This is a Premium feature
New rescue dog question(21 Posts)
I'll try and keep it brief.
It's day 8 since we adopted our 2 yo rescue. We've also got a 7 yo female JRT cross.
Today's not been the best day. He seemed to start to relax in the house then we had a big setback this morning. My neighbour's son was wearing a head torch and large coat and thought it would be a good idea to lean down over our gate and try and make friends with our new arrival. It was 6.30am and I'd not long been awake so I asked him firmly to leave the introductions as he is nervous.... cue terrified barky dog.
We live in a terrace with a shared passageway and have carers and an elderly ladies' family constantly coming up and down during the day and night. I've moved the dog beds so he can't see out of the window, and come down in the night to firmly tell him to stop (barking) if he hears them. My other dog is unphased by the noise as we've had her from 10 weeks and only rarely barks.
This morning's incident tipped over into our walk with him whining, panting and pulling to come home despite my reassurances and treats. He then decided to take a treat from a complete strange man on the way home!! Grief!
To top it all, my retired (female) boss who is lovely and a massive dog lover, came round to meet him this afternoon to be greeted with growling. I ignored it as did she but it continued. She tried to give him a treat but he wasn't interested. He didn't hide away, but sat glaring at her and any move she made he would resume growling. I spoke with a friend later who is a dog walker of many years, and she said that I should have firmly said 'No' and if it continued then to remove him from the room.
Is this the best way to deal with this? I'm really sad that everything is making him so stressed, and to top it all I feel that I've not got the tools to help him and feel that I'm getting so much conflicting advice.
My OH is working away this week and my teenage daughter is terrified that I'm going to send him back without even trying. When we've seen videos of him on the rescue site, and spoken with the foster carer (where he was for about 6 months) she said he was playful, gentle and calm - I really hope that we see this side of him soon. I realise it's very early days, but can anyone offer some helpful advice?
I'm no expert but it sounds like his stress levels have just risen throughout the day and you need to give him space for them to decrease. He has had a massive upheaval and lots of new things and people thrust at him today.
Can you ask the rescue for some support if it's a large organisation that have behaviourists on hand. Otherwise I would find one to help you manage his environment whilst he settles in.
Thanks Bitey. Yes his levels have definitely risen throughout the day. I’m keeping him quiet for the next few days and will have another go at visitors later in the week. I’ve had experience of rescue dogs but with different sets of issues- not being comfortable around people is a new one for me to deal with. His foster carer has people
Coming and going all the time and it
Wasn’t an issue so I’m hoping this will be the case for us too. It’s a very small rescue but they’ve been helpful with advice. I’m going to speak with a behaviourist this week too
my retired (female) boss who is lovely and a massive dog lover, came round to meet him this afternoon to be greeted with growling. I ignored it as did she but it continued
I personally don’t think this was the correct thing to do at all.
Ignoring aggressive behaviour makes me very uncomfortable.
You say he’s scared, so he surely needs space?
The boss needs to move further back to a distance where he isn’t growling or the dog himself needs taking away from the situation I would have thought.
She tried to give him a treat but he wasn't interested
Don’t give scared dogs treats!
FIL has fallen into this trap.
Sometimes they muster up enough confidence to take the treat then find themselves way close and panic and bite.
I spoke with a friend later who is a dog walker of many years, and she said that I should have firmly said 'No' and if it continued then to remove him from the room
I don’t think I would have disciplined him (the no) because he appears to be frightened.
I don’t think a sharp no or ah or whatever would help.
But definitely 100% he or the boss should have been removed from each other.
He is way over threshold. It is called trigger staking where each stressful situation build up on top of each other and then the dog will find the simplest thing stressful
You need to give him a lot of time to chill,no visitors, no walk,just calm mooching around. Scatter feed him and just let him be.
I would not be telling him off for barking at strange noises-either distract with treats or try to put him in a quieter location.
It would probably help you to get 121 training to set you up on the right path (they would need to be positive training based) - this would prevent any unwanted behaviours and also let your dog settle down quicker
Thanks - I’ve contacted a trainer and will hopefully get some advice soon. I won’t be having anyone round for a few days just to give him time and space. He’s just spent 20 minutes playing with my other dog which has relaxed him- she was my main worry and she’s been great with him which is one less thing to worry about.
If your dog could talk it might say something like this;
I'm not at all sure about his new place. In my old home I knew all the people really well and how things were done. Now they have vanished and I'm here. I know the new human is trying to be kind but I feel all at sea. Then this morning I went out in the garden and this monster was there. It was huge and had this glowing eye on its forehead. It smells like a human but just doesn't look like one, its a monster. Help! We have to go for a walk. My new human seems worried. Are there more monsters about? Phew, we are home. Better bark at anyone outside. They may turn into monsters if I don't keep them away. Oh no!. A strange human has come in. Will she turn into a monster? I'll growl, perhaps that will make her keep away.
Oh that's a bit better. The resident dog here just let me play with her. She seems to think all is well but I'm not so sure. There may be more monsters. I just want my safe old home! Please be gentle with me and let me hide away until I know for certain it is safe to go out.
Your very scared new dog
Brownowl - 'I just want my safe old home! Please be gentle with me and let me hide away until I know for certain it is safe to go out.
Your very scared new dog.'
This made me feel quite sad, but glad for any dog you have - you're so understanding. We have one of these and in April we'll have had him for a year. But even last week all four paws left the floor as I was trying to get him outside, as a plastic bag flapped.
Thanks BrownOwl - I completely know what he is going through, and I am being gentle around him. I think he sees our house as his safe place and the outside world and visitors coming from it scary. I just want to make sure this doesn't become a huge thing for him, and also obviously that people still like to come round to see us. Moving forward I will try to meet people outside for a walk first so he can see that they are no threat, and then both coming in, put him in another room so he is away from any perceived threats with a nice chew. My main problem with this is that I have two dogs - do you think it would be better for her to be in with him also with a chew or in with us as she likes most people who come round to see us?
It is difficult to give you advice OP without actually meeting the dogs and seeing the layout of your house. However I think, if your established dog has a calming effect on the new one, I would be inclined to shut them away together for most of the visit and towards the end open the door so that established dog can come and greet the visitors and the new dog watch from a safe distance. As the new one gets to know you and the new home better you will probably find he gets braver anyway. Hope he is having a better day today. Good luck to all of you.
Reprimanding ddogs for growling is a no no I believe. Growling is a defence - bypass that =straight to bite..
*what I have read, not an expert..
I remember your recent thread. The way things are progressing I think you are right to get a trainer/behaviourist in. Given that his stress levels are still high and he is quite fearful you need a professional to observe the behaviour first hand. No one should give advice over the internet when possible aggression (including borderline fear aggression) is involved.
@flutteringsatlast I agree that reprimanding for growling is a no no, however I disagree that growling = straight to bite, growling is part of their language, dogs growl for many many reasons and not always negatively.
OP he does however sound like he is massively over threshold and needs some time to bring his cortisone levels down.
Quick update. I’ve got a behaviourist coming next Tuesday. I’m hoping his stress levels are going to come down a bit as at the moment he’s very nervous. Today my daughter’s boyfriend came over unannounced. He sat on the floor well away from him with no eye contact. My other dog came over for a fuss and I could see my new one watching what she did. After that he was more relaxed. I’ve said to my daughter no more visitors until we’ve seen the behaviourist now- if we do, they will have to come in the side door and stay away from him.
Another bit of positive news- the two dogs played for the first time last night- it was such a great thing to happen after such a crap day overall 😂 we had the zoomies, the full works! It relaxed him so much he came and sat next to me on the sofa for the first time too
That's good news.
I do think just having some help to navigate the early period in the form of a behaviourist should make all the difference so fingers crossed for you all.
Yes I agree completely- it’s hopefully going to give him a good foundation
It sounds like he's learning the right lessons from your other dog, so that's good news.
Yes it’s interesting as she was always a shrinking violet around people as our other dog was a real people dog. She’s really come out of her shell and is more confident around people now so I’m hoping it’ll rub off on him!
That’s really good news. Your other dog will be a huge support to the new one.
It can take a long time for a rescue to settle down. I adopted one from Romania via a rescue centre last summer, and she was very stressed with the other dogs for weeks - lots of growling and barking although was always very chilled with family members
It did settle eventually and now they all get on really well, but it was an eye-opener for me just how long it took for her to really feel relaxed and at home. My previous rescues were greyhounds who are notorious for being laid back!
Please login first.