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Discussion Starter #1
I just adopted a 1-year old Lab/Beagle mix from our local animal shelter and I'm having some behavior issues that I'd love to get some more experienced minds to consider.

Trouble focusing when going out to potty

This goes beyond 'oh this place is new and I want to sniff it all' to the point that the slightest noise just sets him to looking around instead of finding a place to potty. Car goes by? Distracted. Bird flies overhead? Distracted. Long strand of grass blows in wind? Distracted.

People from a Distance = Threat

Whenever he sees someone on say... the other side of a fence or across the road or even through a window they are perceived as a threat. Hackles go up and he starts woofing and trying to get to them.

A perfect example today... he saw my reflection in the window... while I was holding his leash. That set him off.

......

Aside from these nuisances he's a great dog; full of energy and very playful with the 9-year old dog my partner brought to the home. But these two issues have me a bit concerned. I imagine with a lot of time and training the potty issue will become less of one... but I would hate to have him go completely nuts when the neighbors walk by.

We live on a busy street with plenty of houses so it's not really conceivable to bring each neighbor over and introduce them to him.

.......

So if anyone has some experience with these issues or just wants to share general first-dog lessons I'd appreciate it. My partner has had his 9-year old for well... 9 years and she's perfectly docile and well-trained so we're both quite unused to dealing with training a so-easily distracted puppy.
 

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How long have you had him? It could take weeks to months for him to settle into his new home. In the meantime, try teaching a potty command and rewarding when he goes with a special treat. It might help him focus a little better.
 

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Maddie also had trouble urinating outside when we got her 3 weeks ago. She'd poop just fine, but wouldn't pee. Finally, just this weekend, she's relaxed enough and has started urinating outside on a regular basis. I started out by using a clicker when she finally did pee and gave her a treat immediately (don't wait until you go inside, or your dog won't have a clue why he got a treat). Maddy's now to the point where verbal praise is enough, although I still sometimes will give her a treat when she potties (interval training).

It sounds like your dog missed out on socialization training at a younger age. Obedience classes would be good, if only to provide this experience for him. He's in the terrible teens phase and a regular, focused behavior training class would be good for him.
 

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Thanks for adopting!

This is totally normal for a new adoptee. It takes a while for the dog to settle in, so the behavior you are seeing now may change simply with the passage of time. 3 months is the average, though I'm still seeing positive changes in Kabota after 6 months. (He's much more playful in the last week or so.)

I'd just give him time to settle in. Let him sniff stuff, it's good for dogs, take lots of walks and just accept that potty time may not be a quick trip for now.

As for the barking, again, he's unsettled and unsure. Threats are everywhere for an unconfident dog. Give him time to get comfortable and build up his confidence. Start short sessions of clicker training and pick a few easy things to train, like sit and lay down. That gives you the opportunity to praise and treat him a lot. Get a schedule going because routine is soothing to dogs, they thrive on it. Stay calm and kind around him so he gains confidence in you.

If, after 6 weeks, you're still seeing the barking issue, there are ways to deal with that with clicker training, specifically counter conditioning and desensitization, as well as training a "quiet" command. Right now, though, I think you need to work on bonding and routine and making him comfortable in his new life.
 

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Walking him with a well adjusted dog will help. So will making sure he gets plenty of exercise (as in walking briskly 45 min twice a day). Lack of exercise will increase energy/anxiety levels.
Teach a "Look at that" command. Search these forums for info.

It can take up to a month/6 weeks for a dog to settle into a new home.
 

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Beagles and labs are traditionally very food motivated, but you don't mention that you're using food as a reward. At this early stage, I would keep a treat bag near the door and just grab it every time you leave the house with the dog. If he goes potty, big party! Pretty soon he'll forget about all the distractions because he knows there's better stuff in your bag and the only way he's gonna get it is by doing his business.

Same for the reaction to people. Stay at a safe distance and feed before he's able to react. Pretty soon he will begin to expect this reward when he sees people, and that's when you know you've changed the association from a bad one to a good one. Then slowly decrease the distance between the dog and the person.
 

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You don't have to introduce him to every neighbor, just about 10 - 20 to get him used to the idea of friendly strangers...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the tips and advice. Just a little update here as not too much time has passed. I am using a variety of treats while we work on 'Sit' and 'Down' and other simple commands, and any time he goes #2 outside he gets a treat immediately.

The only problem there is when he catches the scent of the treats he loses focus for a few moments while he tries to act cute and adorable so I get suckered into giving him one.

I've been trying to have our older dog (a 9-year old lab mix) go out with him but he mostly just wants to play with her. She's out there to do her business so she ends up looking at him with quite a bit of disdain and then walks away to handle things her own way. I'm hoping long-term that she has a calming effect on him while he helps her be a bit more energetic.

And last but not least; I've attached a photo of my little terror, who at the moment is enjoying the dangerous life of napping directly behind my computer chair.

553375_10101884974622665_1252278760_n.jpg
 

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Very cute doggie!

Try the "watch" command for when he's goin' treat bonkers (mine does this too). You catch his attention with the treat and make him follow it with his eyes up to your face. When he looks in your eyes for a few seconds he gets it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll give that a shot; it sounds like it would work pretty well to get him to at least focus on ME instead of the treats.

One thing I'm planning on doing is enrolling him in our nearby PetSmart's training courses - but I want to give him time to get training at home as well as to get nice and comfortable with his new house and family.
 

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OMGosh! How adorable!!!!

Thanks everyone for the tips and advice. Just a little update here as not too much time has passed. I am using a variety of treats while we work on 'Sit' and 'Down' and other simple commands, and any time he goes #2 outside he gets a treat immediately.

The only problem there is when he catches the scent of the treats he loses focus for a few moments while he tries to act cute and adorable so I get suckered into giving him one.

I've been trying to have our older dog (a 9-year old lab mix) go out with him but he mostly just wants to play with her. She's out there to do her business so she ends up looking at him with quite a bit of disdain and then walks away to handle things her own way. I'm hoping long-term that she has a calming effect on him while he helps her be a bit more energetic.

And last but not least; I've attached a photo of my little terror, who at the moment is enjoying the dangerous life of napping directly behind my computer chair.

View attachment 34378
 
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