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Hi, I'm new here. Hope someone can give me advice.

We went to the shelter the other day. There is a 10 month old female coonhound mix there. We were interested in her so we asked to spend time with her. She just layed in her area quietly. The woman had to go in and carry her out. I've not seen behavior like this before so i am going to just describe it.
When the woman went in to get her she did not run. She slowly got up and was going to try to go out the dog door. When she came out it seemed like she just wanted to get away..or just go back to her area. Tail was between her legs. But she stood tall. Never acted submissive. She never was agressive either. They said she has never snipped in fear or anything. We could pet and touch her. She just acted like she wanted to pretend that the humans weren't there. She wouldn't acknowledge anyone. There was no shaking or trembling. We walked her outside and she showed interest in the other dogs. She wanted to walk up to the fence of the dog run. And the dogs were barking and rather loud towards us. So that didn't bother her.
I have been around dogs all my life. But I have never had to deal with one that had issues. With the knowledge of dogs that i do have....I do think that she could be a really sweet dog. I just don't understand if she is just shy or maybe unsocialized. The woman I spoke with said she was shy. She was a stray so they know nothing about her. I am going back to see her again and maybe speak with someone who has spent time with her.
Anyone ever seen anything like this? I haven't ever seen a dog that just wanted to ignore people. I thought about abuse but she never flinched or ducked away from our hands. When she went back into her pen, she lied back down, right next to the front where we were standing. She would look up at us in there. Then she even started to fall asleep with us standing there. She at least was closing her eyes.
I'd like to figure this out.....thanks for any input.

Here is a pic of her if anyone has any idea what the "mix" is.

Thanks, Tricia

 

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Sounds a lot like Wally used to be, actually.

He never bit or snapped, he just wanted to go away. He did stand up (at least after the initial shock of being left behind) but his tail was down, etc.

He allowed touching/petting, but didn't really react to it either way. It was like he was just enduring it until he was left alone.

She probably shy and/or un(der)-socialized. She probably didn't understand what was happening so she just wanted to disconnect. Probably will be her way of coping with stress even when she's out of her shell.
 

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80% of all shelter dogs have never been socialized properly. Some shelters train the dogs to come to the front door by treating several times a day at the door. Shelters know that dogs who stay at the back of the kennel are less likely to be adopted.
The only red flag I saw in your post was the fact that she had to be carried....totally unwilling to follow human direction which could make training quite difficult.
 

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Sounds aloof, yet afraid.

Some scared dogs just don't see the point in making a fuss, I guess. They prefer the quiet approach, the "let me just wait as patiently as I can til this gets over with." She sounds like she's shut down and just doesn't know how to act anymore.

The path to rehabbing a scared dog is both immensely rewarding and, at times, difficult. It's all about finding what instills confidence in the dog and what things are most rewarding. I agree with Tooney that the fact that she had to picked up really means this dog is in shutdown mode. But, she is young, and hopefully can bounce back quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We went to see the dog again today. When we got there they had her out front with some of the shelter workers. One of the women has started keeping her in her office since monday. She opened up with her. I could see the dog was happy around her. She was wagging her tail....you could see the puppy in her. Those moments were short because she was concerned about us. My 16 year old son came with me this time. She would go over by him...even touching him. She wouldn't come up to me or my daughter though. I did not want to push her with the progress I saw. She DID acknowledge us though. She would stay at a distance and watch us. With what I saw I think she could open up a bunch and be a really sweet dog.
The woman said she had people come in and get down close to her to visit. And she also had other dogs come in. She said she heard her growl once....when a puppy tried to climb into her bed with her under her desk. Eventually, she accepted the puppy and allowed it to come and go.
I saw glimpses of a happy puppy today which was A LOT more than I saw on Saturday. We were also told that she was not a stray, but a man brought her and another dog in saying he could not take care of them anymore. And that the two dogs did not get along. They could not tell me which dog it was that came with her. Maybe she was being bulllied by it.
Maybe she just needs time to trust. I don't know why the first person picked her up to bring her out. She will let you put a leash around her neck.

Thanks for your help......Tricia
 

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Hm, odd that she went to your son but not to you. It's usually the other way around, and dogs will be fearful of men. Perhaps the only person she really experienced as a puppy was the man she lived with and thus doesn't know what to make of women. Doesn't sound like her fear should be too hard to deal with.

She is still adjusting to shelter life. I say it all the time that sometimes a shelter dog LOOKS fearful, but the fear goes away once the dog has a reasonable amount of time to adjust. That could be what you're seeing here.

I remember a mangy lab mix came in to the shelter I volunteered at. The dog was so scared she had to walk behind you on the leash. Eventually this stopped and she became a waggin tail happy girl. Then she came back as a boarder when her family was on vacation and she was pulling AHEAD on the leash rather than behind.
 

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Do you know about Dog's appeasement signals? It's a way that dogs communicate between them to tell the other that they mean no harm.

You can look it up on google, but some of the signals are licking your lips, yawning and showing your back teeth at the same time, approach your dog by the side, sniffing the ground ...

I found that my dog really pays attention to me when I do these signals, especially the licking my lips thing because he responds !

Also remember that some dogs get depressed in the shelter and it takes some time for them to get use to their new surrounding, don't force your dog's pace and be gentle. Clicker and positive training can also help your dog build up self confidence.
 
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