Rescued 2-year old is "afraid"
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Thread: Rescued 2-year old is "afraid"

  1. #1
    rhepperle is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRescued 2-year old is "afraid"

    We rescued a 2-year old yellow lab about a week and a half ago, according to the vet and everone else who has seen her, she was not socialized properly and is quite afraid of us. In the beginning we were able to take her for a few walks but now she will not let us get near her to put the leash on. I know dealing with an unsocialized dog can be difficult but how can I break down this "wall" and get her to trust me. I have heard obediance classes will help, but I cannot get close to her to take her to classes. Any ideas?

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    jzgrlduff's Avatar
    jzgrlduff is offline Senior Member
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    What have you done to show her she can trust you? Poor baby, I feel so bad for her. Thank you for rescuing her!



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    ~Amy
    Califon, NJ
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    "Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    I'd sit on the floor and just start tossing her treats - high value treats like tiny pieces of hot dogs. Sit away from her by 4 -6 feet so she has her space - but stay in the same room. Don't make eye contact with her - focus on something else (read a book or a magazine). Just randomly toss her goodies. Then make the goodie land far enough away that she has to move towards you to get it.

    I would do this for 15 minutes at a time until she is over near you and you can touch her. If you can eventually get to the point of being able to leash her, leave the leash on her.

    She is probably very easily over-stimulated so busy public areas are not a good idea yet. Introduce new people and places very slowly and include lots of positive reinforcement/treats with every step.

    Grooming is also a good way to build a bond with a dog like this. Once you have her OK with coming to you and being touched, work in daily grooming.

    Are you an experienced dog owner? I would not go to a group obedience session with her for a while - she would probably benefit from one on one sessions with an experienced behaviorist who uses positive methods. This is not an easy thing to overcome you should know- the rescue should have warned you. If they have a trainer or behaviorist associated with them they should help you out.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    One other factor I did not consider is that rescued dogs take time to settle in at a new home. She is not understanding this change and is likely not a dog that handles change well. She may be much better in a few more weeks.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    jzgrlduff is offline Senior Member
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    Excellent advice, Sharon!!



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    Califon, NJ
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    rhepperle is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Sharon, I will get some hot dogs on the way home tonight. One thing I did not mention is she will not come in the house, we leave the door open and she will come in half-way but that is it. I did try to get in the grass with her and we did toss some treats her way with some success. We have seen some progress, she is excited at the door when we come home and likes to watch us through the windows. Any more advice is welcome as I am a first time dog-owner so the more the merrier.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    I would forgo the walks for now if she won't even go in the house. work with her in your yard, as mentionned by sharon, on gaining her trust.

    best of luck - good for you to take give this girl a chance.

    ETA: work on baby steps right now. I would let her come to you as much as possible and be careful where you pet and how you pet (patting the nose/face/head is not a friendly pet with a dog who is afraid of you, pet her sides). It is hard not to show affection with dogs especially when they are scared but you have to use slow movements and try as much as possible to get her to initiate contact. also do not appraoch head on if possible.
    Last edited by Tanya; 09-01-2010 at 04:06 PM.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Wondering how things are going here? Please update us if you come back here.

    I wanted to recommend that you also hand feed her. The most positive associations she has with close human contact the better.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    rhepperle is offline Junior Member
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    We are seeing some good progress, last night she came into the house with me in the same room. I have tried the idea with the hot dogs/treats and the first time she would get the treat and back away, now she gets it and looks at me for another or sniffs around thinking she missed one. When she does retreat it is not as far. When we feed her we put her food in the house (about 15 ft in) and she is learning that it is a safe place. You can see a big difference in her body language, less anxiousness and nervousness, more curiosity. We still have a ways to go, but like I said, we are seeing progress and that feels good to see her coming around.
    Last edited by rhepperle; 09-03-2010 at 03:17 PM.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhepperle View Post
    We are seeing some good progress, last night she came into the house with me in the same room. I have tried the idea with the hot dogs/treats and the first time she would get the treat and back away, now she gets it and looks at me for another or sniffs around thinking she missed one. When she does retreat it is not as far. When we feed her we put her food in the house (about 15 ft in) and she is learning that it is a safe place. You can see a big difference in her body language, less anxiousness and nervousness, more curiosity. We still have a ways to go, but like I said, we are seeing progress and that feels good to see her coming around.
    Excellent news! Like I said - it'll be a slow process and you will need to be patient. What you will have on the other end of this is a dog that totally adores you. Two reading recommendations:

    'Cautious Canine' and 'The Other End of the Leash' - both by Patricia McConnell. They will add a great deal to your understanding of dogs in general and a fearful dog in particular.

    Good luck and keep us posted. I am more than happy to help if you have any more issues with her. I worked with a similarly tempered dog - not as feral as yours - but very scared and distrustful and reactive. She taught me tons about canine behavior.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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