Do you recognise this behaviour?

Discussion in 'Labrador Rescue' started by Labsetter, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Labsetter

    Labsetter Registered Users

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    Hello everyone,

    Ben my golden Labrador came to me when he was about 10mths old. He had been with his previous owners since he was two months old. Not sure what went on before he came to live with me. He was unable to walk on a lead which is now sorted and is no longer a problem. When he is worried or frightened he lies down on his side being very submissive and indicating to one and all that he is not a threat.

    The behaviour I have never seen in a dog before is that sometimes when he is really anxious he lies down on his side and piddles? Has anyone experienced this with their dogs?

    Best wishes

    Diana
     
  2. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi Diana,
    Unfortunately I've never experienced that type of behaviour, but it does sounds like it's a nervous trait. Do you know much about his background? Was he treated 'old school'? Or anything happened?
    Poor boy. Hope you get to the bottom of it soon
     
  3. Labsetter

    Labsetter Registered Users

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    Hi Naya,

    Thanks for your reponse. I am not sure what went on with his previous owner. What I do know is that when Ben arrived he could not cope with the sight of a lead. This was sorted when I cut an old lead to about fifteen inches, clipped it to his collar and just ignored the lead but overloaded the praise when he also ignored it. When he arrive his bed came with him. A really huge plastic preformed bed. Inside was a very deep comfortable looking deep material bed. On top of this was a really grotty blanket. The blanket went straight into the bin. I thought I would keep the duvet once cleaned and recycle the bed as I am not a fan of this type of plastic bed. When I lifted the material bed out, I discovered lots of rubbish lying in some dubious liquid! A few weeks later Ben was in the back of my car, he travels really well and I suddenly thought I would take the plastic bed to the tip as I could easily stop off on my way to the shops. Within minutes of putting the bed (cleaned) behind the driver and passenger seat, Ben started to cry. He kept this up for the ten mile return journey. It was very distressing just to listen to him.

    To date he has laid on his side and piddled when he first went for a walk, at the vets, having his nails cut and when ever he is unduly anxious. On the whole he is so much better but will revert to piddling whilst lying down when life just gets too much for him.

    Diana
     
  4. Teller's mom

    Teller's mom Registered Users

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    I have seen this behavior before but not specifically in labs. I usually see it in shelter mutts who come from abusive backgrounds. Since you don't know what went on with his previous owners, it's very likely that he was not socialized properly (explaining the anxiety over new situations) and may have been treated harshly. It is definitely a fearful, anxious behavior and will probably take a while to be remedied. How old is Ben now?

    The important thing is that you got him away from what sounds like a sketchy situation and are working with him on these issues. In training him I would absolutely only focus on positive reinforcement. There are other things you can do to improve his confidence and help him to come out of his shell a bit. It might be a good idea to get with a trainer for a one-on-one consultation so they can evaluate Ben and recommend ways to make him more sure of himself. Remember to take things slowly and enjoy your time with Ben!
     
  5. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    That sounds like a case of extreme anxiety, poor thing! I would very slowly, building a bond based on trust. Use play to build confidence with you and himself. Take life extremely slowly with him. You are on the right track with lots of praise and reassurance. Good luck!
     
  6. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Poor boy. I'm glad he is safe with you now, and hope his confidence grows over time.
     
  7. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    It does seem to indicate submission and with your pup it sounds like it is and that is perfectly normal. If he is still intact he might have soaring testosterone that provokes some other dogs and could be it's a very good thing for him to do, with dogs at least. Read the link at Puppy License to Misbehave:

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/dog-communication

    The whole link is good. BE calm, act confident yourself, don't coddle, most outgrow this but submission is far from being the worst trait a dog can have.

    My own dog lies down like that. Oban is a confident, outgoing, sure of himself dog so when he does it I do believe it's to show approaching dogs he is not a threat. I call it his "alone and unarmed" pose. I watched him do it once as three Highland Terriers were about to meet us head on on the trail, all of us off leash, and Oban stayed down as all three dogs sniffed him. The other lady was pleased and said her one male is intimidated by bigger dogs and sometimes reacts with "the best defense is a good offense" and will rush and snap at the other dog. He did seem a little confused at Oban's behaviour.
     
  8. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Poor, poor Ben :( Taking things slowly is the only way with lots of praise, treats, games. @Labsetter Have you considered doing some clicker training with Ben? It's such a positive way to train a dog for treats, it helps build their confidence and bond with their owner. I have done quite a lot with my rescue boy Charlie, he loves it, we do things for fun and necessary things too. He only has to see the clicker and treats and goes nuts to do some work! :) x
     
  9. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    One Labrador near us who is 6 months younger than Homer lies on his side wriggling submissively when he meets Homer on our walks. I'm not sure how much he does this when meeting other dogs or dogs of different sizes. This dog comes from a loving family home so for this one I'd rule out any mistreatment rather a more sensitive disposition.

    Hopefully with some confidence building and becoming more secure in his new surroundings his nervousness will begin to reduce.
     
  10. Labsetter

    Labsetter Registered Users

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    Hello everyone,

    Thank you so much for all your replies. To answer your questions Ben is now 5 years and 8 months. Just after he came to stay with me he went to the vets and was snipped, clipped and chipped. He was fine. At his first check up he laid on his side and piddled over the vet who just laughed and mopped himself and the floor up.

    From what I can gather he lived with two adults and a young lad who was about 7 years old. It was thought that the man suffered from mental health problems and the young boy was diagnosed with Autism. I think he was teased and laughed at as well as ...

    Ben has conquered his fear of being on a lead and now enjoys going for a walk. He just about copes with walking through doorways when the door is ajar. He manages to stay calm and not panic when I'm hovering or washing the floor. If I tell my cat off or even just say no in a stern voice he goes straight to his bed as he is convinced that he is in trouble.

    I do clicker training with Ben which has helped.

    One of his main joys is having his belly patted especially if he is outside and then he just runs and runs around the garden finally stopping ready for me to pat his belly once more and the whole game starts all over again until he finally has enough.

    Gradually he is getting there and is less anxious as time goes by.

    Once again thank you for your responses and good wishes.

    Diana
     
  11. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    He sounds such a lovely boy and it's so great that he's got a kind home with you.
     
  12. Labsetter

    Labsetter Registered Users

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    Another first for Ben. Its time to meet the new baby. Ben has had little contact with children and none whatsoever with a tiny baby. His bag is packed; Clicker(s) in case I mislay one! Frankfurters sliced up as a very tasty treat to reinforce the clicker. His favourite toys, and a new bed without sides. Ben finds beds with sides scary, So a nice flat bed, which as it is new will be for the first few seconds devoid of his fur. As for me having a baby cuddle, I will see how things go and let you know how Ben, baby and I get on.

    The key is oh so slowly. As for meeting the new kitten I am not worried. Ben knows his place in the dog and cat world. Cats rule! Ben's role is to make sure that he keeps a wary eye out for the kitten and takes evasive action to make sure he is out of harms way.

    An interesting weekend ahead.

    Best wishes

    Diana
     
  13. Boogie

    Boogie Registered Users

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    Enjoy - hope all goes well, I'm sure it will :)
     
  14. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    It does sound like he didn't have a good life before, but it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job of encouraging him slowly and not forcing situations. I'm glad that he found you. Look forward to hearing more about your trials and tribulations.
     
  15. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    You've found that SLOWLY is the key for Ben. It sounds like he is doing remarkably well given his past. I wish both you and Ben all the best x
     
  16. Labsetter

    Labsetter Registered Users

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    Hi Folks,

    I am so proud of Ben. He coped incredibly well. New baby and his dad arrived. I told Ben to go in his bed and stay there. He did. Although he was constantly aware of both, Ben was able to relax and just let everyone be. Even when I was sitting cuddling baby Ben was content just to sit in his bed and watch.

    Thanks for your interest and words of encouragement.

    Diana
     

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