New Rescue Chow Mix-- Need Help!

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New Rescue Chow Mix-- Need Help!

Postby ecerasi » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:38 am

Hey guys! My name is Emily, and we recently adopted a dog from the shelter, who is a chow mix. His name is Fettuccine, and is about 16 months old! I'm not entirely positive what else he is mixed with, but after exploring some images of chow mixes, he definitely fits the description! I have a few concerns with his behavior, but mainly am looking for suggestions on how to correctly train this type of dog. I know that he is a lost, confused, scared, little pup right now, and that patience and consistency will be a huge part of this process. I am not sure if I am speaking too soon here, since we have only had him since Saturday. However, I do want to start off on a good foot.

He appears to be such a docile, sweet boy who doesn't mind affection. However, he also has a mind of his own and is stubborn as anything. He gets mad and whimpers when I don't allow him to have what he wants-- this can be confusing, because I don't know how to differentiate from him having to go to the bathroom or one of his needs not being met(he does this even if I just let him out), or if he is just whining because he wants to get out and explore more. The poor little guy has heartworms and is currently on exercise restrictions, so unfortunately I am not able to allow him to release a lot of his nervous energy right now! He can only go on walks to the bathroom.

Here are a few concerns of mine!

1. We live in an apartment (cost of living in Denver is crazy!), and he seems to HATE the small space. Although our apartment is fairly open, it almost makes me feel that my home is inadequate for him. I am unsure if this is reality, or if it is just going to take a period of adjustment, since he came from the shelter and has been traveling around without a solid home for quite a while! I am not sure if the space is not enough for him, or how much space chows typically require. Once his heartworms are gone, I plan on exercising him quite a bit each day.

2. He ESCAPED from our apartment and his crate yesterday! We tried to barricade him initially in our kitchen/bathroom area (which is connected) so that he'd have more space, but he freaked out and kept knocking over the baby gate. I work 8-5 Monday-Friday, so we had no option but to try and crate him or contain him somehow! I came home for lunch to check on him/let him out, and he seemed fine. Apparently not-- he must have gotten mad that I left. Should I not leave him alone in the crate for that long of a time period? I only leave him for 4-5 hours at a time; I know he is going to take some time to acclimate to the crate. I just feel so badly leaving him in there!!

3. I've read a few things that suggest that chows don't respond well to normal training methods. Is this true? If so, what would be recommended to try and teach him basic commands?

4. He seemed really calm the first day or two, but now freaks out when we leave. We should have developed boundaries on the very first day with the crate, but we are new to this (and specifically this breed-- I have grown up with labs my entire life, and my fiance has with pugs) and we weren't quite sure how he felt or how to feel about him. How can I develop boundaries and discipline him but still show him a proper amount of love and affection?

Sorry this is SO LONG!! I'm just so concerned and overwhelmed, and unsure what to do. I love my little guy, and want to care for him. However, I also want him to be happy and safe in an environment with enough space and love for him-- I know we are capable of providing the love, but am not sure about the space. Any help anyone has to offer would be great! Thanks.

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Re: New Rescue Chow Mix-- Need Help!

Postby Rory's Dad » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:52 pm

Emily, relax a bit. 1st off, OK, you have a chow mix. 2nd, he is 16 months or so old. Finally, he is a rescue.

SO, that is defining the basics of what you are dealing with. That was the hard part. The easy part is breaking down how to deal with what you have, and really its not that bad.

1. Chow mix...regardless of what the mix is, a Chow will be stubborn at times and have selective hearing. You need to be in charge. He will respect a confident leader. Call it 'pack mentality' if you want, but that is an over used term. "Alpha" is another frequently used term, but essentially you need to teach the dog who is in control. To do this you need to control his environment, and if that is a crate while you are out, then you need to make that acceptable to him. I prefer positive training methods, and I strongly believe that negative reinforcement will not work with Chows and will cause more problems than they solve. You CAN'T wrestle a chow to submission or force him to his mistakes. They are way too intelligent and has long memories. Any sort of negative training will result in an unpredictable dog.

With that being said, crate training can be approached in a positive manner. The dog views the crate as his home. He has food, water, a comfortable pad, maybe even treats. It can keep him safe from the scary outside world. Use the crate for potty training until he can leave the crate and go directly outside. Use it for traveling by car (its safer anyway). If he likes car rides then this makes the crate time even easier for him. If he's accustomed to it, even vet visits become less stressful.

2. He is not a pup. At 16 months he is actually exploring his juvenile stage. That can mean pushing boundaries (think human teen). It is really important that he isn't given free reign. He must be shown the boundaries that are important to you. Do you care if he sits on command? Or if he is accepting of guests to your home? This is the time to set the rules. Again, I come back to positive reinforcement. When you give him his dinner what is the routine? As the 'leader', you control the resources and this is the best time to show it. Prepare his food and hold it on the kitchen counter. Ask him to do whatever, (sit, down, speak) before you give him the food. I would also only give him 1/2 of his dinner. Work with him so that you can lift the bowl before he is done to give him the rest, to avoid any food aggression (very useful with rescues who may have had to struggle for full meals).

3. He is a rescue. It may take some time to figure out what his issues are or what caused them. Sounds like abandonment might be one of them if he is so freaked out when you leave. Commonly, you will also see reservations towards male figures or phobias towards certain situations.

Since he still has some health issues, you might see a lot of his quirks go away when they are resolved. Beyond that, you should really focus on getting him into a normal routine that he can understand.

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Re: New Rescue Chow Mix-- Need Help!

Postby ski » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:32 am

We have rescued two chows...Loki, a pure chow and Frisco, a chow Newfoundland mix. We have had them both for over ten years. Having rescued other breeds in the past, I find that chows take a but more time to adjust to their surroundings. Frisco was so insecure he followed us everywhere and would wait outside the bathroom for us! He also had to be trained to not be territorial with his food. He was almost two when we got him just a day before he was to be euthanized. He also had a fear of anything with a handle. It took almost a year for him to feel totally secure. Give your rescue time and love. They don't require a great deal of space. Mine have never been very athletic but do enjoy their daily walk. loki was rescued by our son and lived happily in a New York City apartment until he needed surgery and came to live with us to recuperate (obviously we never let him go).

Bless you for giving this dog a home! Good luck..,you will be rewarded with love and loyalty!

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