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Old 03-01-2019, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Concern for a senior Boxer rescue behaviour...

I adopted a senior boxer boy (Bruno) from our regional Boxer rescue three weeks ago. He has some minor health issues (ear infection, allergies, tumor on foot, disgusting gums) but I'm getting those addressed and he seems to be feeling pretty good. He was found on the street in a Dallas burb weighing only 53 lbs. - skin and bones pretty much. He's up to 75 lbs now and is still pretty thin but we'll get there. he's 27" tall so he's a good sized fella.

He acts like a puppy getting into everything so it's likely he's had no training from his former people -Grrrr! But he always looks and acts repentant when I correct him and he seems to really want to please so that's very good. So far he has learned sit and stay. And I've gotten many slibbery kisses.

The problem is I'm wondering if he is deaf or very hard of hearing. He completely ignores me when I call him or clap my hands to summon or correct him. He does not respond to the name that he's had for at least three months. I'm using hand signals as well as verbal commands to train him since he's not responding to verbal very well.

I know he has some issues, afraid of hands over his head or coming at him, afraid of other barking dogs, petrified that I'll leave him or he'll be taken. At the vet he actually fainted when the tech tried to take him to the exam room and I was following behind. That broke my heart! The vet checked him thoroughly and ran a full blood panel and an EKG to rule out any health problems. At home, I must leave the bathroom door open when I'm there and the shower curtain open a peep so he can check on me, but a lot of dogs are like that with closed doors. He was not invited onto my bed but he can jump onto it even though it's quite high, and he does. I cannot get him off without pushing him off the bed and I won't do that to a senior fella who might not be able to land upright! So, when it pleases him, he sleeps as close to me as he can get. Quite uncomfortable.

I have not heard one peep out of him since I brought him home and his foster mom who had him for 4 weeks says she never heard anything either. He's so loving and just wants to be loved back but I want to help him with some training so he'll be safe and I'll have good trust in him. He is not aggressive at all, even with his food. We are starting training with a great group here next week and I know they'll have some good ideas but wanted to see if any of you have thoughts or concerns that might help.

Thanks much!
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You sound like such a good dog parent. What do you mean you haven't heard a peep out of him? Whining or barking? Sounds like he's a good boy Some people just don't get it with dogs, you do. Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The hand shy thing is easy. Uh ... don't do that.

As a general rule dog's don't really care for that. If it's own your hand raised puppy ... that's a bit different. But he is no so for right now and until he "truly trust you." If you want to pet him on the head scratch him under the chin and work your way up. And I'd be Leary of letting estranges pet him cuz, pretty much everyone is gonna loom over him and reach for his head with an out stretched hand! ''

Using hand signals in conjunction with verbal commands is a good idea anyway. But yeah he may be deaf??? When he is in doors and laying down try snapping your fingers with him near your feet, he should at least look up to see what that "sound was??"

And the bed thing ... sigh, the fact of the matter is he "should be Crate Trained" and sleeping in his "Crate." As I know ... but the fact of the matter is with my already Crate Trained Boxer/Pit. She spent exactly uh one night in her Crate?? She was good with it ... I could not handle it ... my bad.

But assuming he is still gonna sleep in bed with you anyway?? Plan B, make him sit and wait until you tell release him before jumping up. And sigh use a cookie to gain some space for yourself. You climb in bed and then tell him up and place the cookie some distance from you. That will at least buy you sometime before he crowds back in. But you know I did get punched in the eye by Bella this morning so yeah ...

The group sessions may of may not work ... that depends on the dog?? So you'll have to see?? In any case, see here for two things you should be doing now and seriously doubt either of them will get mentioned. Sit on the Dog and the Place Command.

I have a whole bunch of other stuff ... I should have done but uh did not but those two I have done. :
https://www.boxerforums.com/training...e-command.html

And those things should be done with "every" dog! Welcome Aboard and keep us posted.

Oh and least I forget if he already afraid of other dogs?? Then "NO" Dog parks ... please! The last thing he needs is a bad encounter!
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum and I think its wonderful that you adopted a senior dog and can help him with his health. He sounds like a mellow laid back boy who just wants loving. He could be herd of hearing so I think hand signals are good too. Do you have any idea of his age? With a senior dog I just would go slow and do what your both comfortable training. Hopefully training with a group won't be too stressful for him, you may need to step back into the sidelines if he gets stressed until he is at a distance where he relaxes. Perhaps in time he will become comfortable with group training. I think a lot of it will depend on his age & health too. You sound like a real "dog" person, I think its wonderful you gave him a home.
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How old is he? I had to chuckle when you said he completely ignores you at times. I've found that's a real issue with Boxers that can be so stubborn you want to scream! You're in a hurry, and want to get them in the car, but suddenly they have selective hearing that requires a visual clue in the form a "treat" to lure them to their feet. It might even take another "treat" to get them closer to the door. Another one to get them to jump in the car?


If you call him by his new name from different parts of the house, and have a really quality treat (real chicken), he'll learn. If he comes just give him the food with no comments or praise. If he doesn't come, don't say a word, or call him a second time. If you do this several times a day, he'll learn his name.


If your Boxer fainted he may need to have an Echo run, and have a consult with a cardiologist. Ours fainted twice at night, proceeded by a really hard coughing spell, and he had something called "cough and drop". First we had to rule out other conditions with a cardiologist.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by owenowlsnest View Post
How old is he? I had to chuckle when you said he completely ignores you at times. I've found that's a real issue with Boxers that can be so stubborn you want to scream! You're in a hurry, and want to get them in the car, but suddenly they have selective hearing that requires a visual clue in the form a "treat" to lure them to their feet. It might even take another "treat" to get them closer to the door. Another one to get them to jump in the car?


If you call him by his new name from different parts of the house, and have a really quality treat (real chicken), he'll learn. If he comes just give him the food with no comments or praise. If he doesn't come, don't say a word, or call him a second time. If you do this several times a day, he'll learn his name.


If your Boxer fainted he may need to have an Echo run, and have a consult with a cardiologist. Ours fainted twice at night, proceeded by a really hard coughing spell, and he had something called "cough and drop". First we had to rule out other conditions with a cardiologist.
Thank you for the suggestions and the information. I've had two senior rescue boxers but they trained easily and never ignored me. Bruno is a rascal. He's eleven plus. We aren't sure since he was found on the street.

Yes, I did have an Echo run due to the fainting. They did it later in the week when the cardi was in. Nothing showed up. Soooo????

I'm anxious to try the trick you gave for getting him to respond to his name. Chicken sounds good! And for getting him to move from my 6 inches of bed!
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum and I think its wonderful that you adopted a senior dog and can help him with his health. He sounds like a mellow laid back boy who just wants loving. He could be herd of hearing so I think hand signals are good too. Do you have any idea of his age? With a senior dog I just would go slow and do what your both comfortable training. Hopefully training with a group won't be too stressful for him, you may need to step back into the sidelines if he gets stressed until he is at a distance where he relaxes. Perhaps in time he will become comfortable with group training. I think a lot of it will depend on his age & health too. You sound like a real "dog" person, I think its wonderful you gave him a home.
Group training didn't work well. He totally freaked out when all the other big dogs came into the barn. He tried to hide under me or behind me or on me. It was funny and sad at the same time. One on one is gonna have to be the game I guess at least for awhile. He has learned some things already from my YorkiePoo which is very helpful. But he doesn't realize his size and has squished her a couple of times without even knowing it. We'll get it figured out.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TalaHowardBruno View Post
Thank you for the suggestions and the information. I've had two senior rescue boxers but they trained easily and never ignored me. Bruno is a rascal. He's eleven plus. We aren't sure since he was found on the street.

Yes, I did have an Echo run due to the fainting. They did it later in the week when the cardi was in. Nothing showed up. Soooo????

I'm anxious to try the trick you gave for getting him to respond to his name. Chicken sounds good! And for getting him to move from my 6 inches of bed!
Yeah, good luck with that. lol
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You sound like such a good dog parent. What do you mean you haven't heard a peep out of him? Whining or barking? Sounds like he's a good boy Some people just don't get it with dogs, you do. Thanks.
Thank you! I do love dogs. My first two as a child were beagles. My first as an adult was a St. Bernard. Oh my goodness did I love that boy!!

No peeps from Bruno. Nothing! Not a bark, not a whine, no whimpering, no snorting. The only sound I hear is him licking his poor paws but that's gotten much better with some treatment. I thought for sure the sirens would awaken the beast in him. But no, nothing. My YorkiePoo barks at the door slamming two counties over but not Bruno!

I took him to the range with me last weekend to see how he would react. I expected to have to put him back in the car but he was not bothered at all. Maybe he'll go hunting next Fall! Doubt it but...
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Group training didn't work well. He totally freaked out when all the other big dogs came into the barn. He tried to hide under me or behind me or on me. It was funny and sad at the same time. One on one is gonna have to be the game I guess at least for awhile. He has learned some things already from my YorkiePoo which is very helpful. But he doesn't realize his size and has squished her a couple of times without even knowing it. We'll get it figured out.
That is not really a surprise?? Typically "group sessions" aren't really that useful anyway?? They work best for dogs that "don't" have other dog issues, as a general rule.
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