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I could use some help. I am an experienced pet sitter with multiple clients and different dogs. This one is a unique case that I need help with and hoping you can assist
I am presently petsitting for my parents' 2 dogs for 2 weeks while they are away.
1 dog (Rocco) is a good dog. Old but a good dog.
The other, Belle, is about 3 years old. And. Is. Not. Trained! She's a good really sweet dog, but does NOT listen. She's Unmotivated. She's extremely cat-like. Belle is a mutt- I cannot tell you what kind of mutt she is.
Here's the trouble:
Scene: She loves to be outside. Generally not a problem- however, she does not come in when called. She'll go hide in the thick holly thorny bushes where I cannot reach her to get her in. My parents never trained her on the "Come" or "Here" command (or if my dad did, he overused the command and she ignores it now).
EDIT TO ADD: My parents are retired, they have no set schedule and no reason to call the dog in.
Note: first few days took me over 2 hours on and off to finally get her in. Monday when it was 98º took me 4 hours to get her in (on and off- about half an hour apart as not to hound her continuously)
Problem: I work every day. I cannot wait to get her in on her terms. Weather's too hot, I cannot leave her outside for 10 hours while I work. Plus landscapers come unexpectedly and I cannot have her outside (don't want her to escape or get injured).
I tried: Bribing with treats and people food. Playing (and using playful voices and sounds). Bribing with toys. I tried bribing with promises of "park" and "walk" As she knows those words. Leashes does not get her to me. She's very unmotivated- food and toys does not motivate. Nothing excites her like normal dogs.
I also tried ringing doorbells, opening garage door, turning car on. I tried asking a neighbor to come in hopes a new voice would excite her. Nope, she still hides.
Alternative choice with new issue: I tried putting her on a leash to take her outside to make sure I can get her in before I go to work. Excellent solution, right? Wrong. SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO PEE ON A LEASH!!!!
This should have been the FIRST thing my dad to teach her. Nope. I'd walk her around her usual pee area. She'll stare at me for a half an hour and will not pee.
So my choices are: Leave her outside all day/night while I am not home. Or keep her inside and let her bust.
I chose to let her bust- since I cannot just keep her outside while I am at work (too hot, unexpected landscapers, etc). With this choice, she had not peed since yesterday morning. Eventually she'll pee either in the house or outside on the leash- and I'd rather have an accident in the house than to fight every day to get her in (the more I try to encourage her, the less she wants to come in).
This has been going on since Thursday (4 days), figuring maybe she was depressed because her owners are gone so I gave her time to adjust to being with me. I'd give her attention every day when I am with her. She doesn't play but happy to have pets and someone to talk to her to show her I am not a bad person.
I was going to suggest what you are doing, keep her on leash and take her outside. Use a long leash so she can move away from you. That is one place an extendable leash works good. They do eventually learn to go when on leash but it does take a while. Do some recall training starting in the house so she learns what "come" or "here" means, lots of really good treats when she comes. Don't try it outside for a while as she already knows she does not have to come when called.
Have you a tried a long line and a harness? Sometimes the distance from you "tricks" them into thinking they're not really on a leash. They have a bit of freedom, but you have full control. I have a 100 ft. leash I purchased on Amazon, but you can find long lines almost anywhere.
I would introduce her to it while you have time to watch her, and when she pees, praise her and give her a tasty treat.
your main thing as a pet sitter is to keep them safe until your parents come home... That is what you focus on for the short time you have her, and that is how you handle everything safety. I am white on rice with someone else's dog. Leash even in a fenced in area I have them on a long line and always supervised outside. You set a daily schedule, and present the opportunity for learning (doesn't matter if the dog does or doesn't respond) you be consistent everyday in your routine. Give a dog something to anticipate and follow in the time you have with them.
a long line 50', 120' feet, might help for the potty thing.
Done free for all dogs before and it's very awkward for them,, I don't worry about them, they safe and that is what i feel that counts, if they pick up some skills from me great! if not they safe and no worse for the ware when their owners return..
I did as suggested and put her on a long leash and left her alone out there (leash attached to a leg of a chair).
She sat in the same spot for an hour. She did not move at all. Not even to pee. Ugh! I really hope she learns.
I am not going to try to "Train" her. I know my parents, if I should train her the come command, my dad will not use it properly and she'll just revert to these bad habits. He even uses that command indoors constantly.
lol an hour... mmm try not going potty or poop for 3 days straight... " it's the dogs choice" nothing you can do about it... You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink... same thing...
As long as you have her on a long line teach her to come when called. No reason not to. Do NOT feed her before she goes out. Have something REALLY tasty and call her to you and feed her at you. If you have time you can also make all her food come from you. Every. Bit. Eat out of my hand or go hungry.
I would crate her inside and, when you are not at work take her in and out and teach her to go on leash. I absolutely would not let her off leash for any reason whatsoever. WHEN she goes outside on leash feed her as she is going. Something really good. Cheese bits. Cooked chicken.
You are stuck with this for two weeks. Make what you can of it.. because these are your parents and they may ask you to do this again.
Train a 'secret' recall command, just for your own use. Don't tell your dad about it.
Give super SUPER high-value treats each and every time your dog complies, and assign a completely new cue to it that hasn't been poisoned like the previous ones. The new cue can be any word, ie: "front", "near me" or whatever. Even "cookie" would probably work.
Really this should take minimal time and effort on your part. By comparison, far less than the 4 hours you mentioned anyway, at least to get a good basis to build further upon if you ever decide to.
ETA: Also, bribery doesn't work. Do some research and learn the correct way to use food or toys as rewards. Essentially, in a nutshell, the reward should only be shown or presented AFTER the behaviour of coming to you.
She is NOT food motivated. Cheese, chicken, hot dogs, any treats, any treats- she ignores. She doesn't always eat her dinner either (dry, canned food of different kinds, cooked chicken with rice)- she's the world's pickiest dog. I can offer anything from the pantry and fridge, she'll sniff and walk away. I have no idea how to train a dog who doesn't like food. She also has no toys that interest her- squeaker toys, rattling toys, toys with no sound, balls, tug of war, chew toys.. nothing. Nothing motivates her.
Even if I wanted to train her a secret command (Which is an excellent idea), I have no idea how if she's highly unmotivated. She'll sit and stare at me no matter what
She's an incredibly stressful client for me.
All I can do I guess is leave her outside on a long lead and leave her alone. Whether she goes or not, it cant be helped.
Don't feed her. I bet her interest will change after a couple of days. Want to eat? Here it is. From me. No interest? Oh well, no food. Of course, after 4 days if she is not eating then my guess would be a dog that is so unconfident.. so "feral" as to be just as she is. Not your dog. Not your worry other than to return her safe and sound.