My family recently adopted Bo, an 18 month (estimated, of course) black lab from a local rescue volunteer. We've had him for a week yesterday. Bo was found in the woods near a busy road and he'd obviously been there for some time. He did have on a collar, but it was very tight and he had obviously been abused. He's very submissive and cowers any time we come near him. He'll start to warm up and wander over hear us and let us pet him some, but he's still very shy. He does GREAT on a leash though - he follows to the right and doesn't pull at all. He has taken to "camping out" on the landing at the top of our stairs and any time someone calls him or moves toward him, he bolts for this spot, which I guess feels like a safe place for him. For the first 6 days we had him, he was perfect in the house. No accidents, he figured out how to use the dog door and went in and out to do his business - that came to an end on Friday. He hiked his leg and hosed down my wife's rocking chair and when she saw him do it, she yelled and he cowered on the floor and peed all over himself. I caught him squatting and peeing in the hall way (on tile, luckily) and he did the same when I corrected him - just laid down and peed all over himself. Today, we got ready to leave and I wanted to put him in his kennel and he took off for the top of the stairs. I went to get him and gently pulled his collar to get him to come with me and he started peeing and nothing i could do could stop him. I'm so heartbroken to see this beautiful animal in this state. Do any of you have any advice as to how we can gain his trust and teach him that he's safe here with us that that no one is going to hurt him? If he's going to pee everywhere when he gets scared or corrected, I'm not sure how I can handle that. I hate to make him an outside dog, it's so stinking hot here, but I also can't have him peeing all over the house every time someone walks toward him or makes a loud noise. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Edited to add: In the week before we adopted him, he was neutered and he still has his stitches in. Gets them out on Monday. Not sure if that might have something to do with the problem we're having or not, but figured I'd add that in just in case.
Last edited by mdearmon; 08-19-2012 at 05:18 PM.
My last lab was starved and beaten. She weighed 35 pounds when I rescued her. At the end of one year she was up to 75 pounds. She was afraid of everything when she came to live with me especially loud noises. I hired a trainer who was known to work with abused dogs at the time. He was wonderful and Tucson improved. She never did get over her fear of men or sudden movements and bit several people who did stupid things (like walking in my front door without my telling her it was okay). She lived for 12 years and was a wonderful dog but I had to stay vigilant at all times.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. -- Gandhi
I would hire a professional doggie behaviorist to assist you. \\\
They may be a bit pricey,but worth every penny.
Thanks for rescuing him, and good luck.
Linda and Zoë, the Umlaut
Have you sought help from an animal behaviourist?
While you need to correct the behaviour when he pees indoors, do not yell at him -- he will not understand what you are yelling at -- him peeing inside or him peeing period. Make sure you CLEAN every spot he has peed on with a good disinfectant cleaner. Natures Miracle is awesome as it removes the odor, if he can smell his urine he will continue to pee where he has before.
I would coax him with treats to come to you rather than pulling on his collar since he is clearly afraid. He has been through a lot, you will need to continue to be patient which will include allowing extra time for things. For awhile until you get him over this hump, don't do any "last minute" must go in his crate scenarios --- leave PLENTY of time for you to get him there positively, not forcefully.
You have had him for one week, that is nothing really. A dog needs at least 6 weeks to get used to a new home, new family and understand what you want from him -- a dog that has been abused and you have rescued will need perhaps a bit more time, but definitely patience and understanding. Based on what you have described, I wouldn't rush this guy.
Tips on the internet are great, but you can always benefit from calling in a trainer who can see the dog in person and better assess the situation.
You are wonderful for rescuing him and in time you will have a great loving dog, but it will probably take a lot of time and patience. My Duke, 9 is the only dog I ever got who was not a young puppy. He was almost 9 months old when I got him, most likely mistreated. He was not housebroken, was afraid of everyone. The first thing he did when he came in was lifted his leg to the wall. I said "NO. Outside." and rushed him to the door. I had Mitzi and Judy at the time and they immediately are at the door whenever I say "outside". He went out with them. I had the luxury of these two stable dogs to show Duke proper behavior.
Bo has to learn all that on his own. To this day, Duke still has his "safe" places where he spends most time and hides. Bo has already found his safe place in the house. Duke's safe place outside is under a bush where he cannot be seen. For what it's worth, the only advice I can offer is to keep a calm surrounding for him and not use raised voices to avoid his submissive peeing. Get him on a schedule for feeding, watering, and walks so he can learn to potty outside at regular times. (Maybe the dog door is not so good to get him regular.) Praise him a lot whenever he pees outside. Dogs seem to love a regular schedule, to know what to expect at what time. Also, clean up his indoor pee spots completely with Nature's Miracle so it doesn't encourage peeing over the same place. You may want to take a fresh sample of his pee to the vet to check for a possible UTI .
Good luck with Bo, and keep us posted.
Awww.. Thank you SO much for rescuing him. As the others have said, you may want to look into having a behaviorist come and give you some in-person assistance.
I would also figure out what kind of treats are high-value to him. For Abbey, it's cheese and chicken.. Then when he goes to the bathroom outside, tell him he's a good boy and give him some treats. If he weren't upset by loud noises, I'd tell you to hoot and holler, but probably not at this point.
Good luck and please keep us updated! We love pictures, too!!
We went through a lot of that stuff with Dozer when we rescued him. Time, patience and routine is the best advice I can give. I would also suggest crate training if you're worried about him not peeing in the house. If he's out of his crate, make sure you can watch him all the time...same as you would if he were a puppy. I also agree with the others about seeing a behaviorist if that's an option for you.
Dozer is/was really challenging at times, but is SO worth it. I would do it again a million times over.
I saw on one of the "It's me or the dog" episodes that if you train your dog to sit, it cuts down on the submissive peeing. It is harder for them to pee when they are sitting. You may want to work on the "sit" command.
Also, they do grow out of submissive peeing in a lot of cases. It does take some time for them to become really comfortable in a new home, so take that into account.
Both of mine were about 8-9 months old when I adopted them from rescues. Teddy had most likely been abused--and while he is better, he still has issues. We had to work through quite a bit.
“If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
Joe Biden, 2006
Thank you so much for rescuing him! My thoughts are: 1st...he has only been there a week, don't expect miracles. 2...don't assume just because he is 18 months he is house trained. I would train him just like a younger puppy. Remember to treat and praise, NOT yell or scold him. 3...try crouching to his level, instead of towering over him. He might be going to the high spot in the house so that he is higher than you. 4...I would get a clean bill of health from the vet regarding any UTI's. 5...please don't give up on him and stick him outside, you could lose a really good dog....6...reading your story has touched my heart and I pray sweet Bo will come around soon.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
You did a great thing by getting a rescue. All these posts are totally right on the money and I would print them out and keep them close.
My story is very similar to yours, and it turns out great. When I got Annie (that was her name so I kept it) they told me strait up she was kept in a barn most of her 21 months. I knew then she was still in the "puppy" stage and what I was in for. However she knew some basic commands and was somewhat behaved.
The problem started when it would rain or storm. She was just terrified and would curl up on the couch and burry her head and lay there. She would then pee and I started seeing a pattern, however I'm not 100% sure it's incontinece (sp).
So I started working with her very hard. When it started storming I would play ball with her inside and turn on music. She slowly has come a round and I would take her ouside when it rained to play fetch. In the first 3-4 weeks, when it stormed, I would try to cuddle with her and a couple times she even let out a little growl and then I found pee again.
I just kept following this same routine and now she is much more comfortable when it storms.....and I have not found any pee accidents in about 6-8 weeks. She now even lays her head in my lap and she will lay on her back and let my little pup Rubin climb all over her....She is just now beginning to warm up and be a real good buddy. I will have had her 4 months now as of today.
So my point is it may take some time and please hang in there.....
I kind of felt like you did but know labs can be some work (rescue or not) but it more than pays off in the end.
Annie Roses 8/11/10 Rescued 4/21/12 (was living in a barn)
Rubin Hunter 7/12/12 Gotcha 8/1/12