Hi Allan,What a cute boy! Could you tell me what is a day pen? Is that a different space than his kennel? Can you explain what is the function of the day pen. Why he needs to go there. It is common for dogs to refuse food when they are super anxious. His tail between his legs further supports the notion that his anxiety is above the threshold. When animals feel threathened ( all animals) they stop eating. Consuming food puts them in a vulnerable position. Did something happen in the day pen or on the way to the day pen? How do you offer the cheese treats ? as a lure to get him to go in the day pen? If he is scared, that will not work; especially, if you are too close to the thing that scares him. One option is you can countercondition him to the scary thing. The other option is management. Does he need to go into the day pen or there is another space for him to go? Right now he sees the day pen as a punishment and the behavior of wanting to go into it decreases. That is what punishment does, it suppresses behaviors. Maybe I should wait until you explain more about the day pen rather for me to assume the day pen is the problem. I volunteer at a shelter for many years and I am now a rewards-based trainer. Looking forward to hear more about the day pen.
Thank you Julielani Chang. The night pen is where the dogs' sleep. They have their bed in there including heater. It is approx. 10 ft x 10 ft. They are taken from their each morning to an exercise yard and then to their day pen. This would be 3 times the size with overhead sail and kennel and can see all movement through their fence. Cheese is used as a treat and was placed on the ground to entice him to walk forward.
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Hi Allan, I replied privately because I did not want to post long-winded conversation here. I asked many more questions but also gave some suggestions without getting all the info. Once I have more info, I can better help address Monet's reluctance to go in the day pen. It would be helpful if you can video Monet's behavior of refusal. That would help me figure out how he feels as dogs communicate their feelings with their body language.
The first thing you need to do is have him checked out by a good vet for any locomotion problems like hip dysplasia or anything else that might be causing him pain when he walks. If there is no physical reason, then you need to consult with a good local trainer (or one on-line) for tips on how to give Monet more confidence and willingness to listen....baby steps at a time. (I'm not an expert on training at all, so can't give you good advice myself.)
We didn't have different day and night pens, but we did have dogs who would start refusing to go back into their kennels after a walk. To make them feel less like we were shoving them in a cage to be abandoned, we would have the volunteers spend time in the kennel with the dogs. For example, the volunteers would take the dog for a walk, then go back to the kennel and sit inside with the dog for a while to pet them, play with them, feed treats etc for 5-10 minutes. This way the dog associates going back in the kennel with something good instead of the end of the fun. Another thing I would consider is if there is something scary about the day kennel area. We had some dogs who couldn't handle being in kennel number one - the excitement and stress of people popping out of nowhere through the door all day made them absolutely lose their minds. Once they were moved to a different kennel they went back to their normal personality. Sometimes we would see similar issues with dogs being near an exit, on the side facing the road, etc - they just get freaked out about something in the environment.
Have you considered placing him in a foster home? His story really tugs at the heartstrings. Also do you know if he is friendly with other dogs? I've fostered a few very unsocialized dogs, and the key seemed to be having other confident doggos around to show them the ropes. We had one who we needed to carry to playgroup, but once there, she was a rock star (I ended up carrying her to my car and taking her home for a few months, where we found her an amazing adopter). I'm happy to brainstorm foster placement-- email me at email@example.com if you're interested
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