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 Rescued Husky Issues

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dblazek08
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Join date : 2017-08-23

PostSubject: Rescued Husky Issues   Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:27 pm

Hi there,

So first off, love the forum. I want to emphasize that I have owned or helped raise dogs, including several huskies, my whole life. But this one is.... different.

I adopted Odin from a shelter. Hes about 8mos, was very curious upon first meet, friendly, not aggressive, all around a lot more mellow than other huskies I've had. loved him immediately. So I got him home and things changed immediately. He wants nothing to do with anyone. Every time I walk in the room, he takes a anxious/frightened posture. ive tried to coax him out with treats, toys, even his blanket from the shelter (they told me it was his favorite). Nothing. just hides in corners and cowers away when anyone approaches him. I can pick him up and put him in another room and he will just run and hide away from people in that room, run to a different room, etc. This is not the typical husky stubbornness I have had before. this is fear. He wont even go outside willingly. had to pick him up and take him on the porch. when I set him down, I tried to encourage him to come down the three steps in to the yard. nothing. just hid in the corner of the porch.

So: my questions:
- anyone seen this before? If so, what did you do?
- obviously I want him to grow comfortable with the house so I don't want to hover. But I also want to be active in overcoming his fear of me (and all people).
- I'm starting on crate training him, the issue, like any other, is getting him to go in. I physically put him in and physically have to take him out. Is this the right approach or should I be allowing him more freedom (I went out to eat for an hour last night and left him uncrated and in the bottom floor of my house. I know he moved around a little, moved his blanket, a toy, and had an accident right in the middle of the carpet)
- As far as house training is concerned, the shelter said he was pretty far along, but I see it associated with his fear of exploring that I see a problem. The only time he evidently got up and used the bathroom was when I left. he is afraid of me so doesn't want to go on walks. I've heard the "flooding" them ie forcing them into things they are uncomfortable with is bad. so I don't want to just pick him up and put him in the yard, but I feel like that's my only option right now.

So in general, my question is: how aggressive or not aggressive should I be with me being around him and "training him". should I just let him be, do what he wants, deal with the accidents until he's comfortable in the house and around the new people? Or picking him up and changing his location as I see the need to? Any idea are welcome. Thanks!
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Huskyluv
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Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

PostSubject: Re: Rescued Husky Issues   Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:56 pm

Congrats on your rescue and thanks for being so willing to put in the time and effort to work through his issues.

I have not had these issues with a husky before but have dealt with a similar situation with a different breed. I really don't think breed matters, you need to get over this fear obstacle with them regardless of breed.

In delicate situations like this, there is no "one size fits all" solution. You will have to tailor how you handle your situation to how the dog responds and progresses. If you need it, getting some in-home observation and advice from a behaviorist might be quite valuable.

I have dealt with 3 adult dogs that came from less than ideal backyard breeder/puppy mill operations so they were pretty messed up and fearful when they came into my care. They were all terrified of going outside and not one of them was house trained. None were really crate trained either, however the one rescued from the puppy mill had been kept in a tiny crate all her life so she had this manic pacing behavior in the crate which was awful to watch even with the crate door wide open. The reason I share this is to say that I would advise keeping at it with the crate training and house training from day one even if it is a very stressful process. I say this because you don't want to teach them that one thing is okay and then once they learn that then you up and change the game on them again and say well now that is not okay (like now it's okay to eliminate in the house but a month or two later it's no longer okay). That's just confusing and not likely to help make any real headway.

I did the same thing with all 3 of my byb/puppy mill rescues. We used the crate when away from the house and overnight so that there were no accidents. I did hand feeding for all meals and treats so that they saw me as the bringer of positive things. I always took each of them out individually (always on lead in the beginning) to go out to potty, usually for 5-10 minutes every hour. If they went potty I praised them verbally with an upbeat voice and then let them loose in the house to do as they pleased until the next trip outside. Because they were terrified of being outside, a totally new experience for each of them, I never went more than 10 feet away from the house and just let them react. With the toughest case, the mill rescue, she would pace at the end of the lead trying desperately to get back to the door. When she did I would just sit down in the yard and wait for her to snap out of it and at least look back at me or sniff the ground before we would go back in. It was very slow going at first but little by little she started to break through the fear and they all eventually learned that the faster they went potty outdoors the faster they got to come back inside (the reward). Even breaking their focus on getting back inside like sniffing the ground and walking around the yard was rewarded with going back inside so while it may have taken months for the byb rescues to recover and years for the mill rescue to gain some semblance of "normal" it did happen a little at a time.

As for being in the house, I like to let them do their own thing and take their own time getting comfortable in whatever space they would like in the house. The only time I "invaded" their space was when feeding, crating and getting them to go outside. Otherwise I just let them be. We've always been a multi dog household too so they all observed how I interacted with our other dogs and could see that the the other dogs were happy and comfortable with us people too.

Our byb rescues were eventually able to even be walked around the neighborhood within months of getting them. Unfortunately the mill rescue, even years later, never achieved that level of comfort but she is completely happy to go outside and roam the yard with no fear or hesitation and she no longer does the manic pacing in her crate like she did initially.

I would press the toileting outside (on a leash so that he cannot cower in a corner the whole time) and crate training. But I would let him be inside if he isn't interested in being with people just yet. That doesn't mean ignoring him inside, just offer your attention but let him be if he's not interested. He WILL come around, all 3 of ours ended up like completely different dogs and each one took a different amount of time to reach their potential.

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MiyasMomma
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Female Join date : 2014-06-26
Location : west Texas

PostSubject: Re: Rescued Husky Issues   Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:16 pm

I have never had a rescue, but I do think Val's advice is spot on. I will stress one thing that she mentioned, and that is the hand feeding. Hand feeding builds trust and a bond, so I will 100% agree on hand feeding every meal. Best of luck to you, and oh yes agree that a behaviorist to come to the home would be beneficial as well.
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