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Rescued problem dog...

November 25th, 2010, 12:30 PM
After losing my 13 year old Golden Retriever, Kelsey to Renal failure, I decided that my next dog would be a rescued dog.

I found a 5 year old British Golden Retriever (cream coloured, short legs, wider muzzle stocky build compared with the American standard). She is very low keyed, and will approach anyone but will not respond to commands, even familiar ones like sit, stay, lie down, etc. She will go for walks, staying well behind me unless a leash is present. Even if I do not put it on her, if she detects a leash present she will refuse to budge.

I should also mention two other things: I have yet to hear her bark in the 5 days I have had her - not once! No growl, no whine, no sound of any kind even 'though other dogs in the neighbourhood are giving voice quite often and quite loudly. There is even a breeder with a yard full of Shelties across the road - you can imagine the uproar! But not even a squeak from Rosy. Also, in a very un-Goldenlike way, she doesn't seen to know how to play. I throw a ball, she glances at me with a "you lost it, you go get it!" look. I gave her a squeak toy and she will carry it around, but in a very joyless manner.

I discovered that Rosy had been used as a breeder and her last litter was a problem delivery that resulted in a Cesarian section (during which she was also spayed). She also had her left ear completely ripped off during a vicious attack by another dog - all she has is a stub where the flap used to be together with bite marks in several places on her face and head. She does have lots of long hair growing over the ear hole that offer some protection.

So, I would guess that her problems are related to very abusive young adult years. She does tend to panic in reaction to sudden movement or sound, but does not tremble nor does she show fear in normal situations.

I would really appreciate any help in breaking through to this dog and helping her respond in a more normal way. I am using plenty of patience and affection with her but I continue to persist in getting her to recognize and respond to commands. Obviously her encounters with people are few and almost always related to her job of producing pups.

I also realize that it is only 5 days since I brought her home, but I don't want to waste my time with her using techniques that are not going to bear fruit.


November 25th, 2010, 12:40 PM
Bless you for rescuing her. :angel: There are some very knowledgable people here, stay tuned............Do you try and motivate with really yummy treats? Some dogs train really well with treats, esp goldens.

November 25th, 2010, 01:26 PM
Poor girl, give her time, lots of time. I'm not sure why you're complaining that she's not a barker :P
Some dogs are just mellow like that, and not all dogs care to chase a ball, so accept her for who she is although I woudln't pass any judgements yet. It does sound like she just isn't fully adjusted, something that can take a normal dog weeks. Time, love, and patience.

November 25th, 2010, 04:29 PM
I know, I should not compare Rosy with Kelsey, my previous Golden (my present Avatar) who was just about perfect in every way. Kelsey was able to communicate clearly with her bark (usually just one was needed) to communicate her needs. "I need to go out, I need to come in, Hey! how about taking me for a walk! I am hungry - it's mealtime!" and so on...

I would sum up Rosy's personality as totally passive and submissive, so I will have to be particularly observant and look for subtle clues to learn what she is thinking and what she would like from me moment to moment and encourage any flashes of her being a bit more forward.

November 25th, 2010, 04:33 PM
Geezer,I don't have any experience really with training dogs.but I think in your case,this poor dog will need a lot of encouragement and love.
Chances are nobody really played with her,her job was to produce puppies.
With her not barking,could she possibly have been debarked:shrug:

So,please give her time,living in a caring home,is probably all new to her:pray:
Forgot to say,Thank You for rescuing..

November 25th, 2010, 05:50 PM
Geezer If you have never heard her bark at all, has the thought crossed your mind that maybe she has been de-barked.....some byb's will do this to keep noise to a minimum so that the neighbourhood is not complaining.

November 25th, 2010, 09:24 PM
It's only been a few days and I'm sure she's still settling in, Geezer. It takes at least a week before most dogs will begin to relax and open up in a new environment, and longer for those who have lived with little social interaction. So first and foremost, give her lots of time and let her adjust to being loved. :D

Our Macie was raised in a kennel environment with little canine or human interaction. She needed to be taught to play and had a hard time focusing on us. When she first arrived, Macie had no clue that we were even trying to get her to do something, and that was a huge obstacle. Most of what she learned, she learned from watching what the other dogs did. It took her 6 years to learn to sit on our command--and the big break came when I switched to clicker training.

Have you tried a clicker, Geezer? Likely, your girl hasn't had much chance to interact with humans on the level that she can now. She'll need to figure out not only what you're asking, but get to the point that she realizes you're asking her something in the first place! Maybe, as was the case with Macie, clicker training will help her 'get it' a little bit faster.

I was thinking the same thing about the debarking, Chris and chico. :eek: That poor dear!

She doesn't quite know how lucky she was to have come to you, Geezer, but she will with time! :D

November 26th, 2010, 11:28 AM
Firstly, let me express gratitude in taking in a rescue dog...a TRUE rescue dog.

I do have some experience in this regard and maybe I can help somewhat. Firstly, as you said, she has had a pretty crappy life until now. It only has been days with you so please do not expect too much. She will settle and respond to your requests in good time. Don't forget, she is tramatized and never really got to be a puppy let alone an adult with any sort of 'joy' in her life. This is tramatic believe it or not, being at peace for a change. Something that she is not familiar with at all. Try to imagine a human under such circumstances and you will be able to piece her reactions or no reactions to certain requests or stimuli. It will take a tremendous amount of 'trust' building for her to relax and start enjoying being loved.

I would not be pushing any training at this point. Let her find her way with you. If she does not want to do something such as fetch (probably because she does not know how), then let it go. She will come to you in her own time but it is very important not to push it.

The best advice I can give is just talk to her. Read to her. Sit next to her with a brush and maybe even message to relax her and show her affection this way for now. This trust will build in time and you will soon have a wonderful happy dog.

November 26th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Good advice Ben Max. First thing I thought maybe she is deaf or hard of hearing. When Bud first came to me I knew he had some ear problems and possible he was deaf in one ear which turned out he was. He had surgery but it was not successful. Bud barely came near me for the first week I had him he would go for a walk and we would come home and he would lie in a corner. I talked to him constantly after about a week or so he would lie closer and occasionally let me pat him. By the end of 3 weeks he was actually wagging his tail and following me. I am sure he did not know that I would not be cruel to him, how could he trust people. He would flinch if I moved my hands to quickly for quite a while. Or if I dropped something he would cower. Eventually Bud became the absolute love of my life and the best dog ever :rip: sweet boy. It is really all about time and patience. Thank you for rescuing you will not regret it just give it time. She is probably waiting for all this good stuff to disappear she has never know love and caring before. :angel2:

November 26th, 2010, 01:17 PM
Debarked dogs still make a noise and you would still see her physically barking, don't think that's the case here.

November 26th, 2010, 02:30 PM
I would like to share just alittle bit of my experience with my rescue GSD.
I have had Maddox now for 1 year. He was badly abused and neglected. He had an embedded collar, inflamed knee which they thought would require surgery, heartworm and was definately beaten. It has been a long road to regain his trust. Infact, to date, even if something drops on the ground, he hits the floor, lowers his head and his eyes bat rapidly. No matter how much he knows I will not hurt him, there comes certain 'scares' of his past. He may never overcome them fully, but his recovery from these incidents are much quicker.

I have also had several puppymill dogs. These ones as well come with certain baggage which they shed over time. They are usually very withdrawn and timid for a while. Everything is new to them and they are frightened of normal activity. Again, with time and patience they do come around. The rescues I deal with who also take puppymill or breeding dogs have had great success. Again, the road is different for all of them, but they do recover.

In time these rescue dogs turn out wonderful. I truly believe they do 'know' and they will be forever grateful to anyone that gives them security, affection and respect. I am certain that your rescue will definately come her own time.:thumbs up

Dog Dancer
November 26th, 2010, 03:01 PM
Geezer, bless you for taking in Rosy. I'm sure in time she will come to realize that she has finally found her earth angel in you. As the others said, I have to agree time and patience are likely all she'll really need. And Love.

BenMax is right, for now I wouldn't push on training either. Just make sure she is taken care of and safe and loved and ever so slowly she will come around. Sit with her and talk to her, but don't force her. If you don't know what to talk to her about read her a book. She'll love the time you are with her and will reward you eventually.

I wouldn't worry about the barking. She's too insecure right now to speak up. Good luck to you both Geezer. Rosy will repay you in spades when her time is right. :angel2: Ummm, do we get to see pics?? We do love rescue stories and pics you know.

November 26th, 2010, 05:35 PM
Thank you for rescuing Rosey.:thumbs up

I too rescued a breeder. She came into our lives in August and I have heard her bark once. So I know she can bark, but she never does. She is timid and shy but we just keep exposing her to different things.

BenMax has given you some great advice and that is what I am doing with Bree.

Good luck and all you need is patience and she will one day become a happy dog. :D

November 27th, 2010, 01:11 AM
I adopted my canine baby from the humane society where he was a surrender. Right off the bat, my whole family and I suspected abuse, although not to the extremes that your sweetie has gone through. Still, although he showed a decent energy level, it took time for him to learn how to play. It was more than a month before I heard him vocalize at all, and it took more than 2 years before I was able to get him to speak on command. Time and patience and love are what's going to help Rosy. don't force her into anything that she's clearly uncomfortable with (i.e. passively sitting or leaning away, that kind of thing) and encourage her with lots of praise and yummy treats. when she's learned that you're not going to hurt her, confine her into a very small cage, or starve her, she'll start coming around, although she may never exhibit the outgoing personality that Goldens are famous for. Good luck and bless you for taking in a rescue!

November 27th, 2010, 08:48 AM
Have you done some hearing tests to see if she can hear? Dropping something, clapping your hands behind her, etc. to see if she reacts to it?
If you are concerned about her not giving signals for when she needs to go out or other things you may want to consider teaching her to use a bell hung on the door used to take her outside. She can be taught to ring the bell to alert you to her needs. Just a thought. You could then move on to one near her food/water dishes and other things.

November 27th, 2010, 02:02 PM
I am really grateful for all the responses to my post.

I am using the suggestions about giving Rosy lots of space and time. She follows me around so it is easy to keep talking to her. I even read much of today's Toronto Star to her and she seemed to be interested! (especially the Wheels section ;) )

I bought her a large sized pad to lie on and she really loves it - so I take it to whichever room I happen to be using throughout the day.

I will post a few pics of her soon and change my Avatar to reflect the changing of the K9 guard here.

Thanks again, all!

November 27th, 2010, 02:42 PM
A few pics of Rosy. You will notice that I took them from her left side which is the side she was attacked on. The ear flap, as you can see is missing and she had a few battle scars on her head and one foot.

In spite of that, she is so darn pretty in a very gentle way...

November 27th, 2010, 03:56 PM
Aww Geezer,Rosy is beautiful,she has that gentle,sweet face of a Golden:lovestruck:
I am certain,she will with time,pay you back thousand-fold,for rescuing her from a bad situation.
It sounds to me that you are definitely on the right track,love cures many ills:grouphug:

November 27th, 2010, 04:00 PM
She reminds me of my sweet Briar. Time and patience will cure everything. :thumbs up

November 27th, 2010, 04:07 PM
Rosey is absolutely gorgeous! Not only that...she has a soft eye. I think you are going to win her over in no time. She has substance behind her and I can just tell that she will be a wonderful companion.

Congrats on your new addition and please keep us updated. We are going to love to hear all about her and progress made or if you have any questions.

November 27th, 2010, 09:23 PM
She's absolutely beautiful, Geezer!! :flirt:

November 27th, 2010, 10:46 PM
What a beautiful girl :lovestruck:. Congrats on your new addition. You've got lots of great advice here and I'm sure she will warm up very soon :goodvibes:.

November 28th, 2010, 09:19 PM
Give her time, I find with rescues it can take a good three weeks for them to really trust that they are safe, in a new home and they are staying. Just let her be, don't baby her but do praise her when she does something you like. You will find in time she will start to play, discover toys and become a dog again. I've had a new dog for about two months and have yet to hear her bark! Oh well. I don't care, I have a feeling if she needs to really bark, she will.