New to this and really need some advice from you lovely GR parents :) - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-25-2012, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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New to this and really need some advice from you lovely GR parents :)

First I want to apologize for this being lengthy but I want you to get the whole picture. I have many questions and I know from reading a few posts that you guys definitely know what you're talking about.

I recently adopted a 10 month old golden from what I thought was one of my fathers friends, in turn found out that it was just someone he barely knew. They had a litter in February. Told me when they were old enough to be weaned from mom-some things had happened and they didn't have time to find them a home. They kept one pup, the two females found homes and it was just the two brothers looking for a good home. When I went to these peoples house-the boys were kept in a heated garage. I didn't notice any smells or anything. They looked clean. The house was a new farm house. The boys were playing with the teenaged kids and a tennis ball. I watch them play and Oliver came up to me first. He was easily distracted by the ball but still seemed interested me in. Which was good, he was the cutest. He has more of a soft teddy bear face where his brother had the more sophisticated face. I put his collar and leash on and down he went. Wouldn't move. Just laid there. The father said he'd carry him out to my truck. Red flags yes. Dumb me. I've read and should have known better.
They won't answer my calls, or return my texts. I got to ask a few questions in the beginning and now nothing.
He still is scared to death by the leash. I let him pull it around but as soon as I touch it he lays down. I don't see any progress and it's been a week. He's very skittish. Even the sound of shutting the fridge door has him running to the other room. When I take him out to potty he lays down if on the leash. Wouldn't even budge for yummy treats like chicken breast.
I have him on Blue Buffalo dog food-he has diarrhea. I asked them what they had him on so I could mix and they said Old Roy . What would you suggest? I took him to the vet-got his shots that they didn't get, stool is clear of parasites. Took him the day after I got him.
My husband brought his boxer over and they seem to play together well as they are both just big puppies but when Brutus isn't here-Oliver goes back into his self.
He also doesn't seem to know his name. Which I realize it's only been a week but I call his name fun and happy, treat, and nothing.

Professional training with a trainer is out of the question for the next month as the classes are full and I think my husband would ring my neck if I were to shell out the cash that local personal trainers are asking.

I realize I got him without seeing the red flags at first. Hindsight is always 20/20. I know he can be a wonderful dog but how do you suggest I get him there?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 12:14 AM
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Puppy classes are important. As is looking for somebody who would help you with this puppy. It's a socialization issue due to the previous owners being bybs who did absolutely nothing as far as getting the puppies ready for the next home, not you picking the wrong puppy. Had you picked one of the others you probably would be going through the same issue with the puppy freaking out in addition to the normal fear stage he's going through.

It takes about a week for them to start coming out of their shells, but your pup has had it rough since he probably had never left the garage before the day you picked him up.

I'm guessing he's 10 weeks old vs 10 months old.

Leash - make sure it's a light leash. The type of leash you would put on a yorkie. And you are not going to be pulling the puppy around or anything like that. It's mainly just to get them used to be on the leash. Every potty outing for the first 2 weeks home should be on leash. That's how they get used to the leash well before you start taking them for walks.

Do some quicky training at home on leash and off for about 5-10 minutes every hour that you are home with the puppy. Just walk around your house and reward every time the pup does something GOOD - even something as simple as walking next to you. Training sits. Training downs. Training him to give paw. You will repeat 3 times and move on and limit the training sessions to 5 minutes tops. You will always have a smile on your face, be baby talking and praising, and you will always be rewarding and making training fun. This builds your puppy's trust in you, helps him bond with you, and gets him past the fear issues.

I think it usually takes a week before they start figuring out their names. <- With us, generally the toughest part is training ourselves to USE the name vs just going "Puppy" or "Pup-pup-pup" or "sweetie" and so forth.

Blue Buffalo causes loose stool for a LOT of dogs. I would probably suggest feeding Old Roy or whatever for the next 2-5 weeks until you get everything else settled out. It's not going to kill the puppy. Then there are plenty of dog foods out there that have a better reputation for being easy on the digestive system.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 12:47 AM
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From what you describe, let's look at the positive first. Oliver is healthy, is friendly to other dogs, and while cautious with people is not aggressive. That is all good news.

The food transition, coupled with stress, could be the cause of the diahrea. What I would do (assuming he is not underweight right now) is to fast him for at least 12 hours. Then feed him a mix of boiled chicken and overcooked rice for two days (I process the cooked chicken and rice together in the food processor) at about 4 cups per days divided into two meals. After that, start introducing the kibble at each meal mixed with the chicken/rice mixture- start with a fourth of a cup of kibble for two days mixed, then a half cup for two days, then three fourth for two days and finally all kible. Reduce the chicken/rice as you increase the kibble.

My guess is that Oliver has probably never been on leash or inside a house before. All normal household sounds (dishwasher, doors, vacuum cleaner, etc.) are new and unsettling to him. I also think he was very rarely (if ever) walked on a leash and was played with by humans only occasionally. The only thing he knew was his brother and that is gone from his life, everything else being bewildering for him, including his name. He will overcome all that with your help.Oliver, regardless of the fact he is 10 months old needs to be treated like a puppy who is discovering the whole wide world. Trust will come, friendliness will come but it will take a little while.

I would recommend you take a look at Kikopup's channel on Youtube : Dog Training - YouTube because some things are better shown in action than explained in words.

The following videos could be a start to establishing a trusting bond between Oliver and you :

or if you don't want to use a clicker :

I hope this helps a little.

Nathalie with Flem- DOB 04/24/2004 and Col - DOB 02/28/2013

Running like the wind and forever loved : Spip - 05/18/2002 -08/01/2015

Cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, live today.

Last edited by Thalie; 12-26-2012 at 12:49 AM. Reason: Some day I will be able to spell.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 01:06 AM
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Old Roy is just yucky - and Blue Buffalo is pretty rich. That's probably what's causing the diarrhea - you have to change him over gradually.

Can we see some pictures of Oliver, please???????????
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 07:15 AM
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I am going out on a limb and believe he is 10 months as you said he was born in February. I recently got a nine month old that came from an excellent home and had several dogs in her pack. She is loving and caring but was very skittish at first. My breeder reminded me she came from a home that only had her making noises. Every new noise she heard in my house made her bark and become anxious, especially the upstairs noises from my kids. Luckily I had one of the puppies from the home she came from and that helped her a lot.
The breeder said it takes two weeks for a dog like her to feel comfortable and adjusted to her new home. That is exactly the case with Katniss. It is two weeks and now she is really adjusted, the sounds don't bother her, she walks around now like she owns the place, ect.
Oh and another thing. Do not try to soothe him while he is nervous. That is validating his fear. When Kat would bark I would ignore her and if she went really crazy over a sound I would say, hey, enough, go lay down. That worked really well. She would look at me and lay down. It seemed to make her realize that she was being silly.
I hope that helps you. It sounds like he is missing his pack and not used to the sounds in his new house. give him a little more time. It sounds like he will be a great dog and will be happy in his new family.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 07:24 AM
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I totally missed the February mention!

In the case of a 10 month old vs 10 week old - DEFINITELY dog classes and find somebody who will work individually with you! It is worth the expense.

I think it is so tragic to think of how this dog's education was neglected. If this dog is 10 months old and has never been trained to walk on a leash? And 10 months old and had never been in the home....

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 07:48 AM
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Just wanted to say that I'm so glad you gave this pup a good home! 10 months and never in the house with their people is just tragic, but he sounds much more receptive than a lot of other stories I've read where the dogs were kept isolated in a garage or kennel outside, so that's great.

You've received some very good advice so far, all of which I agree with. I understand about finances being tight and not being able to pay for a personal trainer, and maybe during the month that the class is full, you can begin to work with him on your own and build up his trust, etc.

Is there any way you can register for the puppy class early so that you don't miss our when the next one starts? Best of luck to you and Oliver. Hope we get to see some pics
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 10:06 AM
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Poor Oliver, bless you for taking him in.Try to understand that Oliver, despite his age, is just as new to your world and the real world as a 10 week old puppy and he is scared. Being born and raised 'outside' he has never heard a fridge, a phone, a tv, and likely never even been inside a house, or met many new people and has no idea that a leash is not a bad thing. It will take some time for him to learn to trust you, and it will take some time and patience on your part. Firstly use his meals to teach him his name, simply say his name and hand feed him a kibble or two, repeat thru at least part of his meals. Put his collar and leash,(don't hold the leash) feed him some more of his meal. Don't skip this step, even if he is okay with the leash attached at this point - reinforcing that will help. Pick up the leash (keep it slack) and feed him more of his meal, when he is comfortable with you just holding the leash, take a step away- keep the leash loose and encourage him to move with you at the same time, then increase the distance you have him move with you, and reward as he does. Off leash in the house, carry some treats in your pocket, if Oliver is moving with you, praise and reward him for it, helping him understand that staying/moving with you is a good thing. Helping him make positive associations with all the new things in his life will go a long ways to 'easing' him into his home and family.
Keep in mind that stress/anxiety can cause a dog to have digestive problems, and they will refuse food if they are 'too stressed' and will sometimes 'shut down'. If he drops to the ground, stay calm and quiet, drop those treats in front of him, give him time to relax, when he does he will eat the treats, and resist the urge to 'make' him move, encourage him to move when he is feeling more calm.
I have been in your position a few times, adopting adult dogs to whom living in a loving home is a whole new concept and it is upsetting for them. It takes some time for them to understand that 'life is going to be good' and become comfortable with being in their new home. I assume they 'know' nothing and start from 'square one', being careful not to 'expect' too much, rewarding with treats and praise the offered behaviors I do want, training and reinforcing the skills I want them to have, and work at building a relationship. They have turned out to be amazing dogs who are very greatful to be given a chance at a life they deserve. Hang in there, it does get better!

'Don't pity the rescue dog. Adopt one. And be proud to have their greatness by your side.'
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 10:47 AM
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You have gotten good advice from previous posters. I have a now 6 year old golden, that we brought home at 14 months. She had spent all that time in the kennel. She cowered at everything, people, cars (she had probably only been to the vet), toys. She had never seen stairs, was not housebroken, and had never been to training. It took her a long time to become comfortable, and her first response to something scary is still to dive under something. What helped her most was our older golden, she was 13 at the time. If you know someone with a confident friendly older dog, try to get them together. That scared young dog has matured into a therapy dog for terminally ill children.

I would stick with the Old Roy for awhile, until he becomes more settled. Blue Buffalo is very rich, and some dogs do not tolerate it. If at a later time you want to switch to Blue Buffalo, do it very slowly. If you adamant about switching from Old Roy, there are a number of good quality foods, that are not as rich as BB.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-2012, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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pictures of Oliver

These are the best I could get of Oilver. He is on the skinny side. But we're working on that.
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