's important too that you monitor your energy around the dog. When it is hiding or cowering, don't baby it because that will only encourage the behavior. An alpha dog would not baby for that behavior. Keep an air of confidence about you in all interactions with the dog. Remember that confidence and aggression are not the same thing. When the dog catches on to your confident energy, it will be easier for it to relax. When the dog does what you want, don't use excited tones. Instead use a calm and affectionate voice. Do not show affection while the dog is still being submissive, wait until it is exhibiting the desired behavior and only then reward it, otherwise it will learn to do the opposite of what you want because that is what you are training it to do with the reward given at the wrong time. Providing the animal with an environment in which it feels stable and confident can work wonders. It may take a little time, but the results will be more than worth it. Happy dogs make for happy homes.

Best of luck!
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#6 Old 02-23-2006, 12:58 PM
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I agree with KP, DM and Erin.



Also, if you're into reading, I recommend The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell. She covers all kinds of problems, including one of her many dogs she got from a shelter that had much the same issues. I think it was some kind of terrier, but not that that matters. All dogs speak dog.



Also, I just finished reading Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. It was quite short and you could read it easily in a day. But I think some of her ideas might help your dog. Some of them KP already mentioned. Another simple thing she mentioned was yawning. Dogs take that as a nonthreatening, calming signal.
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#7 Old 02-23-2006, 01:19 PM
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Thanks. I've tried tying her to me, but she is kinda hard to get around bc she will just squat on the floor and not move. It did work for a little while. She was following me all over the house (almost to the point of tripping over her everytime I turned around) but for some reason she keeps reverting. it's like a step forward and then five back. I mean, we have had her for a year. We left her be for about the first couple months and just let her come to us (well, she would come mostly to me) She seems to be most happy when she is outside just sunning by herself. I tend to use the same voice with her that I do with my daughter (which I found odd, but she doesn't run) and the only place that she seems relatively comfortable giving me any attention is when we are outside. She'll nuzzle my leg for me to pet her and bark if she sees me in the doorway or window. That seems to be her only true "safe" placeis outside. When we go for walks she is right next to me practically glued to my leg. It was kind of hard to see her when i was prego and I would trip on her not being able to see around the belly. I just want her to be happy..and not look so terrified all the time. It just seemed to take the first 3mths to get her used to us..then she was pretty good inside too. then she went to hiding out in our bedroom after another 2mths and now she just wants to be only outside again. could this all maybe just be cyclic?
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#8 Old 02-23-2006, 01:36 PM
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My rescue dog annie went through a rough time when I first had her, I left a dog bed for her in the living room and encouraged her there on the first few days and just let her wonder aimlessly and let her find her own feet. She would follow me everywhere and initially had 'accidents' around the house. I just quietly mopped it all up and just fussed her at times and let her do her own thing.I have a dog flap and she just kept going in and out of the house.

She now is more settled but still follows me everywhere and barks when I leave her (she was abandaned) its a slow process but she is slowly accepting I am not going to escape each time I leave a room and she settles on her bed.



Rescue dogs do have baggage and all I can suggest is take it at her pace, she will, I am sure eventually settle. She has had a rough life and now she has found a loving home, stick with it and read jan fennells book and also get a dog behaviourist opinion.
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#9 Old 02-23-2006, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sararie View Post

She was following me all over the house (almost to the point of tripping over her everytime I turned around) but for some reason she keeps reverting. it's like a step forward and then five back.

It may be something small that a human would hardly notice, but something is triggering it. Does she have any reactions to cleaning products or fragrances you may be using?

Quote:
and the only place that she seems relatively comfortable giving me any attention is when we are outside. She'll nuzzle my leg for me to pet her and bark if she sees me in the doorway or window. That seems to be her only true "safe" placeis outside.

Have you tried sitting in the doorway with her and using affection to slowly lure her into the house? Be careful with giving her attention when she demands it (barks) from outside. You may unintentionally reinforce her idea that outside is better than inside. Outside she feels like she can control everything.



Quote:
It was kind of hard to see her when i was prego and I would trip on her not being able to see around the belly.

Was this around the time that she reverted back to the negative behavior?
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#10 Old 02-23-2006, 04:54 PM
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she doesn't seem to care anything about the baby. she used to, but not anymore. everytime she would cry and i wasn't right on it, miss betsy would come and hunt me down. now, she just peers out if there is noise and shakes. she reverted about a month before my hubby left for the desert. we had had her about six months then and the only thing the vet could think of is that she goes thru false pregnancies since all she did was have puppies for five years. I don't use any perfume and have used the same deoderant/wash/lotion forever. most times, to get her in the house, I will call and she will run to the door, but she hesitates coming in or will come in then hop right out. sometimes if i just leave it open she will come in, but i have sat and watched her come in and out a dozen times. it's like she wants to but something is holding her back. i find that if she doesn't come in the first time (and she will stand outside doing her big bassett bark) then i just close the door and the curtain and come back a few minutes later. usually this will get her to come in. the cases of my hubby having to go out and get her in are becoming less frequent hence my wondering if this is cyclic. it's pretty easy for him to do since all he has to do is walk in the yard away from the door and she heads right to it and straight to her kennel. we tried not to have one (kennel) she had a pillow that she used to sit on and watch people from, but once she starting hiding in the bdrm it wasn't enough and we had to give the kennel to her. every so often, i used to catch her on our old sofa by the computer, but my hubby says no doggies on the couch. I would let her have it at this point if she would just come out. i thought about calling the vet again, but they are just going to tell me to close the cage and cordon off the living room to force her to be a member of the pack. we only have one doggie behavioralist in town she is brand new and not much help. should i try putting her pillow back down where the kennel is and see how that goes? maybe i'm just selfish for wanting to actually see her without it just being this clicking (hardwood floor) streak heading to my backyard. i wonder too, if, despite this, she does have some separation anxiety bc she will piddle on the floor if we leave her in the house while we are gone. almost always in the same spot (i covered it w/a rug and it hasn't happened really since) i really appreciate everyone's advice and talking so i don't feel like myself or betsy is crazy.
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#11 Old 02-23-2006, 06:56 PM
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she doesn't seem to care anything about the baby. she used to, but not anymore. everytime she would cry and i wasn't right on it, miss betsy would come and hunt me down. now, she just peers out if there is noise and shakes.

but I'm sure that when the baby arrived, the energy in the house changed at least a little which is why I asked if that was around the time she fell back to her old ways



Quote:
most times, to get her in the house, I will call and she will run to the door, but she hesitates coming in or will come in then hop right out. sometimes if i just leave it open she will come in, but i have sat and watched her come in and out a dozen times. it's like she wants to but something is holding her back.

She may be waiting for your reaction. If you go outside and try to coax her to go into the house with affection, then she will relate the reward to being outside and not to you wanting her to go in.

Have you tried standing a few feet inside and rewarding her with a small treat when she reaches you? Never give the treat if she doesn't come in. Slowly stand further away. Occasionally offer affection in place of treats. Be consistent. Once this is done often enough, you should be able to have her do it on her own without treats. Every now and then, give her one just to let her know she did good, but not every time. Eventually she will relate coming in with positive rewards.



Quote:
i find that if she doesn't come in the first time (and she will stand outside doing her big bassett bark) then i just close the door and the curtain and come back a few minutes later. usually this will get her to come in.

Probably because you are showing her that you are the alpha and she has to do it on your terms. That's a good thing.



Quote:
she heads right to it and straight to her kennel. we tried not to have one (kennel) she had a pillow that she used to sit on and watch people from, but once she starting hiding in the bdrm it wasn't enough and we had to give the kennel to her.

I'm a big fan of crates and so are my dogs.

Have you tried moving the crate into the living room and keeping the bedroom door shut? Where do you feed her at?



Quote:
every so often, i used to catch her on our old sofa by the computer, but my hubby says no doggies on the couch. I would let her have it at this point if she would just come out.

I wouldn't recommend it. You'd be giving into her then and rewarding unwanted behavior. That's the same as training her to do something you don't want. You must be consistent. Dogs need stability in order to be comfortable. They need to understand what is and is not okay. If you let her on the couch, but your husband doesn't, this will only confuse her.

If he does agree to letting her on the couch, make sure that she understands that you have to invite her first. She'll see it as a reward that way.



Quote:
i thought about calling the vet again, but they are just going to tell me to close the cage and cordon off the living room to force her to be a member of the pack. we only have one doggie behavioralist in town she is brand new and not much help.

Many vets know medicine and not behavior. How new is the behaviorist? New to the title does not necessarily mean that she is inexperienced. Does she actually label herself a "behaviorist" or does she call herself a trainer? There can be a bit of difference between the two and your situation definitely appears to need a behaviorist or rehabilitator above a trainer.



Quote:
maybe i'm just selfish for wanting to actually see her without it just being this clicking (hardwood floor) streak heading to my backyard.

Absolutely not. You love her and want what is best for her. It would be selfish/lazy to just leave her to her solitude. Dogs need to experience being part of a pack. When a cautious/shy dog transforms into a confident part of the family, you experience a beautiful thing and the quality of life is improved for all.



Quote:
i wonder too, if, despite this, she does have some separation anxiety bc she will piddle on the floor if we leave her in the house while we are gone. almost always in the same spot (i covered it w/a rug and it hasn't happened really since) i really appreciate everyone's advice and talking so i don't feel like myself or betsy is crazy.

Do you have another dog? Have you seen her with other dogs? Depending on her temperment, another dog could help bring her out of her shell. If she is canine-friendly, see if a friend or neighbor has a dog that would like to be her playmate. If that seems to work, you could consider setting up regular play dates or even rescuing another one permanently.

One of my dogs used to have terrible separation anxiety. It was so bad that I'd be in the shower washing my hair and suddenly she'd come in to the shower to be with me. When I rescued another dog close to her age (approx 6 months), she blossomed and the change was wonderful to witness.



As for her fears of people while you are out walking, you may want to give this pamphlet a read: The Cautious Canine. The same author also offers a pamphlet on Separation Anxiety. They are quick reads and easy to understand.

And you can always search around DogWise.com to see if any other books look like they might be of use.



Please keep us posted.
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#12 Old 02-23-2006, 09:30 PM
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I wished the baby was just the excuse...but then I would feel horrible now knowing we have another one on the way..she does only want affection when she is outside. I stopped giving it to her out there awhile ago, but she has no reaction at all when you try to give her attention indoors. She won't take any treats from anyone..food or otherwise. she will wait until you have left the area before she will take it and sometimes not even then (esp if it's got man smell on it) the crate is in the living room. she still hides out in it. no animals are allowed on the furniture, so that is how i have to live. the behavoirist is a young one and just out of the classes. she has been here, but didn't have much advice besides sitting on the floor and letting her come to us and using treats and praise, neither of which she responds to. We do have another dog. my mom gave us her ****zu poodle mix bc they get along so well together. but, again, betsy will only socialize with her outside. they are both almost 6 and about the same size. they run around the backyard together and snooze in the sun, but nothing inside. gate (poodle) is even a toy playing dog, and betsy doesn't care. we had to find a dog that wasn't quite so alpha bc betsy would be that "lone wolf" where she wouldn't even come near you outside if the other dog was near you. like you belonged to that dog and she wasn't allowed near. she tends to like big dogs and will run up to them, but i have yet to find one that wasn't very assertive and didn't like her submissiveness. I do just want her to be happy and lead a doggie life. my friend calls her the ameoba (not too nice) but it is true bc she just doesn't know how to be a dog. oh, and every so often we catch her eating poo. i am guessing it is a part stress/leftover habit from the mill. she only seems to do it if she has had a tough time that day. i will read up and let you know how things go. thanks so much!
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#13 Old 02-24-2006, 04:32 PM
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I wish I had the answer for you. Just don't give up and please do a lot of reading. I'm sure this can be solved and you can all live very wonderfully together. (((good vibes)))
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#14 Old 02-25-2006, 12:02 PM
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I won't give up on her. My daughter is tough but I wouldn't give her up bc of that. she is just as much a part of the family as my kids. After a year she means to much to me. She ran off one weekend and I wouldn't leave the house until she came home five days later. here i was just had my daughter five days before and am walking our little town looking for her. some food and an open back door brought her home. she hasn't seemed to want to do that again. she has been a little more friendly in the morning, well, the past few anyway. she's come up to me while i sit in the computer chair (near the back door) and let me pet her..so maybe she is coming back!
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