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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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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