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Hi everyone! Here I am with another question on helping my sweet, shy collie to come out of her shell. :) To recap, here's Brenna's background:
She was owned by a breeder until age 5, when she was retired and sold. I don't know much about her time at the breeder's, except that she was kept mostly in an outdoor kennel except when whelping her puppies. The people who bought her from the breeder only had her for about 7 months, but gave her up because she was "too timid to be a good companion." They apparently were very harsh with her, yelled at her, and rubbed her nose in her accidents in the house (which were probably a result of being crated for 12 hours at a time). She is now very uncertain of new situations and people, although she has finally warmed up to us enough to go potty outside without fear and to roam the house freely without tucking her tail all the time. Okay, so here's my dilemma:

Brenna doesn't know how to play. She doesn't even seem interested in toys, honestly. She is content to just lay around on her pillow all day, except when we take our walks...which she loves. I've tried encouraging her to chase a ball outside to no avail, and inside play is much the same. It seems that any attempt to do something new with her is met with fear or unhappiness on her part, which is certainly not the goal of play. So I'm looking for some ideas of games or things I can do with her that will help boost her confidence and her activity level at the same time. Any suggestions? I'm clueless!
 

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Brenna sounds so much like Wally. Everything from the pottying without fear to roaming the house without being scared (and even now strange/sudden sounds can set him off again).

It takes a while, sometimes. I know Wally STILL doesn't really play like other dogs do. About the only thing he'll chase (aside from the odd squirrel) is me when I'm running around. He'll get into that a lot, dodging and turning, sometimes even play growling and barking.

Otherwise, not much for toys, except for the occasional chew, although if he needs to go potty, he suddenly gets really playful (no idea why...) and that's when I can get the most play energetic play out of him, even though he plays more like a cat (pawing, scratching, and pouncing) :)

I would keep trying things and seeing if something can get her roused up for some fun. Maybe she'll also enjoy some chase games. Maybe also try to teach some games/tricks centered around toys?
 

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Ok your 1st thread on 3/3 you said you just brought dog home the night before. Today is the 11th, you have had the dog 9 days. For the next 3 months just live with your new dog and continue on with housebreaking program. I believe I said it before this dog has been in a less than adequate situation for over 5 years. There is no magic wand in dog care/training that any body here can help you with, You cannot wipe out 5 yrs in 9 days, or in 30 days, or in 90 days.

She is now very uncertain of new situations and people, although she has finally warmed up to us enough to go potty outside without fear and to roam the house freely without tucking her tail all the time


By your words above, the dog has warmed up enough to roam and tail has come up etc. There is no dilemma at all except what's in your mind. I guarantee that if you spend 5 yrs in jail and when released, Oh wait, then follow that with 7 months in new place where you are then physically abused and yelled at etc. Do you with your human intellect (much smarter than dog) actually think that in 9 days you will be back up to full speed. I'm surprised that dogs tail is up. I have trained dogs for 50 years and I know of nothing to help your dog except time, patience and some love thrown at the dog. RELAX, let things come naturally.
 

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Most dogs don't have a high play drive. They can all be taught how to play but, it doesn't come naturally. You have to start with their much stronger Prey or Pack drives and then determine what game(s) she would like. For example; a dog that is high in Prey drive will usually enjoy chasing a ball but, a dog high in Pack drive will not have much interest. If she's high in Pack drive, she'll probably like petting, soft toys, grooming.
The one common device for both drives is Food. You can hide it, toss it, you can make them earn it. That's your 'in' to developing other games. Buster Cubes, Kongs, Tug-a Jugs, etc. tap into both of those drives. HOW they interact with them will tell you which way to go. For example; pouncing on a Buster Cube and chasing it all over the room might indicate high Prey drive so chase/fetch games might work. If she is more deliberate/gentle with the Buster Cube she's probably Pack drive.
 

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I agree with Wvasko. Give her some time to get used to things... like a few months...

My guys, who I've had since 8 and 5 months, aren't big players as far as toys go. They couldn't care less about balls. Toby will chase a stick... twice.. and then he ignores it. Some dogs are like that.

They will play "hide and go seek" around a tree with me. I'll hide behind a tree and then peer out from one side, duck back, and poke my head out on the other. For some reason, they think this is hysterical and will go chasing me around the tree. That's it as far as playing. Cameron will occasionally play with other dogs, but mostly he doesn't even in the dog park.

It sounds like you're doing your best for her. I think it's wonderful that you've given her a good home and your love. Now let her show you what she likes. It sounds like she's on the road to opening up. Give her some time.
 

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Yep, agreed with the others. Playing isn't going to make her anymore "complete" as a dog right now. Work on getting her confidence up and whatever other issues you're having.

If she is food driven, you may want to try giving her stuffed Kongs and things of that nature. That may be the most you'll ever get her to play. Some dogs just don't like to play.

Marge likes to play by herself. Occasionally I'll toss a ball for her, but she mostly just takes a few minutes every day to go running through the house with her 3 squeaky frogs and her squeaky carrot.
 

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Ok your 1st thread on 3/3 you said you just brought dog home the night before. Today is the 11th, you have had the dog 9 days. For the next 3 months just live with your new dog and continue on with housebreaking program. I believe I said it before this dog has been in a less than adequate situation for over 5 years. There is no magic wand in dog care/training that any body here can help you with, You cannot wipe out 5 yrs in 9 days, or in 30 days, or in 90 days.

She is now very uncertain of new situations and people, although she has finally warmed up to us enough to go potty outside without fear and to roam the house freely without tucking her tail all the time


By your words above, the dog has warmed up enough to roam and tail has come up etc. There is no dilemma at all except what's in your mind. I guarantee that if you spend 5 yrs in jail and when released, Oh wait, then follow that with 7 months in new place where you are then physically abused and yelled at etc. Do you with your human intellect (much smarter than dog) actually think that in 9 days you will be back up to full speed. I'm surprised that dogs tail is up. I have trained dogs for 50 years and I know of nothing to help your dog except time, patience and some love thrown at the dog. RELAX, let things come naturally.

Totally agree :)
 

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Ok your 1st thread on 3/3 you said you just brought dog home the night before. Today is the 11th, you have had the dog 9 days. For the next 3 months just live with your new dog and continue on with housebreaking program. I believe I said it before this dog has been in a less than adequate situation for over 5 years. There is no magic wand in dog care/training that any body here can help you with, You cannot wipe out 5 yrs in 9 days, or in 30 days, or in 90 days.

She is now very uncertain of new situations and people, although she has finally warmed up to us enough to go potty outside without fear and to roam the house freely without tucking her tail all the time


By your words above, the dog has warmed up enough to roam and tail has come up etc. There is no dilemma at all except what's in your mind. I guarantee that if you spend 5 yrs in jail and when released, Oh wait, then follow that with 7 months in new place where you are then physically abused and yelled at etc. Do you with your human intellect (much smarter than dog) actually think that in 9 days you will be back up to full speed. I'm surprised that dogs tail is up. I have trained dogs for 50 years and I know of nothing to help your dog except time, patience and some love thrown at the dog. RELAX, let things come naturally.


Ditto!

My Beau came from a horrific background, didn't know how to play, or relax, but you'd never know it to see him today. Be patient, and don't push. When she's ready, she'll let you know.
 

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Yes.. it is real soon. However, after awhile (a month or more) when she is WAY more relaxed, try this:

Take two old socks (heavy duty!). Put some really attractive smelling food (to the dog) in one sock and knot it so the food can't come out. But that sock in another sock and tie sock #2 to a rope (doulbe socks are so they can with stand dog teeth). Gently toss or lay the sock in front of the dog and let her sniff it. If she goes to pick it up, tug the rope a bit so she has to chase it. Gradually increase the distance it moves and the speed.. and eventually let her "catch" the sock and tug on it some.

When I got Atka she would not play with me (tug etc.). This was suggested and from that we went on to other "games."

There is a great DVD on dog games by Wendy Pape. I think you can get it at www.dogwise.com Fact is, that site has a LOT of good books and DVD's that will help you with your dog.

She needs time.. and plenty of it. Glad she got "sprung" from "dog Jail" and it is really terribly sad she was abused by the first people who "sprung" her. Just give her time and a ton and a half of patience.
 

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Yes, I know it is going to be a long process with Brenna, and I am not trying to rush her or anything....I just like to do lots of research and gather information in advance, so that's why I asked this question now. I like to think through things and have lots of ideas to work with, and the ideas some of you have given me sound great. Someday, when Brenna is ready, I look forward to trying them with her!
 

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Yes, I know it is going to be a long process with Brenna, and I am not trying to rush her or anything....I just like to do lots of research and gather information in advance, so that's why I asked this question now. I like to think through things and have lots of ideas to work with, and the ideas some of you have given me sound great. Someday, when Brenna is ready, I look forward to trying them with her!
I am assuming that the avatar is Brenna, She is beautiful and I too thank you for her rescue. Sometimes I forget to add that to the mix when replying.
 
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