- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Silent Rosie

December 6th, 2010, 12:25 PM
Hi again. I am back with a question about my rescued gem - an English Golden Retriever that was afraid of her own shadow a couple of weeks ago.

She is now getting very confident (cocky, in fact). She loves to run and play when on walks. But she still doesn't accept a leash. Luckily, she stays right at my side or slightly behind on walks, so a leash isn't really necessary (except in areas where leashes are mandated).

My main concern right now is that she is totally silent. Some have suggested she was surgically debarked, but in my experience with debarked dogs, there should at least be an attempt to bark that usually results in a raspy sound or whisper. Rosie does not even wine or attempt to make a sound of any kind, even when she is being barked at by other dogs or when there is a knock on the door.

I wonder, if there is a canine equivalent of hysterical dumbness?

Dog Dancer
December 6th, 2010, 12:31 PM
Good to hear that Rosie is getting her spirit back. I don't know if there's a clinical reason for her to be silent, but I wouldn't be surprised if that bark comes back some day also. You are obviously doing a good job with Rosie, thank you again for rescuing her.

December 8th, 2010, 10:59 PM
Geezer, I had this same issue when I adopted my dog, Remington. He was a surrender, and his former owners had listed both barking and chewing as behavior problems on his surrender form. He exhibited neither problem. In fact, for the first month that I had him, I didn't hear him so much as whine, much less bark. and then for a good two years after, he would only bark when very, very excited, and only if the other dog was barking first. It took that long before I could convince him to bark on command, that it was okay and welcome to bark on command. I've never heard of surgical debarking (just the thought of it horrifies me!) but if whoever had your Rosy before used a shock coller or something, it's very likely that she's afraid to bark, and might be for some time to come. Just keep being patient and loving. It sounds like she's coming a long way, and that's all down to you!

December 9th, 2010, 07:03 AM
I was thinking the same thing she was punished somehow for barking and is scared to. I am sure as her confidence and trust grows she may feel comfortable and safe enough to try a bark and see what happens. And of course nothing will which in turn will have her trust you even more.

Dog Dancer
December 9th, 2010, 10:50 AM
Mastifflover, I think you're wrong. When and if Rosie decides to bark something will happen. She's gonna get loved to bits and hugs and kisses and treats and jumping up and down..:D Mom will go crazy happy when Rosie decides to speak up :crazy:

December 9th, 2010, 11:25 AM
A bit of a breakthrough today. Another dog (a Boxer) tried to take a rawhide strip from Rosie and in a move that I have never seen from her before, she growled and showed her teeth, forcing the other dog to back off.

So, some of the old spirit is returning. And if she gets bullied, she ain't gonna take it no more!

Good on you, Rosie!

Dog Dancer
December 9th, 2010, 12:03 PM
Yay Rosie! It's good that she's feeling comfortable enough to stand up for herself. I would, however, make sure she doesn't resource guard with you. You wouldn't want that to escalate with humans.

December 9th, 2010, 05:26 PM
I'm wondering if there's a possibility her previous owner used an anti-bark collar with her.

So glad for Rosie that you came along :goodvibes:.

December 9th, 2010, 06:59 PM
I agree with Dog Dancer -- watch that food possessiveness with humans. Remington was food possessive enough to bite at my mother's feet when she'd get too close. fortunately mom always wears shoes around house, so no harm done. If she starts lifting her lip when you or anyone else gets close while she's eating, try hand feeding her. I hand fed remington, every meal, for about two weeks. The goal is to have the dog sit and calmly take food from your hand, not be so anxious that they keep standing back up. When you get there, you can put the food in the dish and hold it while they eat, again until the dog is calm enough to simply eat while sitting. At that point, food can go back on the floor. Any backsliding means a return to the handfeeding. the object is to have the dog come to understand that food comes from you, and isn't withheld. ever. they learn to be confident that food is always going to be provided, and they lose the anxiety that causes them to guard.

December 9th, 2010, 07:46 PM
Yay Rosie! It's good that she's feeling comfortable enough to stand up for herself. I would, however, make sure she doesn't resource guard with you. You wouldn't want that to escalate with humans.

No, she seems to be better at this than any other dog I have ever had. She waits until her food is put down. Then I have to nod to her and say "OK" before she will come to eat. I carefully reached in a took a few bits of kibble while she was eating once or twice just to test this out and all she did was give me a "OK, what are you doing now?" look. And she will now take treats out of my hand. She is very dainty about it, making sure that only her lips touch my hand when she takes them.

I have to conclude that at some time she was trained in the following: eating only when allowed, going out the door only when allowed, heeling on walks, coming when called and staying within a limited space when allowed outside on her own. Perhaps she was also trained to stay silent. I also conclude that if she did anything considered bad by her former handler, she was given a swift boot on the behind. The reason I concluded this is that when she goes by me, she approaches very slowly and when she is even she puts on the afterburners and scoots past as fast as she can. If we accidentally contact each other on her way past, she jumps as if she was given a high voltage shock (and boy, can she jump!) Since she has not been punished in any way since I have taken her, (nor will she ever be physically disciplined) these tendencies are slowly getting less evident.

I am about to book an hour and a half of time with the McCann dog behaviour specialist to come up with a plan to train Rosie in some of the more relevant things such as accepting a leash, learning good leash behaviour and obeying basic verbal commands such as 'sit', 'lie down' (and "go lie down") and 'stand' (although "stand" is about all she does when she is with me and I am standing still).

I'll let you know how it goes...

December 10th, 2010, 01:46 AM
Glad to hear she's so good about food. and I think taking her to a behavior specialist is a wonderful idea. I bet you'll have a happy, confident friend in no time -- especially with as quickly as she's already making progress!:thumbs up

December 10th, 2010, 05:07 AM
I think the specialist is a great idea especially now that you have lived with her for a while and are getting to know her quirks. Good luck and what a lucky girl Rosie is to have such a good mom who cares so much.

Dog Dancer
December 10th, 2010, 10:37 AM
Geezer, I'm glad to hear she's okay with food with you. Mine are like that, people can do anything at all, but I think my lab would snarl at a foreign dog if it tried to get too close to her food or bones (she won't with Shadow). It does sound like she's been booted doesn't it. Poor sweetie, but she's safe now. Glad to hear your going to deal with a pro to work on some of her little issues. You'll settle her in no time I'm sure.

December 10th, 2010, 09:05 PM
You sound like a good dog owner. Good luck to you. She is a sweety. :lovestruck:

December 28th, 2010, 05:37 AM
I don't have anything really productive to say, since I haven't had a similar experience, but I'm just so happy to hear that Rosie has you to take care of her, and that she's made such great progress! :D

February 26th, 2011, 07:30 PM
fwiw, the older my dog got, she appeared to lose her ability to whine. She still barks, and makes other noises if she hurts herself, but her whine is silent.... she appears to be doing it, but no sound (I call it clucking for some reason). She does have a thyroid problem, and I sometimes wonder if the lack of whine has anything to do with that.

February 27th, 2011, 01:06 PM
It has been about a month since I last reported any news about "Poor Little Rosie" and I can now report that in many ways she is a completely different dog.

She still bears the scars of a brutal early life and she has not made any sounds during her waking hours although she does make lots of sleeping sounds. :sleepy:

Nonetheless, Rosie is now a very communicative dog in other ways. She can show playfulness and joy - which previously was not in her repertoire. :goodvibes: She makes it plain when she is hungry (which is most of the time) and when she needs to go and do her oblations. She soaks up affection like a sponge and is extremely attentive to what I am doing and where I am going.

She used to walk a few paces behind me during our outings, but now she races ahead and waits for me to catch up. She also shows her enthusiasm for things she enjoys (such as walks or just going outside for quality time together). She also now mixes and plays well with other dogs where she used to cower in a corner in a submissive pose. She will even strike the occasional uncharacteristic challenging ("Go ahead, make my day!") stance when confronted by a hyperactive pooch - but thankfully has not participated in any donnybrooks.

As far as food is concerned, I did a lot of experimentation necessitated by her refusing to eat anything for a couple of weeks early on and found out that she hates Orijen kibble and will barely tolerate Acana. She also turns her nose up at anything with the Canidae label. She has settled on a combination of Nutros Ultra kibble and either Nutros Ultra canned food or Merrick canned foods sprinkled very lightly with Benny Bully's liver powder, probiotic powder and Melissa's Aloe. Once in awhile I throw in a handful of diced NB Turkey roll. I felt the need to get her off the Kirkland garbage from Cosco that she had been eating at her former Foster home. The result of this diet has her energy level much higher than I have seen since I took her in, her eyes are much clearer and brighter, her coat thicker and shinier and her attitude is generally much more active in a classic Golden way.

Now if only I could get her on a leash and teach her to understand basic commands. The only words she understands are: "Wanna go out?", "Walkies?" "Duties!" And she understands when I want her to go and lie down and give me some space, I just point to her bed in the corner and she goes to it.

I think Rosie and I will have a wonderful friendship together...

February 27th, 2011, 04:11 PM
Geezer,thank's for the update:thumbs up
It seems she is turning in to a very happy loving dog,you've done great by her.:grouphug:

February 27th, 2011, 04:45 PM
Geezer,thank's for the update:thumbs up
It seems she is turning in to a very happy loving dog,you've done great by her.:grouphug:

I second that!:thumbs up