Recall with the world's worst dog (long) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

I know, I know, there are no bad dogs, there are only bad owners, but that doesn't make this dog any less intolerable.

God bless you if you take the time to read all this. I am at my wit's end - I have never disliked a dog as much as this one.

The bf and I agreed to dog-sit our friends' 1 year old golden/dachshund mix until Friday. They have had her for a few months now, and yet she doesn't know any commands. They claimed she knew sit, down and come...I just succeeded in teaching her sit last night after about 30 minutes of work. Definitely doesn't know down or come.

While I was taking Bodie out to go to the bathroom last night, Sweetie (the dog) pushed her way out the closed front door and bolted down the street. Luckily it was after midnight, and the usually-busy street was relatively empty, though a couple of cars did have to stop for her.

We tried everything - threw delicious treats (cheese, pork bits, hot dogs), ran the other way calling her name, tried to sneak up on her as she was pooping in the neighbor's yard, brought out toys, made high-pitched squeaky noises to get her attention - nothing worked. She didn't even look at us.

Finally after about 45 minutes of running around trying not to lose sight of her, got her back in when we brought Bodie back out and she came by to investigate. I should add that when we go to the dog park, her owners let her off the leash and she immediately books it into the woods and stays there until she gets bored or thirsty, and upon her return she is leashed and goes home. After months of this, she has learned two things: there are no consequences to disobeying humans and returning to humans usually means the fun ends.

Knowing this, I decided to try to work on some recall with her since she's gonna be here for two more days. However, this dog has NO drives. Doesn't like food, doesn't like toys or chasing toys, could care less about praise from anyone and has no desire to be around her "pack." The only thing she seems to enjoy is disappearing into the woods.

First thing I tried is telling her "come" before her breakfast. Didn't come at all. She didn't even eat her breakfast so she went hungry all day (she is free fed at home). Called her to come with liver and bacon separately in my hand. No deal. She doesn't even go near the toys we had.

Next we tried using a long line. Normally when you call "come" and start reeling a dog in, you start pulling the leash towards you and eventually the dog gets the idea and comes towards you of her own accord. Not with this dog. She doesn't even face you as you're reeling her in. She just turns around as soon as there is the slightest pause and faces the other way, even if she's just facing a wall. Tried this about 10 separate times, same results each time.

As a last ditch effort, I put Bodie's e-collar on her and a long line. I only used the pager to get her attention, and big surprise, nothing. I actually thought the e-collar was off at first because she didn't even react. Tried the pager and reeling her in in conjunction and the same thing - at every minor pause she would just turn away. I don't think she made the connection at all between the vibration stopping and her proximity to me. I didn't want to use low level stimulation because I was getting impatient and pretty much gave up, and her hair is too long for contact anyway.

Before anyone suggests medical issues, let me just say that there is nothing wrong with this dog. Her owners just spoil the **** out of her and let her get away with everything. She jumps on people, steals food off tables, climbs up on the counter and any table she can reach, whines, barks and nips when she doesn't get her away, has major resource (food and people) guarding issues, and aggression towards other dogs.

I've seen her engage with people, as long as they get down to her level and lavish her with attention for as long as she wants it. Sure, she'll eat a treat, if you crawl up to her and hold it up to her mouth. Sure, she'll wag her tail and look at you, but only if you approach her first, excitedly praising her. Exactly the way you implore a cat to pay attention to you, but then it turns away as soon as it's bored. When she misbehaves, her owners just pat her or tell her "it's okay." Their corrections have the same tone as their praise.

To top it all off, after spending 15 minutes walking around outside with her waiting for her to go to the bathroom, she comes back inside and promptly has a bowel movement on our floor. Medical issue, you might suggest, but she doesn't do this in her own home and she has gone outside every other time.

So my question to you all is: how do I teach her recall given that she has no drives? There is nothing that I can do that is more interesting than what she finds interesting - which sometimes is nothing!

I only have two more days with her so I'm completely open to giving up on this dog. I work from 8AM to 5:30PM so my time and patience is very precious and limited. When she is out of the crate, she is very possessive of me and won't let Bodie near me so I've been keeping her crated when Bodie is around. I can tell he's getting tired of her too; he hasn't gotten a moment's break since she's been here as she keeps chasing after him.

I am at my wit's end. This dog has caused considerable stress between the bf and I, and if there were anyone else around to take her, I would gladly hand her over but no such luck. When her owners come back I will be having a long, sincere chat with them about her training, and tell them that I will not be watching her for them anymore, but I'm sure it'll just end the way all our other chats have ended...with their promising to do some some sort of training with her but actually doing nothing. At this point I can hardly blame them. Truly a dog that only a mother could love.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:59 PM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

Friday can't come soon enough, can it?

Quote:Her owners just spoil the **** out of her and let her get away with everything. She jumps on people, steals food off tables, climbs up on the counter and any table she can reach, whines, barks and nips when she doesn't get her away, has major resource (food and people) guarding issues, and aggression towards other dogs.
See, this is what I can't stand about little dogs. The scoop it up and treat it like a baby attitude.

I see so many badly behaved little dogs that I am compelled to tell people good job when I see them making an effort to train a little dog.

Don't even get me started on the pug across the street - it yodels like someone is killing it every time they crate it, which is all the time becuase nobody knows how to housebreak her (and she's almost 3)


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 10:14 PM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

Wow, I really wouldn't know what to say as far as training that dog goes. All the dogs I met or had/have have some sort of food/toy drive so I don't know what to say. But be thankful it's almost Friday, lol. Good luck on finding something to get this dog's attention.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 10:24 PM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

And it may be the dog has had no reason to respond to food or toys and really has no idea what to do. Perhaps those things have never been given to her as reward so she makes no association.

Friday is just a few days away!


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 10:35 PM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

She's a hound. She has drives. If she didn't, she would return to you right away when you called her. But she has hound drives. They're not the sort of drives you're accustomed to.

This has nothing to do with little dogs. My tiny beagle has an awesome recall, the best in her advanced obedience class. I have met plenty of big dogs that are badly behaved, pull like crazy, don't return to their owners and frankly, are dangerous because they're so much larger. It's not an us vs. them situation, and I think it's unfair and frankly counterproductive when we look at it that way. They're dogs with owners that are ignorant, lazy, too busy and just in over their heads (and that happens a lot with doxy owners. These are dogs bred to hunt BADGERS. Do you have any idea how tough badgers are? So that gives you an idea what you're dealing with when you work with a doxy.

First thing, Virginia think it's great what you're doing. The fact that you were able to train her sit so quickly says she is bright and capable of learning.

Now, ASAP -- set up a "air lock." Get an ex-pen and put it around the front door. If you need one around the back door because you use it often, do that too. If you have to buy xpens, do so and give your friend the bill. Better that than vet bills, animal control fines or worse, right?

Now, you open the ex-pen, step in without the doxy, then open the door. If you can get her to sit before you step in the ex-pen and treat her after you step in, you're already on the way to training her to wait. That's a start. But in the meantime, you've set yourself up an airlock. She can't bolt anymore.

Management is always the first step to training a dog.

Next, there is something that turns her on. It may be that you have to get one of those rat-scented pelt things that JRT people use for earth dog training. But there is something.

What I would do is let her miss a meal. Get her good and hungry, then do recall training with the best smelliest meaty treats you can find. Since she tunes out human voices, a clicker might be REALLY useful. If this dog gets non-stop lovey-dovey talk, then a clicker may be the only thing that gets through. I'd start using it on the sits, then try it on something simple, maybe a trick that she seems inclined toward. Or just a down. My hound trained fine with treats and praise, but when I started using a clicker, her game improved a lot all at once. (Be sure to charge the clicker well. I've read that it isn't necessary, but why not?)

Then, start on recall training.

In addition, I would try calling dachshund rescue groups and asking them for tips. They don't even have to be local.

That should give you a couple day's worth of stuff to keep you two busy.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 11:25 PM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

Good points KathyW, but unless you want to take on training the owners, I'd just crate the little monster unless it's designated pee/poop or exercise time and count the minutes until you can return her to her people.

All the work in the world won't make a dent if the owners don't follow through.

It's a shame, but there you are (and not the pup's fault).

I'd tell the owners that you just can't dog sit this little wonder again.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 01:25 AM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

Looking at this realistically, you only have two days before the owners come back. Any training you do is going to go completely by the wayside once they return. Is it worth the stress?

If this were a dog you had taken in for fostering, or adopted yourself, then working through the various problems would be worth it. I'd start by making her work for every bit of food, every toy, every petting, etc. until she started seeing you as the most important thing in her life. This takes time, however - there is NO QUICK FIX (unfortunately!).

So if I were in your situation, I'd keep the dog well-confined until the owners get back, and hand her over with some kindly-meant advice on teaching her behaviors that could save her life (like the recall). And, as you've already said, I'd make sure they know that she is way too much trouble for you to keep again.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 08:00 AM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

I agree with melanie. they are unlikely to listen to you but I would give it a shot. don't knock yourself out.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 09:19 AM
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

Owners, not dogs are the blame. Like many have said, what you are trying to do will not help if the owners don't follow thru. You tried, but don't get high blood pressure up. Take care, weekend is coming. "Relax!"

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Recall with the world's worst dog (long)

Thanks for the comforting words everyone. Who would’ve thought that I’d actually enjoy being at work just to be away from the mess at home? For now Sweetie is being confined to her crate while I’m at work until the bf comes home to let her out and interact with Bodie.

While crating is the lesser of many evils, it’s certainly not perfect. Instead of just sleeping or chewing on the marrow bone and kong we’ve stuck in there to occupy her, she yips and barks the whole time. Supposedly she is crated at home but you wouldn’t know it from the way she carries on. We live with 4 other people, and 2 of them have left the house indefinitely to be away from her incessant barking. The other two are furious, and keep asking if we can lock her in the basement until Friday or keep her as an outside dog until the owners return. Though tempting, I think banishing her to the basement would only make things worse, if not create more abandonment issues, and I am adamantly against outside dogs, so for the time being we’re putting up the “suck it up, she’ll be gone by tomorrow” front.

Her owners are friends of ours, and while they are nice (too nice, in fact), they do not have the backbone to keep a dog. Additionally, being poor college students with no car, and little money to spare, a training class seems out of the option. I was hoping to generate some suggestions to share with them, but at this point I think it would be futile, and besides, the dog lives a great life when she is with her people, probably part of the problem. I guess if they can tolerate her behavior, it’s none of my business so long as I don’t dog-sit her anymore.

The bright side is that Bodie has been an absolute saint through all this. I always knew he was a good dog, but the juxtaposition has really opened my (and my housemates') eyes to just how wonderful he really is. Despite the distraction of an out-of-control dog, our stress and annoyance, and her aggression, his obedience has been 100% solid, and he’s been in good spirits the whole time. He ignores her aggression, follows each command to the T even when Sweetie is goading him to interact with her, and is generally a good sport, through and through. Makes me really proud. So I guess there really is a silver lining to every cloud.

Btw, my educated guess to her heritage was golden retriever/dachshund because she looks like a 50% mix of the two, but her owners are convinced she is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, if anyone knows what those look like. The only reason I thought otherwise is because she’s significantly smaller than the breed standard, and her face looks more like a golden, but who knows.
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