|Barked: Sat Aug 3, '13 4:16pm PST |
|Ok so I'm the OP. I kinda forgot about this thread for a while oops, so now I'll tell you guys our story.
We almost DIDN’T take him when we arrived because it was clear the lady had lied about a LOT of things. First, we asked if we could have him for free since we had to do a lot of things for him. She said no. To her, shelties were a business deal, nothing more. She even made a comment about wanting to own champions, not train them. Which. What? I did not appreciate that comment.
She said something about none of her animals ever having fleas, but they had a box of cats dropped off (they live in the country) and the cats brought the fleas in. I believed that until my mom told me there were fleas crawling ALL over her and the cats (who were super, super friendly) and the children and in the grass….
Also, there was an old man there who never once left us alone with her or the kids, which may’ve just been him being protective, but we also think he might’ve been keeping her from telling us things. Or the kids. (I think that’s why he’s SO terrified of my grandpa even now after three months)
I asked the children if they’d miss the pup when we took him (he didn’t have a name… after over a year…) and they said “Oh, he’s not a friend of ours. We’re not allowed to play with him.”
Seriously???? He’s a puppy!
It was clear from the VERY beginning that this dog had NO socialization whatsoever. We think he was just locked in a kennel or in her backyard and just NEVER played with or touched. I was trying not to be disappointed by the fact that he didn’t want to go ANYWHERE near us, but figured it as just because he was nervous and didn’t know us. Until my mom pointed out that he didn’t want to even be near his OWNERS too.
So THAT really set off warning bells in our heads. I’d had one hyper, crazy Sheltie and one reticent Sheltie, but even the boy at his most reticent times was NEVER like this one was.
My mom was smart enough to think about asking the kids some questions to kind of sniff out the situation (I was too preoccupied with the explosion of anxiety and sadness that after falling in love with this pup over pictures he wasn’t what I was expecting. Oops.) and she learned that they’d recently had some rabbits but all of them died. The kids were covered in fleas.
We could hear more Shelties barking in the backyard but we (((STUPIDLY))) didn’t ask to see where they were kept. I STILL think she had them in kennels or cages or something. This pup’s level of fear and anxiety over EVERYTHING is next-level insane. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Anyway, we ended up taking Lourry with an agreement that we could return him in a week for a refund. Also, and this is really weird, she didn't have a contract for us to sign. When I asked her about it she said "eh, we have the emails". We also had an agreement that if we couldn't keep him we'd give him back to her but YEAH RIGHT!
We loaded him up in the car and tried to give him some treats and he didn’t want them. He stayed in the very back of the car shaking like a leaf and wouldn’t let us near him for about two hours. Then he finally crawled up in the seat by me and let me pet him. Small victories!
I was trying not to cry the whole way home, to be honest. She told me what he’d be like but she didn’t tell me he’d be like THIS, y’know?
So we got Lourry home and gave him a back in an out-of-use tub. He was so terrified he kept trying to climb out, but then once we got him out he was so terrified of US he wanted to get BACK in. We dried him off and took him outside in the backyard. This is where his true lack of socialization hit us.
The sound of the birds, wind, cars, ambulances, the bright backyard lights, and the sounds of us laughing made him cower and spin in fear. It was mind-blowing. We were furious with the lady for lying to us SO completely, for letting this poor sweet dog get like THIS, and so helpless.
We put him in our laundry room for the night with blankets and food and water and went to eat dinner and de-stress from the overwhelming truth of what we’d just done to ourselves. We were ready to take him back, we really, really were. This was just TOO much, you know? We’re not behaviorists; we didn’t know what to do for him.
Well, my mom went in to check on him later that night and LOURRY WAGGED HIS TAIL at her! So she immediately changed her mind. She could see a spark in him and knew we had to keep him. I was irrationally jealous that MY dog had shown some interest in her and not me. Stupid, I know.
Another factor in my mom’s decision was that one of her best friend’s had adopted a boxer from a shelter and it took a YEAR for the dog to come out from under the bed and now he’s the best/favorite dog they have. So we had hope for him. Dim hope, but we knew we would never send him back to that awful woman. And as soon as we get his papers we’re reporting her to the AKC because that’s just insane.
Anyway, the first three days we had him he was with me every second except to sleep. That made him have separation anxiety about leaving ME after tha. He still hates it if I even go to the bathroom, or if I go into the kitchen he whines at me from the doorway to go sit back down in my chair where his crate is. So, I made the mistake of coddling him when we first got him, but I didn’t KNOW it’d push him into separation anxiety. The only dogs I’ve ever had have been, excuse me, normal.
Lourry’s TERRIFIED of my family. Like, ANY time my uncle or grandpa or grandma are around he gets up from wherever he is and hides, or he’ll do cuts and turns and whirl around in circles trying to figure out which way to go to escape them if they’re walking through the den to get somewhere (like the garage or the laundry room or fridge). His crate is in the den right next to my recliner (where I sit and write – I’m an author) and a few feet away is my uncle’s recliner (where he stays the majority of the time since he had an accident with a cow and broke every bone in his face).
Every time my uncle so much as shifts in that chair, Lourry will run into his crate if he happens to be out of it. He’s so beyond terrified of any members of my family, it’s really sad. They try to pet him and love on him whenever they walk by so he sees they’re not a threat, but after three month it hasn’t made a bit of difference, unfortunately.
He’s gotten better out in public, like when we take him to Petsmart, or on a walk. He doesn’t care about reacting to other dogs, which I guess is good? Or not? I don’t know. He still won’t eat treats. Even if I try to give him STEAK he won’t eat it. He loves cheese though. And once I was eating cheesecake dip and he went NUTS for 30 minutes trying to figure out how to climb up and get some (I didn’t give him any, don’t worry). But he loooves rawhides, which is my understanding that they aren’t that great to give dogs?
He doesn’t understand the concept of toys. We got him a rope toy, a plushie, and a ball and he just doesn’t get them. Or belly rubs.
I tried to get him to go up the stairs one time to my room, but he was too scared. Then one night we had a horrible thunderstorm and I could hear him on the stairs trying to get to my room (I only figured this out the next night b/c I had my door shut). The next night I went upstairs, leaving him downstairs, and when I came out of the bathroom he was sitting on my bed waiting for me. So he slept there for a few weeks.
But since he pretty much sleeps all day he was up all night, which meant I was also up all night and that got old REALLY quickly. Even if I took him on long walks at night to tire him out he was still up. He needs someone to jog with, I think, but I’m slightly disabled so I can’t do it.
Even now, three months later, if I take him outside it takes him about 5-10 minutes to come back inside on his own. Sometimes he’ll pause in the doorway and then run back out. Same with coming outside. I’m not sure if that’s part of the separation anxiety or him not being sure he’s really allowed to. I have no clue.
We were really afraid, the first two weeks, to take him outside in the backyard off-leash (we have a fence) because he was so scared of us we didn’t know if we’d be able to get him back. And then once I started taking him off-leash he wouldn’t go ANYWHERE in the backyard if I didn’t go with him. Like, he wouldn’t even more.
Fast forward a few months and he was having diarrhea in the house a lot, even when I’d take him outside 5 minutes before and he’d poop. We took him to the vet and got him all cleared up, but we started leaving him outside after that. He completely transformed!
We have a pool and he LOVES jumping in there to cool off. And we have lots of shade and he ALWAYS has fresh, cold water. Before anyone jumps down my throat about that. He LOVES being outside now and will run all over everywhere and completely forget about me. At first he’d jump and bang at the glass door to be let in.
But now he loves it and we’re having a hard time getting him to come back inside haha. I think he really loves having space to run (our backyard is really massive). He’s SO fast! And even now when I go outside to play with him in the morning he’s SO loud and springy (I’d love for him to be in agility if he’d settle enough to be trained because BOY can he jump and spring and twist!).
It’s a joy to hear him bark too because for the first two months we had him he wouldn’t make ANY noise whatsoever. None. Ever. We think they might’ve had a bark-collar on him because that is NOT normal for a Sheltie to not bark. And now he barks all the time so that makes me happy. (Even if it is loud and piercing. A barking Sheltie is a happy Sheltie.)
Whenever I get in the pool he’s SO desperate to be near me that he’ll jump in at least 10-15 times just to swim to me and have my hold him. Aw my cuddle bug.
There’s still a lot we have to work on with him, but over all he’s REALLY gotten miles better since the first day, even though my family thinks he’s nuts and we should give him back and get a “normal dog”, I think he’ll be just fine with a little more time and patience and learning.
I think being outside really helped to change his attitude because for the first month or two he was in his crate (not shut) in the house unless we took him outside to use the bathroom or took him on long walks several times a day, and I think that might’ve made him depressed, but he seems much happier being able to go outside and run around and play. Though we’re still not sure HOW to really play with him since he’s not really interested in balls or chew toys of any sort so that’s a little difficult.
Usually when I go outside to pet him and stuff it takes him a few minutes of springing and dodging me (even if I don’t move lol) before he’ll let me touch him, but then once I wrap my arms around him he’s calm and steady. Oh! We even got him a thunder shirt too, but we’re not really sure that helped at all for his anxiety/fear any more than just being outside and not cooped up did.
So all in all I AM really glad we got Lourry. It was stressful there for a while and I was actually really embarrassed about how difficult it was since a lot of you had told me not to get him, but I’m so glad we did. I can’t wait to uncover more of his personality as his fear lessens. He’s a very, very curious dog, just too afraid of everything to really investigate.
|my posts|| [notify]|