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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I just joined the forum!

My husband and I adopted a semi-feral dog into our family one week ago. We know very little (or nothing) about the dog's background. Here's the story (sorry it's rather long):

We were approached by an elderly, dirty, shy uncollared dog at a small highway rest stop. He had multiple minor wounds (some new, some old) on his face and head. He appeared to be hungry but the options available at the rest stop were very limited and not dog appropriate. Despite that, we bought whatever meat we could find and fed him. We stayed with him for an hour and then had to leave (we were on our way to a wedding). He jumped into the driver's seat of our car and curled up on the pedals. We removed him gently and he chased our car as we drove away.

The next morning we were on our way home from the wedding and we stopped at the rest stop again. He was in the same spot and he approached us again, timidly. He seemed very pleased to see his benefactors from the day before, and my husband (who is a total softie) and I (who had talked about the dog all night) decided to give him at least a gentle retirement. He rode the 1.5 hours to our city very calmly and in fact slept most of the way.

On his first day he got a bath, a check up, a microchip, a collar, harness, leash, etc. The blood tests were great, and after his bath, the vet told us that based on his teeth and appearance, he is probably only around 5 years old! And in fact within a day or two the years just fell off him. Now he is an athletic, shiny, beautiful hound with bright, intelligent eyes.

Anyway, it's been a week. He's not trusting us yet, but we're working very hard to get there. Our vet adores him (he's been 3 times already) and he makes friends with everyone he meets. We have high hopes that he can be well rehabilitated into a healthy, sociable, HAPPY dog.

His favorite pasttime is sleeping on top of me on the couch. For a semi-feral dog, he's remarkably comfortable with me and my husband. But he is still terrified of just about everything you can think of. Just to move from the bedroom to the living room takes putting him on a leash. He can be a little stubborn (fear). He doesn't know any commands but he responds to the harness really well and we haven't had any serious issues on walks.

He's a rare breed, unknown in the USA, called a Greek Harehound (we live in Greece so they aren't so rare here). They are rabbit flushing dogs. According to our vet, he's either purebred or very close, and likely was rejected as a puppy by a hunter for not being good at hunting (this is according to our vet quite common). Or he could have been born to a stray. Because he was living at the rest stop, he was in constant contact with people, so he is used to people, but he is wary of them and won't even look at our food. When we are eating, he curls up in his bed or on the couch and ignores us.

Anyway here is a photo or two of our new baby... we know that he will be challenging because of his psychological wounds, but we are thrilled to have him. So, that's my story. His name is Argos, by the way.



 

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Hey, congratulations on your new family member!

My dog was a lot like yours was at first- not sure how to interact with humans, very wary of us, handshy, spent most of his time sleeping on me. I taught him to trust me by giving him tons of treats, no punishments at all, and not expecting much of anything for a couple of months. I basically just gave him treats for existing, a hundred times a day.

After a couple of months of that, I started trying to train him how to interact with humans. I say "try" because Kabota is really stupid. He's awesome and I love him, but he's not smart. You may have more luck. I used clicker training. If you're not sure what that is, look up kikopup on youtube. I did eventually succeed in training Kabota to sit to say please, so now he sits all the time for attention and treats. I still do not punish, ever, at all, not even the word "no" said calmly. What I do is to manage his environment so he can't misbehave- keep food out of reach, keep him on a leash, etc.- and reward him heavily for what I like- sitting politely in the elevator, not pulling on the leash, etc.

Above all, be patient and expect the unexpected. He may throw some strange or even upsetting behavior at you. My theory is that dogs like ours never really had a puppyhood, so when they land in a safe home, they go through that phase and test limits and chew everything and generally act like jerks for a few weeks. Kabota really started showing his true personality about a year in. Started showing, mind you.
 

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Welcome to the forums I am also new here. I would like to say that you are an angel to that dog and he seems to trust you. Keep at it and I am sure you will not have any problems with socialization. He is a beauty that is for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you all for the welcomes!

Amaryllis thanks for sharing Kabota's success story - it makes me feel a little more normal! I have a question actually and maybe you can reassure me...

He sleeps SO MUCH. It takes a lot of coaxing to get him to go on a walk -- we go three times/day and as he doesn't have a yard, I make sure to really run/sprint with him and he loves it. He's a scenthound so he seems to really enjoy sniffing around the trees and bushes and dirt. He's still unaltered (we're having him neutered after his next round of shots) so he likes to mark a lot of trees. Okay, that's all good - he gets three good walk-runs in per day. The rest of the time, he is asleep. He sleeps in his bed or in my lap on the couch, or on the couch by himself. We move his bed into the bedroom at night (it's in the living room during the day). So my concern is -- he sleeps SOOOO much. Realistically he is probably sleeping 21-22 hours/day. Is that normal? Could he be depressed because he misses his old life? He has lots of active running dreams and I wonder if he is homesick. You say that Kabota slept on you all the time but I'm still concerned and want to hear it again ;)

He is very confused by the indoor environment -- he can't find his way from the living room to the bedroom (they're next to each other) or to the front door (it's an apartment, it's only a few feet!) but he knows where he is outside and can easily navigate around our neighborhood. The last block or two before we make it back to the house he is really excited to go home. The indoors is just totally incomprehensible to him I think. Interestingly we've had him 7 full days and he's never had an accident indoors. He will wake me up really gently and wait patiently while I get ready to walk him and then he'll kind of refuse to go so I have to coax him out, and then once he's out the door he's happy.

I agree that he's probably never had a puppyhood. He doesn't know how to play. He seems offended when I try to play with him and a bone toy (as in, why are you trying to steal it from me??) He is extremely gentle and mild with other dogs, even female dogs that literally cry for him, he is polite but walks away. He ignores cats. He will smell everything but he will not touch anything on the ground. He smelled a sandwich lying on the ground and just as I was about to redirect him, he sort of shrugged and walked on. I know he has a lot of background issues surrounding food. For example I made the mistake of adding some water to his water bowl while he was eating from his food bowl -- OOPS!!! He ran away and wouldn't eat the rest of his breakfast. I'll learn.... and he is amazingly patient. I imagine he's been exposed to lots of food temptation (living at the rest stop) and been shooed or kicked away from most of it.

Thanks again for making us feel welcome!! Sweet doggie snores to all!
 
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