Parents of dogs adopted as adults or almost adults - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Parents of dogs adopted as adults or almost adults

I thought I'd start a thread regarding the special behavior issues and training needs of dogs adopted as adults or almost adults. I hope others will add their questions here, too, so we can vent and share. To the moderators--can we make this a sticky?

Raising Tucker (brought home at 9 weeks) and integrating Bella into our home (at 1 year) have been totally different experiences. The knowledge I had of training Tucker and Tess was for puppies, and I've had to learn new ways of working with Bella. It's not ALL different obviously, but different enough that I thought it might be helpful to start a special thread on the topic, much like the Parents of Teenagers (Parents of teenage pups) thread/sticky that has been quite popular.

My first question for those who have ideas, is How do you help an insecure dog increase her security? Bella has various quirks that she brought with her. Most involve barking--at strangers and other dogs, at sounds outside the house, at people walking by our car, etc. I feel these all stem from her basic insecurity and I'm not sure how to address that at the root. I'm working with her to remediate the behaviors, but I want her to feel secure about life in general. Is it that she doesn't fully trust me yet? Can I do anything to help her? My other dogs do not act this way (but they do get caught up in the barking... )
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:26 PM
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For a dog that's not overly noise sensitive (able to use a clicker), I play the "look at that" click & treat and also introduce "touch" for them to ease into exploring the scarey world around them.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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For a dog that's not overly noise sensitive (able to use a clicker), I play the "look at that" click & treat and also introduce "touch" for them to ease into exploring the scarey world around them.
I've never done "look at that". Is there a video I could watch?
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:30 PM
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I don't know about a video, but you find what's "scarey" when they make eye contact with it, click & treat--you already have to have them "loaded" on the clicker so that they know the click is marking a desired behavior and results in a treat. I know others don't rely on clickers--it's just what I learned on and has worked with me & the rescues I fostered. I used this technique with both feral pups and a fear reactive adult golden.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:31 PM
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Take her through a training class. It's the fastest way to bond and build confidence. Then go through a second time, so she can feel like she is just the smartest dog there.



Love is patient, love is kind.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:34 PM
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:47 PM
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Outwest,
I feel for you. You don't know what their life was like, so you don't always know what they will react to.

My Hunter was about 1 year old when we got him. He had been wandering the streets for a few days at best guess. No idea exactly how old. Integrating a dog into a highly active lifestyle was difficult at times. We were trail running, hiking, camping, and off on multiple day rafting trips. So quite a change for a dog that seemed to be completely out of shape. He would get tired just walking around the block. Can you imagine taking a dog rafting that had never seen water or been swimming before. He was never terrified, but he also wasn't super excited to go on our trips.

His biggest problem was his complete lack of socialization as a pup. He was and still is dog aggressive. Any large male or female dog he puts his hackles up and wants to push up against them. I have to watch him closely. He's gotten so much better with a lot of work.

I think with any rescue that lack of socialization is pretty common.
It would be interesting to see what rescue groups have to say about what they see.


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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Take her through a training class. It's the fastest way to bond and build confidence. Then go through a second time, so she can feel like she is just the smartest dog there.
Thanks--we are in the middle of basic obedience. I had a hunch that it would help her confidence level.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Outwest,
I feel for you. You don't know what their life was like, so you don't always know what they will react to.

My Hunter was about 1 year old when we got him. He had been wandering the streets for a few days at best guess. No idea exactly how old. Integrating a dog into a highly active lifestyle was difficult at times. We were trail running, hiking, camping, and off on multiple day rafting trips. So quite a change for a dog that seemed to be completely out of shape. He would get tired just walking around the block. Can you imagine taking a dog rafting that had never seen water or been swimming before. He was never terrified, but he also wasn't super excited to go on our trips.

His biggest problem was his complete lack of socialization as a pup. He was and still is dog aggressive. Any large male or female dog he puts his hackles up and wants to push up against them. I have to watch him closely. He's gotten so much better with a lot of work.

I think with any rescue that lack of socialization is pretty common.
It would be interesting to see what rescue groups have to say about what they see.
Bella clearly had inadequate socialization, which I didn't pick up on at first because seh and Tucker hit it off right away. I took that as a sign that she would be good with dogs overall, but I was wrong. How did your other dog take to Hunter, or did she come after him? How did you integrate them?
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:57 PM
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Thanks--we are in the middle of basic obedience. I had a hunch that it would help her confidence level.
That's great, I think you will be very pleased. In most cases, my adoption fee includes a basic training class and the adoption isn't complete until they graduate. I have never had one of those dogs come back.



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