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Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
02-19-2013, 01:35 PM,
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Kaylee Offline
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Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
I was wondering if anyone here has any advice on working with a very complex unmotivated dog. I am not calling him unmotivated in general just unmotivated to work for anything. Gonzo is my 5 year old Belgian Sheepdog Border Collie mix that I am training at my vet tech college. I fostered him for 2 weeks and am most likely bringing him home(this decision is still up in the air as I live at home with my mom still who has a final say on all this as it is not just me in the house).

He is not treat motivated or toy motivated. We have tried every type of treat and toy out there and he just doesn't want anything to do with them. He will work for praise but not all the time. He is best described as an onion that has many layers to him and we are still trying to figure this guy out.

If I end up adopting this guy I will be seeking the help of a behaviorist as he is a complex dog. Has anyone ever worked with a dog like this before? One where no treats or toys will motivate them, they are very independent, complex, shy, skittish, unsure, unconfident and have any tips? I can provide more information if needed as well.



Update:

I am not taking him. He is going to go back to a shelter and most likely be put down as no one else wants him. My mom(I live with her so she has a final say) flat out refuses to take him. It sucks but nothing I can do about it.
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03-09-2013, 02:32 PM,
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trishgl Offline
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RE: Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
What would you want him motivated for? My chow can't be bribed with treats or toys and I don't think there is anything wrong with her. She will move for a piece of chicken though. Just because the dog isn't playful does not mean she's not happy. Why don't you walk him in the morning or afternoon so he gets the exercise he needs and you can get him to socialize a bit. I always think if I was stuck at home all day with no one I can communicate with would I be happy? So I make it a point to walk my dog once even twice a day so she can see and "talk" to other dogs.
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03-12-2013, 12:20 AM,
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Kaylee Offline
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RE: Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
(03-09-2013, 02:32 PM)trishgl Wrote: What would you want him motivated for? My chow can't be bribed with treats or toys and I don't think there is anything wrong with her. She will move for a piece of chicken though. Just because the dog isn't playful does not mean she's not happy. Why don't you walk him in the morning or afternoon so he gets the exercise he needs and you can get him to socialize a bit. I always think if I was stuck at home all day with no one I can communicate with would I be happy? So I make it a point to walk my dog once even twice a day so she can see and "talk" to other dogs.


This post no longer applies. Gonzo ended up being adopted by an upperclassmen at the vet tech college and now lives on a farm.


If you met this dog you would know something was wrong with him just based on his behavior everything he did was a sign of fear, insecurity, etc... I personally believe he was not a good fit for the college and should have been re homed to a behaviorist instead of having us work with him because of how severe his problems are. My own dog isn't very playful but I don't think theres anything wrong with him either. I never meant that a playful dog wasn't a happy dog but this dog was not even showing his true personality even after being at the college for almost a year. This is a severely damaged dog that was not once happy. You brought him out of his kennel and he wanted to go right back inside. He was terrified of everything. Gonzo did not live with me he was a dog I may have adopted from my vet tech college. I fostered him for 2 weeks over winter break and then took over being his trainer once we got back to campus. I had no control over what happened with him at the college in terms of exercise unless I was with him training him(however during kennels he is taken out by whoever is on duty twice in the morning and by whoever is on duty in the afternoon twice again so taking him out for training was not the only exercise he got). Even then we had restrictions on where we could go and socializing(dogs are not allowed interact together and only other dog trainers can interact with the dogs). This dog is was not your average dog. Even on walks during our training sessions he shut down, he wasn't motivated to learn simple obedience commands, he was a very odd and complex dog that no one had ever seen before. He was tied up in a junkyard and beaten and starved. I was just asking for advice if I did end up taking "my" dog home if anyone had ever worked with a dog like him before. My own dog at home is fear aggressive(this is not due to lack of socialization but due to being attacked multiple times by loose dogs while we are out on our daily walks) yet I've worked with him to the point where hes willing to be around other people and other dogs even without being scared and wanting to bite them. However I've never met or worked with a dog like Gonzo before(I've worked with aggressive dogs, under socialized dogs, fearful dogs, dogs with behavior problems, etc...) and neither did anyone at the college(all instructors are certified vets and vet techs) so was just looking for advice but like I said he went to a farm with an upperclassmen.
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05-26-2013, 01:04 AM,
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cliverederson Offline
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RE: Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
My dog is like exclusively motivated by treats. For example, she'll fetch for treats, but if you stop giving them, she'll stop fetching within a couple throws, haha. I kind of thought the point of trained behavior is you could stop with the treats eventually and they'd just be trained to behave that way.
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05-27-2013, 05:35 AM,
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ChanellG Offline
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RE: Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
Wow, that really sucks. How terrible must it be to feel that no one wants you? No wonder the poor dog wasn't motivated. He had probably been mistreated or neglected in some way prior to you fostering him. He just needed a bit more time.
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07-12-2013, 05:15 PM,
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Kaylee Offline
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RE: Working with a dog who is not motivated by anything and very complex
(05-26-2013, 01:04 AM)cliverederson Wrote: My dog is like exclusively motivated by treats. For example, she'll fetch for treats, but if you stop giving them, she'll stop fetching within a couple throws, haha. I kind of thought the point of trained behavior is you could stop with the treats eventually and they'd just be trained to behave that way.

(05-27-2013, 05:35 AM)ChanellG Wrote: Wow, that really sucks. How terrible must it be to feel that no one wants you? No wonder the poor dog wasn't motivated. He had probably been mistreated or neglected in some way prior to you fostering him. He just needed a bit more time.


He ended up being adopted a second time(the farm home didn't work out so he was returned and now he is in another home) not the best home but its better then putting down.

I was only fostering him for a couple weeks during our winter break. The college had him for almost a year and I had trained him for about 4 months before he left.

My mother did not want him because she was not prepared to help me with the amount of work he would have been. Plus theres the fact that she no longer trusted him after he bit her. Gonzo adored me and honestly if it were up to me I would have adopted him but I do not control that. Before being taken in by the vet tech college he was a cruelty case but he honestly was a very complex dog. In his whole time at the campus he only bonded with one person myself and wasn't too crazy about anyone else. Hes very hard to explain unless you have met him. Again this no longer applies because he has been adopted I just never updated the topic with that news.
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