What motivates this dog?

by Michelle
(Nashville, TN)

I was wondering if you could give me some tips for my two year old rescue dog, Russell. I feel like I drag him to go for walk, drag him to eat dinner, drag him inside, drag him to bed. We can go for a perfectly nice walk, then he plays dead outside of the car and I have to figure out how to pull him in the car. Then when we get home, he just wants to sit in the car. He's not treat or toy motivated. Praising him doesn't help. I want him to be happy but this morning he got up and went out to sleep on the lawn. I have to drag him to eat breakfast. Then he wants to go out and sleep some more. Very frustrating.

On a positive note, he loves people and will sit there willingly while all kinds of people meet and great him. But really? I can't keep picking up a young 60lb dog all the time. Plus, he won't go potty in the yard. I walk him about 45 minutes in the morning and he goes potty on walk. In the evening, my husband walks him but not always to get to potty. It might not be always possible - how can I get him to use the yard?

He has separation anxiety so I stopped putting him in the laundry room (with gate that he can jump) and I wonder what will happen to house when I get back.

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Oct 21, 2015
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Motivation
by: Donna

How long have you had him? Everything takes time.

It sounds like he has never done his business in the yard before. My dog don't because I walk them four times a day. It will take time before he'll start to go in the yard. If he has to go badly enough, he will. Give it time.

It sounds like Russell has more going on than not being motivated. For a two-year-old, he should have more energy than that.

This may be a health issue. I would recommend taking him to the vet for a check up. He is too lethargic from what you are saying. The vet may do blood work to see if something else is going on with him.

Also, a good resource for the overall health of Russell would be
http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/

For the separation anxiety, you need to crate train him. Get a crate big enough that he can lie full out in, stand up and turn around. Here are a couple of links to how to crate train:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trXfoIQSEvIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trXfoIQSEvI

http://info.drsophiayin.com/crate-training-handout/

It may not be as simple as throwing a treat in. Get a Kong, fill it with cheese, peanut butter (without xylitol), bacon, meat and freeze it. Then, tie the Kong into the back of the crate. The dog goes in but has to stay in there in order to enjoy the Kong.

Once crate-trained, put the dog in there, go out of the house for a few minutes, then go back in the house. Do not make any acknowledgement (except maybe 'hi') of leaving or returning to the dog. Extend the amount of time you leave as the days go by. Make it as natural as possible that you leave and return. It will take much time but time, patience and consistency are the keys.

You might also consider having a positive-reinforcement trainer come in to help you. That is, one who clicker trains and uses only positive-reinforcement for good behaviour. And, redirects for unwanted behaviour.

Best of luck.




Oct 21, 2015
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Lazy
by: Michael

I get like that. I think he needs to see a vet

Oct 21, 2015
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time and love
by: Ed A from NJ

This is a easy one no matter how bad it sounds. This little boy wants to be home. All he needs is a boat load of love and time. No dragging. If you give him time to find himself and get use to his new home, you will have a real winner.

Don't force anything on him. Patience and love will carry the day. I promise letting him know he is welcome and wanted will bring him out of his shell. But on his time and when he makes a step in the right direction accept it and very gentle in courage the next but don't push. When the damn breaks the love will flow forth I would bet inside there is a gem worth waiting for

Oct 21, 2015
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Thank you
by: Michelle

We have had Russell six weeks. I think he has a sensitive nature.

Oct 22, 2015
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Russell wants love and kindness
by: Anonymous

I think I was trying to set limits for Russell and he just wasn't responding. So yesterday, we started over with lots of kindness and I stopped pushing at him. It seemed to be more helpful. We are working on just enjoying the walks and he seems to want to get into the car. Very mulish but extraordinarily sweet.

After six weeks, he still will not sit but he will stay. He knows "no" and leave it and take it.

Nov 17, 2015
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Motivation
by: Donna

Good work on your progress.

Working with your dog is best. Be a partner with him. 'No' becomes monotonous. It would be like telling a child 'no' all the time. They can attain a vocabulary if you talk to them.

You hear people talking about 'dominating' your dog. This is no fun for anyone. You don't dominate your child or your mother or anyone. They are partners with you and it makes for a much easier life with mutual respect and a better bond. Here is a great article by Dr. Sophia Yin http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/dominance

Once they learn 'off' the couch or 'on' the couch, you can use more words and they pick up the meaning. When they run upstairs, you can start saying 'go upstairs' as they run up. Soon you can say 'go upstairs and see so so so'. Instead of saying 'no' when he picks up tissue, an 'ah ah leave it' and trade off with something like a treat. Soon, you won't need to trade off but just say 'leave it' and they will learn the words.

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