Readers Give Me Your Thoughts Please?

Posted on
Hey Everybody!

I’m having a challenge with one of my newer rescue dogs that I’ve not encountered before. He does not consistently come when I call him. My usual training methods have made some headway, but I’m putting it out there and asking for your suggestions to see if we can move this along a bit more quickly. Please respond with your thoughts by using my Contact page?

Not Sure Why.

The issue is with Bandit, the little Dachsund/Terrier-mix pup that I pulled from the shelter just days before the home invasion (see previous post). So I can’t say for certain if this problem comes as a result of lingering trauma from the robbery, or if this is a problem he’s always had and maybe even that’s why he ended up at the shelter in the first place? At first I thought it might be the aftermath of the robbery, but now several months later, having observed more of his personality, I tend to think it’s something in his past. In any event, having a dog run away from you instead of coming to you when called is a really big no-no, so would love your input to help me get him straightened around, ok.

So Bandit is a total lovebug. He gloms onto me like a hemorrhoid and doesn’t let go. He’s happy, carefree, and relaxed all snuggled up to me … until I ask him to come with me. To go pottie, to get a treat, to answer the door, doesn’t matter. He’s stuck to me like glue till I ask him to come. Then he runs and jumps on my bed–his safe place–and no manner of begging or bribing will bring him to me. And, to make it worse, if I follow him to the bed, he pees. If I pick him up, he pees. Even if I’m bringing treats. He’ll take the treat, but he still pees.


Because of the peeing, he now has to wear a diaper, which as you may recall from my last post, I have agreed to call a “toolbelt” because he feels that’s more manly. He will go out the doggie door all on his own to pottie — sometimes. Other times he opts to just pee on the kitchen floor instead. No idea why he gets it right only sometimes.  And if going out the doggie door is my idea, oh God forbid no.  He runs to my bed and hides.

Why Do I Do What I Do?

These are some real contradictions in personality, so it can be tough to figure out how to approach it. It seems obvious to me that trust has been broken for Bandit somewhere along the way in his life. The very first couple of weeks after I rescued him, he was afraid to eat his meals unless I stood away from him. He always looked guilty and on edge whenever he ate, like he knew he was about to get in trouble for something. If I approached or walked past him, he ran away. If I reached down to pet him, he flinched and ran. And once he runs away, he will not come back at any urging. He only returns when I leave the area and he feels the coast is clear. Then he sneaks out again to eat.

So I get the distinct impression he’s been scolded and perhaps even roughed-up in the past for something to do with food. Now, though, several months later, he doesn’t react that way much anymore. Still, it gives me a little insight as to what his history might have been before he came to my house. The unfortunate result of his former life, however, is that now I have a great little dog with some bad habits–running away and sneaking around.  And neither is acceptable behavior.

Are We There Yet?

Fortunately, Bandit is very food-driven, and he has started to respond to treats. When it’s time to saddle him up in his toolbelt so I can go to work, he still runs to my bed and hides his head under his blankie. I now follow him to my bed with a treat and the toolbelt and a relaxed, non-disciplinary energy.  I love him all up and put the toolbelt on him while he’s still up on my bed. Then he gets a treat and more praise and loving, all while still on my bed. He enjoys that and is beginning to respond with a measure of trust and confidence. So that’s a bit of progress .. although he still dribbles a little. But we’re getting there, I have faith.

I believe this little fellow may benefit greatly with some focused agility training. He’s amazingly smart and quick and agile, he runs like the wind, and is very eager to please–most of the time. But I hesitate to begin classes until we master the basic goal of consistently and reliably coming when called. I mean, how embarrassing would it be to be that owner chasing her runaway dog all around the arena while the other dogs are all sitting quietly, perfectly behaved, and rolling their eyes at Bandit and me. Yeh, I’d rather not.

So, even tho I feel like I’m on a good track with my training, I look forward to your added suggestions. Whatever moves Bandit along toward better behavior and trust, I will happily implement. Please submit your comments via my Contact page. Many thanks!

God Bless and Happy Pet Parenting!

With love and good wishes,
jeannie.   ?

About jeannie:  I’ve been pro-actively involved in pet rescue all of my life. I founded Milagro Senior Pet Refuge© (Phoenix) in 1998, and BareFootPets (TM) in 2008. Animal welfare has always been and will always be my heart’s work. If my only legacy is that I save a handful of precious souls that would not survive otherwise, I’m good with that.