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Hello everyone. We're new here, but we like what we see so far. Everyone seems quite friendly, so we're glad to be aboard.

We're Eric and Anna out of southern California, and we have a newly adopted (on April 1st) shelter dog named Ollie. We love him dearly already and for the most part everything is great. However, there are a few things I'm curious about...

One, his size. We were told he is an approximately one year old black lab and duck-tolling retriever mix, and he does look like it, but if that's true, he seems incredibly small for his age (please see pictures at the bottom, he's not much bigger than the chihuahua's in his cage). He weighs only 17.2 lbs! We know nothing of his history, but based on his personality we suspect he was neglected as a puppy. Could this be from lack of proper nutrition earlier on? If so, what steps could we take, if any, to possibly correct this? Any suggestions would be appreciated. We have him on a high quality dry food (this one: http://www.bynaturepetfoods.com/productpages/duckandsweetpeas.php ). But lately, because he has a case of the kennel cough, we've been spoiling him with grilled chicken.

Two, he doesn't know how to play. I got him a big tennis ball and a small tennis ball, a Mr. Wishbone squeaker toy, a Kong and a chew bone, but he doesn't really care about any of them. Except for a Kong stuffed with peanut butter, but in that case he just likes the peanut butter. I've tried to engage him in playful behavior, getting on my hands and knees and barking, or by biting a tennis ball and just in general acting like a playful dog, but he just looks at me with curious eyes. Anyone have any experience with "playing dog" and teaching one how to play?

The other things is, a black lab mixed with a duck-tolling should be really high energy. But he's so relaxed, it's almost worrisome. He very recently had his vaccinations, and rabies, and neutered, and as I said, he is sick with kennel cough. I'm sure that has something to do with it. I'm just venting I guess, because I want him to be healthy and get well. He's a really great dog, we've had zero problems from him.

Anyway, phew, wrote a lot. Sorry, but this is our first dog. Just like new parents, super worried about everything. Again, good to be here. If anyone has suggestions about him, I'm happy to hear them.





Sorry. I accidentally posted this in the Rescue section. Won't happen again.
 

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Firstly, welcome and congrats on your new canine partner. He's a really nice looking dog :)


Could this be from lack of proper nutrition earlier on? If so, what steps could we take, if any, to possibly correct this? Any suggestions would be appreciated. We have him on a high quality dry food (this one: http://www.bynaturepetfoods.com/productpages/duckandsweetpeas.php ). But lately, because he has a case of the kennel cough, we've been spoiling him with grilled chicken.
It's possible, and you're doing the right things giving him good food to eat - both the dry dog food and the good "people" food. At a year old, I think he has time to keep growing. I'm sure others will have more helpful things to say, though.


Two, he doesn't know how to play. I got him a big tennis ball and a small tennis ball, a Mr. Wishbone squeaker toy, a Kong and a chew bone, but he doesn't really care about any of them. Except for a Kong stuffed with peanut butter, but in that case he just likes the peanut butter. I've tried to engage him in playful behavior, getting on my hands and knees and barking, or by biting a tennis ball and just in general acting like a playful dog, but he just looks at me with curious eyes. Anyone have any experience with "playing dog" and teaching one how to play?
Sounds JUST like my Wally when he first arrived (and even now he's not the most playful of all dogs, especially with toys).

I would give him some more time to adjust to his new life and new people. He might still be in the "what's this? what's that?" sort of stage where he's still observing his new surroundings and learning what his routine might be. May even have to get used to having interaction again.

You can also try teaching him some games. Find a game you'd like to play and then teach him each step to playing it. Like if you want to play tug with him, teach him to mouth an object, hold it, drop it, and hold it even when you pull on it.

Same sort of idea for teaching fetching. Just about any game could be broken down into smaller pieces and taught, then string the pieces together to form the game. I had to teach Wally some semblance of fetching from scratch, and even now it's not great (he'll only do it in my room), but at least I can run him back and forth for a while and rub him and such to have some play.

But right now, since he's been with you only five days now, I would wait a little while and see if his personality doesn't show a more playful/energetic side.

The other things is, a black lab mixed with a duck-tolling should be really high energy. But he's so relaxed, it's almost worrisome. He very recently had his vaccinations, and rabies, and neutered, and as I said, he is sick with kennel cough. I'm sure that has something to do with it. I'm just venting I guess, because I want him to be healthy and get well. He's a really great dog, we've had zero problems from him.

It might be his nature. I have a Coton and they are supposed to be constantly eager, silly, playful...and mine is quiet, docile, and will be as content sleeping at your feet (or in general) 12-16 hours a day as he is being exercised and trained a lot during the day.

So maybe you have a lower energy one :) Of course, it could just be newness (only 5 days) and if he's been sick or fighting an illness recently, that will diminish his spirit some. I think when he's fully healthy and comfortable in his new home, he'll probably "let his hair down" so to speak. Even my dog got more open and free-spirited once he got comfortable and he's got fearful tendencies.
 

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One, his size. We were told he is an approximately one year old black lab and duck-tolling retriever mix, and he does look like it, but if that's true, he seems incredibly small for his age (please see pictures at the bottom, he's not much bigger than the chihuahua's in his cage). He weighs only 17.2 lbs! We know nothing of his history, but based on his personality we suspect he was neglected as a puppy. Could this be from lack of proper nutrition earlier on? If so, what steps could we take, if any, to possibly correct this? Any suggestions would be appreciated. We have him on a high quality dry food (this one: http://www.bynaturepetfoods.com/productpages/duckandsweetpeas.php ). But lately, because he has a case of the kennel cough, we've been spoiling him with grilled chicken.
What did the vet say? Rescues are notorious for not accurately determining a dog's breed. The vet is going to be better at this normally. It's possible he's underfed. In any case, keep feeding him quality kibble and he'll fill out if he is underweight. A vet can easily determine this for you.

Two, he doesn't know how to play. I got him a big tennis ball and a small tennis ball, a Mr. Wishbone squeaker toy, a Kong and a chew bone, but he doesn't really care about any of them. Except for a Kong stuffed with peanut butter, but in that case he just likes the peanut butter. I've tried to engage him in playful behavior, getting on my hands and knees and barking, or by biting a tennis ball and just in general acting like a playful dog, but he just looks at me with curious eyes. Anyone have any experience with "playing dog" and teaching one how to play?
You've only had the dog about a week. Most dogs take about two weeks to settle in and up to a month before you really see their normal behavior. He may not be playing because he's not fully comfortable in his environment. Some dogs though are just not that playful. I have a cocker spaniel who did the exact same thing you describe. Then one day after a week or two he came running across the yard with a rawhide wanting to play fetch. He still is not that playful of a dog preferring to lounge around and occasionally chew on a rawhide.

The other things is, a black lab mixed with a duck-tolling should be really high energy. But he's so relaxed, it's almost worrisome. He very recently had his vaccinations, and rabies, and neutered, and as I said, he is sick with kennel cough. I'm sure that has something to do with it. I'm just venting I guess, because I want him to be healthy and get well. He's a really great dog, we've had zero problems from him.

Anyway, phew, wrote a lot. Sorry, but this is our first dog. Just like new parents, super worried about everything. Again, good to be here. If anyone has suggestions about him, I'm happy to hear them.
Not all dogs fit their breed profile. They're like people in the sense that they all have their own personalities. I wanted a laid back dog who loved to lounge so initially I looked at only basset hounds. I found a lot of really hyperactive basset hounds. Some dogs are just laid back. Part of it may be him still adjusting as well. In a month or so he may really come out of his shell. Give him some time.
 

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Welcome to DogForums and thanks for adopting!

Ollie is beautiful. What a face!

Like the others have said, it sounds like you're doing everything right. Just give him some time to adjust and understand that this is his place. But, in the process don't spoil him. "Rules" are important to build his confidence that your home is "his place" too. Do a search on Nothing In Life Is Free -type training. Basically that he has to earn anything he wants (nothing hard, but he has to do it: you have to "sit" before I put down your food bowl, etc.) If my description sounds harsh, it isn't. NILF is a great way to bond with your dog.

Oh, and you're freaking him out by holding a tennis ball in your mouth and running around on all fours. He's probably wondering "My God, what have I got myself in to?" Just kidding :D
 

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Welcome to DF Eric, Anna and Ollie! I don't have much new to add except that Ollie is adorable and I hope you'll keep posting lots of pictures. I would reiterate though that shelter dogs take a while to fully come out of their shells. Some say as little as a few weeks others say it can take up to a year. I think it would just be a few months myself. I mean I adopted a shelter dog and while it took very little time to bond it took Max a while to figure out his routine and to just relax and fully show his personality. So give it some time. Thanks for adopting a shelter dog!
 

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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!

We've bonded already, but I can see what you mean about him slowly opening up. I love it when he walks up to me and rests his chin in my palm.

As for NILF style training, we do something pretty similar. We're not that strict about it right now though, mainly because we're just worried about him recovering completely from the KC. However, he's so well behaved that most of the time he's already sitting down by the time we bring food around anyway!

I made a Vet appointment for him on Thursday. I'm so curious about what breed he actually is. Is he really Lab/Toller mix? Why is he so small? Is he really a year old? Why does he sometimes look like a beagle? All of these questions and more will be answered! I'll keep you guys posted.
 

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He probably ISN'T a Lab/Toller mix. Tollers are pretty rare, but since a small spaniel/retriever/etc. mix looks like a Toller, shelters like to use it in their breed guesses. Unless they have his mother, they really have no idea what mix he is either, and, even if they do have his mother, they probably don't know who DaddyDog was.

He might have some Lab only because Labs are so popular, and they really get around ;) . He might have some Beagle in him; who knows? If you're really curious, there are breed-identifying DNA tests you can do.

He's cute, you love him, and that's what counts!
 
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