New to this forum and looking for suggestions
I am new to this forum and looking for suggestions with the one and only problem I am having with my new puppy. I rescued a 7-8 month old lab purebred puppy from a humane society. He, along with his brother and sister were neglected, not abused, by the breeder for 7 months before being given to the humane society. He was given food and water regularly and kept in an outdoor kennel, but apparently did not receive any love or attention. His brother was excessively hyper and his sister extremely timid (more than he.) He has been to some obedience training before I got him. He walks on a leash beautifully without pulling. He doesn't jump. He almost never barks and quiets when told. (He's almost too good to be true!) He is learning to go into his crate on his own.
I have had him for only 2 days. He is very comfortable with me. He is not much for treats but I give him a lot of verbal praise. He recognizes it by wagging his tail, licks my hand and follows me. He has slept outside his crate 2 nights along side the couch (I slept on the couch) and didn't cause any chew damage. He has plenty of chew toys.
PROBLEM appears to be he is afraid to go in and out of doorways. When I attach his leash and head toward the door, he looks and acts like a donkey. He sits down and digs in. It would be comical if it weren't so frustrating. He is way to heavy to lift....maybe 60 lbs?
I have recently retired and have one cat. I live alone and have tons of time and love to give this beautiful dog. I will be leaving for one week the third week of September and am so concerned that if I can't get him to freely go in and out to exercise and go to the bathroom while I'm gone, my dog walkers won't be able to handle him. (If I can't lift him, they won't be able to either.) I will be forced to kennel him and we will be back to square one with him getting past his trust issues with the doorways. Thanks in advance for any help!
Chance welcome to Dog Training Central Forum.
Perhaps he has not been socialized properly by the breeder (most likely when dealing with a back yard breeder), however at times this breed can be extremely sensitive to stress, noises, and loud voices. Carrying him out the door obviously will accomplish nothing and will only make the problem worse, as he will get used to it and never face his fear. Tugging on the leash will not work as well as he is fearful and will therefore put on his brakes the moment he does not feel comfortable. Feeling trapped between the leash and the yard he fears he will only refuse more and more. To work it out he must do this on his own. Try to arm yourself with lots of patience. He's just a puppy and is learning about the world around him and sometimes it can be quite scary.
Now, progress by opening the door and keeping it open for some time.Keeping the door open will also de-sensitize him to the outdoor noises. It will no longer therefore feel like a dramatic transition from the inside to the outdoors. Next, feed him by the door. Most dogs are very eager to eat their meal, so feeding him near the door will further allow him to associate the area with good things. Continue keeping the door open as much as you can and encourage him to play in your home and have fun with the door open.
Now, I will give three different approaches so you can see which one works best so you can stick with the one that gives you more progress, always using baby steps and arming yourself with lots of patience. Use praise a lot and invest in high value treats.
1) make a trail of treats from the door and down the steps. Start with some dog kibble and increase them in value down the stairs. That means a few dry dog food kibbles at the beginning of the trail, then hot dog slices, and finally a big pile of super high value treats such as pieces of roasted chicken or steak with no bones, fat, or skin on the last step.
2) walk down the stairs and kneel down, lure her gradually step by step calling her with the high value treats rewarding her and praising as much as you can. As an alternative, sit down on the first step, lure her with a treat, then move to the second step, by luring her again to the next step. Tossing the treats down each step may be more effective as it stimulates prey drive as well.
3)play with her near the door using an irresistible toy. For best results, tie it on a string and move it erratically like prey. You want to kneel outside at the end of the stairs and lure her out. Toss the toy near the door and try not to let her grab it, then toss it down the first step, and then the second step and then toss it in the yard and make it move through the grass. You want to engage her and arouse her so much in play that her play drive will eventually override the fear. Do not let her have the toy; if she gets it she will likely bring it indoors where she feels safer. In order to have the toy she will need to complete the steps and go outside to play with it in the grass.
Once she makes it in the yard, continue conditioning her to the barking. Bark equals treat or a game with her favorite toy. You want to change her emotional state from ''barking, so scaryyy!'' to ''Barking, where's my treat, where's my treat! Make the most of the fun during the day outdoors and inside the home quite boring. Feed treats only outdoors.
Make sure you wash the areas she urinates inside with a good odor neutralizer with enzymes.I would let her overcome her fear of the outdoors at any cost.As mentioned, this will take time and lots of patience. There are really no short cuts. Keep an upbeat happy voice throughout the exercise and reward any little sign of progress. Visualize yourself doing it successfully and do not get frustrated. I hope this helps, my very best wishes!
Fear of doorways
I solved the problem of going in and out of doorways simply by allowing him to cross the threshold on his own without a leash. I wait either inside or out (depending on which way we are going) and then attach his leash. Letting him take the lead solved the problem.
Now on to his next fear...others, both human and dogs. At the sound of other dogs, or humans, he bounds back to the doorway to be let back in. I am his "safety zone" and he does not want to walk anywhere other than the very small area of my back yard. He needs to be socialized.
Yesterday was a terrible day for him. Very early in the morning before the neighborhood started to stir, I tried to take Chance for a walk outside my yard. We made it just to the front yard when a school bus when by. Chance didn't know which way to turn and attempted to bolted for the back yard again. I knelt down holding him by the collar assuring him solftly everything was okay, trying to calm him. As soon as the bus passed him, I allowed him to return to the back yard and to the house. He was very frightened. He reacts the same way to the sound or sight of humans or sound of barking dogs. Later, my uncle came to help me in the yard. All of my family has a long history of owning and loving dogs. My cousin is a vet. I brought the dog out onto the yard to socialize, get fresh air, etc....but he was too timid and I had to take him back into the house where he paced and barked. (He normally does not bark) Frequently I went in to calm him. When he became too quiet, I went in to find he had found my purse, sun glasses, book, etc and a bag of dog food and a magazine which he ripped up. He didn't damage anything else although given time he may have. I took him back out with me and he layed on the deck quietly in the shade with a bowl of water for the reminder of my time outside.
Later, a neighbor boy came over to sit with him while I went to PetSmart for supplies. (I introduced this boy to Chance when I first brought him home as he will be my dog walker when I'm away from home for any lenght of time. Chance likes him.) He went outside on the deck with him but not out into the yard. It stormed heavily here last night but it didn't phase Chance. This morning I tried again to take him for a walk early but Chance would have no part of it. We stayed in the yard for about 40 minutes. Chance came in and then went to the bathroom! He had been going in the yard successfully so don't know why this morning was different.
How to socialize? He is way to large to stay in the house and this small yard without exercise. Suggestions? BTW...he's not much for treats of any kind.
Try taking her to pet smart with you many people bring dogs and everyone stops to pet a puppy, she would get lots of exposure to people, animals, and lots of activity.
I got my pup from a rescue, and he was afraid of going through doors for the first couple months. I think it's trauma from being taken away from his mother and siblings repeatedly, but treat training for a while helped him get over it. Now he knows going through the door means the park!
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