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Discussion Starter #1
Hi and thank you for letting me join this forum. I have been searching the internet, literature and all means of information concerning care and training of a toy poodle. My husband's 93 year old aunt owned a 2 year old toy poodle and when our aunt became hospitalized we offered to bring her dog to our home rather than him being alone in her house except for a neighbor feeding him. His name is Andre - he is sweet, fun, very interactive and a real pleasure. Our aunt never socialized him, he was not allowed outside and he was generally accustomed to a very strict daily regimen - including naps in his cage. She has owned and cared for many types of dogs over at least a 70 year time period and she of course totally adored her little Andre. She was placed in assisted living after the hospital and because that facility would allow her to have her dog, we continued to learn all we could, started training him simple commands (sit, lie, come, drop) and started socializing him with people and other dogs, anticipating his return to her. (We brought Andre home in the middle of January this year).

As time goes by, it seems less and less likely that our Aunt is going to take her dog back - she loves me bringing him for visits, but seems resistent, in spite of his very good response to training, to let him stay more than an hour.

I would like to add that my husband and I were the proud parents of two cats - one a russian blue who died 6 years ago at age 20 and the other a maine coon who died 5 years ago at age 21. We knew everything there was about our cats and when they passed we decided that we would hold off on having further animals in our life. Needless to say, we love animals but had no former knowledge of caring for a dog.

Here's my most pressing problem with Andre that I am so hoping someone can offer me assistance with - He's super quick to learn and loves everything, most of all riding in the van. However, the minute you put a collar on him or a harness (we bought both) he sits down and refuses to budge. He will happily let me put these on him, but from that minute on he acts like he just received a death notice - he won't make eye contact, he won't move, won't accept any of his favorite treats. I have carried him a block away from the house to teach him to walk back and he sits and stares the other way. When I finally give up and remove the halter, after a short period of rubbing his face and neck on the carpet, he becomes animated and his lovely personality returns. He will walk with me without the harness or leash and is pretty good, but obviously I can't trust that this is safe or that he will absolutely respond to my command after only knowing me for a couple months. If anyone can offer some help for me to "break through" whatever is "blocking" his ability to accept this, I would so appreciate it. I asked his vet, but the advice was to just keep putting it on before taking him out for anything - needless to say, it hasn't helped yet. Thank you all so much for allowing this rather lengthy request.
 

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How long do you keep it on him before removing? Has he worn it much since leaving your Aunt? He could be associating collar with that..

I would put it on him (just a moment) click/treat and remove. Try it a few times a day, then increase time he wears it to get treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Originally I only put the collar on for a few minutes (but was not treating as he seemed so excited to have me put it on) and was shocked to see his reaction. Other times I have put it on and carried him - keeping on while we were out. Also bought a harness thinking that the collar was hurting him, but got the same reaction. And tried just a sweater - when I took that off he ran to his cage and wouldn't come out for awhile. I questioned the vet thinking that maybe he has some abnormal skin reaction - I feel that he totally loves being with us and allows me to bath him, groom him, everything but putting something on him. I will try today your suggestion and see if I can get him to take a treat as soon as I put it on - thanks for your help.
 

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Sounds like this boy was never leash broke. I hate harnesses so I would put that aside. Put the collar on him and let him wear it around the house full time.

After a few days, let him drag a leash around the house. Keep an eye on him so that he does not get hung up on anything.

Next, use the leash in the house. If he was not socialized outside then being outside on leash will be too much at first. Take the leash in right hand. Put him on your left side. Give the walk command..... this can be anything you want, but be consistent. In a happy upbeat voice say:

Let's go!

Start walking forward. If he follows you PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE in a happy voice. Hold a treat down low with your left hand but keep looking and moving forward. If he doesn't want the treat, so be it. You are not trying to lure him, you are only rewarding forward walking. Be confident. If he senses that you are going to give in to his pity party he will play you!

If he does not walking forward, give him gentle little pops on the collar to keep him moving. Do not stop. Do not turn around and look at him. His job is to walk with you on leash. If he screams, bucks or stops, keep going. He will eventually understand that it is easier to walk than it is to be dragged along.

Walking is PRAISED PRAISED PRAISED!!! It could be ugly at first but be strong.... tough love!

Once he will walk through the house consistently for a couple of days, move to outside. You should expect to have to start all over again. Outside is going to be more challenging because he will be less sure of himself.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thank you - I think I needed a confidence builder - I don't want to hurt him and I do give in when he starts "pulling" back (with the halter). I was more afraid that he might choke if I continued to use the collar - and when I put it on him in the house he started rubbing his neck on the floor and rolling around like it was hurting him (even when it was super loose). I will try this again though - Love the phrase "pity party" and I think that's so very accurate! - thanks again - I am hoping that my status as a fill-in parent will continue to improve.
 

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Make sure the collar fits snugly. You don't want him pulling back and slipping out of it.

Put the collar on him in the house and let him be. He may freak out, but eventually he will get tired of it and just learn to accept the collar.
 
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