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Yes, I'm new & I think I posted earlier on the wrong page. Anyway, we recently adopted a mixed breed female rescue dog who appear to be about 18 months old. We also have a 13 yr. old mixed male. Our dogs have free run of our deck & fenced-in yard. The older dog has never had a problem with going into the yard by himself to do his business & we had hoped he would "train" our new dog to do the same. Hasn't happened. Our new dog, Dixie, seems leery of the yard & won't go down into it without treats & a human. This is beginning to be a problem since we work & are not here all the time. She has begun to poop & pee on the deck. Any suggestions on how to train her to go into the yard on her own? I have the ability to shut her off from the deck but am afraid she will see this as punishment & it will make her even more leery of the yard.
 

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Another dog won't really "train" a different dog that is up to you the humans. Will dogs pick up on what other dogs are doing, in my experience yes. I would make the yard a fun place, not a place where she is put outside by herself. Play out there, do training out there, just make it a fun wonderful place.
 

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There are many possible reasons Dixie isn't comfortable in the yard. Just some things that come to mind...

If they are out there together and alone, your older dog may have chased her out of the yard or out of "his" space.

She could have had a scary experience like getting stung by a bee in the yard and be trying to stay away from the grass/trees. If she's a smaller dog, she might not feel safe out there.

Any neighbors (esp. kids) that could have harassed her?

And the most likely guess given what information you gave-
She could have been left out in a yard all the time with no attention at all before ending up in a shelter/rescue (wherever you adopted her from) and have a bit of anxiety about being left lonely again.

My current foster (3 weeks with me) is just now becoming comfortable with spending a SHORT (2-3 minutes) time in the yard while I'm not there (I watch from inside to keep an eye on her). She is never left truly alone there and never left alone there with my dog, but after losing her owner and spending 6 months in boarding, she is quite sensitive to being left alone. If I am out in the yard, she will run around quite happily and explore, if I step inside, she will run back to the door immediately.

Can you let her stay inside when you are gone? And then spend lots of time together in the yard- even if all you do is hang out there and read a book.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to the both of you for helping out. My thought are much the same as yours, Shell, that something happened before we got her. She was picked up by animal control as a stray, but I KNOW someone worked with her to a certain extent. The possibility of being left alone has crossed my mind several times since she was constantly following me & under-foot for the 1st few weeks. This is abating somewhat. I don't think there has been a problem with the older dog - he has been extremely patient to say the least. No children in the area to tease her, etc, but a bee sting has been something to ponder as well, although I never saw any sign of this. One of the interesting things I noted is that she was afraid of mulch. I put some down on the path to the yard to walk on & that didn't seem to bother her at first. However, a couple of weeks later was when the major problem (fear of the yard) started & she refused to walk on it. I raked it up & things were better, but whatever had happened on the mulch had taken its toll.

So I followed both pieces of advice & went with both dogs to the yard, sat down & stayed there for a while. She sniffed & rooted - generally explored - for the 1st time in quite some time. She didn't want to play - just sniff. I'll try this again after she eats. If either of you have any other thoughts, I'm all ears. Thanks again.
 

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My guess is that time and enough positive interactions while out in the yard will fix this problem.

the mulch thing is interesting- if she was fine with it at first and then developed a fear of the mulch, it would make me think something happened related to the mulch. A painful splinter, fire ants, that sort of thing.
If she was scared of it from the get-go, i would say that something happened before she came to you, but it sounds like the mulch fear came after.

If she's a big sniffer, you can try rewards "hidden' in the yard. Put both dogs inside (so they can't watch you in the yard) and put a few treats around the yard- just set out tupperware type containers with a few bites of kibble in each in 3-4 places. Let her out and let her find them.
Keep the other dog inside for this so they're not competing and if she doesn't find them all, walk over to one and gentle shake it and hold it to her while calling her name. That way she still gets a reward for being in different parts of the yard.
 

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I cant offer any advice but I just wanted to say that we have adopted a mix breed dog a few months ago and she has similar problems in the yard. We took her in from a relative and know for a fact that she was left outside in the yard alot and has only now started to wander around the house alone, and only when I'm busy. So it sounds like she may have been treated in a similar way, with our dog its about building trust that she,s not getting left for hours on end and being shut in/out anywhere
 
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