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Hi. I'll give you all the details...
We got a lovely 2yo male Vizsla from a breeder in July. He was kenneled during his first 2 years and was not adopted as a hunting dog due to his shyness and lack of interest in hunting. Therefore he makes a great family dog. Since we got him in July he's been neutered and has had all his shots and is doing great. He is however, extremely nervous.
We've weened him off using his crate all the time and now feels very comfortable in our bedroom - he sleeps all day on the floor. We have not begun any obedience training - the main reason being we can't afford it at this time. We have taught him to sit - which he does very well.
When it comes time to take him for a walk, he runs and hides his face. We put his leash on and walk to the door, and he follows with no trouble. While on his walks/runs he has a blast and is very well behaved.
Yet he never comes out of the bedroom... we'd like him to spend more time with us in the rest of the house and backyard. He just seems very afraid and hesitant.
We know this will gradually change over time, and with 2 years of kennel life he seems not to have been socialized very well.
Anyone have any thoughts on how we can get our nervous friend come out of his shell?
Many thanks.
 

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My first question to you is how long have you had him? Keep in mind that he spent two full years of his life living one way, and now he's experiencing a complete change. I adopted a one year old with hunting bloodlines, had him for over 6 months, and we're still learning new things about him.

I have a couple suggestions for solving the "only wants to be in the bedroom" problem:

1. Feed him in the kitchen, living room, family room... anywhere but the bedroom. Try moving his food to "new" areas of the house so he gets comfortable being outside the bedroom.

2. Does he have a doggy bed that he loves to sleep on? If so try moving it out of the bedroom. Our dog will sleep ANYWHERE if we put his bed there.

3. Use food as enticement to leave the bedroom. If you're cooking in the kitchen or just hanging out watching tv try keep some food, snacks, carrots, whatever with you, and call him. When he comes give him a treat. Just randomly do this for awhile and see if it has any effect. You may be pleasantly surprised.

4. Try closing the bedroom door during the day. You may want to be careful with this one because he may go bananas about not being able to get to his "safe" zone, but trying closing the bedroom doors and see how he responds.

When you're outside in the yard see if you can distract him with someone. Playing fetch/stick is a great way to get his mind off where he is and get him to enjoy being somewhere new.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi, thanks for sharing.
We've only had him since July and really do understand he's set in his ways - 2 years living in kennel life not a short time!
We're thinking of getting him a dog bed... just for the reason you point out.
Playing is another story - he has no idea about playing fetch - or playing with humans for that matter - he's really not socialized with people, but we're making progress. I guess it'll be a gradual process until he starts hanging around us all the time, or maybe that will never happen...
Either way, we'll try some of your suggestions.
Thanks again.
 

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aaaaaaaaaaaawww...poor guy. In a kennel for two years; no wonder he doesn't know how to play or isn't socialized.

Let's see. I'm not so sure I can really help. But will offer up an idea.

Does he like to be in his crate or feel safe in it? I'd say if he's comfortable in it, and it's a safe place for him, you could try putting it in the Family Room or wherever you congregate, with the door open so he can wonder in and out on his own terms. You might also want to try feeding him in the crate in the family room (again, with door open). Maybe he would feel like he has a safe place to go but could still be around his humans.

I also like Tbone's #3 suggestion.

When we were teaching our guy fetch, we cut a slit in a tennis ball and put treats in it. You might want to try something like that to get him more interested in toys...

You might also want to see about socializing him with other dogs. See if your humane society has play groups or even ask people at a dog park. Maybe you could ask friends to come over and sit quietly on the couch and give them some chicken or hot dogs to entice him...??

Good luck. Dogs certainly take time and do things on their own terms...and at least he's now in a good home!
 

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first i want to say..i always enjoy reading "vlicked"s responses. very well written and extremely readable.8)

i also agree very much with the last part of what vlicked suggested. do you have any other dogs? if so what breeds? sounds like your V needs to feel what it's like to be part of a pack..not just a pack with humans but your V needs to almost be retaught what it means to be a dog. imagine a child being locked up in a bedroom for the first 2 years of it's life without anything on the walls and no furniture. they would be so messed up it would be hard to know how to move forward with their life. and i speak from experience when i say this..PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE! this virtue always works and it's usually the best way to accomplish anything and definitely with a timid V!

good luck!
 
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