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I am new here and have just been out on the web trying to find solutions to help my dog. She is a three year old Moodle and has always been a somewhat reserved dog. Certain people (mostly men) that would approach her would cause her to pee but with most people she was always really good and loving. She is also my service dog. I have bipolar disorder and a bunch of other issues and having her with me is the only way I can really venture out in the world.

I moved to a new apartment this past December. The door was open to the outside and my mom and I were carrying in a few boxes. I had put Callie in my chair to keep her from running out while our hands were full. She had NEVER jumped off of anything before but this time she did. My new apartment has a tile floor and is very slippery (I have since put down a rug) and when she jumped she went sprawling and injured her back. She was completely paralyzed in the back end for a couple of months and had to go through extensive therapy (including medications) to be able to walk again. She can walk now but she is a little wobbly when she stands still and she still stumbles a bit if she gets in too big of a hurry.

During all of this is when the trouble started. While she was paralyzed I had to take her out to the bathroom with me holding her up with a cup towel around her belly. She is small and fluffy and cute and white, she attracts a lot of attention! Several of the neighborhood kids ran up to her wanting to pet her. She literally screamed. At least that is what it sounded like! She was so scared! I scooped her up and took her inside and spent a while trying to soothe her.

Since then, she seems to be afraid of everything and almost everyone with the exception of me, my son and my mom. She hides from loud sounds even when she can see what is making the sound. I take her out to use the bathroom and I can barely get her out of the door. When she finally goes out she barks at anything and everything and can hardly relax enough to do her business. If anyone happens to be walking on the sidewalk (as far as 2 houses down!) she takes off running and literally hides behind me until they are gone. Yesterday, the mail lady left a small box on my doorstep. I had been letting Callie out and when I opened the door the box was there. Just sitting there. It didn't fall or anything. But it scared her so bad she ran back into the house and hid in my bedroom. It was quite a while before i could get her to go outside again.

I can't help but think that my poor pup is being tortured by her fears! I hate it that this has happened to her and that the world is a big and frightening place for her! I don't know how to help her. Her and I, both, have become practically shut ins because I can't go many places without her and I can't bear to cause her the stress and fear of taking her out with me.

She is such a smart dog! She does lots of tricks and was very easy to train! But I don't even know where to begin in the training process to help her regain her confidence and ease her fears so we can go back to being a confident and emotionally healthy working pair.

I don't know if any of you have faced a situation like this but I am hoping for some advice on what I need to do to help my little 8 pound best friend be the wonderful and outgoing dog that she used to be. Living in fear of EVERYTHING can't be good for her!

Thank you in advance for your responses and I apologize for the length of this post.


Lucinda Miracle
Worried mom of Callie

Super Moderator
10,820 Posts
You might want to consider looking into getting a second service dog while rehabilitating Callie. I say that because it could take months to years to fully work through Callie's fears and she may never get back to where she was before all this started. I'm not saying give up on her but being realistic.

Consider giving her a week or two off from everything, just outside to potty then back inside, if you need to walk her then do so when y'all are least likely to encounter anything. Try to keep everything as stress free as possible during that time. That will give all the stress hormones a chance to leave her body.

Since she is so afraid of everything, I'd first start by talking to your vet about getting her on some anti anxiety medicine. The medicine does take a few weeks to start working and before it does Callie will most likely act worst so be prepared for that.

Then follow the protocol that is lined out at these sites Care for Reactive Dogs
Getting Started | Fearful Dogs
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It might be time to retire her as a service dog (look into having her as a pet and getting another, potentially, or living without a service dog if you feel that's best for your situation). If you want to continue using her as a service dog I would definitely bring her back to the original trainers-but this is a long shot, imo. Her age is definitely a consideration you should include-a younger dog might recover though improbable-an older dog really won't stand much of a chance.

There are things you can do to make her less fearful, as Rain pointed out, but it is a LONG road ahead of you. Just as an example-my dog is dog-reactive after poor socialization and an incident with another dog-two years later we still typically avoid her triggers for her comfort, but she is doing better on one-on-one situations. This is FAR from the type of situation a service dog needs to be calm in, unfortunately, so although you could help I doubt it would be responsible to the public to bring a dog that may still be in chronic pain out as a service dog.

I'm sorry this has happened to you and your family :(
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