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Discussion Starter #1
I adopted Trucker a little less than a month ago, he has some horrors in his past (not exactly sure what but they are there). This poor baby came to me with scars on his hind legs where it looks like he has been whipped and he cowers at everything.

We have been slowly been making improvements but as he improves in certain aspects, now he will play fetch and doesn't think you are throwing things AT HIM and will play with other dogs, he regress in others. His fear of strangers ("grown Humans") has gotten worse. He didn't growl or back at people before but rather just shook like a little leaf, now he low growls and shakes (resorting to barking if they don't take a step back or I don't come over).

I knew when I adopted Trucker we had our work cut out for us, we stared training yesterday (he hid under a stool, completely catatonic for over an hour). By the way why I looked for a trainer for Trucker I was hard pressed to find someone who would believe me that my dog exhibited all the fear/anxious behavior signs and on a scale of 1 (relaxed) to 10 (petrified) that Trucker was probably at a 13 or 14. I finally found a Trainer I felt like was going to give Trucker the time he needed and even she was surprised at how bad he was.



Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help Trucker get over this initial hurtle?

I don't want his new fearful behavior of growling to turn into lashing out because someone didn't listen when I said back off.
 

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I think the best thing you can do right now is make sure he gets the space he needs and do whatever necessary to keep the things he fears away from him.

What is your trainer having you work on with him?
 

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Right now we are just trying to hide treats around the house, to encourage him to use his nose to come out and wander around the house. Walking in and out of the front and back door (since normally he locks ups). Sitting and waiting for me to tell him he can have his filled food bowl instead of rushing over to eat it before I finish filling it.
 

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What a handsome boy! A month is not a long time, he's still adjusting and you may see changes in his personality as he comes out of his shell. He was probably abused his whole life so it's going to take him a while to learn to trust again. Just let him go at his own pace. If he doesn't like other people then work on the bond with your family and building up his confidence before trying to introduce him to other people.
 

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The trick to working with him is going to be first giving him a chance to just decompress and get the stress hormones out of his body. Doing that will help keep trigger stacking from happening. Trigger stacking is when the things he fears just add up 1 after another then something mild happens and he over reacts. Sort of like when you have a really bad day, where everything went wrong, and then come home have a glass of water spill and have a meltdown because you just couldn't take anymore. Give him a week or two off and try your best to keep whatever you know that he fears from happening.

Once that time is up then you can try working with him, the sites that SusanLynn linked you to are awesome for giving tips on working with fearful dogs. What you'll be doing is very slowly introducing him to the stuff he fears while giving him little pieces of very high value treats to teach him that the scary things cause good things to happen to him so he doesn't have to be afraid of them.

Working with him will be slow, after all you are changing the way he thinks and feels, but it does work. Also remember you'll have set backs and days that you doubt that he's getting better at all and wonder why he's acting up when yesterday he did so good. At least that's the case with me and my people fearing dog.
 
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