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Old August 4th, 2008, 11:14 AM
jimwilbur jimwilbur is offline
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Dog with strange behaviors

Hi, this is my first post here.

18 months ago my wife and I rescued an adult female Havenese named Suzie through a dog rescue agency. It turns out she had some behavior problems that are very troubling and we have not been able to change most of her odd behaviors but overall she is doing much better than when we first got her.

When we first got her, she would shiver constantly, hide in corners, would not go outside, would not respond to her name and was not housebroken. She would not come to us. She would eat normally and drink water. She would become terrified if we tried to pick her up or pet her.

We have two other dogs, a border collie and a westie and they are well behaved, friendly dogs. They get along well with Suzie and there are no problems in that regard.

After 18 months of trying every thing we could think of her behavior has changed, some for the better, some for the worse.

For the better, she responds to her name now. She no longer shivers. She goes outside with the other dogs. She is no longer terrified but she startles easily. She likes playing in the yard with the other dogs. She is still not house broken exactly, in that she will not go outside most of the time but at least she uses a pad indoors.

She still does not come to us. She will tolerate us petting her if she is in her crate where she sleeps, otherwise she will not.

The strange thing is that after we had her for about 3 months, one day she just stopped eating and started acting fearful of food. For about 8 days we would put food in front of her crate and she would cower from it and would not eat. I was afraid she was going to starve herself so I tried hand feeding her. At first, I had a tough time getting her to eat from my hand but ever since she now eats but only if we hand feed her in her crate. We have tried several times to break her of this behavior but with no success.

I am wondering if anyone in this forum might have any ideas about why a dog might have such strange behaviors and if or how we might nudge her toward more natural behavior(s).
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Old August 4th, 2008, 11:58 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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[QUOTE=jimwilbur;634919]
She still does not come to us. She will tolerate us petting her if she is in her crate where she sleeps, otherwise she will not.QUOTE]

Try putting a leash on her and give her the 'come' or 'here' command. Ensure that you are kneeling at first. She probably will not respond so gently 'reel' in the leash (not an extend-a-lead please). When she is in front of you, give her a treat or toy (whatever she cherishes most). Since she is a little skiddish do not go over board with enthusiasm but do tell her she is a good girl.

She will learn to associate 'here' with something positive. This may take time, but it is worth it.

As far as the food thing goes...wow you got me there. How is she now with food? I am very curious about this one. Maybe do not feed the food near the crate. She seems to have a cowering effect when near the crate perhaps?
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Old August 4th, 2008, 12:22 PM
jimwilbur jimwilbur is offline
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Quote:
Try putting a leash on her and give her the 'come' or 'here' command. Ensure that you are kneeling at first. She probably will not respond so gently 'reel' in the leash (not an extend-a-lead please). When she is in front of you, give her a treat or toy (whatever she cherishes most). Since she is a little skiddish do not go over board with enthusiasm but do tell her she is a good girl.? She will learn to associate 'here' with something positive. This may take time, but it is worth it.
Thank you, we will try this. It had not occurred to us to get down to her level. We have tried leash training but that has been a disaster but your suggestions sounds like a much better approach than what we have tried.



Quote:
As far as the food thing goes...wow you got me there. How is she now with food? I am very curious about this one. Maybe do not feed the food near the crate. She seems to have a cowering effect when near the crate perhaps
I have tried putting the food near the crate, away from the crate - nothing seems to work. It is like something triggered some old behavior...

The only past history we know for sure is that she was at a human society for approx. 6 months where she cowered in the back of her cage. The HS called a dog foster home. The dog foster home had homed her several times but she was always returned to the foster home. That went on for about another 6 months. My wife has obedience trained many dogs but she is at a complete loss with this one. The only thing that has seemed to work so far is lots of love and acceptance with very light training.

Suzie is not leash trained and panics when a leash is put on her, whether on a collar or harness. She will go to my wife first thing in the morning and give her exactly four licks on her hand but no more. Four is the magic number. lol. We have read about the breed and many of her behaviors are consistent with typical problem behaviors for this breed. But we have not read anything anywhere about the issue with food.
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Old August 4th, 2008, 12:33 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Where do you live? In Montreal?
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Old August 4th, 2008, 12:39 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Got it! I missed the obvious. She has confidence issues. Do you have another dog? If not, do you have friends that have a dog that you can walk with.

When I trained dogs with behavioural problems, I did so with a confident dog. I learnt from him and he assisted in instilling confidence. This works famously.
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Old August 4th, 2008, 12:43 PM
jimwilbur jimwilbur is offline
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She is very, very bonded to our westie. She sleeps in her crate and he sleeps in a little bed next to her rather than sleeping in his crate. They play out in the yard together and are very bonded. We live in Washington State.

Last edited by jimwilbur; August 4th, 2008 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Added a response to a previous question I had missed.
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