Extremely nervous rescue dog will not acknowledge we exist outside of the house, too terrified to be interested in any food or commands.

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/jdkuk4/extremely_nervous_rescue_dog_will_not_acknowledge/

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Hi, Im writing this post as i'm really struggling to find useful information online.

We adopted a dog that was rescued from a Romanian shelter about 4 months ago, he looks like some sort of belgian malinois/collie cross is roughly 2.5/3 years old and weighs 26kg. We knew the dog was extremely nervous when we adopted him and thought he just needed love and patience and he would come along. According to the charity he had spent the last 2 years in a Romanian kennel. Initially when we brought him home he just hid in corners and wouldn't come out.

4 months later, Murphy is coming along in the house, he is friendly with me and my partner and is becoming more playful and responsive although he still hides under beds or in corners if he gets the chance. He's becoming more food orientated in the house and will come up for treats etc.

The real problem is outside the house, walking him is an absolute nightmare, most of the time he doesn't want to go for a walk and is very hesitant to go outside, he is very wary when passing people and other dogs and just seems like he is getting worse, something will set him off and he will bolt back in the direction of the house and choke himself pulling as strongly as he can all the way home. We went to see a 'dog trainer' about him but this was also outside the house and he just sat in the corner subdued and she said he is the worst she has seen and we should think about giving him back which wasn't very helpful.

Most sources say to distract the dog with food or train him with food etc but the problem is that outside of the house he is not interested in food at all, we can't even get the dog to make eye contact or even acknowledge we are there when we are outside of the house, which is a contrast to inside the house where he will respond and sometimes come when called and take food etc.

Most people we speak to including people from the charity claim to have had nervous dogs and they just need time etc but i don't think they really understand what's going on, the dog inside and outside of the house is two completely different dogs, no matter what we try he will not acknowledge our presence outside of the house he is just terrified of everything and wants to be back in the house asap, the problem is that he won't go to the toilet in the garden so not walking him is out of the question.

Has anyone had experience with an EXTREMELY nervous dog before? this is our first dog and we are starting to feel hopeless, are there any good resources you can recommend? Like i mentioned previously we went to see a 'dog trainer' who just made it feel like even more of a lost cause. Any help or advice is appreciated thanks.

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