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Thread: Rescued Lab...Need some tips!

  1. #1
    Junior Member Copperton Guy's Avatar
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    Default Rescued Lab...Need some tips!

    First of all, I wanted to say thanks for all of the useful information that I have found on this site. I just registered today...but have been reading for weeks!

    Here is a little bit of information about our new Lab, Brooks. About a month ago, my wife and I were leaving our little suburban town for the afternoon. It was about 100 degrees outside, and as I drove through the sage brush flats, I noticed a yellow lab sitting in what little shade there was. The area we live in is often the place where poor dogs are dropped off to fend for themselves. As I passed him, I thought to myself...if you turn around...you are going to have a new dog...Well I made it almost a half mile before I decided I couldn't keep driving. When we got back to where he was, I pulled over and got out. As soon as I called to him, he immediately got up and ran about 200 yards the other way. This went on for about an hour before my wife and I had to leave. A couple of hours later when we returned, he was again in the same spot. And again...he ran away. About this time, a neighbor stopped to say he had been doing the same thing for several days. He had left a bowl of water and food, but neither had been touched.

    Later that evening, my wife called animal services to seek their assistance. Eventually, the lab's hiding place was found. He had been using a caved in culvert near some railroad tracks to seek shelter. It took 5 of us almost 4 hours to eventually rig together a 30' tent pole (wife's idea), with a noose taped to the end. When he was finally out of the culvert, we could see what kind of shape he was in. The animal services people were required to take him to the pound for an owner to claim. Obviously, a week later...no owner.

    We adopted Brooks, and have had him home with us for three weeks now. He spent the first 40 hours hiding under our bed. We did not want to force him out in anyway. Just waited for him to become curious. He initally befriended my wife and was glued to her for the next week or so. At first, he would not play with either of us in anyway, but now acts about right for his age (approx 1 yr). We have been going for nightly walks together, working on being a polite dog. He has done great with normal obiedience commands and progressing very nicely, at his own pace.

    So...at long last...time for some of my questions...

    My wife and I have been sharing in the training role. Does this cause complications now or later? I would like for him to behave himself not only when she or I am there, but also respect our teenage children if they have him out for a walk, or hopefully later on a hunt.

    My biggest concern right now, is he seems to have zero desire to retrieve. I have done almost anything I can think of to encourage this. But he is such a docile dog, hardly anything gets him excited. Is it possible that the previous "owner" broke his spirit to a point that he doesnt have this drive left in him?

    Hopefully some of you made it this far into my post! I didnt realize how long winded it was going to be. He is a great dog, and we are lucky to have him in our family. We had been discussing getting another hunting dog, to replace my GSP that had to be put down a few years ago. This wasnt the route I was planning on going, but just couldn't imagine leaving him to fend for himself. Any help getting us headed in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again!

    Copperton Guy

  2. #2
    Senior Member Colonel Blimp's Avatar
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    First of all, thank you for giving Brooks a chance in life and a loving home. You and Mrs CG are good things in a wicked old world.

    Secondly, in common with all rescue dogs, you've got what you've got. He'll come with some baggage both mental and physical and a lot of it will manifest itself at odd times in inconvenient and puzzling ways. All you have to do is roll with the punches and not get too fussed by it. Just go through the usual sequences of training, making sure each step is solidly in, and go on to the next,; some he'll probably get very easily others he might struggle with, but bear in mind that he's had a rough time of it and even three weeks isn't enough for him to trust you. Like you yes, but trust has to be earned.

    The non retrieving isn't surprising, even dogs from a hunting breed line (which he may not be) often have to be shown what's what. I deal with quite a few Springers who hunt like Dervishes but aren't too bothered about retrieving. My own choice is to do so with a technique called "clicker" which is very easy on the dog and you. It's just a gut feeling of mine that being in any way harsh on Brooks at this stage won't turn out well given his history and behaviour when you first had him. Once he's got the idea you can progress with his retrieving profile with what might be called "normal" training. There are books and videos available that show clicker, just Google them up. The one I recommend is by Jim Barry and can be bought off Amazon. POSITIVE GUN DOGS. I learned a lot from it and teach virtually all the basic obedience tasks with clicker.

    It's probably best in these early stages for one of you to do the initial training of a concept (as it might be retrieving) but for both of you to do the reinforcement and repetition work. You should be fine. Softly softly catchee monkey.

    Again, well done.

    Eug
    Last edited by Colonel Blimp; 07-03-2013 at 04:43 AM.
    Thank you, very kind, Mine's a pint.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    Very cool Copperton!
    Thank you.
    Rope, praise and love will get you purty far right now.
    and I would start slow. Goofy as it sounds a squeeky toy can turn the happy light on.
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

  4. #4
    Senior Member Erik Nilsson's Avatar
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    Thank you and Good for you and your family for giving a dog a second chance, he will give it back it back ten fold. Coming from an owner of a rescue dog who was also a stray or dumped, my suggestion is to work slowly on building a bond and trust with the dog. Not knowing any background you really have to start the dog out just like a puppy and build from there and be willing to accept that some things may or may not be the norm however with the right plan you may be surprised. Lots and lots of love goes along way too.

    How about a pic?
    HRC- Our season never ends

    "Shoot fast or shoot last"

    HR UH Nilsson's on a wing n a prayer SH WCX

  5. #5
    Senior Member dgengr's Avatar
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    First off, great story im glad to see people taking a chance when they know the situation is not ideal. As stated by Colonel Blimp, this dog will come with some baggage that a purchased pup may not. I would continue down the same path that you seem to be on now. The big thing is to gain the trust of the dog, he most likely sees humans as a bad thing. As you and your family get his trust and acceptance, introduce new situations to him. “same as socializing a 8 week old puppy”

    Also as stated above, once you have gained the trust of the dog, low pressure training would be my approach. Too much pressure and he will most likely just shut down on you..
    Just to give you hope, I train with a guy that has a “rescue” dog. She was locked in a kennel alone with no human interaction for the first 6-8 months of her life. He has been working with her for about a year and plans to run started/juniors this fall.

    Please keep us posted on your progress.


    Thanks,

    Dustin…

    P.S. you are already a step ahead.. you found a yellow dog. They are better than those black and brown ones…
    SHR Goodwins Hat Creek Hound "Gus"

  6. #6
    Senior Member dgengr's Avatar
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    BTW How about a pic... and keep us posted. you can get alot of help on RTF. Lots of good dogs that own good people..
    SHR Goodwins Hat Creek Hound "Gus"

  7. #7
    Junior Member Copperton Guy's Avatar
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    Brookslake.jpg

    Sorry it took a few days to add a picture of Brooks. Here he is resting after a swim in the lake. We took him camping this weekend and his confidence continues to grow. He took to the water fairly well, as long as he could touch the bottom. He did jump off of the rocks a couple of times to be in the water with my wife. Patience will be the key...hopefully I have learned some of that from my kids!

  8. #8
    Junior Member Copperton Guy's Avatar
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    Hopefully this picture works a little better! Still practicing with the forum!

    brookslake2.jpg

  9. #9
    Senior Member dogcommand's Avatar
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    Oh, I look at that picture and want to cry...how could anyone just dump him.
    "I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I love to play"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Erik Nilsson's Avatar
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    glad to see things are working out, again thank you for your kindness
    HRC- Our season never ends

    "Shoot fast or shoot last"

    HR UH Nilsson's on a wing n a prayer SH WCX

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