Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need help.

I adopted a dog from a rescue 3 weeks ago. She was a stray for what appears to be her whole life (1-2 years) and was trapped by the Humane Society after being spotted eating trash, etc. VERY thin in intake pics. She was kept at the shelter for awhile, and then scheduled to be put to sleep. She was/is so fearful no one wanted her. A rescue went and got her, and had her for 2 days, sent her to be spayed and then the day after I picked her up. She is a whippet/pit something or another. Was 18 lbs. and now up to 25. :thumbsup: Obviously, I know the excessive fear will take time to pass but def not going to happen in the "30 days adjustment period" the rescue said. I know that she may always be skittish and such, and while that makes me sad, I am committed to her. I just need advice, especially if you have had a fearful dog. Here is her standard day:

- let out of crate at 6 am, will now walk out of crate on own unassisted (new positive behavior!) but then lay down right away and not move. I need to pick her up and leash her and she will walk out the door (unassisted after the first week) and pee/poop and stretch, roll around, wag tail a little (new positive behavior!) and walk increasingly well on the leash. As soon as she sees we are headed back to the house, she will lock down and not move. No treats will move her ... not even a bit of raw meat. I pick her up and carry her in.

- I have food and water waiting that I prepare before I let her out of crate, otherwise she will run directly upstairs to her "hiding place" (my bed) so I place that in her path and she instinctively will eat and drink -albeit super speed- all of it, and then run up the stairs to my bed.

-I leave her out while I go to the gym and get my kids to school and, so far, for the past 3 weeks she has been still on my bed when I get back. I let her out again for a walk (this is around 9 am) before I go to work. Repeat same behavior from 6 am walk. Give her a treat in her crate (bully stick, etc) and leave for work.

-Repeat same walking/feeding steps in the pm. If she is not outside or eating she is on my bed or in her crate. :( At night I lay in bed with her and talk to her while I read, my daughter (8) will sit with her and she will even let her prop her legs on her side while she does her homework. She is at total peace (no shaking, tail tucked, crouching low) that we saw 3 weeks ago when we sit on the bed with her. So, obviously, she likes to be around us to an extent. When I bring her downstairs she will shake and will sit with us on the couch, but the second I get up and/or one of us removes our hand from her side she will run upstairs.

If you made it this far, thank you.

Any advice would be welcome.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I adopted a dog a over a month ago who also was people shy. Now mine was never to the extent that it sounds yours is. Mine never had negative experience with people she just had practically no interaction experience with people (or experience being inside a house), so she was definitely anxious and very nervous but not TERRIFIED (except the first two days, she just mentally shut down and wouldn't leave her crate).

After 3 days she quickly identified her safe-spot as being on the rug of our raised living room, this is her "home base" that she always retreats to as soon as she is nervous or uncertain. We started by tossing treats to her in her safe zone, then on the edge of her safe zone, then slightly outside. Toss treat then walk away (so that your presence isn't creating pressure). We'd toss the treat further and further afield. This got her to the point that she began to explore a bit outside the safe-zone on her own (and after a week or so the whole apartment - with frequent returns to the safe zone).

Then we got her accustomed to us walking around and being near her just outside her safety zone (slowly decreasing the distance between us and the treat so she had to be closer to us to get it). Luckily our girl was never aggressive and we could always leash her and handle her safely, but she was very stressed during those interactions (wouldn't even eat a treat)-- this approach got her to the point that she was around us and (later) being handled by us without the stress. The first 2 weeks was spent with the above approach.

Yours sounds considerably more shut down then ours was. You need to know your dog and what approaches work for her, but you may want to consider leashing her either to yourself whenever your home or if you're in a different room have her tied up on a long-ish leash so that she can't escape back to her safe zone but she has room to move around/not feel trapped/explore (once comfortable). Toss treats to her and then give her space, toss the treat further from her (so that she has to stretch for it, then move a little toward it, then take 2-3 steps to it, etc). This is essentially flooding her to the new area (throwing her into the new place then trying to build positive enough experiences that she gains confidence in that place) -- some dogs will not be able to handle it and will regress, others can respond positively. My dog is definitely one who under controlled flooding will typically realize within a short period "oh...this actually isn't so bad" and then makes substantial progress. If your dog has had negative experiences, this approach may not work as it's not "I don't know what this situation is and I'm nervous", but instead "I've been here and it's BAD".

Also if your dog likes other dogs (many street dogs do), then setting up play dates with other dogs can be huge. I knew my dog interacted well with other dogs (i'd seen her at the shelter happily playing) but once with us she was so scared of EVERYTHING that she was also terrified of other dogs. I spent the first week of our walks getting her to interact with every CALM & friendly dog that I could think of to get her back to socializing normally with dogs and you could visibly see her gaining confidence after a positive interaction with a dog. Again, emphasizing calm (canine senior citizens are great for this). She would be a lot braver & more confident with me right after greeting another dog. So I used that to my advantage as much as possible (lots of frequent walks & dog-meetings during the day to constantly "re-boost" her confidence levels since inside the house was definitely the scary place).


Good luck! She will probably always remain a skittish dog that needs to be carefully watched and her stress levels managed, but watching my dog make progress and gain confidence has been AMAZING. It is so rewarding when you do see these little achievements. The first time my dog engaged in play with me I nearly cried from happiness since she'd been terrified of me just weeks before.
Thank you!

OMG, last night she was on my bed and I was just petting her with one hand and reading with the other - like every night before I crate her. She is very relaxed at this time for the most part. Last night I tried to start playfully kinda "booping" her nose (if that makes sense) and she did this kind of happy, not nervous yawn complete with a dramatic squeal at the end and then like slammed her front paws down on the bed like in a super playful manner. I can't think of any other way to describe it lol but it was AWESOME.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top