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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm a new member posting here. I have a three year old shelter dog who's a mix of many breeds, is about 85 pounds and I've had for two years at the end of March. I got him at sixteen months old and am his third home. He was a basket case in the shelter and had no training or socialization before I got him and was a confirmed escape artist and runaway who could escape anything, chewed through eight leashes so far and just did whatever he wanted. Took literally an hour to catch him every night in the park and that was dragging a leash and with treats.
He was afraid of tall men, strange men, anyone with hats, and would bolt off to meet any new dog, chase anything that moved and herd/harass my horses or anyone's horses. Took my ancient mare who hates dogs and a literally wild mustang to literally attack him and teach him some healthy fear and respect. He tried to bulldoze my cats but my formerly ferals taught him done healthy respect for cats too, with a scratched cornea the first night.
The terms teenage thug, selective hearing and Houdini escape artist, as does hooligan, described him perfectly. He also has the worst case of separation anxiety ever seen by the two behaviorists he's seen so far and is on medication for that. Add to that IBD and food allergies and it's been a fun and exciting almost two years!
Now he's friendly and outgoing with strangers and other dogs and stopped getting into scuffles with other large male dogs but runs to me during other dog fights in the park. I take him almost everywhere in public and he actively goes to greet people with his tail wagging seeking affection, butt rubs and pats. He's very smart and learns new tricks and commands very quickly. He walks on a loose leash unless he hasn't had enough exercise or sees a rabbit or new dog but doesn't drag me anymore and listens to reminders to behave. Late at night I can walk him loose all around my city neighborhood and he stops and sits at crosswalks and listens. At the stable inside the barn and arena he also is loose and listens and respects the horses. He's tied when I ride or work with the horses and still barks or whines if he can't see me or at strangers to be protective.
Recall is much better in the fenced dog park even with distractions. Has been in unfenced fields and stayed with me and come back, not perfect but no more running off. Still distractible but does come back now. Not 100 percent probably 70 or 80 percent. But compared to when I got him when he was opening my car windows and jumping out, jumping six foot fences, opening gates, taking off harnesses, chewing through leashes and running off into busy city roads and chasing aggressive horses and running straight into groups of dogs literally charging straight into them at a gallop, he's barely recognizable. He's friendly and polite and not lunging and barking and growling at everyone on the street or every bicycle or person with a helmet passing by. Now he can be loose and friendly and relaxed and come back to me and play with other dogs appropriately and I know he'll be gentle with little dogs and puppies and if other dogs fight or bark he'll run to me. Much less stressful but what a journey!!!
I just want his selective hearing to improve a bit more and his recall to be perfect. And he learns and knows many commands but he doesn't always feel like doing them. I'll say sit, he lies down. I'll say bow he gives me his paw. Or he'll want his treats so just goes through every command he knows as fast as he can before I say a word.
My last dog was also a shelter dog that I had for almost twelve years and he had perfect recall from day one. I could ride my horse through a huge state forests for hours and he'd stay with us and never leave my side except to chase off a coyote or perceived danger. But I could call him off anything on mid leap. I never had to train that, just day it twice at the most. He was an Akita pitbull do his issues were all resource guarding and aggression with other large dogs and some people do I had other stuff to train.

This recall stuff drives me NUTS! How can he have sufficient frantic separation anxiety and literally follow me everywhere, even lies outside the tub when I shower and just take off for smells or rabbits or dogs or whatever? I've watched hundreds of videos, I've done everything I've found online, I've done everything the behaviorist said, I make it all positive. I call him in the dog park and give him tons if praise and bacon treats and let him go play again, I just don't call him to leave. Every other regular dog there comes running whenever I call him hoping for his treats! They all don't play and follow me around doing tricks like the pied Piper hoping for treats and ignore their owners lol. He's much better but not perfect. And if he doesn't get a treat every time, he stops coming back fast, the brat.
Anyway that's our story!
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