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We have recently (2 days!) adopted a 2 year old spaniel mix. He is a beautiful dog, affectionate and our family already loves him. However, the previous owners were neglectful to a high degree, and this dog is essentially a 2 year old puppy. He is unused to being in the house, completely unfamiliar with a leash, shies from cars; in other words completely reflects his first 2 year of life, neglected in a dog run. He is quite strong and tends to "bull" his way through things (i.e lunging and jumping). He is fairly intelligent, but he just doesn't have any manners let alone basic skills and commands. He is also a little sensitive and is just unaware of what is expected of him. He appears to have a fair degree of seperation anxiety on top of everything.

So, my question to you is: What comes first for a 2 year old puppy? We are working on a leash, and trying to keep him calm when he is in the house. As he is an adult I am unsure how to proceed with taking him off leash, he comes when called to some degree in our fenced-in yard, but I am afraid if he gets loose he'll take off running.

I guess I'm also asking how to calm him down to the point we can work with him. He is very easily distracted and so worked up that he is barely aware of me being there.

I'd appreciate any training tips or advice. How is the older untrained dog different than a puppy?

Thanks in advance,

beetle
 

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Get him a collar (like a rolled leather collar) and attach ID tags with your phone numbers. Don't put an address, because if he found a way to escape the yard, you wouldn't want someone just putting him back in there, and having him get loose again. Leave the collar on him. Yes there is a minute risk that he could get caught on something and strangle, but there is a higher likelyhood a new dog could get loose. So the benefit outweighs the risk.

When walking him, use another non slip collar or harness. Leave the collar with ID tags on him, but attach the leash to the other collar. It would suck to have the collar with id tags attached to the leash and have him slip the collar, so you are left holding a leash and collar with id tags as the dog runs off.

Practice getting him used to the leash indoors, using high value treats like tiny pieces of cut up hot dogs.

For walks, if he is ok with other dogs, you might walk him with a friend and their dog. That usually helps them feel more confident.

NEVER take him off leash outside. Not until he is 100% reliable on his recall under all situations, in all places. Like if a cat ran past, a loud motorcycle went by, or a fire engine, or a loose dog ran out to him. And dogs will be reliable at home, in their yard, but not, in a new location or with distractions.

If you have a fenced yard, walk the fencline and look for loose boards/fencing, or places where he could dig under, jump over or squeeze through. Padlock any gates to prevent utility workers or kids opening the gate by mistake. Check the fencing daily to make sure there are no spots indicating he is digging.

Really work on getting him used to a leash, as long brisk walks will be the best way to tire him out physically. Short frequent training sessions using positive reinforcement will tire him out mentally.
 

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A 2 yr old dog is started just like a pup because everything is brand new to him. I would advise a crate so that possible damage to home or dog is avoided.
 

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Welcome to the forum! I am so glad you found us. God bless you for saving an adult dog. So many folks over look the adults and they still have so much love to give. I am certain you will be very happy with this dog with a little work. :)

A 2 yr old dog is started just like a pup because everything is brand new to him. I would advise a crate so that possible damage to home or dog is avoided.
Agreed. It makes no difference that he is 2 months or 2 years. He is simply an untrained dog that will benefit from some training. Kennel in the house anytime you cannot be watching him. If you are moving about the house and don't want him in the kennel, take him with you everywhere on leash. I like the tether method for my new dogs because it teaches them to stay close to you and to keep an eye on you. Training needs to be fun for both of you to be successful. Start with simply "Lure to sit" behavior, when you stop. When every you get up to move, say "come" and begin walking. Dog learns quickly that come means to get along by you. Praise liberally with treat, verbal and hands (petting) every time puppy responds the way you wish.

Also, I would highly recommend you get your dog into a basic obedience class. They are very valuable regardless of how many dogs you have trained to high levels of obedience in the past. You cannot set up the scenarios of training around other dogs that are also, leashed and training with their owners. Good Luck to you. I hope you come here often with updates and any questions you come up with. There is a lot of help to be had here and we all love dog stories.
 

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I guess I'm also asking how to calm him down to the point we can work with him. He is very easily distracted and so worked up that he is barely aware of me being there.

Allow for a low-key adjustment period / settling in, wherein your expectations should be minimal.

For the first few weeks, try feeding him his entire dinner (kibble?) by hand, requiring only basic attention and calmness from him for each kibble.

Intend to utilize a thorough NILIF program, eventually (see forum sticky).


BTW ... congrats, on acquiring your "old" puppy :)
 

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Thank you thank you again for opening your home to an adult doggie in need, I have done that once & it was the best time I had. I will admit that I have rescued more pups then adults but Yu can start by reading the stickies on this, the first timers page & the training forum. They helped me tons that's for sure because although most of her training has gone smoothly, some aspects of Jo's training have been a frustrating journey for both of us :/. But I know she entered my life to teach me as all my rescues have, its a tough process but we are learning from each other.

I se old getting a crate & covering it with a blanket or towel if its a plastic crate, if its a metal wire one then they sell covers according to size at wal mart for pretty cheap. Don't forget toys, a nice Kong that you can freeze peanut butter or yogurt overnight or so & then give it to him before you leave. I'm sure the more experienced DF'ers will be along soon with more expert advice then me... I mean... Wvasko has already posted!! :D
 

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All great advice. Teach him "Sit!" right now, everywhere, under all circumstances, while waiting for classes.

Also, if he escapes and runs away, call his name and be prepared to run the other way if he looks back. He may only glance back, but if he sees you running, he may come back to chase you. IF he is running after something, he may not look back. Let's hope you never have to find out, but it's nice to have a plan just in case.
 

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Allow for a low-key adjustment period / settling in, wherein your expectations should be minimal.

For the first few weeks, try feeding him his entire dinner (kibble?) by hand, requiring only basic attention and calmness from him for each kibble.

Intend to utilize a thorough NILIF program, eventually (see forum sticky).


BTW ... congrats, on acquiring your "old" puppy :)
This. The behaviour he shows right now is not necessarily the true "him", for good or for bad. He needs a very very basic routine for now, with lots of management (ie crate, no offleash etc, tethered to your waist etc) until he has had time for the stress of a new home and new family has a chance to dissipate. It's all very very new to him. A dog that is all over the place will have difficulty learning anything because he simply cannot focus with all the new things flooding his experiences....

Once you have a basic routine with him (ie the hand feeding etc) then you can start teaching him just like you would a fresh slate puppy..with patience, guidance and lots of rewards.

Thank you for rescuing this boy, be patient, it will be more than worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for your advice. I am still very nervous about him getting loose, but it seems to be getting better. I've been reading about seperation anxiety, and he shows some of the symptoms. He is crating during the 2 - 1.5 hour stints that no one is around. He seems like he'd really like to just follow his nose off into the sunset. The walks have been going well. Thanks again, beetle
 
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