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Hello, my first time on forum and we need help a lot of help. We purchased a 8 month old Rat Terrier a month ago who had been returned to the Breeder from which she came. This dog has apparently been abused in some way, she wants to only lie on the couch and will not jump down, we have to pick her up and sit her on the floor then she starts going in and out of the den and kitchen never being still. She ate her food fairly good in the beginning but now is not eating much. She will not go outside unless we pick her up and take her out and then she will not stay in the yard, but runs up on the deck and does her business on the deck. Now she starts squirming to the point of it is very hard to hold on to her when we carry her out. She will not let you pick her up when she is on the floor, we can only pick her up when she is on the couch, then she will not try to jump up on the couch or jump down. She is afraid of everything and does not play with toys or anything else. We have only heard her bark once. We don't know what to do at this point and have talked about not keeping her as bad as we would not won't to. Our Rat Terrier that we had for 13 years and died last year was a completely different dog. We would like to take her to a dog trainer but cannot financially do that at this time. We would so much like to hear from folks as for as things to try to get her to trust us and not be so skittish, she is a very pretty dog and we want to keep her if we can.
 

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I would stop picking her up for starters - some dogs find this very scary because they are not in control. Attach a house lead to her collar - a very light lead with no loop to get caught on anything which you leave on all/most of the time - and use that to encourage her to come off the couch. Make a 'staircase' with cushions, books, or similar in case she's anxious about jumping off. Use treats as bribery to get her to move off, and be as patient as you need to be (e.g sit on the floor next to the couch with tasty smelly treats and a good book).

Try not to force her to do anything. Don't worry about bribery introducing 'bad habits' - you can gradually drop them later, and the priority for now is for her to be able to relax and feel safe.

What brand/variety of food are you feeding? Some can make a dog a little 'hyper'. And some are just not tasty enough to tempt a dog that is feeling stressed.

If she 's not interested in toys, see if she enjoys some kind of training game. Just teaching her something like 'sit' can help with her confidence and her enjoyment of interacting with you. Always make it 100% positive, and when she gets it right, let her know that she is the smartest cookie you've ever met.

This video on 'capturing calmness' may help her learn to relax:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Judy so much, we will try what you recommended. Hopefully we will end up to have a normal dog. If you think of anything else we would appreciate telling us. Thanks again
 

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Don't aim for a normal dog - she may never be that (my dog will never be normal!!). Just aim for a happy dog who you are able to share your lives with:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Judy, I understand what you are saying, I think we were thinking she should be like our last Rat Terrier but that's not going to happen. She did jump off the couch this morning, so hopefully it will be one little thing at a time. You're so kind to help, Lane
 
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