We have a new dog!! :)

cal_dreamerNovember 8, 2009

We adopted a 3 year old rescue Border Collie! Now I'm trying to figure out how to get her to settle in.

In the last month she was picked up by the pound, been in two foster homes, been de-wormed, vaccinated, spayed attended an adoption event and is now home with us. A lot for a sensitive girl to go through. It's only her second day here.

She may have had some rough treatment in the past, because she's definitely on the shy/timid side and does not like to come straight to you when you call. (She'll go along the wall, under the table, and finally slink toward you with sad eyes that seem to say "please don't hit me.")

Other than startling easily she is a real sweetheart. LOVES to be petted and cuddled and fussed over. Sleeps just fine on a dog bed on the bedroom floor. Walks pretty well on a leash, just wants to pee/mark every few feet just like a boy - even kind of lifts one leg when she squats - which is pretty funny.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to let her know the rules without driving her back into her shell. My husband told her to get off the couch this morning - at first she wouldn't listen to a quiet but firm command so he touched her on the back and she shot off like a rocket and ran under the table. Wouldn't come back to him for pets for a while. On the good side, her tail thumps like crazy when any of us come into the room!

Any tips for working with a fearful dog? I want to make her feel secure, safe, and boost her confidence without starting any bad habits. She isn't very food driven (although she eats well), doesn't seem to know what a toy or ball is for, Doesn't seem to want to run around in the yard. If we put her outside, she just lays on the mat until we let her back in.

Any tips to build confidence would be greatly apreciated. She's such a doll.

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Trying to insert pictures. The rescue named her Reagan, but she doesn't answer to it. I'm thinking of calling her Ilsa. Right now she's "good girl". :)


    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 3:38PM
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It is common to think that a dog was abused or treated roughly when it behaves in that shy manner. Most likely the dog is insecure and unsure of what to do.

The best thing for rescue dogs is leadership, routine and obedience training. Learning what to do to fit in to her new pack will give the dog confidence quickly.

Don't fall into the "awww, poor rescue" thinking and shower the dog with human-style affection without expecting anything from her. She will be happiest to know what you want and to do it.

People need routine in their lives, and dogs need it even more. Feed her and walk her at the same time every day. Have a training session at the same time every day. Simply, a regular routine and schedule along with calm leadership with training will go a long way in making her feel comfortable and secure - and confident.

Post pictures if you can!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 3:49PM
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Sorry, here she is....

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 3:52PM
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We cross-posted! She's beautiful - here are the pix for you:

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 3:52PM
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Thanks - I had forgotten to shrink the pictures first - haven't posted pictures in a long time. Thanks for posting them for me.

Thanks for the tips as well. She jumps right in the car, will come up to you if you are sitting watching tv, but if you call her she seems to shrink - even if we are sitting on the floor with a treat. Snap on a leash or just pat your thigh as you are turning away saying "come on" and she'll follow. She just seems to hate to be called.

I think she'll be OK in not too long. I have my eye on a 2 year old male but I want her to feel more secure first. Maybe a companion dog with more confidence would be helpful? The rescue has been great steering me toward dogs with low to mid-range drive since they will have to live in a suburban backyard during the week. (Needless to say I don't have any sheep!)

We all go to work tomorrow, so I've been leaving her in the backyard alone for progressively longer. She did an hour this morning without a problem. She's very ladylike!

I haven't had a new dog in a long time since we had our Shiba Cody for 13 years. Talk about the exact opposite in temperment!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 4:18PM
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"The rescue has been great steering me toward dogs with low to mid-range drive "

Do you mean they're saying a border collie has low to mid energy levels? Talk about an oxymoron!

I once adopeted a BC with some physical & confidence problems and it took about 6 months for her to bond with me. Your dog will eventually come around, but since she is 3 yrs old don't expect her to adjust in a short period. The more exercise she gets the better she'll be.

Take her walking on long lines and work with her in dog parks.....on and off leash.
I often walked my dog up in the hills and she would constantly look back at me when she got ahead. She quickly learned hand signals and which direction I wanted her to take.
They love to work so find games and tasks she can do to work her mind and body.

If you get a second dog......not sure it should be a BC.....take your dog to meet it before bringing it home.

Here is a link that might be useful: BC's

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 7:14PM
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We adopted a 4 year old Australian Shepherd who came from a loving home with owners who had no time for him. It took him several months to feel comfortable with us. We also thought he had been abused because a cross word from us would make him shrink into a corner. He constantly watched us as if to try to figure out what we wanted. Once we got him in training and he learned what was expected, he was fine. Though he still sneaks up on the sunroom sofa when we're not looking. :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 7:34PM
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"The rescue has been great steering me toward dogs with low to mid-range drive "
Do you mean they're saying a border collie has low to mid energy levels? Talk about an oxymoron!

(lol) Annz - I mean they know out of the many BC's they deal with which ones are calmer and which ones are off the top of the Border Collie scale! They work so hard to match their dogs to their new owners since so many get turned in to shelters when they change from that "cute puppy" into their "terrible teens". Thanks for the link though - I did a ton of research and I already have it in my favorites. That's why I spoke with many rescues and foster moms before we made the committment.

Deeinohio - Obedience is next on the list and I'm waiting for the next group lessons in our town. She knows sit and down, but forget stay or come. I'm taking it a little slowly to start. I bet your Aussie is adorable!

We have been going on walks twice a day, staying in the heel position so I can monitor her reaction to noises, dogs, cars, kids on bikes, etc. She's learning that if I ignore it, she can ignore it. Already she's not as skittish as yesterday. I can't wait until she's ready to be off-leash!

Oh well, we have her lifetime ahead of us to work all this out.

Thanks for your advice!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 9:00PM
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She is a very pretty girl. If you haven't already done so, get her some i.d. tags. Also, if she's chipped register her in your name. Wait before letting her off leash. And when you do, do it in a confined area, such as a fenced dog park. You want to make sure you can physically catch her if for whatever reason she tries to run.

With her being three years old and bounced around to various houses, it will take a while to build her trust, loyalty, and devotion. As she becomes used to her surroundings she will also change her demeanor.

Treats, TIME, and a gentle hand will have your border collie being your best friend.

Sounds like you have checked up on the high energy needs of a border collie. My Dad says they are by far the smartest dogs he has ever owned. But his are used to work cattle, so they do get more than enough stimulation and exercise.

Oh, and the pee marking. If she is also doing that in your back yard, you might want to be aware that she might have an urinary track infection instead of trying to mark territory. Just something to keep an eye on.

And, what is the pretty girl's name?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 9:42PM
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Thanks Housefairy, we think she's pretty, too. :)

The rescue named her Reagan, and pronounced it Reegan. Not sure it fits her, and she doesn't answer to it anyways.

I'm pushing for the name Ilsa and our next dog (male) would be Rick. (Casablanca) DH is undecided and calls her Missy. DD calls her Baby Girl. We need to decide soon so the chip paperwork goes in correctly, or just pay for the registration change if we decide later. She doesn't seem to care what we call her, her tail thumps just the same. Training will be a different story, though.

I also thought about a UTI, but she has no frequency at home or in the yard, no problems holding it through the night, it's just on walks where she sniffs like crazy and seems to want to add her scent to the smell mixture. Once I let her know I need the exercise, too and keep walking, she settles down and will walk at a good pace with me. I thought with a female I wouldn't have had to deal with that issue anymore!

She'll be going to the vet later this week. I need to put her on heartworm prevention before we take her up to the mountains. She also has a slight eye discharge, and the whites of her eyes are a little red. Foster mom thinks it is from having been resued with kennel cough, but I'm not so sure.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 10:41PM
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Names are so hard. You want something that matches the dog but your not embarrassed to go outside and yell if you have to call the dog.

Our current dog's registered name wasn't going over with anyone in our household. I think we had her for about two weeks before everyone could decide on a name.

So good luck with your name selection. Dogs will adapt to whatever you choose for a name. My parents always had stray dogs dumped on their property. My Mom actually had one named Dog. He was probably the most loyal of the group. He was literally starved and my Mom nursed him back to health. She would always comment on how much better "the dog" was doing. Henceforth his name.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 11:10PM
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We adopted a very scared, low self esteem female last year.

Some of the tips I have found that help:

Do not show pity/sympathy. Do not comfort her when she is exhibiting scared actions as any attention will reinforce the exhibited behavior. Simply ignore unwanted behavior and try to redirect her attention/actions to positive ones.

Lots of stroking under the chin(dog standing) and minimize over the head petting/stroking. Dogs tend to feel more strong when heads are high---and tend to feel dominated with over the head movements.

Limit direct eye contact at first. glances to keep an eye on behavior, staring can be intimidating.

Be very patient. But firm. Try to make immediate corrections with a sound--like EH! instead of NO!. Very often people cause a lot of insecurity because they correct a dog and the dog has no idea of what it did wrong---as too much time passed between infraction and correction.

Lots of praise when the dog obeys/does well. Use treats to get her active outside. Try rolling a tennis ball to her. If she shies away, roll it across in front of her. Hide it momentarily amd show it(in your hand). If she begins to show interest, treat her.

I think rehabilitating an overly aggressive dog is easier than working with a timid dog.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 12:33AM
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And if you are a reader, you'll enjoy Jon Katz's books.
The B.C. is the breed of his heart. I've read them all,
enjoy his books generally. He's had a few difficult BC's,
but you feel his pure joy and love of the breed. He seems
quite a sensible trainer as well.

Congratulations. Call her what you like, she's clever and
will learn a new name. You should feel connected with the
name. One of mine came to me as 'fat boy' and I could
not call a dog something I felt was unflattering--and I
meant to change that physical characterist soon. He's now
svelte and gorgeous--the old name wouldn't fit.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 6:48PM
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She has a name - and who knew naming a dog would be so hard??
We must have debated 50 names until we all found one we liked (Sadie)
and then a few minutes later agreed that it didn't fit her!
Now her name is Layla, the rescue can send in her chip paperwork and I
can order a real tag instead of the silly temp cardstock one I made for her.

handymac- thanks for the tips. She's coming out of her shell somewhat,
and now her tail is up and ears forward on our walks.
The treats I have don't really interest her, so I'll have to try a different kind.
I tried the tennis ball trick with cutting a slit and putting treats in it. I'll roll it
to her and she just looks at it.

darenka - I'll check out the Katz books next time I go to B&N.
Thanks for the recommendation.

(I'll start another thread soon since the formatting in this one got off due to the picture size.)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 10:12PM
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Try different toys---maybe a mouse or squeaky toy.

Molly is a whippet type---turns out she loves to chase soccer balls. She pretty much ignores the tennis balls our GSD/chow mix loves.

You never know what item interests a dog.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 11:20PM
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Your dog, (who is very pretty and sweet looking, by the way), will learn the rules of your house and settle it, but it will take some time.

I adopted a stray beagle that had been abused. She would not look me in the eye, and if I went to pet her she would cower and totally flatten herself to the floor. If I raised my voice at all, same reaction. It was just heartbreaking. She slowly but surely grew to learn that I would not hit her, and that when my hand was near her it was for petting and belly rubbing.

She wouldn't give doggie kisses either. I've never met a dog that didn't want to give a little kiss! I ended up teaching her how as if it were a trick, like shake or roll over. Now she will kiss my nose for a treat, and give me other random kisses when she is in the mood :)

Other issues I dealt with:

She was a total escape artist, and I had to reinforce my fence several times. She will never be rid of this bad habit because she's a beagle and follows her nose, so I can't ever let her off leash.

She was supposedly housebroken, but either they were not telling the truth, or she just had to learn how to be housebroken in a new home.

She jumped up on the bar stools and counter surfed, destroyed my blinds, shredded a phone book, tipped the trash and tore that up, and destuffed several beds. She still destuffs toys, but leaves everything else alone.

Honestly, she was a VERY trying dog, and early on I tried to return her to the rescue. I had no idea how difficult a beagle could be. The rescue wouldn't take her back, so I just kept working with her. It took over a year, and then it just seemed that she "got it", or perhaps she just grew up. I am unsure of how old she was when I got her - at least a year was what I was told.

Anyway, this long post is just to say that with consistency and a lot of love, even really "bad" dogs can become good pets.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 7:09AM
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