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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently took in a stray German Shepard mutt, she isn't even a year old. She is slightly hand shy, but very smart. Earlier, I had put a collar on her for the first time, and she wasn't having it. She didn't seem to mind it after a bit, but a minute ago, she knocked over the trash can to get a steak bone and I took it from her mouth and told her no. When she wouldn't move, I gently grabbed at her collar and she completely freaked! She whimpered and ran with her tail between her legs! I suspect this is from previous abuse. (When I first saw her, she ate like she had never eaten and like I said, she is super hand shy) any way I can get her to trust that I won't hurt her? She's very, very sweet. Laying next to me as I type this. Please help!
 

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she knocked over the trash can to get a steak bone and I took it from her mouth and told her no. When she wouldn't move, I gently grabbed at her collar and she completely freaked! She whimpered and ran with her tail between her legs! I suspect this is from previous abuse. (When I first saw her, she ate like she had never eaten and like I said, she is super hand shy) any way I can get her to trust that I won't hurt her? She's very, very sweet. Laying next to me as I type this. Please help!
That's great you've rescued this dog and are trying to help. First of all, it's VERY dangerous to pull food/toys out of the mouth of a dog you don't know well. This is especially dangerous for dogs who've lived on the street and might have used guarding food as a method of survival. Luckily this dog seems quite sweet natured and allowed you to do that without biting. But still, I would not try that again.

Honestly I don't think this dog was abused, it sounds a lot more like she was just a street dog and is exhibiting feral-ish behaviors. Dogs eating quickly is normal if they have lived on the street and need to eat as fast as possible before another dog or animal steals their lunch. Also, she probably used dumpster diving as a regular food source so I would definitely try to keep her away from the trash can and maybe avoid throwing food out in there.

In terms of the collar, she's likely never worn a collar before and it's a completely foreign object. Imagine that an alien creature picked you up on a spaceship and attached some strange object to your leg. It feels funny and you don't know what it is, so that makes it scary. Then all of a sudden someone took control of your body and movements by using this weird contraption on your leg. You'd probably be really scared and show a strong fear reaction! That's basically how the dog is feeling. So I would definitely avoid pulling her by the collar. However, I WOULD practice gentle "collar grabs" (ie, just gently holding onto her collar) and feeding her a yummy treat at the same time. This will get her to associate the collar and slight collar pressure/humans holding her collar with something very positive. Just make sure you touch her collar *before* you feed her, not the other way around as that would make the fear worse.

In terms of her being hand shy, this also sounds like a symptom, not of abuse, but lack of contact with humans. People very often think hand shy and fearful dogs were abused, but often it's just that they were never socialized with humans. People forget dogs are animals, and without any contact with humans they will resort to a more feral, wild animal nature. And well, wild animals avoid contact with humans. But the best way to get her to like you and getting touched? Food! Every time she approaches you, give her a treat. If she lets you pet her, give her a treat. The most important thing though, is to not rush her. In fact, don't try to pet her right away. If she seems comfortable enough to let you touch her, don't touch her head or bend down over her, or walk/look right at her face. This can be frightening to a dog. Approach from the side, crouch down or get on your knees, turn your face to the side and just watch her from the corner of your eye instead of direct looks. All of these things will tell her in a dog's language that you are not threatening. Again, be patient, be gentle, and give her lots of treats! I would also definitely suggest consulting a trainer on this. It can take a lot of work but it sounds like you really want to help and love this dog. I wish you the best of luck and update us on how it goes! Did you give her a name? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
she knocked over the trash can to get a steak bone and I took it from her mouth and told her no. When she wouldn't move, I gently grabbed at her collar and she completely freaked! She whimpered and ran with her tail between her legs! I suspect this is from previous abuse. (When I first saw her, she ate like she had never eaten and like I said, she is super hand shy) any way I can get her to trust that I won't hurt her? She's very, very sweet. Laying next to me as I type this. Please help!
That's great you've rescued this dog and are trying to help. First of all, it's VERY dangerous to pull food/toys out of the mouth of a dog you don't know well. This is especially dangerous for dogs who've lived on the street and might have used guarding food as a method of survival. Luckily this dog seems quite sweet natured and allowed you to do that without biting. But still, I would not try that again.

Honestly I don't think this dog was abused, it sounds a lot more like she was just a street dog and is exhibiting feral-ish behaviors. Dogs eating quickly is normal if they have lived on the street and need to eat as fast as possible before another dog or animal steals their lunch. Also, she probably used dumpster diving as a regular food source so I would definitely try to keep her away from the trash can and maybe avoid throwing food out in there.

In terms of the collar, she's likely never worn a collar before and it's a completely foreign object. Imagine that an alien creature picked you up on a spaceship and attached some strange object to your leg. It feels funny and you don't know what it is, so that makes it scary. Then all of a sudden someone took control of your body and movements by using this weird contraption on your leg. You'd probably be really scared and show a strong fear reaction! That's basically how the dog is feeling. So I would definitely avoid pulling her by the collar. However, I WOULD practice gentle "collar grabs" (ie, just gently holding onto her collar) and feeding her a yummy treat at the same time. This will get her to associate the collar and slight collar pressure/humans holding her collar with something very positive. Just make sure you touch her collar *before* you feed her, not the other way around as that would make the fear worse.

In terms of her being hand shy, this also sounds like a symptom, not of abuse, but lack of contact with humans. People very often think hand shy and fearful dogs were abused, but often it's just that they were never socialized with humans. People forget dogs are animals, and without any contact with humans they will resort to a more feral, wild animal nature. And well, wild animals avoid contact with humans. But the best way to get her to like you and getting touched? Food! Every time she approaches you, give her a treat. If she lets you pet her, give her a treat. The most important thing though, is to not rush her. In fact, don't try to pet her right away. If she seems comfortable enough to let you touch her, don't touch her head or bend down over her, or walk/look right at her face. This can be frightening to a dog. Approach from the side, crouch down or get on your knees, turn your face to the side and just watch her from the corner of your eye instead of direct looks. All of these things will tell her in a dog's language that you are not threatening. Again, be patient, be gentle, and give her lots of treats! I would also definitely suggest consulting a trainer on this. It can take a lot of work but it sounds like you really want to help and love this dog. I wish you the best of luck and update us on how it goes! Did you give her a name?
Wow! Thank you SO much for that advice. I named her Tucker! (It just fits her, ya know?) she is currently sleeping like a baby on the couch next to me. She seems to have taken to her name well, and I give her so many treats! She's very skinny. There is a group of dogs that runs around out here, and I've asked the neighbors if anyone owned her and they all say no. I think she is a stray but I also think she may have had a home at one point. She's super sweet, and has shown no aggression towards anything so far. Her coat is honestly soft and shiny, and she does not smell, which is why I wondered on the abuse topic. Do vets give some sort of treatment bath? She has many ticks (I live in the country) but no fleas, I've tried to get the ticks off with some tweezers but they have been there for a long while and are too attached for me to get without her being uncomfortable. She also does not like baths, any advice on that? Again, thank you.
 

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If the ticks are in deep try putting some peroxide on them. This will often make them detach so they are easier to pull off. I honestly find it easier to pull ticks with my nails but I also have some seriously long nails(they are natural lol). Not everyone can though but if you have long nails you may try that instead kf using the tweezers. She sounds like a very sweet dog. Also we need more pictures?!!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here she is enjoying her first ever bone. She loves it. Though she is pretty aggressive if I get near it. I assume that's the feral side of her. She'll take some time to understand I'm only here to love her.
 

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Here she is enjoying her first ever bone. She loves it. Though she is pretty aggressive if I get near it. I assume that's the feral side of her. She'll take some time to understand I'm only here to love her.
She's such a cutie!!! She's so lucky that you found her and took her in.

For the resource guarding I'd start playing trading games with her, and teaching the cues leave it and drop it. It's too late for me to look them up, I can look them up tomorrow if you like, but Kikopup on youtube has some awesome videos that show how to play trading games and teach the cues.
 

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Here she is enjoying her first ever bone. She loves it. Though she is pretty aggressive if I get near it. I assume that's the feral side of her. She'll take some time to understand I'm only here to love her.
The dog is on the bed it looks like, with a bone. I can appreciate why the dog might be a "pretty aggressive" if you get near it. I might establish the bond and mutual trust before giving such a newer dog that latitude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you have an outdoor area that Tucker can hang out while your not at home?
She looks happy.
I live in the country! She is used to roaming around outside and this a super dog friendly neighbourhood. Most people let their dogs roam all the yards. She had a little pack she stayed with, but she stays in my yard now unless I leave the house completely. She loves the bed and she LOVES bones. She's a real sleepy girl.
 

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I live in the country! She is used to roaming around outside and this a super dog friendly neighbourhood. Most people let their dogs roam all the yards. She had a little pack she stayed with, but she stays in my yard now unless I leave the house completely. She loves the bed and she LOVES bones. She's a real sleepy girl.
..
 

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I live in the country! She is used to roaming around outside and this a super dog friendly neighbourhood. Most people let their dogs roam all the yards. She had a little pack she stayed with, but she stays in my yard now unless I leave the house completely. She loves the bed and she LOVES bones. She's a real sleepy girl.

I'm not a fan of unattended dogs being left outside to roam. No matter how friendly the neighborhood, cars, predators, and other dangers lurk, and dogs don't always know hope to cope with those dangers. If she is a resource guarder, some little thing she finds outside, maybe a bug, can become a resource in her mind and erupt in a fight if another dog comes over to see what she has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I live in the country! She is used to roaming around outside and this a super dog friendly neighbourhood. Most people let their dogs roam all the yards. She had a little pack she stayed with, but she stays in my yard now unless I leave the house completely. She loves the bed and she LOVES bones. She's a real sleepy girl.

I'm not a fan of unattended dogs being left outside to roam. No matter how friendly the neighborhood, cars, predators, and other dangers lurk, and dogs don't always know hope to cope with those dangers. If she is a resource guarder, some little thing she finds outside, maybe a bug, can become a resource in her mind and erupt in a fight if another dog comes over to see what she has.
The thing about it is that she has been out there her ENTIRE life. I just brought her in about 5 days ago. She sits in my yard mostly. She knows it is home now, but like I said, she has been outside her whole life. She doesn't know she isn't supposed to go anywhere, but we are working on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I live in the country! She is used to roaming around outside and this a super dog friendly neighbourhood. Most people let their dogs roam all the yards. She had a little pack she stayed with, but she stays in my yard now unless I leave the house completely. She loves the bed and she LOVES bones. She's a real sleepy girl.

I'm not a fan of unattended dogs being left outside to roam. No matter how friendly the neighborhood, cars, predators, and other dangers lurk, and dogs don't always know hope to cope with those dangers. If she is a resource guarder, some little thing she finds outside, maybe a bug, can become a resource in her mind and erupt in a fight if another dog comes over to see what she has.
Also let me add that I've had quite a few dogs in my lifetime and I'm not the happiest when I leave, because I can't know where she is at all times. It makes me nervous, but I'm working on her staying close to home (in the yard).
 

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I understand her particular situation and your good intentions, I am not judging you. I posted because of my feelings in general about unattended dogs, and in addition, the application to your particular dog who you say is a resource guarder.
Unless there is fencing, even if she stays in her own yard, if other neighborhood dogs roam, they can come into the yard and a fight may erupt over some little thing she has decided in her own mind is a resource of hers.
 
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