I really need some advice.
I've just adopted a six-month-old black lab, who I've renamed Jet.
I don't know the ins and outs of her background, but the rescue home tells me she was beaten frequently since she was a little puppy. Apparently her case was in the local newspaper - the things that were done to her were horrific. I can't write them here because it is so sad.
When we picked her up, she was facing the wall of her kennel - and was whining really loudly. She kept bowing to the wall and putting her tail between her legs.
It was so sad that we felt we just had to take her home.
Anyway, we've had her for two days now, and as far as I can tell she is a very confident pup. She is very well house trained and seems to know 'sit', ' stay' and other basic commands (so she couldn't have been that badly brougt up).
One thing though, she is incredibly submissive when we go into a room she's in. She will stoop down and put her tail between her legs - and almost bow her head. Until we pet her head or say hello she will remain in this bowing position.
Is there anything I can do to bring her out of her shell? She is amazing outside when we go to the park or whatever. She loves other people from what we can tell, but in the house she is so timid...
I hate that she seems to think she is going to get hit whenever we approach her.
that's so sad, thanks for rescuing her I think it will probably just take some time for her to realize you are not going to strike her. I am not an expert or anything but my little rescue doesn't lower her head as much when we move to pet it now.
Thanks for rescuing her. It's going to take some time...you will have to help her get a self esteem boost.
I'd recommend if you know you are goinjg into a room that you know she's in, squat down, or sit on the floor to be her level (not towering over her) and call her to you in a very nice and welcoming voice. It sounds like she got used to people walking up to her and beating the crap out of her...so get down on her level and invite her to come to you.
Make a party of it. Reward her greatly for everything she does right. She'll begin to really appreciate humans as long as she doesn't equate them with hitting.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
You have already done the best thing for Jet. You got her out of an awful situation. A friend of mine does Husky/ Malamute rescue in Rochester NY rescued a Cinnamon colored Husky last year. He was so shy when she first met him that he stayed in the back of the pen and wouldn't come out. Now after a year he is a totally different dog. She worked with him doing obediance, now he is the alpha of his pack and has totally come out of his shell. Don't feel sad for her, because she can read your discomfort and she thinks, "If they are upset maybe I've got a reason to be upset as well." Somethings might upset her, an older dog that I helped rescue a few years ago was adopted by someone on the old forum. That dog would run whenever they threw a ball for their other dog. He would also turn tail when they got the tubes of Christmas wrapping paper because he thought he was about to get a beating. If she does react like this to something don't react to it, maybe over time she will outgrow her fears.
totally agree with everybody above--cheerful confidence radiating from you is the key!
try to be aware of when she is approaching an area you [or another 'trained' someone!] is in so you can greet her with a happy smile and soft words of welcome....soon she will begin to change her expectations as to what will come next.
you will be so thrilled to see her start looking for happiness!
You could also try calming signals. When you approach her, do not approach her straight on and do not look straight at her, but look sideways and only glance at her. Dogs interpret a direct line and eye contact as a threat, so you can calm her with a better approach and let her know that you mean her no harm
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
Thanks to all of you for your advice and helpful comments.
Jet seems to be settling in nicely, though we are concerned that she has been psychologically scarred for life. I only have to get up off the sofa for her to visibly jump, stand up stooping, tail between legs.
Whatever happened to her has left a huge mark in her psyche. We are trying all the calming signals, and I think she is slowly getting the point that we are not going to harm her.
The thing that gets me is that she is so obedient and well trained. She is a joy to have in the household.
She fell asleep on my lap today, and all I could think was: "How could anyone hurt such a lovely little animal?"* :-[
That is what heavy handed training does...it makes your do stop behaving. Glad to hear she is settling in.The thing that gets me is that she is so obedient and well trained
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
I know this feeling. I often wonder what happened to Brigetta to make her so afraid of strangers and being outside that she cowers and pees. I've had Brigetta for about 4 1/2 months and she has come such a long way, she is still terrified of strangers and walking outside, but we work on it every day. Like the others have said...it takes time. I'm glad Jet settling in with you and your family...thank you for rescuing her.Originally Posted by JetsMum
Teresa, mom to Brigetta and Prudence
Oh, that poor thing.* You have already received very good advice, but I just wanted to tell you how happy I am that you and your family are giving Jet such a loving home.* Isnt is so very sad to think what our rescues have gone through? :'(
Please keep us posted on Jet's progress.