I don't think this is working... :(
  • tsukitsunetsukitsune
    Posts: 6185
    We've had Hachi for about 4 months now, and she is pretty much scared of everything, which is understandable b/c her first 2 years+ of life were spent in an outdoor kennel.

    But... now she is afraid of me. She pooped pretty bad when I went to hand her her food today, I think she felt cornered b/c I was blocking the door with but she wasn't in a corner. So she let loose, and ran like crazy so my entire kitchen was pretty much poo. ARGH. But this is not the first sign of her being weird around me now, just one of many instances.
    As much as that was awful, its really not as bad as the big picture - will she ever get there? Or are we fighting a losing battle? would she be happier in a different scenario? can anyone take care of her the way I can?

    Honestly, I think she'd be SO MUCH more happy as an only dog (not that she's aggressive, she just doesn't interact with the dogs much) and maybe a cat with either a woman OR a man as her person, just her and them and a cat maybe. That would be her heaven.

    But I feel like a failure, or that I'm giving up on her... I just don't know what to do................
    shibas, beagles & more!
  • tobyshibatobyshiba
    Posts: 1058
    Aww, poor Hachi. :(
    I'm sorry to hear that shes been like that for you.
    Only time will tell if she'll ever heal. She might be scarred for life. 2+ years in an outdoor kennel can do that to any dog. D:
    Shame that shes afraid of you now. Not sure how to even respond to this.

    I think you've done great for her as of late. You've given her the best health of her life in the past 4 months.
    Owner of Sesame Shiba Inu (Toby) 8yrs old | Illustrator & Graphic Designer | My Website - Twitter

    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • LeonbergerLeonberger
    Posts: 3761
    I don't quite know what to tell you, Jen.
    You guys are doing a great job with her, but there's no way to know when/if she will ever get over what she went through before getting to you.
    And there will be ups and downs, I suppose.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • MommyofNikoMommyofNiko
    Posts: 2719
    There are a lot of people who have done rescue and should be able to give you some rays of hope, but there is no way to know how long or what time will heal. We have had Sasha for almost 2 years and it took us probably close to 8 months for her to truely start to trust us. She just now (last 4 months) has started to play with Chad, but only on her schedule. Dave, LJ, Brad and Jen have all seen the very slow but worthwhile progress that she has made. We still cant corner Sashe, hover over her or stand near or in front of the door. Chad still forgets to move out of the way before she will think about going out to go potty. It took us 7 months to potty train her, but she has poo'd out of fear even recently.
    There are certain things that I think will never go away unfortunatly. I dont think Sasha will ever trust strangers and I think that it will take a very long time for her to trust new people. LJ and Dave have consistently been seeing Sasha for almost a year and she still acts like she has never seen them before and will lick them and run. I also think she will always be scared of boxes and the attic.
    I can tell you it all has been MORE than worth it, but the journey has been painful, scary, unsure and unknown.
    Im so sorry and knowing yours and the dogs limitations is not letting them down.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5510
    I'm sorry Jen.

    Don't feel bad, it's not in any way shape or form your fault. I know she's made a little progress, which means you are doing something right.~
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • ljowen123ljowen123
    Posts: 4315
    Only you guys can determine how this is truly going. I know it's heartbreaking when you feel you are doing the right thing and it isn't working the way it is supposed to.

    I am amazed at how Sasha has improved - she let me treat her at the last meetup...I was so happy. I think that at the end of the meetups she is reminded who I am, but we start off close to the beginning each time.

    Keep us posted.
    LJ - owned by Queen Jazz, a Shiba Inu, Atlanta, GA
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • RomiRomi
    Posts: 2634

    I am going to be quite blunt with you. Not to put you down or offend you, but because I think this is how other people will see it. (In the rescue world)

    You are opening a sanctuary for dogs. Sanctuary meaning a safe place for dogs who are on death row to give them a second chance at life. You are running the sanctuary, therefor you hold all responsibility. This includes shelter, regular exercise,healthy diet, normal vet checks,treatment, rehabilitation, etc. I assume you will be trying to help these dogs and find them forever homes?

    My point is, YES, Hachi definately has issues. Fear issues. Fearful dogs take THE LONGEST to overcome their fears. Much more so than say an obsessive dog or even an aggressive dog. I believe the reason for this is because if you push a fearful dog too far, you will take 5 huge steps back and it will take more time to get back to where you were before. The rehabilitation for a fearful dog has to be very slow and consistent. Consistency is KEY. You have to introduce new things constantly and slowly overcome the fear. It will probably take months if not years.

    Some dogs don't really like to interact with other dogs - they just like the chill and hang out and be around the family. You should be proud that she is acceptable of other dogs. Just because she isn't playing with them all the time doesn't mean its a bad thing. She just enjoys to watch and keep to herself.

    I can understand your frustration and guilt. Trust me, I know. I'm just not quite sure why. Do you not have enough time to help Hachi? Do you not want to spend time on her because you think she is too far damaged? Is it because you're not seeing any results? Are the expenses getting to be too much?

    To be honest, if you don't feel fit to help and care for a fearful, non-aggressive dog...It would make me question what you would be able to handle. Most dogs who go to sanctuaries are dogs who have severe behaviorial issues that no one wants to deal with or have health issues. If I were a shelter or organization, I'm not sure I would feel comfortable sending over a dog to you that has any issues because you don't have any experience and if things don't work out - what will happen? I think it is really stressful for a dog to be transported from one place to another - I think it might even cause more behaviorial issues that the dog didn't have before. I mean, to me, it seems like sancuaries are last resorts...and if a sanctuary can't keep a dog...who will?

    In your case, (as the head honcho for the sanctuary) I think Hachi is a fantastic experience and learning tool. You have to start somewhere. You are going to go through all the ups and downs of the process and really be able to get first hand experience which I think is really needed when working with rescue dogs.

    Again, I don't mean to offend you in any way and like I said, I think you opening a sanctuary is great - I just wanted to bring up some things that you possibly have not thought about.
    If you are having issues, maybe you should try something different and volunteer at the shelter or rescue or keep fostering. Opening your own sanctuary is A LOT of responsibility.
    Romi - Portia (Boxer), Ninja (Shiba), Wink (Norrbottenspets)
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • thanks all.

    Romi, my intentions on opening sanctuary is to have a lot of space, open space, land, kennels and areas for sick, injured or old shiba inus. I do not believe that I would pull a young, healthy or adopted shiba unless I absolutely had to and even then I'd just foster in in the house until a rescue could take that shiba to be adopted. Young, healthy adoptable shibas (or any dog) tend to deteriorate in a sanctuary type setting where if in rescue they have the potential of still being someone's pet. I think Hachi wants to be someones pet, and could be someones pet, just possibly not ours.

    Hachi fits the description of a young, healthy shiba. She is also our longterm fostered dog, which makes this incredibly difficult to come to terms with, that we possibly cannot help her - only give her time. But getting to know her, I believe what is best for her is not us. We are not giving up on her, the material damage does not bother me at all and I can put up with her episodes, its just that I feel her episodes are totally preventable, we just can't seem to get them under control or pinpoint what causes them. We safely assumed tall men, but in the last couple weeks she's started her episodes with me where before she'd be totally fine in the same situation.

    Truth be told, I do not have the time for her right now. I am on a 3 year contract for full time employment through my university, which ends in Spring 09, so I could let her just hang out under the bed all day until that time and then start really working with her. But I think we have been working with her. My hub is home 24/7 with her and she still is so scared of him and has no trust for him, and he spends most of his day working with her. I just don't think we are the right forever home for her. But as someone who is TRULY committed to a lifetime safe space for dogs with no other option, of course she always will have a home with us, I promised that and will commit to that. And its only been 4 months, I suppose she could rally, but there is always the possibility that she won't. But if there is a home out there that I feel fits the bill for the ideal situation for Hachi - her very own stay at home person (one person) should/would I deny her that???? Would it be in her best interest at 2 years old to be an outside dog because with us, I think that is where she would be most at peace?

    I don't know... this whole thing is really making me take stock in my life goals because just thinking about us not being able to provide the best forever option for Hachi makes me feel like a total failure.
    shibas, beagles & more!
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • Jen - you can do this. Four months is not that long. Progress comes, really, really slow. Turi (Nemo's brother) would pee on the floor everytime his Dad walked into a room for the first few months they were all in the house together. Months of cleaning up pee, everyday. Within a year they had a decent relationship, within 18 months they were best buds. While four months may sometimes seem long, it really isn't. Progress will Hachi will take years and years. If you look to adopt her out and find someone who can better meet her needs, that is not a failure. I have learned from some people over the years that just because you take a dog into your home does not mean that you are the right home for that dog. Once you realize that you have to work to find the proper home.

    As long as you are upgrading Hachi's situation by putting her into an environment where she will be most comfortable, you would not be a failure, you would be doing what is best for Hachi.

    I think you can still make it work, but it will be frustrating for a long time to come.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • Jen, I think Brandon has given you some great advice. I read once that it takes about a year for Shiba's to fully bond with their owners -- and that is for the average Shiba without Hachi's history.

    Best of luck either way you decide.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • thank you Brandon and Kojichan.
    I'm not giving up on her, I just wonder if what we can give her is the best for her, you know? But you are right, 4 months doesn't even begin to crack the shell she's hiding in. We see some little improvements but to us it means the world when her whole body wiggles when we come home, but then if we go to pet her, she pees. Stuff like that is really getting to my husband, but he knows no matter what happens, we're in it for the long haul with all the dogs we come across until we can upgrade their living situation. We try to bond with her every chance we get, John gave her the 2 baths she needed, and he walks her in AM, and I walk her in PM and we have training sessions with her but she just doesn't want the close proximity that training requires with us.

    I think you understood me, and that is what if we are not the ideal forever home for her, is it a failure to try to find that forever home? No, I don't think so because even if it takes 5 years, we owe her that and promise to give her all we can. With us, she has food, warmth, shelter and whatever love she's willing to accept. But still.. I'm just questioning my motives and intentions and I'm overwhelmed I guess. I think after the summer/fall when I'm not under FT contract and we have the fencing done at the farmhouse, we can hope that the time I'll have will benefit our bond, but then I'm afraid she'll not want to come in the house ever...

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    ***After re-reading everything, I'm just going to say sorry for the ramble both here and in the first post, it was a weak moment. Hachi had peed right on my bed after the feeding/poo episode and I was exhausted from moving around this weekend, and in weak moments sometimes you just need to hear what you are afraid to tell yourself, and in rescue I feel completely guilty and self indulgent for having these weak moments... so thank you all for indulging me :)
    shibas, beagles & more!
    Post edited by tsukitsune at 2008-09-02 12:05:03
  • Dogs regress often after their environment changes.

    I am still working on getting Piglet back to where we were when we moved. We had gotten her past chasing the cats and resource guarding in the old place. We moved to the new house (back in March) and are back to square one.

    She doesn't pee or poop in the house her fear manifests as aggression towards the cats, and the pups during feeding time. I am assuming that best case scenario I will get her completely back on track by October (which would also be the one year anniversary of her adoption) worst case scenario she stay on leash and separated from the cats for longer. However I KNOW in my heart that no one could love this dog the way I do, and we will make it work.

    I understand doubting yourself. But take a deep breath and ask yourself "am I will to absolutely dedicate myself to helping this dog overcome her fears? And having her in my life pee stains and all?" Assuming the answer is yes. Just keep reminding yourself that anything worth having is worth working for, and the really good things always require LOTS of work.

    Telling yourself you are committed and and truly committing are very different, but are only a slight shift in consciousness away from each other. I know how exhausting and draining a move is, and the psychological toll it takes on you can be extraordinarily grueling imagine what your pups are going through between feeling all your stress AND having NO idea what is going on for them.
    Fuzzy Gang Signature
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • Thank you Jessica. You are 100% right, nothing in this life worth having is easy. Hachi is bound to be something great in our lives because she sure is not easy!
    But she sounds like Piglet, total regression after she was spayed (and new displays of fear towards me) and even more so now that we've moved this weekend.

    - - - -
    I just spoke with my foster mentor, and she thinks we should establish different ground rules with Hachi, reestablish boundaries, placing her in the pen again in the room we're in (we stopped when she got spayed, but since her stitches are out, we should start it again), let her spend as much time possible outdoors and stop letting her sleep with us.

    I cannot let her outside as much as I'd like to, even in the new yard at the new townhouse, its fenced in, but we share it with 5 other units all around, and the thought of theft or a child interacting while we aren't out there would put me in my grave. I don't believe in tethering, but I guess its an option - to tether her outside for longer time where she is most comfortable?

    And the sleeping with me thing - isn't that a trust sign? or at least a bonding thing? Whenever I wake up, if Hachi isn't sleeping under the bed, she sleeps on my side (usually against my back), especially after a walk or something if I go back to bed (like on a saturday), she'll follow up and cuddle. I don't really want to discourage that but my foster mentor thinks we should reestablish that boundary of hierarchy to her.
    What are the pros/cons of having your dogs sleep with you?

    Does that make sense? Are they good suggestions? I need the feedback because I realize most of the issues with her are stress/fear related from all the changes in such a short period of time and before we drastically change what we are doing now, I want to make sure its for a damn good reason.
    shibas, beagles & more!
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • RomiRomi
    Posts: 2634
    Well, with a fearful dog - I think establishing TRUST is most important before anything. I think that Hachi is not comfortable and putting all these new rules and boundaries for her may be too much at once. I would just let her get used to the new place first and re-establish the trust with you guys. Once you feel the trust again, start to slowly add in boundaries. I think another thing you should do with her is obedience training. I noticed in a lot of fearful dogs who are food motivated - obedience training with treats is their best friend. I think if John were to do 30 minutes sessions a day with Hachi in obedience, it will build a closer bond for them also. Obedience Training is sort of a distraction for them...when they're in the training mode..they tend to not worry about things going around them as much. In my opinion anyway.

    I don't think sleeping with you has anything to do with anything really. Portia sleeps on the bed with us at night and Ninja sleeps under the bed and when john leaves for work, he jumps up and sleeps until I wake up. I don't think there are any issues with having dogs sleep on the bed with you - as long as they don't have any separation anxiety issues or dominant issues.
    Romi - Portia (Boxer), Ninja (Shiba), Wink (Norrbottenspets)
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • I think feralish Hachi sleeping on the bed with us is significant, her back turned to me and sleeping has got to be some sort of trust established I think. I have to think that, its all I have in progress with her.
    This morning I thought of something SO obvious its scary - I just dyed my hair like 2 shades darker about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Clearly, this would explain why Hachi's acting why she doesn't know me. DUH. Post this in the idiot thread!

    on another note, i don't think i'll be posting much anymore, too much going on and with the fence finally being approved so we can move forward with the project, and this semester being as crazy as it is with graduating in the spring, and moving and adding three shibas to the mix, time is not on my side. But take care all!
    shibas, beagles & more!
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • I'm glad you seem to have cracked the mystery. Just like Brad's leash solution with Kona, sometimes the answer is staring us in the face and we don't even notice it.

    Best of luck with all you've got going on. I know how tough it can be when you are buried. Keep us updated when you've got the chance! :-)
    Dave, proudly owned by Joey (Shiba Inu), Tyson (Kai Ken), and PRG's Mason Julien McDieserton III, a.k.a. Diesel (Labrador Retriever).
    "My opinion may have changed, but not the fact that I'm right"
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • Hi Jen;

    Breath! Been there so I totally relate. It sounds like you are really stressed. Dogs pick up on stress and any subtle changes in body chemistry and body language in general. I say ditto to Brandon’s advice and everyone’s input.

    It can take a looooong time for outdoor non-socialized dogs to make progress and the meter is individual to each dog. The spay and medical plus the move have set her backwards a bit. Also you have been removing stitches and doing things that may have made her a little mistrustful. Not your fault, you had to do what you had to do. If your scent has changed (ie. the hair treatment/color) that will set some animals backwards also. So will voice changes, the flu with hoarse throat for example. There have been a lot of changes in a short time and so she is going to be really unsure. Your home probably smells strange and routines are probably slightly different too. Most likely her reduction of hormones are also adjusting somewhat in regard to changes in her body.

    Sometimes it is a process of three steps forward and then two back.
    Take some steps back and do what you did in the beginning that worked at the other home in the beginning. If that means the x-pen then use that inside. If you need to, hook some tall x-pens together outside and pin them down in the ground. Place a cover on the top for security.

    I would not set expectations too high at this point and accept she is what she is without rigid constraints. The dust needs to settle a bit and then you can think of a management plan that will work for your new dwelling situation. Don’t give up but don’t set a stopwatch by how much you want her to achieve. Give yourself some breathing room let your semester get into a groove.

    About the tether….if you are around a lot of activity and noisy neighbors I would be cautious about leaving her out on it without direct supervision. You want to make sure she does not freak if someone comes too close by etc. Make sure she has distance away from obstacles and can not jump any barriers (even if they seem minor) with a tether on.

    Yes ideally it sounds like she needs a quite household and although she does not openly play with the other dogs it appears she still wants to be around them, and you. Dogs from kennel situations don’t know how to play well if at all if they have been isolated. Also if her previous kennel people were all women she will have problems with the smell and movement of men. Yes there is a difference and much more noted by dogs (LOL). Extremely shy or sensitive dogs will try to make contact with humans in a very non direct way. When you are sleeping is one example of that or a cold nose touch on the back of the leg or even sitting on a foot but not directly looking at you.

    Take some time out and try not to become too frustrated. Dogs change up their fears and issues over time just a people do. Even with "normal" dogs It’s always a balancing act that requires training adjustments over the life of animal. Pretty much it is ongoing for all pets even the ones that look picture perfect.

    You don’t have to apologize for having a weak moment. It goes with the territory. Good luck at work and with classes. I am sure it will all pull together nicely, you'll see.

    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • Patrice....
    Thank you. :)
    I think allowing myself to get SO upset by this set back scared the crap out of me and made me really question my self and my capabilities with Hachi. It was scary. It was stressful. But it was also a wake up call. I know what I am doing in regards to my dogs, they are 100% dependent on me and I accepted that long term responsibility long before Hachi came into the picture. I don't think I ever let a dog get to me this bad, to the point where I didn't even want to look at her. She definitely felt my stress, it was very real. But that is wrong in so many ways, she doesn't know any better, and I shouldn't be humanizing her expecting her to understand the changes and be OK with them. So I was wrong to get upset at her. And I was wrong to vent (especially in this format, and losing credibility in doing so), too. It was a weak moment, I'm ok with that now though. I will have them, and in weak moments we find strength and perspective. And in weak moments we get great advice from people who really give a damn, I totally appreciate that my dear!!

    This weekend, we are going to try some advice that a puppy mill cairn rescuer gave us and we never utilized, we're going to buy a second xpen, link it with hers outside in the grass and let her have some time, then when she's acclimated, I (or John) will lay in it with her or do some training.
    I think with three dogs, we don't spend a sufficient amount of time with her, and while I think we spend as much as we do with the other two with her, we try to spend at least a 1/2 hour individual time with each daily, either grooming, playing, training, or walking one on one, perhaps its really not enough for her and we'll work in more where we can find it. Time is a hard thing to find recently!

    And the expectations thing, I hesitate to say I have them for her, when really all we want is for her to be at peace with our mere presence in her indoor life - thats really it - I just don't know if there is some benchmark we should be hitting at any particular time. But an amazing rescue voice of reason recently shared the story of his feral dog Ben who took 3 years to even slightly trust his rescuer, but that gave me great hope, it is possible, it is so very possible with Miss Hachi. :)

    So thanks again for stopping by to comment, I really appreciate it!
    shibas, beagles & more!
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • You weren't wrong at all to vent. Venting is necessary, and this is a good place to do it. It's a place full of people who were going to be honest and also helpful. I would say that in the end you got the support you needed along with words of encourgment.

    There is nothing easy about taking in a dog that needs a lot of work. I believe that you can and will provide a great home for Hachi, you just have to remember baby steps (like in What About Bob?).

    There were plenty of times when I questioned what I was doing as Nemo sat at the back of the kitchen shaking like a leaf when I had a few friends over.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4546
    I agree. Jen, everything takes time, and with a dog like Hachi, even the smallest thing could cause her to lose confidence. And please, do not feel bad about venting. Everyone needs to let out a little steam and frustration. We all know that keeping it all in is not healthy. :)

    Let us know how Hachi is progressing, and remember that none of this is your fault. You are there to support her and provide for her, and you are doing just that, and more. I have faith in both you and John, and in Hachi.

    Chin up.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • You didn't loose any credibility, Jen. We all have our ups and downs with everything we do.
    It's not easy, the road you chose, and it has to be done slowly, and that can be hard at times. Venting is part of a place like this forum, because sharing your life with a dog, although a very positive experience, has it's challenges. You, as a responsible dog owner, accepted those and strive to do the best you can for them. The best isn't always the easiest and we all have our moments were we believe a bit less in ourselves.
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • HarlowHarlow
    Posts: 563
    Working with fearful dogs can be a very daunting task. Little things that one might not think of can be too much for them. For example, petting the same area on the dog over and over, which we might think would be calming can actually be over stimulation. Doing activities of very short duration but maybe 3 times per day could work better then trying to do too much at one time.
    When we adopted Koshi he was quite fearful of people. We would sit on the floor and lean him against our knee and slowly tilt him over. The we would gently touch and rub him with our hands in little round motions. We would only rub in one area a few seconds then move to another area, and then to another area so that he didn't over stimulated in any area-similar to the TTouch of Linda Tellington-Jones. These sessions would last just a few minutes and then he would get food rewards. We were lucky in that he was quite food motivated. He had 3 daily walks with his Malamute sister- he would jump in the bushes everytime someone passed up and would flinch every time a car went by. We just kept walking. Something that helped his self confidence with people was putting him in puppy kindergarten [he was 3 yrs old but socially with people he was a puppy]. We were asking him to focus on us while there were a lot of people around. We made sure that there was plenty of open space around so that he never felted trapped. Later we took him through an agility class and that really gave him more self confidence.
    Hachi has come a long way since you have had her and that is due to what you guys have done. Things like this move slowly. Hang in there and feel free to vent whenever you want!
    Patty, Ed, Harlow, Goldie & Riley
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00

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