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Hello, my in laws adopted a dog from a humane society, she came from a puppy mill that was pretty bad. She isnt aggressive at all, just scared most of the time. They potty trained her very quickly, and she listens to to directions. She.just still wont even approach them. She.does love kids though,.oddly enough. My 3 year old nephew is only person she will interact.with, and he.is typical 3 year old and be a outlet rough. My in-laws are.being patient and giving her time to adjust, but they are worried she may never warm up to them, and be afraid the rest of her life.I know there's no quick fix, but does anyone have any suggestions?
 

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Just be very gentle with her; the best thing you can do with a fearful dog is to completely ignore them!

Make sure everyone avoids threatening body language (leaning over the dog, stroking the dog's head, making direct eye contact) and they don't punish or reprimand the dog in any way. How long have they had her? It can take months for a fearful dog to settle into a household and gain confidence.

You could have everyone offer her calming signals too (do a forum search, it includes behaviours like yawning), this helps our dog feel a lot calmer. Also have a cup of treats / kibble that people can throw in the dog's general direction, to associate them with good things. Over a period of weeks / months you can lessen the distance and eventually feed by hand.

Also, you could try clicker training (forum search, or look up Kikopup's channel on YouTube), this has been great for our timid rescue dog. He used to hate looking us in the eye, and after he'd been with us a few months we clicked every time he made eye contact. He offers it all the time now :)

Finally, there are a few other threads about how to deal with a fearful dog, so if you do a search on the forum there might be some other useful ideas :thumbsup:

Red
 

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Great advice Red! I will say the treat tossing sometimes can scare dogs, so if this winds up being the case leave the treats on the ground calmly and quietly and leave the room. Come in, lay down some super yummy treats, walk out. Then you can eventually lay them down and stay in sight but further away. The biggest thing here is what Red said, remain calm and quiet around the dog. Never raise your voice even if it is directed towards someone or something else :)
 
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