Just Adopted a Black Lab/Pitt, he’s so afraid of everything

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  • #15053
    adpit
    Keymaster

    Hi everyone, I recently adopted a 9 month old Black Labrador Pitt Bull. I did not adopt him from a shelter, I literally found him wandering the woods eating sticks and his own feces while on a walk with my other dogs. I looked closely checking for signs of rabies and saw nothing. I immediatly brought him home, bathed him, fed him and immediatly took him to the Vet for a raibies vaccination and check-up. For the first couple of months he was rather mute and frightened of even the slightest noise. He has been a member of our family for over 3 months now, and has grown significantly so I want to begin training him. He doesn’t do too well with treats, only when I gently put them on the floor or slowly beckon him over.

    However, he’s still very frightened of things and doesn’t come to me when I call his name ( Manchester). He runs and hides from me if I move a chair or close a door too hard, his ears and tail are down most of the time. However, he is playful and loves to rip and run through the woods on walks and outside on our lawn. He has a very deep, nice bark that he uses when he hears the door open, or people’s voices next door, very protective.

    I really want to start training him, but I don’t want to pay 100s of dollars for a professional trainer when he seems to have some psychological issues that I can’t seem to get past him and would completely blow any training I want to give him ( he rushes away from me if I come up on him too fast, which in my mind is rather slow and gentle). What should I do?

    #17921

    First of all, bless you for taking him into your home! You saved his life!

    It seems like Manchester hasnt shaken the trauma of what happened to him in the woods. I cant imagine what that poor boy had to deal with! I have no experience in the matter, but common sense tells me that he needs some help. I think the $ you spend now will be far less than what you will pay both financially and emotionally if you dont. He sounds like a PTSD victim, for which I do have experience in.

    Good luck!

    #17930
    klisa723
    Participant

    I commend you for not giving up, My suggestion is be patient with this guy, do less talking to him and more walking, do not enforce his fear by telling him its ok and petting him when he is afraid  this will only make it worse. If he hears a noise and gets scared ignore this behavior and continue to do what you were doing.  if hes running from you then I suggest a leash tied to your belt buckle of your pants and go about your chores with him in tow and ignoring his fearful behavior but def reward his confidence as he learns trust,  This will also help him pay attention to you always,  maybe he dont care for the treats.. string cheese is a good one  i bite peices off in my mouth and give during training.. let me know if you see results… and good luck

    #17931
    klisa723
    Participant

    aww  well maybe i can help,  i would not encourage his fear by telling him its ok and petting him when his fear is present, he will only get worse.  I would use a leash and tie it to your belt loop on your pants and go about your chores and when things scare him ignore the behavior, and as he shows confidence reward it.  maybe he dont like treats but string cheese has always been a great hit with my pibbles,  i break a peice off in my mouth and reward.  having him on a leash attached to you will gain his trust and also help him pay attention to you.  good luck and let us know how he is progressing.  also if hes on a leash he cant run and hide..

     

    #17939
    3-dog Mom
    Participant

    It’s going to take longer than 3 months for him to start to calm down.

    One thing you can do to help him learn to calm himself down is this simple exercise. Find a relaxed place in the house and sit on the floor with him. Gently place one hand on his neck and another on his lower back. Gently rub his neck and back while lifting the skin on his neck. Keep your hands on his body. Tell him “Easy” in soothing tones. When he finally relaxes and stretches out on the floor say “Good Easy” in a soothing, but approving tone. Do this several times a day. Do Not use a treat reward with this.

    After you’ve done this for awhile he’ll relax more quickly. This is your cue that he knows what “Easy” means and has started to learn to calm himself down. It helps to teach the ‘sit’ command next and then, whenever he is frightened tell him (in the same ‘easy’ tone) to “Sit Easy.” This worked wonders with my “pancake dog.” You could actually see her sit and then relax into a sitting-slump as I said “Easy”

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