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Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

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  • Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

    Hi guys!

    I'm posting with a status on my Tommy Saga. If you all remember, I was having issues with Tommy always pacing and wanting to go outside. Once out, he wouldn't come in. Once in, he wanted back out almost immediately again.

    Anyway, I followed Bill's advice and started working more closely with Tommy to get him to bond better to me and my family. We play and spend time together training for short bits here and there. He has really come a long way in that he doesn't pace nearly as often and seems to want to go outside much less than before. However, once he is outside, he still won't come in. I spent an hour this morning trying to get him inside and it was only 8 degrees outside. When he sees me come to a door, he runs to another side of the house. When I go out to get him, he runs to the back of the yard and keeps a good 100 feet between me and him at all times. The only way I got him in today was to clank on his food bowl so that he could hear it.

    I decided to fix it so that he can't roam free in the yard, so I hooked up a long cable to the back step. When Tommy wants out, I hook him to the cable and then let him out. Well, instead of doing his business, Tommy stands at the back door shaking. He absolutely will not move as long as he is on that cable.

    I feel really bad because he looks absolutely miserable, but I don't know what else to do. If I let him stay out as long as he wants, I'm afraid he will get frostbite or something from the cold. He comes to me fine when we are in the house, so I know he knows the command. He just refuses to listen when he knows he can run from me.

    I have asthma, so standing outside with him on a leash just isn't possible as long as the temps are as low as they are right now. I can probably do that when Spring gets a bit closer, but I'm stuck as to what to do in the meantime.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I can try until the weather gets warmer? I feel like I am failing miserably at this.



  • #2
    RE: Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

    Before I start I would like to say that I have no serious experience, just what I would do if Ansel had a similar problem. Try only letting him go a short distance outside on the line and then when you get him back after calling him (maybe even entice him with a great treat), make sure to treat him with something he really loves. Teach him that great things happen if he comes when called. As he gets better, gradually let him go farther and farther. I have no idea if this would work for you at all, it was just a thought. I hope that other folks with more experience will chime in here. Good luck!

    Amanda and Ansel


    • #3
      RE: Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

      Instead of the cable, try using a light line, like a clothes line.

      Foto Danes

      Ch Payaso Flighty Star Alliance RN CGC CHIC


      • #4
        RE: Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

        It's great to hear from you and hear about Tommy's progress.

        >However, once he is outside, he still
        >won't come in. I spent an hour this morning trying to get him
        >inside and it was only 8 degrees outside.

        You can't let that happen. Think about attaching a long line (30 feet of clothesline will work great) to him and tie the other end near the door. Call him one time and then begin pulling him to you on the line. Each time he doesn't come, that behavior is reinforced and you don't need that happening.

        >The only way I
        >got him in today was to clank on his food bowl so that he
        >could hear it.

        At this stage if that works, use it and give him some food when he comes in.

        >He absolutely will not move as long as he is on that

        Try the clothes line method. Once he learns he can chew through it, get a very very very small cable and use that. They make some cable that is very thin and light weight.

        >He comes to me fine when we are in the house, so I
        >know he knows the command. He just refuses to listen when he
        >knows he can run from me.

        Don't be too sure of that. One of the great weaknesses of dogs is that they don't generalize things very well. In other words, just because he understands what "come" means in the house, doesn't mean he understands what the word means outside. Work with him outside just as you did inside. I always tell all my clients in the first lesson, "Have training sessions in different locations all the time. Different rooms in the house, in the back yard, in the front yard, in the street, down the street, in the parking lot at the mall, in some woods, on carpet, wood, grass, concrete, blacktop pavement, snow if you have it, dirt. Use all kinds of situations. Eventually a light bulb will come on in the dogs head and he will realize that a particular word means the same thing no matter where he is. I'm betting right now he has no clue what "come" means when he is outside.

        >Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I can try until
        >the weather gets warmer? I feel like I am failing miserably
        >at this.

        Have patience. This is a special dog with lots of problems and development issues. It is going to take time. He may never be a normal dog or he may turn out perfectly normal. Only time will tell. If he doesn't get completely normal you will have to find creative ways to manage him.

        Right now I would manage him by not letting him out so much. If he is going out every 30 minutes now, stretch it out to every hour or whatever it is. Gradually stretch out the time until he is inside for 5 or 6 hours at a time.

        Keep up the training, playing and bonding. Those are critical to his development. Use the long line so you can get him in when he is called. Always make coming inside something fun with treats, praise, anything he likes and/or craves.

        You will have good days and bad days. You will get discouraged and you will get excited. It will be two steps forward and one back.

        Good luck to you. I sincerely hope it all works out.

        Bill Carnes

        "Unnatural diets predispose animals to unnatural outcomes"
        Dr. Tom Lonsdale

        "If you won't eat what you are feeding your dog, its not good enough to feed him either."
        Bill Carnes

        "Causing pain, either physical, mental, or emotional to an animal to force him to act as you think he should is wrong. Doing so only reflects the ignorance of the trainer. There IS a better way."
        Bill Carnes


        • #5
          RE: Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

          Thanks so much for all of your support and advice! I do love this dog, but it does get really hard sometimes because I feel like it is always some sort of uphill battle with him. The words of encouragement from this list helps tremendously.

          I'll get a clothes line when I go out later today. Hopefully, that will work better for a bit. It never occured to me that he may not know what "come" means when he is outside.

          I'll keep at it and definitely continue with the play time and such. I am seeing some improvements so, hopefully, this thing with him being outside will eventually become a non-issue. Or, at least, we'll figure something out that works well for all of us, including Tommy.

          I'll keep you posted on our progress with the clothes line.

          Thanks a bunch!



          • #6
            RE: Issues with Tommy, cont'd....

            Does he get any exercise besides being out in the back yard by himself?
            Not that it would be aa solution, but getting more exercise makes my neurotic boy a lot more maleable and workable, and ultimately, he acts a lot more normally.

            My guy asks to go out all the time, in and out, when he is bored, wants our attention, has not exercised and has nervous energy as a result. He never does it after a long plauy session in the park or a good wrestling match with another dog, etc.

            Also, as has been mentioned, I think its absolutely key for now that you treat him every time he comes to the door, even if you had to fight to get him in. He needs to start building some positive associations with coming in the house. Even if its a very small, but very tasty treat, there must be something every time.