Ok so help, advice, and positive stories of fearful dogs who got better are greatly appreciated!!! Week 2 with Truck has been good and bad. First off, HE IS SOOOOOOOOO FEARFUL!! He is still very timid and anxious. 

Issue 1: Fear of cars. If anybody can help me fix this, or relate stories of their dogs that improved that'd be great. Truck is terrified of cars, to the point where if I open my door and he is off leash he will run away and not come when I call him. He did this the other day and it took me going back into the house to get him back (he is afraid of being left alone so if I ignore him and leave he will come to me). After this happened I leashed him up and had him get in and out of the car a few times and just sit in the car and get praised. I take  for granted Franklin will jump right into the car and forget how Truck acts so have to make an effort to remember to leash Truck up if I am heading to the car

Issue 2: Separation anxiety. Truck has terrible separation anxiety. I have tried leaving him home alone out of his crate for short periods of time and once it went well and then another time he peed in the house and tore up a bunch of stuff. This is a BIG issue for me because I got Truck partially as a companion for Franklin when I am gone. If I can't let him out of the crate, then he certainly isn't going to be a good companion! Ideas on how to fix separation anxiety? I give him treats and goodies every time I leave so leaving is a positive thing, and he will FINALLY go in his crate willingly without running away like he used to. 

Issue 3: Potty training. This is somewhat related to the separation anxiety I think, but ideas on potty training an adult dog? I always let the dogs out a lot when I am home so have had no problems with Truck going in the  house,except at my parent's house where he both pooped and peed inside. Here he has peed twice when left home. One time I was gone for several hours and he broke out of his crate and peed, and then the other day he also peed when I was only gone for a short period of time. Both dogs have access to outside with a dog door 24/7 and Truck goes in and out the dog door. How do I teach him not to go potty inside? I've never caught him in the act so I don't know how to fix this.

Issue 4: Fear. His fear is a big issue which causes a lot of these other issues. I literally can't raise my voice or deepen the pitch of my voice without him freaking out. If I try to call him and he isn't listening and then use a deeper voice he will scitter around me and not let me catch him. If I ever had an issue like this with another dog, when I call him in a happy voice with lots of praise this fixes the issue but Truck will just shut down when he is in this mode and I can't get him to come without basically just leaving him and continuing to walk. He is generally EXCELLENT off leash otherwise though. This is a problem in the house as well, he is just so scared. If Franklin starts playing a tad rougher then he will shut down and quit playing, Franklin has actually started getting annoyed with him and has now basically quit playing with him. Truck also cowers when I try to pet him and is just overall super fearful, ideas to help him gain confidence and help with this fear and anxiety?

On a positive note, when Franklin had his tooth extraction I took Truck to the pet store because it would be much easier to work with him one on one. He was great in the store and a guy with a corgi came over and Truck was very nice and friendly with the corgi. He also greeted and allowed 2 strangers to pet him which was great too. 

Sorry no new pictures! The weather has been awful.

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Comment by Melissa and Franklin! on January 27, 2012 at 1:11pm

I will definitely keep him leashed up more. In my area there are a few places where even if he bolted, he'd have nowhere to go as the beach is completely blocked on both sides unless he dove into the river, except for the path down (where I usually stand), so I had been letting him off in those areas so he could run with Franklin and I could also work on calling him back. When I took him on the trail I kept him on a 15 foot leash so I could still work on calling him back but he had more freedom to run with Franklin, and I'd drop the leash when there was nobody around and it was "safe". I have always had dogs trained from day one to be off leash, so I guess this is another place I just kind of take for granted that he mostly minds. I've only had one dog in my life spook and run and of course it was one of my shepherds, so I have to keep thinking of him like a shepherd and not a pembroke. I think my pace has been too fast bc the owners said he will adjust in a week! I knew that wasn't long enough but they said he should be used to leaving home and staying with strangers bc they often sent him off to different handlers for training for months at a time. But of course this situation has a lot more freedom so he is probably doubly confused.

Beth, I have NO IDEA what he likes (besides Franklin!), but he is definitely good on leash. He has obedience and rally titles so he knows his stuff when I leash him up. I will start taking him out alone and play around with some obedience and rally games. Last night I started making him stay and would leave the room and come back and give him treats. I read that is a good first step for helping separation anxiety (because he clings to me everywhere I go). I think obedience games will be a good confidence builder too and he will learn what praise is (he still gets nervous when I pet him and tell him "good boy"). 

Comment by Beth on January 27, 2012 at 12:11pm

Two thoughts:


One is on the treats:  Maddie is a grabber too and I've not been successful in changing that.  She had lots of treats before I got her and would come running from the other side of the house if you said "cookie!"    But her prior owner used to toss treats a lot, I think.  And in the ring they sometimes encourage them to really grab on and chew to keep them busy.   So being a grabber doesn't mean he didn't have treats, just that he was not taught to take them demurely from the hand.


The other thought is this:  What really brought out Maddie was taking her swimming.  She adores the water and gets so excited as soon as she sees it.  We took her a few times early on and I got to see her true personality, so I knew what I was shooting for.  I also took her out solo and did things that she excelled at.  She has fabulous leash manners, with "power steering" as I call it; the slightest touch of the leash (even a slack leash) will have her change direction, and she changes speed as her handler does.   It's really awesome and certainly something that I've never successfully trained with any of the dogs I raised myself.    I'm awful at training leash manners.   Anyway, she sparkled then too because she knew exactly what was expected of her. 


I had to stop myself from focusing on the ways she was uncomfortable so I could step back and see the dog her prior owner had seen.    Taking her swimming made her joyful and so she forgot her stress at the change and relaxed even away from the water, in much the way you might feel better after a fun night out with friends after a tough few weeks at school.  And watching her steller leash performance, and rewarding her for it, put her back in her comfort zone and she could see she pleased me, and that helped her relax and helped me really see where she shines.

So I suggest finding one thing he adores, and one thing he is very good at, and spending some time doing those things with him.  It will help him relax, and help you see the dog his owners thought they were handing over to you.  Good luck!

Comment by Jane Christensen on January 27, 2012 at 11:25am

Hi melissa,

It really sounds like Truck is doing extremely well for only being there 2 weeks:) As Sam said it will take at least 1 1/ months for him to acclimate. He is a newbie and just learning the ropes and what you want. I think he will calm down but needs time.

As someone also asked PLEASE don't let him run free for now as he could spook and run. I had a rescue for over 6 weeks and one day we had a storm and I knew she was petrified. I put her in the garage as fast as I could and just left the door cracked so I could get the others in. Well she got out and spent the next 2 days wondering around. A farmer found her laying in his alfafa field exhausted and called , you just don't know at this point what will happen if he gets scared. PLEASE... be cautious. I felt so horrible and I had tried to do the right thing but that's how scared she was and since you don't know Truck that well I would error on the side of caution. He looks very comfortable in his pics but all new homed dogs need some time to adjust.

Comment by Melissa and Franklin! on January 27, 2012 at 1:45am

Thank you for the input about Cardigans specifically. I think it is definitely something I have to keep in mind. I do think that perhaps Truck was not as reactive in his own home, but I do know he did have separation anxiety there because of the damage on his teeth. I talked to my vet and showed her a picture and she said it was caused by biting/chewing a crate or chain link fence. When I mentioned his fearfulness to his old owners they didn't seem all that surprised about that either. He was low man on the totem pole and frequently beat up by the other dogs in the house, he is a dog with MAJOR confidence issues. But I do need to keep in mind he may be reacting more fearfully due to his breed and that hopefully once he is used to me it will get better. The thing is, I got corgis bc I didn't want to deal with the neuroses shepherds have! Lol! I have raised and trained shepherds in the past and was looking for a dog that was similar to shepherds but not as neurotic, hoping this is just a phase with truck and he will adjust. I loved my shepherds but boy were they A LOT of work!

Comment by Shepdog on January 27, 2012 at 1:12am

Honestly... I'm not sure if anyone's brought this up yet, so if it's been done, I apologize for repeating myself.

I'm going to say this as someone who's had experience with both breeds of Corgi, and I'm not sure if anyone's brought this up. Pembrokes aren't Cardigans. 

Cardigans are more like German Shepherds - they're awfully reactive, often distrustful and very thoughtful at the same time to upheavals in their lives. They don't instantly bond with their new owners In my honest opinion, I think the family he lived with probably didn't see these behaviors because he was used to his routine, to his safe points, to his place in his pack and with his people.

My Cardigans are one person, one family dogs. They are friendly, but they don't dash up to solicit affection  strangers like my rescue Pem.  I'm hesitant to  think the handlers out there beat this dog, or abused this dog.  I think he's pretty much reacting like a Cardigan who has had his life turned upside down and he's acting out in ways that would baffle his previous owners and people who knew him.


 Beth's right -- he may not be a fearful dog at all, he may simply be in shellshock. I really believe that this fellow will need several months to settle into your household.

Comment by Melissa and Franklin! on January 26, 2012 at 11:08pm

Thanks Beth. Your past post helped a lot. It is EXACTLY how I'm feeling! I am more than willing to put the time and effort in I just wish I had a crystal ball to tell me how things will turn out and if the time spent will be worth it. I wish the breeders had a better idea of their dog's personality. They say he had no separation anxiety and he was great in the car, yet when I got him his teeth had metal scratches on them, a clear sign he had been chewing the bars of his crate and/or kennel. They also said he can never have a bed/towel/toys in his crate because he will shred them and eat them, but he has done fine with the bed I put in his crate and has not destroyed (or even remotely damaged) any of the treat toys I put in with him. It seems with him in his old home he was just kind of "there" and they didn't pay much attention to him at all. He has NO IDEA how to play with toys or take treats gently he will gobble your whole hand off  like he has never really been given treats much. He clearly has no house manners, and I know the old owners said they basically coddled him. It makes me wonder what the handlers did to him when he was sent away for training, some of his behavior I can tell is from being so sheltered but some of the fear seems to be from rough handling as well. Franklin has shown NO aggression towards him and no jealousy which makes me hesitant to send him back and try to find another dog, because clearly Franklin likes him a lot. I just wish I knew if time and training could make him fit better with my lifestyle! 

Comment by Beth on January 26, 2012 at 9:39pm

Melissa, I do want to say that I think each of us has to decide what we are looking for in a dog, and there is nothing wrong done by deciding he's not the right dog for your life right now.  

I go to the park every day with my dogs and I need dogs that are pretty much bomb-proof with people, ok with other dogs, and not afraid of much of anything.  In a given week in the summer or fall, they might be expected to walk through a track meet, greet a friend's new puppy, be drooled on by someone's toddler, either join in or ignore an ever-changing pack of playing dogs, and tolerate an incredible amount of activity right on the front sidewalk.  Both of mine have quite literally run up to an entire ROTC squad in full camo, with rifles and all, to say "hello" and be fussed over by the corps.   THIS is my life with my dogs, and because of it I would personally never take on a project dog.  If something happened to one of my dogs, and they developed a fear or phobia, I would of course deal with that as it arose.   However, I would not willingly take on a project because it would deeply interfere with my life and what we do for fun with the dogs.  Other people take great joy from working with a problem dog and bringing him along and watching him progress.  

For myself, all the dogs I bring home at this point in my life will be happy-go-lucky, outgoing, cheerful, and confident.   

If that's what you want for your life and your dogs, then there would be no sin in sending Truck back; he might be happier as an only dog in a quieter home.  If you are happy with him and ok making some major adjustments in how you live with your dogs, then his issues can certainly be worked on.   And of course you have to think of Franklin;  from all you have said he's a high-energy dog who needs a lot of activity.  If Truck is overwhelmed by noise and bustle, and Franklin thrives on it, you may have trouble keeping both dogs happy.

Just a thought.  

Comment by Melissa and Franklin! on January 26, 2012 at 8:41pm
Thanks everyone for the advice. Franklin and I are so similar in our personalities that he fit perfectly into my world. We are both outgoing and loud and a bit rough and tumble so I think both of us will have to learn to mellow out and quiet down and allow truck to adjust. Everything was soeasy with Frank bc he is by far the most intelligent dog I have ever known and he can pretty much read all my body language so half the time no words are needed. I just need to remember that all of that took time and patience. Hopefully truck will learn to trust me and will come out of his shell bc he is going to have to fit into my world. I was very specific in what I wanted in my next dog and his owners said he'd be a great fit but I honestly think they didn't know him well because he was one of 7 and spent much of his time in a crate or kennel. He was shipped to different handlers for training etc. so I'm not sure he has ever had a human to look up to and put his trust in. Hopefully between frank and I we can teach him the ropes and he can learn to enjoy our outings and be more confident in himself
Comment by Lynne Cerny on January 26, 2012 at 7:56pm

Like everyone has said it will take time, more then you would think!  What really helped me was I found that Sally never must have been allowed on a bed before.  I would take her with me alone, she was so happy and would play without acting at all scared, that it gave me hope that she would be able to gain that trust in other areas!  She still doesn't like car rides but I have a soft kennel that she goes in and is fine once the car is stopped.  Sally doesn't like raised voices either, my husband is rather LOUD by nature and she just loves him and has never really acted scared of him, so I think tone is a big factor.  Give lots of love and he will come around! I have also found that Herbsmiths calm shen is a big help.  

Comment by Jennifer Markley on January 26, 2012 at 7:14pm

Just give him time.  We've had Jackson for almost 15 months now, and he will still cower if you come over the top of him to pet him, or if there is a loud noise.  We just got him to eat off forks without any issues at all.  It takes time, and like we said before, some dogs will never get over some things.  Like Sam said, do some one on one time alone with him, as you are his world.  He needs to trust you and know that this is forever.  Him and Franklin will work out their own issues later when Truck is more calm.

At this point, I wouldn't let Truck off his leash outside at any time!  If he gets scared enough, he will bolt and not come back.  That's the last thing either he or you need right now.  It takes time to build trust, and right now it's not there yet.  I had a dog one time that we had since she was a puppy, listened great, never had to wear a leash.  She for some reason was scared of beeps.  My husband changed the smoke detector battery one time, while we happened to have her outside.  She heard it and ran, and we didn't find her for 3 days.  And that was only by the grace of God.

Separation anxiety will be your biggest challenge.  My shepherd we've had for two and half years still has severe issues.  Try to leave for SHORT periods (like a minute), give a treat when you come back in.  Keep working it up to longer and longer periods of time.  But, he may never get over it, especially when he figures out that you are his.  If he will go in his crate, and it doesn't freak him out, then I'd use that as his safe place for now, until he starts to relax a little with the whole situation.

The potty training...having him on a leash at all times in the house is a great idea.  It will not only help you stop accidents, but will teach him you are his leader..which is what he needs right now.

Fear, I'm afraid, will never completely go away.  It can and will get better with time and patience, but some things will always be there.  Just be sensitive at the right times, but remember, dogs can live in the here and now with just little remembrances of the past.  Don't baby him because you feel sorry for him.  Give him extra attention, but still make him follow the rules of doghood.  Just let him know you love him and won't hurt him, and with time, it will get better.

My corgi mix I rescued never got over his fear of being picked up.  He was abused severely before I got him, and even though we were together from the age of 8 months to 16 years, he never got over it.  He'd freak out every time.  But other fears slowly went away, and we spent many years being best friends.  I like to think we rescued each other.

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