We recently adopted a three year old male parti poodle. We do not know his previous history and are concerned about some of his behaviors. He will eat dog food and drink only when someone holds his dish while he sits in their lap. This dog refuses all treats and toys. He does not bark at all, and when put outside to go to the bathroom, he lays on his stomach to urinate. He is very skittish with the entire family. He sleeps in his own kennel which is in our bedroom. He is good about going into his kennel at night and appears to be content in there, however he never goes in there during the day. He seems to have developed a bond with me, however, I have stopped holding his food dishes and now he refuses to eat or drink. HELP!!
I would try to get him to the point to where he will eat on his own. You might try adding a little water or chicken broth to his food to make it more flavorful. Try leaving it down for him at all times, or putting the food in with him in his crate at night. If you must hold his food dishes, first put him down on the floor and see if he will eat with you holding the bowl. If he does, great. If not, don't pick him up, just try with him again later. He WILL eat eventually when he gets hungry enough. Once he is eating with you holding the dish of food, set it down and just touch it and see if he will eat that way. Then eventually you can move back until he is eating without you being there.
To try and encourage him to let you know he has to potty, take him to the potty door and have him sit before letting him out. You can tell him to sit, then if he doesn't do it, gently scoop his rear under him into the sitting position and praise him.
Because of his laying on his stomach to pee, I would start walking him around the yard and don't let him lay down. When he has to pee bad enough he will go, just don't allow him to lay down to do it.
As far as him being skittish with everyone, have them individually spend time with them. Have them sit down and either hold him from the floor level so they aren't over top of him or encourage him to come to them. See if other family members can hold or be near the food bowl or take him for walks.
You might look into something called "The Thunder Shirt" for dogs with anxiety problems. The Thunder shirt is a body wrap of sorts that goes around the dogs body and "hugs" them, making them feel more comfortable. It tends to really help dogs with issues. You can find them here: https://www.google.com/#q=ThunderShirt+for+dogs+Walmart&hl=en&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=nGJ-UZ6sBsTdqAG65ICQDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CJYBELMY&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45645796,d.aWM&fp=34f51182278e05a5&biw=1366&bih=622
You might even consider taking him to an Obedience class (talk to the owner about a few possible private lessons first so he/she can evaluate your dog) or seeing a Dog Behaviorist about his issues. You should be able to find one in your local Yellow pages, On-line, or through a Vets office.
Give this a try and if you have other questions for me, please feel free to ask.
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