Since showing up, we have been unable to get Jake to go potty. The first night/morning here I got up to find poop in his crate after an unsuccessful day of trying to convince him, but even after the accident, he was still refusing to pee at all – not even in his crate. He isn’t the first dog that I’ve run into this problem with, though. So I decided to just wait it out. Most nervous dogs won’t eat for the first day or two (Jake hadn’t eaten either), but the ones who are really wound tightly also refuse to potty. Then, yesterday, Jake had his first Aha! moment. 🙂
I could tell he was finally beginning to feel more comfortable going in and out of the crate. He was more comfortable following me around the yard, and he was even coming to me unprovoked to stand beside me as I waited for him to use the bathroom. Yet, it wasn’t for me that he went to the bathroom. I had Faith (my daughter) take him out for the first time (since he was showing signs of cooperating a bit better). And he finally peed “the longest pee of his life.” (In the words of my daughter. ) When it was time to take him out again, I took a little food with me so that I could reward him if he did it for me. He didn’t, but I offered food anyway, and he finally took some for the first time. (Yay!) NOW I can work with him. 🙂
Dogs that have Jake’s behavior issues are typically dogs that have never had to earn a thing in their life. Call them entitled. This is exactly where Jake comes from. I need to flip that upside down. So instead of getting everything for free, Jake must earn everything. Everything. Food, affection, play time, freedom… Everything. This is how respect is won, trust is built, and guards are let down.
I started with the crate. From day one, Jake has been learning to wait for permission to leave the crate (earning freedom) or to enter the crate (earning comfort). At the door, he is required to wait for permission before either going outside or coming in. And now that he is accepting food (and gobbling it up), he must earn that too. Today he earned food by way of the muzzle. (See the video below.)
This has only been his first Aha! moment. There will be many more. Stay tuned.