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Hello all,

We just adopted a 3-year old Black Lab/Border Collie mix from our local shelter yesterday. She is very, very sweet and very mellow. I grew up with dogs, but have never owned a dog as an adult (and thus able to do my own research) as I was waiting to have the financial means--as I do now.

She is shy and nervous--but not in the way I'm used to seeing. She does fine with people and other dogs but is just constantly nervous. It's almost as if she's afraid of doing anything wrong. She sits on command and is very quick to learn. But, we don't know what her past is.

Although we'll be going to the vet tomorrow and training very soon, I would love some feedback on some of my questions and concerns from those with the time and opinion...

1. She didn't pee until this morning despite many walks. When I take her into the backyard, she wont' leave my side. If I stop walking, she sits next to me and looks at me--as if I'm supposed to give her permission to be "at ease". She hasn't pooped and she ate and drank only a very little. Should I be concerned or is she acclimating to a new life?

2. She is very fearful. She seems to love people--but always afraid of her surroundings. She comes up to people and almost hides in their legs. She avoids the middle of rooms, staying toward the edges or under/next to tables and chairs.

3. She's a bit overweight. I figured daily walks (and maybe light jogs later) and decent-quality food (I'm using Wellness Complete Health) should take care of that. Thoughts?

Ultimately, I want to make sure I'm establishing the proper relationship for her condition until I have learned more. I'm trying to be careful about not coddling her when she exhibits fearful behaviors and am trying to build her confidence with some very basic sit/stay training. Are there any huge red flags I should be wary of in the short term? Any advice?

Thanks guys. I've been reading through some of the forums and it has been a great resource.

Cheers,
 

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You are really doing everything right....good for you! This is very common with shelter dogs....its takes a few days...sometimes weeks to adjust. Your calm, confident, no coddling approach will help her tremendously.
The potty thing is also common in new envrionments.....that's a very vulnerable position. Some nervous, fearful dogs need secrecy.....large bushes to hide. Don't look at her or try to rush her. YAWN. Yes, yawn. Dogs understand that....boring/nothing to be concerned about.....that can help to put her at ease.
As for red flags....try to determine if there is any sight or sound sensitivity and minimize exposure to those things until she has her feet on the ground in her new place.
 

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Congratulations on your new dog! YAY :D

She first needs to adapt to her new home life before you can really assess what her true personality is. This takes about 2 months. Let her progress at her own pace. If she ever does show she is shaking fearful towards something, DO NOT console her as you would a child because this actually has the opposite effect on dogs where they think you are encouraging them to be scared of what they are already scared of.
You seem like you are on the rigth track :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys! Yeah, she's already starting to warm up a bit... still scared of the hardwood floors and going to the bathroom and the like, but it seems like she's going to be okay. I've been reading a lot and watching a lot of videos and I'm confident she'll be a great dog. I'm finding plenty of opportunity to reward her (she's doing sit, stay, down, and come really well) and she's getting more confident and that tail is wagging more and more.

Thanks again for your input.
 

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Don't look at her or try to rush her. YAWN. Yes, yawn. Dogs understand that....boring/nothing to be concerned about.....that can help to put her at ease.
I have to remember this myself, although a lot of times, he's looking at ME as if he's saying, "is it okay to go here? This spot smells good to me, can I use it?"

I yawn so much at Wally, my mom asked me why I'm so bored around the dog. I told her, I'm just using a calming signal and dogs use yawning to communicate things. She was rather amazed and intrigued. :)
 
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