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Islanddog

Afraid of treats, rescue, had him for 5 weeks

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I am completely unqualified to be giving advice here, but I agree with the advice everyone else has given. My question is, would crate training be helpful? That way, if Sonic is feeling overwhelmed he can go to his space and feel safe. Zero pressure, enclosed space (with open door).

Interestingly enough, crate training was yet another task I set for myself that he didn't really take to it, BUT... he was afraid of the vacuum, ran downstairs, and was discovered curled up in the back of the open crate. (we'd be doing treat games, but no door closings), so we'll leave the crate set up for him, thanks,

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I have a 1 year old pup. I bred her. She is a happy camper and has never been abused or neglected. Her best friend is her momma. She happily did "tricks" as a wee one. Sit, paw, stay etc. Few months ago she decided she isn't going to do tricks, they are horrible and not worth any treat. She is also very wiggy about me putting my arm around her. I chalked it off to oh well, she'll out grows it. Interestingly enough she is out growing it, I don't demand what I don't need and no matter what she must do the important stuff (recall, not get into sheep or chickens etc.)

So I spoke to another littermate puppy owner and her pup is the exact same way.

Long short of it. .... if u don't make a big deal out of it I think it will fade and, it can be genetic. Other litter mates aren't acting like this.

I also don't usually give her a chance to run from those boggy things. I just toss the treat close and walk away. If they run hide, they are self rewarding their fears. Place them in a crate, happily so it's a good place for all not an escape from the boggy or you.

If u worry they worry.

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It was pointed out to me that positive pressure (encouagement, excitement, etc.) puts pressure on a dog, too. For a confident dog, that's not a problem. For a dog with issues, that can be intimidating. So, like others have said, back off, be appeasing (turning head, yawning), be very matter-of-fact, and remove the pressure that "cheerleading" is putting on your dog. Sometimes what we think is encouraging really produces the opposite result in an individual like this.

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Long short of it. .... if u don't make a big deal out of it I think it will fade and, it can be genetic. Other litter mates aren't acting like this.

I also don't usually give her a chance to run from those boggy things. I just toss the treat close and walk away. If they run hide, they are self rewarding their fears. Place them in a crate, happily so it's a good place for all not an escape from the boggy or you.

If u worry they worry.

Your last line is spot on. I think a lot 'fear' issues get set when people over react, which is probably what I did...as in noticing the shut down, then thinking 'uh oh' and trying to 'fix it' with more treats and happy happy. Now, I just think, 'oops' and never mind, and carry on.

 

To let everyone else know, things are getting better. Mostly, if he has a moment, just never mind, no big deal, and let him decide. Turns out that it's 'forgotten' or 'faded' next time around. He is seeming much more relaxed again, and asks to play, finally, in the house again. It seems like he's a fairly confident dog except for 'triggers' that come and go and in the house where there is very little space, the training games can be overwhelming so I'm not doing that. He doesn't seem like a nervy dog, so I think he's just got baggage. This is a dog that has learned from birth to expect both the very best from people and the worst. Love, hugs, treats, cuddles, hitting (he's head shy), kicking (he's missing a tooth, so maybe), or whatever people might of done. He seems very much to be a dog that learns from his experiences so the 'fear' issues are not sticky.

 

As for the crate, I finally got brave (or pushy) about it, and just threw some treats in and pushed his bum in and shut the door, and opened the door, repeat. After about 3 times he's having fun. Then I threw in a kong and locked him in a walked away to iron a shirt (where I could make sure he wasn't getting upset) and he just settled in and worked on his kong--which makes me pretty sure his fosters already crate trained him, but I will slowly up the duration. He doesn't need to be crated for anything, but I think it's always a good thing to know.

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Hello' all,

I'm new to the board.

I would try instead of offering food, mark and praise or use a short play session (like a short session of tug war, to keep him engaged with you).

when he goes in "scared mode" just pretend everything is cool ;-). you might want to try to remove the clicker and use your voice to mark.

it might be he needs more time to bond with you.

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Do u know he's been abused? I have head shy dogs. Again, they are related but I know no one or thing has hit them. They're just a bit handler over them shy. No abuse.

 

If you're sure he's been abused I would try to erase that from your head. That way you look at him normally instead of trying to analyze why. Move forward from this minute. He will get over his issues if time is given and routines are established.

In my rescue circles we say...

3 days

3 weeks

3 months before you get to see hints of your actual dog. And well over 6-8 months to be "home"

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Ooh boy, from joy and progress to this.

So I got Sonic January 12th, and he quickly settled in, so I thought. Had a bit of hand-shyness, so sudden or overhand movements made him leery, but he caught on to treat training pretty quick, so I thought.

We were using lots of treats from the get go, but for ordinary things like look aways from the cats (we have 3, 2 are very nervous) and loose leash walking.

He's great in the house, reactive to dogs (very, outdoors).

So I'm trying to train him to at least do a mini-obedience routine (anything, really) to have some kind of re-direct, or communication with him elsewhere, but now I can't train in the house because he keeps getting scared.

I'll be training, mark & treat, and he'll be all excited happy and then suddenly back away from the hand with treat. At that point, there is nothing else to do. He won't take the treat even if I roll it to him. He doesn't want anything to do with me.

So I end the session, obviously. I try to figure out what the trigger was, but can't except that it is either my hand with the treat, or the treat, or the house, or me, well, have no clue.

We were having fun before, he was playing tug in the house, and chasing balls, and having a blast earning treats.

He still plays tug outdoors (in the yard, when he's in the mood, so tugging is getting better, he likes this game).

He still takes treats outdoors, so I can still use treats for counter-conditioning, recalls (I'm using a long-line) and very briefly, I lure him into heel position or maybe get him to sit, and in the yard, also down, but I'm really afraid the hand-shy thing will carry over outdoors leaving me with nothing so I'm not doing much training.

Worse yet, yesterday, I tried doing the treat thing with no criteria, me sitting in a chair, and rolling treats his way so I wouldn't trigger a reaction, and after about 6 treats he backed out the room and peered at me from behind furniture. So I weirded him out with that too.

We are signed up for a special "High Anxiety" class but that is weeks away.

My next guess is to just click and treat (have a one treat training session) at odd times during the day, and see if it leaves him asking for more.

I am hoping it's still a settling in thing, he is a rescue from a 3rd world country, so probably has been hit or something, has been put through major changes and losses (he was a loved pet there and had complete freedom vs on leash only with me), but it's back-sliding that is worrying me, more than the behaviour, as in why was he getting all nutty and playful and fun with progression from week one to week three and then stop wanting to play (in the house). I hope time will heal this, any thoughts?

Our bc rescue was very timid of treats from hands too, he also would shut down when we were trying to train him and get scared for no reason. They sound very similar in that way! You mention he was very excited until the treat came into play ? We had that issue too, so we used praise instead. He loved to learn and responded great to verbal praise with no touch ... He was very eager to please and didn't need treats. It was no pressure so he stayed more calm. I also found that just doing the Command once or twice kept him from the overload shut down. Once he began to become more comfortable he just stopped being scared of our hands and now takes treats willingly... It just took a little time. Or trainer we work with for our other dogs reactivity gave us great tips about the bc treat fears ... She said don't look at him, stand to him side and hold the treat to the side of his face (same with petting always pet the cheek area from the side.) or BC was frightened of the loud click of the clicker, so I chose a marker work instead until he because more relaxed (I said "yes" when he did something right). Eventually he stopped being scared of these things at all.

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She also mentioned that we should praise or reward any time he made any movement towards the treat or what we wanted. For example when trying to lead him into a sit if he inched his nose at all (even a tiny lift towards the treat) praise and treat (if he will take it). It's all about itty bitty steps with not a lot of pressure... We did a lot of tossing of treats with our backs turned away before he began to feel more comfortable.

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Hello' all,

I'm new to the board.

I would try instead of offering food, mark and praise or use a short play session (like a short session of tug war, to keep him engaged with you).

when he goes in "scared mode" just pretend everything is cool ;-). you might want to try to remove the clicker and use your voice to mark.

it might be he needs more time to bond with you.

 

haha oops I replied before I read other responses :) this is dead on!

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Do u know he's been abused? I have head shy dogs. Again, they are related but I know no one or thing has hit them. They're just a bit handler over them shy. No abuse.

 

If you're sure he's been abused I would try to erase that from your head. That way you look at him normally instead of trying to analyze why. Move forward from this minute. He will get over his issues if time is given and routines are established.

In my rescue circles we say...

3 days

3 weeks

3 months before you get to see hints of your actual dog. And well over 6-8 months to be "home"

Yes it was right around 3 months Artoo really began to blossom and make huge changes as far as opening up and training well with treats consistently. It very important to remember that it takes lots of time!

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I love updates, and I lurk other peoples questions and posts, so....for the lurkers...an update.

 

The advice I got was sound, as in, back off, remove training pressure, just 'stop doing that', etc...

 

The advice I should have taken but didn't is 'don't take classes too soon', ugh. I signed him up for a reactive dog class which was terrible, but no lasting damage done.

 

The afraid of treats thing is over, but I still very often deliver tossed treats to get him running, so it's also avoided. Possibly, he just doesn't like getting a hand jammed up his face and my delivery may sometimes be ham-fisted, don't know, doesn't matter, as I can training him indoors now whenever I wish. He is extremely sensitive to my moods, no faking it, so if I am not in a good mood, just don't bother training or asking for more than necessities.

He's MUCH less reactive now.

 

He is becoming 'operant', ie. learning (finally) to 'offer' behaviours regarding targets and mats and objects. He put all four feet on a wobble board including gripping with one paw (offered, not prompted). It's pretty exciting to see that.

 

In hindsight, I wish I had remembered and drilled into my head the fact that Dynamo (my previous rescue) was very likely a 'started puppy' (ie, had 5 months of motivational puppy training under her belt before I had her), while Sonic had 1 1/2 years of absolute freedom and a mixed bag of human interactions none of which would resemble modern north american training. In other words, while I thought I was comparing apples to apples (both were 'rescues'), Dynamo came to me with solid groundwork (and working line genetics), while Sonic had baggage.

 

Bashing myself on the forehead, stupid human--expecting too much too soon (although, probably missing Dynamo too) Sonic, smart puppy, dumped into the looking glass world of my home and life, is 'getting it' just fine and keeping all of the above in mind, pretty darned fast too.

 

Now I need to update my avi as he looks different too--fluffy!!!

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