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Greetings and thanks in advance for any thoughts. We adopted Louie (formerly "Nosey") about 2.5 months ago at an adoption event. He's a BC/Lab/? mix, about 2-3 years old, very mellow, couch potato, no concept of toys or playing, extremely timid--even fearful--of people. Anyone. More so at the house, but also in the park. Goes nuts when he sees squirrels or rabbits. Not much of a barker, doesn't know from fetch or catch, LOVES other dogs. Escape artist, seems to have a high threshold for training collars and even a live wire we used on some fencing outside. We have to figure out how to contain him (he got out of the live wire) because he'll jump the fence and leave whenever he has the opportunity. Always comes home, but was brought home by police the other day and was almost hit by a car. We were looking for a smaller dog, maybe terrier mix, and explained our lifestyle: small children all the time, busy household, cat, gerbil, birds, lots of time with human's home, but not the type to jog or go for hikes. No dog like that was available and we were ready to go when we learned about Louie. We didn't know much about BCs beyond some perceptions and some misconceptions. It's been rough. Louie becomes afraid and hides whenever people come over. He warms up to children a little faster--if we go for a walk in the park immediately upon their arrival and he gets used to them outside first. Will this ever change? And is there a way to facilitate Louie not escaping all the time (or wanting to). I absolutely get that I didn't do diligence about this breed before adopting Louie. I was going based on input that he had many of the qualities we were looking for in a dog; and about 15-20 minutes together before making the decision. Louie's personality is different than other dogs we've had; and neither of us has ever really worked with a very timid/scared dog. Is this a wrong fit? Or are there things I'm not doing that I should be? (And then it's about whether I can or not). Louie is also a cuddler, and has a very Eyeore-like demeanor with such dignity. He's a sweetie, and I'd love to not feel like I'm floundering.

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Hi and welcome to the forum. I just have some questions...is Louie kept as an outdoor dog? Is he motivated by anything? Also, what drew you to adopting him instead of waiting for the type of dog you were looking for to come into a rescue? I totally did the same thing, though. I wanted X dog and ended up with Y dog, so I can relate to how overwhelming it can be.

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Borasaurus has posed some good questions. The answers will help in framing a reply.

 

That said, there is definitely hope for Louie. Hopefully you have the time and desire to delve a bit deeper into learning dog behavior and training, but I think it is definitely worth it. It is the somewhat difficult dogs that expand our understanding. I know from personal experience and I am glad for the opportunity to own a 'difficult' dog. There is so much more to dogs than what most of the general public knows.

 

This is a great forum for advice - if you are open to it, but sometimes it might be a bit 'strong' - for the benefit of the dog.

 

I have to go now or I would suggest a few bits of advice, but I am sure that others will chime in.

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Every dog has its own thing that makes it unique and can add to challenges. Even pups raised in a social home will have "its thing" that can be frustrating. Mix breeds and rescues can add a layer to that because they come with undetermined challenges and personalities that have yet to be discovered.

Most dogs will get comfortable in their home but that will take some time and maybe adjustments on your part. I had a timid sheltie x that I brought home when she was maybe 3 and she was always a dog that was concerned about strangers. No problem if she had a place she could go where she felt safe - I used a crate in my bedroom.

Kids move fast and that worries some dogs, being enclosed when they are uncomfortable makes timid dogs more nervous. I understand why he feels more comfortable meeting people outside.

 

I think you need to be honest about the time you are devote to Louie and helping him fit into your home. Then be honest about the adjustments you are willing to make if need be. Maybe it is an outdoor kennel or new fence so when kids have friends over he can be safe. Maybe training classes or having a really good trainer come to the house and give you some suggestions...

I know when I have a timid dog I tie them out in a main area of the house where they have a quiet spot to observe the goings on but can't go hide. I ask that no one goes to them let the dog come out and make the fist step for contact. Just that simple step makes a difference that you will notice.

 

I would do that and then teach him not to go out a door untill asked so he doesn't leave the yard without you aware of it.

It can be a long haul and is a major committment from everyone in the house.

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I want to add really quick my pure BC Lily who is working bred and has only been raised by me is still people shy. In the beginning she was down right terrified of everyone/thing and now over a year later she can go out in public without being a spaz or go to an agility trial without panicking at every noise. So 2 1/2 months really isn't that long in the grand scheme of things.

 

My main point is keep slowly socilizating and some day maybe your pup won't care as long as you are with them whether or not the world is scary.

 

As far as your containment issue is the dog an outside dog?

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Thank you for your replies--and for being kind and gentle with them! Louie is not an outside dog. He is crate trained--and will go to his crate if he's feeling nervous (or if he realizes we're disappointed with his behavior). He is sometimes motivated by treats--it depends on his level of nervousness and his willingness. I think he'd be more motivated by salami than dog treats, so maybe I should use that as a treat? I was drawn to Louie because (a) I'd stopped in the crowd and was tired and irritated by the whole scene of the adoption event (never again) and suddenly felt a dog nose in my hand. I looked down and there was Louie. So I asked about him and the shelter folks (who'd I already spoken with for a bit about our lifestyle and what we were looking for) said "oh, he might be your couch potato! And (B) He seemed to be such a gentleman (and really is). He doesn't jump up on anyone, takes treats and bones from me so gingerly, has only offered a soft warning growl if any kids are doing something he doesn't like (such as touching his hind legs while he's resting). He follows me around like a shadow, and really loves snuggling on the couch. And there are a things I've been able to correct relatively easily (e.g. when we got home the first thing he did was put his paws up on the counter to check out the smells of food from them--and all it took was a couple of "no's" and now he will walk right past open food on the table. Not that we keep a lot of open food on the table or counters anymore.). I also enjoy his quirky personality. Like I said, he's a bit of an Eyeore. He'll also pout when disciplined.

 

We have told people coming into the house not to approach Louie, and to let him approach them. There are a few of my daughter's friends who really love dogs, and I've figured out that if I'm on the couch with Louie I can call them over (only one at a time) and if they sit quietly with us Louie gets used to them. Adults are harder. With my female adult friends who come over regularly I've started having Louie on a leash to hang out with us. Males are the hardest.

 

We are all willing to be adaptive for Louie, as we have been for any of the pets we've adopted over the years we've done so. And we also have non-negotiables. Our house will always be a lively place with lots of people coming in and out. That's just how it is with us--our daughter is very social and we aren't going to change that. So my first concern is whether this is something Louie will come to appreciate or not, once he settles down more. Louie doesn't like going to the bathroom in the penned area we have for him--that a dog door leads out to. And while I take him for walks regularly--as a part-time worker from my home and stay at home mom my schedule varies. So I can't take him out for walks at the same time everyday. He's got to be able to use the dog door to his area. And we've got to figure out how to make that area secure. We also have to figure out the best way to keep him in our backyard. It's a nice size, and we want him out there with us. But we can't have him taking off all the time. And I'm not sure an invisible fence will keep him contained in the backyard.

 

I also wonder if Louie really needs to be in a home with a second dog. He LOVES other dogs--all other dogs as far as I can tell from the many dog encounters we've had on walks. The only time he didn't try and escape our yard was the week that my step-daughter and her husband came to visit and brought their dog. Having another dog, however, wasn't in the cards for us. We've already got other animals--and another dog would be twice the boarding fees when we go away, additional vet bills, etc. We don't want to overextend ourselves emotionally, financially, or time-wise.

 

My husband feels as though Louie is not bonding with us as his "pack" given that he's constantly running away. My 6 year old daughter has been really good with him, as have her friends. They either ignore him or take the time to gently get him used to them.

 

Thanks again!

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When he leaves the yard is he out there alone? Do you know where he does? If he enjoys other dogs maybe you can invite friends over who have dogs. If he is coming home I would say he isn't running away really. Maybe he is running To something, maybe he has never been contained so it is a new concept for him. Maybe you could have him able to go into a kennel with a top on it from his doggie door. Most dogs are simply ok waiting till you get home to go outside. I feed once a day in the evening because I am ALWAYS home to let them out a couple hours after they eat.

 

A young lab or bc are both VERY active breeds. A walk simply doesn't give them enough time to burn their energy. Neither would several walks, they need time to run and play to expend the energy and be content I think. I had a boxer that required several 8 miles hikes a week to be able to live with him :) We were both in really good shape. Since he does not yet play ball the doggie play dates or doggie day care at a kennel may be a good option for him

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Thank you Denice! He's never alone in our backyard--we're always out there with him. If we see him approaching the fence and I say "uh-uh Louie" he doesn't go over. But if we get distracted for even a little bit and are not keeping an eagle eye on him more often than not he jumps ship. I don't know where he goes--though there are dogs behind part of our property. We're in a more suburb-y area.

 

See I'd known about BC's being very active, which is why I never looked at them for us. We're happy to take him for walks and have him run around the backyard (as long as he stays in it) but we aren't the 8 miles a day kind of family. We're just not. I heard back from the shelter that we got him from--and they've been incredibly supportive. They said that we've definitely gone above and beyond for him, and that they'd be happy to take him back. Or we could also try Prozac as sometimes that really helps with a timid dog. But I'm not clear that it'll help with his escaping.

 

I love Louie. If he's bonded with anyone in this house, it's me. He shadows me constantly. And this is what my gut is telling me: Louie would be happiest with a very big area to run around in (our yard is nice, but not huge) and at least one other dog to do the running with. And he'd be happier in a home that's quieter, without a lot of people coming in and out. And these are our non-negotiables. We're always going to have tons of people in and out. We aren't going to be going on 8 mile walks. And we aren't going to be getting another dog. Certainly not for a dog that we're not certain we can keep in our yard. When we're outside we're outside with Louie, our daughter, and often other children. So he gets a lot of attention from us, but not all of our attention. So my gut says he'd be happier in another situation, which kills me because he's SUCH a gentleman. My husband and I are going to talk over the prozac idea tonight--and I'm going to do a bit of research on it this afternoon.

 

Thanks again for your input!

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It's hard to come to the realization that a dog might not be the right fit for your home . . . but it's a very courageous, responsible and ultimately kind one if it's right for the dog.

 

I've even had a couple fosters who I knew weren't going to do well in my home, and I sent them back to the rescue to be fostered elsewhere. They weren't happy with me, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my home wasn't the right place for them.

 

I'm really happy that the shelter's being supportive, and willing to take him back if that's what ends up being the right thing to do. They'll have a much better sense of what he needs from an adoptive home thanks to the careful observation and care you've given him.

 

I hope the prozac helps, but if it isn't the answer, know that you're making a decision based on the best interest of the dog. . . . and that's a good thing.

 

I agree that if he's coming back when he jumps the fence he's not running away. He's either going out for an adventure (which can be pretty hard to break), or he's trying to leave what for him is an uncomfortable environment behind to de-stress for a little while. . . kinda like taking a break or leaving the office for lunch.

 

Very best wishes as you move forward with him. From what you've written so far, I fell pretty confident you'll make the best decision for your dog, based on his needs and not your own emotionally based desires.

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Is there any possibility you could borrow a friend's dog for a few days? That would give you more information on which to base a decision. You'd find out whether he'd stay in the yard if you had a second dog, or if he'd take off anyway. He could get over his discomfort with the household activity level in time, I think, but I agree that his leaving the premises is a deal breaker.

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Just out of curiosity have you tried mind games with him rather than just trying to run him to exaustion? He could be running away out of boredom, but again it's just a theory. Maybe being outside is just the opportunity to go do something that is mentally stimulating.

 

Some examples are trick training, puzzle toys, frozen kongs, or dog sport training like nose work, agility, and obedience. If you would like to try any of that but don't know where to start let me know and I will point you in the right direction. Also any treats that are not dangerous work really well for training. My dogs will not work for anything less than hot dogs.

 

On the topic of your dog fearing men you can try having the men speak in a high pitch voice. My Lily is still terrified of my DH if he speaks in a normal deep voice. Which is still a huge improvement seeing how she used to pee everytime he talked to her.

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Prozac won't change the fundamental nature of a dog. It may not even be very useful unless it is used to augment behavior modification. I would not use it until the dog has been evaluated by a knowledgeable veterinarian or by a really good behaviorist. It is best prescribed by someone who uses it a lot. The dose frequently needs to be titered and there are drug interactions that apparently not all vets are aware of--a friend's dog had a really bad reaction from using Prozac with a flea collar (really). I do have a dog on Prozac. It was prescribed for clinical anxiety.

 

I wouldn't get a second dog solely to keep the first company. Although 2 dogs are not necessarily 2X the work, they are 2X the cost--and you can also wind up with 2 runaways.

 

I think that if you want to keep this dog, you need to be willing to invest money (on the fence) and time on training (classes and homework) and integrating the dog into your home. Although a 6 year old can't be the sole trainer, the child can certainly participate---training, playing, and walking the dog can become a family activity.

 

I personally don't like these adoption events because it is too easy to walk into a pet store for a container of fish food and walk out with a dog or go to the mall for a pair of underwear (our town used to hold adoption events in the mall parking lot) and go home with a cat. In the end, no one can tell you what to do. If you want to keep the dog, it would probably be a good idea to have a trainer come to your home to evaluate the dog and then help integrate you into a group class.

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Seems to me that 2.5 mths is a short time to expect bonding on a whole. It's even early to expect to see his full personality emerge. These things take time.

 

Unless you know his background, it can be possible that he was given up because he wouldn't stay home/escaped. It may be that there were no repercussions in his doing so and so he thinks that's the way it is. It may be that in his earlier life he had little interaction with humans, let alone with so many at once. It may be that his only companions were other dogs.

 

Do you have a towel or blanket over his crate? Is it in an area where he can observe what's going on, but still be a bit away from the action? Is he left alone by everyone when he goes in his crate to feel safe?

 

I have no experience with Prozak... nor your dog, nor you :), but you say he's a couch potato, hummm, Prozak n a couch potato seems like an odd combo.

 

Sorry, on my phone so this is a rather blunt, to the point reply :).

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I've had my new girl only 5 weeks. I told my sister, "I don't feel that bonded to her yet. I wonder if I was bonded with Buddy at this point?" She said, "No. At this point you wanted to kill him."

 

(Buddy ran into my right knee, full speed, on the third day after I got him, requiring me to wear a knee support for a good chunk of the summer. In addition to being fearful and reactive, he was insanely fast and needed to go to the woods for an hour or so a day, to burn off hsi energy. Point of clarification: I did not actually want to "kill him.")

 

So, yeah - the bonding can take a long time.

 

I think it's really good that you're clear on your nonnegotiables, and the limitations posed by the lives you lead. At 2.5 months, you're really just getting to know what he's really like, and whether he's a good match for your family. It's great that the rescue can take him back if you need them to - and maybe there's a hiking couple that wants to spend many hours a day exercising their dog!

 

Good luck with your decision.

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If he really is a timid dog shocking him is not going to make him less so.

 

Is he really a mellow couch potato or is he just needy?

 

 

I agree with getting someone in to observe him on his own turf and interpret his behaviour for you.

 

My first dog was an escape artist and it took over a year before he showed any signs of belonging with us, four years before I could say that I felt he was somewhat bonded, and that was with a ton of training.

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All good responses above.

I too would be leary of using drugs at this stage. This sounds like a happy, not-quite-yet-adjusted pup (I know, adult, but still - a new dog is a lot like a puppy. Treat him like one!).

 

Another quick thought: look up coyote rollers for your fence. There are commercially made ones, or if you're handy, you can do it with a big PVC pipe. Basically, it sits atop your fence and if a dog (or coyote) tries to jump, they lose their footing and it just rolls around. That might help.

 

Good luck, and if he is indeed the right dog for you, have fun with him!

 

diane

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We just adopted Gabe about a month ago, and he's also pretty timid with new people. Going from a super-social, bombproof therapy dog to a kind of nervous, somewhat reactive dog has been a big adjustment. The first time my dad came to visit, Gabe went completely bonkers and was borderline aggressive. I didn't know what to do. We got the recommendation to have him meet people outside and go for a little walk, get him feeling good, and then come inside. After meeting people that way a few times, the last time someone came over, we met outside briefly and all came in and he did fine. Definitely mental games can help in expending some of that energy, and doing some trick training or something may be good for bonding and mental energy. After adoption, we did a pretty modified version of the "2 week shutdown" http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf which I think also helped with settling in. It's definitely good you know your nonnegotiables, and I hope you make the best decision for your family.

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I think you're right in that getting a second dog wouldn't be a great idea, since you're still unsure of how Louie fits into the equation now. Getting acclimated to everything takes a lot of work on both sides. It reminds me of going away for college. Suddenly, you find yourself in a new place, with a bunch of new people you don't know. It took me probably half the year to form bonds with new friends. I felt the same when I brought Kieran home. We were complete strangers sharing a living space together.

 

I had to tackle Kieran twice in the same day in these nasty bushes because he slipped out of his harness (my third day with him). It was once before work and then when I got home. And embarrassingly, I had an audience both times in the form of an elderly woman sitting on her balcony. She yelled, "you got faster this time!" It's probably one of my most vivid memories of Kieran's adoption.

 

It'll take a long time before you see all of his personality, as people have already mentioned. I think redirecting his attention onto things like trick training or some sort of classes would help a lot. Trick training was probably the biggest way I bonded with Kieran.

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Good responses so far. I would also be wary of adding prozac right now. Seems a bit early and there are definitely other things you can try before making the dogs mood dependent on a drug.

 

I agree with Cass C that the runaway problem might just be out of boredom. The idea that a dog needs a big yard to run around in is kinda flawed. Sure, it helps, but dogs need something to do. Border Collies especially can benefit from having a job to do. The "job" doesn't have to be herding sheep, but doing tricks or retrieving a ball. So I would start with that. Trick training can significantly improve your bond and also improve the dogs confidence. And it is fun. Everyone loves to see a dog that can spin/twirl, rollover, beg/sit pretty, etc. One of the tricks I would recommend teaching is "touch". Look up a video on youtube. This is probably the simplest trick to teach and can be extremely useful. Also, look up info on how to teach a dog to play (fetch or tug, anything). This will help with any boredom and also help teach the dog to engage with you.

 

As for the people problem, there is definitely a lot of info out there on this and if you are willing to do the work then it seems that many dogs can overcome this issue. It isn't exactly complicated, it just takes time. Use treats to your advantage. When your dog sees someone "scary" then start feeding treats. Drop a handful on the dogs nose so the dog has to search around for them on the ground (which can be calming for the dog). If the dog won't take the treats then let them go and relax out of sight. If there are guests that your dog is becoming comfortable around then ask them to give Louie treats. Just make sure you tell them to not lure Louie with the treats, you want Louie to make the choice to approach. Also, if/when Louie does start approaching, ask your guest to never reach over Louie's head to pet him, this can be very scary for fearful dogs. Instead, ask them to reach down and scratch his chest.

 

Good luck!

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Thank you all for these excellent responses and your care and concern! This isn't an easy--or even clear--decision for us. Even if we ultimately decided that Louie would be better served elsewhere, we'd want to keep him until a "better" home (quieter, other dog companions) can be found. I wouldn't want him to go from us back to a shelter situation. Ultimately I think that would do more harm than good. He's made a ton of progress since we've had him (less nervous/more interactive around kids, wags his tail now, etc.).

 

To ensure that Louie is safe while we're making the decision, I'm pricing out what it would cost to extend the height of our dog run and put a top on it. Our cat has been sneaking out the dog door some (seriously, we are really good to our animals--I guess we just pick ones that like adventure!). I've also reached out to a recommended animal behaviorist in our area this morning to see if they would be willing/able to assist us (and if not, who they would recommend). Doing these things will (a) help us better ascertain if we are the right fit for Louie and (B) ensure that both our animals are safe in the process. Even if we ultimately decide that Louie would be better served by another family, it will ensure that we can safely keep him out of a shelter situation.

 

Again, thank you all so much for the wonderful replies. I was nervous to post--not sure if I'd be judged. I agree that adoption events can result in people making snap decisions about bringing an animal home. We went to this one knowing we wanted to add a dog to our family. In the future, however, I would much prefer to work with a shelter during normal times--instead of during the high stress of an adoption event.

 

Louie IS a couch potato! While there are times when he escapes because he seems to be fearful, much of the time it's when only our family is around. So I do think it is about him wanting to go on adventures--and getting some help from professionals will assist us in learning how to teach Louie to do some tricks. My step-daughter and son-in-law visited for a week and brought their dog with them. The whole time the other dog was around Louie didn't try and escape once. I've also brought Louie to a couple of friend's houses who have dogs, and he never tried to escape from their yards. So he may also be escaping to find friends. I have two neighbors who walk their dogs together every day and they've invited me to join them whenever I'd like, which I plan to do. And on one of our walks recently we made friends with a dog who lives a few houses down. So maybe we can arrange to have that dog over to play with Louie some. Ultimately we are feeling VERY supported--by our friends and neighbors, by the shelter we got Louie from, and from all of you.

 

P.S. As I've been thinking all of this through it occurred to me that perhaps some of Louie's couch potato-ness has to do with his timidness. And if he grows more confident, he may grow to want more walks/runs/exercise than we could provide. I LOVE the idea of training him to do stuff (I read somewhere that a person trained their bc mix to pick up laundry and put it in a basket! With a 6 year old teaching Louie how to pick up toys and put them in a bin would also be amazing!). So this could help even if he becomes less couch-potato like. We are also open to learning how to teach him agility--I think it could be a really fun family activity, one that our daughter would love. And if Louie becomes secure to the point where he needs more exercise than we can offer, at least we'll know that we helped him on his journey.

 

Thanks again everyone! I'll give you all an update when I have more to report. And I'll try and post pics of Louie (not sure how to do that yet).

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I agree with others that it is too early for drugs, and I have seen a border collie become very depressed and sad on Prozac.

 

I will also second what others have said about teaching him things like tricks or any kind of behavior that you want to train him to do. Mental stimulation is *very* important, and will do a lot for the bonding process as well as giving him much needed stimulation and exercise. Might even make him want to stay home, although you don't know why he is going over the fence at this point. Obviously he is not running away or he would not come back again.

Can you make your fence higher?

Or try the coyote bars?

 

Also you say he is not interested in toys but you can teach him to fetch. I taught my male border collie to fetch and when he came to me at age 2 he had zero interest in toys of any kind. I taught him because I wanted something I could do no matter the hour, weather, or even if I were sick or had a broken leg, to get him some exercise. I think teaching him to fetch would be great in your situation since you don't hike at all. It took me about two sessions to teach Jes to fetch something in order to get a treat (I started with high value food like roast chicken and then moved to just used his kibble, one piece for each time he brought the toy back to me). It took about two months for something to shift in him and suddenly he became so joyous about the fetching process that he has been a fetching maniac ever since. He is now 14 and still is crazy about fetching. If you want I will tell you how to teach this to him.

 

He is still very new to your home, If you really like this dog, and it sounds as though you do, give it some time.

 

Best of luck, and stick around this forum because it is a wealth of information.

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I taught my BC/mix to pick up laundry and put it away. It's not as hard as it sounds. It all starts with getting them to pick things up. If you have a soft toy try making it bounce around the ground like a hyper rabbit if he makes any move towards him praise him. If he grabs it let him have it, eventually you should be able to drop things and he will immediately pick them up. After that you can put a word to it like 'pick-up'. Then work on a drop command so as soon as he lets the toy fall you can say 'good drop!' Or something and reward it.

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Yes D'Elle, I'd love to know how you taught your dog fetch. And thank you Cass for sharing how to teach Louie to pick up laundry. D'Elle I don't know if you saw my latest response (last one on page 1). I am looking into either making the fence higher/having a top put on it--or the coyote bars.

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"Touch" is a really good trick, as Chanse mentioned. It's easy to teach, and now I use it when Kieran gets distracted at agility class. You can eventually use it to teach other tricks, too. Kieran started out simply bumping my hand with his nose when it was at his level. Now he does all sorts of jumps depending how high I put my hand, or he will touch surfaces and items. Have you tried clicker training? Since Louie is reasonably food motivated, that could be a good place to start.

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I am a clicker trainer, but when I taught Jes to fetch I had not yet learned to train that way. Clicker would probably make it happen faster.

 

I took a rag and put smelly treats in it and bundled it all up so it was in the shape of a ball. I let him smell it and he wanted it. I needed to do this because he had no interest in toys, even squeaky ones. (Of course, he loves his toys now). Then, with another person on the other side of the room, I threw the toy to the other person. She caught it and called Jes to her. When he came, she gave him a treat, and then gave the bundle to him and I called him back to me. When he came back with the bundle in his mouth I praised him and gave him a high-value treat. If he dropped the bundle, we started over again. He soon learned that if he brought the bundle back he got a yummy treat, so he brought it back to me. At that point, I added the cue word "fetch". Then we went outside and did the whole thing again from the start, and he caught on fast. The next step was that I switched out the bundle for a ball, toy, or frisbee, but he still got the cue "fetch", and praise and a treat when he brought it back.

 

This became a behavior that he did just to get the treats, but I didn't care because he was getting the exercise twice a day in addition to his long walks. We lived in LA, so his walks were city walks all week long until we could go hiking on the weekends, and I wanted to be sure he got enough running during the week to keep him in top shape.

 

One day about two months after I taught him to fetch we were doing our thing: throw, retrieve, treat; throw, retrieve, treat.....and as he was coming back to me I saw a light suddenly pop into his eyes. It was as if he suddenly decided "hey, this is FUN!"....and he refused the treat and ran off to fetch it again. That was it. Ever since then he has been a maniac about fetching anything.....and I mean any thing....that he can get anyone to throw for him. Sticks (which are outlawed....very dangerous) pine cones, socks, you name it. In a friend's manicured back yard, with nothing he could possibly find to bring to be thrown, he once picked up a stray leaf and brought it to me, spitting it out at my feet and running back with an expectant look on his face.

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