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Kristen; Buddy's Human
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This is about my other dog, my three year old Border Collie mix. If you do a search through my threads, I posted his entire story here on the site.

Basic story: we are either family number four or five for him, and I'm about 98% positive at least one of those families was abusive.

How do I know this?

If he thinks he's getting in trouble (ex. I try to close him in a room while I'm at work or cleaning, or he does something he knows is against the rules) he will cower, expecting a hit. At that point, whether I approach him or not, he'll expose his stomach to me and pee. He's bit at me once or twice as well; if I'm trying to stick him in his kennel, for instance, he runs away, cowers, and he snaps near my hand when I go for his collar.

It's really frustrating and I'm not sure what to do about it. Is there anything I can do, other than just keep dealing with it? Will training help?
 

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I am not familiar with your story about the Bordercollie, sorry.

My dachshund, which I took in as a stray hit by car, used to do the submissive peeing also. But, over time with lots ot TLC, he stopped doing it.
So, the only advise I have is give it time, try to ignore when he does that and give him positive reenforcement that he is a good boy. If he starts to cower, just tell him in a real upbeat voice that he does not need to be afraid and keep telling him 'good boy'. Of course if he did something wrong, you can't tell him that he is a good boy. But also don't overreact to his slip ups. Tell him "NO" but non threatening, don't try to wave your hands around his face too much and don't grab him. My dachshund has snapped at me in the beginning also, but that went away over time. I noticed with him, when he did someting naughty and I made a big deal out of it, he just got more stubborn.
He still has a stubborn streak but is a lot better and he knows now that I love him, he is part of the family and finally home. Through all this, even with some snappy episodes, he has been such a sweet dog that was just waiting for the right furever home. He sleeps in bed with me, pushed against me, lol.

About training, I always train my own dogs, so I cannot give any advise on whether professional training will help here. But I do think he needs to learn to trust you first.

It takes time for your dog to get over his fear of abuse and abandonment and to learn to trust and love you. Be patient.
 

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I am not sure how long you have had your border collie but regardless of his past, he is afraid of you. Your actions, your tone of voice, how you approach him, can all be threatening behavior, particularly if the dog has suffered abuse. Taking him by the collar, causes him to react and bite, he has a bad history with his collar being handled -perhaps handled roughly, or forced into frightening situations. Resisting the crate, work with him to make the crate a good place to be, toss in some treats, put a kong in there to find, feed his meals in the crate, once he will willingly go in. A dog rolling over and peeing is the ultimate 'don't hurt me, I mean no harm' gesture. If he is doing something 'wrong', the only way he knows it is 'wrong' is by how you handle the matter. If you rush over and stand over top of him, he will feel threatened and he will cower.
What you can do - work on building his trust. Keep all interactions with him low key, sit on the floor, let him come to you, feed him some treats, let him lick some peanut butter off your hands. Don't get angry or frustrated with him, he will sense it and be wary of you. Hand feed his meals, lure or call him into another room if you need him out of the way, give him something to keep him busy. Keep all interactions with him calm - don't move too fast, quiet tone of voice, positive, and let him learn to trust you it takes time, patience and compassion and the understanding that you can not make him trust you, you have to earn it by how you do everything you do with him.
 

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I was ready to post a long post but I feel like what I think has already been summed up... So I will second the first 2 posts lol
 

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AKA: Joyce
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I agree 100% with everything Charliethree said, one thing I'll add, which I learned from Ky in the beginning is..never use the buzz words like "no-off-leave it-stop-bad" you're dog has probably heard these words often enough to last two lifetimes and now the only reaction they produce is fear.
Redirect only, with something really irresistible. Right now the only thing you're shooting for is his trust. That has to be earned. Once you have trust you will be able to conquer all of the problems.
This is not done in a few days, it's a slow process and you will even find yourself needing to take a couple of steps backwards at times but that's ok too.
With Ky not only had she never been taught anything she also had never been in a house so she had no idea what she was allowed to touch, eat or pee on. The buzz words sent her into a full blown panic. If you feel frustrated....even a tiny bit, walk away for a few minutes, they have the ability to read us like a book!
In the end you will have a great dog that will be grateful for what you've done for him.
Here's Ky's story.. http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/other-pets/122011-kys-background.html
She is now the best dog I could ever hope for! Good luck, it can be done. We're all here if you need us.
 

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Just a quick thought... When a animal or person has been a victim of violence... Sometimes any form of contact (reaching for the collar for instance) causes them to for a moment...flash back if you will, to the time when the violence was "apon them"....the response is primal. There are so many great people on this forum that train...really train...and know what they are talking about. Pick someone that sounds like their suggestions will work in your situation...
 

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Kristen; Buddy's Human
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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for all the suggestions. I didn't realize how deep my boy's fears ran, and thought he was getting better. I'll have to think of another word than "no"; perhaps just a vocalization.

Just for clarification, because from reading some of your posts I get the feeling you guys think I'm treating my dog harshly: most of the time when he does something "wrong" (like chewing on furniture or going in the house), our reaction is simply a firm "no"; we never strike him and the only time we'll approach is if we need to clean up the mess. I don't use the kennel as punishment, and the only reason he goes in the kennel at all is if my husband and I are not in the house (but since he reacts so strongly about the kennel we'll have to re-introduce it and work on his fear).

He's an amazingly good dog and rarely does anything we would consider "wrong"; it's just when he does he reacts like this. This dog is spoiled absolutely rotten otherwise.
 

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AKA: Joyce
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I didn't mean to imply that you're treating your dog harshly at all. I just wanted to let you know how Ky reacts to certain buzz words, still to this day I find myself saying "NO" to Bentley and Ky runs off to hide so I have to be very careful. I have started using my "vocal sound" with Bentley to keep it consistent and not upset Ky.
Sorry if you took my post wrong, I can tell you love your dogs very, very much :)
 

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Did not mean to imply that you were treating him harshly, but that he perceives your actions as threatening. When I first got my abused rescue, HE percieved anything I did as threatening - just reaching out to pet him would cause him run away. A certain tone of voice, or a body posture, a sudden movement, would instill a fear response. So it is not about what we intend by our actions/words, it is about what it means to them.
 

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Dad to Bogey and Reese
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My recently passed rescue Finn would occasionally pee in fear. Broke my heart knowing someone had previously treated him in a manner that would cause this. He hated the bathroom (bath, nail trimming, etc) and would coward and pee when firmly called to the bathroom, yet he would still do as asked. We changed the method of getting him into the bathroom with change in tone of voice to excitement and a few dog treats.

Finn bared his teeth on a few occasions within the first 6-8 month we had him, but never again after that..

How long have you had the dog in your home?
 
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