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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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Sweet but a little difficult

Our new Havanese, Molly, is working out well. When we got her she was thin, full of fleas, and scared of almost everything - especially men. She has bonded very well with my wife, housebreaking is challenging, and she is slowly (very slowly) losing her fear of things like fans, books, cats and so forth. (Pigeons still terrify her, but it's a bit hard to show her they are harmless.) She will receive treats from me but shows little affection. This is not a big problem, I am pleased she has bonded so well with my wife, but I am hoping that she will eventually warm up to me. I am taking things slow, and am willing to do what ever it takes to make her feel comfortable around me if possible. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 06:28 AM
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I'm sure you're doing the right thing - slow and at her own pace. My only other piece of advice would be not to "coddle" or sympathize with the fears (i.e. "It's okay, Molly... (hug, kiss, pet)" Others might not agree but I tend to literally ignore what Ludo is acting skittish over. I don't force him into anything but I don't pay attention to whatever is bothering him (if that makes sense).

I hope she warms up to you, too. Hang in there.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 08:02 AM
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Hi Marc, good on you for taking on Molly with so many challenges. How great that she at last has the loving caring home you are providing.

Re the lack of affection toward you, our puppy Charlie was the same when we first got him - all his love and focus was for me. This only started to change when I had to go out a few times for a few hours and leave him with my husband. The first couple of times he pined but gradually he bonded much better with DH and now shows him much more affection.

So maybe you need a bit of time with Molly without your wife around. Your wife will need to start work on separation from Molly before it becomes a major problem so leaving Molly with you for a time conld help both aspects. Of course given Molly's history you will need to take it very slowly.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 08:17 AM
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Also, who feeds Molly, grooms her, takes her outside, engages with her with toys as she's ready and trains her? Take part in her care at least some each day.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 01:08 PM
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I think it will come with time. I agree, make sure that sometimes (or even better, all the time) you are the one to feed her. Now that she will take treats you can slowly start working on training. I think starting with the "touch" is excellent because it encourages confidence, and gives them a choice (ie, do they want to touch your hand or do they want the treat? If touching your hand is too scary, they don't have to.)

Hang in there, it will come. Hobbes is a mill rescue. I've had him since November and he's gotten so much braver and more socialized. I've been dating my boyfriend since April-ish and while Hobbes has always been fine with his presence (something that wouldn't have been true in Feb) he's never been excited to see him. We had a breakthrough on Friday. My BF came over and he walked into my apartment and sat down on the couch Hobbes ran up to him and gave his a big kiss hello! But this break through took almost 6 months. Molly will get there. Be patient with her.

It's so rewarding to see these dogs with a rough start come around.

Last edited by Zarika; 09-22-2013 at 01:11 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 04:10 PM
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welcome Mark . here is a good site , read as much as possible. One on one with a trainer for a couple of hours might be huge. http://fearfuldogs.com/ my Molly says hi too

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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I am the only one who gives her treats. I precede the treat with a single command, "Treat." We are doing this in part so that if she runs I will be able to get her to come. (I doubt if that will work though if Molly goes searching for my wife.) She seldom takes the treat from my hand but is glad to get it. I give her one each day when I come home from work. She looks forward to the treat (a short piece of raw beef rib with a little meat) but not me so much. If she warms up to me in 6 months that would be great. It is really alright if she doesn't, her choice, but I would prefer that she did. Planning some time with my wife gone in the near future sounds wise. Right now when Molly is separated from my wife, Lynn, Molly spends all her time pining at the window.
post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I am the only one who gives her treats. I precede the treat with a single command, "Treat." We are doing this in part so that if she runs I will be able to get her to come. (I doubt if that will work though if Molly goes searching for my wife.) She seldom takes the treat from my hand but is glad to get it. I give her one each day when I come home from work. She looks forward to the treat (a short piece of raw beef rib with a little meat) but not me so much. If she warms up to me in 6 months that would be great. It is really alright if she doesn't, her choice, but I would prefer that she did. Planning some time with my wife gone in the near future sounds wise. Right now when Molly is separated from my wife, Lynn, Molly spends all her time pining at the window.
Dogs don't really have a concept of the size of treats. Frequency and number are much more important to them. Rather than one treat that is, undoubtedly, very yummy once a day, you might want to try LOTS of very small treats... a tiny piece of cheese or boiled chicken for instance, (or even pieces of some dried treat food that she likes) much more often. I'd keep some at hand all the time when you are home, and toss her a little piece every time you see her, while talking to her in a cheery voice. As time goes by drop them closer to you, until you can get her to take them from your hand. Go slow and don't push it, but do it often. I think you'll see that you make much faster progress than doing it once a day.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll do that.
post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
Dogs don't really have a concept of the size of treats. Frequency and number are much more important to them. Rather than one treat that is, undoubtedly, very yummy once a day, you might want to try LOTS of very small treats... a tiny piece of cheese or boiled chicken for instance, (or even pieces of some dried treat food that she likes) much more often. I'd keep some at hand all the time when you are home, and toss her a little piece every time you see her, while talking to her in a cheery voice. As time goes by drop them closer to you, until you can get her to take them from your hand. Go slow and don't push it, but do it often. I think you'll see that you make much faster progress than doing it once a day.
totally agree, Karen; with clicker training, every click (at least to begin with) needs a tiny treat; the treat itself shouldn't be the command. Please do consider the power of clicker training, there are dozens of books on the market and websites to help you. The smallest improvements can be clearly marked and treated, the dog learns to love and understand what is required. If you are not convinced I entreat you to have a look at a book called "The Thinking Dog" by Gail Tamases Fisher - Amazon has it. She was a skeptic and became what is known as a crossover trainer. Or look at Karen Pryor's website (www.clickertraining.com) You have the wherewithal to help both yourself and your little dog SO much. Lucky Molly to have found you and your wife!
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