help-she knows what to do but now refuses
by we love our coco
(contra costa county)
We adopted a 7 mo dachshund/jack russell terrier mix. we got her from a rescue where she had originally been abandoned by her original owner, taken to a shelter, and was to be euthanized due to overpopulation.
she has lived in our home for three weeks now. she was potty trained already and would go to the patio door (which leads to the backyard) if she had to go in the middle of night or anytime outside of me taking her after she ate, played, etc. she was also very well behaved, responded to her name, played with only her toys, ate her food out of her dish. that was the first two weeks.
for the last week she has been behaving like a completely different dog. she refuses to eat her food and out of her dishes. outside of her treats, we have not fed her out of our hands. we have never fed her "human" food and she has never eaten food outside of her dishes. she now walks pass her own food and wont eat. i dont want her to starve so ive got her different flavors of dry and wet food - but im not giving in and letting her have table food.
she now refuses to use the bathroom outside. i continue to leash her and take her out regularly (10-15 min after eating, hard play, excitement) to her "potty spot" in the back yard, away from her play area onside of the house. she has started to resisting upon leashing, trying to use her feet as grips to not come outside, and when outside she just sits there. she will potty inside even as soon as she steps back in the house while im right there and has started pooping indoors too. she has also stopped responding to her name. she will not come unless she is hungry, but then goes as she realizes she wont get the food she wants. she has started playing with anything outside of her toys. chewing on the couch, pillows, a shoe-whatever. when she does i take it from her and exchange with on of her toys. her toys are on the floor fully accessible to her including in her bed and space. we keep as much as we can up and out of her way but like the food-she is passing them up in search of something else-and with nothing else she starts on the couch. everyone in the home are on the same page: speaking, praising, commanding, and holding the same rules consistently. ive done book and internet research, i have also pow wowed fellow dog lovers. i have been using a crate and a leash to aid in training as well as finding treats she loves. everything i have been doing from the beginning is what is suggested i do now for training. i continue to do the same things and she seems to get a "puppy tude" and is starting to appear stubborn. im not giving in, continuing to reward good behavior, continuing to be stern and consistent with commands and rules. nothing in the home has changed. same people, same schedules.
we love our new family member. can anyone see what we are doing wrong? what can i do to get her back on track?
Actually I don't think you're doing anything wrong! Everything you're doing is correct and I think if you continue to be as consistent as you have been, this phase will pass.
Of course, this must be extremely difficult to deal with and you're to be commended for your patience and resolve to do the best for this pup.
I think there may be two things going on here. One is that she is an adolescent, and this kind of stubborn/difficult behavior is classic. But this puppy has been through a lot in her short life, and now that she's feeling more confident and secure in her new home she's 'acting out' in response to all the stress she's been through.
Now, puppies aren't children of course, but their behavior and needs are often very similar. Phases and stages will come and go, and she will test her limits on a regular basis, but as long as you remain steadfast in your 'rules' and requirements, but still provide her with lots of love, attention, security and appropriate discipline, she will weather them (and so will you!). It will take time though.
It may seem never-ending right now, but I'm willing to be that in a months' time she will be behaving in a much more acceptable way.
As for the food issues, I would not recommend pandering to her whims, this will just increase her 'pickiness'. Just choose a good quality nutritious food and offer it to her at mealtimes. If she eats, great - if not, pick it up after 15 minutes and don't offer her anything until the next meal. She won't starve herself, nature won't allow it. She may not eat as much as you would like, but that's okay for now.
As for the rest of it, it seems to be that you're right on the button as it were, and you just need to continue what you're already doing. Love, attention and calm, loving discipline is what she needs, and exactly what she's getting. Puppies and dogs learn through association and repetition, she may have had a very confusing life before coming to you, but if you remain consistent this will be overcome and she will start to accept the boundaries you set.
I hope this has helped somewhat and wish you the very best of luck with your Coco. If you really feel at your wit's end, your veterinarian may be able to recommend an animal behavioral specialist that you could talk to, or someone else that could help. But I think you will find that this period will soon start to improve.