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i adopted tilden @ 9 months old and i can honestly admit now that he may have been better suited for a "quieter" household. he loves the company of my other animals and plays with them all non stop, but when it comes to things like yelling at the cats, or things getting knocked over, (because of his past???) he assumes he's in trouble and seeks out his crate or his bed. i noticed this soon enough to try and change things to make him more comfortable and always assuring him that "its okay" etc.

after a series of deaths in my family, going out of town, different visitors, moving, and a new kitten (all beginning a month after adopting him and within a 3 month period) i figured he was getting stressed and decided to properly build my relationship with him thru personal time, obedience training, etc. we went into the petstore to p/u a training collar (planned to try on several to see what would work best for him) and once i put a choker on him he fell to the ground and pee'd all over himself (i didnt even correct him, he just heard the sound of it tightening and got nervous). i immediately took it off and thought "crap, what the **** did someone do to him" and we left, opting not to use a corrective collar and just work on bonding / reconditioning. well ever since that day he'll have accidents here and there with submissive peeing whenever he thinks he's going to get in trouble.

to handle this problem, i stopped raising my voice... and if i ever saw his ears go back, i'd wait until he gained a bit of confidence thru my voice or body language, then proceed to explain what i needed him to do. i'm proud to say that it had been a month since he pee'd! tonight we were fooling and one of the dogs scratched my foot in which i let out an "OWW". sure enough tilden goes to his crate which he didnt notice was closed, and runs into the door. i go over to open the door for him and in his confused state he caused me to swing to door open into his face (i think he thinks i hit him). i crouch down to his level and call him over to me, it took three tries before he came and when he did, along came a trail of pee with him.

i just guided both dogs outside before i got frustrated... cleaned up the pee... and here i am


when oh when will this end? i've had him for 7months now... he's a year and a half... if he's see me as hitting him with the cage door - how far have i set him back now, after never physically punishing him prior? he's only like this with me - with strangers and visitors he's really bold and confident.

are there any activities that i can do to gain his trust & confidence back?
 

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This is just my theory, but with abused dogs you are dealing with mental memories and physical memories. I know that muscle has what they call "muscle memory". So it is possible that the brain and the muscle are reacting to the stimulus.

You might want to try some Tellington Touch body work with him. There is a DVD and book that show you the massages and they work really well together.

If the dog was physically hurt by abuse his muscles will start reacting, you need to change the muscle reaction which will help change the brain reaction. Then after a while you can start trying to desensitize him to things that really set him off like the sound of the chain, but I think you need to do some work before you get to that point.

Here is the link, http://www.tellingtontouch.com/productsBooks.shtml#dogs

I like the TTouch set because you have the book and the DVD

You can also search for a TTouch proactitioner in your area.
 

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We're going through a similar situation right now with our current foster. I have a bit more information about Duke's background, but also wonder what was done to shatter his confidence. He also plays hard with our other dogs and his submission with us turns to a more aggressive posture with strangers. I know there are past threads on submissive urination and I found a lot of good suggestions in those.

Duke has more peeing incidents with my SO than with me - could be the male vs. female voice and Brian's size is more threatening. He also refuses to accept that he can't reason with them. For me, it's almost more about training the human male to dial it back.

I think you were on the right track with obedience and watching Tilden's body language for cues. We do the same and have seen improvement; Duke has been with us since late December. Steps forward and steps back happen for us too. He can't tell us, "hey, that's scaring me, so we can't always choreograph his life. If he does start to go into that ears back slinking posture, I ask him to sit. It usually works to refocus him and we can go back to whatever we were doing.

We're lucky enough to also have an excitable pee-er. Our Ward will be 3 at the end of the month and we adopted him when he was about 9 months. He has pretty much outgrown the problem for about the last year, but there are still days when the sight of Daddy's car is just too much! Good luck and thank you for adopting!
 

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Absolutely Val-the chemical cocktail that is in these dogs is toxic like you say with the muscle memory.

You can try acupuncture with a vet acupuncturist, in addition to the Tellington Touch. I would have thought it was kind of silly to do except I tried it with one of my dogs who was from a cruelty case in WVA when he had a meltdown and it was amazing the results we got from that. http://www.aava.org/

NILIF is so helpful.

I also found information in their archives and files really helpful here: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/shy-k9s/

He and you are doing great!

And it could be worse-he could be a submissive pooper!
 

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NILIF is so helpful.

I'd be curious why NILIF is helpful in a fearful dog? I find it would rather confuse him more, since he finds himself punished all the time for basically nothing. I believe it's helpful for pushy dogs, but rather harmful in fearful dogs. JMO though.

I would certainly try T-touch, acupuncture and also Bachflower remedies. I would not walk around the house whispering though, and get the dog used to louder noises by people other than yourself while he is experiencing something positive- and have the noise come from a further distance and slowly decrease the distance.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaedchenNILIF is so helpful.

I'd be curious why NILIF is helpful in a fearful dog? I find it would rather confuse him more, since he finds himself punished all the time for basically nothing. I believe it's helpful for pushy dogs, but rather harmful in fearful dogs. JMO though.
I use NILIF with all of my new dogs and especially rescues or dogs who have low confidence. Although it sounds like boot camp and is used for dogs who need to learn their place in the pack, it is NOT punishment. It is about consistency and boundaries. Dogs who are lacking in confidence crave consistency and boundaries. It helps tremendously in building confidence. I think of NILIF as a reward based program. Dogs does something, gets rewarded. Pretty soon they are feeling a lot better about themselves because they learn they that can only do everything right and not wrong! The 4 dogs I've adopted have all had confidence issues and all have thrived on NILIF. I am a fair and consistent leader, they know exactly what is expected of them and they feel more secure overall!

TTouch is great and you should also check out the anxiety wrap.
 

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Originally Posted By: BowWowMeowAlthough it sounds like boot camp and is used for dogs who need to learn their place in the pack, it is NOT punishment. It is about consistency and boundaries. Dogs who are lacking in confidence crave consistency and boundaries. It helps tremendously in building confidence. I think of NILIF as a reward based program. Dogs does something, gets rewarded. Pretty soon they are feeling a lot better about themselves because they learn they that can only do everything right and not wrong! The 4 dogs I've adopted have all had confidence issues and all have thrived on NILIF. I am a fair and consistent leader, they know exactly what is expected of them and they feel more secure overall!
Exactly! That's what I love about NILIF, it's appropriate for ANY dog, no matter what the age or backround, even very young puppies. The dog learns exactly what's expected of them, and that they can control their environment by playing by the rules, which are always clear and consistent. If they choose not to comply, nothing happens! Nothing good, but nothing bad either. There is no force or punishment involved, and it can be adapted as necessary depending on the particular dog. It's the complete opposite of confusing. An easy compliant dog doesn't need it as much as a pushy dominant dog, but certainly won't be harmed by it either.

Dena has always been a very easy dog, but although she'll be 4 years old in September she still has to sit or down until released to eat meals. And she knows it, so she does it automatically. She knows how to ask for ball play at the park by sitting and giving eye contact. She knows I won't let her into the cat room unless she sits, so if she's standing by the door when I'm going in to feed the kitties in the morning all I have to do is look and her and she immediately plops her butt on the floor.

Calone, are you looking for an option to just training him on a flat collar? If you want a little more control, but he's fearful on other kinds of collars, you might try using a front hook harness like the Easy-Walk, or Sense-ation: http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/behavior/easywalk/productdescription
http://www.softouchconcepts.com/
 

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...seems like its still going to be a bit of work to find a "program" that is tailored for Tilden. the NILIF approach is something that ive always tried to do with all my animals just for an overall better household dynamic, but its almost as if the "no consequences" has Tilden bewildered, thinking that its too good to be true and he's still looking for them. i guess time will fix that still... i only thought it'd happen sooner. a month ago was as close as we got and i just dont want last night to send us back too far.

today he's just been sort of wide eyed and watching anything "questionable" that i do or say (picking up slippers, throwing the toilet tissue roll to the kitten, etc) but over all seems to be his happy self.

the t touch and the whole muscle/brain connection sounds very interesting and i'm gonna fool around on google to read any experiences & testimonials... i guess i just needed the reassurance that it is possible to break this habit permanently. before i can even be upset with him i just feel bad for him. i'm not sure if he's an actual case of physical abuse - i think its more of his previous owners abusing certain training techniques (incorrect use of choke chains, using the crate as punishment, etc).

as far as his training goes, he actually has done really well w/o any sort of corrective collar. he picked up most commands from watching my older female and i'd just practice with him alone using his regular collar (or off leash) at the park before playtime and he grasped everything pretty fast. stay is the only difficult one. if he starts to move and i move in closer to him to replace him, his ears immediately go down... so stay may have to come later.

one more question i have. when he thinks he's in trouble and ducks into his crate - should i just leave him be, or call him out to reassure him? i'm torn between allowing him to go to his safe place vs. having him think that i'm sending him there for the bad behavior.

thanks everyone for your help!
 

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My Basu was abused. He rolled over and showed his belly for everything--every command, the sight of his leash, any move towards him, etc. We just ignored all of that. If he hid, we ignored him. We also ignored undesirable behaviors. If he did something like humping the other dogs or putting paws on the counter we just gently removed him. I worked very hard to keep my own energy very neutral around him so he wouldn't get anxious about my intentions. We rewarded good behaviors and were huge treat dispensers. I always had treats on me and rewarded even the tiniest steps that he made in confidence building.

For the first 6 months I made up new commands for him because he had such negative associations with the old ones.

I wonder if you could try some shaping exercises with him? Check this out:

Here are a two good exercises to try:

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/546

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/167
 

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I do a lot of ignoring. You need to use your safe place, go ahead and when you are ready to come out you will.

What's nice with working with damaged dogs instead of damaged kids (like I used to), are there are no Regents exams they have to pass, so the time thing expands ad infinitum! The problem with that is, that we as humans have to accept that the dog is not a calendar based animal. The problem with that is that they are right-whatever needs to be, needs to be and they turn out to be much healthier if we go with their internal timeline than when we try to impose our own on their behavior.

Each dog needs their own program that will work for them. It's a matter of trying things to see what does work. They are so resilient.

He is also very bright which ups the sensitivity factor a lot of times. He has made connections with things that we can't even imagine.

One of Anna's was laughter-she hated it. Now she likes it-but it was really hard to identify it and then modify my behavior since I really like to laugh-and if she did something funny, I would just click with my mouth and smile.

He is really trying to please-thank you for being so patient with him.
 

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just an update.

the incident i described in my original post didnt set us back as far as i feared. although i've always gone with the NILIF concept/theory - it wasnt as formal or structured as it should have been, so ive created more rules and exercises around the house to give Tilden a more structured environment and make it clearer to him whether or not he's in trouble (which 95% of the time he isnt). when he assumes he's in trouble and begins to avoid me, cower, or go to his crate, i just let him and ignore him instead of making a big deal of it an trying to comfort or "explain" things to him. in those moments he is afraid and not thinking rationally anyhow.

so that the "come" command (when he's in his crate) isnt so scary - different times throughout the day and in different tones i have him go to his crate ("kennel"), have him lay down ("down") then have him come ("good boy! come"), reward (with a treat) and repeat the exercise.

in just a week im noticing a difference in his confidence level already
 

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When I started working with NILIF with my girl I always got 'gushy' with the praise and it didn't take her very long to quit going belly-up. Do you get a happy voice and body when he does well? that might help. Rosie still does the peeing for new people but she has gotten way too much confidence with those of us she knows. She is pretty good now though but she was just tied in a yard so probably not as abused as a lot of dogs.
 

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yes both my voice and body language are "happy". i have to be a little subtle because he'll get freaked out if i'm too excited. for instance, he'll hesitate and try to figure out if hands in the air mean praise or if they're about to come down and whack him. i usually come down to his level and open my arms for him to come to me. he feels most comfortable with that. he also knows that "good boy" is a good thing.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaedchenNILIF is so helpful.

I'd be curious why NILIF is helpful in a fearful dog? I find it would rather confuse him more, since he finds himself punished all the time for basically nothing. I believe it's helpful for pushy dogs, but rather harmful in fearful dogs. JMO though.

I would certainly try T-touch, acupuncture and also Bachflower remedies. I would not walk around the house whispering though, and get the dog used to louder noises by people other than yourself while he is experiencing something positive- and have the noise come from a further distance and slowly decrease the distance.
I'm also having a hard time understanding why you would think NILIF is punishment??? I use this with all my dogs, Most fosters that come to me have had some sort of bad history, and the NILIF helps tremedously. Its not punishment, its structure. It actually encourages learning proper behavior quicker and avoids correction. This works by the dog gaining confidence on his behavior, lots of praise and rewards for good behavior, redirection and patience with wrong behavior. I have never had to tell a foster no, I ask for a behavior, then wait......baby steps.

I also have had fearful dogs in foster, My first one, Max, was very bad, he would pee if anyone raised their voice or took his collar. I dont think you should look at this strictly as a setback, I think you can use this to gain even more trust. I think, if you continue to treat him as you have, soft voice, soft hands and not reacting to his fear issues, Did you apoligize to him??? I'm wondering, because if you did, the tone may have sounding like you did something wrong, and actually increased his feelings of "see, I was right, when voices get raised, I get hurt", if next time, you simply say "silly dog, slow down next time" and leave it, he may snap out of it quicker...........just a thought. Sometimes they react off of our own reactions. They watch us for cues........Good luck, and I also want to thank you for adopting....There is nothing more rewarding than seeing one of these beautiful animals get into a home that loves them and helps them get over their troubled past.
 
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