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Okay...I need some help. We adopted a dog a week ago. My first two posts will give basic info. We think she is just coonhound, not a mix. She weighed 37lbs. at the vet on saturday. The vet also thinks she is closer to 18 months and not 10 months. She has a lot of puppy in her though. She has opened up alot. Especially with me. In the house her tail is up and wagging. She gets so excited at times. Showing her playful side but she doesn't know how to play with people. She will play with a toy by herself. She knows no basic commands or manners. That I can work with.

The issue is....she HATES being outside. Every noise or movement sends her scurrying. The entire time she is outside she is on alert anyway. It makes no sense to me because she is housebroken. She was at the shelter for a month and they took her out everyday. Now I think when we take her out she figures if she does something, she can go back in. So she will usually do one or the other quickly. She has gotten a little better in the past week, but nothing significant. How do I help her with this? I have never seen a dog that did not enjoy the outdoors. I got one of those choker collars that have mostly material. I had to use something different cause she would try and back out of the collar to get away.


I can work with her on basic commands inside. I'm suppose to be taking her to the training class the shelter offers, but it would be useless right now. Do you think she would just eventually become use to outside? Or is there something I can do? She won't even go on the porch. She is a really sweet dog....she can't be happy like this.

Tricia
 

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You already know several things about her....she has low confidence; and, she is both sight and sound reactive. Your training should start with building the confidence level first and then tackle either the sight or the sound reactiveness but, not both at the same time.
She's in a new environment and as you've noted, her confidence level is coming up so, you're on the right track. Routine and structure alone have a great calming effect on dogs...they just need a little time to put everything in order. That's your task.....showing her what she needs to do....ie: Sit for food/petting, Down when the doorbell rings, etc.....set the rules and make them clear. She's still trying to sort out what she's supposed to do when/how and why...ease her mind....that gives her confidence in knowing how to handle the simple things.
For the reactiveness, I would work on sight first as it's not usually as intense as sound. Get her used to seeing strange objects in the room. Open an umbrella and put it on the floor when she's out of the room. Let her approach it on her own. Praise and treat for showing curiosity/confidence to approach the umbrella but, don't make a huge deal of it. Use other strange objects but, stay away from things that hang from the ceiling for the time being....she's probably not ready for that.
Practice walking in the house....bonding and building trust with you. Praise and treat WHILE SHE IS WALKING...don't stop to treat. Getting her to focus on you, looking to you for guidance instead of focusing on other things will certainly help on your walks. Then you practice on the back deck, then the backyard. When you think she's ready you go down the street a little ways and then back. Build the distance slowly while you continue to work on the other training because the further you get from home, the more nervous she'll be.
 

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Your training should start with building the confidence level first and then tackle either the sight or the sound reactiveness but, not both at the same time.
So I should wait till she is showing much more confidence before doing something like the umbrella thing?


I have been working with her on the sit command. I take a treat and bring it over her head to get her to sit. Sometimes while doing that she will run away as if she decided she dosen't like my hand being there. I've gotten her to sit a few times and give her the treat and praise her. If she doesn't sit I don't give the treat.

In the past couple days she has shown interest in food. She is now even eating her meals soooo fast....I'm concerned. But I thought I would go out on the porch with treats and see if she would come. I stood right outside the door and she went back to her origional behavior of ignoring me. So I moved sideways, and without looking at her, threw one inside the house and stretched my hand out with another. She came and ate both and then went back to her bed. I just didn't want her to think I was going to force her out. I have seen her on her own just step outside the door and jump back in. So maybe she just needs to try somethings on her own.

Another issue that has popped up is.....how to get a dog that hates being outside to let you know they have to go potty. I take her out often. But she will usually just do one or the other and wants back in badly. So there have been a couple times she went in the house. She gives no warning that she needs to go. How do I correct her with her issues?? She seems to know it isn't right which is good. I have just been saying "No...no potty in the house". When I saw her chewing on something that was bad and I said "No" she knows what it means . And she listens. I also give her one of her chew toys so she knows what is okay to chew on. Kind of unfortunately, the only thing or word she understands is "No". I guess that was all she probably heard.

She seems to do better at night. I guess I never realized how noisy my neighborhood was during the day or all of a sudden every kid is outside screaming, there are table saws going and there are like 10 new dogs barking. The air show is in town too, so the Blue Angels are flying overhead. Uuuuugggghhhhhhhhhhhh......! At night she behaves a lot better outside. She also becomes more investigative in the house at night too. She has limited herself to the family room. She will now walk into the kitchen for about 5 seconds. If she isn't sleeping, she is pacing.

There are a few things that we have to figure out. And it may take some time. But the same dog that wouldn't even look at me two weeks ago now gets excited to see me. Will climb into my lap for affection. She gets herself so excited for any of us in the morning or when we come home. Whining and wagging her whole body. Totally different dog, but not 100%. I think it is a good sign.

I decided to pet her while she was eating today. We won't tolerate food aggression with our dogs. We can take anything away fairly easily. I then went to take her bowl, but at the last second decided for some reason it may not be a good idea. I will do that later when my husband is home.


Thanks for the advice...keep it coming. Tricia
 

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Yes, wait on the umbrella. Confidence building is a slow, detailed process. It starts out by having trust in you as the leader and you did exactly the right thing by tossing treats. That's the very first step...tossing treats...showing her that really good things come from you. Initially, she doesn't have to earn/work for all of them....that's not the goal at this stage.
When you toss treats, she starts to pay more attention to you....a very good thing! Next stage is that she starts to move closer to you (has some trust/confidence in you) ON HER OWN without you enticing her. Next comes following you around...more confidence in you. Here's where you start upping the ante...will she follow you (confidently) through a narrow opening....doorways/narrow places are scary for puppies. That's why going outside (through a door) is sometimes tricky...it's partly the door and it also opens out to some scary sights/sounds.
When she is following you happilly into every room of the house and has investigated every nook and corner is when you can introduce something new to the room.
When you're outside, toss treats into the grass...use really good treats...SPAM, liver, cheese, etc. Walk around....talk softly to her....she should have the confidence to venture into the scary world as long as you are by her side...it may be tenative but, reward/praise for following you around.
 

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Tessa has been doing a lot better. She is not as bad about going outside. If she REALLY has to go she will actually pull us out. During the day she is still alert, but better. She will now try to stand as close as possible to us if something scares her instead of trying to pull back to the door. At night, she really enjoys being outside and will act like a dog sniffing around and being inquisitive. Of course, if something startles her, she wants in. We keep her out there a few minutes at a time and I think she is slowly getting use to it. She is also going out on the porch now. She seems to like it out there.

Her new thing since I posted last is...barking and howling. She finally started barking. I take it as a sign that she is feeling comfortable and at "home". Like she is protecting her home and people. She also makes this sound when we come home. I say "sound" cause it is like a pathetic howl and chirp. Kinda funny. She does it when she is excited.

I also taught her a few commands. She learned sit and down VERY fast. I thought maybe she had already knew them, but she learned other commands just as quickly. Ones that I am pretty sure that no one would have ever worked with her on like "crate". I say crate and she goes right in. I'd like to start teaching her how to walk on a leash but not sure where to start. I've taught puppies before but her behavior throws me off. I guess I should just do it the same way. I do believe she is smart and a quick learner.

Another issue we are dealing with is her comfort level is different with all of us. She is fine with me. I spend the most time with her. She is okay most of the time with hubby. Sometimes if he goes in takes a shower and changes clothes, when he comes out of the bedroom, it is like she doesn't know who he is. Sometimes she just won't respond well to him for no reason I can figure out. If i am not around....he is great. She is fine with my daughter too. Except the other day when she came out with a towel wrapped around her head. She freaked big time. Hair was standing up and barking. The next time I took a shower I came out with the towel on my head. She didn't like it, so I knelt down, undid the towel and she saw what it was and it was fine. Now, she has never gotten comfortable with my son. She is very guarded with him. He isn't around much which is probably the reason. He also tends to be not so calm. His movements are sharp and his voice changes. It is just the age he is at.

There is one really BIG problem I need help with. When she first came home, our dog we have had for 8 years(Monty) would do the typical correction of her behavior. He wasn't agrressive, just showing her how things are. She took it well. Especially for being as nervous as she is. Then a few days in she started going back at him. Which we thought was okay. Nothing got out of hand. It wasn't anything too different from what he use to do with his sister we just lost. It is clear that Tessa is submissive with Monty. She tries to get him to play all the time. When she does she will come at him low on the ground..under his chin and almost sideways. She follows him around the house and shows him respect most of the time. She started showing signs of possesiveness with her toys. She likes to make sure they are all on her bed. If Monty comes and takes one she will chase him in play but when it is over she makes sure it is back in her place. The only reason he takes them is to play. He doesn't sit and play with toys or chew on them. I am now wondering if he is doing it to show dominance. Today, I was offering her a toy and Monty came over and took it. She did her usual play chasing. Tessa had already chewed a whole in it so Monty was ripping the stuffing out. I don't know what started it, but within seconds they were going at one another. Instead of it ending quickly, it started escalating. Tessa was really staying aggressive. I didn't see them actually bite each other. I got in between them but Tessa was still wanting to bark at him. At this point Monty had stopped, he was just standing there. She was going at him the same way as when she plays....with her face basically on the floor under him. I was telling her to get in her crate but she wasn't listening. Monty went in instead. I put her up and checked on Monty. He was shaking....only for a minute. When I went to pet him his neck was wet. I checked him for bites but found none. His hair on his neck is white so I would have seen any blood. She did get him on the inside of his ear though. It looked more like scrapes and it wasn't bleeding that much. At first I was freaking....but I think she may have just got his ear when she was barking and he may have moved. I want to stop this behavior NOW! I can not let her hurt my dog. I am also afraid that if this is just showing 3 weeks in, will she start showing aggression towards us. Right now we can take her food bowl away, any toy or just something she should not have. She is just this way with Monty. He has always been the dominant dog...but not aggressive. I've never dealt with anything like this. I want to help her, but not at my Monty's expense.

Please help....Tricia

 

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Should I not be concerned???

Since yesterday I seem to view Tessa's behavior differently. I don't know if she is trying to dominate Monty. Just a few minutes ago it appeared that Tessa was trying to get Monty to play. He wanted nothing to do with her. As he was heading to the crate they bumped into each other and Monty vocalized his displeasure. She went straight to showing her teeth and barking. I grabbed her collar and said No until I had her attention. As soon as she looked at me her demenor changed. Then she started barking at Monty in a more playful way. Then she started walking around the crate looking at him.

I don't know if she is just "rougher" when she plays....or if it is aggression. Are there things I should be looking for at other times that might help me figure her out?
 

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When dogs play they practice all the life skills....dominance/submission, takedowns, 'kills', bluff/bluster, on top/then on bottom, chaser/chasee and sex.
Forget the dominance thing. One dog might hoard toys, while the other might hoard the best sleeping spot(s) so, it's foolish to say one is being more dominant than the other. You will find dogs are 'dominant' about some things but 'submissive' about others.
Typical of any family, there will be minor squabbles from time to time but, they will work it out. The point where you step in is if you see signs of bullying behavior (trying to keep the other dog out of a room, not letting the other dog back into the house, away from a person, charging across the room and pouncing on the other dog/not play) or the squabble doesn't look like it's going to end quickly....you want to stop it before it escalates.
Dogs play rough and they are usually quite vocal....snarls, barks, woofs, yips and teeth are all part of the game. Truly aggressive dogs seldom issue warnings with either barks or growls. There are no playbows and no invitations are given. They just attack with the intent to kill or maim.
 

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Thanks for the reply....


There are only two things Monty is possesive of....food and me. Just now Tessa was sitting up by me and when he saw he jumped up and sat on my lap.

I'm confused about the bullying. Tessa will follow us around constantly and sometimes will get in front of us. I think she is just looking for attention but sometimes we will have to move her to go somewhere. She will block Monty too but it looked like she was just trying to get him to play.


With the playing rough....Monty wants nothing to do with it. Is that why when she gets started he just goes into his crate....cause he knows what she is doing? Just playing rough. The first time they got into it he was just as involved....since then he just walks away.

I do think that she probably just doesn't know how to act with him. All the man said when he dropped her and another dog off at the shelter is that they didn't get along. Can he teach her by his actions??

Thanks again...Tricia
 

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Contrary to popular opinion most dogs don't play that much. You hear alot about prey drive and pack drive but, very little about play drive because it's not real strong/prevalent. My two Shelties rarely play...a 10 second chase/tussle happens once a month but, pull out a tennis ball and they'll run it down for an hour..side by side....that's the kind of play they really enjoy.
Yes, the standing in front is for attention. Moving on command...to where you want him...is a training issue. Going in front of you is usually how that was trained to begin with....that's where all the treats were given...face to face. Most people don't give treats at their left or right side or behind them.
 
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