These are videos of Katy. She’s only recently started standing up when we’re around so I don’t have any better pictures of her yet. I’ll post them when I do. She’s Mary Kay on the Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue website. I don’t think that suits her so she’s Katy here.
I contacted my training and behavior colleagues with the following information.
We have a new foster dog & I need some help. She’s an adult, intact beagle. Picked up as a stray & spent about 2 weeks in a shelter. Coat, ears, eyes, gums all look in good shape. HW neg. She was vaccinated a day or so before we got her. I picked her up Saturday night (1/17). She wouldn’t come out of the wire crate. I put the crate in an x-pen, gave her food & water and left her alone. We have her for as long as it takes to get her adoptable, probably months. At least weeks.
Sunday morning (1/18), I took the crate apart to get her out. I picked her up and took her outside. I had a combination martingale collar on her. I don’t think she’s ever been on a leash & had no idea what to do. I followed her around for about ½ hour. She peed & pooped. When I tried to get hold of her again, she bit me on both wrists and both hands. For most of Sunday, we offered her bite-size pieces of food & treats to find out what she liked. By the end of the day, she was looking at our hands to see what she was going to get. She’s housetrained and will not eliminate in the house. I didn’t take her out again on Sunday.
Monday (1/19) I picked her up and carried her out to our small pen outside; there’s no direct route to it so she could just walk to it. She was tense but didn’t attempt to bite. She had a martingale combination on. She spent most of the afternoon there. When I was time to go back inside, she wouldn’t let me pick her up. I brought out the airline crate she’s using as a bed. Carried the crate to the x-pen, opened the door & left her. There’s a baby gate across the door so she and our dogs can interact, but they don’t. I gave her dinner & she ate most of it. She will sometimes let me pet her back. I don’t go forward of her shoulders.
I need help with this girl. How do I get her outside to eliminate if I can’t touch her or lead her? I’m afraid she’ll develop a UTI if she doesn’t get out. She’s too shut down to work for treats and we haven’t tried hand feeding her.
Well, she’s going into the crate when I approach. I can carry her in/out while she’s in it. That takes care of the emergency of getting her to eliminate. She’s dragging a Mendota slip lead; it’s set so that it won’t slip off but won’t choke her. I attached a name tag to the handle, just in case. She has no chip yet.
I just sat down on the chaise and looked at her, talked to her. It’s about 7-8′ from her & on the other side of one of the barriers. She just stood looked at me and wagged her tail.
(1/21) New problem. Last night I spent some time sitting with her, feeding her treats, and reading my book. Now she’s getting used to me and isn’t going into the crate when I go in her room. A fellow trainer suggested a form of treat/retreat but she doesn’t come far enough out of the crate that I can toss one behind her. I can throw a treat near the crate, then just inside, then back outside. I got a few small tail wags.
(1/22) I tried the treat thing, she ignored it. She isn’t eating her treats this morning or the canned food I put down. She’s been eating the wet food well the whole time she’s been here.
I tried the hand feeding from a low stool. She was taking it last night but she turns away today. She’s just curled up in her bed. Her bed is the bottom half of an airline crate.
Another idea from a colleague: When you find something she will eat tiny bits of, you might try a find-and-seek game. When she’s not in the room, hide some treats. When she’s in the room, the first time, to get her started, “hide” some where she can see them near the hidden ones, so she gets her own nose involved. Getting her into the “seeking” mode. And of course hide a couple in and around the crate and her bed.
I think she may just need time to warm up. The trick is to shape that trust, like you would a behavior. But you have to plan it out from the point of where they are showing contact and expand from there, not spring too many new situations on them. It’s not easy to go slow enough.
She just ate a piece of cheese, which I hand fed her. She hasn’t been outside for more than 12 hours. But I can’t get her into the crate. I don’t have a problem going slow I just don’t want her to shut down & get sick.
Does she follow you around the house? No, she doesn’t even follow me with her eyes most of the time. For most of the day, the baby gate is down so she could come out, if she wanted to but she doesn’t.
Yes. She’ll eventually have to pee and poop. If she won’t go outside, we’ll just clean it up. That’s why we put fosters in a tiled room. I don’t want to make her do that but I think it’s going to be less stressful than trying to get her outside. I’ll just to have to wait and see … follow her lead.
BTW – once that works, you have the basis for a target hand and might be able to use that co-operatively to get her to go where you want. If she thinks the food is anything but a gift, she won’t even look at it. I can’t lure her to do anything.
(1/21) I just gave her a stick of cheese and got her to eat it from fingertips in a flat hand. When I walk in now she at least leans a bit forward. I marked (yes) & reinforced eye contact one time then she refused to look at me at all.
Her signals are subtle but I see them and pay attention. She has very expressive eyes.
(1/25) We’ve been doing the same things for several days now. Feeding is on the same schedule as our dogs. Treats come throughout the day, always from hands. She’s ok going in/out in the crate so she can get some time outside.
Today I put Digger in the small yard with her. He’s our most non-threatening dog. She snapped at him, made an aggressive stance while showing her teeth (agonistic pucker) and wouldn’t let him move. I took him out. I also found out that she’s afraid of sprinklers.
My colleagues recommended using Rescue Remedy orally. I’m going to put it in her food and every couple hours in a treat.
She spent most of the morning outside and didn’t eat until about 5pm. Then she ate her dinner and all treats offered throughout the evening. I tied a rag on the x-pen sprayed heavily w Calm Mist. After about an hour of having it up, I got a little tail wag when I offered her a treat.
I have a continuing problem w Katy. She won’t poop in the house. Period. This is the 4th day she hasn’t gone. The last time she was in the yard, when she got out, she was scared by the weather. Today is the same. She was so scared; she tore up the screen to the patio to get to the door. She will pee on the bathroom rug. Fine with me. Now when she’s in the play yard, she just stays in her crate.
I got a pee pad tray and put two pads in it. I even dunked it in her pee so it smells like her. She won’t use it. I put a rug on it because I thought maybe she’d use the rug. Not yet.
My training colleagues suggested that I put down a piece of sod. I didn’t want to do it because I thought it would smell bad and soon. Since I don’t have any other options, I did. She uses it. At first I had it directly on pee pads and it got smelly and slimy on the bottom, but it took about a week. Much longer than I thought it would take. I swapped it out with a new one. Since then I’ve put it on an old oven rack over pee pads. Now it doesn’t smell at all. I water it every day both to keep the smell down and the grass alive.
To get her to poop, which is becoming an emergency, I called the vet. The tech told me to feed her ½ c of plain, canned pumpkin 2x day. She doesn’t like it and it has to smell like canned dog food or she won’t eat at all. It worked and she pooped on the sod.
We’ve had family in for a few days. In about the week before she didn’t come out of her crate except to eat and eliminate. Both of which were happening in her room. The entire rest of her time was spent in the crate. Awhile back I took the door off the crate and the door to the rest of the house was open. But she never came out. I could lay a treat in her crate on the bedding and she wouldn’t snap but wouldn’t eat it until I was out of sight for several seconds, regardless of how desirable it was (cooked chicken or ham). Everything about her is going backwards. I think she’s into learned helplessness. This is the first dog I’ve had like this.
Yesterday I took the top of her crate off so she can’t hide in there anymore. I then lifted the crate back of the up until she had to get out. She ran behind the couch so I moved it away from the wall. I kept moving her out of her hiding places until she got on the couch. She spent the rest of the day there. She will raise her head and look around or sleep, but mostly she has her chin on the couch with her eyes surveying the environment. Hyper vigilant to any sound or movement. Burt has been stroking her head and neck a few times. She lets him.
After family left I took her outside. I As long as she was making movement toward the door, I let her have some slack. She was terrified and I didn’t like doing it but it isn’t healthy, either physically or mentally, for her to live in her crate. She pooped 3 times before we got outside. Once outside, I mostly followed her around. My moving when she did scared her and she would try to get away or hunker down on the ground. Every so often I put SLIGHT tension on the leash and said, “Let’s go.” Any movement of feet toward me meant she got to stop again. I praised her every time. I spent about an hour following her around the yard and getting her back into the house.
This morning, she was sleeping behind the couch. I moved it and herded her back into her room. Put her food down & put the gate up so the other dogs wouldn’t eat it. After she ate about half of it I took the food away and the gate down. She moved onto the couch.
Again, today we went outside. It took less time to get her there and she walked more while she was out. She also peed and pooped outside. She’s getting more comfortable with my following her. If she initiates movement, I just hold the leash up and look away from her. She and Candy sniffed each other’s butts today for the first time. She spent more time walking today. Her tail was down but not tucked most of the time. Her head was up and she was standing sniffing the air.
She only allows a one trial fail. If she tries anything and new happens while she’s doing it or immediately after she won’t try it again. That’s how she came to spend all of her time in the crate. She still doesn’t like the pumpkin but will eat it. Her favorite treats are ham and chicken. She likes sardines but not enough to take them from hands.
She won’t be lured still. She won’t work on a Kong. She has no idea what toys are for. I was just able to reinforce quick eye contact with chicken and mark them with a quiet “yes.” Progress!!
She’s still going out every day and I think that’s the only time she pees and poops. That’s not good because she only goes out once a day. It’s still stressful for her but I don’t know which is worse. Unfortunately, I often have to pick the lesser of two evils when working with Katy. The sod is still down & she can use it, if she wants.
She’s choosing to spend most of her time on the couch in the same room as the rest of us. I put her in her room and put the gate up until she eats her breakfast. It has the dry food, pumpkin, coconut oil, and yogurt, a few chunks of ham I want her to have. Without the gate, the other dogs will eat it. As soon as the gate is down, she goes back to the couch. She’ll now walk past me or Burt to get there. That, too, is progress. I’m still moving her around with the smaller crate which she quickly goes into when I put it near her & say, “go to crate.”
She’s still dragging the slip lead. I’m going to try & get a martingale collar on her. She let me pet her head today. She even put her head down and made squinty eyes. She’s getting close to needing her nails clipped and she still needs to be spayed. I’m not sure what the rescue wants to do about that and I want to get the collar on first.
She’s more likely to eat from our hands now. In the beginning, I was dropping the food if she looked away or hesitated. Now if she looks away, I take the food away. I offer it one more time and, so far, she’s eating it the second time. Once in awhile, I walk over, lay one in front of her, and leave.
There will be more posts while we have her.
Teaching Self Control Video, by Donna Hill
This article was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior in 2006. The information is written from veterinarians to veterinarians. It’s a thorough analysis of what to look for that should be included and excluded in a search and is also valuable to owners and the public. The authors are veterinary behaviorists.