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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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No Walk Golden

We recently adopted a cream golden from a breeder friend. The breeder has an excellent reputation, and the dog was well cared for. The breeder decided to let the dog go to a good home, upon her 4th litter. Marley has a wonderful temperament, and great disposition. She is still recovering from her puppy delivery in October, so she is busy loosing her fur, and shrinking her belly.

Our concern about the dog is that she is fearful, and refuses to walk, except with another dog. When on a leash by herself, we might get 2 blocks in either direction, before she simply refuses to take another step. When walking with another dog, we have been able to get her to travel at least 10 blocks, but she still occasionally balks. She cowers when I toss her a ball, and trembles when it thunders. I have been brushing her daily with a shedding blade to help expedite the hair loss, which she enjoys. Yet each time I bring out the brush, she cowers.

I am hoping that some of her uncertainties will work themselves out, after she has more time to transition from the kennel life, but just reaching out to hear if you may have any suggestions.

This is not our first dog, so we are fairly good about working on training and motivation, but this balking has me stumped. I use high value
treats, various collars, and traditional commands, but when she balks, she just sits/stands until she is ready to move again. When she does walk, she is good on a lead, and responds to the common commands.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 02:26 PM
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Congratulations on your new girl! Too me, reading your descriptions of her behavior, she was not exposed to some of these things. Or, with the brushing, perhaps she was treated a bit rough when she being groomed for a show, etc? This is an entirely new way of life for her. When you take out the brush, keep it low to the ground so it is not looming over her. Perhaps lay it on the ground or in your lap and let her examine it, give her treats, praise her, etc. Do a few brushes - which she enjoys, and then put it away? Same with tossing the ball, keep it low by maybe rolling it on the ground since tossing it in the air disturbs her. She is learning a whole new way of living with you, which sounds like it will be wonderful, but she will have to "unlearn" the things she is worried about now. If she will only go the 2 blocks in either direction, then stick with that for a bit. Hopefully you can find something she likes - really high value treats, or a favorite toy to entice her to go a few extra steps further than the day before? Eventually she would then feel comfortable to go on longer walks. Best of luck! I know others will chime in with even better things to try for a fearful dog.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 02:43 PM
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Slow down, way down. You may want to post in the rescue forum. Your new dog may have been fed and housed and received vet care, but it sounds like mentally, she was as neglected as any rescue dog from a puppy mill or worse. She needs time. Slow way down and just let her learn to be a dog in your home. As suggested above, back up and just stick with where she is comfortable. Spend as much time as you can with her outdoors letting her see the world and just observe. If you can bring treats and just work on simple obedience practice to get her mind off her surroundings and keep it easy. Set up a chair in your front yard, and let her watch the world go by without making her be part of it yet.

She will need much longer than you think to become accustomed to her new life. If this were my dog I would do some networking and find someone who has some background in behavior and training for behavior issues and spend the money up front on having them give you some pointers with her. Hopefully she is young enough that you can work through a lot of this without letting her develop a lot of bad habits. Be sure that you are very nonchalant and low key when she gets worried, act like it's nothing to worry about, no baby talk and coddling. Hopefully seeing that you are calm and unconcerned will help her see you as strong and in charge. I would work on obedience foundations to help build your bond with her and her confidence in your partnership.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 11:37 AM
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Congratulations on your new girl, hope you'll share some pictures.

How long have you had her? Her entire world and environment have changed, she is going to need time to adjust to everything including you and your family. Each dog is different, some adjust quicker than others, some take longer.

I agree with slowing down, give her time to adjust, give her time to feel comfortable with her surroundings and to learn to trust you. Once she has, you will see the difference in her and you can start training, walking, playing with her.

In the meantime, take baby steps with her, don't overwhelm her. Be patient and consistent, gentle and loving with her.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for responding with the good suggestions. I know she will be an excellent addition to our family, and will continue to work to help her transition from the kennel life.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAROLINA MOM View Post
Congratulations on your new girl, hope you'll share some pictures.

How long have you had her? Her entire world and environment have changed, she is going to need time to adjust to everything including you and your family. Each dog is different, some adjust quicker than others, some take longer.

I agree with slowing down, give her time to adjust, give her time to feel comfortable with her surroundings and to learn to trust you. Once she has, you will see the difference in her and you can start training, walking, playing with her.

In the meantime, take baby steps with her, don't overwhelm her. Be patient and consistent, gentle and loving with her.
All this. Give her time to adjust. Help her learn to trust you by hand feeding, do some easy obedience work (sit, down, etc) with lots of treats/praise, and if she can go say, 10 walks with the other dog, then take her for a 5 block walk with the other dog every day. In other words, go way less than you think she can. Let her build up some confidence. Otherwise, every time she refuses to walk she is practicing refusing to walk and getting better at it. So stick to a distance she's okay with, even if that is only to the end of the driveway and back. If you do that for a month I bet she'll be indicating she wants to go farther without you pushing her. Now...if two months from now you've done all that, and she's still putting on the brakes, it may be time to look into problem solving, but for now, I'd keep it simple and low stress. Her stress hormone are no doubt elevated by all the other changes in her life...wait for that to die down and she will be able to handle the stress of the walk better. BUT, don't stop walking her. That is a good bonding experience, just keep it within her comfort zone for now. Plenty of time to push that comfort zone a bit later, when you've earned her trust.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 10:02 PM
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Imagine yourself timetravelling to Japan without even having heard,read ,of the country before. With your current savoir faire, believe me you will feel enstranged as they will by you. Social norms, etiquette is different.So, your girl does feel enstranged and confused.
The greatest pleasure is to witness the evolution of a rescue dog by showing her the right way to be loved, enjoyed and treated and see each day her boundaries to break down. It will be one of the most emotional experience for you when you lock your eyes and see in them the total trust & surrender. It will be your unique piece of art with a bonus that she is a live being blossoming with each passing day.
Enjoy the beautiful journey because it leads to the golden valley
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